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Along with safaris, beaches, winelands and more, Nelson Mandela's legacy will be tempting tourists to South Africa in 2018 how to sell...

Israel Indochina Zimbabwe Escorted touring Luxury Indian Ocean and more...

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this issue - we travel further to bring you more FEATURES 8 Indochina: Cambodia, 23 28 39 57

Laos and Vietnam - a perfect trio South Africa: Discover Mandela's legacy in 2018 Touring: Take a back seat to enjoy some of the top touring destinations Premium Indian Ocean: Luxury and indulgence at its best Mexico: Colour, cuisine and culture

50 38 60





62 27


26 64


23 48

QUICK READS 20 City profile: Tel Aviv and Jerusalem

26 Introducing: Sao Tome 27 Six of the best: Colombia 36 My journey: Macao 38 How to sell: Alberta 46 Introducing: Charleston 47 Spotlight on: Touring with Travel 2 48 Hidden gems: New Zealand 50 Introducing: Helsinki 60 Visit USA: News 62 My experience: India by rail 64 Country profile: Zimbabwe 66 Final word






THE REVIEW 51 Top news stories plus



Travel South show report

TALKING SHOP 13 News, competitions, incentives & fams





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

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Travel Trade Publication of the Year

Travel Trade Publication of the Year

welcome – dedicated to those who love selling travel –

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 Publishers: Steve Thompson & Sally Parker Commercial Director: David Clare 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 Business Development Manager: Craig McQuinn Advertisement Manager: Lisa Merrigan Creative Director: Matt Bonner Designers: Louisa Horton, Monica Notarnicola, 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:



et’s start at the very beginning, because that is a very good place to start… a very Happy New Year to all our readers. Here’s hoping your enquiries are healthy and your sales prosper throughout the year. No doubt 2018 will, as with every year, throw up its fair share of challenges and obstacles for the travel industry to overcome, but committed, enthusiastic and creative agents will, as always, roll with these by falling back on their professionalism and that crucial inside knowledge gained from, for example, fam trip experiences, evening events, road shows and online training. One thing is certain, agents will have plenty of fresh reasons and tempting 'hooks' to recommend to their clients – whether new flights, programme additions from tour operators, new attractions or Steve Hartridge marketing campaigns from the tourism boards. EDITOR The signs look particularly good for long-haul travel. According to ForwardKeys, a company which tracks around 17 million flight booking transactions a day, 2017 was an outstanding year for long-haul travel but this year is already looking healthier, with bookings for the first quarter of 2018 up 11% ahead of the equivalent moment last year. For many destinations, it will be a year of hope, quiet expectations and not a little excitement. Canada (many operators are already reporting limited availability this year), Brazil (now attracting the tailor-made and family market), Thailand (with new flights and a seemingly never-ending list of ‘new’ islands to promote) and the Seychelles (with a new British Airways flight coming in March) are among those with reasons to be cheerful in 2018. But they might all be hard-pressed to catch South Africa, which perhaps offers the bestvalue all-round holiday experiences of any country. You can catch up with the latest news in our feature, starting on page 23. Zimbabwe too, entering the post-Mugabe era, will be hoping for a year of rising support and interest. Read all about it on page 64. Enjoy this issue – and strap yourself in for another bouncy ride in 2018.

INDUSTRY COMMENTS... “Vietnam is one of the most mature destinations in South East Asia, attracting the largest number of customers in the region, followed closely by Cambodia. We have seen growth in our deluxe tour range in Indochina for 2018.”

“Visitor numbers are holding up well for Mexico. The weddings and honeymoons market is a focus for Baja California and Los Cabos at present and the area is gearing up for the International Wedding Planners Convention in 2018."

Linh Farid, Wendy Wu Tours

Manuel Diaz-Cebrian, Director, Los Cabos Tourism Board

See feature, page 8

See feature, page 57

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out now

t r av e l 2 p r e s e n ts

Order your copy today by emailing or visit

Terms and conditions:


The UK’s 100% Trade Only Tour Operator. Call Reservations FREE on 0800 0224 302

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the big picture


Kazan Republic of Tatarstan, Russia

Hidden Russia

The eyes of the world will be on Russia this summer as it hosts the 2018 FIFA World Cup. Beyond Moscow and Saint Petersburg, the games will be played in cities that include the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad on the Baltic Sea. Central Kazan (pictured) will be hosting six matches and among those visiting will be fans of Germany, Spain, France, Australia and... Iran.

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WELCOME TO OUR WORLD ...with Travel 2’s latest edition of the Little Book of Incredible Journeys. With a formidable selection of hand-picked ‘bucket list’ touring experiences and a host of new exciting products, we’ve got every element to make some truly Incredible Journeys. This year’s brochure is bigger, bolder and absolutely brimming with unforgettable holiday ideas for your clients.

w i n a to u r i n g h o l i d ay w o r t h £ 2 ,0 0 0 ! Create your own ‘bucket list’ holiday by giving yourself the chance of winning £2,000 towards a touring holiday of your choice. All you need to do is make a qualifying booking. Visit for full terms & conditions.

Terms and conditions:


The UK’s 100% Trade Only Tour Operator. Call Reservations FREE on 0800 0224 302

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company three’s

Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam are a winning combination presenting their own trio of culture, beach and soft adventure, says Peter Ellegard


he exquisite temples of Siem Reap are crowned by Angkor Wat, the world’s largest religious monument, and they are simply mind-boggling. But it’s the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum in Phnom Penh that etches itself onto my soul. It’s not your typical tourist attraction, but one that every visitor should visit to understand the horrors the gentle people of this beautiful country endured just 40 years ago. I was well aware of the brutal Khmer Rouge regime and the notorious ‘Killing Fields’, where innocents were executed and buried in mass graves. Yet I was unprepared for the stark reality of the scale of the atrocities, nor the depths of depravity wrought on victims, mostly for no crime at all. Also called S-21, Tuol Sleng was the secret centre of a chain of almost 200 prisons where people were systematically tortured. An audio tour of its torture chambers with their grisly instruments still in place and

galleries of disturbing photographs and paintings leaves you but with a renewed sense of respect for this born-again nation. A world away from those harrowing scenes, children now laugh and play as families picnic on the lawn in front of the city’s ornate Royal Palace. UNESCO World Heritage Site Siem Reap is Cambodia’s tourist magnet and its temples – there are around 50 of them – do not disappoint. But from my sumptuous base at the five-star Angkor Palace Resort and Spa there’s more to tempt than temples. I take a half-day tour to Tonle Sap Lake, South East Asia’s largest. It’s an exhilarating long-tail boat trip and includes lunch at a riverside floating village– its houses marooned on stilts as it’s the dry season. Later, back on dry land, I take in a wonderfully-entertaining performance of Phare, the Cambodian Circus, with acrobatic Cambodian storytelling and dancing. It’s akin to Cirque du Soleil.

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Tourism trinity Cambodia and its neighbours Vietnam and Laos are collectively known as ‘Indochina’. The region is red hot for UK tourists, with Vietnam spurring the growth, helped by the further extension of its visa exemption programme which allows Brits to make single-entry visits for up to 15 days until June 30, 2018. Kuoni reports a strong increase in passenger numbers on its itineraries, which have been revamped for 2018, with Vietnam one of its best-selling destinations for escorted touring. The three countries offer a wide range of attractions: city experiences in bustling metropolises like Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City; luxury beach stays; touring ancient temples and preserved old towns such as Vietnam’s Hoi An or former Laos capital Luang Prabang or ethnic villages largely untouched by tourism; and cruises along the Mekong River or through the limestone rock islets of Halong Bay.

Perfect ten Follow in Lara Croft’s footsteps: The ruined temple swathed in giant tree roots from the movie Tomb Raider does exist. Ta Prohm is one of the many temples in Siem Reap that also include the sprawling Angkor Wat complex,

Above, clockwise from top left: The overgrown Ta Prohm temple in Cambodia; colourful lanterns for sale in Hoi An, Vietnam; Kunag Si Waterfall near Luang Prabang

Suited and booted: Vietnam’s ancient port town of Hoi An, near Danang, is awash with tailors – you can get a good-value suit and pair of shoes handmade in two days. Up, up and away: Take a sunrise balloon flight to gaze across the craggy karst hills of Vang Vieng in Laos in peace. Tee it up: Play designer-label golf courses around Danang, in coastal resorts Nha Trang and Ho Tram Strip and on Phu Quoc island, among other areas. You can also tee off on courses close to Cambodia’s capital, Phnom Penh, and just minutes from Angkor Wat’s temples. Water wonder: Take a tuk-tuk past rice fields from Luang Prabang in northern Laos to the spectacular Kuang Si Falls, a three-tier waterfall with cool turquoise pools. Floating villages: Visit a floating village on a long-tail boat trip to Tonle Sap Lake on a half-day excursion from Siem Reap. Colonial history: Get a real flavour of Hanoi’s past by exploring its architecturally-rich French Quarter and labyrinthine old town on foot, dodging scooters and baguette sellers on the way. Sail away: Cruise in comfort along the Mekong River with companies such as Avalon Waterways, AmaWaterways, Pandaw River Expeditions and Aqua Expeditions. The best time to sail is just after the rainy season (November to February.) Junk it: Stay overnight on a motorised junk in the middle of the iconic limestone rock formations of UNESCO-listed Halong Bay. Down under: Visit the Cu Chi tunnels, 90 minutes from Ho Minh City. Part of a huge network used by the Viet

Cong’s guerrilla fighters, it gives an insight into the tough conditions of the Vietnam War,

What’s new  Operators: Travel 2 ( has added an eight-day Cambodia Experience tour, which can be made into a 10-day option and is part of its new boutique Asia range. Prices start at £1,939pp. New to Shearings Holidays’ ( Worldwide 2018 programme is the 14-day A Taste of Vietnam. Highlights include a Mekong Delta cruise, overnight on a junk boat in Halong Bay, lantern-making and cookery demonstration in Hoi An, Ho Chi Minh City and a cycle tour of Hanoi. It costs from £2,079pp, excluding flights. KE Adventure Travel ( has two new Indochina cycling tours for 2018. The 14-day Hoi An to Angkor Wat Cycle Discovery takes in the cultural highlights of Vietnam and Cambodia. The 11-day Hanoi to Hue on the Ho Chi Minh Highway tour goes through the heart of Vietnam and includes the karst landscapes of the Truong Son Mountains. Prices are from £2,195pp and £1,845pp respectively, land-only. It also has a new 14-day Secret Trail of the

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Tribal Heartland tour, trekking in remote northern Vietnam with hill-tribe village stays, plus Hanoi and Halong Bay, from £2,095.  Airlines: TUI ( launched weekly Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner flights from Gatwick to Vietnam’s Phu Quoc island in early November, the first UK flights direct to the fast-growing tropical holiday island.  Hotels: Fusion Resort Phu Quoc ( opened in June as the sixth Fusion resort in Vietnam with 97 pool villas. As with other Fusion properties, it offers guests an all-inclusive spa concept. Operators featuring it include Premier Holidays (trade.premierholidays. and Western & Oriental ( Anantara Angkor Resort ( has two new presidential suites. Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts ( will open a hotel capital Phnom Penh in 2020.

Tourism talk

Above: The limestone peaks of Halong Bay, Vietnam

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“The region has enjoyed steady growth and performed very well during 2017. Vietnam is one of the most mature destinations in South East Asia and it attracts the


largest number of customers booked through us in the region, following closely by Cambodia. Moving forward, we have seen a significant growth in our deluxe tour range in Indochina for 2018.” Linh Farid, Product and Commercial Manager for South East Asia, Wendy Wu Tours

Where to book it  WENDY WU TOURS – 08009020888 The 17-day Indochina Delights tour costs from £3,290pp and includes Saigon, Hoi An, an overnight Halong Bay cruise, Mekong River Cruise to explore the Pak Ou Caves near Luang Prabang in Laos, and Cambodia’s Angkor Wat. Includes flights, all meals, accommodation, touring and transport, guides and visas

 BAMBOO TRAVEL – 020 7720 9285 The new 22-day Grand Tour of Cambodia tour starts at Angkor Wat and includes a private boat trip on Tonle Sap Lake, Phnom Penh, kayaking, and three nights at the Royal Sands Resort on the Cambodian island of Koh Rong, open from December 20. Prices start at £4,850, with flights. 

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Book online at or call 0208 290 9754 Price based on 4.5* Hard Rock Hotel Riviera Maya with 2 adults sharing and travelling from London Gatwick on 12 September 2018. *Deposits from £25 per person for new package holiday bookings made before 31 January 2018. Exclusions and all other deposit terms and conditions apply. ^Travel agents that book 25 room nights with Funway Holidays to Hard Rock Hotels will be entered into a draw to win 7 nights Rock Royalty at Hard Rock Hotel Riviera Maya or Hard Rock Hotel Punta Cana. Every 25 room nights equals 1 entry. 25th agent to book an HRH AIC customer holiday win £250 Amazon voucher. **$2500 Limitless resort is per room per stay and is subject to availability and change and is valid on bookings made by 28th January 2018. Easter and Christmas blackout dates apply. For all agent incentives HMRC tax/national insurance requirements are the obligation of the winner.

cancun . punta cana . riviera maya an all-inclusive experience

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

Win a fam trip to Florida

BOOK at least a three-night stay in The Palm Beaches and win a 2018 fam trip place – if you are the top seller. The Palm Beaches are made up of 39 cities and towns and 47 miles of pristine beaches. The area is home to a range of hotels, from historic resorts to boutique inns. Visit competitions to place your entry. The competition closes on January 31, 2018.

The U󰈐 󰇹󰈦ad󰇪 󰈣󰈆 ex󰇴󰇱󰈢r󰈥󰇷 󰇺he 󰇿󰇮󰇱d󰇷 d 󰈜󰇰󰇱 e󰇧 Can󰇧󰈧󰈜's Yu󰈫󰈢󰈡. R 15 ab󰈢󰇼󰇹 i󰇺 󰈢n 󰇴󰈜󰈪e

Travel 2 incentive for 2018 TRAVEL 2 has over 30 campaigns and incentives running until March 31. Agents could be rewarded with a wide range of prizes, from Red Letter Day vouchers to T2 Rewards. There are also over 150 fam trip places up for grabs. To win agents must secure new bookings during Travel 2's Peaks campaign. Find out more at

Contents 16

All new drive

Feb󰇶󰇻󰈜󰈦y 6 & 7

BRIGHT CONSORTIA TRAINING EVENTS Come and meet some of the members of BRIGHT at two events in Guildford (6th) and London (7th). Each night consists of a training workshop and dinner. Register by emailing:

YONDA, the UK's first selfdrive sightseeing experience, has announced its debut trade initiative. The company is launching a new agent training guide and a UK sales mission. It is also planning London 'fam trips' .



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Yu k o n , C a n a d a , e d u c a t i o n a l f a m t r i p

Exploring the wilds of the north National Park on a flight-seeing tour over the glaciers with Icefield Discovery Tours. They spent the night at The Raven Hotel in Haines Junction. Here everyone discovered the First Nations culture at Da Ku Cultural Centre and the Long Ago Peoples Place. Julie Thompson, Product Manager at Frontiers Travel, said: “The Yukon has long been a destination that I have wanted to visit and it did not disappoint. I was amazed by the scenery, the people and the places; the fall colours were stunning, the people were so friendly and the places so varied. Dawson City was a real favourite – it looks like a film set but is steeped in character. The other 'must-do' in my opinion is flightseeing over Kluane National Park; truly one of the most outstanding experiences of my travel life”. The participants were: Bradley Roper, Matthew Palmer, Elizabeth Monk, Julie Thompson, Jo Thomas and Della Tully. Find out more at and


Destination Canada hosted a group of product managers and sales agents on an educational trip to the Yukon territory in northwest Canada. The visit saw the group explore the wild nature, towns and parks of the smallest and most westernmost of Canada’s three territories. The Yukon has been inhabited for centuries and is home to the First Nations people and awesome wildlife including grizzly and black bears, wolves, caribou and moose. Currently, there are no direct flights from the UK to Whitehorse, the Yukon capital, with most UK visitors flying to Vancouver before taking an onward connection. The group took this route, with an overnight stay in Vancouver before travelling to Whitehorse with WestJet. Whitehorse, a true wilderness city, operates as an ideal base for winter activities and is home to some great properties including Northern Lights Resort and Spa and the Coast High Country Inn, where Prince William and Kate Middleton stayed. The group's Itinerary highlights included paddling the Yukon River on a 13-seat Voyageur Canoe with Up North Adventures, then travelling up the Dempster Highway and hiking Tombstone Territorial Park. Those 'braver' members of the group sampled the Sour Toe Cocktail at Dawson City’s Sourdough Saloon, which comprises a shot of tequila or whiskey with a real mummified toe in it. Leaving Dawson, a journey along the Top of the World Highway into Alaska offers amazing natural views. After the round-trip to the small community of Chicken, Alaska, the group stayed at Discovery Yukon Lodging s for a home-cooked meal and a late night around the fire pit to spot the elusive Aurora Borealis. The final full day took the group to Kluane


Above from left: Tombstone Territorial Park; Stopping off on the Dempster Highway; Whitehorse, Yukon's capital; Paddling the Yukon River; Meeting the First Nations people

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

Going wild for peak booking time Here’s wishing everyone a happy, healthy and prosperous 2018! Last year certainly had its challenges and tragedies – from numerous worldwide terror attacks to erupting volcanoes and the sad demise of Monarch Holidays and airline. As regular readers will know, ours is a new business – just two years old – so we are delighted that our net sales this year were up over 40%, with passenger numbers up over 10%. Now that we have more staff, we have been able to plan our first destination show, which takes place in February at Manning's Heath Golf Club near Horsham. We have the support of 19 excellent tour operators, airlines and hotel representatives. With them on board, we are able to do a lot of local marketing to both existing clients and to attract new ones. Some of the suppliers will be doing destination presentations as well, which should in itself generate a lot of interest.

