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SELLING TRAVEL • NOVEMBER 2018

Winner

trAVel trADe puBlicAtion of tHe yeAr

print & online

Caribbean • Philippines • Japan • Indian Ocean • Cape Verde • Middle East • Canary Islands • Guyana • River Cruising • Comoros & Mayotte

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INSPIRING THE TRAVEL TRADE NOVEMBER 2018 • SELLINGTRAVEL.CO.UK


"A fantastic travel magazine"

"great use of imagery, very eye-catching"

"useful selling tips set it apart from other publications"

WINNER

TRADE PUBLICATION OF THE YEAR – PRINT & ONLINE

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NOVEMBER 2018 • SELLINGTRAVEL.CO.UK

how to sell...

Japan Middle East Philippines Indian Ocean Canary Islands River Cruising

TRAVEL TRADE PUBLICATION OF THE YEAR 2018

LOCAL CATCH

The Caribbean has bounced back with a wave of new product and investment

and more...

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PRESENTS

YOUR WINDOW INTO ALL THINGS CALIFORNIA

Keep up to date with all the news from the Golden State such as the recent reopening of the stunning Highway 1 route through Big Sur

Visit California STAR Training Programme & Sales Companion H Discover California through a series of inspiring, thematic modules H Enjoy all-new chapters on Los Angeles, Santa Monica, Anaheim and High Sierra H Download and share any images, videos or other content to help inspire your clients H NEW shopping module coming soon + standalone chapter on Wine Country’s Napa Valley

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contents

3

this issue

WE TRAVEL FURTHER TO BRING YOU MORE FEATURES 08 Caribbean: What's new and trending

30 Japan: World Cup rugby and local culture

82

47 Indian Ocean:

Maldives, Mauritius, Seychelles, Reunion, Sri Lanka 61 Middle East: Exploring mega cities

30

65

08

61

41 42

45 14

38

28

47

QUICK READS 14 Six of the best: African wildlife Lodges

28 Hidden Gems: Philippines

CARIBBEAN

08

36 Visit USA: Member news 38 My Journey: Comoros & Mayotte How to Sell: Cape Verde How to Sell: Guyana Exploring: Sri Lanka Travel Uni: Online training update 65 Destination profile: Canary Islands 91 Final Word: Quirky stories in the travel world

41 42 45 58

JAPAN

30

INDIAN OCEAN

47

THE REVIEW 67 Top news stories plus an ABTA show report

RIVER CRUISE 78 Luxury River Cruise: A High-life on the river

82 My Journey: Danube TALKING SHOP 15 News, incentives, fams

MIDDLE EAST

61

RIVER CRUISING

78

and six pages covering our roadshow 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 sellingtravel.net

CANARY ISLANDS

65

sellingtravel.co.uk

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welcome

WINNER

TRADE PUBLICATION OF THE YEAR – PRINT & ONLINE

Proudly published by BMI Publishing Ltd 2018 © 2018.

Suffolk House, George St, Croydon, Surrey, CR9 1SR, UK T 020 8649 7233 | F 020 8649 7234 enquiries@bmipublishing.co.uk bmipublishing.co.uk sellingtravel.co.uk Publishers: Steve Thompson & Sally Parker Editorial Director: Steve Hartridge Deputy Editor: Laura Gelder Staff Journalists: Ben Coren & Jessica Pook Contributing Journalist: Jo Austin Group Editor: Andy Hoskins Contributing Editor: Julie Baxter Advertisement Manager: Lisa Merrigan Creative Director: Matt Bonner Lead Designers: Louisa Horton & Monica Notarnicola Designers: Ross Clifford & Zoë Tarrant Production Manager: Clare Hunter Managing Director: Martin Steady We are members of the Caribbean Tourism Organization, Visit USA Association, LATA, PATA, MENATA, SATOA, the Foreign Airlines Association and the Institute of Travel & Tourism. Whilst every effort is made to ensure accuracy, BMI Publishing cannot be held responsible for any errors or omissions. ISSN: 2056-9319. Cover image: istockphoto.com

I

t’s that time of year again, the ‘season of mists and mellow fruitlessness’; the time of year that, for our industry, also means World Travel Market – an event that we all hope will be fruitful. This year the Selling Travel team will have an extra spring in its step as they trawl the halls of ExCel – that’s because we've been awarded Trade Publication of the Year, Print and Online, at the 2018 Travel Media Awards (I thought I’d mention it in case you hadn’t seen our day-glo cover wrap!). It’s a title we also won in 2015 and 2016, but it’s just as good to have it this year, especially considering the competition. I was proud to hear the judges' comments praising Selling Travel's 'impactful visuals', 'useful selling tips' and 'engaging insights' into the industry. We’ll be using WTM not only to meet with long-time industry colleagues Laura Gelder and friends but also to seek out new relationships, spy next year’s trends DEPUTY EDITOR and identify burgeoning destinations - your future top-sellers. Flicking through this issue it struck me that tourism giants Mauritius, the Maldives and Seychelles (p47) were mostly unknown specks on the map to my parents when they were planning their honeymoon. Equally, the Caribbean (p8) was an exotic, unreachable dream. How times change! I was sad to see the demise of Club 18-30. Do we wish for too much these days? What's wrong with a knees-up in the sun with friends? Do people really choose a holiday on its 'gramability?' And will a vegan yoga retreat with a pillow menu really make us happier than a foam party? These are questions for our times - along with something called Brexit. It was nice to see so many of you at our roadshow (see p16) and thanks for voting in the Selling Travel Agents Choice Awards - we couldn't win awards without you. See the winners online!

WITH THIS ISSUE

SUBSCRIBE FOR FREE! sellingtravel.co.uk/subscribe

WINTER 2018/19 | TRAINING FOR THE TRAVEL TRADE

Just for fun!

Wordsearch, Spot the Difference, True or False... Test your knowledge PAGE 35

IT'S WINTER, SO GET YOUR

skates on!

GIFT WRAPPED IDEA

Suggestions for spending a Christmas break in Canada

REASONS FOR SEASONS Why Canada is the perfect year-round destination

ABOVE AND BEYOND

Look up and down for scenery, marine life and starry nights PLUS... NEWS. VIP ELITE FAM. ARCTIC ADVENTURE. THE OCEAN TRAIN. CRUISING... AND MORE

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

Selling Canada The winter edition looks at Christmasthemed holidays, winter activities beyond the ski hills and Arctic cruising, plus news and views from Canada.

2019 Guide

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Mauritius Mauritius

2019

CBPBMI0918 CBPBMI0918

Macao

Macao The bridge between Macao and Hong

Our 2019 Guide to Mauritius is the ultimate product update, covering all aspects of this fabulous destination.

Kong is open! This small but exciting destination is a cultural melting pot – get the lowdown in our annual guide.

Reps & PR 2019 gu󰇮󰈧󰈥 󰇺o

REPS & PR A selection of the UK’s leading travel PR and representation companies

Check out our selection of the UK's leading travel PR and representation travel specialists. They are the cream of the crop.

sellingtravel.co.uk

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the big picture

7

Copenhagen Denmark

Capital of cool Lonely Planet has named Copenhagen the top city to visit in 2019. Besides the rainbow quayside of Nyhavn there’s the cobbled streets of the old Citadel; the fashionable Frederiksberg and its grand palace and ďŹ ne buildings; the edgy Vesterbro with its meatpacking district now full of gritty, hipster bars; and the free-spirited hippy commune of Christiania. Make like a local, get on your bike, and get there now. visitcopenhagen.com

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caribbean

master of reinvention

Since 2017 parts of the Caribbean have fought back from a devastating hurricane while other islands have worked to counter a false perception of blanket devastation. Kathryn Liston looks at progress to date

T

he barman is working ten to the dozen, handing out jugs of zesty mojitos to waiters who pass them over people’s heads to the crowded wooden tables. Locals mill around chatting, some loll on the walls, others take a breather from the stifling heat on the balcony that overlooks a narrow side street in Santiago de Cuba, Cuba’s second largest city. A murmur of excited voices becomes a hubbub, as a band of musicians strike up a tune and everyone leaps to their feet, spinning, gyrating and twirling to the music’s lively, pulsating salsa and son beat. Their feet are lightning quick, as are the fingers that glide effortlessly over accompanying guitars. Trombones bellow out powerful brassy sounds. The pace and pulse of Casa de La Trova – one of the city’s many music clubs – is electrifying. Locals invite us to join in, twisting and twirling us round and round until it’s difficult to know which way is up. It’s party time – Cuba-style – and something that every visitor to this music capital should experience.

Specialisation is key Cuba isn’t the only Caribbean destination showing growth. A stream of new and refurbished hotels, more flights and a greater focus on specialist markets across the region is giving it an edge in the holiday market. Sergio Garcia-Gonzalez, Head of Marketing at The Holiday Place, says: “Hoteliers in the Caribbean are resorting to a variety of strategies to keep having an edge with the public in the UK. Specialisation is among the most common tactics you can see where resorts focus on families or couples (or adults-only) and tailor their offering for these two traveller groups.” Hoteliers are also enhancing their all-inclusive programmes with ‘resort credits’ or allowing guests to use facilities in nearby hotels, he adds. Paul Cleary, Managing Director of Caribtours, says: “The Caribbean is doing well and forward bookings for 2019 look strong. Barbados continues to sell well, Saint Lucia and Antigua are very popular and the Grenadines are up and coming.”

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caribbean

Caribtours has added The Liming in Bequia and the Park Hyatt St. Kitts to its 2019 programme. “The British Airways flight into St. Kitts, via Antigua, really helps,” adds Cleary. Mike Taylor, Product Operations Manager at Lusso, says exciting additions to the Caribbean over the last 12 months, include the Mandarin Oriental, Canouan (Grenadines), Park Hyatt St. Kitts and Rosewood Baha Mar in The Bahamas. “In 2018 we have seen increased demand, particularly for Barbados, Saint Lucia, The Bahamas and the Turks & Caicos,” he says. Taylor adds that many hotels in the British Virgin Island, St Barth, St Martin and Anguilla are coming back “stronger and even more luxurious” than before Hurricanes Irma and Maria hit last year, though he admits a decline in business to these islands. All BVI properties are expected to have reopened by early 2020. The restored Great House on Necker Island is the latest. Bitter End Yacht Club and Rosewood Little Dix Bay will follow in late 2019. On St Barth, Cheval Blanc St-Barth Isle de France will reopen next month. Dominica’s Secret Bay and Jungle Bay will reopen this month and next February respectively. The luxury Cabrits Resort Kempinski Dominica and Anichi Resort will open late 2019

Activities Clockwise from bottom left: Luxury Silversands Hotel, Grenada opens this month (November) complete with the Caribbean’s largest infinity pool; demand for The Bahamas has risen in 2018; in-room massage at the Fairmont Royal Pavilion, which now welcomes kids year-round; Mandarin Oriental Canouan in the Grenadines is one of a number of new additions in the last year, along with the Rosewood Baha mar in the Bahamas

A 1914 vintage railway will welcome its first passengers on January 4 at St Nicholas Abbey, Barbados. The 45-minute journey on the former sugar train will take passengers through fields, mahogany woodland and up to Cherry Tree Hill. Duran Duran, The Chainsmokers and

Blondie are lined up to headline the new KAABOO music and comedy festival in the Cayman Islands in February. In Saint Lucia, Marigot Bay Resort and Marina and Cap Maison are offering guests the opportunity to hike up Gros Piton. Zip-lining is also on offer at Marigot, and chocolate-making at Cap Maison. Sell it: New from HF Holidays (hfholidays.co.uk) for 2019 is a 14-night full-board holiday in Cuba. Prices from £3,849pp in January, including flights, daily guided walks and sightseeing.

Hotels Luxury hotel group Six Senses will make its Caribbean debut on St. Kitts in 2021. The resort’s 70 pool villas will be set in 41 acres of a former sugar plantation in the La Vallee area. Mandarin Oriental Hotels is to open a 100-room beachfront property in Grand Cayman in 2021, featuring five restaurants and a farm providing fresh produce. Half Moon Jamaica will complete a $75 million refurbishment this month (November) in time to celebrate its 65th anniversary. It includes 57 new rooms and suites, a swimming cove, two new restaurants, a vegan cafe and three bars. The luxury Silversands Hotel opens on Grand Anse Beach, Grenada, this month offering beachfront and hillside villas, two gourmet restaurants, a spa and a 300-foot infinity pool – the Caribbean’s largest. The S Hotel Montego Bay, Jamaica, will open this year with 120 rooms and suites. The refurbished Fairmont Royal Pavilion, Barbados, will welcome children yearround from next month. Under 12s sharing with parents will stay free.

S

F b o

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Be embraced by the balmy ocean breezes of The Bahamas. Stroll through our tropical waterscape, teaming with exotic marine life and surrounded by the sights, sounds and tastes of a rich Bahamian culture. Experience the warmth of unhurried and welcoming hospitality. And discover that when you slow down, just a little, life’s simplest pleasures have a chance to catch up. TO BOOK, CONTACT YOUR PREFERRED TOUR OPERATOR OR VISIT ATLANTISBAHAMAS.COM

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I n t r o d u c I n g t h e n e w ly r efu r b I s h ed cov e s u Ites

Sav e u p to 4 0 % o f f Cov e S u it e S For stays 2 June – 21 July & 21 August – 17 October 2019 book through your preferred tour operator or email: reservations@bluewaters.net

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Give us your body for a week and we’ll give you back your mind.

ÂŽ

To learn more, call 0203 096 1629 or visit www.thebodyholiday.com/sellingtravel

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caribbean

Nine new hotels will increase the Dominican Republic’s hotel stock by 2,800 rooms next year. They include Wikki Beach Resort and Nature hotel in Punta Balatá and the 600-room Bh Caribe Hotel in Punta Cana. Sell it: Lusso (lussotravel.com) offers 12 nights’ B&B at Half Moon, Jamaica, from £5,455pp – a saving of £2,805pp – including flights with Virgin Atlantic, complimentary transfers and unlimited golf. Book by February 28, 2019.

Boats & planes Dream Yacht Charter (dreamyachtcharter.

13

Dining Top Deck Caribbean restaurant and Hugo’s international cuisine restaurant are new to Speightstown, Barbados. Singer Rhianna has recently been named tourism ambassador for the island. The Cove at Atlantis Paradise Island in The Bahamas has opened the Fish seafood restaurant by two-Michelin-starred chef José Andrés, whose signature lion fish dish is helping to wipe out the predator. The BodyHoliday’s multi-million-dollar renovation includes a new sushi counter, two new villas and refurbishment of 76 Luxury Ocean View rooms.

co.uk) has introduced By the Cabin cruises

in Guadeloupe, Grenadines, for 2019 in addition to the British Virgin Islands, Cuba, Grenada and St Martin. Virgin Atlantic and Thomas Cook have restarted flights to Barbados this winter, from Heathrow and Gatwick respectively. InterCaribbean Airways will add new Tortola services from St Kitts, Santo Domingo, St Thomas, St Croix, Barbados, Punta Cana, Santiago (Dom Rep), as well as new non-stop Santo Domingo to Kingston services and new Aruba and Curacao services from Santo Domingo (dates soon to be confirmed). Bahamasair has introduced a Saturdayonly service from Miami, Florida, to San Salvador, Bahamas; Delta has added a second daily non-stop flight to Nassau from New York’s John F Kennedy airport. Sell it: Thomas Cook has seven nights’ room-only at the Butterfly Beach Hotel in Oistins, Barbados. Priced from £778pp the deal includes flights and return transfers and is based on departures from Manchester this December.

Top tip: Patrick’s in St George’s, Grenada, is an institution and a restaurant dedicated to homestyle Caribbean cooking, serving up dishes like breadfruit salad, stewed pumpkin, fried plantains, gingered pork and curried mutton.

Conservation Families can help release sea turtles back into the wild at Atlantis Paradise Island, The Bahamas. The rare Bahama Nuthatch, thought to be extinct following Hurricane Matthew in 2016, has recently been spotted by researchers on Grand Bahama Island. The Cayman Islands’ Queen Elizabeth II Botanic Park has released its 1,000th blue iguana into the wild as part of a breeding programme for the endangered species. Win it: Book a holiday to the Cayman Islands of five nights or more between now and May 31, 2019, and for a chance to win a holiday for two to the islands. The booking must include flights and accommodation. Email booking info to agentbooking@caymanislands.ky to enter. 

Clockwise, from top left: the Park Hyatt St. Kitts; Lusso Travel offers Half Moon, Jamaica, with unlimited golf; Rosewood Little Dix Bay is due to reopen in late 2019; Soufriere seafront, overlooking the famous Pitons; on the beach in Grenada

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14

six of the best

AFRICA

African wildlife 6

2

1

3

4 5

lodges

Africa’s vast plains are teeming with wildlife but where to lay your head? Lynn Houghton picks her favourite lodges for a game break

Giraffe Manor

Elephant’s Eye

Set over 140 acres in the leafy suburbs of Nairobi, the 12-room Giraffe Manor looks more like a Scottish country pile than an African lodge – and that’s because it it was built in the 1930s by Sir David Duncan of the Macintosh clan. But the stars of the show are the wild endangered Rothschild Giraffes that roam freely around the property. The ancestors of these tall, permanent guests were rescued by 1970s owner Betty Leslie Melville. At breakfast time, the giraffes put their heads through windows to be fed by guests.

Looking for a lodge that is deep in the bush? You will not be disappointed by Elephant’s Eye, a luxury tent camp in Zimbabwe’s Hwange National Park. While enjoying a sumptuous evening meal, there may be elephants exploring just a few feet away. As part of the nearby wetland is artificially lit, viewing wild nocturnal activity is possible. Even the pool water is unchlorinated as creatures frequently use it to drink. The luxury tents are elevated as wildlife can be present on the property at any time.

Ashnil Mara Camp Seeing the Wildebeest Migration between Tanzania and Kenya at the beginning of every summer is one of natues greatest experiences. Deep in the Maasai Mara, the Ashnil Mara Camp is a perfect base for game drives and its elevated location on the riverbank makes for unsurpassed wildlife spotting. Even lions come to drink at the river’s edge. Add to that spacious tents and a talented chef presenting wonderful buffets.

Baines’ Camp In Moremi Game Reserve, Botswana, Sanctuary Retreats’ smallest camp – with just five luxury suites – is set in a grove of trees and built on raised platforms above the Boro River. The owners encourage the local community in Maun to collect cans to be recycled for cash – and the cans form the backbone of the camp’s structure. Star baths and sky beds on private decks help create a romantic oasis in the bush.

Great Fish River Lodge Though many might choose to visit the vast, well-known Kruger National Park, the wildlife viewing at Kwandwe Private Game Reserve in the Eastern Cape is equally mesmerising, especially on an early morning game drive. Guests can also join a veterinary team on a conservation safari and get up close to black and white rhino. Nine separate suites at the Great Fish River Lodge afford privacy with unobstructed views. Guests can enjoy a BBQ inside a Boma – formerly enclosures for domestic animals.

Singita Sabora Situated in the untouched wilderness of the Grumeti Preserves in the Serengeti National Park, Singita Sabora is a 1920s intimate-style explorer camp. A bastion of luxurious relaxation, the camp is also an active family’s dream, with archery, tennis, game drives and guided safari walks to enjoy. Singita believes sustainability is key to the future of preserving and protecting large areas of African wilderness.

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

Bella Italia

INGHAMS is celebrating the launch of its 2019 Italy brochure by offering agents a free bottle of prosecco. To claim the bubbly, agents will neeed to book an Inghams 2019 holiday before December 31 and email sales@inghams.co.uk with their reference number and address. The new brochure features more hotels than ever before. inghams.co.uk

Sel󰇰󰇮󰈡g T󰇶󰈜󰇾el t󰈜 wi󰇳󰈡󰇪r󰇷 󰇾󰇯si󰇹 C󰈢󰈤 o󰇳 󰇯t Ric󰇧. Re󰇧d 󰈜󰇨o󰇻󰇺 pa󰇫󰇪 27

Earn with Ethiopian ETHIOPIAN Airlines and Manchester Airport are offering agents Love2Shop vouchers £25 for Business Class bookings and £10 for Economy bookings - to mark the new route from Manchester to Addis Ababa. Bookings must be made before January 31. manchesterairport.co.uk.travel-trade

Contents 22

BEEN THERE, DONE THAT

Qatar prize

Che󰈛󰈬 󰈢󰇼t 󰇹󰇭e p󰇬󰈢󰇺󰈣s a󰇳󰈨 co󰇽󰇪󰈦󰈜ge 󰈇󰈦󰈢m 󰈣u󰇶 󰈦󰈢󰈜d󰇷󰇭ow ev󰇪󰇳󰇺s 󰈇󰈦om 󰇴󰇧󰈪󰈥 16 on󰇿󰇧󰈦d󰇷 View the winners list at sellingtravel.co.uk/awards

PREMIER Holidays is offering agents up to £150 in vouchers for Qatar bookings made until the end of November. The operator introduced Qatar as a new destination earlier this year. trade.premierholidays.co.uk

AGENTS TALK

24

25

IN THE OFFICE

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The event WHAT: Selling Travel Agents Choice Awards Roadshow WHERE: London, Birmingham, Leeds and Glasgow WHEN: October 8, 9, 10 and 11 WHY: To to boost product knowledge by meeting with top suppliers from our Selling Travel Agents Choice Awards in categories that included destinations, tour operators, hotels and resorts, airlines, cruising and others.

