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SELLING TRAVEL • january 2019

Bermuda • Escorted Touring • UK Holidays • Denmark • California • Indian Ocean • European Cruising • Sri Lanka • Alberta • Jamaica

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GOLDEN STATE Touring suggestions that will see clients driven to distraction in California

how to sell...

European Cruising Escorted Touring Indian Ocean UK Holidays Denmark Bermuda and more...

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this issue

WE TRAVEL FURTHER TO BRING YOU MORE FEATURES 08 UK Holidays: Selling domestic breaks in 2019

20 California: Surf, desert,


mountains, forest and cities by road 31 Indian Ocean: Responsible tourism 54 Touring: Managing costs with escorted tours 65 European cruising: 2019's best voyages



40 65


73 30 31

QUICK READS 18 Introducing: Kyrgyzstan

19 Six of the best: Alberta spas

28 Visit USA: Member news



30 Six of the best: Sri Lanka

40 Exploring: Copenhagen & beyond

52 Travel Uni: Online


training update

73 Country Profile:



75 Final Word: The quirky


side of travel


TALKING SHOP 13 News, competitions,



incentives, fams

THE REVIEW 43 Top news stories plus two trade show reports from the USA




BERMUDA 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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Proudly published by BMI Publishing Ltd 2018 © 2019

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

welcome I

would like to kick off this issue of Selling Travel – and 2019 – by wishing all Selling Travel readers a very Happy New Year. I hope it’s a healthy and successful one, a year that sees enquiries and bookings exceed your wildest expectations! It’s fair to say that there is plenty of uncertainty out there at the moment. Although you don’t need me to explain the main reason why, just in case this magazine gets dropped into one of those time capsules and is read 100 years from now, I have to say it: March 29 and Brexit. So, purely for those of you from the future, we are kicking off this year by worrying over the impact of our impending decision to leave the European Union. We are about to (probably) cut our ties from the joint laws and regulations that govern us and 28 other European countries. Steve Hartridge I know it sounds absurd, with our (probable) departure so close, but we EDITORIAL DIRECTOR really have no idea how this move is going to impact on the travel plans of holidaymakers. Uncertainty rules here in 2019, although we do know a few things. For example, even if we go down the route of a no-deal Brexit (sorry, no space to explain that one) flights will continue to operate from the UK to the European Union. We know this because this is a right enshrined in something called the 1944 Chicago Convention, a treaty all EU nations signed. But this does not cover any new flights in 2019 – in other words, if there are 250 weekly flights to Portugal that number will stay at 250 if we leave without that deal. We also know our new passports will once again be royal blue (cue a big cheer!), but beyond that, well, it’s all a bit of a guessing game. But my message to those agents reading this in 2019 is this: no one looks forward to a holiday, or feels it is their birthright, in quite the same way as the Brits do. Along with Jules Holland on NYE, the Boat Race and Doctor Who, holidays are forever woven into our national fabric and heritage. That’s why there will always be a need for well-informed and helpful travel agents prepared to offer their detailed knowledge, expertise and firsthand experiences. But if I am wrong, could a reader from 2119 kindly find a way to let me know! Enjoy this issue.


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


"Our UK market, which accounts for 75% of our visitors, is very stable – and easyJet has a new route from Edinburgh. The trade remains very important to us and we make sure we introduce new product and ideas to keep our industry friends interested."

"Will Brexit affect us during peaks? Realistically, who knows? But agents just have to find ways to encourage clients to book early and avoid all the depressing headlines. At Swords Travel we have a marketing strategy in place to do just this."

Keith Beecham, CEO, Visit Jersey

Mark Swords, Owner and Director, Swords Travel

See feature, page 12

See interview, page 17

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Win the

world! This is your chance to win a taste of the world, because throughout January we’re giving away this season’s must-have: a limited edition Air New Zealand Round-the-World box, packed with goodies from some of the destinations we fly to. We’re sending out a pile of these boxes every week in January, with 200 in total to be won. Did you know we offer more ways to New Zealand than any other airline? That means a huge range of free stopovers to choose from. Air New Zealand or one of our partner airlines whisks your customers to their gateway, and then we take them on to New Zealand.

To get yourself in the prize draw, just take our personality quiz to find your dream stopover (or your customer’s), and submit your details. Every week the slate is wiped clean and the draw starts all over again — so you can enter as many times as you like.

Take the quiz now at

You always get some small print with these things, but we’ve put it all on the website, because quite frankly it’s a bit long.

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please visit our website.

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400 1316

Book with confidence ACCREDITEDAGENT

1/3/19 03:27 PM 02/01/2019 16:12 16:07


the big picture

the big picture


Jasper Canada

Winter wonders


Alberta’s Jasper National Park, recently voted ‘Best Ski Town in North America’ by USA Today readers, is now snugly enveloped by snow and welcoming visitors from around the world to admire its smooth ski slopes, iced lakes and frigid forests. This magical scene is Maligne Canyon, a winter palace of suspended blue waterfalls and glittering icicles guarded by high rocks and entered only by walking on the frozen river itself.

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uk holidays

home truths

With memories of 2018’s golden summer still vivid and the uncertainty of Brexit looming for 2019, has there ever been a better time to be selling UK holidays? asks Ben Lerwill

Sunset in Buttermere Valley, the Lake District

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uk holidays


t’s not often you see palm trees, red squirrels and a ruined abbey in the same garden. It’s also not common to sleep in a hotel that started life as a 16th-century fortification, and coming face-to-face with Atlantic grey seals is not what you expect on a snorkelling trip in the UK either! Welcome to the Isles of Scilly, which might be a small archipelago on the extremity of the UK but does an immense job of showcasing the country’s diversity. I’m staying in the Star Castle Hotel on St Mary’s, the largest of the five inhabited Scilly islands. St Mary’s is an unhurried, Gulfstream-warmed world of wildflowers and quiet headlands, a corner of the UK that feels part Enid Blyton, part Caribbean. Passenger ferries cross regularly between the different islands. I head out to lovely Tresco, home to the squirrel-roamed

subtropics of the Abbey Garden, and sail the next day to even lovelier St Martin’s, where more playful seals appear. Between times I cycle, walk and just generally slow down. Most of us ‘live’ the UK every day, so it always pays to be reminded just how soullifting a British holiday can be. And – I reflect over an Ales of Scilly beer as a red sunset melts over the islands – for all the humdrum news headlines, there’s still an awful lot to love about our shores.

Local lore The sentiment is a commonly held one. The 2019 ABTA Travel Trends Report showed that where UK holidays are concerned we’re putting our money where our mouths are. In data stretching from January to August 2018, domestic trips were slightly down – probably as a result of the ‘Beast from the East’ and its


aftermath – but spending was up. UK holidaymakers splashed out a record £4.9 billion in the first six months of last year, and with the report also stating that 59% of us are planning to take a domestic break in 2019, this trend is likely to be ongoing. ABTA’s spending figure was backed up by a separate study from Visit England, which showed that expenditure on domestic day-trips between January and October was up 7% year-on-year. The calendar for the year ahead holds a number of notable events, among them the 75th anniversary of the D-Day Landings in June and the European Athletics Indoor Championships in Glasgow in March,

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from ÂŁ265*

Be social


To book visit or call 0345 498 6153 *The price advertised is per accommodation and based on accommodation only, departing 01/03/2019 for 3 nights, in a hot tub accommodation sleeping 4 people. Prices may differ depending on departure date. Prices based on maximum occupancy. We reserve the right to withdraw, extend or amend this offer at any time. Booking conditions apply, see brochure or website. Images shown may not be representable of specific offer.

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ABTA No. Y0662

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uk holidays

so try to be aware of event-specific packages being sold. Shearings Holidays, for example, has a dedicated package to attend the BBC Countryfile Live show, being held in Yorkshire for the first time. “We’re seeing more and more of our customers looking for a reason to travel to a destination,” says Shearings Managing Director Jane Atkins. “Be it an anniversary, a cultural event such as a flower show or theatre show, or a sporting event such as the tennis, this is definitely driving more and more customers’ booking decisions.” There’s also evidence that a fresh generation of holidaymakers is becoming more interested in domestic tourism. Another trade-friendly operator, Hoseasons, has recorded a 37% increase in online bookings by millennials over the last three years. It attributes this to the fact that many 18-35 year olds now want to explore the UK because the 1990s’ rise of low-cost airlines meant they spent childhood holidays overseas. One thing’s for sure, from London to Loch Ness and from Scilly to Shetland – not forgetting the near-at-hand charms of Channel Islands like Jersey and Guernsey – there’s a vast amount to explore.