So󰇻t󰇬 A󰈆ri󰈛󰇧 󰇯󰈤 a f󰇧󰇽󰈣u󰈦󰇮t󰈥

As this is our peak booking month, it's safe to assume we will not be participating in ‘dry January! '

On 󰇹󰇭e s󰇧󰇲󰈥 󰇵la󰇳󰇪󰇺

Net󰇿󰈢󰈦k󰇯󰇳󰈪 pa󰈂󰈤

The team here at The Sussex Travel Company have been out and about, braving the cold and rain to get to some relatively far-flung places for both education and networking: from an intimate Cook Islands dinner in Brighton to helping Funway celebrate Christmas and its 25th anniversary in London. Then it was over to the very nice Four Seasons hotel in Hampshire as guests of the operator Lusso and some of its suppliers. But the furthest trip in the name of training was enjoyed by Tanya and some other agents: they were taken to Venice for the day by Rachel Stevenson of Citalia! And we now know that Venice can be done in a day! With an early flight from Gatwick and a late one back, she still managed to fit in a palace, some pasta and paintings, not to mention a few hotel inspections and of course a gondola ride. It was exhausting, but all in a day’s work!

Recent reps visiting us have included Ian Hunter, CEO of the Hunter Hotel group in South Africa, which includes Tsala Treetops, Gorah Elephant camp and The Hunter County Hotel. I can't wait to see the gorgeous Tsala Treetops' 10 suites and six villas, plus its unique wedding chapel in the woods, when I visit in September! As a lover and enthusiastic seller of South Africa, I was delighted to see that Pumba Game Reserve had a litter of two white and three tawny lion cubs. It posted some fabulous pictures on Facebook, which we've put on our site.

  01403 276684

We all know that good TV programmes can highlight a destination and Blue Planet II has certainly done that! Enquiries for whale watching and expedition cruises are on the up, particularly as they are more luxurious these days! Generally, customers looking for this type of experience are middle-aged, often mortgage- and childfree and usually willing to pay for something a tad more comfortable than a traditional expedition ship. We hope to be able to get more of this business from our destination show I mentioned earlier – we are sure there are plenty of 'untapped clients' in our area, we just need to find them! Happy Selling!

Bar󰇨󰇧󰈦󰈜 Cha󰇶󰇱t󰈢󰇳

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Discover more Thailand with Qatar Airways There are a million shades of Thailand waiting to be discovered. Beautiful resorts, over 2,000 miles of beaches, some of the world’s most popular islands, incredible historical and cultural wonders and vibrant cities to explore. And they’re now closer than ever thanks to the expanding choice of destinations brought to you by Qatar Airways.

The island of Koh Samet is great for all types of holiday maker from couples to families. Then there’s Koh Chang, Thailand’s second largest island and fantastic for nature lovers.

Fly from one of their four UK airports (London Heathrow, Manchester, Birmingham and Edinburgh - increasing to five with Cardiff, from May 2018) to a choice of international airports within Thailand.

With Qatar Airways you can be assured of excellent on-board comfort and service with smooth connections via their state-ofthe-art hub, Doha’s Hamad International Airport.

U-Tapao airport is very close to the popular destination of northern Pattaya where there are many high quality resorts, just outside town, that are very popular with British families.

Qatar Airways’ new destination airport of U-Tapao means you are now in easy reach of even more desirable holiday destinations.

Travel 2 features 10 nights 4* Koh Samet and Pattaya with Qatar Airways from £1,239pp 0800 0224 182 For all things Thailand including competitions, incentives, and a Thailand guide, please go to:

Koh Kood, on the east coast of Thailand, is a largely undiscovered island making it perfect for those who want to get away from it all.



. ..

Koh Kood

Island hopp


Qatar Air


Ao Ngam Kho at Koh Kood, Thailand

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BEEN THERE, DONE THAT Tra i n i n g , e v e n t s a n d f a m t r i p s

Out and about with UK agents and operators Indonesia greets agents

ANAND COLLECTION, representing Puri Mas Boutique Resort Lombok, hosted a group of UK travel agents and tour operators on a familiarisation trip with Thai Airways to Indonesia. The trip also included a night at another Anand Collection property, Furama Villas in Bali. The agents, pictured enjoying the weekly cultural Lombok dance night and dinner with Jas Anand (fourth from right) of the Anand Collection, are Mark Dowdle, STA; Peter Young, Holiday Place; Amy Holliday, Gold Medal; Ruth White, Brightsun; Robyn Anderson, Hayes and Jarvis and Michelle Patterson, Flight Centre.

Excellence training

ALEXANDRA Esquivel Luna (pictured centre) of Excellence Resorts joined Anders Sparkhall (left) and Parul Jadav (right) of The Holiday Place for an afternoon of training for The Holiday Place's Reservations Team.

Canada quiz

TOURISM Nova Scotia and Tourism New Brunswick jointly held a training event and quiz for agents. Cohosted by Prestige Holidays, Sarah Watson (centre), Travel Impressions, won the quiz and Love2Shop vouchers. Anna Davis (left) Travelmania, and Emma Meakins, Beaver Travel, came second and third respectively.

Pure opening

PURE Destinations has opened a new branch in Mere Green, Sutton Coldfield. The Global Travel Group's Commercial Director, Cherie Richards (second right) celebrated the opening with owner, Lakh Hayer (right), branch manager, Simone Adams (left) and personal travel expert, Natasha Cooper (second left).

Marketing Mexico

TEN tour operators and travel agents visited the Atelier De Hotels and Oasis Hotels & Resorts in Cancun, Mexico, with Colin Pegler, ManagingDirector of Resort Marketing International. The group is pictured with the Oasis Hotels entertainment team.

Travel agents Rock celebrations

CARNIVAL Cruise Line's Travel Agents Rock campaign and its Loyalty Rocks Club rewards programme turned a year old in December. To celebrate, the cruise line's sales team visited several of its call centre accounts and held a birthday party. Picture from left are: Daniel Russell, USAirtours; Bella Greenwood, Carnival Cruise Line; and Robert Comer and Tom Owers, both of USAirtours. Agents won Carnival-related prizes and Loyalty Rocks Club points.

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

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New 2018/19 Worldwide brochure OUT NOW!

Worldwide holidays on sale throughout 2018 & 2019

More regional flight options available

NEW solo departures

Prices from just £779pp†

Titan includes FREE connecting flights from an airport near you &

VIP door-to-door travel service* For more information please visit *Titan’s VIP door-to-door transfers are not available on the Essential Collection †Lead in price applies to Essential Malta

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city profile

Tel Aviv & Jerusalem Where the ancient and modern collide Rothschild Boulevard This elegant central avenue, with the world’s largest concentration of 1930s modernist Bauhaus buildings, led to Tel Aviv being called the ‘White City.’ Neve Tzedek Tel Aviv’s first Jewish quarter is one of the city’s most beautiful neighbourhoods. It has a village atmosphere and charming streets lined with boutique shops and art galleries. Tel Aviv Museum of Art One of Israel’s leading cultural institutions, the collection includes Picasso, Van Gogh, Monet and Kandinsky, and pieces from private collections. (

Western Wall This most important Jewish shrine is all that remains of the revered Second Temple. Paper prayers are pushed into every accessible crack and the sight of devotees facing it is a moving one. Israel Museum One of the world’s largest museums, a highlight is the distinctive earthenware jar-shaped building housing the ancient biblical manuscripts the Dead Sea Scrolls ( Via Dolorosa Meaning ‘way of suffering’, the route is said to follow the path that Jesus walked on the way to his crucifixion, passes busy market streets and ends in the Church of Holy Sepulchre.


he Israel Government Tourist Office’s ongoing ‘Two Cities. One Break’ campaign has raised the profile of these contrasting cities and how buzzing 24-hour Tel Aviv and culture-rich Jerusalem are the perfect pair, says Jeannine Williamson. With its long history, melting pot of civilizations, religious heritage and cosmopolitan cities, Israel is a remarkable destination. Then there are the added plus points of year-round sunshine and a flight time of less than five hours from the UK. The Israel Government Tourist Office’s ongoing Two Cities. One Break campaign has raised the profile of the contrasting cities of the buzzing 24-hour airline gateway of Tel Aviv, with its cool architecture, and culturerich Jerusalem. Incentives include free entry to top attractions for clients booking at least two nights in selected hotels in both cities. Another big selling point is that Israel is a small country – and from Tel Aviv it’s only a one-hour drive to Jerusalem. Along the way visitors can fit in a 4WD jeep desert adventure or float in the salty Dead Sea, the lowest point on earth. Israel has long been a magnet for religious tourists and history lovers; however it’s not a country that’s stuck in the past and there’s plenty of modern culture to soak up. Families can enjoy Tel Aviv’s sweeping beachfront, and couples and groups of friends who can savour the foodie scene and legendary nightlife – which is also renowned for being LBGT-friendly. In short, Tel Aviv and Jerusalem provide two very different but equally captivating city break experiences.



NEIGHBOURHOOD CHARMS Tel Aviv has several distinct districts, including the UNESCO-listed Bauhaus quarter, while visitors can step back further in time in the ancient Arab port of Jaffa, overlooking the southern end of the golden beach. The narrow streets are lined with fruit juice sellers, small shops and art galleries, including a fabulous museum owned by idiosyncratic artist and collector Ilana Goor ( Nearby is a 19th century railway station, now transformed into an attractive shopping and leisure area (, while the Azrieli Centre ( mall is located at the foot of one of a landmark trio of skyscrapers.


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city profile


UNFORGETTABLE HISTORY Nestling in the Judean hills is Jerusalem, with 3,000 years of history and the centre of the Jewish, Muslim and Christian religions. The goldplated Dome of the Rock, dominating the skyline, is the most important Muslim place of prayer after Mecca. Jerusalem’s neighbourhoods vary from the narrow lanes and hidden courtyards of central district Nachlaot to fashionable Emek Refaim Street and the city’s German Colony. The historical and spiritual core of Jerusalem can be found inside the walls of the Old City, reached through seven gates. Most visitors enter through the Jaffa Gate, which leads downhill to all the main sights. Stepping inside is like walking into another world, with the hustle and bustle of street vendors plying their wares on the ancient paving stones while rabbis, priests, monks and nuns going about their daily business. The City of David, the oldest part of Jerusalem, was captured by King David more than 3,000 years ago and is where much of the Bible was written. The Western Wall tunnels (english.thekotel. org) first opened in 1985 following excavations that revealed segments of the Western Wall and vast areas of ancient Jerusalem that were previously hidden underground. Mount of Olives overlooks the Old City, providing panoramic views of all the landmarks, and is the ideal starting point for a city tour.

FABULOUS FOOD Known as the land of milk and honey, Israel’s food is fresh and tasty; from Jaffa oranges and cheap falafel stands to gourmet restaurants. Over the years Israeli cuisine has been shaped by the many immigrants who have settled in the country, adding flavours of North Africa, the Mediterranean and Eastern Europe, to name just a few. It’s common for hotel breakfast buffets to be laden with olives, cheese, salads, vegetables, fish, numerous hot dishes, a plethora of


different breads, cakes, pastries and blocks of the sweet treat halva. If there’s room for lunch try shakshuka - eggs baked in spicy tomato sauce and a mainstay on all menus. Tel Aviv hot spots include the chef-owned Blue Rooster (, where it’s worth booking to avoid the queues, and Jerusalem’s trendy First Station ( has a variety of restaurants in converted railway buildings in the city’s original station. Carmel is the city’s biggest marketplace, lined with colourful stalls piled high with exotic spices, sweet halva, fresh bread, food, clothes and souvenirs. Be prepared to haggle hard!


“Tel Aviv’s nightlife is legendary – night owls can party until dawn as many bars and clubs stay open until sunrise”

In both Tel Aviv and Jerusalem there’s a wide choice of accommodation to suit all tastes and budgets including a growing number of laidback boutique hotels such as Tel Aviv’s Market House ( and upmarket properties in the Dan Hotels ( portfolio, Israel’s oldest and most prestigious chain. 

BOOK IT WITH... SAGA The seven-night Land of Milk and Honey escorted tour, with two nights in Tel Aviv and the Galilee region and three in Jerusalem, starts from £1,399pp, based on departures on April 22, June 17, September 9 and October 7 2018. The price includes half-board accommodation, flights and transfers. CARMEL MARKET, TEL AVIV

0800 074 8021;


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south africa


golden years

Nelson Mandela’s Rainbow Nation legacy will be a major draw card in 2018 – just one more hook for agents to suggest South Africa, writes Steve Hartridge


merging silently from the bush, she pads her way along the winding concrete path that links the eight luxury villas to the main lodge at Sanctuary Makanyane Safari Lodge in South Africa’s Madikwe Private Game Reserve. Scanning from side to side, she is oblivious to the spell she is putting us under. Spotting a leopard on any safari is never a given and they’re often the last of the ‘Big Five’ to be crossed off the list. That’s because leopards aren’t usually out and about during daytime hours — and if they are, they are probably up in a tree eating or sleeping. So seeing this large female close up – from the safety of our safari vehicle we track her for more than 10 minutes – is an adrenalin-charged high. As if sensing that we are all still waiting for that iconic photograph, she obligingly

makes her way down to the river that flows gently in front of the villas, positions herself on a rock and looks straight at our whirring cameras, scouring the bush beyond for signs of potential prey. Then she takes her curtain call and disappears into the thick grass and all-enveloping dusk.

Safari sense A safari will be on the hit lists of most visitors to South Africa, whether firsttimers or those returning to the country for a second, third or even tenth visit. The experience is usually spectacular, the memories and photos last for a lifetime and a promise is usually made to do it all again one day. Says Tricia Birmingham, Senior Product Manager: Africa, Travel 2: “The most popular things to do while in South Africa is to see

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south africa

Pictured: Views from the new Radisson Red Hotel, on the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town; A room with a river view at Sanctuary Makanyane Safari Lodge in the malaria-free Madikwe Private Game Reserve

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the big game animals on safari, whether there are good reasons to keep returning that is in a private reserve or in a national park too as few countries can combine wildlife, like Kruger. And most want to visit Cape Town. beaches and cultural attractions in such We are seeing a surge in bookings for 2018.” winning ways. Then there’s the exchange But South Africa offers so much more rate, which for Brits heading to South Africa than beating around the bush in search has been favourable for a good few years of the continent’s big mammals. now. Tourist numbers have been suitably He may have retired from political office strong, with figures for the first half of 2017 in 1999 and passed from this world in 2013 showing more than 230,000 UK visitors. but Nelson Mandela will still be helping Some of the country’s best-visited areas to lure more UK are adding more tourists in 2018. product. In Cape “This year we will continue our Town, the popular Mandela’s 100th birthday would have V&A Waterfront has work to attract five million been this year and transformed old more tourists over the next five grain silos on the to honour the man years - the trade will be vital in foreshore by adding who helped move the country into its helping us ensure South Africa accommodation, new modern, democratic and a is on every traveller’s wish list restaurants age there will be major new art facility in 2018” numerous special – all adding up to TOLENE VAN DER MERWE, HUB HEAD UK AND IRELAND initiatives, projects a new design-andSOUTH AFRICAN TOURISM and events that culture hub known holidaymakers as the Silo District. can get involved with. To help get visitors out onto the country’s Activities of the ‘Nelson Mandela highways and backroads, the South Centenary 2018: Be The Legacy’ initiative African Tourism Board is running a digital will range from education and the arts campaign to promote fly-drive holidays. to exhibitions and sports, and will take What’s new place both in South Africa and the UK.  Tour Operators: Gold Medal ( UK highlights will include a two-week Nelson has introduced 22 new properties, including Mandela Exhibition in London in July and the eight game lodges, to its South Africa product. unveiling of a ‘Madiba’ statue in Glasgow. The operator has also freshened up its day In South Africa, visitors can follow in tour offerings, with highlights including a Mandela’s footsteps with a free app that Isandlwana and Rorkes Drift battlefields tour. maps out more than 27 places of historical Luxury Gold (luxurygoldvacations/com is featuring significance across the country that help to South Africa for the first time in its 2018 tell Mandela’s story – from Robben Island brochure. in Cape Town where he was imprisoned to  Attractions: last September’s opening of the the site in KwaZulu-Natal where he was Museum of Contemporary Art Africa (Zeitz captured ( With or without the ‘Mandela effect’, MoCAA) at the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town

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south africa

( is being billed as a moment

of major cultural significance. It is the first museum in Africa dedicated to contemporary art and should position Cape Town as a prominent arts and culture destination. The galleries, which are spread over several floors, are housed in a converted grain silo.  Hotels: The ultra-luxury Silo Hotel (, which opened last year, has become the place to be seen in Cape Town. Residing in the same building as Zeitz MoCAA, it features 28 individually designed rooms with unique artworks. The rooftop bar and pool area offers some of the best views of Cape Town and Table Mountain. Just a few steps from Silo, Africa’s first Radisson Red ( hotel opened in September. Full of funky (mostly red) shapes and artworks, and with no manned reception, it has 252 studios, a rooftop grill, bar and pool, a gym and a games studio. It also stocks only local beer.  Lodges: Morukuru Beach Lodge (morukuru. com) is a new oceanfront property due to open in July along the Garden Route. The fivesuite eco-focused family-friendly lodge will sit in the 36,000 hectare De Hoop Nature Reserve, a UNESCO site and one of the country’s most stunning coastal reserves. �Experiences: Kwandwe Private Game Reserve ( in the Eastern Cape is offering guests the chance to learn to cook an authentic South African ‘braai’. by mastering the art of barbecuing different types of local venison such as impala, kudu, and warthog. Guests are also taught about popular South African desserts like Cape brandy pudding, melktert, hertzoggies and koeksisters.