A massive thank you for a wonderful event. The venue and hospitality was excellent, as always. It was great to meet all the suppliers and learn more about their fabulous products” Carol Smith, Freedom Personal Travel Advisor

Abu Dhabi conjures images of beautiful blue skies, powderwhite beaches and glittering skyscrapers – and the reality doesn't disappoint. But so much else lies in wait in the UAE's capital. �visitabudhabi.ae

Air Europa, the Latin America specialist, is the airline division of the Globalia Corporation. For over 30 years it has focused its efforts on achieving outstanding customer service and exceptional value. �aireuropa.com

ANA is Japan’s largest airline and has been awarded a five-star rating for the sixth consecutive year. Operating daily from London to Tokyo, ANA connects you with Japan’s largest domestic network. �ana.co.jp

From London Heathrow, Gatwick and Manchester, Cathay Pacific operates 49 flights a week non-stop to Hong Kong, and onwards to more than 80 destinations in Asia Pacific – such as China, Japan, Thailand, Australia, New Zealand and more. �cathaypacific.com

Club Med offers premium allinclusive Ski and Sun holidays with 70 resorts worldwide. Gourmet cuisine, premium refreshments, endless activities, ski lift passes and ski classes are covered in the package. �clubmedagents.co.uk

The Cook Islands' two main islands, Rarotonga and Aitutaki, are both fringed by coral reefs, offering protection to some of the most beautiful beaches in the World. You really do have to see it to believe it. �cookislands.travel

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#agentstalk

Wha󰇹 󰈠󰈢󰇼 t󰇿e󰇪󰇺󰈥d... @NATSMikeC @sellingtravmag Lots of great agents here tonight at the Selling Travel magazine event. Many are learning new things about @RivieraTravelUK #agentstalk

@NicNewmarket We're looking forward to seeing some more familiar faces at the @sellingtravmag Agents Choice Roadshow in Glasgow this evening! We're proud to be finalists in the Choice Awards.

@KimBprince Having fun at the Selling Travel evening in Birmingham #agentstalk #leger

@julesstirko @sellingtravmag @flyethiopian #agentstalk fab night

Cruise & Maritime Voyages is Britain’s leading independent cruise line. With a fleet of six smaller to mid-sized ships, CMV offers great value home-from-home style cruising holidays from 14 UK and Irish ports. �cruiseandmaritime.com

Voted the World’s Best for over 20 years, the luxurious Crystal fleet, Ocean, River and Yacht cruising offers guests the most choice of destinations, facilities and activities, in allinclusive luxury. �crystalcruises.co.uk

Delta serves more than 180 million customers each year. With an industryleading global network, Delta and the Delta Connection carriers offer service to over 300 destinations in 52 countries. �delta.com

Ethiopian is an award-winning airline with a SKYTRAX rating of four stars. It operates from London Heathrow and Manchester airports to over 126 International destinations. �ethiopianairlines.com/UK/EN/

Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines operates four classic ocean ships – Balmoral, Braemar, Boudicca and Black Watch – and its river vessel – Brabant – and enjoys a reputation for award-winning holiday experiences to a variety of destinations. �fredolsencruises.com/agent

Hard Rock Hotels are taking EPIC to a whole new level in Rivera Maya & Punta Cana, with amazing new waterparks for summer 2019! It’s time to ‘See the Show’ and experience the best of what Hard Rock Hotels has to offer. �hardrockhotels.com

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#agentstalk

Wha󰇹 󰈠󰈢󰇼 po󰇷󰇺󰇪d... @wizzyheap Watch out! Flight Centre New Row is flying around the Selling Travel speeddating event tonight #agentstalk

@sparkindy Having a great evening with @sellingtravel and fabulous suppliers like @cathaypacific #leeds #sellingtravel #aspireleeds #ilovemyjob

Your events are always No.1. I leave feeling well fed and that I’ve really learnt something new. It’s just like reading Selling Travel magazine – there’s always something to gain! George Singh, Hayes Travel

The Israel Tourist Board’s ‘Two Sunny Cities, One Break’ campaign showcases Israel’s unmatched beauty, culture, and cuisine in both Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. Israel is the ideal sunny holiday destination. �new.goisrael.com

With welcoming beaches, vibrant city life, private island & renowned restaurants across Dubai, the Seychelles and Maldives, there is something for every kind of traveller at JA Resorts and Hotels. �jaresortshotels.com/en/

Japan Airlines, recently certified as a five-star airline by Skytrax, flies direct double-daily between London Heathrow and Tokyo Haneda, and offers flight connections to nearly 60 destinations in Japan. �uk.jal.co.jp

Jet2holidays is the UK’s second-largest tour operator and provides great-alue package holidays you can trust to over 40 top sun destinations across the Mediterranean, Canary Islands and Europe. �trade.jet2holidays.com

Korean Air, established in 1969, is one of the world's top 20 airlines, carrying more than 26 million passengers in 2017. The airport offers over 100 direct flights and will celebrate its 50th anniversary in 2019. �koreanair.com

Leger Holidays offers hundreds of great value fullyescorted touring holidays by coach, air, rail and cruise, with carefully planned itineraries and a range of excursions to some of the best countries in Europe and worldwide. �leger.co.uk

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"THANK YOU TO SELLING TRAVEL AND ALL THE SUPPLIERS. IT WAS A VERY ENJOYABLE AND INFORMATIVE EVENING AND THE VENUE WAS VERY GOOD – AS WAS THE FOOD. I’M SURE ALL THE AGENTS LEFT HAVING LEARNT MORE OF THE PRODUCTS FROM THE SUPPLIERS." Alan Wain, Company Travel, Horsforth

There’s a great selection of suppliers here and they’re not just from one section of the industry, so it’s really useful. Prakesh Patel, Hayes Travel

London City Airport is the only airport actually situated in London – just 13 minutes from Canary Wharf and 21 minutes from the City. It has great public transport links and road connections and serves over 45 destinations all over Europe. �londoncityairport.com

Just 40 miles from Hong Kong, Macao has a unique Portuguese-Chinese heritage and is one of Asia’s most exciting destinations. Highlights include 'The Historic Centre of Macao', vibrant nightlife and a legendary food scene. �visitmacao.co.uk

Manchester Airport is the UK’s thirdlargest airport, handling more than 27.9milion passengers. The airport offers more than 210 destinations with 60-plus airlines, making it the gateway to the world. �manchesterairport.co.uk

Newmarket Holidays have been making customers dreams come true for 35 years. From Escorted Long Haul holidays to Short Haul breaks, River Cruising , Sporting events, concerts – even charters to Lapland! �newmarketholidays.co.uk

Creating tailormade itineraries throughout the USA and Canada. Our team of specialists have first-hand knowledge of the destinations and products we sell so are well qualified to assist you in the planning of itineraries. �northamericatravelservice.co.uk

Riviera Travel is an award-winning travel brand that offers a range of escorted tours and cruises. What sets us apart is our unwavering commitment to customers, our outstanding quality and incomparable value. �rivieratravel.co.uk

sellingtravel.co.uk

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10/26/18 06:05 PM


20

It’s like a mini-WTM but much easier to speak to people! It’s great to sit down and have product explained slowly so that we can really understand it and be able to sell it. Carlos Ibanez, Soliman Travel

Don't 󰇲i󰈤s 󰈢󰇼󰇶 󰈡ex󰇹 󰇪󰇾󰈥n󰇹 󰈝om󰇮󰇳󰈪 n󰈥a󰇶 󰈠󰈢󰇼. Vis󰇮󰇹 󰈤󰈥l󰇰i󰈡g󰇹󰈦󰇧v󰈥󰇰.co.uk/ev󰇪󰇳󰇺s Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts is Asia Pacific's leading luxury hotel group, owning and/ or managing over 100 hotels and resorts throughout Asia Pacific, North America, the Middle East and Europe. �shangri-la.com

South African Tourism is the national tourism agency responsible for the marketing of South Africa as a preferred tourist and business events destination across the UK and Ireland. �southafrica.net

The national carrier of the Kingdom of Thailand, Thai Airways flies twice daily from London Heathrow direct to Bangkok and onwards to over 70 destinations worldwide, and is a founding member of the Star Alliance network. �thaiairways.com

Titan Travel is one of the UK’s leading escorted holiday companies (and has been for the past 40 years). As the pioneers of door-to-door transfers, Titan's service is industry leading. �titanagents.co.uk

Thailand Tourism works closely with the UK travel industry. In 2017 Thailand attracted nearly one million UK visitors. For everything you need to know to see Thailand, go to: thailandexpert.co.uk �tourismthailand.org

Visit Orlando is the official tourism association for Orlando, the most visited destination in the USA. We work closely with our trade partners to promote Orlando by offering marketing, education and support. �visitorlando.com

sellingtravel.co.uk

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10/26/18 06:06 PM


21

#agentstalk

Her󰇪's 󰇿󰇭at 󰈂󰈢󰇼 󰇵os󰇹󰇪󰈨 󰈣n Fa󰈛󰇪󰇩󰈣ok... @NickyLynn

@NickyLynn @AlthamsTravel Learning lots of new products – with Claire Hargreaves @DebJacques

@LisaDyson

@LisaDyson Talking serious stuff with Chris from Thailand

@DonnaRhydderch #agentstalk #hardrock

@DebJacques

@sellingtravelmag

Learning all about Newmarket Holidays with the lovely Sas Rowbotham

Wow what a week! Thanks to all the suppliers who followed us around the country and to the agents for giving up their evenings to be with us

@SueLindsay Getting an eyeful of Fred

SPOTLIGHT ON...

A PRIZE WINNER

It’s always nice to meet the reps and put a face to a name, it allows you to make a proper connection. I’m so excited to have won a holiday with Club Med – winter’s coming so I’ll be heading somewhere hot!

Steve Peca, Flight Centre

Fol󰇰󰈢󰈟 󰇼s o󰇳 󰇮󰈡s󰇹󰈜󰈪ra󰇲 @se󰇰󰇱󰇮n󰇫󰇺r󰈜󰇽e󰇱, t󰇿i󰇺t󰇪󰇶 @se󰇰󰇱󰇮n󰇫󰇺r󰈜󰇽󰈩ag 󰇧󰇳󰈨 f󰈜󰈛e󰇩󰈢󰈣k @se󰇰󰇱󰇮n󰇫󰇺r󰈜󰇽e󰇱m󰇧󰇫 sellingtravel.co.uk

TS - STACA networking.indd 21

10/26/18 06:06 PM


BEEN THERE, DONE THAT

22

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

ABTA, TUI, Tourism NZ... and others Do the Haka with NZ

THE Tourism New Zealand team hosted its key UK and German trade partners for an evening of New Zealand hospitality, food and wine. The event, held at London's Royal Academy, celebrated the opening of the new 'Oceania' exhibition. Guests were treated to a private tour of the gallery along with a show-stopping Haka performance by Manaia, a Maori cultural group. tourismnewzealand.com

ABTA on the roof BOURNE Leisure, Hoseasons and This is Shearings thanked key members of the UK trade in Seville for the ABTA conference with a rooftop networking event at Hotel Inglaterra. superbreak.com

Escape to New York

BECKY Sutton from TUI (pictured), will join a threenight New York trip after stepping inside a giant globe and grabbing as many golden tickets as she could as part of Royal Caribbean’s Escape the Room to New York competition. royalcaribbean.co.uk

Super dinner prize

THE team at Newell’s Travel in Newquay was awarded a £50 restaurant card by Super Break. It won an incentive between all 11 Newell’s Travel branches to see who could make the most bookings on the operator’s Iceland charter break, direct from Newquay. Pictured are, from left: Laura Emmett, Travel Consultant; Bryony White, Sales Executive, Super Break; Maree Osborne, Travel Consultant, and Tash Pellowe, Travel Consultant. superbreak.com

Nova Scotia

EIGHT UK agents enjoyed a tour of Nova Scotia with Axis Travel Marketing. They visited Halifax, Lunenburg, Digby and Cape Breton. novascotia.com

0208 585 4020 holidays@travelpack.com

Etihad Airways Holiday Specials

£739pp

£1099pp

fr

fr

7nts, Hilton Capital Grand Abu Dhabi

7nts, Phuket - Diamond Cliff Resort & Spa

£1655pp

fr

7nts, Kurumba Maldives

Prices are based on twin share, includes flights, accommodation & transfers

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10/24/18 03:32 PM


FACE TO FACE

23

w i t h B a r b a ra C h a r l t o n

Fam trips lead to dream enquiries Pus󰇬 󰇺h󰇪 󰇨󰈣a󰇺 󰈢󰇼t

October was a funny old month, not knowing if it was summer, winter or spring – and clients seemed just as confused. We've had a fair few Japan enquiries. Holly at Inside Japan is an absolute fountain of knowledge and helped us secure a lovely £8,000 booking for next April. There seems to be nothing the team there does not know about Japan, and the same goes for the Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and Burma teams. Do give them a try.

Tanya has recently been to the Norfolk Broads with Boating Holiday specialist Herbert Woods. She met with Business Development Manager, Steve Barraclough, who said the operator is keen to develop its relationship with the trade. It is a very relaxing break, especially on the Norfolk Broads where you do not have to keep getting off the boat to open and close the locks. It's ideal for couples, groups of friends or families with older kids.

Aca󰈧󰇮󰈜󰈡 fire

Justine has just come back from Halifax and Nova Scotia with Lisa from Travelpack. They also visited Niagara Falls, where Justine was nervous to take on the Mist Rider Zip Line down the side of the Falls. But having done it, she says she would definitely do it again. Nova Scotia is great for nature lovers, photographers and hikers. With visiting Blue, Humpback, Minke, Pilot and Sei whales, whale watchers can get very excited indeed.

Cap󰇪? No f󰇪󰈜󰇶!

Not long back from South Africa, I had a dream enquiry walk in. The customer had no clue what she wanted, apart from 'Cape Town', so was delighted to have found us. It makes such a difference when we can talk with real authority and add little extras, such as the best place to watch for whales if you do not want to do it from a boat, or where to find the best chocolate cake! Long live the fam trip, I say. Happy selling!  

Bar󰇨󰇧󰈦󰈜@The󰇷󰇻󰈤s󰈥󰈀󰇺ra󰇽󰇪󰇱c󰈣󰇲󰇵an󰈂.co.uk 01403 276684

Bar󰇨󰇧󰈦󰈜 Cha󰇶󰇱t󰈢󰇳

Small Group Set Departure India Tours £699pp

£1369pp

fr

fr

8nts, Tigers Trail

7nts, Tour of Golden Triangle

Travel : 29 Jan, 12 Feb, 26 Feb, 12 Mar, 26 Mar 19

Travel : 27 Jan, 3 Feb, 17 Feb, 3 Mar, 17 Mar 19

0208 585 4020

holidays@travelpack.com

£1199pp

fr

10nts, Best of Kerala Travel : 30 Jan, 13 Feb, 27 Feb, 13 Mar, 27 Mar 19

Price based on 6-9 persons. Includes accommodation, transfers & sightseeings.

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10/25/18 10:11 AM


AGENTS TALK

24

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

This month #agentstalk about... Get 󰇷󰈢󰈝󰇯al 󰇿󰇮󰇺h 󰇼󰇷:

SellingTravel

SellingTravelmag

Age󰇳󰇺s ov󰇪󰇶󰇭󰈥ar󰈧

TRAVEL AGENT RANTS & RAVES It’s 󰇳o󰇺 b󰇪󰈥󰇳 a 󰈪󰈢󰈣d mo󰇳󰇺h 󰇿󰇮󰇺h 󰇨󰈣󰇺h Co󰇨󰇧󰇱t an󰈧 P󰈦󰇮m󰈥󰇶a A󰇮󰈦 c󰈥a󰇷󰇮󰈡g to 󰇹󰈦󰇧d󰈥. An󰈂o󰈡󰇪 s󰈜󰈧 󰇺o se󰇪 󰇹󰇭󰈥m 󰇫o 󰈢󰈦 w󰈜󰇷 i󰇺 in󰇪󰇽󰇯󰇺ab󰇰󰇪 󰈆󰈣r 󰇹󰇭es󰇪 bu󰈧󰈪󰇪t 󰈜i󰇶󰇱󰇮n󰈥󰇷?

"I've just had three phonecalls for an update on Brexit and how it will affect holidays. I've tried my direct line to May's office but she must be out. Anyone got a crystal ball?"

Impartial

Sad to see them go

WE POSTED... YOU SAID

This month Thomas Cook retired its 18-30 brand. As we come to an end of an era, is anyone sad to see it go? Or was it a case of one foam party too far? The need to tone down?

Knew it was coming "Wasn’t surprised BUT SAD ALL THE SAME" "I WOULD LOVE TO SEE MONARCH COME BACK... they were agent friendly and never required full payment on forward bookings! A year on and they're very sadly missed."

"Over 18s want to holiday in party resorts but don't want the boozing rammed down their throats!"

Go it alone "Young people don't want their entertainment prearranged, they want to do their own thing but be in a group."

Bad memories "I still have the

Sign of the times? "When I first started, all the school leavers would book 18-30. The last two years we've been lucky to sell a handful." Does money talk? "They can't compete with cheap easyJet/ Ryanair type breaks. Young travellers do it themselves and travel uninsured."

hangover from my first trip."

INSTAFAM

na son in Hava @jennyjack s ban Holiday with with Cu

@sellingtravmag

@kimberle yhulbert in Iceland with Noble Caledonia

Going on a fam trip? Tag @sellingtravel in your #instafam and you could be here next month!

“When I told a customer at the brochure racks that he will need a visa for his proposed holiday to India he replied '"It's okay I have a visa card from my Nationwide bank account!” “I remember when a client asked me to remove the airport taxes from his booking as he was getting a lift from his brother!”

"Clients wanting Paris next January but must have a pink room – where do you start without giving them a pot of paint with their tickets?"

sellingtravel.co.uk

TS - Social media.indd 24

10/26/18 04:49 PM


MAKING SALES

I N T H E O F FIIN C ET H E O F F I C E

with���

St Kitts

w i t h Ha y s Tra v e l P re m i e r

Happier with Hayes A new survey from The Personal Travel Agents at Co-operative Travel has revealed that homeworking has hit a five-year high. Jessica Pook speaks to David Coulter, a Hays Travel Premier Homeworker, about the appeal of working at home. "Working from home gives me the opportunity to concentrate on my higher-profile customers and create bespoke itineraries. With Hays Travel I have the option to work with my own customers, and also to link into Hays' telesales system. This is great for generating additional business and repeat custom. "I find myself cultivating good relationships with my customers as I can offer them out-of-hours calls and appointments. "I make a point of attending as many local industry events as possible, as this is my main point of contact with the rest of the industry. It is extremely important to network and I always learn something new at product events. "It's important we have the knowledge to sell confidently, and personally I would hate to see webinar training replace talking face-to-face with industry experts, especially with (client) expectations steadily increasing."

25

MEET... GILLIAN YOUNG Sales Representative for St. Kitts Tourism Authority

1

TELL US ABOUT YOUR ROLE?

2

HOW DO YOU HELP THE TRADE?

3

IS THERE A TRADE PROGRAMME?

4

WHY SELL ST. KITTS?

5

WHAT'S HAPPENING IN 2019?

I guess you could call me the face of St. Kitts for the trade. I ensure that agents and frontline sales teams have the tools, knowledge and confidence to sell our beautiful island.

I travel around the UK giving destination training and hosting events. It's all about having a face-to-face connection with agents, and reminding them to contact me for any information needed to close a sale.

Hom󰇪󰇿󰈣󰈦ki󰇳󰈪 f󰈢󰇶 󰈠󰈣u?

"There is a misconception that working from home is somehow an easier way of earning an income. The truth is, if you put the hours and the energy in you will reap the rewards. Of course it can be difficult not having other people around in your working environment and I do miss the office ‘craic’. Having said that, Hays provide fantastic support and their team leaders are always at hand to assist. "I'm increasingly seeing American pyramid selling schemes coming into the UK and recruiting people with little or no experience to work as home travel consultants. I would tell anyone who is considering going into homeworking to only do so through a reputable UK-based travel company, such as Hays."

Demand is high for longhaul tailor made holidays

Yes - The St. Kitts Specialist keeps agents up to date, and the St. Kitts Rewards offers year-round destination and 'hotel bonus' incentives as a 'thank you' to our agents. We also host fam trips and have a group heading out to the island this month.

It is all about authentic experiences – riding on the Scenic Railway, taking in the international cricket action, picnicking on the secluded beaches and meeting Kittitians at the local bars. St. Kitts offers these and more.

Another busy year lies ahead! We'll be offering FAM trips, competitions, quarterly incentives, an updated specialist programme and more. Thanks to all the agents who promote and sell St. Kitts. stkittsspecialist.com; stkittsrewards.com

Mak󰇮󰇳󰈪 󰈜 co󰇲󰇪󰇩󰈜c󰈫

"I am definitely seeing an increasing demand for long-haul tailor-made holidays. Good travel agents can really come alive in building bespoke holidays for their customers. "The USA is as popular as ever and many European summer destinations, such as Turkey, are making a fierce comeback." haystravel.co.uk/careersk

sellingtravel.co.uk

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10/26/18 06:06 PM


26

VISIT USA ROADSHOW Ma n c h e s t e r , B i r m i n g h a m & L o n d o n

All-American road trip Visit USA rolled into Manchester, Birmingham and London this October, with 30 suppliers waiting to meet almost 300 agents amongst a host of retro Americana ranging from a yellow NYC taxi to a statue of Uncle Sam. The host for all evenings was Jon Briggs, a man you may not recogise from photos but his voice – the voice of Siri and many other ads and TV shows – is legendary. Agents embarked on a swift round of networking, meeting exhibitors including airlines Aer Lingus and United, destinations Colorado, North Carolina and Texas, attractions and activity suppliers such as the Kennedy Space Center and Papillion Grand Canyon Helicopters and tour and ticket providers including Broadway Inbound and USAirtours. CEO of Visit USA, Tracey Spuyman, said: “We're delighted to have such a strong turnout of agents this year - both in terms of number and quality. This shows our continual programme of development for Visit USA events are meeting the expectations of our attendees.” The Visit USA Roadshow has since received a Highly Commended accolade in the 2018 Selling Travel Agents Choice Awards.