Top experiences TV teasers: With a Downton Abbey movie scheduled for a late 2019 release, it’s a fitting time to pay a visit to one of the country’s top stately homes. The drama’s de facto home is Highclere Castle, but other jaw-droppers include Mellerstain

Clockwise from top left: the Giant’s Causeway, Northern Ireland; a canal boat in London; hiking Snowdonia; Dorset’s Durdle Door


19 10:36


House, Blenheim Palace and Chatsworth Hoseasons reported that its 2018 bookings House. For more fantastical tastes, were 39% up on 2017. Northern Ireland’s Causeway Coast is Cultural escapes: Combine home to many Game of Thrones locations England’s two famous university plus ruined castles, Old Bushmills Distillery cities, Oxford and Cambridge, for and the Giant’s Causeway itself. atmospheric old colleges and stirring Arty opening: history with Scotland’s world-class galleries “2019 will see new shows first design opening in London plus the and museums. Or, museum, the £80m for literature lovers, return of big hitters like V&A Dundee, suggest visiting Jesus Christ Superstar, opened in locations from Mary Poppins and Joseph. Thomas Hardy’s September and has thrown fresh Agents should promote these works in southwest attention on the city. England, Beatrix to customers of all ages” The museum is the Potter’s favourite Gary Gillespie, Head of Trade Sales, Super Break centrepiece of an countryside in The extensively redeveloped waterfront area. Lake District or the Harry Potter-related Ancient history: The Orkney Islands sites that dot the British map. have some of the best prehistoric sites in Europe and a wide range of other What’s new natural and cultural draws, including a Folk Hotels: Warner Leisure Company Festival in May. ( has invested Mountain highs: For a family £50 million in Studley Castle Hotel in destination with a difference, try Warwickshire. The property is scheduled to Snowdonia. As well as manageable peaks open in March. like Cadair Idris and Snowdon itself, the Other noteworthy openings for the year region holds great kid-friendly attractions ahead include the 1,000-room Hard Rock such as Zip World and Surf Snowdonia. Hotel in London ( and Slowly does it: British breaks don’t new Yotel properties in Edinburgh and come much more traditional than a Glasgow ( canal holiday – a chance to see parts of the Looking further ahead, Melia Hotels will country invisible from the roads. be opening Innside properties in both

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uk holidays

Liverpool and Newcastle ( the release of the Beatles’ legendary Abbey Initiatives: The Great West Way Road album – so it’s a fine time to visit the was formally launched in November, Fab Four’s hometown of Liverpool, which promoting the area between London and offers many Beatles tours and attractions. Bristol (, while The Wales Way is “a new family of three national Tourism talk routes” offering memorable road-trip ideas “Yorkshire’s had a fantastic year. in Wales ( We welcomed a record-breaking Meanwhile, 2020 will mark the 400th number of international visitors anniversary of the sailing of the Mayflower during the first half of 2018, outperforming to America. Eleven different destinations all other English regions. The county was around the UK are showcased worldwide partnering with a “Visit Britain’s dedicated thanks to the fourth Tour dedicated national trade website has bags of de Yorkshire, televised in visitor project, 190 countries. The fifth info with itinerary ideas, edition is coming up in named Mayflower market research and 400. Expect May, and in September industry news. See commemorative the UCI Road World events, heritage trails” Championships is back in and much more Britain for the first time Ben Lerwill, Travel Writer ( since 1982. Hosted in Events & anniversaries: Team GB Yorkshire for nine days, It will be the biggest has done itself proud in the gymnastics free sporting event Britain has ever seen. Why arena in recent times, so the Gymnastics come to Yorkshire? Seven great cities, three World Cup – taking place in Birmingham National Parks, UNESCO World Heritage sites on March 23 – is likely to draw headlines. and golden beaches!” Gymnasts from eight different nations will Sir Gary Verity, CEO, Welcome to Yorkshire compete. And 2019 marks the 50th anniversary of “We’ve had a pretty positive year and have seen visitor numbers increase. Our UK market, which Clockwise: Punting the River Cam in Cambridge; the white sands of the Scilly Isles; the Fab Four in Liverpool accounts for 75% of our total, is very stable.

Easyjet has a new route to Edinburgh. The trade remains very important to us and we make sure we introduce new product and ideas to keep our operator and agent friends interested. We ran an autumn campaign in 2018, ‘No Filter Needed’, because of the opportunity for growth in the spring and autumn. And the appeal of Jersey? We have sterling, it’s safe and we use three-pin plugs! Whatever Brexit brings, the sun will still be shining in Jersey.” Keith Beecham, CEO, Visit Jersey

Where to book it HOSEASONS – 0345 498 6060 A boating holiday aboard the Fjord Empress narrowboat (based at the heart of the Four Counties Ring and Cheshire Ring canal networks, with access to Chester) is from £950 for a week and sleeps up to six.

SUPER BREAK – 01904 717 362 A theatre break in London with accommodation and tickets to The Lion King is from £112pp.

NEWMARKET HOLIDAYS – 0330 160 7700 The six-night Hebridean Adventure is from £649pp and takes in the Isle of Skye and the Western Isles including the Isle of Harris. 

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

Bahia's big bonus

s Sel󰇰󰇮󰈡g T󰇶󰈜󰇾el '󰈅󰈢L󰇯󰈡 ik󰇪 󰈜 At󰇹i󰇺󰇻d󰈥 Ho󰇹󰇪󰇱s󰈢󰇳 󰇵󰈜ge󰇷 Loc󰇧󰇰 󰈆󰈜m 󰇹󰈦ip15 14 &

BAHIA Principe Hotels & Resorts is offering agents a 1,000-point bonus for new registrations on its new loyalty programme, Bahia Principe Rewards. Points are awarded for participating in the e-learning programme, securing referrals and for each room sold. Top agents are recognised on a bi-monthly basis and can earn exclusive gifts.

The Advantage Great Escape

ADVANTAGE Travel Partnership's January campaign is called 'It's time to join...The Great Escape'. Members can use direct, digital and print marketing assets to maximise sales opportunities this month. They also have access to point-of-sale merchandise.

Contents 16


World wins

Feb󰇶󰇻󰈜󰈦y 25, 26 & 27

SELLING TRAVEL DIALOGUE WITH GUERNSEY Selling Travel invites you to three events: in Glasgow (February 25), Leeds (February 26) and Gatwick (February 27). Discover more about Guernsey over nibbles and drinks. Some great prizes will be up for grabs too! Register online at

AIR NEW ZEALAND is offering agents the chance to win a limited edition Round the World Goodie Box. To win they must take the 'personality test' to find their dream stopover each week and submit details at:

Shenanigans in the Cayman Islands, an elegant fam trip to Dubrovnik and a delivery of New England beers.



Mark Swords, Owner and Director at Swords Travel, tells us how he gets through the busy peaks period.

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No v e m b e r 2 0 1 8 – A t t i t u d e Ho t e l s ' L i k e a L o c a l Fa m

Living the Otentik Mauritian life Nearly 60 international travel agents and tour operators came together at The Ravenala Attitude hotel in Mauritius for the hotel group’s third edition of its Like a Local fam trip. Selling Travel’s Benjamin Coren reports from the island. With flights sponsored by Air Mauritius and accommodation and a packed itinerary from Attitude Hotels, this educational granted guests an ‘Otentik’ (authentic!) experience of Mauritian life and Attitude’s portfolio. Created in 2008 by Jean-Michel Pitot, last year Attitude celebrated its 10th birthday. The aim of the brand is to 'promote Mauritius in a different light', and urge guests to explore beyond the walls of the resorts and experience local food and culture. The Like a Local trip provided an opportunity to showcase ‘Otentik Attitude’, a programme comprising five experiences: Dinner, Music, Bazar, Cuisine and Discovery. Over the course of the trip, the groups carried out site inspections at all of the Attitude properties: Coin De Mire, Émeraude Beach, Friday, Tropical, Récif, Zilwa and The Ravenala. Proceedings began with a cookery

competition as part of Otentik Cuisine. Setting the tone for the remainder of the week, each group had to prepare their own Mauritian curry, which was scored and teams could earn points towards a grand prize – a seven-night half-board stay for two in any Attitude hotel, with flights included. Attitude has also developed the Otentik Discovery app, which provides guided walking tours around the island and utilises GPS rather than mobile data to avoid costly roaming charges. Each agent downloaded the app for a walking food tour of the Mauritian capital, Port Louis. The experience included stops at verified authentic food stands to sample Mauritian street food, which is among the best in the world. Everyone took part in a photo challenge in which groups were tasked with capturing life around the city's colourful gates and doorways. The atmosphere was electric as the group visited the Champs de Mars horse-racing track for the Jockey’s International Day. In a bid to earn more points

for the grand prize, teams placed their bets on the most hopeful-looking horses. There were winners and there were losers, but it was experiencing this hugely popular Mauritian activity. A standout moment was the Otentik Dinner, an experience which sees guests sharing dinner with a local member of Attitude's staff. Everyone tried their hand at authentic cooking and experienced a taste of local island life. Over on the east coast, a catamaran day outing from Tropical Attitude gave the group a chance to relax and go snorkelling, while on the final day a trip north to Zilwa and its private islands was a fabulous surprise. A Mauritian barbecue and drinks by the turquoise-hued water made for the perfect finale to an action-packed week.

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No v e m b e r 2 0 1 8 – A t t i t u d e Ho t e l s ' L i k e a L o c a l Fa m



Wha󰇹 󰇺h󰇪󰈂 sa󰇮󰈧...



“This (trip) is a great opportunity to continue to build relationships with brand partners and have eyes on the ground to share destination and product knowledge” Janine Baillie, General Manager, Glasgow Travel Centre Trailfinders

“I really liked the horse racing! It was really good fun and it is something every Mauritian does. It was great to see it and get involved”


Alister Thompson, Operational Support, Emirates Holidays

“This was such a great trip. I really enjoyed the cooking class and the evening dinner – was good to experience a different way of life” Lisa Scott, Sales Advisor, British Airways Holidays

“Get clients involved with Attitude's staff and download the Otentik app to experience the local side of Mauritius” Lisa Scott, Sales Advisor, British Airways Holidays

“I will be telling my team to download the Otentik app. If they know their way around it they can advise agents how to use it” Linsay Norton, Indian Ocean Team Leader, If Only

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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 & about from Cayman to Croatia The call of the Caribbean

Funway Holidays and the Cayman Islands Department of Tourism hosted a group of Caribbean specialists on a fam trip to the tropical archipelago. They were treated to six fully-hosted nights in glamorous Grand Cayman and activities including a trip to Stingray City and tours of some of the island's top properties. Pictured, from left, is Craig Liddle, Funway; Gwyneth Hadley, Courtney World Travel; Lisa McLaughlin, Travel House; Helen Hosier, Preferred Travel Fleet; Richard Trasler, Cayman Islands Department of Tourism; Geoff Pook, Global Independent Travel; Joanne Matley, Toucan Travel.

New England in Old England

Travel Counsellor Linda Buckingham won a copy of Past Tense by Lee Child (the latest Jack Reacher novel) and a case of Shipyard IPA beer thanks to Discover New England's WTM competition. Linda is pictured with her partner enjoying a glass of the Portlandbased craft brewer's popular beer!

Hamper ahoy!