Tourism talk “This year is going to be a momentous year for South Africa as we celebrate a century since the birth of Nelson Mandela with lots of special events. “In addition, there’s a wealth of Mandelarelated experiences that already exist, such as Robben Island and its museum in Cape Town and the Mandela House Museum in Soweto. “We will be working with the UK trade to highlight this landmark occasion. “This year we’ll be continuing our work to attract five million more tourists to South Africa within the next five years. “The trade will be vital in helping us ensure that South Africa is on every UK traveller’s wish list in 2018, so we’ll be providing training workshops, takeover days, fam trips and running the fourth year of our SATSchool.” Tolene Van der Merwe, Hub Head UK & Ireland, South African Tourism

Where to book it  GREAT RAIL JOURNEYS – 0800 240 4470 A 15-day South Africa luxury rail adventure starts from £7,095pp. The tour takes in Pretoria, Addo Elephant Park and Kruger National Park and ends with four nights in Cape Town. The itinerary also includes nine nights on The Pride of Africa train. The tour departs May 15 and October 30 2018.

 GOLD MEDAL – 0800 014 7777 A nine-night Cape Town, Garden Route and Safari Self-drive starts from £1,569pp, valid for travel in May and June 2018. The deal include includes flights and car rental.

 AFRICAN PRIDE – 01904 619 428 A 14-day 14Cape Town, Wine and Wilderness flydrive itinerary is priced from £2,158pp. The deal includes four nights in Cape Town, as well as time in both the Winelands and the Cederberg region, flights from Heathrow and car hire. 

Clockwise from top: the impressive new Museum of Contemporary Art (Zeit-MoCAA) in Cape Town; the rooftop bar of the Silo Hotel offers spectacular views of Cape Town; Mount Camdeboo Private Game Reserve offers game drives and views of the Drakensberg; an elusive leopard

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São Tomé West Africa in miniature


his tiniest of African countries is a twin set of tropical islands off the coast of West Africa. Formerly a Portuguese colony, the destination now offers adventurous travellers a bitesize chunk of the region's faded colonial grandeur and golden beaches, says Laura Gelder

Sao Tome and Principe are roughly the size of Anglesey and the Isle of Wight respectively, with a combined population of less than 200,000. The landscape is carved by volcanic forces and the country’s best-known landmark is Pico Cao Grande, a thin pinnacle of rock which sticks out of Sao Tome’s rainforest like a giant’s finger.

Getting there & about The best way for Brits to reach the islands is on Portuguese flag carrier TAP, via Lisbon, stopping briefly in Accra, Ghana. The flight takes around six hours from the Portuguese capital. Agents should note that there is no 'First Class' cabin. Explore ( and Rainbow Tours ( are two of the few British operators selling the islands, but part of the destination’s appeal is that it truly is off the beaten track. Explore's itinerary covers Sao Tome only and is led by the Bradt guide book author

Kathleen Becker, while Rainbow Tours' more relaxing trip is mostly based in Príncipe.

Where to stay This is largely a destination for adventurous travellers but there is a small stock of luxurious accommodation. Top picks include Pestana Equador Ilhéu das Rolas ( pestana-equador), located on an idyllic island off Sao Tome, which sits on the Equator and is home to West Africa's largest swimming pool; Club Santana ( on the east coast of Sao Tome and offering a large range of free watersports, sightseeing and fitness activities; Mucumbli Ecotourism Lodge, on the west coast close to Pico Cao Grande; and African-safari-style Omali Lodge ( near the capital. The latter has three sister properties in quieter and smaller Principe: Bom Bom (bombomprincipe. com) with its 19-beachside villas, the 15 tented villas of Praia Sundy ( and the lovingly-restored cocoa plantation house Roca Sundy (

Wild and beautiful Clockwise from above: The ruined hospital of Roca Agua Ize; two girls living in the old building; the beach by Pestana Equador Ilhéu das Rolas; fishing boats off Club Santana

If guests can tear themselves away from the island's banana-coloured deserted beaches, which

are nested by turtles, there is a lot to see and do. Active types can scuba dive or hike the wild interior which has waterfalls, lakes and abundant rainforest. Most hotels can arrange tours to see coffee and chocolate plantations, botanical gardens and towns and villages with crumbling colonial relics and the tiny capital has vibrant markets, museums and shuttered mansions. The beauty of Sao Tome and Principe is that you can cover most of it in one visit. But if you want to fly, flop and feast on fresh fish, that's also ok. 

THE DETAILS Time Zone: GMT –0 Currency: £1= 27529.12 Dobra. There are no ATMs and only some hotels accept card payments Visas: British passport holders are exempt Capital: Sao Tome Languages: Portuguese Climate: Tropical with two main dry seasons: June to late September

and end of December to end of February. Useful info:;

Getting there:;

Book It: Explore's 10-day Sao Tome with Kathleen Becker trip has rainforest walks, beach time and a dugout canoe ride. from £2690pp.

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six of the best


5 4

Birdwatching paradise


Colombia is home to scores of diverse bird species. A marketing initiative launched last year to attract birdwatchers featured the Canada Warbler as the face of the campaign. ProColombia recently entered into an alliance with nonprofit Bird Life International and has become a species champion, investing in conserving and protecting its feathered population which comprises more than 1,920 species – almost 20% of the world’s total. Visit for more information and ideas.

Whale watching

Between July and November whales arrive on Colombia’s Pacific coast to mate and give birth, having travelled north from Antarctica. Visitors can watch the humpback whales in places like Bahia Solana and the islands of Nuqui and Gorgona. All observations are made from a safe distance that ‘respects’ the creatures and their environment.

One of the world’s most biodiverse nations, Colombia is the ultimate destination for tourists looking for sustainable adventures, says Benjamin Coren Coffee culture

Spread across central Colombia, the country’s ‘Coffee Cultural Landscape’ has received UNESCO recognition for its production and sustainability credentials. There are plenty of tours available throughout the region in locations such as Caldas, Risaralda and Quindio. Expect to find colourful, traditional architecture and taste what many consider to be the best coffee in the world. Hikers should set their compasses for the Cocora Valley where a challenging trek winds through mountains and farmland.

Extreme adventure

The small city of San Gil is best known for whitewater rafting, but visitors can take part in a whole host of extreme activities in the area including paragliding, caving and trekking. Explore Gallineral Park on the city fringes, take to the waters of the Rio Fonce, or head out of town to see the 200-metre-high Juan Curi Waterfall.




Colombia Indigenous tribes

There are around 87 indigenous tribes in Colombia and visitors can interact with all of them. The Taironas are one of the best known groups and inhabit the land around Tayrona National Park. Colombian tribal ways of life are protected by laws designed to preserve the culture. Many other indigenous tribes live around the Choco, Guajiria, Caribbean Coast and the Amazonian areas. Visit to find out how to meet different tribes and discover the cultural activities visitors can partake in.





adventures in




Creative cities

Medellin and Bogota are part of the UNESCO Creative Cities network – and both hold several annual festivals and events. Bogota is home to 60 music festivals and the Festivales Al Parque programme offers free open-air concerts in the capital. Medellin hosts Circulart, a renowned music market which attracts up 1,000 artists and bands.

BOOK IT WITH... TRAVEL 2 The classic Colombia itinerary involves Bogota, the Coffee Triangle, Medellin and Cartagena. The 12-day Treasures of Colombia and the Coffee Triangle Tour is from £2,269 per person travelling in March 2018.

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This page: touring holidays incorporating soft adventure – and more extreme activities – are widely available; Overleaf: Ukraine sunset; attractive Albania

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0n the road

What constitutes a ‘tour’ is evolving to encompass everything from wine tasting in luxury with a sommelier to an intrepid trek through wild territory. Katherine Lawrey finds out more


s we meander along the path, eyes are cast in all directions. Through the jungle foliage we are searching for flashes of colour, a clue to help us spot the brightlypainted toucan bird. We all want to be the first, but it is inevitable that Olivier, our eagle-eyed Costa Rican tour guide, will get there before us. When he does, he trains his telescope on the treetops, so we can all see the vivid bird in glorious magnification. Meanwhile, we learn that they use their beaks to pluck and peel fruit, are not very good at flying and prefer to tree hop, and that the babies aren’t born with the characteristic beak (it develops as they grow). Without our friendly, knowledgeable leader, my holiday to Costa Rica would be a very different holiday. There aren’t many countries in which you can hike active volcanoes, zip-line through cloud-covered rainforests and swim off undeveloped beaches. Sure, I could make my own way around, but it is far more relaxing and sociable to have all these activities arranged for me as part of a set itinerary and to have the company of a tour group, with a Spanish speaking guide, who is armed with endless facts about the biodiversity of Costa Rica.

Striking out This desire for adventure ‘with a safety net’ is driving a boom in guided and self-guided touring holidays. “Travellers are increasingly keen to go somewhere new and different and away from the

tired and cliched,” says John Telfer, Managing Director, Explore, which has introduced new tours in Kazakhstan, Ghana and St Helena for 2018. Concerns about ‘over-tourism’ are also spurring operators to expand into lesser-known places. For Example, Intrepid has introduced a 13-day Moldova (the least-visited country in Europe), Ukraine and Romania tour, running from April to September. But this doesn’t mean the old favourites are fading out of the picture: Italy has always been popular for escorted groups while Inghams has introduced two new tours this year to meet demand, including the seven-night Jewels of the Veneto, covering Venice and prosecco tasting in the Valdobbiandene region. Recognition about the role that agents can play in advising clients on more complicated touring itineraries is driving an increase in the number of operators working with the trade. Travel the Unknown is turning to independent agents for the first time to sell its trips to far-flung corners of the world including Ethiopia, Iran, Bhutan and the Balkans and founding Director Rahul Aggarwal says: “We offer end-to-end agent support, and are more than happy to step in to speak to clients on the agent’s behalf if needs be, to help them to secure the sale and the commission.” Trade-focused Travel 2 has reported year-onyear growth in touring bookings – 29% in rail tours and 19% in escorted and independent tours, with Southeast Asia leading the charge with a

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“We are the UK market leaders in overseas escorted touring. More Brits now choose Riviera Travel tours than from any other company” JOSEPH GRIMLEY HEAD OF AGENCY SALES, RIVIERA TRAVEL

two per cent growth in bookings followed by the Indian Ocean and India up 34% and 32% respectively. To satisfy demand, Travel 2 has added 130 new tours to its 2017/18 brochure. But when it comes to touring one size doesn’t fit all and both independent and escorted touring products are evolving to meet these needs, so that hand-holding can be as protective or as relaxed as the customer wishes. Many operators cater for escorted and independent clients. InsideAsia’s small group/ tailored split sits at about 25:75 and Agent Sales Manager Matt Spiller says escorted business is on the up. “After introducing more tours in 2017, about 97% of the tour seats were full to capacity with 2018 looking even stronger,” he claims. However, he admits that the majority choose to go alone, while still benefiting from the planning and expertise of the destination specialist. For group tours, clients tend to look for one that fits their age bracket. Contiki, G Adventures’ 18-to-Thirtysomethings and Tucan Travel’s Adventures for 20s and 30s target a younger crowd, while Titan, Saga and Collette cater for the grey market. Adventure operators, like Explore, G

Adventures and Intrepid, attract a mix of ages. For solo travellers there are specialists such as Just You as well as a growing range of product from the likes of Kuoni, Great Rail Journeys and Riviera Travel waiving single supplements.

Perfect ten Romantic Sicily: Suggest a self-guided tour, staying in three different properties including Relais Torre Marabino, a former 16th century fortified grain tower (





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Historic Colorad0: Discover the US state’s heritage railways on an escorted tour of Pikes Peak Cog Railway and Durango & Silverton Narrow-Gauge Railroad (

Glacier and Bernina Express: A summer group tour taking in the Glacier and Bernina Express railways that compete to be the most scenic ( Prosecco, Italy: The UK is the biggest consumer of the drink after Italy so this self-guided cycling tour should leave Brits fizzing with excitement ( Wonders of Peru: Explore Kuelap and Chachapoyas, recently excavated Inca ruins, described as the Machu Picchu of the north, and made more accessible in 2018 by a new cable car ( Battlefields: 2018 marks the centenary of the end of the First World War so demand for specialist tours of Flanders and the Somme will be high ( Iran adventure: Tour Tehran, opulent Golestan Palace, Kashan on the edge of the Maranjab desert, Atashkadeh fire temple and other lesser-known treasures ( New Zealand’s North: Visit Auckland, Bay of Islands, Coromandel, Rotorua, Lake Taupo, Napier, Martinborough and Wellington, with hire car ( Best of Egypt: Marvel at the Great Pyramids of Giza, visit a traditional Nubian village, tour the vibrant bazaars of Aswan and Luxor and sail the Nile in a traditional felucca (

Danakil volcano trek: Fly into Addis Ababa and venture to north-east Ethiopia to experience dramatic nature and nomadic life in the Afar Triangle. (

What’s new  Tours: A common theme across Travel 2’s 130 new tour additions is more immersion, says Mark Henderson, Senior Product and Commercial Manager, Touring: “We’re adding exclusive experiences from enjoying lunch in Clockwise from top left: China’s famous Terracotta Warriors can bee seen in Liverpool in 2018; mystical Bhutan is a destination to watch; off the beaten path Albania

the homes of the indigenous community of Lake Expect enquiries for Russia to gain traction on Titicaca (Peru), to the Janbanbarra Jirrbal the back of this summer’s FIFA World Cup. New Rainforest Cultural for G Adventures is a Experience (Australia), Backroads of Russia tour, where guests enjoy a from £1,549pp for a “Newmarket Holidays is private lecture about the 12-day trip St Petersburgone of the UK’s largest history and culture of the Moscow, with departures independent tour operators, from May. rainforest people.” See page 47 for more on China’s Terracotta with dedicated trade sales, Travel 2’s touring product. Warriors are coming to price parity on all our Prestige Holidays’ new Liverpool’s World Museum holidays and exceptional 16-night-fly-drive this year (from February package, Newfoundland 9). Newmarket Holidays value and quality” Discovery, starts from and Shearings have RICHARD FORD, HEAD OF TRADE SALES, NEWMARKET HOLIDAYS £2,498pp (twin-share). packages that include August and September their original home, X’ian. are the best months to see whales and icebergs Where to book it are at their most visible late May to early June.  TRAVEL 2 – 0800 0224 182  Destinations: Shearings reports a 70% The new 17-day Grand Vietnam Experience, as increase in sales for Croatia and Slovenia last an independent tour, is from £2,869pp, based on year and has introduced two new tours of two sharing. It includes 16 nights’ in boutique Slovenia, including a 12-day highlights tour hotels B&B, three lunches and two dinners, which takes in Lake Bled, Ljubljana and sightseeing, tour guides, transfers and flights Postojna Caves. from Gatwick. Before its political and civil demonstrations at  G ADVENTURES – 0344 272 2040 the start of the year, Iran was looking like one A new eight-day Highlights of Oman tour starts of those ‘hot’ destinations in 2108. Intrepid has from £1,499pp, twin share, with departures from three different itineraries including the 10-day September. The deal includes breakfast plus a Iran Real Food Adventure, with departures in lunch and dinner, but flights are extra. May, September, October and November (from  £2,295pp excluding flights).

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NEWMARKET Holidays' Lapland Santa Experience is on sale for 2018 with some special gifts for agents' customers. Book by March 31 at 2017 prices and reserve places for £50pp. Now in its fifth year, the trip offers a greatvalue single-day day trip. With just one operating flight spaces are limited and agents are advised to book early. On completion of Newmarket Holidays' online training, agents receive the standard 15% agency concession, which can be used to join the Lapland trip.

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TRAVEL UNI and Selling Travel are offering £50 off any GDS introductory or professional course if booked before or on January 31, 2018. As any good travel professional knows, having GDS skills will not only improve their skill set but give them a great career boost in the industry So, invest in the future with a GDS course – with no restrictions and no catches! To find out more visit:

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Training courses to help travel agents and advisers sell more!

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TRAVEL 2 has introduced a new mini-brochure dedicated to cruise itineraries. The 44-page tome features 20 worldwide itineraries across 17 different cruise lines. To encourage agents to embrace the new selling tool, Travel 2's Every Day's a Pay Day incentive is also continuing, with agents getting the chance to earn up to £200 per booking on their T2 Rewards card throughout January and February. The new cruise brochure landed in December and will be promoted until the end of March.

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Sell the Thai life NEWS

SELLING Travel is providing agents with a handy online guide, including all the resources needed to sell great holidays to Thailand. Sell the Thai Life features news, competitions, useful information and contacts with a range of training resources and details of trade shows, including the Amazing Thailand Road Show in 2018. The content and competitions are regularly updated. Agents can currently win a £50 Love2Shop voucher by completing the Amazing Thailand Online Training Programme.

Working in partnership

VIRGIN Limited Edition has a range of offers available for those planning a Valentine's getaway. Couples visiting Ulusaba Private Game Reserve in South Africa can spend three-nights at the resort from ZAR 70,896 (approximately £4,160), including food, drink and unlimited champagne. Food and wine loves can get a taste of South Africa at Mont Rochelle Hotel and Mountain Vineyard. The romance offer includes a bottle of Cap Classique, spa treatments and a romantic turndown. Rates start from ZAR 23,220 (£1,362). Night safari at Mahali Mzuri starts from US$4,850 (£3,626) with a three-night stay in a tented suite with a private dining experience and twice-daily game drives.

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TUNI JAN B.indd 39

1/3/18 03:15 PM


my journey

A jo󰇻󰇶󰈡󰈥y 󰇹o...