Pri󰈃󰇪󰈤 g󰈜󰇰o󰈦󰇪

Agents had the chance to play an interactive computer game, State of Play, answering special questions posed by the exhibitors for the chance to win a goody bag stuffed with treats. A holiday to the US was up for grabs each evening plus a bonus prize to Texas for any agent who attended one of the three roadshows. A Manchester agent won a holiday to California, in Birmingham a holiday to Florida was up for grabs and at the London event a six-night trip to Boston was the star prize. Mary Laturner, Unique Scenic Travel said: “I’ve travelled to the states many times but tonight I’ve learnt so much! It’s great to make direct contacts for so many suppliers.” Jane Walsh from Explorer Travel added: “It’s been a really informative night and I’ve met lots of suppliers I didn’t know. As a homeworker I find events like these are invaluable.”

sellingtravel.co.uk

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10/26/18 11:42 AM


ON LOCATION

27

Costa Rica Tourist Board Mega FAM, September 2018

Zipping around Costa Rica The Costa Rica Tourist Board hosted 14 UK travel agents on a mega fam to discover all the Central American country has to offer. The select agents all attended the Costa Rica and Selling Travel road show earlier in 2017. British Airways provided the travel and Selling Travel publisher Steve Thompson also joined the trip. Although Costa Rica is a relatively small destination, it is incredibly diverse when it comes to culture, nature, weather and the breadth of activities available to visitors. To see as much of the island as possible, after their first night in San Jose the agents split into three separate groups, each experiencing a different itinerary focusing on a specific activity or region. Trip highlights included an adventure zip line tour, an eco-adventure at Selvatura Park featuring treetop walkways and one of the world’s largest butterfly gardens, and the mineral-rich hot springs at Rio Negra. The Sarapiqui River combines nature and adventure, and some of the agents took a raft trip along the rapids. They also went on a fascinating chocolate tour and enjoyed views of Arenal Volcano in La Fortuna. Upon wrapping up their individual tours,

the various groups came together again in San Jose to discuss their trips and share their experiences and selling tips. Costa Rica host Zeeshan Rashid said: “Fam trips are invariably successful because they provide agents with a lot of insider knowledge – and the best way to sell a country is by speaking from personal experiences.” The Travel Freaks Paul Halliwell said: "If I had to pick one thing out as a highlight it would be Pura Vida. The whole meaning of the phrase, which means 'simple life' or 'pure life', really resonates with me as last year I suffered a brain haemorrhage. It is how I try to live my life these days." John Ferguson of Thorne Travel added: "I left Costa Rica with a new look on life after our experiences there. Quite simply, it is the most beautiful place I have ever visited."

COSTA RICA

From left: Casa Del Sabanero in Tamarindo; Irazu Volcano National Park; Masks on faces at the hot springs at Rio Negro, Monteverde; Rafting in Sarapiqui; Crossing a hangning bridge in Arenal

sellingtravel.co.uk

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10/26/18 06:07 PM


28

hidden gems

Philippines be󰇷󰇺 󰈢f 󰇹󰇭󰈥 re󰇷󰇺

The Philippines’ tourism stature is steadily growing, with places like Palawan and Borocay now well known. But with over 7,000 islands there’s much more to explore. Laura Gelder picks out some ideas

Malapascua, the shark salon

Spanish-styled Vigan

Butanding buddies in Donsol

Cebu Island is one of the jumping off points for the Visayas region, but most tourists head to the island off its south-east - Bohol, which is famous for its beaches, tarsiers (the smallest primate in the world) and the Chocolate Hills. Just off the north tip of Cebu, Malapascua is less-developed, has equally beautiful beaches and acclaimed diving. It’s one of the world’s best places to see thresher sharks, huge mercury-eyes predators which usually live in dark depths but come here to be cleaned of parasites. Regal Diving offers stays here.

The country’s first and only UNESCO World Heritage City, Vigan offers a glimpse into the Philippines’ intriguing colonial past. The city couldn’t be more of a contrast to the steel and glass landscape of Manila, further south on Luzon Island. It was established in the 16th century and UNESCO describes it as “the best-preserved example of a planned Spanish colonial town in Asia”. Vigan’s townscape certainly has no parallel in Southeast Asia. The buildings range from Spanish shuttered houses to the pointed roofs of Chinese shops.

Once a sleepy fishing village, Donsol is now a centre for whale shark watching. This gentle giant is a shark not a mammal and officially the world’s largest fish, with some reported to grow up to 18 metres long. Known as butanding in the Philippines, it feeds on microscopic plankton and is harmless – hence snorkelling alongside them being the main activity. Tourists head out in a boat with a spotter who signifies when one is near so everyone can tumble into the water and try to keep up. Dive Worldwide has Donsol on its Big Fish Tour.

regal-diving.co.uk

whc.unesco.org

diveworldwide.com

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10/26/18 06:08 PM


hidden gems

29

Surf city Siargao

Northern stars

Atmospheric Sagada

This teardrop-shaped island is the surfing capital of the Philippines thanks to huge swells and undisturbed winds sweeping in from the world’s largest ocean. Most of Siargao’s surf spots are for intermediate to expert, with the barrel wave named Cloud Nine the most famous. Non-surfers can relax on quiet, pristine beaches or explore the lagoons, reefs and caves of this nature lovers’ isle. The laid-back surf shack vibe is peppered with a few luxury resorts, including Nay Palad Hideaway, a boutique retreat offered by Turquoise Holidays.

The Batanes Islands are closer to Taiwan than Manila and markedly different to the rest of the country. An eco-tourism centre, the green rolling hills of grazing cows and horses resemble New Zealand more than southeast Asia but on Sabtang Island visitors can meet the indigenous Ivatan people and see their traditional homes of rock and native grass, built stoutly to withstand powerful typhoons. The islands are shortlisted for UNESCO recognition and Audley Travel offers a stay in the hilltop Fundacion Pacita Batanes Nature Lodge.

A former refuge for intelligentsia fleeing dictatorship, this misty mountain town is close to Echo Valley, where the indigenous population have buried their dead in coffins perched high on the limestone cliffs for over 2,000 years – whether to keep them safe from wild animals or closer to heaven no one knows. Explore stops here on its North Philippines Explorer trip. explore.co.uk

turquoiseholidays.co.uk

audleytravel.com

Magical & mystical Siquijor

Sugar daddy Negros

Escape to Lake Taal

Once a major sugar producer, Negros’ historic, albeit slightly crumbling, buildings are a reminder of this profitable era. These days the island sells itself on beautiful beaches, lakes and mountains, including one of the highest peaks in the region – Canlaon Volcano. Visitors can cool off at Apo Island, one of the country’s most famous dive sites, or escape to the forested hill stations. Book with Bamboo Travel and your clients can stay at Atmosphere Resort, set in an old coconut plantation.

Just 60km south of sprawling Manila, Tagaytay is a cool, clean and green alternative (although make sure you avoid the weekend when locals all clamour to escape the city too). The region is like a volcanic Russian doll - inside the Taal Caldera is Taal Lake, which contains Taal Volcano, which holds Crater Lake, at the centre of which is Tiny Vulcan Point Island. Activities include trekking, boat trips and golf. KE Adventure Travel has a 14-day tour which includes a Taal Volcano crater trek.

bambootravel.co.uk

keadventure.com

The tiny island of Siquijor lies just below Cebu and Bohol and is famous for its mountain-dwelling mangkukulam (healers) who brew traditional ointments for modern ailments. Add to that caves, waterfalls, coral-filled waters and 65 miles of whitesand beaches and you can see why G Adventures sells it. gadventures.com 

BOOK IT WITH... KE ADVENTURE TRAVEL The 14-day Philippines Highland and Island Explorer includes four days of trekking and includes Manila, Lake Taal, Sagada and Bohol From £2,865 with fights. 01768 773 966; keadventure.com

sellingtravel.co.uk

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10/26/18 06:08 PM


30

japan

ball on the

With the Rugby World Cup and ABTA Convention both being staged there next year, and the Olympic Games in 2020, now is the time to ‘think Japan’, says Peter Ellegard

Main picture: Mount Fuji. From left: The Minato Mirai port area in Yokohama; The bright lights of downtown Tokyo

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Japan.indd 30

10/26/18 06:10 PM


japan

M

y personal assistant gently scolds me as I step into the beautiful Yagyu No Sho ryokan without taking off my shoes. “This is how we do it in Japan,” she says, reminding me of the etiquette for any visitor entering a traditional building. I change into a yakuta, a cotton version of a kimono, and sit on a low chair while she prepares the table. British visitors heading to the country for next year’s Rugby World Cup should embrace this strange and mysterious Land of the Rising Sun. But be prepared – it’s also the land of the rising toilet seat! Most restaurants, bars and hotels, including traditional ryokan inns that have sliding doors and low floors with rice straw mats, have bathrooms or cubicles with high-tech loos that automatically raise the lid as you enter. A warmed seat adds to the comfort, while a digital panel on the wall operates different levels of bidet-style sprays. Some loos even play music to drown out the sounds of nature’s call. That’s Japan in a nutshell - traditional, respectful and full of ultra-mod cons at the same time. I also see wonders such as ancient capital Kyoto’s Kinkaku-ji (Golden Pavilion); gaze out over Japan’s capital from the Tokyo Skytree, the world’s tallest free-standing tower; dress as a warrior and throw shuriken (metal throwing stars) at targets at Koka Ninja Village; enjoy a seafood meal cooked and served by Ama pearl divers; and a guided tour around Shizuoka’s Kunozan Toshogu shrine by a Shinto priest who is also a qualified helicopter pilot! In Japan, nothing is ordinary and many things are quite extraordinary.

31

Trying times Next year’s Rugby World Cup is set to attract a host of visitors to Japan from across the UK and Ireland. With games featuring England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland taking place throughout the country for six weeks between September and November, it will provide visiting fans with an opportunity to explore a country that’s still a mystery to many. England fans can see their team play in Sapporo, Kobe and Tokyo; Wales fans will follow their team to the cities of Aichi, Tokyo, Oita and Kumamoto; and Scotland and Ireland supporters will be visiting Yokohama, Kobe and Shizuoka. David Higgins, General Manager of Japan specialist Links Travel & Tours said: “As some matches are in lesser-visited regions and cities, it is an excellent opportunity for visitors to see the ‘real Japan’. For example Sapporo, a world-famous ski resort, is also known for its beer, and the cosmopolitan city of Kobe produces some of the best beef in the world.” With ABTA having announced that its next convention will take place in Tokyo in October 2019, and with the Olympics being held in 2020 in Tokyo, Japan’s visibility is sure to soar. UK visitor numbers have been growing steadily, from 220,000 in 2014 to more than 310,000 in 2017. And for the first half of 2018, numbers were up 8% on the same period of 2017. Tickets and travel packages for the rugby are being sold direct by official providers. Individual ticket sales on a first come, first served basis, can be obtained from rugbyworldcup.com

However, trade-friendly operators including Links Travel & Tours and

sellingtravel.co.uk

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10/26/18 06:10 PM


WINNER

Best Corporate Social Responsibility Programme

Japan.indd Untitled-1 1 32 ANA631 Selling Travel October UK_FNL.indd 1

WINNER

Business Airline of the Year

10/26/18 06:10 PM 06/09/2018 12:39 06/09/2018 11:57


18 12:39 18 11:57

japan

Inside Japan Tours have put together packages based around the tournament without match tickets. The rugby games will be spread out across three of Japan’s four main islands – Honshu, Hokkaido and Kyushu. The tournament begins on September 20, 2019 and ends with the final in Yokohama on November 2, 2019.

Hokkaido Japan’s most northerly island will be on England fans’ radar when the team kick off their World Cup campaign against Tonga at the Sapporo Dome on September 22, 2019. The mountainous island is well-known for its natural splendour, both for flora and fauna. It is cooler than other parts of the country and bright autumn colours look spectacular against the crisp blue skies. Capital Sapporo, which hosted the 1972 Winter Olympics, is Japan’s fifth-largest city. The Sapporo Beer Museum traces the history of brewing in the city and the beer named after it, and offers tastings. Jozankei Onsen is a mountain hot spring an hour from Sapporo.

Honshu With eight stadiums hosting games, Japan’s main island will be the focal point for much of the tournament. Tokyo will host several group games, including one each featuring Wales and England, and two quarter finals. The bustling city has many sights to take in, among them

the soaring Tokyo Skytree tower with its two observation decks and historic Sensoji Temple. Getting around by train and subway is easy. Scotland and Ireland are both in Pool A and will play games in three Honshu cities.

Yokohama To the south lies Yokohama, the country’s second-largest city, where Scotland and Ireland face each other on September 22, 2019 in the first of their Pool A games, as well as a later game each. It will also host the semi finals and final. The Minato Mirai port area of this futuristic city is the main hub, housing entertainment, shopping and cultural attractions besides its boardwalk-style Osanbashi Pier where cruise ships dock. Another must-see is Sankeien Garden, a traditional garden that features historic buildings reconstructed from all over Japan.

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“Clients travelling around Japan should get a Japan Rail Pass, which must be bought in the UK prior to departure and collected on arrival. It is valid for travel across the Japan Railways network, including the Shinkansen bullet trains and a selection of buses and ferries too” David Higgins, General Manager, Links Travel & Tours

Shizuoka Two hours from Tokyo by bullet train, the city of Shizuoka lies at the foot of Mount Fuji. View it from places including Miho no Matsubara beach and the Nihondaira Plateau, where a cable car links to the 17th century Kunozan Toshogu shrine. Enjoy hot springs and beaches on the Izu Peninsula, and stay in a traditional ryokan inn.

Kobe Kobe, in the far south of Honshu and a 75-minute flight from Tokyo, has numerous tasty attractions along with its

From left: The Shinkansen is a speedy way to travel; Fushimi Shrine, Kyoto; Unzen Hot Spring; Catch a game in the Rugby World Cup

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marbled beef. Take the Shin-Kobe Ropeway cable car past the Nunobiki Waterfall up Mount Rokko for panoramic views over the city. Arima Onsen is Kobe’s most famous hot spring.

“Don’t miss out on Japanese Toyota City cuisine – it’s cheaper than in Toyota City, 35 minutes from central the UK and is of high quality. gateway city Nagoya in Aichi Prefecture, International cuisine is will host the opening game for Wales against Georgia on September 23, 2019. widely available, even The city is home to car-maker Toyota in the countryside. Craft and changed its name to that of the beer has gained popularity automobile brand in the 1950s. Visitors in Japan, but don’t forget can take a tour of its main plant and visit to try Japanese sake” the Toyota Kaikan Museum or head to Shigeru Kazizaki, Deputy UK Director, Japan National Tourism Organisation

Asuka and Korankei Gorge to enjoy their stunning autumn colours. Other Honshu cities with stadiums hosting group games are: Kamaishi in the far north of the island: Kumagaya, northwest of Tokyo; and Higashiosaka, located in Osaka Prefecture.

Kyushu

Clockwise from top: Arima Onsen; Kinkaku-Ji, Kyoto, Sapporo Tower; Marbled Kobe beef; Oita Stadium

Wales fans can explore Kyushu island, the most southerly of Japan’s main islands, before or after their team’s final Pool D game against Uruguay on October 13, 2019 at Kumamoto City. Warmer than Honshu, it is covered in lush green countryside, with quiet beaches and dramatic volcanoes and steaming hot springs in the south.

Oita’s stadium is where Wales play Fiji. It also stages two semi finals. The city is the capital of Oita Prefecture, which is famed for its “Hells of Beppu” onsen (hot spring) with its eight steaming thermal pools and a geyser. Main city Fukuoka is another Rugby World Cup group venue. It boasts museums, megamalls and ancient shrines among its attractions.

Where to book it LINKS TRAVEL & TOURS – 020 8543 8133 An eight-day Kobe to Tokyo land-package starts from £1,745pp. It includes a seven-day Japan Rail Pass and takes in Hiroshima, Osaka, Japan’s historic capital of Kyoto with sights such as the Golden Pavilion and Kyoto Imperial Palace, the city of Hakone and Tokyo. chinalinkstravel.co.uk/agents

INSIDE JAPAN TOURS – 01179 927068 The 21-day Spirit of Samurai land-only package, from October 15 to November 5, 2019, starts in Osaka and visits Oita, Yokohama and Tokyo, allowing fans to take in two quarter finals, the semi finals and final game on a self-guided tour that also includes plenty of cultural experiences. The £4,440 price excludes flights and match tickets but includes bullet train and local train travel, and accommodation, with a one night stay in a ryokan inn in Hakone National Park. japanrugbytravel.com 

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a dv e r t or ia l

routes authentic

K

entucky sits at a strategic position in the U.S. – a front porch to the south and a gateway to the Midwest. And it’s easier than ever to reach, thanks to direct British Airways flights to nearby Nashville. It’s famous for bourbon, the Derby and fried chicken, but Kentucky has so much more to offer visitors. In Central Kentucky are the rolling bluegrass, white fences and horse farms the state’s famous for, but in the west are the Ohio and Mississippi rivers, south are miles of lakes and waterways and travellers who head east will hit the Appalachian Mountains.

Discover diversity Add Kentucky to a southern states tour through Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Tennessee, soaking up blues, country, bluegrass and, of course, a little bourbon! But there are some more unusual tours for visitors to Kentucky. In Bowling Green, just 1.5 hours from Nashville, visitors can soak in classic Americana at the National Corvette Musem – over 80 Corvettes ranging from mint classic to one-of-a-kind prototypes. Or suggest they head to north to Newport for a gangster tour to discover how this little town gave birth to modern day gaming.

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Best for Bluegrass The attractive river town of Owensboro is a centre for barbecue and bluegrass and, after a 15 million dollar upgrade, its Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame & Museum is open. Expect rotating exhibits, a 450-seat theatre, an outside amphitheatre and an interactive ‘pickin’ room where visitors can try playing the instruments themselves.

Burgeoning creative centre In western Kentucky, at the confluence of the Mississippi and Ohio rivers and looking over to Illinois, is the old river town of Paducah. With the river’s use as a trade route dwindling, an innovative artist relocation incentive has reinvigorated downtown and earned Paducah UNESCO Creative City status. Head here for cool coffee shops, trendy restaurants, studios and galleries.

Urban bourbon or rural rye? Visitors can have a bourbon experience all over the state, from rural towns such as Bardstwon and Georgetown to the B-Line in Northern Kentucky and the Urban Bourbon experience in Louisville. Here, head to Whiskey Row, a revitalized part of downtown home to historic bourbon brands and start-ups. kentuckytourism.com

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November 2018

VISIT USA NEWS T H IS M O N T H ' S TO P S TOR I ES FROM V I SI T U SA' S MEMBERS • V I SI T U SA. O RG.UK

Home runs in 2019 MAJOR League Baseball (MLB) will be coming to London next summer when the Boston Red Sox take on the new York Yankees

Roadhs ows a bi gh

it

Agents show U.S. expertise

VISIT USA rolled into Manchester, Birmingham and London this October, with 30 suppliers, all Visit USA members, meeting almost 300 agents. Visit USA CEO, Tracey Spuyman, said: "All our Visit USA members have commented on the exceptional quality of agents and their obvious interest in the USA." There was a grand holiday prize each night, with flights donated by Virgin Atlantic and Delta Air Lines and hotel stays by Kimpton, Sheraton, Four Seasons, Eden Roc, Handlery Union Square Hotel in San Francisco, Ocean Pointe Suites at Key Largo and Freepoint Hotel West Cambridge in Boston. At the end of the week on the road a special 'bonus prize' to Texas was donated by United Airlines and Cruise America RV Rental. visitusaorg.uk

“This is a tried and tested formula but we work hard to improve the roadshow each year for both exhibitors and attendees "

at the London Stadium. The two 'regular season' games will take place on June 29 and 30. They will be the first MLB matches staged in Europe.

massholiday.co.uk

Mustang gallery

THE new Mustang Owner's Museum in Concord, North Carolina, will have its grand opening on April 19 2019. The museum's unveiling will coincide with the 55th anniversary of the first Mustang, an iconic

Tracey Spuyman

American car. A '55 Years of Mustang'

CEO, Visit USA (UK)

event will also take place at Charlotte Motor Speedway from April 17-20.

uk.visitnc.com

Holiday treats

THE Mall of America, in Bloomington, Minnesota, will be opening Matrix Technology, a new 5D attraction in Nickelodeon Universe, in time for the coming holiday season. It will also be handing out 'Mystery Gift Cards' featuring prizes that can be claimed at the mall.

mallofamerica.com

THE USA in brief... THE new HOTELS Waldorf Astoria Las Vegas & Residences has opened on The Strip. Set in a non-gaming, non-smoking environment, it has 389 guestrooms and 225 residences, including 55 suites and three Presidential Suites, and Twist, a signature restaurant overseen by Michelin-Star rated Chef Pierre Gagnaire. waldorfastoria.com

DELTA is to increase its number of flights to the U.S. from Heathrow. Next summer the airline will begin operating a daily flight to Portland International Airport, up from four times a week in 2017, and a second daily service to Detroit's Wayne County Metropolitan Airport. Both routes will be served by 210-seat Boeing 767-300ER aircraft. delta.com AIRLINES

850, a new 23-room hotel, is the latest chic boutique property to open in West Hollywood, Los Angeles. The sister property of the Sunset Tower Hotel, it features interiors by British designer Rita Konig, a rooftop terrace with views of the city and a revolving series of guest chefs from across the Los Angeles area. visitwesthollywood.com HOTELS

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

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MEMBERS' SPOTLIGHT BA HITS MORE NOTES IN NASHVILLE BRITISH Airways is to introduce a twice-weekly summer service from Heathrow to Charleston, South Carolina, from April 4 2019. The airline is also increasing the frequency of flights between Heathrow and Nashville, Tennessee, to a daily service from next summer. batravel.trade.com

introducing...