Rhiannon from Co-op Travel Lincoln Tritton Road receives a hamper from Stuart at Newmarket Holidays after completing the tour operator's online agent training modules back in September.

Northeastern star

Briony Smith (right) from Super Break popped into the TUI store in Durham to deliver a bottle of Prosecco and some chocolates plus a well-earned certificate to Sales Consultant Rachael Nicholson, who won the title ‘Agent of the Month’ for the North East, Yorkshire and Humberside region.

Elegant Dubrovnik Elegant Resorts escorted three agents and their partners on a luxury trip to Croatia's popular medieval city. The group stayed in the Hotel Excelsior Dubrovnik for four nights.

Osprey in bonny Scotland Osprey Holidays took six agents to the coastal town of Turnberry, near Glasgow, to experience the five-star Trump Turnberry. Osprey recently expanded its Luxury Scotland Hotel Collection for the new 2019 Short Breaks brochure. From left is Sarah Black, Osprey; Jade Knorris, Chelmsford Co-Op; Helen Buller, Premier Travel; Jamie Rogers, Premier Travel, Jennifer Fraser & Lisa Mackinnon, Osprey Holidays; Nicole Roberts, Westway Travel; and Sam Holliday, Coggeshall Travel.

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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w i t h S w o rd s Tra v e l

Peaks performance Love it or hate it, the January 'peaks' period can set up sales for the entire year. Jessica Pook asks Mark Swords, Owner and Director at Swords Travel, for his top tips on how to land those crucial bookings. "Agents are always conscious that they need to perform during peaks, but remember there's always time to make it up in the coming months. "My biggest tip would be to offer clients something different. "If you’ve been on a fam in the last 12 months then utilise that knowledge and show your customer why they should book with you over someone else. My second tip would be to use suppliers that work well with you. Gone are the days when you have to keep using the same single supplier; we now have the luxury of choice. "We carefully hand- pick the partners we use, to ensure that we get the best service and are offering products from suppliers we trust."

The 'B' wo󰇶󰈨

MAURICE WIDDOWSON Owner of Caribelle Batik and Romney Manor





Home to Wingfield Estate and Romney Manor, Caribelle Batik has established itself as the most visited attraction on St. Kitts. Visitors can enjoy our beautiful botanical gardens, home to our striking Saman tree – the largest living organism on the island – learn all about the island's history of sugar cane production and witness how batik is made on our site.

Wha󰇹's 󰇷e󰇱l󰇮󰇳󰈪?

"Bookings for 2019 are seeing people heading further afield. One of our top areas for 2018 was luxury Europe, and Greece in particular. In 2019 we are seeing a shift to long-haul destinations and families doing multi-centre itineraries. "Mauritius is also popular for us, which I think is due to the fact the destination offers such great value for money."

Gone are the ve days when you ha gle n to use the same si supplier

"Will Brexit affect us during peaks? Realistically. who knows? But agents just have to find ways to encourage clients to book early and avoid all the depressing headlines. At Swords Travel we already have a marketing strategy in place to do just this."


Suc󰈛󰇪󰈤s 󰇷󰇺󰈣r󰈂

"Throughout the years the industry has changed significantly, but customers will still always seek advice from a professional. One of our biggest USP's is that we sell the destinations we have been to and try to recommend hotels, resorts or experiences that we have personally tested. "I started the business with no clients but within the space of three years I now consider many (clients) my friends! In this time we've won two awards: the first was the Aspire Independent Agency of the year and Merton’s Best New Business award. "I think the key to running any business is to show your passion, dedication and forward thinking. Being a 'people person' is also crucial, but If you work in travel, It's really hard not to be!"

Perfectly preserved Brimstone Hill Fortress is the only UNESCO site in the Eastern Caribbean. It houses original artifacts and has incredible views of the surrounding islands. A walking tour of Basseterre will uncover the historic capital of St. Kitts and its colonial charm, or take a ride on the Scenic Railway, which once transported sugar cane around the island.





Our history is what differentiates us from other Caribbean islands. It is what gives us such a sense of civic pride. From navel battles to British colonisation and mass pirate burials, the entire island has many stories to tell. You could say it's the real Pirates of the Caribbean!

Along with beautiful beaches and lush rainforest, St. Kitts has heritage at its heart. The island's history is seen in our iconic attractions, our food and our way of life. This is St. Kitts.

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Kyrgyzstan More than just a high-scoring word in Scrabble, Kyrgyzstan is a snowcapped mountain realm where yaks graze and yurt-dwelling nomads evoke the Silk Road era, says Mark Stratton Where is it? The Central Asian republic of Kyrgyzstan is wedged between the Tien Shan Mountains bordering Kazakhstan and the Pamir Mountains of Tajikistan. Still an off-thebeaten track destination, the tourist season – May to late September – is short due to heavy winter snowfall.

Just capital Set aside a day to explore the capital Bishkek, a pleasant laid-back city gently sweeping aside the vestiges of Soviet rule that ended in 1991. Founded around the late 19th-century during Russian Empire rule, Bishkek is fringed by jagged peaks and has a summery vibe with lots of parks, gardens and fountains. Much of the architecture is Soviet although by no means Neo-Brutalist, with many designs featuring classical flourishes. The communist era lingers on in Lenin statues and hammer-and-sickle motifs. The city’s Osh Bazaar bursts with regional produce like fresh-baked round-breads, nuts and dried fruit, and you can sample popular Kyrgyz dishes such as moist manty dumplings and grilled shashlik (typically beef or mutton).

Meet the nomads The Turkic-speaking Kyrgyz are very conservative and maintain a traditional culture. One such tradition is transhumance – each summer they leave behind their homes and seek alpine pasture to erect yurts and graze their sheep, horses, and

THE DETAILS TIME ZONE: GMT+6 CURRENCY: Som, £1 = 90KGS VISAS: Not required GETTING THERE: & The airport is a 30-45 minute drive from downtown Bishkek. LANGUAGES: Kyrgyz

and Russian are widely spoken CLIMATE: Dry and warm during a short summer which lasts from May-September with biting cold and snowy winters BOOK IT:



cattle. This manifests spectacularly at SongKul Lake. This high mountain lake is set in an amphitheatre of peaks and surrounded by flower-rich plains dotted with summer yurt encampments and thousands of livestock herded by horse-born nomads. Tourist camps enable visitors the chance to experience a night in a yurt and sample kumiss, a sour and fizzy horse milk drink.

Silk Road Journeys The Silk Road was a spidery network of trading trails from China to Western Europe with Kyrgyzstan at its heart, and several outstanding monuments from this golden era of transcontinental trader remain. Near Bishkek is a glazed brick minaret known as Burana. This 10th-century tower is all that remains of the once powerful Silk Road city, Balasgun. More remarkable is the intact 15th-century caravanserai at TashRabat, just a few kilometres from China. Once an overnight refuge for the traders’ caravans, this beautiful brick structure with a domed roof is situated in a narrow, highaltitude valley where golden eagles fly.


Into the hills The Tien Shan Mountains rise to over 7,000 metres – a pristine range of glimmering glaciers spawning aquamarine rivers that scythe through evergreen forests and pastureland and offer rugged but rewarding multi-day treks. Karakol city is a popular hub to arrange these into the surrounding mountains. One of the most popular is the spectacular Ala-Kul: a four-day trek taking in a sublime lake 4,000 metres high.

The Beach Curiously, Kyrgyzstan is landlocked, it’s easy enough to sample a beach holiday with a difference. The enormous 186km-long Izzyk-Kul Lake is fringed by warm sandy beaches which are lined with resorts and seafood restaurants. Particularly popular is Cholpon-Ata, a modest city with lakeshore beaches perfect for sunbathing and freshwater swimming. The city is even more interesting thanks to its extraordinary collection of ancient petroglyphs. 

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six of the best


6 4


3 1 5


Wellness retreats

in A󰇰󰇩󰇪r󰇹󰈜

Nordic Spa Kananaskis


An hour west of Calgary, close to the newly renovated Pomeroy Kananaskis Lodge, the Nordic spa harnesses the healing powers of the Canadian outdoors. ‘Hot, warm, cold, rest, repeat’ is its mantra with guests encouraged to move from soothing hot pools, saunas, steam rooms and even heated hammocks to invigorating cold-water plunge pools surrounded by alpine forest and looked over by the rugged mountains of Kananaskis Country.

Jasper Park Lodge Spa

Banff Upper Hot Springs

It was the soothing waters of these natural hot springs that first drew people to Banff and visitors have been going there to soak for over 100 years now. At 1,585 metres elevation, this is the highest operating hot spring in Canada, surrounded by majestic mountains and fresh pine-scented air. It’s the ultimate mountain retreat and a great place for stargazing – if you can peer through the steam to the velvet skies above.

Modern Gravity, Edmonton This city spa is located in Edmonton’s up-and-coming Holland Plaza, an old uniform factory where health and happiness now seems to be top of the agenda. Alongside Lifestyle Meditation, Barre Body Studio and trendy eateries like The Local Omnivore and Cafe Linnea, Modern Gravity offers floatation therapy and sensory deprivation in its tanks – the ultimate relaxation experience and antidote to city hustle and bustle.

SwizzleSticks, Calgary This award-winning salon and spa is a wellness oasis in Calgary’s trendy Kensington Village, a popular area for shopping with over 250 unique boutiques, restaurants and businesses – from record stores to coffee spots to toy shops to florists. After pounding the pavements SwizzleSticks is the perfect place to relax, with treatments including a Moroccan Clay Ritual using traditional Rhassoul Clay to draw out impurities and warm argan oil to hydrate.

L’ Spa and Wellness Centre, Grande Prairie For those exploring the north west’s wide open spaces, Grande Prairie is a natural stop with attractions like the Phillip J Currie Dinosaur Museum. But if visitors want to relax, other than Muskoseepi Park’s green spaces a trip to the spa could be just the ticket. Owned by spa junkie blogger Leah Podollan, L’Spa’s treatment rooms boast individual climate control, ambient sounds, waterfalls and tranquility candles.