Col󰈢󰈜󰇳e’s 󰇱lo󰇿 ca󰇳󰇧󰈦y 󰈂󰈥 . S󰇹 Cha󰇴󰇪󰇱 󰈣f 󰈦 󰇽i󰇪 󰈜 Fra󰇳󰈝󰇮s X

n󰇫 󰈣󰇵en󰇮󰇳󰈪 󰇯n 2018 vi󰇷󰇮󰇺󰇯 󰇫󰇪 id 󰇨󰈦 󰇧󰈣 ac M 󰇯󰇬󰇧 hu 󰈡g-Z 󰇯n󰇫 Wit󰇬 󰇺h󰇪 󰇳󰈥󰈟 Hon󰇫 󰈐󰈢 l󰈂-re󰇹󰇻󰈦n󰈥󰈧 Ka󰈦l 󰈉󰇻󰇷󰇭 󰇳󰇺 c󰇪 󰈦e 󰈜 󰇷 󰈦t 󰇴󰈢 re 󰇱e, 󰇯󰇨 󰈤󰈣 ac󰈛󰇪󰈤s Mac󰇧󰈣 󰇬a󰈤 n󰇪󰇽󰈥󰈦 be󰇪󰇳


t was somewhere between savouring his abelone on pomelo jelly amuse bouche and admiring my cute-as-a-button pork char sui bun hedgehog sided by a tastebud-tingling crabmeat and curry sauce tartlet that I first fall in thrall of executive chef Joseph Tse. By the time his signature goldfish arrives – a gold leaf-topped steamed dumpling creation shrouding a spectacularly juicy blue shrimp – I consider having his babies. Tse’s artfully presented dim sum and Guangdong Chinese creations for The Eight restaurant at Grand Lisboa Macao ( run to 150 dishes. More impressive still, it’s one of a brace of three- Michelin starfine dining offerings at the hotel, the other being Robuchon au Dôme.

Taipa proves a good area for trying classic dishes from the unique Macanese fusion style, such as Gambas à Macao, while on the Portuguese side my standout proves an indulgent dinner at António, run by celebrated local chef António Coelho.

Cen󰇹󰈦󰇧l 󰇴󰇼󰈦su󰇮󰇹󰈤 My hotel, the Sofitel Macao (sofitelmacau. com), based in the Ponte 16 development, proves a convenient base for strolling the nearby Macao Historic Centre, a mere stone’s throw away. Highpoints include visiting A-Ma Temple and the old Portuguese settlement around Lilau Square, including the nearby Mandarin’s House, while the gardens at Macao Museum, housed in a former fortress, offer sweeping views over the iconic Ruins of St Paul’s. The nearby St Lazarus district offers up another memorable visit. Among its arty old cobbled streets, the closest thing to hipster country in Macao, I stumble upon an oasis of cool shops, galleries and boutiques. I also enjoy a pleasant stroll in Jardim de Lou Lim Leoc, Macao’s only Chinese garden in the Suzhou style.

My sa󰇹󰇪󰈨 s󰇹󰈣󰈩ac󰇬 󰇮󰈤 󰇯󰈇󰈠 re󰇧󰇷󰈣󰈡 en󰈢󰇼󰇫󰇭 to 󰈅󰇻󰈤t m󰈂 󰇺h󰇶e󰇪-ni󰇫󰇭t 󰇷󰇺ay an󰈧 󰈆󰇪r󰇶󰈠 r󰇯󰈧e

Wal󰈫 󰇺h󰇮󰇷 󰈟󰈜y The 󰇮󰈛󰈣󰈡ic Gra󰇳󰈨 󰉁󰇮s󰇨󰈣a at 󰇳󰇮󰈪h󰇹

M󰈘 󰉃AG 󰈎󰈉󰈷󰉂 MO 󰉄󰈺󰉅T󰉍 Ro󰇧d-te󰇷󰇺 󰇮n󰇫 󰇺h

󰈥 󰇹o ex󰈛󰇪󰇱l󰈥󰇳󰇺 ‘Ste󰇴 O󰇻󰇺 󰇻󰈦󰇯s󰇲 󰇩o󰇧r󰈧’s M󰈜 wa󰇰󰈬󰇮n󰇫 󰇺 󰈣ur󰇷. Sam ca󰈢’ se󰇰󰈆-gu󰇮󰈧󰈥󰈨 󰇴󰇱󰇮n󰇫 󰇺h󰈥 Chi󰇳󰇪󰈤󰈥, P e󰈀󰈝󰇪l󰇰 o cu󰇮󰇷󰇯󰈡e. E r󰇹󰇻󰈪󰇼es󰇪 󰈜󰇳󰈨 Mac 󰈥󰈡t x󰇴󰇱o 󰇧󰇳 Cha󰇳󰈡󰇪l󰇰󰇯󰈡 r󰇮󰇳󰈪 t󰇬󰈥 Hi󰈤t󰈢󰇶󰇯󰈝 󰈥󰈤e C g 󰇲󰈠 in󰇳󰇪 󰈦 h󰇯󰇴󰈤te󰇶 en󰇹󰈦󰇪. 󰈢󰈡 of L󰇧󰈃󰈜󰈦u s D󰇮󰇷󰇺r󰇯󰈛󰇺 󰈜 to󰇻󰇶

Food memories are to prove the major takeaway from my three-night October break, supported by the Macao Tourism Office, Sofitel Macao and Cathay Pacific Airways (, not least while hunting for echoes of Macao’s Portuguese colonial past on walking tours of its older corners, including the ‘villages’ of Taipa ( and Coloane. In the latter, I follow up a brief stop at the Panda Pavilion ( by making a beeline for Lord Stow’s Bakery, spiritual home of the Portuguese egg custard tart, or ‘nata’. Loaded up on sugary calories I pace the waterfront and aged backstreets, taking in the local temples and resplendently yellow Chapel of St Francis Xavier. Over in Taipa my backstreet meanderings amongst its colourful and well preserved old buildings lead me to another happy feeding ground, Rua da Cunha, or ‘Food Street’.

My Macao Journey.indd 36

1/3/18 03:26 PM

my journey


My 󰇬e󰈨g󰇪󰇬󰈣󰈪 at The E󰇮󰇫󰇭t

Wis󰇬󰇪󰈤 l󰈥󰈭 a󰇹 A-Ma 󰈓󰇪m󰇴󰇱󰈥

Stu󰈧󰇮󰈣 C w󰇬e󰇪󰇱 i󰇺y’s fi󰇫u󰈦󰇪 -8 󰈣ffer󰇷 󰇧󰈩󰈜zi Fer󰇶󰇮󰈤 󰇳󰈪 v󰇮󰈥 󰇿󰈤

Tak󰇪 󰈜 󰇫a󰈩b󰇰󰇪 Others will be attracted by Macao’s glitzy Vegasmeets-Dubai style hotels and casinos, full of shows, over-the-top design touches and gambling tables with the emphasis on bling, although their appeal is lost on me. Staples include the Venetian (; the mehusive Galaxy development, currently undergoing another phase of construction (; and two offerings apiece from both Wynn and MGM, whose second property, offering 1,400 hotel rooms and suites, should at the time of reading be open on the Cotai strip ( Next year’s big hotel launches include The 13 (, billed as the ‘world’s most luxurious hotel’, while the opening of the Grand Lisboa Palace, featuring blingtastic hotels from fashion houses Karl Lagerfeld and Versace, now looks set for 2019. For many an overnight in one of its great-value five stars will prove enough to experience Macao’s charms, with other popular attractions including shows such as The House of Dancing Water at City of Dreams and the world’s tallest bungee at Macao Tower ( For me, though, my sated stomach proves reason enough to justify my three-night stay and the 70-minute ferry ride from Hong Kong to this compact, 11-square-mile former Portuguese outpost some 40 miles away. However long you choose to visit just be sure to pack an appetite. See:

The 󰇶󰇻󰇯󰈡s o󰈇 St 󰈑a󰇻󰇰’s

The 󰇷󰇺󰇧r󰇷 󰈣󰈆 Mac󰇧󰈣’s Gi󰇧󰇳󰇺 Pan󰈧󰇧 󰈑󰈜󰇾il󰇮󰈣󰇳

T S󰈶󰉁󰉂 I t 󰇨󰈦e󰇧k 󰈜󰇹 󰉇 󰈻 󰈖 󰇭 HO 󰈦󰈥e-ni󰇫 󰇶o󰈩

󰇬 󰇺r󰇧󰇽󰈥󰇱 f 󰇬a󰈤 󰇧 t ol󰇮󰈧󰈜󰈠s £1,099p󰇴, fo󰇶 ro󰈢󰇲-on󰇰󰈠 H 󰈦 󰇮󰈥 Pre󰇲 d󰇯󰇳󰈪 f󰇶󰈣󰈩 M󰈜󰈝a󰇻 2 2018, in󰈛󰇱󰇻 󰇹󰈟󰇯c󰈫 󰇺o H󰈢n󰇫 1 So fi t 󰇪 󰇰 󰇧 󰈥 G 󰇳 󰈇󰈦om to J󰇻 󰈇󰈥󰈦s. May 1 a󰇺󰇮󰈣n, flig󰇬󰇺s 󰈨 t󰇶󰇧󰈡s . 󰇳 a c 󰇯fi 󰈧 4 󰈝 󰈣 󰇧 4 m P 󰈩 937 4 ha󰈂 ac󰈛󰈢 08444 󰇮t󰇬 C󰈜󰇺 Kon󰇫 󰈟 o󰇱󰇮d󰈜󰈂󰈤; 󰇬 p󰇶e󰈩󰇮󰈥r

󰈩 󰇧t Aqu󰇧󰇶󰇯u 󰉃 t󰇬e M󰈌 󰇧 c a M 󰈣

My Macao Journey.indd 37

Lan󰇹󰇪 t󰇬e M 󰈦n󰇷 󰈜󰇺 󰇧󰈡d󰈜󰇶 Ho󰇻s󰈥 i󰈡’s

1/3/18 03:28 PM


how to sell

Alberta by Julie Baxter


lberta is the sunniest province in Canada year-round so inspire your clients to explore it in whichever season they prefer. Why sell it Interest in Canada is on the up and as the country's sunniest province, Alberta offers both urban chic and rugged mountain outback under clear blue skies to inspire a visit. It's a safe, welcoming and hassle free destination which has a useful tendancy to exceed expectations.

Who to sell to Traditionally, scenic touring was key for Alberta with an older set bound for the mountains and especially the iconic Icefields Parkway route through the Rockies. Increasingly however it is now a more independent and younger traveller being drawn to the province for the Western culture, outdoor adventure, motorhome touring and culinary experiences. In the winter, reliable snow conditions attract skiers and boarders and the range of off–piste activities means it is a wintersports destinations for all abilities and is popular with multi-generational groups.



What to sell The province has over 65 ski hills, with top sellers including resorts around Banff and Jasper National Parks. Mt. Norquay – just 10 minutes from Banff – has a focus on families while Sunshine Village offers ski-in, ski-out accommodation at the lodge set at 7,200ft in the heart of the resort, you can be the first on the slopes each morning and its Delirium Dive is one of the Top 10 off-piste destinations in the world. Lake Louise has just won Canada’s Best Ski Resort again at the World Ski Awards and allows those of varying abilities to ski together on 4,200 skiable acres. Family– friendly Jasper includes Marmot Basin with a relaxed atmosphere and a great choice of trails and large snow-filled bowls. Less well known is Castle Mountain – two and a half hours drive from Calgary. Encourage clients to combine skiing or boarding with time enjoying other winter activities from dog sledding ( and snow shoeing to ice–

Alberta Essentials TIME: GMT -7 GATEWAYS: Calgary & Edmonton FLIGHT TIME: To Calgary: 8 hours 55 minutes; to Edmonton: Non– stop 8hrs 40 minutes VISAS: An electronic travel authorisation (eTA) is required for all visits under six months. Available

at: CURRENCY: Canadian dollar KEY WINTERSPORTS RESORTS: Banff National Park including Mt Norquay, Lake Louise and Sunshine Village; Jasper National Park for Marmot Basin; plus Castle Mountain Resort.



climbing and skating. Beyond the wintersports season flag up the natural assets of other parks, such as Elk Island National Park for impressive bison watching, Wood Buffalo National Park for a great chance to view the Aurora Borealis and the Cypress Hills Interprovincial Park which also has dark sky preserve status. Summer and shoulder seasons are great for walking, cycling, riding and kayaking in the province and a trip to the Banff Upper Hot Springs to soak in therapeutic waters looking out over the mountains is a memorable must year-round.

What’s new Culinary experiences are becoming increasingly strong in Alberta from cooking demonstrations and tastings with a professional chef ( to gourmet walking tours ( and traditional fondue on the mountainside after a historic snowshoe walk out of Sunshine Village ( and can join a progressive dinner tour in Canmore with each course in a different restaurant (tourismcanmore. com). Visitors should also watch out for the craft breweries and boutique distilleries.

When to sell Currently it is the wintersports set who are jetting to Alberta thanks to its unrivalled reputation for good snow conditions and the iconic appeal of skiing in the Rockies. But peak season is summer when visitors head to the mountains for its scenic splendour and great outdoor lifestyle opportunities. 

V2 Alberta-January.indd 38

1/2/18 03:13 PM

premium indian ocean


real good push it

Resorts across the Indian Ocean excel at offering a ‘high-end’ experience – which is why selling a no-holdsbarred plan is a no-brainer for agents, says Clare Walsh


n the rare occasions I treat myself to a massage, I always find it a little disconcerting having to lower my face through that gaping hole in the treatment bed and stare at a cold, hard floor below. But then my local salon is a far cry from the luxury spa in which I now find myself in the Maldives. As the therapist begins to ‘unknot’ my back, I look down through the glass-bottomed floor and come face to face with an ethereal world teeming with a myriad of multi-hued fish. I find myself lulled into a hypnotic state as I gaze

at them glinting like precious jewels in shafts of sunlight. As my private underwater show comes to an end, I can’t wait to grab a snorkel and explore the warm tropical waters that surround the 26 atolls of the dreamy Maldives.

Premium experiences The spectacular marine life and vibrant coral reefs I explore during my stay have enabled resorts across the Indian Ocean to capitalise on their rich natural surroundings in their premium all-inclusive offerings.

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HURAWALHI - CAPTURING THE SOUL OF THE MALDIVES A 5-Star, adults only island boasting a breath-taking undersea restaurant, a beautiful beach and some of the best snorkeling and diving in the Maldives. Stylish villas, restaurants, bars, combined with superb service makes this island paradise your best choice for an unforgettable holiday

indian ocean premium.indd 40 SellingTravelNOV2017.indd 1


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17 11:13

premium indian ocean

Many now offer complimentary watersports premium all-inclusive package two years and snorkelling equipment as just one feature ago, we are already seeing a nice two-digit of an all-inclusive stay. The days of plastic pick up for this top-up supplement, which wristbands, brown buffets and watered-down shows the demand is certainly there.” drinks have long gone and the all-inclusive Everything in the premium all-inclusive model has evolved following a seismic shift in model is designed to offer halcyon days and global economic factors and client expectations. effortless living. For busy Brits who work Many resorts that previously shunned long hours and have multiple priorities to the all-inclusive option have responded to juggle, this type of holiday is alluring because demand and adopted their offerings. it offers a complete break with reality. Now, premium packages offer everything from Of course, it is still a way of budgeting. Clients top-shelf drinks and multiple dining options to fed up of being stung by hidden extras are immersive excursions prepared to pay more if and private butlers. it means a hassle and “Over the years we have Clients now expect restriction-free holiday customised and where they can leave noticed that what initially personalised trips such their wallet locked attracted young honeymooners in the safe for the as gourmet breaks and and budget-minded families duration of their break. wellness retreats. Audrey Hervel, Head has now spread, with high-net- It is also an of Sales at Veranda offering worth individuals looking for aspirational Resorts and Heritage and for those clients the maximum of inclusions” with bottomless Resorts in Mauritius, AUDREY HERVEL, says: “Over the years, pockets it’s possible HEAD OF SALES, VERANDA RESORTS we have noticed to hire a private that what initially island with everything attracted young honeymooners and budgetincluded for the duration of the stay. Amilla Fushi minded families has now spread, with high-netin the Maldives recently introduced this concept worth individuals looking for the maximum of and for an eye-watering $2.35 million, clients can inclusions, especially for long haul holidays. indulge in a four-night stay. The everything-you“Our market research showed a need could-possibly-want package includes all dining for an experiential package which would, venues, free flow of food and house beverages, for example, cover daily spa treatments, a daily spa treatment and daily watersports. quad biking tour in our nature reserve, a Thanda Island, located off the coast of lobster dinner, a bubbles breakfast, a tour Tanzania, also offers guests complete exclusivity. to the coloured earth of Chamarel followed The experience includes a glass-rim flow by lunch in a panoramic restaurant.” swimming pool, private access to a marine Hervel added: “Since the launch of the reserve, fully equipped boathouse, beaches,


Clockwise from left: Hurawalhi’s Duniye Spa; beach glamping at One&Only Le Saint Geran; rustic lounging; and poolside yoga - both at Dhigali

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restaurants, excursions and staff. Ailsa Tavares, UK Sales Manager for Thanda Island, said ‘With the premium traveller constantly seeking the next stand-apart experience, it is this bespoke exclusivity that makes Thanda Island quite such a unique proposition – and an appealing sell for agents with clients looking for an extraordinary tropical holiday to share with their friends and loved ones.’

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Perfect ten

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Above: Couples who want to be more active can try watersports like diving and kayaking

Foodie haven: The gourmet all-inclusive package at Heritage Le Telfair Golf & Wellness Resort offers guests unlimited access to 12 restaurants and bars, including premium imported drinks and French champagne. Private island perks: At Thanda Island your personal marine guides are equipped with GoPro cameras to record your time with whale sharks -additional bragging rights for when you get home! Sell luxurious ease: Champagne on arrival, butler service and complimentary spa treatments…agents should focus on the total escapism these packages offer to frazzled Brits looking for the ultimate break. Stay dry while you dive: If getting up close to sea creatures isn’t your thing, you can still enjoy the sub-aqua paradise at Hurawalhi Island Resort in the Maldives, which has the world’s largest all-glass undersea restaurant. Fun for the family: From candy floss making to mini-yoga, kids will find plenty to do at Kandima Maldives. It boasts the largest kids club in the region. No hidden costs: Agents can sell premium packages by indicating the extra costs that can really add up in other resorts – from bottles of water to excursions –and extolling the virtues of a fully-inclusive premium plan.

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Book now and receive up to 40% Discount!