Mall of America, Minnesota YOLANDA FLETCHER, UK REPRESENTATIVE

New S aw

orld attr

action

To infinity and beyond

SEAWORLD Orlando’s new Infinity Falls is now thrilling visitors to the park. The attraction features roaring rapids, soaking fountains and a 40-foot waterfall drop, against the backdrop of a ‘rainforest utopia’. Guests take on the role of a conservationist on a journey through the rainforest and learn about the importance of freshwater conservation through interactive games and stories throughout the ride experience. Mark Pauls, President of SeaWorld Orlando Parks, said: “From the excitement of the thrilling rapids to the unique vertical lift element, Infinity Falls is an adventure that will appeal to the entire family.” Infinity Falls is the latest ride at a park that also features the highadrenalin roller-coasters Mako, Manta and Kraken, and the water flume fun of Journey to Atlantis. seaworld.com/orlando

BOOKINGS SOAR FOR TRAVEL 2 THE USA's Deep South is booming for Travel 2, with bookings for the southern states up 43%, the operator says. Forward bookings for 2019 are also strong, with Louisiana up more than 90%, Florida up 50% and forward bookings to Texas more than tripling with a 330% increase. travel2.com

When did Mall of America join Visit USA and why? About two years ago, because Visit USA has been communicating information on the U.S. to travel agents and consumers for over 30 years. As a member, we get lots of brochure enquiries from the public and trade. Why should agents sell the Mall of America? It's the single largest entertainment complex in the U.S. and is much more than a mall. It includes 520 stores, an amusement park with rollercoasters and 50 restaurants. It's so huge it has its own postcode! How do travellers get there? The Mall of America is in Bloomington, Minnesota, and can be reached via direct flights from the UK to Minneapolis-St. Paul with Delta-Virgin Atlantic and Icelandair and, from July 2019, with Aer Lingus from Dublin too.

Agents a hit for Vacations

USA specialist operator Vacations to America, which has seen its sales grow by around 20% this year, has thanked agents for their ‘outstanding support’. Managing Director Richard Wimms said: “We took the decision this year to increase our trade-facing marketing activity. By December, we will have completed over 800 visits to travel agents."

St. Louis gets blues

Any selling tips for agents? Travellers can take a monorail straight from the airport into the mall. Also, the on-site hotels, JW Marriott and Radisson Blu, will take care of your shopping and deliver it to your room. Minnesota is tax-free so you get discount prices on big brands.

nationalbluesmuseum.com

mallofamerica.com

THE new National Blues Museum has opened in downtown St. Louis. With interactive and technological exhibits, the museum covers the powerful role and influence of the blues genre and blues musicians in the history of America in regards to change and culture.

vacationstoamerica.com

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

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my trip to... comoros & mayotte

island

fusion At the crossroads of Africa and Arabia with a pinch of France, Comoros is the Indian Ocean’s archipelago for explorers, says Mark Stratton

I

’m scrambling down a crumbling ash slope heading into the bowels of a volcanic inferno. It’s been a sweaty five-hour hike up Karthala’s flank to the crater, passing through stands of papaya and sweet ladyfinger bananas. The call of distant mosques is borne on the wind. Inside the caldera is a gravel plain of crumbled black ash and basalt lava flows leading to an even deeper vent hissing toxic steam below. The highest point of the Comoros archipelago is desolate but the views out to the Indian Ocean are unbeatable. I had to find my atlas when I was invited to Comoros. Located in the Indian Ocean this obscure archipelago consists of four small islands: Grand Comere, Anjouan, Moheli, and Mayotte, situated off Mozambique, north of Madagascar. With a population less than one million Comoros shares a history similar to Zanzibar: an exotic fusion of Bantu Africa mixed with Arabian genes. The latter

reflects the arrival a thousand years ago of Middle Eastern traders who came seeking spices and fragrant essences. The Arabic spice traders brought with them Islam and the people remain devoutly conservative but welcoming of foreigners. Complementing this heady mixture is an underbelly of Francophone-influence from colonisation in 1841. In 1975 three of the four Comoran Islands broke away from French rule to form an independent country, although Mayotte decided against this and remains a French territory more prosperous than its neighbours. French remains widely spoken alongside Comoran creole, which is infused with Swahili and Arabic words.

Natural highs

Besides climbing the 2,361m-high Karthala Volcano, Grand Comore Island harbours attractive Islamic-infused architecture with a lovely whitewashed 15th-century mosque in Moroni and spectacular volcanic landforms such as

a raised lava dyke called the ‘Dragon’s Back’. Quality restaurants are hard to find but the seafood can be excellent. At Itsandra Beach I dine on sea-bass and plump prawns. Comoros’ signature dish is lobster served with vanilla sauce. The other two independent Comoros Islands are even less developed for tourism. Moheli is the smallest and something of an eco-paradise where travellers see nesting green turtles and huge Livingstone fruit-bats. Laka Lodge is the island’s most luxurious refuge and fronted by a golden beach. Anjouan Island is craggily impressive and fragrant with spices and essences such as nutmeg and ylang-ylang flowers. A full-day’s excursion to the coral lagoons enclosed by the island’s north-eastern reef is well worth it. Spotted dolphins race our boat and outside the reef we track humpback whales as they rise and submerge close by. Travelling between the islands is possible either via inter-island flights on local carriers such as Int’Air Iles or by boat.

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MARK STRATT

MARK STRATTON

ON

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MARK STRATTON

MARK STRATTON

my trip to... comoros & mayotte

MARK STRATTON

Mayotte is modern by comparison, with better accommodation and restaurant facilities. It’s more touristorientated too, with designated hiking trails and marine wildlife safaris. The airport is located on an offshore island called Petit Terre, linked by a free ferry to the capital Mamoudzou, which has lively seafront restaurant-bars and is a base for marine excursions. I stay in small B&Bs run mainly by emigres from France and spend my time hiking and enjoying the exceptional nature. The most exhilarating adventure is another scramble to Mayotte’s second-highest extinct volcano, Mt

Main picture: Comoros capital Moroni’s dhow port and the Old Friday Mosque. This page, from left and top to botttom: Moya Beach on Mayotte’s Petit-Terre island; lemurs; Mont Choungui, Mayotte; volcanic Mount Karthala, Grande Comore; Comoros woman with sandlewood paste on her face; Mamoudzou Market, Mayotte

Top tips

MARK STRATTON

Vanilla slice

Did you know? The name ‘Comoros’ derives from the Arabic word ‘Qamar’, meaning moon. Logistics A hire-car is recommended although it’s straightforward to get around by shared bush-taxis for a few euros per journey. Essential details Visas can be purchased on arrival for €30. There are two seasons: November to April is hot, May to October is cooler and rainier.

Chounqui, where I spot wild brown lemurs, introduced from Madagascar. Equally sublime is a trek around a peagreen volcanic lake called Dziani, where the sea-cliffs are incised by horseshoe bays with beaches of nesting green turtles. Mayotte’s best beach is Plage Ngoudja: another nesting site backed by baobab trees and Le Jardin Maoré eco resort. The experience of travelling here is something of a game of two halves. Comoros will suit more seasoned African travellers prepared for a slower slightly less-organised schedule and not averse to roughing it a little. Mayotte, meanwhile, is a less-crowded alternative to Mauritius and the Seychelles. What they share, however, is a fusion of Arabic, French, and Swahilian, cultures that will lend travellers the sensation of being that came here in centuries past. 

How to get there The main entry point into Comoros is Moroni, the capital on Grand Comore. Air France operates a codeshared flight with Kenya Airways offering five weekly flights to Comoros via Nairobi and four to Mayotte. Ethiopian Airlines connects via Addis Ababa. Flights cost between £1,000-1,200 and are busiest and most expensive between July and August during the French holiday season.

Where to book it

Native Eye’s nine-day group tour, Comoros - Islands of the Moon, is priced from £1,399, not including international flights. Director Jim O’Brien, says: “Comoros will appeal to those wanting to get off the beaten track. It has retained its unique character, with Arab and African influences, but don’t expect everything to run smoothly - tourism here can best be described as emerging.” nativeeyetravel.com

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A picture-perfect vacation spot in the colorful town of Santa Maria. Sink your toes in the pristine white-sand beach, visit the local fishermen pier and the extinct volcano within minutes. The Hotel features 4 restaurants and bars, fitness center, the eforea spa, kids club, casino, watersports center and flexible events space. Magellan Restaurant: International buffet accompanied by wines chosen from the hotel’s wine cellar. Pool Bar: Healthy food options, fresh fruit juices and natural cocktails to savor near the pool. The Bounty Beach Restaurant: Casual and refined atmosphere on the beach with DJ music. Innovative food proposal with international specialties. Cize Bar: Carefully prepared cocktails in an elegant setting with live Cape Verdean music. Room service: Available 24 hours.

1200 m2 Swimming pool: Sun loungers are available by the pool and on the beach. Eforea Spa: The most exquisite massages and beauty treatments. Fitness Center: The modern gym is open 24 hours a day and offers free personal training. Kids Club: It opens every day with activities dedicated to the little ones and with access to the swimming pool for children. Casino Royal and Atlantic Star Nautical Center

CABOVERDESALRESORT.HILTON.COM facebook.com/hiltoncaboverdesalresort/ instagram.com/hiltoncaboverdesalresort/

Avenida dos Hoteis CP230 I Santa Maria I Sal Island I Cabo Verde

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Cape Verde Around 350 miles west of Africa is lesser-visited Cape Verde, with some of the world's best beaches and magnificent scenery at every turn, says Benjamin Coren Why sell it? Far-flung Cape Verde is not the British traveller's first choice for sun, but the 10-strong volcanic archipelago offers some of the world’s best beaches and almost year-round sun coupled with average temperatures of 27C. Just a six-hour flight from the UK, direct flights are available from Gatwick, Birmingham, Bristol, Manchester and Glasgow, to Sal and Boa Vista. Beyond the beach, the islands are also renowned for watersports and exploration of its rugged mountains and fertile valleys.

Who to sell to? Perfect for couples on a honeymoon or romantic break, plenty of hotels offer quiet getaways, combining relaxing days on the beach with action-packed excursions around the island. Families will enjoy the sandy beaches, and most hotels offer organised activities. There is a growing trend in Cape Verde towards eco-tourism, particularly on the island of Fogo, where tourists can view the active volcano, Pico do Fogo. The intimate Spinguera Eco Lodge on Boa Vista has just 12 rooms and offers a tranquil escape.

HIKING THE HILLS OF SANTO ANTAO

“There is a growing trend towards eco-tourism. On Fogo, tourists can view the active volcano, Pico do Fogo”

What to sell? Cape Verde comprises 10 unique islands, each offering something different. For those wanting to explore and get

SANTIAGO ISLAND

close to nature, offer an excursion to the island of Fogo to climb Cape Verde's highest peak, or the lush green peaks, orchards and terraces of Santo Antâo. Beach lovers can relax on Boa Vista’s delightful sands, with hotel options including the all-inclusive Iberostar Club Boa Vista. Clients more inclined towards activities and watersports, should be pointed in the direction of Hotel Morabeza, which sits on the golden sands of Santa Maria Beach on the island of Sal. History and culture lovers should visit Santiago Island, home to the capital as well as UNESCO World Heritage Site Cidade Velha, a prominent 16th century slave trading centre. For a lighter slice of culture, the island of São Vicente's colourful carnival comes to

town 40 days before Easter, with music, costumes, dancing and elaborate floats.

How to sell it? Specialist tour operator Cape Verde Experience (capeverde.co.uk) sells tailor-made Itineraries and multi-island trips for all tastes while KE Adventure Travel (keadventure.com) offers itineraries for trekkers. Cape Verde is a popular destination for all-inclusive holidays too, with some major brands present like the recentlyopened Hilton Cabo Verde Sal Resort in Santa Maria – noted for its pristine white beaches and luxurious rooms. 

BOOK IT WITH… CAPE VERDE EXPERIENCE The 14-night Peaks of Cape Verde islandhopping holiday includes São Vicente, Fogo, Sal, Santiago and Santo Antão. It is priced from £1,879pp, based on two sharing and including flights, transfers, inter-island flights, lounge access, visas and breakfast at each hotel. 01489 866 969; capeverde.co.uk

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Guyana Set between the Atlantic coast and the Amazon rainforest, exotic Guyana presents an intriguing smorgasbord of cultural and natural attractions, says Laura Gelder days on a Caribbean beach rounding off an adventure-packed itinerary nicely. The country can be reached via connecting flights through Caribbean Airlines from Toronto, New York and Miami, LIAT in Barbados, Copa Airlines in Panama, and now American Airlines, which starts a Miami-Guyana service on November 16.

What to sell?

A RED-HANDED TAMARIN MONKEY

Why sell it?

“Guyana is the only country in South America where English is the official language, though many dialects and indigenous languages are also spoken” Colin Stewart, Chairman, LATA

This small, multicultural nation has long been a member of both the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) and the Latin American Travel Association (LATA) – since it straddles both regions – but it recently announced it is to get UK representation in a bid to boost its visibility.

Who to sell to? Guyana isn’t well known but for agents with clients who wish to get off the well-trodden tourist paths, or for devoted wildlife or ecotravel enthusiasts, it has a strong appeal.

Bordered by Venezuela, Brazil, Suriname and the Atlantic Ocean, Guyana is a melting pot of East Indian and African influences but also peppered with indigenous Amerindians, Europeans (it has a history of British colonialism), and Chinese. In its capital, Georgetown, British colonial architecture and Hindu temples sit side by side and the food ranges from Caribbean goat stews to Indian curries. With a staggeringly varied topography for such a small country, Guyana boasts rugged mountains, tumbling waterfalls and vast swathes of jungle, savannas and mountains inland, while its unspoilt coastline mixes beaches with wildlife reserves, mangroves and sugar plantations. Travellers can head to the jungle by boat, travelling up the Essequibo River to stay in eco-lodges, explore trails and look for wildlife accompanied by a ranger. Twitchers and amateur naturalists will be in heaven with Guyana's rich flora and fauna. There are more than 225 species of mammals, 800-plus species of birds and some 6,500 varieties of plants. Guyana is

How to sell it? Guyana has enough to occupy travellers for a standalone holiday but most operators combine it with other countries. Journey Latin America (journeylatinamerica.co.uk) offers the 'Coq of the Rock: Trailblazing the Guineas' itinerary which takes in Rio and Boa Vista in Brazil before heading to Guyana, French Guiana and the ex Dutch colony Suriname. Meanwhile, Rainbow Tours (rainbowtours.co.uk) matches Guyana with Tobago, with three

RIVER VIEWS FROM KARANAMBU LODGE

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COLONIAL GEORGETOWN

home to some of South America’s largest species, including black caiman, capybara, green anaconda, giant river otter, false vampire bat, harpy eagle and jaguar. There's also a chance to meet indigenous Amerindian communities and learn a little about their culture.

Top spots? At five times the height of Niagara Falls, Kaieteur Falls is Guyana's best-known attraction. Other jewels include the wild Shell Beach, with its nesting turtles, ecolodges and wildlife spotting along the Essequibo River, the cowboy culture of the Rupununi Savannah; and the misty flat-tops of the Pakaraima Mountains.

When to go? Equatorial Guyana is hot year-round, with an average temperature of around 27C and high humidity that peaks in the rainy season. There are distinct climatic differences between the coastal belt and the interior.

KAIETEUR FALLS

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A GIANT RIVER OTTER

The coast is cooled by sea breezes and has a wet season from mid-November to mid-January and then May to mid-July. Inland, heavy rains arrive May-August when savannas flood and rivers can rise 30ft. There are lighter showers towards the end of December, dubbed the ‘cashew rains’, as they occur during the nut harvest.

What do the experts say? Colin Stewart, Chairman of LATA, reports a 6% increase in Guyana's 2017 tourist arrivals, and puts the rise down to new tourism infrastructure, including three new hotels and the introduction of a new indigenous experience and authentic ecolodge in Warapoka, north Guyana, due to start this autumn 2018. An expanded airport in Georgetown and a new flight connection by American Airlines will open it up further. "Welcoming little more than 3,000 visitors a year, Guyana is ideal for those who want an experience away from the crowds. The Guyana Tourism Board is taking steps to strengthen its position as a leading sustainable tourism destination," he said. 

“An ideal destination for UK visitors seeking an offthe-beaten path experience, Guyana is emerging as a new hot spot for adventurous UK travellers” Colin Stewart, Chairman of LATA

BOOK IT WITH... JOURNEY LATIN AMERICA The 14-day Guyana Wildlife trip is priced from £4,169pp and includes stays in the 1840s Cara Lodge in Georgetown, Iwokrama River Lodge on Essequibo River and the Karanambu Ranch in the Rupununi region. journeylatinamerica.co.uk – 020 3811 7378

Adventure Awaits #DiscoverGuyana

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Sri Lanka Sri Lanka is more accessible than ever with more of the island open to tourists looking to explore the culture and history of this teardrop-shaped island, says Benjamin Coren No photograph can do justice to the awesomeness of Sigiriya, or the 'Lion Rock'. The UNESCO World Heritage Site is all that remains of a once huge palace and fortress built on top of the rock. Today, much mystery surrounds Sigiriya, which only adds to its allure. Estimated to have been designated around 477-495 CE, questions remain as to how those in power reached the fortress at the top, how elements of it were built and the design of the sophisticated hydraulic systems, some of which works to this day.

SIGIRIYA ROCK

Anuradhapura Sri Lanka’s first capital this city, with its well preserved ruins of an ancient Sri Lankan civilisation, is the main centre of religion in Sri Lanka. The sprawling complex can be easily explored by bike, either with a guide or via a self-drive, allowing visitors to witness the stone stupas and the Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi, a branch of the sacred fig tree which Buddha found enlightenment beneath. The temple this is housed in is quite a sight to behold and is visited regularly by large numbers of worshippers.

GALLE FORT'S RAMPARTS

Trincomalee

Haputale

The natural harbour of Trincomalee was formerly a no-go zone during the vicious Sri Lankan Civil War, but today, it is one of the island’s emerging hidden gems, with a developing tourism industry and home to some of the country's most unspoilt and beautiful beaches. Plenty of regional resorts have access to private beaches, including nearby Uga Jungle Beach. The holy Koneswaram Temple situated atop Konesar Malai, overlooks the Indian Ocean and offers an insight into Hindi culture.

Sir Thomas Lipton built his first tea factory in the Dambatenne Tea Plantation, near the town of Haputale. The town is surrounded by lush green hills covered with cloud forests and tea plantations. Suggest clients stay in Thotagala Bungalow with its views across the valley and authentic feel.

BOOK IT WITH... IF ONLY The seven-night Sri Lanka Experience starts from £2,219. It includes return Emirates flights, accommodation, some meals, and transfers with an English speaking guide. Offer valid on stays from 11 April to 30 June 2019. Book by March 27, 2019 ifonly.net; 0141 955 4000

Yala National Park Bordering the Indian Ocean in the country's south east, this park is a popular safari location. It’s home to wildlife such as sloth bears, elephants, crocodiles and abundant birdlife, but is most visited for its leopards – it claims the highest concentration of this elusive cat of any national or private park worldwide.

Galle Fort On Sri Lanka’s southwestern coast are the 16th century fortifications of Galle Fort, originally built by Portuguese colonists and expanded by the Dutch.

TEA PLANTATION, HAPUTALE

Today the fort is home to restaurants, bars, quirky boutiques and luxury hotels. There’s plenty to see in terms of culture, be it in one of Galle’s museums or by viewing local art on display and for sale. A popular activity is walking the fort ramparts at sundown, for beautiful ocean views on one side and colonial architecture on the other. Located in a former Dutch mansion and warehouse, Galle Fort Hotel is one of the only hotels within the fort that has a swimming pool.

Colombo Sri Lanka's capital mixes colonial architecture and open peaceful spaces with high rises and shopping malls. Visitors should consider the National Museum of Colombo, housed in a grand building and filled with artifacts and the country's cultural history. If your visitors are interested in temples, Gangaramaya Buddhist Temple, is a peculiar temple which includes a strange museum of gifts to the temple ranging from motor cars to furniture. 