After a day of hiking in the Rockies or skiing in Marmot Basin, this cosy lodge-style hotel’s 10,000 square-foot spa is a great place to unwind. There are rain showers, hydrotherapy baths and treatments using luxurious and natural ingredients in keeping with the alpine surroundings, such as glacial stone massages. The hotel’s hot tub looks out over a lake to snowcapped mountains and elk often graze close-by.



Alberta’s rugged outdoors and sporty outlook is sure to give visitors a healthy glow, but here Laura Gelder looks at some sumptuous spas

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cali Super

is fantastic! Faith alchorn-selk hits California’s highways and byways to discover an enticing cocktail of sand, surf, majestic mountains, world-renowned wineries and wild west heritage

Main picture: Bixby Canyon Bridge, on California’s Big Sur coast; Opposite page, from top: make memories and friends on a Californian road trip; Coachella Valley Music Arts Festival, Palm Springs

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hat better way to truly embrace the spirit of California’s state motto ‘eureka!’ than by embarking on a memorable road trip of discovery? Here are four suggested itineraries – featuring both iconic sites and attractions and a few ‘unknown’ insider tips – that will keep your clients returning to the Golden State time and time again.

Seaside to Desert Oasis: San Diego to Palm Springs Start in San Diego, with a two-night stay. Explore the waterfront, including a visit to the USS Midway, with its decks laden with fighter planes. Visit the world-famous San Diego Zoo and Safari Park to experience wild creatures up close. Hang out for a while in the huge (1,200 acres) and beautiful Balboa Park, before hitting the lively Gaslamp Quarter for an evening of food, drink and entertainment. Then head east, on Highway 78, and wend your way to Julian, an alpine anomaly in warm Southern California. Here, at the northern end of the Cuyamaca Range, it gets cold enough to grow flavourful apples and the town (entirely a Recognised Historic District) celebrates with a popular Apple Festival each October, when a whopping 10,000 apple pies are baked each week. Before arriving in Julian for your onenight stay, make a lunch pitstop in Ramona, and then check out Oasis Camel Dairy, the only one of its kind in America. Ride a camel, pet some farm animals, shop for rare camel’s milk-based products – in short, enjoy a Californian experience with a difference!

From Julian, take a northerly tack on Highway 79, admiring the eastern flank of Palomar Mountain on your left, then hit Highway 371. Keep an eye out for Paradise Valley Café, at the junction of 371 and Highway 74, also called the ‘Palms to Pines Highway’ – it’s the perfect spot for another of those lunch stops. From here, the highway winds through the San Bernardino National Forest before dropping down into Palm Desert to meet Highway 111. Be ready with your camera, as there are some spectacular vistas along the way! The Living Deserts: The communities of the Greater Palm Springs area pepper Highway 111, providing a variety of accommodation, dining and entertainment. Spend a few nights in any one of them and enjoy all the area has to offer. Ride the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway (the world’s largest rotating tram car) to the top of San Jacinto Peak, where you can enjoy a bite to eat, take in expansive views and even do some hiking. Alternatively, explore The Living Desert, a botanical garden and zoo where the desert flora and fauna truly come alive, hit the links on one (or more) of the area’s fabulous golf courses, or simply relax by a sparkling pool, soaking up the sun for which Greater Palm Springs is famous as you wind down this leg of your California adventure.

The Icon: Downtown Los Angeles to the Central Coast Spend a night in downtown Los Angeles to see the urban revitalisation that’s well underway. Until recently, DTLA had little to offer tourists, but that is changing fast with the list of dining, art, and entertainment

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eVeRyOne’S A LITTLe BERKeLeY In Berkeley, you’re welcome to loosen up your itinerary and experience the unexpected. Come for world-class restaurants, museums, shopping, and performing arts, and discover fabulous diversions along the way. Take the alternate route, stray from the crowds, and get lost — in a good way. Go ahead. Be a little Berkeley.

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options now an impressive one. For example, check out the Grand Central Market, a hip, multi-restaurant destination at LA’s oldest farmers’ market for dinner, breakfast… or both. From here, head north to Burbank, home of fabled movie studios like Disney, Universal and Warner Brothers. Embrace your adventurous side with an afternoon at Universal Studios, where you can raise your heart rate on exciting coasters and explore the backlot with a behind-the-scenes tour. For a mellower peek behind the curtain of movie magic, consider a studio tour at Disney or Warner Brothers or a visit to NBC’s broadcast studios, before moving on to West Hollywood for a night. This trendy, LGBTQ-friendly area is known for its vibrant nightlife and the energy is infectious. ‘WeHo’ is home to famous hot spots like the celebrity hideaway Chateau Marmont, Whisky a Go-Go and The Viper Room night clubs, plus several live comedy venues. Take your pick of famous streets to stroll: Sunset Boulevard, Melrose Avenue, Santa Monica Blvd… they all run through West Hollywood and all are lined with interesting shops and restaurants. On your way out of town, roll west to Santa Monica, where you can roam the iconic Santa Monica Pier, with its classic seaside funfair. Get a bite by the beach before jumping on the fabled Pacific Coast Highway (Highway 1, or PCH to the locals) and head north toward Malibu. Though this area sustained considerable damage in last November’s terrible Woolsey Fire, recovery is progressing well and the spectacular coastline scenery remains unspoiled. Continue north along the coast to Highway 101 west and Ventura, with its jaw-dropping beaches. Make a lunch stop here on Ventura’s bustling Main Street, where you’ll also find a piece of California history: Mission San Buenaventura, founded in 1782. American Riviera: Ahead of you lies lovely Santa Barbara, which warrants a two-night stay. Known as the American Riviera, this Mediterranean-style city, with its white stucco buildings with their red-tile roofs, is set against the dramatic backdrop of the Santa Ynez Mountains. With a vibe of relaxed elegance, Santa Barbara boasts

upscale shopping, great dining, welcoming beaches and loads of outdoor pursuits. Depart Santa Barbara before breakfast, because you’ll want to enjoy that in the picturesque village of Solvang. Full of Danish flavour, you’ll find classic half-timbered buildings housing shops carrying Danish wares and restaurants featuring traditional Danish delights – from herring to ebelskivers. From here, follow Highway 101 back to the coast, where you will arrive in Pismo Beach, your last stop on this Los Angeles to the Central Coast adventure. Enjoy the relaxing, small town feel, visit the Monarch Butterfly Grove, discover a favorite bottle at one of the many wineries, and walk the scenic beaches –“chill” is definitely the watchword here.


“What better way to truly embrace the spirit of California’s state motto ‘Eureka!’ than by embarking on a memorable road trip of discovery?”

Drive the Golden Chain Start in the state capital, Sacramento, where two nights will allow enough time to tour the Capitol building, discover historic Old Sacramento, the State Railroad Museum, enjoy a peaceful river cruise and savour the tasty fare of the nation’s farmto-fork dining capital.

Above: Balboa Park’s lily pond, San Diego

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“Spend a day in the City by the Bay, riding the cable cars, climbing Lombard Street, exploring Golden Gate Park, and filling up on fresh seafood at Fisherman’s Wharf”

Then, head east on Highway 50 to Placerville, with a stop in Folsom to take in the new Johnny Cash Trail, around the prison he made famous in his song. In Placerville, explore historic Main Street, visit the Gold Bug Park and Mine and, if it’s fall, don’t miss Apple Hill, a harvest season heaven filled with apple treats of all kinds. Take a turn to the south and set out on Highway 49, California’s Golden Chain Highway, linking the towns of the Gold Country. Your destination is the quaint hamlet of Murphys, where you’ll spend a night (try the namesake Murphys hotel). Stop off along the way in Sutter Creek, in the heart of Sierra Foothills Wine Country, to wander historic Main Street, which retains it Gold Rush facade. In Murphys, you’ll find a delightful main street, with eclectic shopping and delicious dining. Just outside town is Ironstone Vineyards, a popular winery complex with a tasting room, western history museum,

performance venue and, the piece de resistance, the world’s largest crystalline gold nugget, weighing in at 16.4kg! A stone’s throw from Murphys on Highway 4 is Calaveras Big Trees State Park, founded to preserve a large stand of towering giant sequoias. Lace up your walking shoes, take a stroll through these ancient wonders, and feel dwarfed by the majesty of nature. Make your way back to Highway 49 and continue south, stopping in the classic Gold Rush town of Sonora, known as ‘The Queen of the Southern Mines’ for lunch and a peek at its historic opera house before heading for Mariposa for a onenight stay. Gear up for some engaging, classic mountain driving and breathtaking views along the way! While there, don’t miss the Mariposa Museum and History Center, offering a look at everyday life in the gold rush era, along with a functioning stamp mill.

B b

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

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National parks: From Mariposa, follow Highway 49 south to the well-equipped town of Oakhurst, where you’ll make a left on Highway 41 to get to Yosemite National Park. Yosemite shouldn’t be rushed so spend at least two nights in the park or surrounding area. If a self-catering stay is planned, suggest a rental home at The Redwoods in Yosemite. Once in Yosemite, explore its spectacular natural attributes, from the heights of Glacier Point and Half Dome to the recently re-opened Mariposa Grove of giant sequoias and the valley’s many enchanting waterfalls. For clients with additional time and a taste for more nature, from Yosemite take Highways 41 and 99 south to Visalia, gateway to the beautiful and uncrowded Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks.

San Francisco to Davis: the Long Way ‘Round From San Francisco International Airport,

take Highway 101 north, bypassing downtown San Francisco (for now) and heading to nearby Berkeley for two nights. Skip the commute crowds and hop on a tranquil 25-minute ferry ride to spend a day in the City by the Bay, riding the cable cars, climbing Lombard Street, exploring Golden Gate Park, and filling up on fresh seafood on Fisherman’s Wharf. On the second day discover the eclectic style of Berkeley, on the eastern shores of San Francisco Bay. Home to the well-respected University of California at Berkeley, this youthful town with a cosmopolitan spirit has great shopping (Fourth Street), outdoor adventure (Tilden Park), botanical gardens (on campus at UC Berkeley), a wealth of art and culture, and the famous Telegraph Avenue, a bustling extension of collegiate life featuring quirky shops and restaurants. Next, hop on Highway 80 north, to Highway 29 north. Napa is the destination for night three. Here clients can wine


“Throughout the region known as ‘Yolo’, visitors will find high-quality, locally produced fruit, nuts, honey, wines, and speciality cheeses - the perfect road trip snacks!”