PLUS Complimentary Meal Upgrade From BB to Half Board! Valid for stays between 09 Apr – 30 Sept 18


Heavenly holiday: How about an outdoor whirlpool bath that changes colour and floating four-poster beds with views of the sea? Book into Conrad Maldives Rangali. Sky lounging: The residences at the new LUX* North Atoll will have a fullyfeatured 120m2 roof terrace complete with private deck featuring a BBQ, rooftop bar, cinema, yoga plinth, starlight jacuzzi and outdoor games. Island experiences: Included in Hurawalhi Island Resort’s all-inclusive Dream Island Package is a sunset cruise, unlimited use of snorkeling and watersports equipment, tennis lessons and yoga sessions. The great blue yonder: Venture into the deep blue sea with a sunset fishing trip offered by OBLU Select’s ‘Serenity Plan.’ Opening in July 2018, the plan also offers one fine dining experience per seven-night stay and one complementary excursion.

Stunning island resort in Raa Atoll! Amazing House Coral Reef And close to fantastic Dive sites Book 60 days prior to arrival and Get 10% Off Room Rates Valid for stays between 09 Jan – 25 Dec 18


Charmingly Authentic Maldives Resort Fantastic House Reef Short transfer from Male Airport Book now and receive 15 % Off! Valid for stays between 01 May – 31 Oct 18


What’s new  Tour operators: Premier Holidays (trade. has added the five-star Luxury Ozen by Atmosphere resort in Maadhoo, Maldives, to its 2018 portfolio. Agents can earn up to £150 per booking.  Resorts: LUX* ( will open its second resort, LUX* North Male Atoll, Maldives, in April 2018. Accommodation will be over-sized penthouse residences. Dhigali Maldives ( opened last year (2017) as the newest island resort from Universal Resorts. Located in the Raa Atoll, Maldives, its all-inclusive option includes a wide variety of dining options. The OBLU SELECT at Sangeli, Maldives ( will open on July 1 2018. It will feature 137 villas and its premium allinclusive ‘Serenity Plan’ will include exotic

Wonderful Water Villas in Raa Atoll Book early for Summer 2018 and Receive 10% OFF Room Rates Valid for stays 01 May – 31 Oct 18



A casual lunch at Amilla Fushi All above offers are subject to availability.

Terms & Conditions Apply

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premium indian ocean

fine dining, activities and excursions. The Kandima Maldives ( opened in March last year. Its premium all-inclusive package includes a complimentary 30-minute massage and a choice of two activities such as a dolphin cruise or local island excursion. Park Hyatt Maldives Hadahaa (maldiveshadahaa. will see the opening of new luxury villas in winter 2017/early 2018. The new villas are aimed at families, with three new twobedroom park pool views and a second bedroom with twin beds and an additional bathroom. Beachcomber Hotels & Resorts ( is adding to its portfolio of eight properties in Mauritius by opening the island’s first swim-up suites this month (January). Designed in an exclusive adults-only wing, 40 two-person terraced rooms will each open onto a private beach and the marine park. Also this month, the Victoria Beachcomber Resort and Spa in Mauritius will introduce its new adult-only wing, the Victoria for Two, with swim-up rooms. One&Only Le Saint Géran (oneandonlyresorts. com) re-opened at the end of 2017 following an extensive refurbishment. New guest rooms and suites were introduced along with new culinary experiences, two new pool experiences plus new fitness and spa offerings.

Tourism talk “With the upcoming 50th anniversary of independence taking place in Mauritius early in 2018 – March 12 will see the start of the celebrations – many hotels have undergone extensive developments and refurbishments ready to welcome a flood of guests this year. “Last year closed with the exclusive One&Only Saint Géran reopening after a refurbishment, with brand-new guest rooms and suites as well as new culinary experiences, two new pool areas plus new fitness and spa offerings for guests to enjoy. “Maintaining the resort’s colonial-style architecture, the hotel will introduce newly designed guest

rooms and suites. With breath-taking views of the ocean, there is an exclusive sense of seclusion for guests, enforcing the sense of true luxury and opulence that Mauritius offers. Kevin Ramkaloan, Director of Tourism, MTPA

Where to book it  TRAVEL 2 – 0800 0224 182 Seven nights at five-star OZEN by Atmosphere at Maadhoo, Maldives, staying in a Wind Villa on an all-inclusive basis costs £3,399pp (saving up to £1,720pp). The price includes two free nights, return flights from London and boat transfers. The deal is valid for travel between April 23 and June 30, 2018 and guests booking for more than six nights will enjoy two free 60-minute spa services or two open-water dives for each person.

 PURE LUXURY – 0800 747 0000 Seven nights at the five-star Heritage Le Telfair Golf and Wellness Resort in Mauritius starts at £1389pp, B&B. Or upgrade to the Gourmet Bliss allinclusive package from £139pp pn. The deal includes return flights and private transfers and an exclusive ‘Pure Luxury’ offer of a one-hour spa treatment per adult per stay and one three- course a la carte dinner at the resort’s Ginja restaurant, valid for travel May 13 and 17 June 2018. 

Above, clockwise from top left: under the sea dining at Hurawalhi; keeping fit at Park Hyatt Maldives; kayaking is a popular included watersport; a Villa bedroom at Thanda Island; cheese and wine tasting

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UX* is giving each agent two complimentary nights in any of its Indian Ocean resorts as well as the chance to win a fam trip as part of its latest incentive scheme.


LUXURY AT ITS BEST LUX* Grand Gaube, Mauritius, has unveiled a resort unlike anywhere else on the island. A pioneering vision from designer Kelly Hoppen delivers a lifestyle that is effortlessly sophisticated, yet blissfully informal. Amidst lush tropical gardens, LUX* Grand Gaube is enveloped by undulating coves, the calmest of lagoons and is blessed with two tranquil beaches along with two swimming pools.


NEW FOR 2018 April 2018 will see the transformation of the six-hectare picnic island of Olhahali. LUX* North Male Atoll, Maldives is the destination’s most innovative resort, with each of the 60 double-storey residences situated either on the beach or over-water. Guests will beneft from a minimum living area of 255m2. For the frst time in the Maldives, each residence is crowned with a 120m2 reef terrace from which guests will be have a unique perspective on the planet’s fattest country.

WIN WITH LUX* With every booking made in LUX* Grand Gaube or LUX* North Male Atoll from January 1, to February 28, 2018, LUX* Resorts & Hotels is offering a £20 Love2Shop voucher along with the chance to win a place on the LUX* Fam Trip in 2018! Each agent can be a LUX* Expert with the online training course.


After successful completion, a LUX* expert certificate will be sent to you, and with it an invitation to enjoy two complimentary nights on a Bed & Breakfast basis in any one of the LUX* Resorts & Hotels. Don’t miss out, visit now! Good luck!


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Charleston Queen of the South


agged the 'Holy City' for the church steeples that provide its jagged skyline, Charleston should be included on any Southern selfdrive, says Steve Hartridge

Named after King Charles II, Charleston was one of the first English settlements and by 1760 was the fourth-largest city in Colonial America, behind only Boston, Philadelphia and New York. Fast forward to 1860 and the opening shots of the nation-defining U.S. Civil War were fired in Charleston, when the army of the Confederacy (Southern states) aimed its mortars and shells at Fort Sumter, located on a small island at the entrance to Charleston Harbour. Today tours of the national monument are available and the exhibits offer an on overview of the build-up and background to the war. Although the popular city is expanding north, with ‘new’ neighbourhoods boasting trendy craft breweries and upmarket restaurants, the beating heart of Charleston is still found in its Historic District, which sprawls over 96 blocks, the largest ‘protected’ area in the U.S. Here, horse-drawn carriages take visitors around cobblestone streets and past pastel Antebellum houses, which are most impressive in the elegant French Quarter and Battery districts. Says Ike High, Sales Manager for Explore Charleston: “Charleston is one of the most walkable cities in the U.S. because it was built

Clockwise from top: tours of Charleston's homes and gardens are available each spring and autumn; take a horse and carriage tour around the Historic District; the Pineapple Fountain; Charleston has a thriving craft beer scene

on a human scale. If you are downtown in the Historic District everything is right there – great shopping, history, tours, music and food.” Striking buildings here include the Francis Marion Hotel, built around 1924; Rainbow Row, the largest cluster of Georgian row houses in the U.S.; the Old Exchange and Provost Dungeon; and Wentworth Mansion (, which was built in 1885 as an opulent private home but has been lovingly restored into a 34-room property that is a Small Luxury Hotel of the World. Any stroll around the Historic District will also take in the City Market, stretching over four blocks and with 100-plus vendors; Waterfront Park, site of the iconic Pineapple Fountain along with statues, fountains and lawns; the Old Slave Mart Museum, which provides another reminder of Charleston’s deep Southern roots; The Battery, a landmark defensive seawall and promenade that attracts joggers and dog walkers; and White Point Gardens, a 5.5-acre park that marks the southern tip of Charleston’s peninsula. Charleston also has a thriving craft beer scene, with over 25 breweries in the city. Companies such as The Original Pub and Brewery Tours of Charleston ( introduce visitors to some of these, including Palmetto Brewery,

which first started making beer in 1857. For spirits, located downtown the Charleston Distilling Co. ( offers tours and tastings of its craft bourbon, vodka and gin. Elsewhere in the city the central King Street is regularly named among the top shopping streets in the U.S. while family attractions include the South Carolina Aquarium (, which runs a behind-the-scenes tour of its Sea Turtle Rescue Programme, and Magnolia Plantation and Gardens (, a historic house with gorgeous gardens and a petting zoo located on the Ashley River in Charleston County. Adds Explore Charleston’s Ike High: “I would suggest a visit that takes in one of our many events and festivals. The Spoleto Festival (May 25-June 10, 2018) is one of the biggest arts festivals in the country. It lasts for three weeks with great opera, theatre, jazz and other music." 

BOOK IT WITH... AMERICA AS YOU LIKE IT A 12-night South Carolina Discovery self-drive includes two nights in Charleston. Priced from £1,025pp, including flights, the trip begins and ends in Atlanta. 020 8742 8299;

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spotlight on


Travel 2 talking to...

Mark Henderson, Senior Product & Commercial Manager for Travel 2, explains the operator’s current focus on touring How has your touring programme developed? It has diversified significantly from the traditional escorted coach tours that dominated in the past. Small group, specialist and independent tours are all capturing the imagination of modern travellers looking for authentic experiences and off the beaten track and one-of-a-kind-trips. The popularity of touring is being driven by well-travelled customers who want to get under the skin of a destination. One of our Insight Travel tours allows them to stay with a family on Sniper Alley in Sarajevo, and find out about the Balkan war from those who lived through it.

What travel trends are you harnessing? We’re seeing strong growth across the Americas, with passenger numbers for our South American tours increasing by 78% year on year, thanks in part to sporting events like the World Cup and Olympic Games piquing interest. Rail tours are expanding too. We’ve just reintroduced the Shongololo Express – a breathtaking journey through South Africa and other countries including Zimbabwe and Namibia. Independent rail journeys across the USA are also popular.

Why book your tours? We have strong relationships with a variety of well-established touring specialists in each destination. This

gives us the leverage to offer a one-stop-shop and tailor-make tours to suit each traveller. If they want to tweak things we can do it, especially for independent touring where we work closely with the ground operators to design tours. Our team has recently been working on boutique tours in Asia, with the chance to stay in a traditional water village in China. The tours are multi-optional so that agents can create bespoke itineraries.

How are you helping agents sell tours? We’ve just released the new edition of the Little Book of Incredible Journeys to help agents sell touring. The brochure focuses on bucket list experiences, with 37 new tours including the 21-day Tane Mahuta tour with Silver Fern in New Zealand, with stays on farms and vineyards, and the ninenight Peru In Style tour with Condor Travel, with two nights onboard the Belmond Andean Explorer train.

What’s in store for 2018? All eyes are on touring! We’ll be engaging with our customers to create new experiences that aren’t currently available. New Zealand, Canada and Australia continue to perform well for us but destinations on the up include Uruguay, Ethiopia, Madagascar, South Korea, Spain, Portugal, Greece, Croatia, Iceland and Russia. 

“We run specialist road shows, giving agents the chance to meet with our key partners and discuss their products. These partners also have modules on the T2 Academy an essential tool for agents looking to become experts in selling tours”

TOURING INCENTIVE Make a booking with five nights’ consecutive touring and flights with APT, AAT Kings, Grand Pacific Touring, Great Southern Rail, Rocky Mountaineer, Trafalgar, UnCruise Adventures, Metropolitan, Condor, Blumar, Travel Excellence, Insider Journey, Rovos Rail or THL between January 1 and March 31 to win £4,000 towards a touring holiday of your choice.

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new zealand hidden gems

New Zealand’s hidden gems MILES HOLDEN

Known for its adrenaline sports, rugged outdoors and fine food and wine, New Zealand has plenty to offer repeat visitors. Ben Lerwill rounds up some lesser-known spots

A Forgotten World

Wellington’s foodie laneways

Outdoor thrills in Wanaka

New Zealand isn’t exactly short on primegrade, Instagram-friendly road trips, which might be why the North Island’s rugged Forgotten World Highway often slips under the radar. It’s only 150km long, but makes up for itss comparatively short distance by packing in countless dips, climbs and bends. Clients will crest four different mountain saddles, follow a winding river gorge and even negotiate a sizable stretch of unsealed gravel road. There’s only one settlement en route, the characterful little village of Whangamomona, and its roughly halfway location makes it a logical spot to spend a night. It begins in Taumarunui, near Taupo, and ends at Stratford.

The likable waterfront capital isn’t a big city, but it’s a hugely enjoyable one. And there’s far more to the place than signature experiences such as the Te Papa Museum and the Mount Victoria lookout. Recent years have seen previously under-used backstreets in the city centre being reinvented as trend-conscious laneways, complete with craft beer bars, artisan bakeries and more. Head to Hannah’s Laneway for gems such as Golding’s Free Dive, a magnet for serious beerdrinkers; the Leeds Street Bakery, now famed for its salted caramel cookies; Red Rabbit Coffee Co, which has expanded into Auckland; and the Wellington Chocolate Factory, which specialises in organic, high-quality bars.

Those in the know have been raving about Wanaka for years. Drawing far less attention than the South Island adventure hotspot of Queenstown, the lakeside town sits just an hour to the north and gives any number of good reasons to be visited in its own right. The Siberia Experience, for example, is a four-hour adventure that combines a scenic flight, a four-hour hike and a 30-minute jetboat ride, and the town also a well reputed skydiving centre. The rock-climbing is similarly strong, with hundreds of different routes on the edge of Mount Aspiring National Park, and special mention goes too to via ferrata specialists Wild Wire. They offer three different waterfall

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new zealand hidden gems

of course mountainous Marlborough, which accounts for about three-quarters of all New Zealand wine.


via ferrata climbs, the largest of which goes by the name (but of course) Lord of the Rungs and also involves a helicopter descent.


Rugby goes super

Wine-tasting heaven

Volcanic action on White Island

That New Zealand produces great-quality wine is no secret. You only have to wander down the drinks aisle of a UK supermarket to see how widespread the appeal has become – the country’s sauvignon blancs are particularly prevalent (for good reason, we might add). What’s not so well known, however, is quite how diverse the national wine scene is. The country has 10 different wine-growing regions (six on the North Island, four on the South), and their geographical spread makes a wine-themed trip through the country an attractive prospect. Highlights include Waiheke Island, which produces full-bodied reds just a short boat trip for Auckland; Hawke’s Bay, which has some world-class small producers and is also home to beautiful Art Deco architecture, and

Rotorua is one of the North Island’s perennial visitor magnets, thanks largely to its mud pools and sulphurous, steamy thermal activity. Far fewer people make the journey out to the Bay of Plenty to visit the extraordinary White Island, New Zealand’s only active marine volcano. Also known as Whakaari, the island sits nearly 50 kilometres offshore and belches smoke almost constantly. Visits are possible either on a scenic flight or by joining a dedicated boat trip from outfit White Island Tours, which lets you disembark into the crater complex itself and get up close to roaring steam vents, bubbling pits of mud, hot volcanic streams and a lake of steaming acid –all splashed with vivid orange and yellow hues. As a bonus, the sailing also gives a good chance of spotting dolphins.

Think New Zealand, think rugby. Tickets to see the famous All Blacks play on their home turf tend to be in short supply but seats for Super Rugby games are easier to come by. Pitting 18 southern hemisphere club sides against each other, the annual competition takes place between February and July and features five Kiwi teams: the Auckland Blues, Dunedin Highlanders, Wellington Hurricanes, Hamilton Chiefs and Christchurch’s allconquering Crusaders. Kiwi Rail’s scenic train journeys connect three of these cities: Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch. 

BOOK IT WITH... SILVER FERN HOLIDAYS A 14-day wine-themed holiday taking in different wine regions is preiced from £3,595pp, with car hire,four-star hotels and other high-standard lodgings. The deal excludes international flights.

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Helsinki Edge of the north


ast aside stereotypes of IKEA-infused Scandi-chic because Finland’s sea-surrounded capital is in a league of its own, says Mark Stratton

Some Scandinavian traits are self-evident in Helsinki, with its metronomic tram system and a lean cuisine showcasing regional produce such as reindeer and herring.

City at a crossroads Yet this Baltic capital looks both west and east for inspiration. Its self-confident affluence is reflected in the Western European design around its imperious Esplandi, alongside its Russianstyle Byzantine-Slavic Orthodox Cathedral. Numerous city parks and coastal inlets reflect a Finnish love of being connected to nature while ferries shuttle people between its 300 islands. The city is well connected for multi-centre city breaks to Tallinn in Estonia, just 1.45 hours by ferry, and Russia’s St. Petersburg, just two hours by train. Most visitors, including large cruise ships, arrive during the brief mild summer to find many locals departed for their country summer homes. “We joke that Helsinki is closed in July,” laughed local guide, Sirpa Kajarinne.