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Mauritius and the Seychelles are booming while the Maldives is the queen of luxury and Sri Lanka is conquering adventure tourism. Clare Walsh looks at new product in the Indian Ocean

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he catamaran cuts through the glassy ocean and bounces over the gentle swell of the waves. I look ahead as the dazzling blue of the sky greets the water’s shimmering surface. A spray of salty water hits the boat, cooling me in an instant as I gaze at a seascape now punctuated by luminous greens and dazzling white sands as Ile Aux Cerfs comes into view. A day-trip from my resort on Mauritius, this is a show-stopper of an island. It fits every delicious cliché of an escapist’s paradise and is one that I am more than happy to indulge. I spend time basking on the powdery

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Mauritius Hilton Mauritius Resort & Spa Island Paradise in the Indian Ocean Coastal road, Wolmar, Flic-en-Flac, 90503, Mauritius; Tel: +230-403-1000; Email: info.mauritius@hilton.com

Relax at Hilton Mauritius Resort & Spa, renowned for its Mauritian hospitality, and enjoy a picturesque oceanfront location with unrestricted sunset views. Our location makes it easy to explore the island and its surroundings. We offer a complimentary dolphin trip, water activities and eight spa cabins. Our three restaurants and three bars serve a diverse array of culinary influences, exotic flavors and locally sourced ingredients. The hotel's gorgeous outdoor meeting space has everything you need for an inspired event.Discover the Tamarina Golf Estate which is only 8 minutes’ drive from the resort with views over a breath-taking landscape, the 18-hole course offers five different tees.

Seychelles

Hilton Northolme Resort & Spa Hilton Labriz Resort & Spa Glacis, Victoria - Mahe, Seychelles; Tel: +248-429-9000; Email: reservations.seychelles@hilton.com

La Passe, Silhouette Island, Seychelles; Tel: +248 429 3949; Email: sezlb.reservations@hilton.com

DoubleTree by Hilton Allamanda Resort & Spa

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Anse Forbans Mahe, Victoria, Seychelles; Tel: +2484388800; Email: SEZDT.info@hilton.com

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5 stars luxury boutique resort 56 private villas in total all facing the ocean 15 villas with infinity pools, offering panoramic views of the Indian Ocean Adults only resort (only 13 years old and above guests are welcome) Ocean Front Spa and Fitness 3 Ocean view dining outlets including 1 bar Beach and watersport activities Eco friendly resort supporting the Coral Reef Restoration

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5 Stars Eco-Friendly hotel surrounded by a National Park Located on the private island of Silhouette Only accessible by boat (30 mns journey) 111 villas in total 72 villas located directly on the beach 17 villas with private infinity pool PADI certified Diving Center 5 Nature trails, watersports, island tours, spa

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High end 4 stars contemporary resort 30 Ocean View with Terrace rooms in total “Private” beach and watersports activities Eco friendly resort supporting the Coral Reef Restoration

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sands before donning flippers and mask to see what lies beneath the water. Pops of colourful coral reveal an underwater jungle and myriad life. Technicolour fish mesmerise with their ethereal subterranean performances. While above-water on this island is undoubtedly stunning, below is a tropical kingdom of magical sea creatures.

On the up Mauritius sells itself on its pristine environment; many hotels offer excursions, day trips and activities that range from snorkelling to obtaining diving accreditation. Mauritius has experienced growth after upgrading the offerings of many of its resorts this year. With the country celebrating its 50th Anniversary of Independence throughout 2018, there have been many large-scale renovations, with a focus on the adultsonly sector to attract more high-spending honeymooners and couples. This September saw the Maldives win the award of Leading Dive Destination at the South Asian Travel Awards, an accolade that should enhance its current growth after a quiet 2017. Enjoying a healthy 2018, competition is

strong and agents can take advantage of the superb deals available in the Maldives, even in the five-star luxury market. And families should not be discouraged from the Maldives, with resorts like Centara Grand Island Resort and Spa offering allinclusive experiences with great choices for dining and excursions. Reunion Island is also starting to emerge from its cocoon after years in the shadow of its better-known counterparts. Nikki Hain, Indian Ocean Product Manager at Premier Holidays, said that the recent addition of Reunion Island to its portfolio is already proving popular. “Reunion Island is a new destination for us in 2019 and in the two months since launching the brochure we’ve seen lots of interest and bookings from agents. “More people are becoming aware of what it has to offer, such as its breathtakingly stunning volcanic mountain landscape. It is a destination to consider twinned with Mauritius or South Africa.” The Seychelles has also had a strong year, recording a 16% growth in UK visitors between January and September 2018 compared to the same period last year. Nikki Hain said: “Sales for the Indian Ocean are really storming ahead this year and the Seychelles has performed

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Pictured: clockwise from top left: Sri Lanka’s Sigiriya Rock; dining at Mirihi Island Resort; Reunion Island; Four Seasons Resort Mauritius at Anahita

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‌amidst the powder-soft sand, by the cerulean waves and under the tropical shade of the Maldives; our premier villa resort presents curated experiences in an all-inclusive offering. A sneak peek in to our offerings here, www.heritancehotels.com/aarah T: +960 6640375 | E : res.aarah@heritancehotels.com

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opened in October 2018 and features 125 beach and over-water villas, each with their own pool. Carpe Diem Beach Resort (carpediemmaldives. com) makes its debut this month (November) in Raa Atoll with a spa, selection of restaurants and a private water park. Emerald Maldives Resort & Spa (emeraldmaldives.com) is due to open in December 2018. It will offer a spa, gym and four restaurants. SAii Lagoon Maldives (curiocollection3. hilton.com) will open as part of the Curio Collection by Hilton – a brand which prides itself on offering “unexpected and authentic experiences”. Heritance Aarah (heritancehotels.com) opens in February 2019, located on the Raa Atoll, about a 40 minute seaplane journey from Male. The resort will have 82 over-water villas and 75 land villas. Facilities will include an overwater spa complex, a PADI-certified dive centre, gym, tennis court and kids club.

extremely well. The honeymoon market is really tapping into island hopping in the Seychelles, plus more hotels are offering adult-only accommodation.” The island is also focusing on sustainable tourism and increasing its offerings for clients during their stay. Sherin Francis, Chief Executive of the Seychelles Tourism Board said: “For a small country like the Seychelles, where we emphasise conservation, it is important to get more out of each tourist instead of relying on tourism arrivals.” After claiming the title of Leading Adventure Tourism Destination for Asia in 2017, Sri Lanka continues to be a superb suggestion for agents looking to offer an alternative to Thailand. Those looking for adventure, exploration, culture and history will find a large selection of wildlife safaris, adventure tours and cultural excursions.

Accommodation

Clockwise from top left: LUX* Grand Gaube; a seaplane at Kudadoo Maldives Private Island; lillipads in Mauritius; the pool at Long Beach Mauritus Resort

The Maldives is welcoming a raft of new hotel openings over the coming months. Crown & Champa Resort is set to open Kudadoo Private Island (kudadoo.com) in autumn 2018. The adults-only exclusive island will be home to 15 luxurious overwater villas. Sun Aqua Iru Veli Resort (iru-veli.com)

Coming soon: Hilton has revealed that the Conrad Maldives Rangali Island will unveil the first-ofits-kind undersea residence this November. Its guests will be able to choose from an exclusive collection of four experience menus offering adventure, food, entertainment, wellness, culture and sustainability.

Dining Set on the island of Muravandhoo in the Maldives, JOALI (joali.com) opened in October with four fusion restaurants, complete with a liquid nitrogen ice cream corner. Clients can also try their hand at Maldivian cookery classes at Her Kitchen and indulge in “destination dining” on a private sandbank. Following its refurbishment at the end of 2017, the LUX* Grand Gaube (luxresorts.com) in Mauritius now offers a traditional Creole Smokehouse with Rum Tree house, open sushi kitchen and a pisco bar. Real ale fans can take a trip to the recently launched Flying Dodo Brewery, the first and only brewery in Mauritius, while fine dining experts should coincide their trip with the Bernard Loiseau Culinary Festival at Constance Belle Mare Plage (constancehotel.com) in spring. Sun Resorts’ La Pirogue in Mauritius has introduced a new experience named Tribe, which is an ode to the African heritage of Mauritius. Guests can enjoy a night of

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Where the Beauty of the place inspires

P ic ture t ake n at Di narobi n B e ac hco mber G o l f Reso rt & Spa

the Beauty of the heart

MAURITIUS S TA R T C O L L E C T I N G YO U R B E S T M O M E N T S O N W W W. B E AC H C O M B E R . C O M

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DISCOVER LUXURY ESCAPES IN THE INDIAN OCEAN

#BookCentara The family-friendly Centara Grand Island Resort & Spa Maldives offers guests an Ultimate All-Inclusive experience with fabulous dining options, an open bar, daily champagne breakfast, exciting off-island excursions and much more! Centara Ras Fushi Resort & Spa Maldives offers an intimate escape for couples and honeymooners and of course an All-Inclusive experience at our adult-oriented resort. Centara Ceysands Resort & Spa Sri Lanka, on the Bentota River and kissed by the sea, promises endless water adventures, as well as hours of perfect tranquility. Clients have a choice of flexible dining programmes from Half-Board to All-Inclusive. THAILAND • MALDIVES • OMAN • QATAR • SRI LANKA • VIETNAM

DISCOVER MORE AT

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fire shows, African-influenced music, drums and delicious Creole and African dishes. Tribe takes place at the Le Morne Beach Bar once a month and is open to guests and locals looking for a memorable way to spend an evening. Selling Tip: Suggest foodie clients travelling to Mauritius experience traditional street food delicacies at Port Louis or Mahebourg market, which features an array of tempting food stalls.

Activity and adventure Clients staying at Mirihi Island (mirihiisland. com) in the Maldives can now experience a

new manta ray safari. Guided by a team of local experts, clients will be taken out on a traditional Maldivian Dhoni boat, or yacht, and encouraged to swim and snorkel alongside the friendly creatures. Domaine de Rambouillet (tourism-mauritius. mu) is the latest eco-park to open in Mauritius. It offers adventure-seeking clients quad and mountain biking, hiking and archery in La Nicoliere. Another recent addition to the adventure scene is two new canyoning circuits at Casela Nature & Leisure Park (caselapark.com), where visitors can fly over the treetops on a zip-line. Nature-loving customers can explore wild habitats at Gal Oya National Park in Sri

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Lanka. Tours enable clients to get close to swimming elephants, go on a nature walk with a naturalist and meet the country’s aboriginal people. Canonnier Beachcomber Golf Resort & Spa has upgraded it Kids Club, with safaristyle themed tents which offer young guests four spaces for painting, watching television and listening to music, reading and relaxing, and games. Sell it: Premier Holidays (trade.premierholidays.co.uk) offers a three-night privately escorted extension from one of its tours to Gal Oya National Park. From £599pp, it includes a walking tour with a naturalist guide, boat safari, jeep safari, four-star accommodation with full board and transfers. The deal is based on two sharing.

Spa and wellness Expectant parents can now indulge in babymoon packages at the Four Seasons Resort Mauritius at Anahita (fourseasons.com/ mauritius). Options include the pregnancy relaxation massage, while women in their first trimester can try out the newly launched Vaishaly Experience. Movenpick Resort & Spa Kuredhivaru Maldives (movenpick.com) opens this month. Intended as a destination for relaxing and rejuvenating, it features sunset yoga

Pictured, clockwise from top left: Mövenpick Resort Kuredhivaru Maldives; catching the train in Sri Lanka; the Seven Coloured Earths, Mauritius; Four Seasons Resort Mauritius at Anahita

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LILY BEACH RESORT MALDIVES Book now for Summer 2019 and Save 10% Off Room Rates PLUS free nightS Stay 5 Pay 4 or Stay 12 Pay 10 Valid for stays 01 May – 30 Sept 19 WINTER 19/20 RATES NOW ONLINE and treatments in over-water or jungleview rooms. Bagaloni Resort Maldives is set to open in April next year. Its spa will feature deluxe natural treatments, a yoga pavilion, beach gym and volleyball. Kanuhura, a Sun Resorts property in the Maldives, won Best Luxury Island Resort Spa at the World Luxury Spa Awards of 2018 for its Kokaa Spa.

ERIYADU MALDIVES FANTASTIC DIVING AND SNORKELLING Only a speedboat away from Male! 10% Off Room Rates PLUS Comp Upgrade from FB to All Inclusive! Valid for stays between 01 Jun – 25 Jul 19

Selling Tip: For clients looking for an extended spa experience, suggest incorporating LUX* Resorts (luxresorts.com) award-winning three-day vitality

experience into their Mauritius trip. It combines fitness, relaxation, nutrition and healthy eating.

Events and festivals Golf enthusiasts holidaying in the Seychelles might enjoy the grand finale of the 2018 Staysure Tour Season, which is being held the island of Praslin at Constance Lemunia this year between December 12-14. Art fans visiting Mauritius in December can get immersed in creativity at Porlwi (porlwi.com). This festival supports the evolution of all forms of art on the island and brings together creative artists from around the world to showcase their work in three categories: street art, street music and street light. Book it: Travel 2 (travel2.com) has seven nights at the five-star Maritim Resort and Spa Mauritius, staying in a privilege room on an all-inclusive basis. The lead-in price is £1559pp and includes flights with Emirates from Stansted and return transfers. Valid from April 30-July 3 2019. 

MEDHUFUSHI ISLAND RESORT MALDIVES WINTER FLASH SALE Book by 30 Nov 18 and receive: 25% Discount on Room Rates Great value for money! Valid for stays between now – 30 Apr 19! ALSO FIND EXCLUSIVE DEALS FOR TRAVEL TRADE PERSONNEL ONLY ON OUR WEBSITE OVER 200 HOTELS AND A SELECTION OF TOURS AVAILABLE ON OUR WEBSITE MALDIVES • SRI LANKA • MAURITIUS • SEYCHELLES • INDIA • UAE • CARIBBEAN • GREECE • NEW CRUISING AND SAILING. INCLUDING EXCLUSIVE OFFERS FOR WINTER 2018 SUMMER 2019 AND WINTER 2019/20 RATES ARE NOW ONLINE

osborneandebel.com

Above: Joali Maldives

All above offers are subject to availability | Terms & Conditions Apply

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traveluni.com

GDS | TRAINING | REWARDS

Training, competitions, events November 2018

THIS MONTH'S TOP STORIES

Jumeirah reopening NEWS

Quick Quiz Are you an Alaska Expert?

1. Alaska is home to 17 of the 20 tallest peaks in the USA. TRUE / FALSE

Hot News

Journey to Jerusalem

2. Alaska is within a ninehour flight of 95% of the world's major hubs. TRUE / FALSE

Experience Jerusalem I Modules: 3

experiencejerusalem.co.uk

Thailand on the road ROAD SHOW

THE dates for next year's Amazing Thailand road show have been announced. The Thailand team will be visiting Dublin (February 27), Galway (February 28), Glasgow (March 20), Liverpool (March 21), Bournemouth (April 10), Brighton (April 11), Exeter (October 9) and Reading (October 10). Agents are urged to register by emailing marketing@ tourismthailand.co.uk. Keep up to date with the Thailand Expert training and complete it for a chance to win a Thai meal or £50 worth of Love2shop vouchers. training.tourismthailand.co.uk

alaskacertifiedexperts.com

Answers: 1: True 2: True

JERUSALEM'S Open Restaurants Festival will welcome world food lovers from November 13 to 17. Over 80 unique culinary experiences will be on offer at the five-day festival, combining food, art and culture, access to open kitchens, private tours, food talks and some of the city's most authentic menus and celebrated restaurants. Being held in Jerusalem for the frist time, the festival was originally launched in Tel Aviv and attracts thousands of locals and tourists each year. Tickets can be purchased at openrestaurants. com. Agents can further enhance their Jerusalem destination knowledge by completing the online modules at

JUMEIRAH GROUP reopened Dubai's Jumeirah Beach Hotel following a fivemonth transformation programme. Guests will experience a much lighter and airier lobby atrium upon arrival. The hotel features a more contemporary ambience and a host of new dining experiences, retaining its family friendly focus. Rooms and suites have also been redesigned to be more engaging and comfortable. Rates start from around £373. jumeirahbeacon.com

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Training courses to help travel agents and advisers sell more!

Warner festivities

COURSE LIST

NEWS

WARNER LEISURE HOTELS has launched its Festive Break options for 2018 across all 13 of its country and coastal hotels. These range from Festive Party Breaks, from £195pp, to New Year Breaks starting from £394pp. Warner is additionally offering a Twixmas getaway (between Christmas and New Year), from £190pp. Don't forget, that upon completing the online training course, agents can claim a free day pass to experience a Warner property. Agents making a booking after completing the course will also be in with the chance of winning a luxury spa voucher and other prizes throughout the year. warnerexpert.co.uk

New Deals

Sandals add bookable extras

Sandals and Beaches Training I Modules: 12

Mauritian luxury INCENTIVE

VERANDA Resorts and Air Mauritius are offering agents the chance to win an allinclusive trip to Mauritius for two. The prize includes return flights and seven nights in a privilege room at the new Veranda Tamarin Hotel. Entries for the competition are welcome from October 1 to November 17, 2018. Agents booking direct Air Mauritius flights from Heathrow or stays at the Tamarin Hotel receive an entry. The more bookings made the more entries they get. Agents can also enter by completing the Veranda online training programme. vhrtraining.com

Working in partnership

GUESTS of Sandals and Beaches Resorts can now customise their dream Caribbean getaway with bookable excursions and airport lounge access, all directly bookable from Sandals' and Beaches' websites. Lounge access is available at Gatwick and Heathrow. Guests can also choose excursions from Island Routes Caribbean Adventure Tours, which has experiences ranging from swimming with pigs in The Bahamas to zip-lining in Jamaica to snorkelling on a sunset cruise in Barbados. Agents can book via sellingsandals.co.uk or via the call centre on 0808 164 3459. They can hone their knowledge on Beaches and Sandals products via the online training programme at sandalstraining.com

A-Z of available courses ABTA Alaska Amtrak Vacations Anguilla Antigua & Barbuda Aruba Beaches Resorts Boucan Hotel Chocolat Bourne Leisure Butlins Caribbean Tourism Centara Hotels Cirque de Soleil Corsican | Sardinian Places Cruise Adviser Elegant Hotels Essential Detail Fiji Flanders Fort Myers & Sanibel Gambia Goa Experience GDS Haven Hotels Hawaii Heritage Resort Jamaica Jerusalem Jewel Resorts Jumeirah Hotels Kenya Las Vegas Macao Malaysia Melia Hotels New York city New York state Namibia Newmarket Holidays Ontario Qatar Railbookers SAGA Saint Lucia Sandals Resorts Serenity Holidays Seychelles Simon Malls Solus St Kitts Tenerife Thailand TIPTO Travel2 Turks & Caicos US Airtours Veranda Resorts Virgin Limited Edition Voyages SNCF Warner Leisure Hotels Windjammer Landing Hotel Your Car Hire traveluni.com

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Exuding European grandeur and urban glamour, discover a space that mirrors your sense of style and live the iconic Versace lifestyle in a cosmopolitan city that echoes the charms of tradition. Explore our family, business, honeymoon and other stay offers at www.palazzoversace.ae/en/specialoffers

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superstars The Middle East is not just an off-season sunbed. Adam Coulter looks at a region of ‘mega’ cities offering culture, dining and shopping in spades

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hen I was a child living in Dubai in the late 1980s you could walk the full length of Jumeirah Beach – from Dubai Mosque to the Jumeirah Beach Hotel – and see mostly fishing villages and tiny marinas. Little remains of that today. One thing hasn’t changed: the institution of Friday brunch. Back in the day the Hyatt Regency, which opened in 1980 in the heritage area of Deira, did it exceptionally well and offered a wonderful glimpse into Dubai’s past, looking out over the trading and pearl fishing port. Today I’m back in the recently refurbished hotel. Its revolving Al Dawaar restaurant on the 25th floor (which for me as a kid was just about the coolest thing ever) is now

styled in a retro-colonial fashion, and the great views are still there. I take in the bold and endless Dubai skyline, including the monolithic Burj Khalifa and the sparkling cluster of buildings downtown. Brunch starts at 12.30pm and goes on all afternoon. If you fancy seeing the city lit up, there’s also a seafood buffet on a Thursday night that’s well worth a visit. Either way, just be careful when you step from the fixed centre to the revolving section – especially if you’ve had a signature Al Dawaar mojito.

Changing focus For many, a holiday to the Middle East is about soaking up some winter sun – the Gulf States average a pleasant 21C-25C throughout January and February – but the

region offers more than sun and beach and its cities can rival Europe for museums, shopping and dining. It’s almost as if the whole area has recently discovered it has a rich and fascinating history, with museums celebrating cultural heritage popping up all over the region. The Museum of Islamic Art in Doha has a collection covering 14 centuries of the finest art and artefacts from across the Islamic World, while the Bahrain National Museum in Manama contains local artefacts dating from antiquity In Abu Dhabi, the city’s oldest stone building, Qasr al Hosn, is to reopen in late 2018 following extensive restoration work and much of the anticipated Abu Dhabi Louvre Museum is open, the first time

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Where British charm meets cosmopolitan luxury

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f your idea of holiday bliss is dividing your time between your sun lounger and a chilled swimming pool, with plenty of high-energy watersports adding an element of adventure, look no further than Dukes Dubai Hotel. This elegant property provides a fabulous way to experience the best of British hospitality in the UAE, having carved a niche for itself with its sophisticated ambience, impressive collection of restaurants and top-notch leisure facilities.