Opposite page, clockwise from top: Napa’s riverfront; hiking in the Golden State; San Diego’s Gaslamp Quarter. This page, from top: a Sacramento panorama; San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge

Blue skies. Midcentury modern cool. Nine cities, each with its own attitude and blend of excitement. Both destination and pop culture, exhilaration and chill. Sit back and relax in endless days of sunshine and all the amenities you could ever imagine. Luxury. It’s where you choose to stay and where arrival is a welcome departure.WI Find your oasis. NE T RAI N • BEER T RAI N • WI LD WEST T RAI NS • SEA S O N A L TRA IN S

F U N FContact O Ryour Virtuoso TravelRIAdvisor V ER EXC URSI ON • HARV EST EX PERI ENC E • & MA N Y MO RE EVERYONE! to book your next holiday.



4:30 PM

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Above: Yosemite National Park. Right: Clif Family Winery, Napa Valley

and dine to their heart’s delight at a plethora of provisioners, then simply revel in the beautiful countryside as they make their way from Napa, through Yountville and Rutherford to Highway 128. Hang a right and follow Highway 128 east, into the undiscovered gem of Yolo County and on to the charming town of Winters. Then spend two nights at the impeccably renovated Inn at Park Winters, one of the area’s original Victorian mansions. From this comfortable base, explore the greater area, including Cache Creek Casino Resort, home to a new winery (Seka Hills) and tasting room as well as fine olive oils pressed on-property. Throughout this region – known as ‘Yolo’, visitors will find high-quality, locally produced fruit, nuts, honey, wines, and speciality cheeses - the perfect road trip snacks and meal accompaniments! Upon departing the Inn, swing north

on Highway 505 and east on 16 to Woodland. A warm and welcoming small town, Woodland has some interesting attractions, like Reiff’s Gas Station Museum, an extensive collection of car culture and gasoline memorabilia, and the California Agricultural Museum, full of fascinating implements and history.

DrivE HaPPy

in california with alamo! Travel industry staff receive up to 30% off USA car hire*

*Discounted rates are calculated from the Pay Local retail rate found on Offer is available to UK residents only and is subject to availability. Discount is up to 30% off the Fully Inclusive package and up to 30% off the Alamo Gold package. Alamo Gold requires a minimum 4 day rental period and excludes a tank of fuel in Manhattan. Travel Industry Staff ID will be required at time of rental to qualify for the discount and the rental does not qualify for frequent flyer programmes or cashback schemes. Examples of Travel Industry ID include Company ID card, business card, letter of employment or payslip. Standard rental terms and conditions apply. Not to be combined with any other offer. © 2019 Alamo Rent A Car. J02148 12.18.

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Continue from Woodland south on Highway 113 to Davis, for a one-night stay in the home of the renowned University of California at Davis. A bicyclist’s haven, Davis is full of fun dining spots, interesting boutiques, and engaging night life. It’s another youthful California town with a vibrant, lively, can-do attitude. Golden memories : Wherever your clients’ California dreaming takes them, they will find beautiful (and diverse) scenery, spectaular vistas, friendly, laid-back locals living the good life; fabulous food, drink, and diversions aplenty. So set them free on those highways and byways, just waiting to guide them to those Golden State memories.

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Entertainment | Bay Cruises | Dining | Shopping | & More

Where to book it Premier Holidays – 08444 937 531 A five-night North California and Redwood National Park self-drive that includes two nights in Eureka, two nights in Redding and one night in Sacramento starts from £469pp. Based on two adults sharing, with accommodation and car hire (but not international flights), the deal is for travel in February 2019. Premier also has an 11-night Golden California self-drive, with stays in San Francisco, Monterey, Central Coast, LA, Las Vegas and San Diego, priced from £1,449pp for travel on April 1, 2019.

Great Nightlife

Fun Shopping

Amazing Food

Funway Holidays – 0208 290 9754 The 14-day 'Completely California' self-drive holiday includes flights, accommodation (with an overnight in Bakersfield), two nights in Cambria, San Diego and Yosemite National Park and three nights in San Francisco and Los Angeles. It is priced from £2,479pp, based on two adults sharing. 

Above: Time for reflection in the desert

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January 2019


Do the Charleston OPENING this month – and set to benefit from British Airways' new London-Charleston flight - is the glamorous Hotel Bennett. The 179-guestroom hotel will overlook the city's iconic Marion Square, while its

Hit the ro


Trek America hops to it

“Visit USA would like to wish all its members a successful 2019"

restaurant will look down on the South

Sarah Lax

of light-flooded low-rise buildings and

Chair, Visit USA (UK)

Carolina city's iconic Marion Square.

Palm Springs Hyatt THE Andaz Palm Springs will open in early 2019. The 150room hotel will be built as a collection bungalows, with outdoor pools, a spa and restaurants serving 'creative and sustainable' cuisine that focuses on

ROAD trip specialist Trek America is adding beer tours of America’s east and west coasts and a music-themed Deep South itinerary in 2019. The seven-day Cities, Sights and Craft Beer Delights – West tour will visit San Francisco, Santa Rosa, Portland and Seattle. Prices start from £1,249pp, with departures in June and August. The eight-day tour will visit New York (pictured above), Boston, Washington DC (small pic), Atlanta and Asheville, with stops at both world-famous brewers and local operations. It costs from £1,399pp, with departures in June and August. The 15-day Deep South and Festival Sounds tour culminates with tickets to the Austin Limits Festival. The tour departs on September 23 next year and is priced from £2,799pp.

local flavours. Diners will also enjoy

views of the San Jacinto Mountains.

Mayflower climb THE Pilgrim Monument in

Provincetown, Massachusetts, will unveil a new funicular (cable railway system) that will carry people up High Pole Hill to the monument. The project will start this year and be ready in time for the 400th anniversary of the Mayflower crossing in 2020.

THE USA in brief... THE American Queen Steamboat Company has acquired the Victory I and sister ship Victory II from Sunstone Ships, Inc., as well as the Victory brand. The vessels will enable the American Queen Steamboat Company to offer more diverse cruising options, particularly in the Great Lakes region, said CEO, John Waggoner. CRUISING

FILM fans can now follow in the footsteps of stars such as Tom Cruise, Sean Penn, John Wayne, Dolly Parton and Julia Roberts by setting out on the new Louisiana Film Trail. The trail showcases the locations of some of the more than 2,500 films shot in Louisiana. These include Bonnie & Clyde, Dead Man Walking, Easy Rider and Steel Magnolias. NEW TRAIL

Lousiana Entertainment

GRACELAND, ATTRACTIONS in Memphis, Tennessee, will offer more reasons to visit in 2019. New exhibits at the entertainment complex dedicated to Elvis Presley will feature 'Elvis through His Daughter’s Eyes', 'Hillbilly Rock', Elvis Gospel', and the '50th Anniversary Exhibit Celebrating Elvis’ Historic 1968 Comeback Special.

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

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MEMBERS' SPOTLIGHT introducing...

NORWEGIAN'S SUMMER SPREE LOW-COST carrier Norwegian will launch new flights from Gatwick to Miami (daily) and San Francisco (fourtimes-weekly) this summer. The new routes, which start on March 31, will replace the airline's services to Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and Oakland, California.

NYC SHOWS THE FAMOUS AND ORIGINAL 'FAMOUS Original New York City', NYC & Co's current marketing campaign, runs until March 31. The digital initiative shows travellers celebrating the ways NYC can be experienced, through video, photo galleries, editorial and social content. It is based around threee themes: Secret NYC, Glamorous NYC and Classic NYC.


New D isn

When did Visit Park City join Visit USA? We joined in November 2017.

ey attra ction

Galaxy of Star Wars at Disney

NEW Star Wars attractions, including a themed hotel, are set to debut in Disney World Orlando this year. The hotel, located on the south side of Disney’s Hollywood Studios, east of World Drive, will transport guests to a galaxy far, far away. The luxury 'starship' accommodation will feature ‘launch pods’ and cabin windows that give the illusion of space. Guests will also encounter characters and creatures at the hotel that help to bring the film to life. The hotel's opening will coincide with the highly-anticipated Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge land at the Hollywood Studios, also set to open in 2019. Attractions within Galaxy’s Edge will include Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run, which allows guests to pilot the Star Wars space ship in one of three flight crew roles.

Universal's budget option UNIVERSAL Orlando Resorts will open its Endless Summer Resort – Surfside Inn and Suites this summer. Aimed at families and featuring two-bedroom suites that sleep up to six people, Surfside Inn and Suites will be Universal’s most affordable accommodation to date. Prices at the three-star hotel with a lakefront location will start from £55 per night.

LA's inside job

THE Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board is offering entry into its L.A. trade shows to travel agents who qualify as an L.A Insider. Launched last year, the module-based L.A. Insider training tool keeps UK and Irish travel agents up to date with the city's latest tourism offerings.

What is the main benefit of being a member? It offers us a platform to raise awareness of our beautiful mountain town in Utah's Wasatch Mountains. Tell us what makes Park City a special destination? It is very accessible, just 35 minutes from Salt Lake City International Airport. A former silver mining town, it has a Historic District and two of the world's best ski areas: Deer Valley and Park City Mountain, the biggest in the U.S. Each January, Park City hosts the Sundance Film Festival. And in the summer? The summers are beautiful with hot sunny days and cool evenings. There are over 400 miles of hiking and biking trails for all levels, plus all kinds of soft adventure and lodging choices galore. In the summer season, Delta operates a daily non-stop service between Heathrow and Salt Lake City. What is your favourite Park City experience/memory? This has to be the thrilling – some might say terrifying – ride on the Olympic Bobsled summer run at the Olympic Park in Park City.