Saunas & Sibelius Established as a Baltic trading port in the mid-16th century under colonial Swedish rule,

Main picture: Helsinki is surrounded by wooded areas and waterways. Above: The Temppeliaukio, or rock church

Helsinki’s cultural attractions are easily accessed by an excellent network of themed city walks, safe cycling lanes, and trams. In its centre, visitors can feast upon the elegant edifices of largely 19th-century architecture infusing the nostalgic Gothic influences of Finnish national romanticism and Art Nouveau. Call in for a coffee at Roberts Café on the esplanade to be wowed by more than just the cinnamon rolls, amongst its splendid Art Nouveau interior. Nearby is Helsinki’s 19thcentury version of Harrods – a redoubtable institution called Stockmann on fashionable Aleksanterinkatu. Further afield, Temppeliaukio ‘rock’ church resembles a wartime bunker from the outside. But the rock-excavated church’s circular and understated Lutheran interior is aesthetically harmonious and acoustically sumptuous. The essence of music continues nearby at a monument to Finland’s greatest composer, Sibelius, in the form of 600 welded steel pipes. In summertime, the harbourside Market Square brims with local produce such as lingonberries and chanterelle mushrooms alongside reindeer hides, and visitors can watch the ferries and fishing boats come and go.

Visitors to the capital will also find an accessible opportunity to take a Finnish sauna by the harbour. The pine-clad Allas complex perches on edge of the Baltic and hosts private and public saunas and heated pools. If you really want to let it all hang out, the complex has set openings times for naked sauna sessions and swims.

Beyond the city One of the many waterborne excursions Helsinki offers is a 15-minute ferry ride to the UNESCO World Heritage Suomenlinna Island. This fortified island’s architecture dates back to the late 1740 and mingles with assorted café-restaurants – a perfect Sunday lunch spot. Finland’s super-efficient rail and bus network facilitates easy access for a day of hiking amid the lakes and fragrant pine forests at Nuuksio National Park, 40km northwest of Helsinki.

Did you know? The word ‘sauna’ originates from Finland and there are over three million countrywide. The most innovative locations in Helsinki include a sauna cabin on the Helsinki 5 and, curiously, one inside Burger King. 

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the review












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the review

Tourism Update

Super Break looks to Europe

CAROL HAY UK Manager, Caribbean Tourism Organization

THE Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) would like to wish all readers a wonderful, productive and prosperous 2018! The CTO’s year ended well: we won Best Favourite Training Event/ Roadshow in the Selling Travel Agents Choice Awards 2017! And in 2018 we will be running more great roadshows throughout the UK and Ireland. We also have an award-winning training programme – Caribbean Travel Guru. If you haven’t yet registered then the start of the is a great time to do that! Go to

If you are already registered, don’t forget to log all of your Caribbean bookings and work through the quizzes and exams – you can win great prizes. Our December winner was Jake Goodenough of The Freedom Travel Group Ltd, who won a Spa Day Voucher for two. The Caribbean Travel Guru January prize, for the agent who makes and logs the most Caribbean bookings, is £100 worth of Amazon Vouchers. We will also be giving a £25 Love2Shop Voucher to two agents who complete the programme and receive their Caribbean Travel Guru Certificate during the month. For further information, please contact Ann-Marie Brooks at or on 020 8948 0057.

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


SUPER BREAK has introduced a series of short-break packages to Europe for 2018 that feature regional charter flights from 14 airports around the UK. The new programmes include Malta (pictured), Gibraltar, Madeira, Montenegro, Verona and Florence. The move follows on from the operator’s inaugural charter flight and short breaks to Akureyri in northern Iceland, which launch this month (January). New ‘Iceland under the Midnight Sun’ three- and four-night short breaks depart between June 11 and July 2 from Bournemouth, Liverpool, Humberside, Cardiff, Newcastle, East Midlands and Norwich. The packages include return flights, B&B accommodation, a whale watching under the midnight sun excursion

and a trip to the Lake Myvatn Nature Baths. Prices are from £749pp for three nights and £799pp for four nights. For the winter 2018 season, 22 departures from 13 regional airports are scheduled on the operator’s ‘Incredible Iceland’ programme to Akureyri with prices from £699pp. Graham Balmforth, National Sales Manager at Super Break said: “We can now offer agents a full year of short break charter packages from local airports around the UK. We have exclusive direct flights to destinations not previously available. This gives agents something unique to sell, which is so important when taking a short break and maximising the time in destination is key.”

Italy on track with Citalia CITALIA is offering travellers the chance to travel to Italy from the UK by rail, with savings available until the end of the month (January). Customers board a train in London and travel though to Italy, stopping in either Paris or Zurich, with overnight accommodation at a range of hotels. In Italy there are high-speed lines between cities and scenic lines between smaller towns and villages. Options include the seven-night London to Lake Garda by rail, starting by Eurostar and connecting in Paris with stopovers in Zurich and Venice (from £1,339pp), and the nine-night London to Rome by rail package, exploring Zurich, Venice and Florence (from £1,669pp). A 12-night London to Sorrento by rail option, which hops to the Italian capital via Paris, Zurich and Milan, starts from £1,689pp.

CLIA industry report says 2018 will see cruisers come in from the cold CLIA’S 2018 State of the Cruise Industry Outlook takes a close look at the cruise sector’s overall global economic impact as well as the trends likely to impact the sector travel in 2018. The data shows cruise travel is steadily on the rise with a projected 27.2 million passengers expected to set sail in 2018. In 2017, an estimated 25.8 million passengers cruised compared to 24.7 million passengers in 2016. Experiential travel is predicted to see travellers seeking ‘transformational’ experiences from voluntourism to extreme adventures. CLIA also predicts a greater

focus on sustainable tourism and more travellers seeking health and wellness trips, with the cruise industry providing onboard programmes, stress management, and spa services as well as entire cruise itineraries dedicated to weight management and healthy living. Colder destinations like the Baltics, Canada, Alaska, and Antarctica will be more popular and come with excursion options like penguin watching and ice fishing. There are 27 new ocean, river and specialty ships in 2018 from CLIA member cruise lines.

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the review



Egypt rising for Scenic

Best of

Both Worlds Win a

PRIZE a day

Win a

PRIZE a week



RIVER cruise operator Scenic says interest in Egypt for 2018 is rebounding. Angela Sloan, Head of Sales UK, said “We are very excited to be offering tours to Egypt for the first time. Our Egypt itineraries offer guests five-star luxury river cruising, alongside some very special escorted tours which can truly be described as ‘bucket list experiences’.” Brand Manager Nichola Absalom added: “There is renewed interest in Egypt and with over 30 years of travel experience and working closely with local experts and travel operators in the region, we have a number of exceptional itineraries that take passengers to ancient landmarks where

they can experience real wonders but in areas that are relatively free from the usual crowds of tourists.” Archaeologists recently discovered tombs and a mummy believed to be at least 3,500 years old in the Draa Abul Naga necropolis near to Luxor, an area famed for its ancient temples and burial sites. Scenic’s 11-Day Treasures of Egypt tour departs Cairo at various dates throughout 2018 and 2019. The tour itinerary includes the pyramids of Giza and the Sphinx, the antiquities at Luxor and a four-day Nile cruise. Prices start from £4595pp, based on two sharing and including flights.

Staff deal: all-inclusive Rihiveli Maldives TRADE-FRIENDLY wholesaler Osborne & Ebel has a deal for the ‘delightfully traditional’ island resort of Rihiveli. Five nights start from £345pp on an all-inclusive basis, including return speedboat transfers, for travel in 2018. The resort is set on a serene, quiet and rustic hideaway, with a stunning lagoon and great opportunities nearby for diving. For details contact:

• 5 Star luxury • Panoramic city & bay views • Cable cars to Union Sq & Fisherman’s Wharf

FIJI • Tropical island resorts • Fijian hospitality • Helicopter tours • Perfect snorkelling

Call us on 0141 955 4000 or visit for details Double your chances by including our preferred partners in your booking

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the review

G Adventures grows trade team G ADVENTURES has appointed Rachel Coffey as its Director of Sales, UK and Ireland, while Stu Darnley has been promoted to the new position of National Sales Manager, UK. Brian Young, the company’s Managing Director, says the smallgroup tour operator is ‘laser-focused’ on delivering the best customer experience to travel agents. Coffey, who spent the past 13 years at Virgin Atlantic, said: “I have travelled with G Adventures nine times and was struck by the strong sense of purpose and mission for travel to be a force for good. “I’m excited to meet the agents who sell our tours and to empower them to engage more of their customers to choose G Adventures.”

Tremblant’s winter warmers


VISITORS to Mont Tremblant in Québec, Canada, this winter will benefit from new snow cannons and novel ski experiences. The resort has installed 31 new snow cannons, bringing its total to 1,164, guaranteeing snow from November to mid-April. Tremblant is also continuing its popular First Tracks programme, where for C$23 (C$17 in advance) visitors can ride up in the lifts 45 minutes early, have breakfast up top, and be first on the fresh snow. Those keen to ‘earn their turns’ can get into the newly popular sport of ski touring, where you fix ‘skins’ to the base of your skis and hike up one of 10 forest trails to the summit. During the resort’s Alpine Touring Festival (February 2-4), there is a guided

night traverse using headlamps, which includes a cheese fondue dinner and drinks around a camp fire. And, for the first time in its 50-year history, the historic Canadian Ski Marathon, (staged the following weekend), will start from Mont Tremblant, taking cross-country skiers on an 160km course to just outside Montréal. Crystal Ski Holidays has a week’s B&B at the four-star Holiday Inn Express & Suites from £820pp and a week room-only at the Fairmont from £1,286pp. Prices are based on two sharing, and include flights from Heathrow to Montréal and transfers (prices are for departure on January 17 and 24 2018 respectively).

Sandals’ water way to go in Jamaica SANDALS Resorts has opened 12 luxury Maldivian-style over-the-water bungalows at Sandals South Coast in Whitehouse, Jamaica. Each of the bungalows feature glassfloor panels that allow views of the turquoise waters and marine life below. Key features include a private patio with a sun deck and swim-up platform, a Tranquillity soaking tub, overwater hammocks, an outdoor shower and sun loungers and each bungalow comes with its own butler. Resort activities include kayaking, scuba diving and paddle-boarding. Two other Sandals properties, Sandals Royal Caribbean Resort and Private Island and Sandals Grande St Lucian, St. Lucia, also feature over-thewater bungalows.

Win a holiday for two with Journey Latin America TO celebrate the launch of its new 2018 Group Journeys brochure, Journey Latin America is offering one agent and their guest a place on a group tour to Central or South America. To enter the prize draw, worth up to £9,000, agents need to book a Journey Latin America Group Tour by March 30, 2018. In addition, agents who sign up to Journey Latin America’s monthly newsletter dedicated to agents will be entered into a free prize draw to win a luxury South American hamper packed with Latin American treats and a selection of fine wines from the foothills of the Andes. To sign up and enter, email agents@ quoting “Selling Travel”. The newsletter contains tips, news, competitions and the latest travel trends from the region.

Travel 2 additions TRAVEL 2 has added 26 new properties and 12 new tours to its 2018 Mexico, Latin America and Caribbean brochure. The operator says Caribbean bookings were up 18% in 2017, with Barbados the best-selling island. Travel 2 has added four Barbados hotels in 2018, including the adult-only Treasure Beach hotel which reopened in November after an extensive renovation programme. New touring experiences for this year range from a 12day Landscapes of Northern Argentina tour and a sevenday Essential Uruguay itinerary to a nine-day Natural Wonders of Costa Rica option.

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the review

Leading French ski resort’s new touches

Trekamerica heads south


NEWS TO USE IN BRIEF EMIRATES is to launch a new daily route from Stansted to Dubai. Beginning June 8, the daily route will depart Stansted at 21.10 and arrive in Dubai at 07.05 the following day. The return flight will depart Dubai at 09.30 and arrive at Stansted at 14.10. Stansted will become the seventh UK airport for Emirates; the others are Heathrow, Gatwick, Birmingham, Newcastle, Manchester and Glasgow.


SERRE Chevalier in France’s Haute Alpes region entered the ski season with some major new initiatives including a brand new ski lift linking Briancon and Chantemerle. This important new link underpins the region as the most expanisve ski area in the southern Alps with 81 groomed runs covering 410 hectares. The high-altitude Devalbob sled run has added a second course to its popular family fun activity and a winter version of the resort’s Mountain Kart activity now runs on snow tyres to offer the region’s first Go-Kart on Ice circuit. Adding a romantic touch is the new Bubble Room under the stars in Serre Ratier’s Chalet Hotel and the region’s new app features piste maps, weather forecasts and current events in the region.


TREKAMERICA, the tour operator for 18 to 38-year-olds, says it enters 2018 on the back of a bumper year for bookings for its South and Central America ‘100% Adventure’ tours. Bookings were up 162% year on year, with the biggest growth seen for the Inca Explorer, Southern Cross and Northern Peru and Ecuador tours. The nine-day Mexican BLT tour, which follows the ancient trade routes through tropical rainforests and unique architecture, is one of TrekAmerica’s

longest standing tours but remains the most popular. It is priced from £1049pp. The 14-day Northern Peru to Ecuador tour combining camping, budget lodging and hotels starts from £769pp. It follows the coastline south from Quito, down to Lima, Peru’s capital. Direct flights from the UK added in the last few years, such as British Airways’ direct flights to Lima, Peru, and San Jose, Costa Rica, has seen the region become much more accessible to British travellers.

Gold Medal rewards its peak performers GOLD MEDAL is helping agents maximise sales during the peak booking period with a campaign that combines brochures, magazines, places on two fam trips and various incentives.

Three agents have the chance to enjoy a Gold Medal holiday fund, with £2,500 for bronze place, £5,000 for silver and a prize worth up to £10,000 for gold.

P H I L I P P I N E Airlines’ Great Winter Seat Sale features return flights from Heathrow to Taipei from £469 and flights to Manila from £549. Agents need to book before January 31 for travel on dates throughout 2018 to enjoy value fares to destinations across the Far East for travel between January 17 and March 18, April 9 and June 30 and September 1 to October 30.

Royal Caribbean early-year offers are music to agents’ ears ROYAL CARIBBEAN has a series of seasonal offers for 2018 cruises aboard its newest ship, Symphony of the Seas. Agents booking an eligible state room before March 5 on selected sailings can take advantage of a buy-one-get-one-halfprice deal, plus 25% off third and fourth guests when sailing for six nights or more on holidays departing April to December. The promotion began on December 19. These fares include the all-inclusive deluxe beverage package for first and

ANANTARA Hotels, Resorts and Spas is to open a new luxury resort in Brazil, marking the brand’s debut in South America. The five-star Anantara Maraú Bahia Resort, due to open in July, will offer a choice of 30 guest rooms, suites and bungalows situated on the Bay of Camamu on the Maraú Peninsula in Bahia, with additional plans for new suites and bungalows in beachfront and garden settings, some with a private pool.

second guests on selected sailings to Europe, the Caribbean and on sailings from Southampton. A free refreshment beverage package is also available for third and fourth passengers on selected Caribbean holidays. Symphony of the Seas is due to make its debut sailing in April. The world’s largest cruise ship will feature mainly western Mediterranean cruises before moving to the Caribbean in November.

A NEW series of The Cruise, featuring life aboard Princess Cruise’s Royal Princess, returns to TV screens on January 11. The programme follows crew and guests as the ship cruises the Mediterranean. Two more series are due to air later in the year, featuring Alaska and the Caribbean.

MALTA Tourism Authority has launched a new Gastro Trail of Malta and Gozo to highlight some of the best spots to discover the destination’s growing culinary scene.

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the review: show report


One Big Welcome Twelve states showcase tourism at Travel South. Steve Hartridge reports

South Carolina boost SOUTH Carolina can look forward to a surge in visitors over the next few years after hosting Travel South in its most-visited city, said Duane Parrish, Director, South Carolina Director of Parks, Recreation and Tourism. “Charleston has done a great job of showing so many important international buyers its unique combination of culture, history, fabulous cuisine and so much more... I think our visitors this week have enjoyed one of the country’s most authentic destinations,” he said. “The appointments here will translate into long-term business, not in 2018 but in the years after that.” “South Carolina is shaped like a small triangle and it takes just four hours to go from the two farthest points in the state, so agents can put together some great itineraries,” Parrish added.

Arkansas ups ante

ARKANSAS will increase its efforts to attract international visitors by putting a greater emphasis on the economic value of tourism, said the state’s incoming Director of Tourism, Jim Dailey. “Our current Governor ‘gets’ tourism and has given me the green light to increase our profile in international markets. We will partner with Travel South, with other states in our region and with international tour operators and will develop trails and attractions that we hope will put Arkansas on the map,” he added. The state expects to have up to $15 million dollars from the state lottery tax for tourism campaigns in 2018.

South puts on a show

THE sixth edition of Travel South, the regional trade event that showcases the tourism products and experiences of the 12 southernmost US states – bar Florida – attracted UK operators to Charleston, South Carolina. Under the theme ‘One Big Welcome’, the show saw 250 suppliers, representing cities, towns, adventure tours, shopping outlets, hotels, parks and gardens and iconic attractions like the Grand Ole Opry and the Stax Museum of American Soul Music, meet with over 100 tour operators from 20 countries during the two days of business on the trade show floor – that’s around 3,000 appointments. States from Missouri in the west to

Kentucky in the north to South Carolina in the south of the region are linked by common draw cards like cuisine, food and music but it is the warmth of the welcome offered to visitors that gives the South its leading edge, said Travel South Chairman, Wit Tuttell. “It’s the people that make the place and the stories they tell that make the experiences… other destinations do not have the unique stories of the South,” he added. Key announcements at the show included the launch on January 15 of the Civil Rights Trail, which involves several Southern states (see story below). Now in its 52nd year, Travel South is one of the industry’s longest-running regional travel associations.