Find tranquility in refined rooms and suites that bear the hallmark of DUKES’ signature attention to detail. Located on the trunk of Palm Jumeirah, DUKES DUBAI provides a warm welcome. With 566 luxurious rooms, choose from 279 stylish rooms including 64 stately suites or one of our 287 exquisitely furnished Studios and One-Bedroom hotel apartments. DUKES DUBAI’s vantage point allows for every room to enjoy stunning views of the Arabian Gulf flanked by the impressive Dubai

Marina skyline and the Palm Jumeirah. Make the most of the private beach access and soak up the winter sun before floating along the Lazy River and taking a dip in the infinity pool. Dukesy Kids Club, for ages 5 to 12, has plenty to offer little holidaymakers with a focus on edutainment (the cooking classes are very popular) along with a special menu full of healthy and nutritious food. For reservations, call: + 971 (0) 4 455 1111 or email: reservations. dubai@dukeshotel.com

DUKES DUBAI DUKES DUBAI offers an array of gastronomic delights across each of the restaurants, bar and lounges: Discover GBR (Great British Restaurant), DUKES Bar, The Champagne & Tea Lounge, Cigar & Whisky Lounge, West 14th and Khyber.

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HOTEL AMENITIES: • Panoramic indoor pool • Outdoor Infinity Pool • Pristine, private sandy beach • Lazy River • Watersports

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Fully - Equipped Fitness Centre Dukesy Kids club Beauty Hair & Salon 7 British styled meeting rooms and banqueting spaces Private Dining & Weddings Executive Lounge

DUKES DUBAI, Palm Jumeirah, PO Box 120015, Dubai +971 4 455 11 11; �dukesdubai.com;

info.dubai@dukeshotel.com @dukesdubai;

@dukes.dubai

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middle east

the Paris-based museum has ventured outside France. In Dubai you can visit the Dubai Coffee Museum (coffeemuseum.ae), which showcases the key role coffee has played throughout Middle Eastern history; the Etihad Museum (etihadmuseum.dubaiculture.ae), which chronicles how the UAE came into being; and The Dubai Museum (dubaiculture.gov.ae), which is housed in Dubai’s oldest building, Al Fahidi Fort, built in 1787. Muscat is home to the Muscat Royal Opera House, National Museum and Bait Al Zubair, a private museum and cultural complex packed with artefacts, weapons and displays showing the many unique cultures of Oman dating back 500 years. But it’s not just museums. Abu Dhabi and Dubai boast some of the finest restaurants in the world – by Gordan Ramsay, Thomas Keller and Nobu, to name just a few. Many of these are famous for their Friday (our Sunday) brunches, which can last all day, ‘such as La Vie en Rose’ at Nikki Beach, Dubai, which re-opened in September after a summer break. The area also boasts some of the best shopping in the world at duty-free prices. Qatar’s capital, Doha, is fast-becoming an alternative city break to Dubai and has some great shopping options: the modern Festival City Hall to the traditional Souq Waqif – and Villaggio, where you can even take a gondola ride through the mall. “Qatar is an ideal winter-sun destination for those wanting to escape the northern hemisphere’s coldest months and enjoy a sunny holiday steeped in culture, adventure

From top: Oman’s Grand Mosque at night; the main entrance gate of Aqaba Fortress in Jordan

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and cosmopolitan sophistication,” says Urban versus desert Russell Meara, Strategic Director UK & Muscat City Tour: Explore the Ireland, Qatar Tourism Authority. opulent Sultan Qaboos Grand All these cities are ideal for short breaks, Mosque, which boasts the world’s largest with multiple flights from multiple carriers Persian carpet, and Bait Al Zubair Museum. (BA, Virgin, Etihad, Next visitors can take in Emirates, Oman Air, Qatar the colourful Fish Market, “There are some real visit the Royal Oman Airways, Gulf Air and city-break gems in Opera House and have easyJet) from regional UK airports with flight times the Middle East not traditional lunch. Muttrah averaging seven hours (five on everyone’s radar. Souq, the largest and in the case of Jordan). Muscat, Oman’s port best souq in the Middle There are also many lowEast, is a riot of fun best capital, is a delight” explored at night. cost Gulf carriers should Tricia Birmingham, Gold Medal your client wish to twin Close to Nature: cities and in the UAE you Pair the bright can drive between some. lights of Dubai with one of Sharjah’s seven Tricia Birmingham, Product and nature reserves. At Khor At Kalba there’s Commercial Manager, Gold Medal, says: kayaking and paddle-boarding, nature “There are some real city-break gems in the walks and bird-watching expeditions. Middle East that might not be on everyone’s Affable Aqaba: This bustling city is a radar. Muscat is a cultural delight and jumping-off point for Red Sea dive an ideal destination for a city break.” trips, Wadi Rum treks and the Rose City of If your clients want the best of both Petra. The waterfront is full of restaurants worlds, twin a city break with a desert stay and dive shops while the town - like the five-star Dukes Dubai set on the encapsulates old Arabia, with a warren-like glitzy Palm Jumeirah followed Al Maha, a souq, shisha cafes and the 14th century luxury tented resort in a desert oasis. Mamluk Fort.

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middle east

Qatar’s Inland Sea: Beyond Doha, send your client on an exhilarating desert safari to meet camels or zip across the dunes in a 4WD. Stop off at Khor Al Adaid, one of the few places in the world where the sea encroaches deep into the heart of the desert.

Clockwise from top left: Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, Abu Dhabi; Bahrain Fort; Doha’s futuristic skyline; one of Oman’s bustling souqs

including: MGallery Old Dubai, MGallery Doha Msheireb and Rixos Saadiyat Island, Abu Dhabi. The latter boasts 378 rooms and suites, plus a dozen villas, restaurants, a spa, private beach and water park set in an Oriental-style palace. Now part of Accor too, Fairmont Abu Dhabi Marina Hotel & Residences will What’s new open in Abu Dhabi early next year, with a Museum/cultural centres: Built in 1761 private beach, spa and five swimming pools to defend the only freshwater well on Abu overlooking the Corniche. Dhabi Island, Qasr Al Hosn (qasralhosn.ae) – Airlines: Qatar Airways (qatarairways.com) also known as the White Fort – has become launched new routes from Gatwick and a symbol of Emirati Birmingham this heritage. Following year. EasyJet (easyjet. “An ambitious project com) is launching years of restoration called Restoration of the and careful flights from Gatwick development, the to Aqaba in Jordan Heart of Sharjah aims to iconic fort will open in December. revitalise the heritage to the public in late Trade initiatives: district as a cultural 2018, showcasing Sharjah (visitsharjah. destination” com) is launching a range of historical artefacts, a trade campaign photographs and memorabilia. in the UK and Ireland with a focus on key One of the UAE’s lesser known emirates, product areas including family, culture and Sharjah, has launched an ambitious project eco-tourism. called Restoration of the Heart of Sharjah, which aims to revitalise the heritage district Where to book it as a cultural destination. IF ONLY– 0141 955 4036 Designed by world-famous French A four-night package based on two people architect Jean Nouvel, the new National sharing at the five-star Jumeirah Beach Museum of Qatar (qm.org.qa/en/project/nationalHotel, half board, with return economy museum-qatar) is scheduled to open to the flights with Emirates from Gatwick is priced public in the first quarter of next year. from £1,855pp. The offer is for travel for Hotels: Accor Hotels (accorhotels.com) has travel in November and December. a number of hotel openings in the region ifonly.net 

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destination profile

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Canary Islands Instagrammable experiences, wildly diverse landscapes and a wealth of sporting options make the sunshine isles more than just a beach destination, says Clare Walsh Beaches – reserves - dark skies Seaside desert The rolling yellow sand dunes of Maspalomas are dramatically pitched against a deep blue sea. Stand at the top and look to the water and bask in the feeling of being on the edge of nothingness. Wine in the black Visitors can sample some of the world’s most distinctive wines at the black vineyards of the Geria Valley. They are made in a unique way, from grapes grown in the rich volcanic sand of the island. Multi-hued hills The magical ‘Cascade of Colours’ can be found along the trail through the Las Angustias ravine in La Palma. A palate of yellows, greens and oranges is formed from the iron in the water, algae and moss. Water world La Restinga Marine Reserve in El Hierro is home to 10 stunning dive centres. Suitable for beginners and advanced divers, expect encounters with angelfish, sea eels and multi-coloured lobsters. Top stargazing Since 2014, the sky of Teide National Park has been recognised as a ‘Starlight Destination’ for its lack of light pollution. Lay back and observe the sparkling theatre of the night sky from Spain’s highest peak.

The Canary Islands have long been synonymous with sprawling resorts, busy beaches and a booming nightlife. But while it is a fail-safe escape for sunstarved Brits, the glittering archipelago lazily strung off the coast of West Africa has a wildly different side to it. The year-round sunny climate and gorgeous beaches are ideal for fly-andflop holidays, but scratch below the surface and the destination opens up to clients seeking more experiential holidays where they can create enriching and evocative memories. From ethereal volcanic landscapes to UNESCO biosphere reserves, rainforests, and ravines, the Canaries offer an island escape for many different client groups.

Tenerife Tenerife is the largest of the islands and has always been a popular all-rounder offering impressive family resorts, highend hotels, budget accommodation and everything in-between. The tourist board is now concentrating its efforts on marketing the wild and dramatic landscape to target niche groups. Its recently launched adventure sports brand ‘Tenerife no Limits’ showcases hiking, mountain biking, surfing, stargazing and whale watching. It has also began working more closely with specialist active tourism tour operators such as HF Holidays, which has a guided walking tour.

WALKING THE FORESTS OF LA GOMERA

PUERTO DE MOGAN, GRAN CANARIA

The tourist board has also recognised a trend of visitors combining their holiday with medical, surgical and wellbeing treatments. Its new ‘Tenerife Medical Destination’ brand targets health tourists, encouraging clients to get a tan while taking advantage of low prices of treatments.

Lanzarote It’s no longer enough for millennials to just go on holiday. They need to show it off on social media – and Lanzarote has instagrammable shots in abundance. Its sublime lunar-like landscape offers natural drama and was granted the title of UNESCO Biosphere Reserve in 1993. There are several experiences sure to deliver likes on social media. After touring the mighty Timanfaya National Park visitors can dine at the heart of the volcano at the El Diablo restaurant, where the earth’s intense heat is used to create a giant grill. Also below ground is the recently opened Mueso Atlantico, Europe’s first underwater contemporary art museum. At 14 metres deep, scuba divers can view exhibitions such as the Raft of Lampedusa, a moving reference to the current refugee crisis. Lanzarote also appeals to the wellness crowd with many resorts offering yoga, meditation and spa breaks, while the brutal Lanzarote Ironman tempts the seriously sporty.

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destination profile

Gran Canaria Probably best known for its Maspalomas Dunes Nature Reserve, the wild desert-like protected area in Gran Canaria has been formed over thousands of years. However, for clients looking to blend a little history and culture into their break, the island is abundant in ancient treasures. The old quarter of Vegueta in the capital Las Palmas showcases history and impressive architecture. The 15th century town is home to Casa de Colon where Christopher Columbus stayed on the island, while the Cathedral Santa Ana in Triana is a further highlight. Weekly tapas trails take place in Vugueta with further foodie treats available at its local market. Visitors should sample the signature honey rum, while the Restaurant La Barra del Mercado entices customers to choose ingredients from the market stall, which are then created into a dish.

Fuerteventura With the most impressive beaches in the Canaries, Fuerteventura is the island for clients in search of relaxation. But waterbabies also flock here, with kite surfers and windsurfers descending for the annual Watersports World Championships. Corralejo, a former fishing village, has long sandy stretches and is a popular area for beach baskers to claim their patch. At the Parque Natural de Corralejo, the long white dunes are a must-see and visitors can immerse themselves in the volcanic landscape by climbing the 300 metres up the beautiful Red Mountain.

La Palma, La Gomera and El Hierro El Hierro is the best option for those looking for real escapism. The island has a

INSTAGRAMMABLE VIEWS IN TENERIFE

LANZAROTE’S SANDY BEACHES

zero crime rate, is undeveloped and boasts incredible diving at 46 sites. La Palma is an island of colour and contrast, greeting visitors with a kaleidoscope of emerald hillsides, black lava fields and deep ravines. Laced with 600 miles of footpaths, it’s a favourite with walkers and features soul-stirring views. Visitors to La Gomera can indulge in the silence and solitude of ancient rainforests and sleepy mountain villages. Suggest a visit to Garajonay National Park, where the rare laurel trees and sea fog combine to create a mystical and enchanted air.

What’s new? Stella Canaris in Fuerteventura is in the midst of a refurbishment that will see it transformed into the biggest resort in Europe with seven hotels, restaurants and a water-park. Club Robinson Jandia Playa is also being refurbished and is planned to re-open in November 2018. Aquarium Poema del Mar opened at the end of 2017 in Las Palmas, with the new Veitiuno Hotel following on this year. The Royal Hideaway Santa Catalina by Barcelo will open this winter. Tenerife welcomed the Royal Hideaway Resort in January 2018 and GF Victoria in March. Hotel Fantasia Bahia Principe Tenerife opens in November and the H10 Atlantic Sunset will open in May 2019. From winter 2018, British Airways is increasing its flights to seven per week from London Gatwick to Lanzarote. The island has also recently seen the opening of the new five-star star Hotel Fariones in Puerto del Carmen 

“Weekly tapas trails take place in Vugueta with further foodie treats available at its local market. Visitors should sample the signature honey rum”

BOOK IT WITH... PRESTIGE HOLIDAYS A week’s stay at H10 Costa Adeje Palace, Tenerife,in a standard room on a half-board basis, starts from £820pp, based on a January 15 2019 departure. The price includes return flights from Gatwick with easyJet to Tenerife South, with private transfers. 01425 480400; prestigeholidays.co.uk

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T H E T R A VE L N E WS THAT R E ALLY M ATTE R S

MONICA NOTARNICOLA

P ONAN T: LE CHAMPLAIN LAUNCHES WITH THE UK TRADE IN MIND

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BELLA BELLA ITALY ALONE FOR PRESTIGE

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ABTA C ON V E N T ION NEWS FROM SEVILLE

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WA S H I NG T ON D C A CAPITAL UPDATE

GET ONLINE – READ ALL OUR MAGAZINES AND CHECK OUT OUR DAILY SELLING TIPS AT SELLINGTRAVEL.CO.UK

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the review

Ponant’s new Explorer ship

G Adventures challenges agents G ADVENTURES’ largestever trade incentive, ‘Change Makers Challenge’, offers agents the chance to win a place at the new Change Makers Summit next year. The challenge urges agents to focus on changing people’s lives through travel and to discover their purpose and why they love selling travel. It runs until March 31, 2019 culminating in the week-long summit, which will take place in a yet-to-be-announced location in June. The event will bring together more than 100 agents from around the world and those attending will also experience first-hand the impact responsible travel has on local communities. “At G Adventures, we change the lives of our travellers when they choose to explore the world with us and, as a social enterprise, we change the lives of local people in the destinations to which we travel,” said David Green, Vice President Commercial for G Adventures. “We’re asking our agents to become ‘Change Makers’ and to realise the impact they and their customers can have.” Interested agents should visit gadventures.com/changemakers

BY STEVE HARTRIDGE

FRENCH cruise line Ponant’s latest luxury ‘Explorer’ ship welcomed its first customers aboard last month. Le Champlain is the seventh in the company’s fleet, which will grow to 12 ships by 2021. Ponant attracts 30,000 passengers a year, but the company hopes the new ships will see that figure double by 2021 – and the UK will be key to fuelling that growth, said Herve Bellaiche, Chief Sales and Marketing Officer. “We see big opportunities in the UK and Germany. We don’t have a distinct brand identity in the UK and we need to better explain who we are and what we offer,” he said. “There have been luxury cruise lines and explorer cruise lines before us, but we are the first

to combine the two. We intend much closer engagement with the trade, through fam trips, workshops, visits to UK agencies and more,” added Bellaiche, who promised that all bookings will arrive through travel agents. Features aboard the 92-stateroom ship – which Ponant calls a ‘yacht’ – include private balconies, a spa, a gym and dining areas that open onto the outside. But the jaw-dropper is Blue Eye, a lounge-style space located within the hull beneath the waterline featuring two large eye-shaped windows that allow guests to view any passing marine life. Ponant operated 200 cruises last year, a figure that it is looking to grow to 460 in 2021.

Acacia Africa has solos in mind ACACIA Africa has seven new tours for 2019 that champions solo travellers. The tours span the operator’s range of short safaris, treks, city breaks, short stays and camping collections. “The huge growth of solo travel is perhaps one of the most singularly important trends to affect our industry this year,” says Arno Delport, Sales and Marketing Manager. “In 2019 we will be offering four new overland itineraries, with our camping options requiring no single supplement. The operator has also developed more ‘bite-size itineraries’ for time-sensitive clients and those making return visits to Africa. “These are ideal for a market which values experiences above things and is inclined to frequent and spontaneous short trips” Delport added. acaciaafrica.com

ponant.com

Italy stands alone for Prestige Holidays

New deal for Osborne & Ebel

RENETTE HARTRIDGE

wholesaler Osborne & Ebel has a special deal for the Sheraton Full Moon Resort Maldives. Five nights start from £375pp on a full-board basis, including return speedboat transfers. For travel May 1 to September 30 2019. The resort is a short boat transfer from Male Airport with excellent access to great diving spots, pristine beaches and great F&B options. For details contact: sales@osborneandebel.com TRADE-FRIENDLY

PRESTIGE Holidays first standalone Italian brochure includes four new properties in Sicily, two new properties in Puglia and 11 Agriturismo rural options. Prices start from £549pp for a seven-night break at Hotel Cala Marina in Castellammare del Golfo. Departing April 27 2019, the deal includes private airport transfers and easyJet LutonPalermo flights. prestigeholidays.co.uk

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the review

Norwegian hosts Bon Jovi cruises BON JOVI fans will be able to join the rocker himself next year on a ‘Runway to Paradise’ cruise vacation operated by Norwegian Cruise Line. Norwegian Jade will sail a Caribbean cruise from Miami to Nassau (April 1216) and Norwegian Pearl will host a Mediterranean cruise (August 26-30). Guests onboard will experience a full rock show on the pool deck, an acoustic storyteller set, speaker panels and historic memorabilia. There will also be a pop-up Bon Jovi shop and guests in the first 400 staterooms will get a photo opportunity with the star. runwaytoparadise.com

Ajman ready for UK trade

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NEWS TO USE IN BRIEF COSTA Rica’s Poás Volcano National Park has re-opened after being closed for more than a year. The park, one of the country’s ‘must see’ wonders, features the 8,900-ft-high Poás, one of Costa Rica’s six active volcanoes with a crater lake near the summit. Its variety of walking trails are surrounded by cloud forests. visitcostarica.com

BY LAURA GELDER

LITTLE-KNOWN Ajman, one of the United Arab Emirates, is investing in the UK by opening its first overseas office. Scott Marketing, fronted by Ian Scott who was UK Director for Dubai Tourism for eight years, has been appointed to introduce the destination to the UK travel trade. Just a 30-minute drive from Dubai airport, Ajman hopes to flourish as a tourism destinationon the back of new developments and hotel openings that include the Oberoi Beach Resort Al Zorah, the Radisson Blu Hotel Ajman and the Wyndham

Garden Ajman Corniche. Also new is Al Zorah Marina. Top Ajman attractions include Ajman Corniche, a four-kilometrelong esplanade overlooking the Arabian Gulf; Masfout, a small enclave in the Hajar Mountains popular for hiking and biking; the lush oasis of Manama; and the Al Zorah Nature Reserve, an area of mangrove forest and lagoons that’s home to nearly 60 bird species. Among the cultural attractions are the Ajman Museum, an 18th century fort filled with artefacts and exhibits. ajmantourism.ae

World’s longest bridge connects Hong Kong and Macao BY BEN COREN

THE Hong Kong-Zuhai-Macao Bridge finally opened on October 24 after nine years of construction and multiple delays. Linking Hong Kong and Macao, it spans 55km across the Pearl River Estuary and is 20 times the size of San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge. Actually a series of interconnecting bridges and tunnels supported by a small artificial island and including a dual three-lane carriageway, the bridge cuts the travelling time between Hong Kong and Macao to 45 minutes, down from four hours. “The opening of the bridge solidifies Hong Kong’s position as a transportation hub within Asia”, said Dawn Page, Director of the Hong Kong Tourism Board for the UK and Northern Europe.

EDINBURGH has become Emirates’ second destination in Scotland and its eighth hub in the UK after Heathrow, Gatwick, Stansted Manchester, Birmingham, Glasgow and Newcastle. emirates.com

IBERIA is boosting capacity on routes to Montevideo, Quito and Rio de Janeiro from July 2019, flying to each city daily from its Madrid hub. The carrier is also resuming direct services from Madrid to San Francisco. iberia.es MAURITIUS is the location for the first property of newly-launched hotel brand, SALT. The 59-room SALT of Palmar opens this month (November) and is putting an emphasis on Mauritian life. Guests will be able to immerse themselves in local culture via ‘Skill Swap’ by exchanging time and talents with locals. saltresorts.com CELEBRITY CRUISES has unveiled a new online hub that brings together all website, sales and marketing tools, training and agent assets in one place. It also features Cruising Power, Air Waves, Celebrity’s digital library, rewards and Cruising for excellence together. celebritycentral.co.uk

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the review: show report

 SEVILLE, SPAIN – OCTOBER 7-9 2018

ABTA reigns in Spain Steve Hartridge reports from the travel association’s annual convention

Young travellers turn to specialists MILLENNIALS are turning to travel agents as trust in online providers and review sites wanes, ABTA’s Holiday Habits Report 2018 reveals. With confidence in review sites among 25-34 year-olds falling to 39% from 53% a year ago, one in five of this age group also said they had a better holiday when booking their trip with a travel professional. And 32% of 18-24 year olds said they were more likely to book with an agent for the new destinations and experiences they suggest. “It’s a combination of factors: “they want the security and certainty of what they are booking with their heard-earned cash and simply either do not trust what they are reading online or have the time to sift through all the information that is out there – and why would they do that when they can speak directly to an agent who knows the product and destination they are considering?”, said one agent in Seville.