Subscribe to the Visit USA Association online Travel Update at

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six of the best

Discovering the colours of

Sri Lanka

The pearl of the Indian Ocean has a new marketing campaign to showcase its diversity. Benjamin Coren looks at what ‘So Sri Lanka’ means So Wild Sri Lanka is one of the most biologically diverse islands in Asia. With 12 national parks and 52 sanctuaries, the island is home to 92 types of mammals including elephants, leopards and sloth bears. Yala National Park boasts the highest concentration of leopards in the Indian Ocean region while Udawalawe National Park and Minneriya National Park are famous for elephants. Guests visiting these parks can sign up for safari tours to witness some of this diverse wildlife.

So Spiritual Recharge your batteries and reconnect with nature at one of Sri Lanka’s many spas. Treatments hail from the ancient rituals of Ayurveda and its theory of three vital sources: Vata (wind), Pita (fire) and Kapha (earth). Getting all three of these doshas in sync is the key to perfect balance. Therapies available include Swedhana, Pizhichil and Shirodhara and can be found at spas in most hotels.

So Thrilling If it’s adventure visitors are after, Sri Lanka has a diverse range of scenery to be explored. Killer Falls offers icy rapids in Kitulgala and Sitawaka Ganga and Kotmale Ganga (both rivers) are musts for adventure enthusiasts. In fact, Sri Lanka has 103 rivers, lagoons, reservoirs, swamps and ancient canals to explore. Scuba divers can explore vast coral reefs in the southern coastal areas. The island’s interior is ripe for hiking and offers the chance to experience traditional culture.

So Festive Sri Lanka hosts a variety of colourful festivals over the year, mixing its rich history and cultural pageantry. The Kandy Esala Perehera lasts over 10 days from late July. It features a full entourage of entertainment as well as a tusker (elephant) carrying the sacred tooth relic of Buddha. Sri Lankan New Year is held on April 13 and 14 and commemorates the harvest with, festive food and traditional games and garments.

So Scenic Sri Lanka is blessed with lush forests, grassy valleys, tea plantations, white sandy beaches and scenic cities. Mustvisit sites include the Royal City of Kandy, the wilderness of the Knuckles Mountain Range and the cool high climates of Nuwara Eliya and its tea country. Not to be missed is the ancient rock fortress of Sigiriya. Hiking to the top of the rock offers splendid views of the region and a glimpse into the island’s ancient royal history.

So Colourful There are seven UNESCO World Heritage Sites on Sri Lanka. The cultural triangle links the ancient cities of Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa and Kandy and visitors can witness Buddhist ceremonies which bring the religious temples to life. Anuradhapura is a grand monastic city and is also the location of the sacred Sri Maha Bodhi Tree. Galle Fort is almost unchanged and walking the ramparts at sundown is a must.

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indian ocean


green lingers

Indian Ocean operators are tackling issues such as climate change, food waste and carbon footprints head on, says Karl Cushing


rom within the innocuous looking open-sided thatched shack, plonked aside some fields, the hero of this story – the chef – duly delivers a traditional, multi-course culinary masterclass. Using local ingredients, he conjures up a procession of implausibly tasty creations over a stove, as I struggle to control my rumbling belly. I devour dish after dish with Greg Wallacestyle zeal and, had I not been so replete, by the time it came to leave I think I’d have wept Sri Lankan curry tears. The experience, provided by Village Rider ( and booked via Red Dot tours

(, began with a small convoy of tuk tuks weaving out of the city’s melee before we careered down a muddy path towards a foodie nirvana of true spicy decadence. Sri Lanka’s responsible tourism bow has

many strings, from the cultural treasures of Kandi and Siguriya to its emblematic wildlife such as elephants, leopard and the whale watching off Trincomalee and Mirissa. I’ve seen it all, yet for some reason my mind always wanders back to that beltstretching traditional feast I presided over in the countryside outside Galle.

Authentic tours As authentic culinary tours have gained traction in recent years the Indian Ocean’s feted high-end resorts have adopted a more sustainable approach to sourcing and disposing of foodstuffs. Take Kuramathi in the Maldives, where many ingredients used in its restaurants are grown on-site, enriched by fertilizers from composters fuelled on food waste. At Mauritian resorts such as Maradiva Villas & Resort ( and Shanti

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indian ocean

Maurice ( guests can learn about eating sustainably while touring their organic gardens. Others are doctoring menus, such as Six Senses Laamu (sixsenses. com), which stopped serving shrimp and

prawn in September due to their heavy environmental footprint. Water is another focus. Resorts such as Hilton ( at its Labriz Resort in The Seychelles, and Atmosphere at its Maldives properties (, now give out reusable glass bottles of water from desalination or water purification systems.

Sea changes Marine conservation is a major concern. In the Seychelles the government recently pledged to increase its protected waters from 0.04 to 30% by 2020, and in October issued a 10-year ‘blue bond’ on finance markets to help fund fisheries projects. With its low-lying islands no nation is exposed to rising sea levels as the Maldives. A major focus is protecting and rehabilitating its resorts’ famed house reefs whose coral has suffered from ‘bleaching’ due to rising ocean temperatures. Coral cultivation schemes are now common. At Niyama Private Islands (niyama. com) the coral nurseries are accessible from the beach and guests can snorkel them with or without the resort’s marine biologist. And last summer saw Summer Island submerge an artificial, 3-D Printed Reef in its lagoon to promote growth (

Clockwise from top left: Four Seasons Desroches Island’s Marine Discovery Centre; a market in Colombo, Sri Lanka; a dhoni waiting on the water by Dusit Thani Maldives; learning about food, Shangri La’s Villingili Resort & Spa, Maldives; andBeyond Vamizi Lodge

Many resorts, including Niyama, feature Coral Adoption programmes. Kandima Maldives ( offers guests online updates as their adopted coral grows on artificial frames in its lagoon. Other

initiatives include air conditioning via a waste generator. Projects at Gili Lankanfushi (gili-lankanfushi. com), with its dedicated marine biology shack, wet lab and two full-time marine biologists, range from seagrass meadow planting to Manta Ray and Turtle conservation.

Sustainable approach Operators taking a group-wide sustainable approach include Banyan Tree (banyantree. com), with its Stay for Good programme. Another strong eco-friendly player is Blue Safari Seychelles group whose Alphonse Island ( is now totally reliant on solar power. Both Four Seasons Seychelles resorts ( offer marine education programmes, in partnership with NGO WiseOceans. Desroches Island, which opened in March, features a marine Discovery Centre and guests can go on a guided snorkel with a marine educator. Land-based programmes include North Island’s Noah’s Ark ( project, aimed at repopulating the island’s indigenous Seychellois wildlife. Lesser-visited areas gaining traction include Mozambique where luxury, sustainable options number andBeyond Benguerra Island and andBeyond Vamizi Island, sister properties to andBeyond Mnemba Island off Zanzibar ( Local trade-friendly operators featuring biodiverse Madagascar, whose top resort spots include Nosy Be and the Mitsio Archipelago, include local operator IC Tours ( and Rainbow Tours ( which offer everything from small group journeys to stays at Miavana Private Island.

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Keeping Mauritius Beautiful As the pioneer of the hospitality industry in Mauritius, Beachcomber Resorts & Hotels have implemented unique strategies to protect and develop the island’s natural and social environment, leading the way in sustainable tourism development.

Preserving the natural environment Beachcomber Resorts & Hotels strives to reduce the impact of our activity on the natural environment by managing land use and building hotels that comply with the EarthCheck environmental sustainability certification. Les Salines Beachcomber Resort & Spa will open 2020, follows the same EarthCheck certification as our eight current hotels and will help protect the environment and benefit local people with employment and training. We’ll also replace the existing habitat altered during building with a new wetland zone for fauna and flora to resettle in.

Harnessing renewable practices Pursuing our commitment to renewable energies, we seek to minimise the use of fossil fuels and reduce our environmental footprint. Within our hotels we are expanding our waste management systems to protect air and fresh water quality, whilst implementing measures to encourage recycling (over 36% of our waste is recycled on-site). Our hotels have in-house wastewater treatment plants and re-use treated water. Our latest initiatives include bottling our own water to cut down on plastic and placing a ban on non-biodegradable plastic straws since August 2018.

Contributing to environmental initiatives Working to preserve ecosystems and restore the island to its original beauty, Beachcomber contributes to environmental initiatives including beach clean ups and projects that work towards preventing coastal erosion. Encouraging our guests, artisans and other stakeholders to take a role in the projects helps to make individuals more conscious of negative impacts and conserve our beautiful beaches for the future.