U.S. Civil Rights Trail cuts across the region THE U.S. Civil Rights Trail, which encompasses several Southern states, will launch on January 15. The trail links churches, courthouses, schools, museums and other landmarks that played a pivotal role in advancing social justice in the 1950s and 1960s. Key sites include Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta and Central High (pictured) in Arkansas.

T RAV E L S OU T H SN I PPET S TRAVEL South’s organisers were keen to show off the South behind regional gateways such as Atlanta (Georgia) and Charlotte (North Carolina). After the trade show, over 100 delegates set off on fam trips that took in places such as Myrtle Beach, (South Carolina), Wilmington Beach (North Carolina), and Jekyll Island, (Georgia). NORTH Carolina will star on the silver screen when Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, the latest film by British director Martin McDonagh, is released in the UK on January 12. The drama and dark comedy starring Woody Harrelson was shot in Sylva, a small town located at the foot of the Great Smoky Mountains. The state has a rich movie-making heritage.

WEST Virginia resort The Greenbrier is ‘better than ever’ after recovering from the devastating floods in June 2016 that wreaked damage on its five championship golf courses. “The courses are back and the resort looks great. As one of the USA’s premier getaways we are ready to reach out to international visitors,” said Lynn King, Regional Sales Manager.

KENTUCKY tourism will receive a boost from May 10 when Wow Air begins a four-times-a-week service between its Iceland hub to Northern Kentucky International Airport (in Cincinnati). It will be the state’s only international service.

THIS year’s Travel South will be held in Nashville, Tennessee (November 26-29).

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loco, going

down in…

Between the barren blue of Baja California and the chaotic but cultural Mexico City is a land of striking contrasts, says Anna Maria Espsäter


he drive from coast to coast is pleasantly swift with stunning mountain and desert scenery all around me. I’d started out from La Paz, on the Sea of Cortéz, and just over an hour later stretched out in front of me is the bright blue of the Pacific Ocean. A roof terrace, in the colonial gem of Todos Santos, provides me with a lovely bird’s eye view of the high street and the sea beyond – it’s the perfect place for a margarita. I am on a grand tour of Baja California Sur in northern Mexico and the February weather is not disappointing – an average

temperature of 77F/25C° means swimming and sunbathing are irresistible options. Todos Santos lies roughly halfway between state capital La Paz and the beach resorts of Los Cabos, further south, making it a great stoppingoff place for lunch, or for a longer stay exploring the colonial architecture, arts and crafts. Reaching the recently-opened resort hotel Gran Velas in the late afternoon, I am set for a true culinary treat. Starting off in hardcore fashion with a tequilaand mezcal-tasting, I love the accompanying signature salts, flavoured with hibiscus, ant, grasshopper and worm. Despite the variety of

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ground-up beasties, they are a surprise taste sensation. My post-sampling dinner includes langoustine with chocolate, veal tongue and sea urchin at the Cocina de Autor restaurant. There are less interesting ways to end a day in Mexico.

They keep on coming

“Be sure to include Mexico City in your itineraries. World-class cuisine, colourful markets, colonial architecture, renowned museums, Aztec ruins and a floating mini-city are a winning combination” ANNA MARIA ESPSÄTER, FREELANCE WRITER

Clockwise from top left: The Mariachi & Charros festival in Guadalajara; an ancient Mayan pyramid at Chichen Itza, Yucatan; fresh tacos; the ruins of Tulum, Riviera Maya

Mexico remains one of the world’s most fascinating and diverse destinations and offers up a plethora of unique holiday options. Caribbean and Pacific coastlines mean plenty of accessible beaches; the colonial architecture is some of the best in the Americas; ancient ruins abound and there’s world-class cuisine to sample at every turn. “From January to March, Mexico celebrated a significant growth in tourism arrivals,” says Colin Stewart, new Chairman of the Latin American Travel Association (LATA). “The development of new tourism infrastructure has driven interest in the destination and diversified the accommodation options.” The increase can also be explained by more flight connections between Mexico and Europe. Aeromexico offers a direct service from London Heathrow to Cancún, whilst British Airways flies direct to Mexico City. With many tour operators featuring new tours and cruises for 2017-18, including several to Los Cabos, there is more choice when selling Mexico than ever before.

cultural or historical significance across Mexico. With 111 of them, you’re spoilt for choice. The big smoke: The hulk that is Mexico City is hard to beat for sheer variety: history, culture and cuisine jostle with markets, museums and murals. Beach bumming: Mexico is blessed with abundant beaches. In the north, from Los Cabo the Pacific coast runs the length of the country. In the south, on the Caribbean side, hot spots include Cancún and Riviera Maya. Wildlife viewing: Mexico is the winter sanctuary of the Monarch butterfly – 600 million of them annually descend on Michoacán. There is also bird- and marine-life, including as whales in Los Cabos. Royal ruins: To get up close and personal with Mexico’s ancient heritage, head south for Mayan ruins on the Yucatán Peninsula and in Chiapas. The centre is home to Aztec sites, while Oaxaca and Veracruz offer Zapotec and Totonac heritage. Party on down Mexico way: Every village has its own saint, so Mexico is not short of festivals. The ‘big ones’ include Easter/ Holy Week, Day of the Dead and Day of the Virgin Guadalupe, patron saint of Mexico. Local brews: Tequila is the national tipple but don’t miss Baja California’s excellent wines and mezcal from Oaxaca – but go easy on raicilla (from Jalisco) and sotol (found in north Mexico).

Perfect ten Tacos, tortas and tamales: Mexican cuisine, part of UNESCO’s heritage list since 2010, is famous for good reason. Tuck into traditional tacos and many more tasty treats. A bit of magic: The ‘pueblos mágicos’ programme, started in 2001, highlights villages of particular

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Natural wonders: Mexico has 67 ‘protected’ areas, covering everything from volcanoes to deserts. Even megametropolis Mexico City has national parks. Mexican market marvels: To experience the colourful culture of Mexico head to the local markets, selling fruit, vegetables and area-specific handicrafts.

What’s new  Sights: Ichkabal Mayan, a newly-discovered archaeological site in southern Quintana Roo, should finally open in 2018. Dating back to 300 B.C. and spreading over 30 km², the site is deemed one of the most important political centres from the Pre-classic era.  Events: Mexico City is the World Design Capital in 2018.  Tour operators: Kuoni ( has added two new resorts in its 2017/18 brochure: Dreams Playa Mujeres near Cancún and Hotel Xcaret on the Riviera Maya. Journey Latin America ( has launched a cruise itinerary in Baja California. Cox & Kings ( features a new private journey to Yucatán. Travel 2 ( has added Hotel Xcaret to its 2018 packages. Gold Medal ( has added UNICO 20°87 Hotel Riviera Maya to its 2018 options. �Hotels: Next year sees the opening of several new hotels in Los Cabos, including Four Seasons (, Park Hyatt (park. and Starwood ( Palladium Hotel Group ( is opening a five-star development on Costa Mujeres, north of Cancún, next autumn. �Infrastructure: Los Cabos Airport is gearing up to opening a new terminal in 2018.

Tourism talk “Visitor numbers are holding up well for us and fortunately Baja California was not troubled by the October


earthquakes that struck the Mexico City area (although tourism infrastructure in the country’s capital was unaffected). “The wedding and honeymoon market is a particular focus for Baja California and Los Cabos at present and the area is gearing up for the International Wedding Planners Convention in 2018. “A number of UK tour operators are now featuring more tours and cruises to Baja California, including Scott Dunn (, focusing on the wedding and honeymoon market. Security is a top priority and a lot is being invested in keeping visitors safe. There have been a few violent incidents in the past but security remains good.” Manuel Diaz-Cebrian, Director, Los Cabos Tourism Board

Where to book it  JOURNEY LATIN AMERICA – 020 8600 1881 A 14-day Sea of Cortéz cruise is from £5449pp, including a luxury cruise, all meals, excursions, transfers, visits to the Copper Canyon and Mexico City but not international flights.  KUONI – 01306 747 008

A seven-night all-inclusive stay at Dreams Playa Mujeres starts from £2558pp in high season. The price includes Virgin flights from Gatwick to Cancún, junior suite, transfers, choice of bars and restaurants.

“A cruise is a great way for your clients to explore the Sea of Cortéz, once described by Jacques Cousteau as the ‘World’s Aquarium’, and its hidden secrets” BEN LINE, MANAGER, TAILOR-MADE HOLIDAYS, JOURNEY LATIN AMERICA

 COX & KINGS – 020 3797 4758 The 11-day Yucatán Discovery tour is from £2995pp, including flights to Cancún, accommodation, breakfasts, transfers and guide. 

Clockwise from top left: Day of the Dead festivities; Ik Kil cenote (a sink hole), Yucatán; Mexico City; Baja California

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"Visit USA is looking forward to another active year working with the travel trade, focusing on the Unite Visit USA event in March and the Visit USA Roadshow in October"


Tracey Spuyman, CEO

universal on a budget

Visit USA (UK)



UNIVERSAl Orlando has revealed plans for two new budget resort hotels as well as a new Fast & Furious attraction opening in the first half of 2018. The two hotels, geared towards families, will offer room rates from $100 a night and are scheduled to open next summer. The hotels will be located close to the three theme parks and Universal CityWalk's dining and entertainment district. Hotel guests will benefit with early park admission to Universal Studios, Islands of adventure and Volcano Bay with complimentary transportation across the resort. Spring will see the opening of the Fast & Furious Supercharged ride which will immerse guests in the films and see them come face to face with Fast characters.

grand wildlife tour GRAND american adventures has a new Northwest Parks and Wildlife tour for 2018. Priced from £2,799pp (excluding flights), the 12-day tour takes guests in search of grizzly bears, black bears and whales.


Sharks new in Boston THE New England aquarium in Boston has opened Science of Sharks, an exhibit that immerses visitors into the science and wonder of sharks through videos and photos and by getting them up close to some unusual species. AIRLINE

united's new link to D.C. UNITED is to launch a new seasonal service between Edinburgh and Washington-Dulles in May. The flight from Edinburgh will leave at 12.40, arriving at 15.40. The return will leave at 22.10, arriving at 10.25.

THE USA in brief... HOTELS BlAIR Hill Inn, one of the most popular resort getaways in Maine, has joined Relais & Châteaux. Built in 1891 as a gentleman's estate and breeding farm, its 21 hectares are set among stunning countryside with unobstructed views of Moosehead lake. Its renowned gourmet restaurant serves a farm-to-table inspired menu.

STATES DISCOVER South Carolina will be promoting its two dedicated selfdrive trails in 2018. Visitors are encouraged to pick up a BBQ Trail Map showing restaurants and roadside diners across the state serving BBQ, while the Satisfy Your Taste map and app shows stops serving craft beers, ciders, moonshine, sweet teas and more.

NEW THE new Mustang Owners Museum, dedicated to one of the most iconic U.S. vehicles, will open in Concord, North Carolina, on april 19. The new attraction will feature a library holding every book ever written about the Mustang along with magazine covers featuring a Mustang. Concord is just a 22-mile drive north of Charlotte.

Look out for our Visit USA Association online Travel Update for the pick of members' news Visit USA DPS _ January 2018.indd 66

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members spotlight introducing...

THE first zipline on the Las Vegas Strip should be welcoming riders by the end of next year. Being developed by Caesars Entertainments, Fly LINQ is a $20-million project that will feature 10 side-byside ziplines capable of launching riders at the same time. The experience will be built on The LINQ Promenade, the openair shopping, dining and entertainment district. Construction is scheduled to start in early spring. ↸

OVER 75% of accommodation in the Florida Keys is now open as the destination gets back on its feet after Hurricane Irma last September. More than 90% of hotel rooms in Key West and almost 80% of Key Largo rooms are welcoming guests, while the vast majority of attractions throughout the Keys are open. Properties in Islamorada, Marathon and Lower Keys districts are continuing their recovery and renovation efforts and most are due to re-open early this year.

Macerich Shopping Centres and Fashion Outlets Sola THOMSON UK Account Manager


SeaWorld falls for raft

SeaWorld Orlando has revealed the first of 15 custom rafts for its Infinity Falls river rapids attraction, opening this summer. The eight-passenger raft features accessories and fittings resembling supplies found on real white-water rafting expeditions. The circular raft design puts riders face-to-face, allowing friends and family to enjoy this exhilarating attraction together. Once aboard, riders will embark on an adventure carrying them through a lush rainforest environment inspired by some of the world’s most remarkable freshwater ecosystems. The new attraction will feature the world’s tallest drop on a river-raft ride and allow visitors to experience the feel of negotiating rapids. The ride will also feature an innovative elevator lift designed to transport the rafts to the top of the ride’s 40-foot drop. The new attraction will be the centrepiece of a newly themed area designed to resemble a base camp for explorers and scientists.

Aer Lingus to Seattle AER Lingus is to launch a new Dublin to Seattle service from May 18.

Operating four times a week, it will

be Ireland's first-ever direct service to the Washington State city.


San Antonio is tasty SAN Antonio, Texas, has been designated a Creative City of Gastronomy by UNESCO, only the second city in the U.S. to earn the distinction. The city’s culinary heritage is made unique by the confluence of several cultures like Native American, Mexican, Spanish, German and French. Known for blends of 'Tex-Mex', city officials are now pushing 'TexNext.'

The introduction of Seattle will add

50,000 additional seats to the

airline's transatlantic programme

this summer. The carrier also plans

to add a Philadelphia service, due to begin on March 31.

When did you become a Visit USA member? We joined in December 2016. What are the main benefits of membership? Brand awareness through events, print and digital activities such as having a member’s profile on Tell us more. Macerich Shopping Centers & Fashion Outlets are located across the U.S. They range from intimate outdoor settings to large regional centers. The high-calibre outlets feature stores, restaurants and entertainment. What’s new for 2018? Fashion District Philadelphia will open in 2018. Spanning three city blocks downtown, it will be the region’s first metropolitan destination shopping experience. It will combine top flagship brands and designer outlet, with dining entertainment and art, all in a single, centralized city centre setting. Does Macerich work with travel agents? Yes. We run booking incentives offering prizes from our high-end centers. We also supply visitor saving incentives for their clients. Plus, we offer commission-based packages such as the new Shop & Cook package available at Santa Monica Place. Who should agents contact? Contact Sola Thomson at solat@ for details on incentives, packages and visitor savings.

Subscribe to the Visit USA Association online Travel Update at Visit USA DPS _ January 2018.indd 67

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my experience in India

Let the train take the strain in


Indian Railways is the world’s fourth largest rail network, employing 1.4 million people and transporting 23 million every day. Rupert Parker hops aboard


t seems that all of India’s 23 million traintravelling public have chosen today to make their move. Fortunately, I’ve joined an escorted tour with Great Rail Journeys and they’ve employed a posse of porters to ensure all our bags get on the train. All I have to do is find my seat before we leave Delhi. The Shatabdi Express is bound for Kalka, a four-hour journey in air-conditioned

and comfortable Executive Class, with a rather delicious spicy breakfast, complete with a few warming cups of Indian Chai. I arrive on time and cross the platform to board the next train, the Himalayan Queen. It’s easy to see why this is nicknamed the ‘toy train’ – after the comfort of the Shatabdi Express the six rows of seats in the narrow gauge carriages are uncompromising. Fortunately, I was told to bring my own cushion.

Cooler climes One of the great railway journeys of the world, the Kalka-Shimla line was built to ferry the memsahibs of the British Raj from the steamy plains up to the cool hills. When the town became the summer capital in 1864, the 1,200-mile journey from Calcutta by horse, camel, elephant, bullock cart and sedan chair took five bone-rattling days. Although the idea for a rail connection was first mooted in 1847 engineering and financial setbacks saw the line only open in November 1903.

My carriage is packed with other tourists and the train starts climbing immediately, flanked by hills on both sides. I sit by the open window, enjoying the cool breeze and breathing in the fresh smell of pine as the engine chugs uphill. The average speed is around 11mph but on this stretch it’s much slower. In 20 miles we pass four stations and make our first stop at Dharampur, at 1,500m. Everyone gets off to buy chai and samosas from the stalls on the platform. Just ahead there is a cow on the line, just one of the many hazards of train travel in India. This stretch of rail was an extraordinary feat of engineering for its time, with 103 tunnels, more than 864 bridges and around 919 curves. The line climbs 1,500 metres over a distance of 60 miles, taking around five hours and passing 18 stations. In 2008 UNESCO added it to its World Heritage list along with the Nilgiri and Darjeeling railways. With the cow cleared, we head off again and pass through a series of tunnels, the longest of which is just before Barog station and runs for three quarters of a mile. It’s named after the

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my experience in India

original engineer who decided to save time by digging from both sides of the hill. Unfortunately the two ends didn’t meet so he was fined one rupee and dismissed. On a walk with his dog, Colonel Barog shot himself in disgrace and his tunnel was abandoned. For the new one they decided to play safe and employed the spiritual guidance of local guru, Baba Bhalku.

The hills are alive Night is falling as we arrive in Shimla, but I can see the town, much larger than I imagined, sprawling over the hillsides. Much of this development is recent but the original colonial buildings rise above the station to Observatory Hill, topped with the Viceregal Lodge, the summer residence of the Indian Viceroy. He ruled the Indian subcontinent (a fifth of the world’s population) from here

Previous page: The Toy Train. This page, clockwise from above: a sacred cow chilling out at the train station; Shimla Mall; Agra Fort; the Taj Mahal; the Viceregal Lodge in Shimla

between 1888 and 1947. It’s a dour mock Tudor baronial castle, all turrets and gables and built out of local grey sandstone to Viceroy Lord Dufferin’s design in 1888, intended to remind him of home and impress visiting dignitaries. Faded grandeur abounds in Shimla, where many colonial buildings are empty shells. Along the main artery of Mall Road, the 1887 Gaiety Theatre which witnessed the premiere of Kipling’s first play has recently been restored and the half-timbered, Tudor-style town hall is being spruced up, but the real legacy of the Raj lives on in the railway.