Agents hold trump cards

THE theme of this year’s convention, Truth, Trust and the Expert, was best explored by Ogilvy’s Rory Sutherland, who urged agents to be the best ‘information aggregators’ they could be to generate trust and keep the travel industry honest”

AGENTS are likely to convert an enquiry from a potential client into a booking nine times out of ten, according to ABTA’s Holiday Habits Report 2018. The study of 2,000 consumers, released in Seville (pictured), suggests that 93% of those who contact a travel consultant will proceed to book with a travel specialist rather than organising the holiday themselves Also encouraging for agents is that there is no decline in the number of Brits taking and planning a holiday in 2019, despite rising concerns Brexit

might make travel more difficult and increase prices. The ABTA report showed that 86% of Brits said they took a holiday at home or abroad in the 12 months up to the end of August and 60% took a foreign holiday. Travel is still a spending priority for many, with 51% saying they plan to spend at least the same on their holidays in 2019. And 40% who booked an overseas holiday did so with a travel company or agent. Europe topped the list of destinations people most wish to visit next year. abta.com

easyJet for agents TRAVEL agents will play a part in helping easyjet grow its easyjet Holidays division, which launched in 2015, said Johan Lundergen, the airline’s CEO. “The world has moved on and we can work with all travel providers…many agents are providing a very good service,” he said.

SHOW SHORTS

Japan to host ABTA’s 2019 convention TOKYO, Japan, will host ABTA’s 2019 Travel Convention. The event will be staged from October 7-9 at Prince Hotels and Resorts, Grand Prince Hotel New Takanawa. The convention will take place at the same time the country holds the Rugby World Cup.

THERE was a discernible murmur around the convention hall when ABTA Chief Executive Mark Tanzer kicked off the convention proceedings by saying “The future (for those in travel) is unlikely to be paradise but there’s no reason to believe it will be hell either. There will be winners and losers, but those who succeed will be those who have prepared.” THERE was a 3% rise in solo travel in the last 12 months and the sector has increased by 12% since 2011, according to ABTA’s Holiday Habits Report 2018. POPULAR with ABTA delegates in Seville was a night spot attraction Tablao El Arenal. Close to the city’s impressive cathedral, the venue offers a 90-minute Flamenco, music and dinner show. Costs for the show and drink is 39 euros, Flamenco and tapas 49 euros, and the dance and music and a threecourse meal, with drink, 72 euros. There are three shows each day. tablaoelarenal.com

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the review: destination update

Washington DC If your clients think they know Washington DC and ‘have been there, done that’, tell them to think again as there is plenty that is new in the U.S. capital, says Steve Hartridge Tourism numbers up

THE WHARF

To help maintain the momentum during the winter months Destination DC has joined forces with United Airlines and USAirtours on a new ‘Stopover’ initiative. The pilot scheme provides UK travellers arriving into and connecting through Washington Dulles International Airport between November 1 2018 and February 28 2019 with a free two-day stopover option. Visitors can choose from accommodation at some of the city’s most attractive hotels, including the Hotel Monaco, The Dupont Circle Hotel, Washington Hilton, Liaison Capitol Hill and Hotel Palomar. The city’s tourism organisation is encouraging visitors to ‘Discover the Real DC’ through a new advertising campaign that highlights DC’s diverse neighbourhoods, dining options, outdoor adventures and booming arts and culture scene. washington.org

Hotels boom DC is a city enjoying a transformation. On the hotel front, there are 20 hotels and over 4,500 rooms in the pipeline, with 16 properties currently under development. Making the most noise is the new Eaton Hotel, which is in its soft-opening stages. The former Four Points Sheraton is being transformed into a 209-room ‘lifestyle

WASHINGTON MONUMENT

property’. It features a movie theatre and a juice bar and wellness centre. Other brands, including The Moxy Washington, DC Downtown, a budgetminded, 200-room property with petite rooms and large shared public spaces, and Conrad Washington, DC, currently in the middle of a $50-million renovation, should make their debuts in the next six months. The immediate streets surrounding Union Market, DC’s indie food market, is a hotbed of development and DC’s first Virgin Hotel is expected to open in late 2019. Also near the market, Mob Hotel, a Parisbased chain with a design team lead Philippe Starck, is expected to open its first of five planned North American hotels in DC in 2020.

The Wharf Already up and running is The Wharf, in the southwest of the city. Described as the city’s first true waterfront destination, it fronts the Potomac river. The Wharf, which currently has three hotels – Hyatt House (see review in Selling Travel, October 2018), Canopy by Hilton and intercontinental – several top-end restaurants and three live music venues,

CAPITOL RIVERFRONT

WASHINGTON.ORG/DESTINATION DC

Free nights for Brits

WASHINGTON.ORG/DESTINATION DC

Washington DC is known for its monuments, memorials, museums, distinctive neighbourhoods and, of course, the White House, but there are plenty of ‘fresh’ reasons for recommending the USA’s capital. The destination, and the state of Virginia beyond, was served a blow when Primera Air, which earlier this year started a service between Stansted and Washington Dulles International Airport, went bust in September. But DC is unlikely to be short of future tourists: 2017 was DC’s eighth successive year of record visitation, with 22.8 million domestic and overseas visitors – and the UK was its number one market after Canada.

is getting ready for the second phase of its development that will add parks and public spaces, luxury retail outlets and much more. From The Wharf there is a free shuttle bus to the National Mall, while water taxis connect to Georgetown, Alexandria and National Harbour. Gearing up for its reopening after a $10.8 million refresh is the iconic 555-foot tall Washington Monument that looks down on the National Mall. The obelisk, which expects to start welcoming visitors again in March 2019, will have a new elevator system and promises a refreshed ‘visitor experience’.

BOOK IT WITH... USAIRTOURS USAirtours is offering two free nights in DC when clients book a twin- or multi-centre holiday via Washington Dulles. For example, a £855pp deal includes flights with United, two nights in the Omni Shoreham Hotel in DC, an internal flight to Las Vegas and four nights at Park MGM Las Vegas. Also included: free transfers in DC and 2 for 1 tickets to Newseum. The offer is valid January 4 to February 28 2019. usairtours.co.uk

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your

CARIBBEAN NEWS THIS MO N TH’S TOP STORIES FROM THE CARIB B EAN

NEW RESORT FOR ANTIGUA

MEET THE CTO MEMBER

Adult-only Hammock Cove Resort is set to open in Antigua in summer 2019. The Elite Island Resorts hotel will be located close to Antigua’s UNESCO World Heritage Devil’s Bridge National Park. It will feature 40 private villas and an infinity pool. eliteislandresorts.

GEMMA LEWIS

Escape Marketing

Q

Q

WHAT CTO activities is Escape Marketing involved in? We have been a member since our company started eight years ago. The CTO markets to different audiences so we participate in trade focused activities such as their regular e-newsletter to agents, Meet the Media and TravMedia days to meet new PR contacts, and Consumer shows such as Destinations.

Q

WHAT don’t readers know about Escape? We currently represent a lovely selection of hotels in Barbados. Our website – escapemarketing.net is a useful source to help the trade sell our properties.

Q

WHAT’S your top Caribbean tip? To see as many islands as possible as each has its own unique identity, history, culture, and gastronomy.

PERFECT DAY WITH ROYAL CARIBBEAN CTO Roadshow in Liverpool

Agents win at CTO Roadshow

Royal Caribbean International has unveiled the first of its new Perfect Day Island Collection, a series of private island destinations. The Perfect Day at CocoCay Bahamas will offer several excursion options and is due for completion autumn 2019. royalcaribbean.com

The CTO visited Liverpool and Newcastle last month during its 2018 Roadshow, giving agents the chance to win prizes from various Caribbean destinations. Steven Jones, Travel Counsellors and Rachel Grant, Horncastle, both won a fam trip place to Tobago. Nicky Aitchison, Hays Travel, won a suitcase and Lisa Mousley, Caribbean & Exotic Boutique Luxury Holidays, an ecoRucksack. Angela Wood, Hays Travel, Michelle Taylor, VIP TRANSFERS WITH SANDALS Getaway Travel, Rachel Grant, Horncastle, Layla Davies, Virgin Atlantic Flightstore, Kelly Robinson, STA Travel, Sandals has launched Laura Jenions, Not Just Travel, Peter a luxury transfer service for Wright, BCD Travel, Paul Scott, guests staying at its Montego Your Holiday Booking, Laura Bay resort in Jamaica. And as of Jenions, Not Just Travel, November 15, guests staying in osting TO is h Rebecca Whitmore, Travel Club and Butler rooms at the y a D The C g in nt Train e g t e A Counsellors and Racheal Sandals Royal Caribbean will rk n a l Ma d Trave nd ta s Parkinson, Virgin Holidays, all also receive private, round-trip at Worl t a 7 ember @ on Nov brooks won gift bags. onecaribbean.org transfers. sandals.co.uk a : il a m E

HOTTEST NEWS

WHAT are the benefits of being a CTO member? As a small organisation with limited budgets, its great to be a member of an active organisation that assists us in promoting our properties and gaining maximum reach to key markets.

don’t miss

. CA260

om urism.c caribto

TO celebrate KAABOO Cayman – a new music and comedy festival on the Cayman Islands – agents have the chance Gemma, a previous wnner to win a holiday for two when they make a minimum booking of five nights between now and May 31, 2019, and send to agentbooking@ caymanislands.ky. The two-day festival debuts on February 15, 2019, with a lineup including The Chainsmokers and Duran Duran.Book at kaaboocayman.com

VARIOUS North American airlines have increased airlift to St. Kitts following an influx in arrivals. American Airlines has resumed its St. Kitts is proving popular second daily flight from Miami. As of November 17, Delta Air Lines will operate non-stop Saturday flights from JFK; United Airlines will add Wednesday flights, starting January 9, 2019 from Newark, and Sun Country Airlines will begin Saturday flights, leaving Minneapolis from December 22, 2018. eturbonews.com

caribbean.co.uk Sign up to the CTO’s training programme at caribbeantravelguru.com

Caribbean news.indd 79

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Tamzin

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ABTA No. V4744

10/24/18 03:58 PM 19/10/2018 11:32


your guide to

River Cruising

Contents • 76 News • 78 Luxury River Cruising • 82 Danube Journey • 87 Six of the Best: Loire • 88 At a Glance • 90 Ship Review: U by Uniworld sellingtravel.co.uk

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river cruising: news

Cruise Update

Learn more about Fred

FOUR new ships will be added to Uniworld’s fleet over the next three years. The luxury line will launch vessels on the Nile, the Douro and the Mekong in 2020, and a new ship on the Volga in Russia in 2021, replacing existing vessels in each destination and putting them in line with Uniworld’s custom-built ‘Super Ships’ it has in Europe.

ANDY HARMER, CLIA UK & Ireland Director

THE river cruise sector is undergoing somewhat of a renaissance, with new ships entering the market, exciting new itineraries and an increasing number of younger travellers. Thanks to unprecedented growth in this sector in the past decade, the days of river being a marginal part of the cruise industry are over. Key to this ongoing success is the cruise lines and agents working hard to change perceptions of river cruising. Fabulous new ships are being built that are meeting guests’ demands: cabins with balconies, light and airy restaurants, al fresco bar areas, swimming pools, even spas and cinemas. A significant appeal of river cruising is that guests can travel on a smaller ship with port intensive itineraries offering a more experienceled holiday, Agents may wish to highlight experiences that a river cruise could offer, from cycling around some of Europe’s finest cities to onboard silent discos, mixology classes and wine-and-paint sessions. As the river cruise industry becomes more inclusive, broadens its itineraries and destinations and develops onboard offerings, there’s no doubt it has a great future. cruiseexperts.org

CRUISE NEWS IN BRIEF

uniworld.com/uk

BY LAURA GELDER

FRED. Olsen Cruise Lines has launched an online training programme following the launch of its first river ship Brabant. The programme has five modules focusing on life on board Brabant, the European destinations it serves, key experiences, guest services and how to book, plus a short quiz at the end of each module. Brabant was launched in April and has been sailing the Danube, Main, Moselle and Rhine rivers. Mike Evans, Head of Sales at Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines, said: “We know that our travel agents are integral to our success, and it is paramount that those selling our river cruises really understand the product that we offer, how

we operate and how this differs from our ocean cruises. Our new European River Cruising online training programme is the perfect way for us to make sure travel agents know Brabant and our sailings inside out. The programme is available on Fred. Olsen’s Travel Agent Centre, a dedicated trade resource which holds useful information in downloadable documents, videos, images and virtual tours of each of company’s ocean and river ships. Brabant cruises include the five-night Delights of Holland in Bloom cruise, round-trip from Düsseldorf and calling at Dutch ports including Schoonhoven and Amsterdam. fredolsencruises.com/agent

FRED. River Cruises has announced it is now the official UK GSA for American Cruise Lines. It will offer 35 sailings across 25 states on modern river boats, coastal cruise ships and paddlewheelers, including cruises on the Mississippi. fredrivercruises.co.uk

AVALON Waterways and its sister brand, Cosmos, have announced a significant expansion of its sales team and greater commitment to the trade. The new sales recruits will be working to educate agents about Avalon’s move to an all-suite fleet from 2019 and the expansion of its Asian river cruise programme to include the Ganges from 2019. avaloncruises.co.uk/agent-login

A-Rosa offers every passenger the chance to get on their bike A-ROSA Cruises is giving its customers the chance to explore the River Seine by electric bike. The move follows a successful trial over the summer and growing demand from customers for bike tours in many of the cities and destinations visited by the river cruise line. Eleven e-bikes are offered onboard A-Rosa Viva. Each is fitted with a compact electric motor, offering 250 watts of

power. Riders can pick the level of assistance they require or switch the motor off altogether if they want a workout. Lucia Rowe, Head of A-ROSA UK and Ireland said: “We offer bike tours on all our ships, but these new e-bikes make our excursions even more accessible and will appeal to a more varied audience. We are looking at the possibility of rolling them out on other rivers and vessels.” arosa-cruises.com

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luxury river cruising

royals rivers for

Much of the current innovation in river cruising is concentrated on attracting a high-end clientele. Sara Macefield discovers a luxurious life on the river

I

t’s an unearthly hour of the morning to be leaving for a flight and I’d normally be running late and panicking, but instead I’m whisked to Gatwick in a chauffeur-driven Mercedes. As an introduction to upscale river cruising it’s not bad and I’m sold before I even start my journey down the Rhine. Upon climbing aboard AmaVenita, which for my cruise has been chartered by APT, I’m delighted that my cabin has not one but two balconies, and there are more treats to come. APT is known for complimentary Signature Experiences and on this voyage there’s one with a royal touch as we leave for an exclusive dinner at Namedy Castle,

hosted by its blue-blooded owner Princess Heidi von Hohenzollern. It’s a grand affair with all the trimmings, as a sumptuous feast is served in the vast mirrored ballroom, on tables heaving with crystal and silver and sprinkled with the delicate virtuoso performance of a talented pianist. The memorable evening is finished with a fireworks display as we depart, but life onboard AmaVenita is similarly sumptuous. Gourmet cuisine comes as standard, especially in the intimate Chef’s Table restaurant where we enjoy a delicious tasting menu accompanied with a selection of fine wines. All too soon my time aboard ends, but on arrival at Gatwick my chauffeured chariot

awaits, setting a winning seal on a truly quality experience.

Race to the high-end

River cruise companies are upping the ante in the luxury stakes by adding facilities and building up their gourmet credentials. These lines have always considered themselves a cut above their ocean cruise cousins thanks to their intimate quality offering, and new river craft are reinforcing this with even more innovative twists and upscale foodie experiences. At nearly double the width of traditional river vessels, AmaWaterways’ revolutionary AmaMagna, due to launch next May, is the best example with more spacious cabins,

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luxury river cruising

extra dining venues and a water sports platform complete with its own boat. Cruise Lines International Association UK & Ireland director Andy Harmer says river cruise companies are increasingly creating vessels to rival luxury hotels. “Cabins on Crystal Cruises’ sister ships, Crystal Ravel and Crystal Debussy, will include features not typical of river vessels, such as walk-in wardrobes and king-size beds, while American Cruise Lines’ newest ship, American Song, will boast lounges soaring 40ft above the water, with triple the amount of glass of other riverboats, to offer astounding views,” he explained. Harmer feels increased themed sailings, particularly those concentrating on golf and beer-tasting, are also helping to attract

ocean cruise customers and first-timers. Crystal Cruises Senior Sales and Marketing Manager Elaine Gillard agreed. “Crystal River guests not only come from other Crystal ships but luxury hotels and other ultra-luxury cruise lines,” she added. “We feel river cruising is about giving choice, from dining to suites and excursions to entertainment. Luxury guests do not want to be told what to do on holiday.” For agents looking to cross-sell, Harmer suggests targeting those enquiring about city breaks or rail trips. “It’s a perfect opportunity for agents because customers can add a hotel stay or rail journey pre- or post-cruise, turning it into something extra special,” he said.

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Top experiences

Home from home: Join a local family in their own home in Croatia for a traditional home-cooked meal and learn about their lives, offered on Danube sailings with Scenic (scenic.co.uk). Island delights: Enjoy a cocktail party like no other on this Ganges sailing with Uniworld (uniworld.com) where the vessel moors up on a small private island in this holy river for an impromptu drinks party where guests can toast the cultural riches all around them.

Main picture: SS Beatrice, Uniworld’s newest ‘ Super Ship’. From left: Uniworld offers guests white-gloved personal service; Imperial Evening at the Palais Pallavicini in Vienna with Tauck; and Crystal Cruises vessels incorporate features such as pools, not expected on river boats

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luxury river cruising

A regal occasion: Revel in the glitz and glamour of an ‘Imperial evening’ at the private Palais Pallavicini in Vienna with Tauck (tauck.co.uk). Guests are greeted with white-gloved waiters bearing trays of champagne, followed by a tour and a lavish gourmet dinner while dancers, singers and musicians in period dress keep guests entertained. Fish for piranhas: Get ready to do battle with these fearsome predators in the South American jungle while cruising along the Peruvian Amazon with Aqua Expeditions (aquaexpeditions.com). And while you’re there, keep your eyes open for the river’s legendary pink river dolphins.

What’s new

New vessels: Leading the charge is AmaWaterways’ 196-passenger AmaMagna (amawaterways.co.uk), though Uniworld (uniworld.com) unveils its latest ‘Super Ship’ next April, SS Bon Voyage, formerly River Royale,, which is being upgraded with two new dining venues and enhanced culinary features that include French cooking classes. New itineraries: Crystal River Cruises (crystalcruises.co.uk) makes its debut on the Moselle next year with 10-day Enchanting

Moselle sailings and is also introducing themed cruises that include focuses on wine and Jewish heritage. Tauck (tauck.co.uk) has added three new focused sailings for 2019: a Christmas season family-friendly Danube voyage; a Rhine Oktoberfest cruise; and an eightday Seine sailing highlighting Normandy’s D-Day Beaches. The strong recovery in the Egypt cruise market has prompted Uniworld to add two new optional extensions to Jordan and Israel on to its 2019 Nile sailings. New features: APT (aptouring.co.uk) has added enhancements for 2019, led by its culinary ambassador, celebrity chef Luke Nguyen, who is hosting three sailings in Vietnam, Burma and Bordeaux. It is also introducing trips aboard the Grand Empress steam train in Budapest on its Magnificent Europe itinerary. A new active focus is added to 2019 sailings in Bordeaux and Provence with Scenic (scenic. co.uk) introducing yoga sessions, e-bike riding routes and Nordic hiking – and guests can relax in special salt therapy lounges now on all Rhine, Main and Danube voyages. A special D-Day departure along the Seine is also introduced to mark the 75h anniversary of the

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D-Day Landings. Avalon Waterways (avaloncruises.co.uk) is turning up the luxury touch with all its vessels becoming suite only from next year. River barging is also getting a higher profile, helped by Belmond (belmond. com) adding two barges to its Afloat in France brand this year, while European Waterways (europeanwaterways.com) has upped the range of exclusive experiences following customer demand.

Where to book it

TITAN – 0800 988 5800 Step aboard ‘Royal Barge’ Spirit of Chartwell, which carried the Queen during the Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant, and now sails along Portugal’s Douro River. Titan offers a nine-night Celebration of Lisbon and the Douro package that combines a two-night stay in the capital with a seven-night sailing. It costs from £2,699pp, departing on April 24, 2019.

titantravel.co.uk

SANCTUARY RETREATS – +87 27 8549 6106 A three-night sailing along China’s Yangtze River is offered on the Sanctuary Yangzi Explorer from £1,040pp for 2019 departures. Flights are extra. sanctuaryretreats.com  Pictured clockwise from top left: Wine tasting at the Wurzburg Residence, Bavaria; Namedy Castle; xgourmet dining with Crystal Cruises

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my trip to... Danube

discovering the

Danube

Jessica Pook joins a Riviera cruise on the Blue Danube and takes in some of Europe’s cultural jewels

Y

ou have to treat Big Tommy with the same respect you would a woman,” says our captain as we stare at the various controls lighting up the bridge. It’s clear he has developed a great fondness for MS Thomas Hardy in the year it’s been on the water, but the chance for me to sit in the captain’s chair is too tempting – he will have to relinquish the helm. We are onboard for a four-night Danube river cruise with Riviera, from Austria to Hungary, with stops along the way in Linz, Melk, Vienna and Budapest. I am 27 and so not the average river cruise customer – passengers are typically

50-plus – but after a few games of gin rummy on the top deck I’m soon accepted. As we wind our way past castles, rolling hills and quaint villages I surprise myself at how quickly I settle into the leisurely rhythm of river cruising and find immense pleasure in watching the world pass by from the comfort of my own private balcony. Is there a better way to see a country?