Supporting the local community Local people are at the heart of Mauritian tourism and we are focused on offering underprivileged communities the chance for a better and more sustainable future. We achieve economic empowerment through employment, training and our ‘Fondation Espoir Developpement Beachcomber’ (FED), which inspires our guests and partners to conserve the natural and cultural heritage of Mauritius whilst enhancing community development. We support our artisans’ Local Hands Association, enabling self-employed craftworkers to expand their businesses and earn an income to break the cycle of poverty that some communities face. It also encourages guests and locals to engage in a mutually beneficial way. And our partnership with local NGO Manzer Partazer seeus us donate surplus food to schools, orphanages and communities. Indian ocean.indd 33 42 Beachcomber_2.indd

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indian ocean

What’s new Flights: Air Madagascar new’s domestic airline, Tsaradia (, services 10 domestic destinations out of the island’s capital Antananarivo. Ethiopian Airlines ( now flies direct to Nosey Be from Addis Ababa, from where it now connects to Manchester (from December 11), as well as Heathrow. DMCS: Khiri Travel ( unveiled a new trade-facing website in November featuring sustainable holidays and experiences in Sri Lanka and the Maldives. “Responsible travel practices are at the core of our travel experiences and our new website shows this,” said founder Willem Niemeijer. Representation: A private consortium of Tanzanian operators, TANTOO (tantoo. org), recently signed up Kamageo (kamageo. com) to represent them in the UK trade. Indian Ocean options include The Zanzibar Collection (

This page, clockwise from top left: A food tour with Intrepid; Kandima Maldives; the chef’s garden at Shangri La’s Villingili Resort & Spa; SALT of Palmar’s skill swap in action; Blue Safari eco-camp, Seychelles. Opposite: Banyan Tree’s turtle protection programme

Hotels: In November Mauritius’ Veranda Tamarin reopened following an extensive six-month renovation ( Also just open is SALT’s first property ( Set on the island’s east coast the 59-room SALT of Palmar promises a ‘humanistic approach to hospitality for the culturally curious traveller’. Programmes include Skill Swap where guests exchange their time and talents with local artisans. it will open its SALT Farm in March, partnering with a local NGO to combat food waste. Blue Safari Seychelles ( opened its latest property, Cosmoledo Eco Camp, on Wizard Island in the remote atoll of Cosmoledo in November. The ‘eco pod’ rooms at the boutique, eight room eco-luxe property are housed in shipping containers. A Club Med will open in Seychelles in 2020.

Options in Sri Lanka include Harding Boutique Hotels’ ( six-suite luxury boutique hotel Ahangama, opening autumn 2019 in Ahangama. New Maldives properties promising sustainable approaches include Westin Maldives Miriandhoo Resort ( and Mӧvenpick Resort Kuredhivaru Maldives ( in the Noonu Atoll, featuring

105 villas and suites (72 overwater). December saw the opening of JOALI Maldives ( on Muravandhoo island. The ‘eco-luxe’ charmer actively encourages guests to offset their carbon footprint by supporting its local projects. The Residence Maldives at Dhigurah in Gaafu Alifu Atoll (cenizar opens this month next to sister property The Residence Maldives at Falhumaafushi. Future openings include Hard Rock Hotel Maldives (, opening in March, and the 200-guestroom Saii Lagoon Maldives, Curio Collection by Hilton (saiiresorts. com/maldives/lagoon), opening in April.

Top experiences Meet the village people: The TUI Collection of responsible tours features an Agro Village Traditions excursion sampling village life at Sri Lanka’s Agro Park Millaniya, backed by a visit to a Buddhist temple and a countryside tuk-tuk ride. Adults from £52.64. ( The right ingredients: on Shangri-La Villingili Resort & Spa’s Farm to Plate dining experience, guests learn about sustainable growing whilst touring the chef’s garden and farms of local suppliers before enjoying a ‘handline’ fishing trip. Ingredients are then cooked back at the resort. $725 for two people. (

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Sail away: Turn a boat excursion into a holiday with G Adventures’ Maldives Island Hopping eight-day round trip from Hulhumale (priced from £649). Alternatively, the operator’s Sailing Sri Lanka – East Coast itinerary is a seven-day round trip from Negombo, from £1,139 ( Head inland: Mauritian DMC Mautorco’s Wild South tour explores the stunning Black River Gorges National Park and takes in everything from waterfalls, trails and dormant volcanoes to a rum distillery tour (


es Salaam to Vamizi. RAINBOW TOURS – 020 7666 1266 The nine-day Cycle Across Réunion is a guided tour across the volcanic island on two wheels. Priced from £3,550pp, it includes accommodation, transfers and flights from the UK. 

Where to book it “Mirihi Island’s ‘Sea to Roll’ Fishing & Sushi Making Excursion has an earlymorning fishing trip aboard a Maldivian Dhoni before making and eating lunch”

ANDBEYOND – +27 11 809 43 The new six-day Oceans without Borders Small Group Journey, privately guided by a marine biologist, teaches clients all about the operator’s sustainable tourism efforts. The price, from $10,775pp, includes a $1,500 Ocean Without Borders donation, a villa at andBeyond Vamizi Lodge, Mozambique, and return flights from Dar

Image: © Torsten Dickmann

Immerse yourself in the beauty of The Islands of The Seychelles

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

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Costa Rica | Curaçao | Dominican Republic: Cap Cana • La Romana • Puerto Plata • Punta Cana | Jamaica: Montego Bay Mexico: Akumal • Cancun • Cozumel • Huatulco • Isla Mujeres • Ixtapa • Los Cabos • Nuevo Vallarta • Playa Mujeres Puerto Aventuras • Puerto Vallarta • Riviera Cancun • Riviera Maya • Tulum | Panama Terms & Conditions apply. Kids stay free at selected resorts.

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Family adventures in 4


3 1


6 2

A playful spirit, natural beauty and a fascinating history makes Jamaica an enriching experience for the whole family, says Laura Gelder Mystic mountain Choose from an array of tours which take your clients through this Ocho Rios mountain’s rich ecosystem, past sparkling streams to the spectacular views at its summit. Ascend by chairlift and then take the thrilling 1,000-metre-long bobsled track back down to the bottom. It’s just like the Jamaican Olympic team’s bobsled but it’ll be gravity driving you and dense tropical rainforest rather than white ice rushing past.

Kool Runnings Water Park This Negril park is one of the Caribbean’s premier water attractions. There are over five acres of thrilling water rides including 10 diverse water slides, some towering as high as 40 feet. For a more relaxing experience, the Rio Bueno Lazy River is a leisurely glide around liquid bends. Kids will love the interactive Captain Mikie’s Coconut Island with its tipping coconuts and water canons.

The Great House at Rose Hall Families can immerse themselves in Jamaica’s colonial past in this grand mansion which has a rather gruesome legend attached to it. Annie Palmer was mistress of the house nearly a century ago and (allegedly) a cruel one who turned the magnificent plantation into a hell house as countless slaves fell prey to her voodoo torture and all three of her husbands died at her hands. Spooky!

Dunn’s River Falls This ethereal looking waterfall is one of Jamaica’s most magnificent natural treasures. Led by expert guides, visitors join hands to form a human chain which winds its way up the rocky slopes of this 600 foot waterfall. There’s plenty of opportunities to pose for snapshots amid the luxuriant foliage that lines the sides of the cascading falls. There will akso be time for a refreshing dip too.

Chukka Good Hope The Good Hope Estate dates back to the 1700s but now offers a huge variety of experiences including a thrilling zipline canopy tour, rugged quad and dune buggy adventures, relaxing jungle river tubing, Appleton Rum tasting, a Great House tour and an aviary. Its latest addition is Jungle Adventure Falls, with three family-friendly pools, splash areas, a waterfall, river walk and 300-foot slide.

Glistening Waters Luminous Lagoon Surrounded by mangroves, this natural lagoon is home to microscopic organisms that emit a bio-luminescent light, making the water glow a beautiful blue when disturbed at night. Darting fish appear like tiny streaks of sub-aqua lightening, and when it rains the water lights up the water dancing on the surface. Boat tours offer the chance to swim while the science is explained.

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a dv e r t or ia l

An Australian

adventure F

rom the red earth of the outback to the spiralling sands of Whitehaven Beach and the spiritual discovery of Indigenous culture, Journey Beyond invites you to experience the real Australia. Australian-owned Journey Beyond is the country’s leading experiential tourism group, operating Cruise Whitsundays, Rottnest Express and Great Southern Rail. With businesses stretching across the country, Journey Beyond offers experiences covering everything from food and wine to nature, wildlife and Indigenous culture to islands and oceans.

Journey Beyond the train tracks Guests on rail journeys will encounter the ever-changing colour of the Australian terrain, with Off Train Experiences such as a culinary tour hosted by chefs sourcing local and seasonal ingredients and fine regional wines from world-renowned vineyards. With more than 50 packages available, agents can book an itinerary with Journey Beyond that spans the country. The curated itineraries showcase the best of Australia and include tours, accommodation and rail travel, eco safaris deep in the outback, swimming with whale sharks, cycling on

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Rottnest Island and ‘reefsleeping’ under the stars. Indigenous experiences take guests to Australia’s outback to learn about Aboriginal culture and the history of this ancient country. The featured Outback to Island package immerses guests in the nature and wildlife between Darwin and Adelaide including Kakadu National Park in the tropical north to Kangaroo Island in the south. It also includes three nights aboard The Ghan Expedition with all meals, drinks and Off Train Experiences that allow guests to explore Nitmiluk (Katherine) Gorge, the outback in Alice Springs, with dinner under the stars, and the chance to go underground in the quirky outback town of Coober Pedy, the opal capital of the world.

Tricks of the trade The new Journey Beyond Specialist training programme assists agents in creating once-in-a-lifetime Australian rail and marine experiences. It provides access and information on Journey Beyond’s full range of products including The Ghan, Great Southern and Indian Pacific rail expeditions, Whitsunday cruises and Rottnest Island tours and ferry services. As a qualified expert, agents can join the agent incentive programme to access fam trips, exclusive events and competitions. Visit for more information.

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EXPLORE AUSTRALIA’S GREAT TRAIN JOURNEYS Venture beyond the tracks with Journey Beyond’s extensive range of holiday packages encapsulating some of Australia’s greatest rail journeys. Whether your client is keen to discover the outback, embark on a gourmet escape or explore Australia’s natural and coastal wonders, Journey Beyond has tailored packages for every type of adventure, ranging from one-day city stops through to 21-day rail and cruise odysseys. This month’s feature package is Outback to Islands featuring the NITMILUK (KATHERINE), NT

Ghan Expedition.