It must be love It’s faster to make our descent by road, before catching a different train to Agra, 600 miles south. Of course we’re here to see the Taj Mahal and it must be at sunrise. The four-century-old mausoleum still manages to impress, its white marble dome and towers standing serene as the sun finally breaks through. We also visit the red-walled Agra Fort where Shah Jahan, the builder of the Taj, was imprisoned by his son Aurangzeb, who’d crowned himself emperor. For eight years Jahan could only gaze at the monument he’d built to his beloved wife Mumtaz, before dying in 1666. It’s a short 90-minute hop back to Delhi on the Gatimaan Express,, India’s first high-speed train, before boarding a flight back to London. Unlike after my last visit to India, I feel relaxed. It’s a rewarding but equally exhausting country, but the train really did take most of the strain. 


Factfile On the line Great Rail Journeys’ India’s Golden Triangle is a five-star 13-day rail tour which includes the Shatabdi Express and the Toy Train plus excursions to Delhi and Agra. Prices start from £1,995pp, departing October 2017-December 2018. Customised and tailor-made packages are also available through GRJ Independent. ( Red tape British passport holders can obtain an E-Visas for US$75/£63 ( evisa/tvoa.html) which must be applied for at least four days prior to travel. Look on the Bright Side Shimla is dry and warm from March to June and October to November. Avoid July to September as this is monsoon season. December to February is colder and you may see some snow.

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country profile

Zimbabwe Hopes surge for tourism growth Eastern Highlands Fishing, hiking and serious ‘birding’ are on offer in this area of the country, which is home to some of the country’s finest hotels – a perfect suggestion for affluent clients. Matobo Hills Located in the south of Zimbabwe, the geological majesty of the area is undeniable. Dramatic rock ‘kopjes’ seemingly defy gravity with their precarious balancing acts. Victoria Falls A mecca for adrenaline junkies, with bungee jumping off Livingstone bridge and helicopter flights. Accommodation includes the five-star colonial splendor of The Victoria Falls Hotel Hwange Accommodation in this national park ranges from luxury Khulu Lodge (an intimate tented camp with every comfort) to affordable National Parks Camps with chalets, cottages and camping. Zambezi cruising Several operators offer cruises throughout the day. All include catering, and generous amounts of alcohol. Passengers can enjoy a Champagne breakfast or sundowners with views to die for.


ew year is traditionally a time of hope, when the past is forgotten and the future faced with renewed optimism. For Zimbabwe, 2018 is perhaps the first one since 1987 that people truly have reason to celebrate, says Rachel Roberts

In the dwindling days of November last year, extraordinary scenes of ordinary Zimbabweans singing and dancing in the streets – wildly jubilant in the wake of President and dictator Robert Mugabe’s ousting from power – were broadcast around the world. The landlocked southern African country, bordered by South Africa, Botswana, Zambia and Mozambique, was once known as the ‘Jewel of Africa’ because of its outstanding natural beauty. It’s home to one of the seven natural wonders of the world and UNESCO World Heritage Site, the majestic Victoria Falls, and its eight National Parks are home to the ‘Big Five’ (lions, leopards, rhinoceros, elephants and buffalo) and an abundance of wildlife.

BIG POTENTIAL While Zimbabwe’s 16-million strong population looks cautiously forward to the ‘free and fair’ elections – at the time of going to press, a date was yet to be set – promised by new leader Emmerson Mnangagwa, the changing political situation is heralding a long-overdue change in fortunes for the country’s tourism industry, too. In recent years, the unsettled situation has created a strong misconception that Zimbabwe is an unsafe destination, keeping many potential visitors away. Many of Zimbabwe’s neighbours – including Zambia

BOOK IT WITH.... AFRICAN PRIDE Priced from £3,344pp, the Classic Zimbabwe itinerary features three nights at Big Cave Camp, Matobo Hills; three nights at Somalisa Camp, Hwange National Park; and two nights at Ilala Lodge, Victoria Falls. There’s an option to add Mana Pools, Eastern Highlands and Lake Kariba. – 01904 619 428



and Botswana – have reaped the benefits as a result. However, Marina Novelli, Professor of Tourism and International Development at Brighton University, is hopeful for the country’s tourism future: ‘This is potentially a new era for tourism in Zimbabwe. I have travelled to many African destinations and a recent visit to Zimbabwe exposed me to such a richness of resources, highly skilled people and beauty in all its forms.” She adds: “Today more than ever, tourism has the potential to flourish to its full potential and I hope there’s a swift move towards a strategic and sustainable development of tourism in the country.”

IMPROVING INFRASTRUCTURE The opening of Victoria Falls International airport in November 2016 and subsequent new direct international flights has already created an upswing in UK visitors. Figures released by the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority show that 30,000 tourists from the UK visited the country in the first half of 2017 – nearly three times the number who visited in the whole of 2016. And ATTA (The African Travel and Tourism Association) says that visitor numbers for 2018 are ‘extremely encouraging’, with ‘Marriott considering opening new hotels in bothVictoria Falls and Harare, the country’s capital’.

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country profile


TRADE MISSION Joining a fam trip to Zimbabwe in October last year, just a few weeks before Mugabe’s exit, I witnessed first-hand the many astounding attractions awaiting visitors. In 1855, explorer David Livingstone first laid eyes on the world’s biggest waterfall, Mosi-oaTunya. He described “scenes so lovely (they) must have been gazed upon by angels in their flight”, and promptly renamed it Victoria Falls in honour of the Queen, the de facto ruler of the country then known as Rhodesia. Mosi-oa-Tunya translates as ‘The Smoke That Thunders’ and we discovered why as we approached the UNESCO World Heritage site by road some nine kilometres away. The mist thrown off by the falls is an unforgettable sight in its own right. And no wonder – it’s where the mighty Zambezi River drops its entire width (about 1.7km) over a 108m vertical wall into a narrow gorge. We arrive at 06.00 with only early-rising families of monkeys and baboons, basking in the sun, for company. The 1.7km cliff-top path is perhaps the most magical hour’s walk you’ll ever take, and if you’re lucky – like us – you’ll be treated to ethereal rainbows arcing across the sky. Livingstone was clearly onto something. We returned later to take a sunset tour. Lasting around two hours and coming in at an average cost of £50, this might be a good alternative product to consider selling to customers with tighter budgets. While Hwange National Park offers a safari experience to rival big hitters like Kruger – we were elated to spot the ‘Big Five’ on our early-morning foray – it’s not within every visitor’s budget. With a sunset tour, you’re almost guaranteed wildlife sightings – from elephants taking their early-evening baths to dead-eyed crocodiles floating in the shallows. Another activity to interest agents is the Walking with Rhinos experience in nearby Matobo National Park. Guided by an experienced (and armed) ranger, we stood so close to two white rhinos, we could hear their (surprisingly gentle) breathing.



NEW PRODUCT Tour operators currently offering Zimbabwe include Audley Travel (, Rainbow Tours ( and Hayes and Jarvis ( Kuoni ( also sells packages, including a 10-night half-board, (flights from Gatwick) for £1234pp. Rachel O’Reilly, Kuoni’s Head of Communications, says the company is “excited about a potential revival of tourism from the British market, but there’ll need to be investment in hotels and infrastructure to ensure the quality is right for our customers.” With renewed optimism and surging interest, Zimbabwe could yet bes one of those ‘trending’ destinations in 2018. • Rachel Roberts travelled to Zimbabwe with the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority ( and South African Airways ( 


“Figures released by the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority show that 30,000 tourists from the UK visited the country in the first half of 2017 – nearly three times the number who visited in the whole of 2016”


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the final word

the quirky side of travel – lost property - phone fanatics - golfing around – Lost and found Travelodge has released a list of some of those precious items left behind by guests in 2017. Valuable items collected in hotels across the UK included a pilot's licence, a rare pen worth thousands of pounds and even the faithful family pet! And, according to Travelodge, an American stockbroker flew back from London without his briefcase containing over £500,000-worth of share certificates – as you do. Another businessman returned to retrieve his 'lucky' Montblanc fountain pen worth £8,000. More sentimental items included a 50-year-old teddy bear named Rupert and a Belgian Malinois dog called Betsy.

OUR TOP 6… Sunsets around the world They say no two sunsets are ever the same, but here are six places that offer the most impressive golden glows, according to Instagram and

Connecting crisis An annual iPass report reveals that 62% of people feel anxious when not connected to wifi. The survey found that being able to get online is a top priority when choosing a hotel among mobile professionals and that 61% would find wifi “impossible” to give up, ranking it above sex, junk food and smoking. As for browsing habits, 72% use their phone on the toilet while 7% admit to checking their smartphone during sex!

Golf in the galleys It was all hands on deck as Selling Travel’s Jessica Pook (left) and some hardy travel agents embraced the winter cold for a spot of mini-golf onboard an A-Rosa river cruise from Paris to Rouen, hosted by Shearings. It was all smooth sailing with birdies and bogeys aplenty until the captain demanded they retrieve all the missing balls bobbing below in the river Seine. Maybe stick to the hot tub next time guys?


New York, USA


Denpasar, Indonesia


Umm Suqeim, Dubai, UAE


Barcelona, Spain


Florence, Italy



THE FEBRUARY 2018 ISSUE OF SELLING TRAVEL WILL FEATURE: • Luxury Abu Dhabi • African Luxury Lodges • Central America • Iceland Adventures • Cook Islands • Mediterranean Holidays • Croatia • Jersey • USA: Florida • USA: Minnesota • Kuala Lumpur • My Rail Journey: Norway PLUS ONLINE Daily Selling Tips • Destination Guides • Photo Galleries • Travel Uni CONTACT US;

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● Kids go FREE - up to 3 kids insured free per insured adult ● Selection of adventure sports covered as standard

● Additional add-ons available such as cover for winter sports or travel disruption (Additional fees may apply, please see terms & conditions for more details)

To buy, book online at or call 0330 400 1316 Make sure you quote ‘TDJAN’ to get your extra discount Must book by 31 January'18.


44 AI

Now Sapphire Riviera Cancun; Mexico


64 AI

St James's Club Morgan Bay; Saint Lucia


Includes 3x taster Spa treatments 1 child under 13yrs shares FREE

Hard Rock Hotel Cancun; Mexico

77 AI £79 AI £89 AI

The Verandah Resort & Spa; Antigua


Secrets St James Montego Bay; Jamaica Recieve up to $3600 resort credit

Touchdown is a trading style of Travelbrands Ltd. Travelbrands Ltd travel insurance is arranged and administered by Insure & Go Insurance Services Ltd. Travelbrands Ltd is an introducer appointed representive of Insure & Go Insurance Services Ltd for Travel Insurance. Insure & Go Insurance Services Ltd is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (Firm Reference Number 309572) with registered address: 1 Victoria Street, Bristol Bridge, Bristol, BS1 6AA. Registered in England and Wales (Company no. 04056769). Travel insurance is underwritten by MAPFRE Asistencia Compañía Internacional de Seguros y Reaseguros, Sociedad Anonima, trading as MAPFRE Assistance, which is authorised by Dirección General de Seguros y Fondos de Pensiones and subject to limited regulation by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority. Details about the extent of regulation by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority are available on request. MAPFRE UK Branch Registered Address: 5th Floor, Alpha House, 24a Lime Street, London EC3M 7HS. Company Number: FC021974. Branch Number: BR008042.


Le Grand Courlan Spa Resort; Tobago

Almond Beach Resort; Barbados

89 AI £91 AI

Turtle Beach by Elegant Hotels; Barbados £

111 AI

Includes 4hr Jeep safari, boat trip with Turtle swim & more FREE Room Upgrade, valid for selected dates

Stolen Time by Rendezvous; Saint Lucia Couples only hotel

Opening Hours: Mon-Fri 8.30am-6pm; Sat 9.30am-1.30pm

Hotel prices are “from” per person per night and based on 2 adults sharing unless otherwise stated. Terms & conditions apply.


129 AI

Book with confidence ACCREDITED AGENT

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Indochina • Jerusalem • South Africa • Sao Tome • Colombia • Macao • Indian Ocean • New Zealand • Mexico • India • Zimbabwe


Rottnest Island, Perth

THE UK’s 100% Trade Only Tour Operator Call Reservations FREE on 0800 0224 302

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• Turtle & snorkeller at Oyster Bridge near Coral Bay



such a multi-layered array of unique and extraordinary experiences to encounter, there is a Western Australian holiday to suit every travel personality - from families and luxury travellers, through to adventure seekers and those who want to experience a transformative journey in a way that is wholly their own!

Karijini Eco Retreat, Karijini National park

Each of Western Australia’s five regions boasts its very own unique identity with an equally spectacular array of extraordinary experiences. From the broader and more famous attractions, to the lesser-known everyday gems, that will inspire and entice even the most curious, widely travelled and dedicated discoverers, the limitless opportunities on offer can make holidaying in Western Australia as diverse as it is infectious.

Get your Perth and Western Australia adventure off to a flying with Emirates! Celebrated as Australia’s sunniest city, Perth effortlessly blends urban cool with raw natural beauty and is the perfect arrival city and gateway for any Western Australian adventure, providing easy accessibility to the endless incredible experiences to discover in this extraordinary state. With Emirates 17 daily flights from a choice of six UK airports and convenient onward connections to over 150 destinations including 14 weekly flights to Perth, visitors can springboard into Western Australia’s world-class wineries, fringing coral reefs, miles of pristine coastline and iconic outback adventures, with greater ease than ever before.

THE UK’s 100% Trade Only Tour Operator Call Reservations FREE on 0800 0224 302

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B a 1 S T p i o

SA pe da


s to rom nt to

h an more ntice less it is



14 DAY

• 3 nights at 4* Four Points by Sheraton, Perth*


• Perth & Fremantle Explorer (day tour) • Rottnest Island by Bike (day tour)** • 1 night at 4* Oaks Broome


• 5 day Broome to the Bungle Bungle (Kimberley Wild Camping)

• Return flights with Emirates

• 3 nights at 4* Oaks Broome

• 1 night at 3*+ Holiday Inn Perth City Centre

• Broome Sightseeing Tour

• 14 day Car Hire • 1 night at 3* Best Western Hospitality Inn Geraldton • 3 nights at 3*+ Monkey Mia Dolphin Resort* • Sundown Sail Cruise • 2 nights at 3* Ningaloo Coral Bay • Experience the Coral Bay at leisure • 2 nights at 4* Mantarays Ningaloo Beach Resort • Snorkelling Safari Boat Tour • 1 night at 3* Best Western Hospitality Inn Carnarvon

HIGHLIGHTS Once you’ve settled in to your accommodation, enjoy a day exploring Australia’s sunniest state capital Perth & the historic port town of Fremantle. Cycle round Rottnest Island and marvel at the amazing coral reefs and crystal-clear waters. Journey on to Broome for the next leg of your adventure. Soak up the serenity on a sunset camel ride on Cable beach and prepare to be awe struck on an unforgettable camping experience in the Bungle Bungle Range.

• 2 nights at 3*+ Kalbarri Edge Resort* • 1 night at 3* Cervantes Pinnacles Motel

HIGHLIGHTS Begin with an overnight in Perth with time to explore the vibrant and cosmopolitan city before picking up your car hire for a 12-night journey through Western Australia. Snorkel the West Side or Murion Islands when on your Snorkelling Safari Boat Tour and search for wildlife from manta rays to turtles, and perhaps even humpback whales. For the ultimate relaxation in the sun, enjoy the stunning beaches that Coral Bay has to offer.

SAVE up to £635 per person including *FREE daily breakfast for 2


SAVE up to £660 per person including *FREE daily breakfast for 2 + ** FREE snorkel hire


£ 2,549 PP

Valid from: 01 May - 14 Jun 18

£1,839 PP

Valid from: 01 May - 14 Jun 18

raw alian s to

ward tors eefs, than Bungle Bungles, Purnululu National Park

THE UK’s 100% Trade Only Tour Operator Call Reservations FREE on 0800 0224 302

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INCLUDES • 3 nights at 3* Sullivans Perth

• Experience Mandurah and Peel Region at leisure

• Swan Valley Gourmet Wine Cruise (day tour)

• 3 nights at 4*+ Esplanade Hotel Fremantle by Rydges*

• 7 Days Car Hire

• Discover Rottnest with Coach (day tour)

• Return flights with Emirates *

• 3 nights at 4* Seashells Mandurah*

HIGHLIGHTS During your time in Perth, you will have the opportunity to take a gourmet wine cruise along the Swan Valley – On arrival at the prestigious Sandalford Estate, sample fine wines accompanied by a 2-course lunch. Experience all that Mandurah and Peel Region at leisure, perhaps strolling along the award-winning Mandurah Ocean Marina or visit Peel Estate Winery and Penguin Island from Rockingham.

SAVE up to £700 per person including *3 FREE nights


£1,329 PP

Valid from: 01 May - 14 Jun 18


DISCOVER THE SOUTH WEST 7 NIGHTS & MARGARET RIVER WITH MAUI DISCOVER THE SOUTH WEST & MARGARET RIVER WITH MAUI INCLUDES • Return flights with Emirates • 7 night’s Motorhome Hire, pick up and Drop off Perth

HIGHLIGHTS On arrival in Perth, pick up your maui motorhome and let your adventure commence. Enjoy the clear turquoise beaches, plentiful nightlife, bustling markets and world-class dining in Australia’s sunniest state capital before moving on to explore the historic port town of Fremantle with its eclectic blend of exciting food, fashion and festivals. Be awe struck by Western Australia’s breathtaking national parks and journey through the beautiful Margaret River region sampling fantastic local produce and cuisine, not to mention world-renowned surrounding wineries before journeying onwards to discover the dramatic coastal scenery and fascinating history of Albany.

SAVE up to £525 per person


£989 PP

Valid from: 01 May - 14 Jun 18

THE UK’s 100% Trade Only Tour Operator Call Reservations FREE on 0800 0224 302

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Selling Travel January 2018  
Selling Travel January 2018  

The world in one magazine Cover Story: South Africa 2018, plus how to sell... Israel • Indochina • Zimbabwe • Escorted touring • Luxury Ind...