Healing waters

It’s easy to relax in Budapest, a laid-back and unassuming city. And nowhere is more relaxing than the Szechenyi Baths, with its 18 indoor and

outdoor thermal pools. The baths are humming with laughter and chit- chat from locals and tourists alike who are basking on the sun loungers or wallowing unashamedly in the waters, embracing this age-old tradition with no inhibitions. But besides the baths themselves, it’s actually the building that attracts my attention. Over 100 years old, the mustard-coloured turrets, grand arches and colourful tiled ceilings make it one of Budapest’s top attractions. Thermal water is present under 80% of Hungary. The country is located over an active geo-thermic area and boasts more than 1,400 springs and 200 thermal

From left: Cityscape of Vienna; the glowing Szechenyi Baths in Budapest; ready for the captain’s dinner onboard the ship; views of Vienna from St Stephen Church; the National History Museum, Vienna

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my trip to... Danube

baths. In fact, water is such an large part of the country’s foundation that it literally splits the capital apart. Buda and Pest are separated by the Danube, with Buda housing hilltop castles and green pastures, oozing prosperity, whereas its flat neighbour, Pest, is buzzing with a thriving gastronomy scene, and backstreet bars where a younger generation congregate. It’s here that I’m challenged with learning my first Hungarian word…’egészségedre’ (cheers) – and that’s about all I manage before we set off for a new country.

Culture and coffee

Home to emperors and Austrian royalty, baroque-style fortresses and the dancing white Lipizzan stallions of the Spanish Riding School, Vienna is a fairytale come to life. But the real world isn’t so bad either – Vienna has been named the most liveable city in the world. Walk the city streets and its architectural splendor rises, almost shining from the sparkling clean streets. Scan Vienna’s rooftops and you’ll notice grand architecture built by the Habsburg monarchy, while at street level you are transported back to the present by chattering locals enjoying the coffee house culture whilst indulging in a traditional chocolate Sachertorte. This alone is enough to consider living here! It’s on a walking tour of the city that I discover more about the historical influences of Vienna. Its most famous son, Wolfgang Mozart, lived and composed here until his death in 1791. Then there’s Johann Strauss,

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composer of the Viennese Waltz, but Danube jewels I’m particularly drawn to a historical Midway between Salzberg and figure whose name I was unfamiliar Vienna lies the pretty Linz. The characterful with until now, Empress Sisi. riverside city is adorned with multiDescribed as a free spirit, she gave birth coloured buildings, but delving a bit to 16 children and travelled the world, deeper I learn that each colour represents defying Habsburg a different trade. protocol despite being There’s red for the “Pest is buzzing with a married to Emperor butcher, blue for the thriving gastronomy Franz Joseph. baker and yellow for She was, it seems, breweries – which scene and backstreet the ultimate makes me aware bars where a younger independent woman. of how dominated generation congregate” these streets are But Vienna’s not all about past by yellow buildings. glories and there are plenty of up-andOur guide attempts to explain that, back coming neighbourhoods to explore. in the days, beer was safer to drink than These include the hip and coffee-mad water, but I’m not sure if I’m convinced. Freihausviertel and, beyond the city It was here that Hitler announced the centre, the colourful Naschmarket, where country’s annexation to Germany during lunchers gather for something sweet or a the Second World War, at the balcony of refreshing beer in the afternoon sunshine. the Altes Rathaus, the city hall. Linz was

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famously his favourite I’m struck by the intricate details and city and where he attended school as a ceiling murals. But then we enter the young boy. The Niblungen bridge, one library. Oh the library! With over 12 rooms of two bridges crossing the Danube devoted to over 100,000 scriptures I half here, was built under his command. expect someone to come sliding along Our next stop, Melk on a ladder to pluck Abbey, in the small one off the top shelf “Melk Abbey is one of and dust it off for me. town of Melk, seems to appear from nowhere! Alas, there are no the biggest European This working monastery ladders, but the guide Baroque structures. dominates the town, reveals something Monks have been living even better – secret sitting proudly on a hilltop overlooking corridors hidden here since 1089” the Danube. It is within the shelves. one of the biggest European Baroque There’s a saying that the Danube appears structures with an impressive golden blue for drunks and those in love but exterior. It has been housing Benedictine unfortunately on my trip it remained monks since 1089 and most of the pretty grey. But the characterful cities and nuns that reside in the monastery colourful sunsets I encountered along the today don’t ever go outside its walls! way more than made up for it…or perhaps Touring through some of its 497 rooms I just needed more time at the bar! 

Top tips Ride by All Riviera ships offer free hire bikes onboard and many ports offer good riverside cycle paths from which to explore. A dining must The ship has a stylish bistro onboard, with an open kitchen, large panoramic windows and al fresco seating. With lobster and steak on the menu, it makes for a romantic setting while the sun sets, Worth noting In dry summers the water between Vienna and Budapest (which is said to be the prettiest stretch to cruise through and instead guests are transported via coach. This can prove stressful for some guests as hoards of passenger make the same three-hour journey.

Where to book it

River Travel offers the seven-night Blue Danube River Cruise from £1,099pp. Price includes seven nights full board accommodation on a five-star ship, return flights from the UK, airport transfers and all tours as stated in the cruise itinerary. Some regional flight departures carry a supplement. rivieratravel.co.uk

From left: Melk Abbey Monastery; a view of Pest from the Danube; Naschmarket in Vienna; pretty pastel streets of Linz

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a dv e r t or ia l

a new way to river cruise

R

iver cruising has seen a surge in popularity in recent years, but there’s no better time to book a European river cruise than now, when your clients can step aboard Fred. Olsen’s new ship, the sleek and stylish Brabant. Your clients can wake up to views of stunning castles, pretty villages or rolling countryside, while sailing from one idyllic destination to another. They can explore a new town or city each day, without the hassle of arranging transport and enjoy a multicity break, where the cost includes flights, transfers and meals. At just 100-metres long, the 156-guest Brabant is the smallest of the Fred. Olsen fleet and in its second season, 2019/20, will offer over 30 enticing sailings along the stunning Danube, Moselle, Main and Rhine rivers.

Enhanced on-board offering New for the season, Brabant will have an enhanced range of speakers to share their expertise on fascinating topics. These include the Royal Horticultural Society’s John Hughes; Brigadier Philip Sanders and wine expert Martin Ward. Guests can opt for the ‘Dining Drinks Package’, which, for £10pp per night, offers house wine, European

Fred Olsen Advertorial 2.indd 46

lager, bitter and branded soft drinks on an all-inclusive basis when served with lunch and dinner. Guests can also purchase a shore tours package for £200, guaranteeing them one shore tour on every port day, with trips taking in Cologne’s stunning Cathedral and Breisach’s beautiful Black Forest.

Top training Fred. Olsen’s new European River Cruising Online Training Programme (fredolsentraining.com) features five modules including life on board Brabant, destinations and key experiences, complete with videos, images and useful downloadable documents. All agents who complete the training, available on Fred. Olsen’s Travel Agent Centre, can earn £20 in vouchers for their first booking. Just email cruise.sales@fredolsen.co.uk with the booking reference and course certificate. Agents who make a Brabant booking will also be in with the chance of winning a cruise for two or a new Fiat 500 this December. To win register every booking they make with Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines until December 15. fredolsencruises.com/agent

10/26/18 06:34 PM


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CroisiEurope

Best River Line Itineraries

10/24/18 04:05 PM 22/10/2018 10:25


six of the best

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Loire stops

FRANCE

France’s longest waterway flows 629 miles, from the Massif Central through the Loire Valley and into the Atlantic’s Bay of Biscay. Laura Gelder goes with the flow Nantes Usually the start and end point of a Loire cruise, Brittany’s capital was the site of the world’s first public transport service, the omnibus, in 1826 and the birthplace of science fiction writer Jules Verne. At the heart of the town is the Chateau des Ducs de Bretagne, but other attractions include the gothic cathedral and the botanical gardens. Quirky spots number the old biscuit factory, now converted into a trendy arts centre, and Machines of the Isle of Nantes, an artisitic project in an old shipyard.

Ancenis Dubbed the key or door of Brittany, Ancenis is a jumpingoff point for the Muscadet wine region and its pretty villages and vineyards are dotted with cellars open for tours and tastings. Alternatively, visitors can discover the many different types of wine the region produces at the Maison des vins in Ancenis itself. The town’s modern theatre and library blend in with the old château, Saint-Pierre church, manor houses and more humble homes with cast-iron balconies.

Bouchemain This is the gateway to the fairytale chateaux of the Loire Valley. There are more than 1,000 within reach for a day trip but the closest is perhaps the most iconic – the cream turrets of Chateau d’Ussé are said to be the inspiration behind Sleeping Beauty. Other highlights include Chateau Azay-leRideau, which sits on an island in the middle of the River Indre, creating a mirror image of itself in the still water, and Chateau de Villandry, known for its amazing gardens.

Angers Medieval cobbled streets and busy cafes for quaffing the local wine, as well as Cointreau liqueur, set the scene in Angers. The old town is full of half-timbered houses and the 13th century Chateau d’Angers houses the world’s largest medieval tapestry – the 328-foot Apocalypse tapestry which was commissioned by the Duke of Anjou in 1370 took seven years to complete. This lively university city is home to over 39,000 students and has some excellent places to eat.

Clisson From Ancencis, head up the tributary river Sèvre Nantaise and tour the distinctly Italian-influenced town of Clisson, which was fashioned by three French artists who in the 18th century helped reshape the war-torn town on their return from Italy. Sights include a medieval castle and 15th-century covered market hall. Just out of town, activities include hiking in the Valley Clisson’s 21 bucolic trails offering views of rivers and vineyards.

Saint-Nazaire Downstream from Nantes, on the Atlantic coast, this atmospheric port is a centre for maritime history. Must-sees are Escal’Atlantic, a museum that explores the historic ocean liner experience, and the Saint-Nazaire shipyard. The yard is one of the largest in Europe and the birthplace of some of the greatest transatlantic liners as well as modern vessels like Royal Caribbean’s 5,479-passenger Harmony of the Seas so surely a great excursion for any cruise lover!

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Chobe, Botswana

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Russian Waterways

French Waterways

Dutch Waterways

Po, Italy

Rhine, Switzerland to the Netherlands

LEAD-IN CRITERIA

Moselle, France, Lux, Germany

RESERVATIONS

Main Danube Canal, Germany

CRUISE LINE

Douro, Portugal

At a glance

Elbe, Czech Republic to Germany

river cruising directory

Danube, Central Europe

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Amadeus River Cruises

0800 035 6411 amadeus-rivercruises.co.uk

£1129pp, 7-night Treasures of Burgundy & Provence, including flights, non-UK transfers and port charges

A-ROSA River Cruises

020 3290 5713 arosa-cruises.com

£1519pp, 7-night Classic Danube Explorer (via Newmarket Holidays) including flights, meals and drinks.

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AmaWaterways

0800 520 2252 amawaterways.co.uk

£2,029pp, 7-night Melodies of the Danube, incl. all meals with drinks plus excursions

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APT River Cruises

0800 012 6686 aptouring.co.uk

£1,295pp, 8-day Reflections of the Rhine & Main incl. flights, meals, excursions, transfers

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Avalon Waterways

0330 058 8237 avaloncruises.co.uk

£1,525; 8 days Tulips of Northern Holland, flying from Gatwick, including all transfers and private home pick-up

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Belmond

0845 077 2222 belmond.com

£990pp, 2-night cruise on Road to Mandalay with transfers, meals with wine

CroisiEurope

020 8328 1281 croisieurope.co.uk

£332pp for a 4-day short break in Paris

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Crystal River Cruises

020 7399 7604 crystalcruises.co.uk

£1,765pp, 7-night Danube cruise, Budapest to Vienna incl. all meals and drinks onboard

Emerald Waterways

0808 115 0469 emeraldwaterways.co.uk

£1,470pp, 8-day The Charms of Holland and Belgium river cruise incl. flights, excursions & meals on-board with drinks

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European Waterways

01753 598 555 europeanwaterways.com

£2,590pp, 6-night all-inclusive hotel barge cruises UK, France, Italy, Holland & Ireland

Fred.Olsen River Cruises

0800 0355 131 fredolsencruises.com

£999pp, 5-night Springtime Dutch Discovery cruise

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Fred.\River Cruises

0808 159 5256 fredrivercruises.co.uk

£599pp, 7-day (no-fly) Dutch Towns & Spring Gardens, full-board incl. return coach transfers

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Great Rail Journeys & Rail Discoveries

0800 240 4470 greatrail.com raildiscoveries.com

£795, 5-day The Path of the Seine, Paris to Normandy including rail, 11 meals and drinks

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Insider Journeys

01865 268 944 insiderjourneys.co.uk

£3,093, 16-day Mekong & Beyond small group journey. 7 nights’ cruise, 8 hotel)

Mekong Prestige River Cruise

0808 168 1458 ewaterways.co.uk

£1,149pp, 8-night cruise only between Saigon and Siem Reap, full-board including drinks

Newmarket Holidays

0330 160 7999 newmarketholidays.co.uk

£269pp, 4-day Rhine Christmas Markets Cruise

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Pandaw

020 8326 5620 pandaw.com

US$1,796pp 7-nights Mandaly to Bagan

Riviera Travel

01283 744 370 / 744 390 rivieratravel.co.uk/agents

£699pp for the Amsterdam & Dutch Bulbfields cruise

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Saga

0800 074 8021 saga.co.uk/rivercruises

£399pp 4-nights Holland in Bloom from April 2, 2019

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Sanctuary Retreats

+44 (0)1242 546609 sanctuaryretreats.com

£714pp, 3-night cruise from Bagan to Mandalay in 2016, based on two people

Scenic

0808 115 0463 scenic.co.uk

£1,695pp, 8-day Gems of the Danube five-star river cruise, incl. flights, excursions, meals & drinks

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Shearings Holidays

0344 556 0888 shearings.com/rivercruises

From £444, 4-night Scenic Rhine New Year full-board cruise with return coach travel

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Tauck River Cruises

0800 810 8020 tauck.co.uk

£3,070pp, 8-day ‘Holland & Belgium in the Spring’ incl. flights & category one cabin

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Titan

0800 988 5800 titanagents.co.uk

£999pp, 8-day Dutch Tulips and Windmills cruise including meals, transport and VIP transfers

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The River Cruise Line

01858 438 466 rivercruiseline.co.uk

£429pp, 4-day Amsterdam & Bulbfields Spectacular aboard the three-star MPS Lady Anne

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Uniworld

0808 168 9231 uniworld.com/uk

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

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Viking

020 8780 7985 vikingcruises.co.uk

£1545pp, 8-day Romantic Danube incl. wifi, meals with wine and beer & daily excursions

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Wendy Wu Tours

0800 902 0888 wendywutours.co.uk

£2,690pp, 14-day fully-inclusive Majestic Yangtze tour with flights and guided touring

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Rail - local station only

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Selected dates

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Selected cruises

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Coach/ Air/Rail

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In Europe

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WI-FI INCLUDED

ALL INCLUSIVE OPTION

UK TRANSFERS

Amazon

Murray River, Australia

Mississippi, USA

Yangtze, China

Nile, Egypt

Irrawaddy/ Chindwin, Burma

Indian Waterways

Mekong, Cambodia, Laos, and/or Vietnam

Available on request

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At a glance Nov.indd 89

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90

river cruising: ship review

U by Uniworld Steve Hartridge joins The A for a cruise on the Rhine The 50 or so bikes, locked firmly in place at the front of The A, caught my eye as I boarded the sleek-looking ship in Frankfurt. I guessed right then that I would probably enjoy a cycle by the river more than I would the two silent discos that were planned during my five-day Rolling on the Rhine cruise. I was right, but more about bikes and discos later. U by Uniworld first took to Europe’s rivers in April, launching with two 120-passenger matte-black ships, The A and The B. Billing itself as ‘the first river cruise line dedicated to a new generation of adult travellers’, its initial target sector was those aged 21-45, but when the bookings failed to materialise the concept was broadened to include young-at-heart adults of any age. Consequently, the average age of clients this year was around 35, but will be closer to 45 in 2019, the company says.

The lady in black The A is undeniably eye-catching: stylish, sexy and very black. A little ominous looking, river cruising’s version of Darth Vader takes me from Frankfurt to Amsterdam, with stops in Rüdesheim, Koblenz, Cologne and Düsseldorf. There’s four suites, 26 balcony bedrooms, 29 studio bedrooms and two studio bedrooms made for three, all with waterfront views. Facilities include communal tables for dining, a spa and two bars, including an ‘ice bar’ on the top deck. Also up top are several comfy clamshell loungers and deckchairs. Dinners, mostly buffets featuring ‘locallyinspired farm-to-table cuisine’, were always tasty, if not gourmet. My suite was huge – big enough for a queen-size double bed, a wardrobe, a table and two chairs, TV, fridge, mini-bar and sliding doors

that opened to the Rhine. A large bathroom, full of marble, had a walk-in rain shower, double sinks and Gilchrist & Soames BeeKind toiletries. I also liked the funky common areas, with their flashes of neon, black-and-white chessboard patterns and pop culture art pieces. A funky innovation on this ‘paperless’ ship is the WhatsApp group that all cruisers are asked to sign up to keep abreast of the day’s programme and activities. This worked great for those who were used to the free texting service but perplexed those who weren’t. That said, the full cruise itinerary and programme for each day is listed on the in-room TVs. Technology aboard is everywhere, such as the Bluetooth connectivity in each room and the USB ports scattered all over the ship.

Free excursions Guests can choose from a couple of daily ‘free activities’ – which is how I got to experience those bikes as we cycled from a village near Koblenz to Bonn, a four-hour trip. There are also optional excursions, for a fee, such as a visit to Eberbach Kloster in Rüdesheim for wine tasting. The monastery is where The Name of the Rose, with Sean Connery, was filmed. By Uniworld’s own admission, its U product has had some teething problems this year. On my early-summer cruise, for example, a few of the advertised activities just didn’t happen (and without explanation), like the onboard Cheese Academy, which billed itself as “a class where guests would learn how to make traditional handcrafted cheese and pair it with the finest Rieslings in a historic brandy factory.” Similarly, the promised onboard ‘local beers from breweries in the German cities we stop at’ never once materialised. Oddest of all, we

stopped for the day in Dusseldorf, which wasn’t on the advertised itinerary. And those silent discos, along with the ‘famous’ Dutch DJ who came aboard to spin his House Music tunes, were met with general apathy – which suggests even millennials don’t need or want to party hard every night. It struck me that a pianist, Jazz musician, Rat Pack crooner on the top deck or even a DJ playing ABBA would have been more popular.

New for 2019 Uniworld’s line is that U was something of a work in progress in 2018. “This first year was all about disrupting the industry – quite literally ‘testing the waters’ as we debuted a never-before-seen product,” said Ellen Bettridge, Uniworld’s President and CEO, on a recent visit to London. “We have listened to customers and learnt a lot about what they want. We have already made changes and have more planned for 2019,” she added. “For example, many guests requested an early continental breakfast option, so we introduced that. “Guests also asked if they could sleep under the stars on the top deck, so now they can camp on the rooftop (around £53 per tent, which sleeps two), complete with a nightcap cocktail and breakfast picnic basket.” Other planned changes for 2019 include new onboard activities such as rooftop barbecues, karaoke nights, giant board games and themed parties. A new itinerary in Northern France, on The B, will be introduced on April 21. The A’s eight-day itineraries on the Rhine start from £1,339pp including return flights or Eurostar, seven nights on board, two meals daily, and some activities and sightseeing. ubyuniworld.com

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the final word

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the quirky side of travel Breaking the law

The world is nothing if not diverse and what may be OK in the UK might not go down quite so well in, say, Kazakhstan. Travel advice site Smart Lemur has gathered a list of the most bizarre laws travellers may fall foul of. Tottering around an ancient archeological site in Greece in high heels is outlawed. In Germany, make sure your fuel tank is full or you could face a $100 fine for running out of gas on the autobahn. In Iran, men can be banged up for walking the streets with a mullet, ponytail or any other long hairstyle, while in Malaysia it's illegal to wear yellow, thanks to anti-government protesters. And jogging is illegal in Burundi – the government views it as subversive. smartlemur.com

In plane sight

easyJet has released an app designed for millennial travellers that enables them to book a flight using just a photo – just in case we really have lost the ability to use words. Users can take screen grabs from Instagram, upload them and then book a flight to the nearest airport to the pictured location. What's the bet that one hipster will end up in Albania instead of Amsterdam?

Rise of the robots

It seems machines really are replacing humans as Eurostar welcomes 'Pepper' to its fleet. Pepper is a humanoid robot which passengers can interact with to find out about their journey before departure. More importantly, it entertains younger travellers. You too can meet Pepper at London St. Pancras station and pose for a robot selfie.

TOP 6… Weirdest drive-thrus in the world The top six in-car convenience stops – according to Euro Car Parts

Bank, France

Fish & chips, Leeds

Oysters, Australia

Daiquiris, New Orleans

Wedding chapel, Las Vegas

eurostar.com

Library, Ohio

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