G O L D S E R V I C E / T W I N S H A R E / I N C LU S I O N S: 13 DAYS


o 3 nights’ accommodation in Darwin including breakfast daily o 2 days/1 night Kakadu and East Alligator River including accommodation and guided touring

o Transfer from Hotel to Darwin Rail Terminal o 4 days/3 nights aboard The Ghan Expedition, Darwin to Adelaide KANGAROO ISLAND, SA

including all meals, beverages and Off Train Excursions in Katherine, Alice Springs and Coober Pedy

o Transfer from Adelaide Parklands Terminal to Airport o 2 days/2 nights Kangaroo Island in Style tour including flights to and from the island, accommodation and personalised touring

o 3 nights’ accommodation in Adelaide including breakfast daily o 1 day Northern Barossa Valley Voyager tour


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Copenhagen & beyond Many Brits focus on Copenhagen, Denmark's vibrant capital, which lies less than two hours away by air and is well served by multiple carriers, but venture a little further and there's islands, beaches and Denmark's second city and cultural powerhouse, Aarhus. Copenhagen is all about the water. Canals criss-cross the city and some of the best sightseeing is by boat. Many of the boats leave from the celebrated waterfront area – Nyhavn, with its beautiful multi-coloured houses – and head towards the harbour area where you'll see the modern Royal Playhouse building and, sitting opposite, The (very) Little Mermaid statue. Another popular way to see the city is by bike (the city is flat and bikes have right of way over vehicles and pedestrians). You can hire them from all over the city. Take a trip to Christiania, an alternative community on the edge of town where residents pay no tax, kids are home schooled and drugs are legal (don't worry, everyone is very welcoming). Copenhagen's most popular attraction is Tivoli Gardens, a slightly kitschy but fun funfair/old-fashioned amusement park, which dates from the mid-19th century and is the second-oldest in the world. The exciting news is it opened for the first time ever in winter this year and it proved so popular that it will open again from February 1-24 2019 with ice skating, local delicacies and drinks and rides. Fast forward to July and you can't miss the Copenhagen Jazz Festival, a two-week event which attracts worldclass performers, centred on Nyhavn, but taking over most bars and clubs in the city.

What's new New flights for 2019 include three twiceweekly Ryanair routes from Edinburgh to Billund; Liverpool to Copenhagen and London Southend to Copenhagen – all launching in April.


Modest Denmark punches above its weight with Michelin-starred restaurants, scandi-noir cultural exports and generally being the happiest country in the world, says Adam Coulter




Opening in May this year is an urban development project called BLOX (blox. dk/english), which is set to create a new centre for the city and houses the Danish Architecture Centre, Danish Design Centre and recreational urban spaces, playgrounds, homes, cafés and restaurants. CopenHill (, a power-plant turned ski slope is set to open in spring. The slope will form the roof of Copenhagen’s new green waste management centre, and there's also a climbing wall, café, viewing platform and green adventure and play landscape on the roof. It'll be easier to get around the city from summer 2019 with the opening of the new metro Cityringen. It will have 17 new underground stations connecting vibrant neighbourhoods such as Vesterbro, Nørrebro and Østerbro with the city centre – and the airport in 20 minutes.

Food The advent of Noma – Denmark’s most famous restaurant and four-time winner of


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Best Restaurant in the World – put Danish cuisine firmly on the map. Not content to stand still, opening at the start of this year is Restaurant Alchemist, which will be an immersive dining experience practicing holistic cuisine with 50 courses, experience rooms, art installations and a 10,000 bottle wine cellar which spreads across three floors. Copenhagen will also see a new street food market open this year, Boltens Food Court, which will have 19 food stalls and five bars. Located over three floors in a historic central Copenhagen building which has been completely refurbished.



The Beaches


Denmark comprises the Jutland peninsula and over 400 islands, and has more than 7,000 kilometres of coastline. Copenhagen is on Zealand island, which is connected to Sweden by a bridge (made famous in the Danish TV series of the same name). North of the capital is very popular with locals and tourists alike and has lovely beaches and small villages along the coast. On the west coast you'll find wide and sandy beaches; Fanø is a popular island for a summer holiday and is just off the west coast near Esbjerg. The Northernmost part of the west coast has lovely dune-backed beaches and coastal villages such as Løkken, Lønstrup and Blokhus, as well as its own surfing spot called Cold Hawaii. At the other end of the country is the


Danes’ own holiday island, Bornholm. At Dueodde Beach on the island’s South East corner the sand is so fine and white it has been used to fill hour glasses.

Aarhus The European Capital of Culture in 2017 and Denmark's second largest city lies some three hours away by car from Copenhagen, on the main peninsula. As with most places in Denmark, the beach, harbour and forest are never far away (a 15-minute bike ride). Aarhus is home to some of Denmark's most popular attractions including the modern art museum ARoS, Den Gamle By (The Old Town Museum) and the newlyrestored Moesgaard Museum. Time a visit for the 10-day Aarhus Festival (August 30 to September 8 in 2019), one of the biggest cultural events in the country, when every street, club, stage, gallery and museum is buzzing with art and entertainment.  POUL IB HENRIKSEN

Lying three hours by train or road from Copenhagen (or served by multiple direct flights from the UK), the birthplace of Lego is a magical spot, especially if you've got kids. Spring 2019 sees the opening of a giant Lego-themed Castle Hotel right next to the park, with 142 rooms, 710 beds and both indoor and outdoor play areas.

“Denmark comprises the Jutland peninsula and over 400 islands, and has more than 7,000 kilometres of coastline”

BOOK IT WITH... BEST SERVED SCANDINAVIA An 11-day, tailor-made self-drive holiday in high-end small hotels, visiting Copenhagen, North Zealand, North Jutland and Skagen is from £1,265pp including return flights. Highlights include: Fredriksborg Castle in Hillerod (the largest renaissance castle in Scandinavia) and a night in Hotel Vejlefjord, which has the largest spa and thermal baths in northern Europe.

BLOKHUS; 020-7838 5956


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a dv e r t or ia l

New ways to

sip & savour K

entucky’s famously good food and drink is seeing a new dawn, with new distilleries and cutting-edge restaurants opening up all over the Bluegrass State. Whether it’s urban bourbon or a country distillery; fine dining or a casual cafe, something is brewing in Kentucky and it tastes good! Hitting the legendary Kentucky Bourbon Trail ensures visitors will see and taste some of the best of the state while taking in 13 distilleries and some of its finest cuisine.

repurposed Pepper Campus, also home to Ethereal Brewery and Barrel House Distilling. New restaurants range from Hayden’s Stockyard Eatery (, serving up traditional southern dishes like fried chicken, biscuits, fritters and grits, to School Sushi (, offering Japanese tapas in an old bank vault. And the Old Courthouse now houses Zim’s Cafe (, a restaurant from award-winning chef Ouita Michel focusing on top local produce.

Louisville’s and Lexington’s latest

Best of the rest

Louisville now has a distillery and experience for Old Forester (, the first-ever bottled bourbon, located in two historic buildings on Whiskey Row, while The Rabbit Hole Distillery ( had its grand opening on Kentucky Derby Eve 2018 in trendy Nulu. New eating venues include Boujie Biscuit, serving comfort food on a buttermilk biscuit; plant-based and casual Naïve, which strives to be 75% local and organic; and 80/20 @ Kaelin’s Restaurant, a re-working of an iconic restaurant known as the ‘birthplace of the cheeseburger’. Over in Lexington, the historic James E. Pepper ( bourbon label has been revived, with a distillery located in the

Bardstown, ‘Bourbon Capital of the World’, saw the opening of the 18,000 sq. ft. Lux Row Distillers ( last year. It offers tours and tastings of its craft bourbons. The Bardstown Bourbon Company ( is a new 45,000 sq ft distillery which boasts a whiskey library, bar, and restaurant, Bottle & Bond Dueling Barrels Brewery & Distillery ( in Pikeville is the first of its kind in Eastern Kentucky, serving moonshine, bourbon, beer and ale. Castle & Key Distillery ( in Millville is sited at the former Old Taylor Distillery - said to be the birthplace of bourbon tourism – and crafts botanical gin as well as rye whiskey. Grab more foodie inspiration here:

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S HOW R E P OR T: Travel South USA celebrates its musical heritage









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the review

Club class offers from AMResorts AMRESORTS is offering savings of up to 40% at some of its resorts for bookings made before January 31. The deal, for Club Room categories, is for departures between May 1 and December 22 this year. At selected resorts a Club Room can be booked for the price of a Standard Room. For example, a family of four at Dreams Sands Cancun Resort & Spa can book a Preferred Club Deluxe Ocean View room at a price close to the lead-in room type. In addition, nine AMResorts properties have a ‘two kids stay free’ deal between May 1 and August 31 2019, also bookable until January 31. Agents making AMResorts bookings until January 31 for the qualifying period will receive Love2Shop vouchers. of between £10 and £30.

First Class down under


FIRST Class Holidays has launched two new brochures for its tailormade holidays to Australia and New Zealand for 2019. They feature 14 new tours from Western Australia to Tasmania, North Island to South Island in New Zealand, plus 16 new hotels in locations ranging from Australia’s Gold Coast to the geothermal Kiwi town Rotorua, plus 13 new sightseeing tours. New highlights in Australia include a Treasures of Australia escorted tour, Uncork the Barossa Valley sightseeing tour, Cape to Cape Track Western Australia walking tour and a Kimberley River cruise. New for New Zealand are the

New Zealand Gourmet Food and Wine self-drive tour plus excursions to the Weta Workshop in Wellington (a film industry attraction). The 15-day Treasures of Australia premium escorted tour starts from    £4,095pp. It includes  Uluru and the Red Centre of Aboriginal Australian culture, the Sydney Opera House, Hamilton Island and the Great Barrier Reef.  The  self-drive  19-day New Zealand Gourmet Food and Wine Tour starts from £3,795pp.Visitors can immerse themselves in the country’s wine and food culture by travelling around its main cities and tasting local flavours.

A Canadian Affair to remember CANADIAN Affair is offering 10% off all its holidays and has launched an agent incentive to win holidays and vouchers. The discount, which started on Boxing Day, runs until January 31 and applies to bookings for travel until April 30 2020. Sale holidays include the six-night Rockies and Alaska Cruise Extravaganza tour, priced from £2,373pp, for travel in April 2019, and the 15-night Unlimited Adventures Self-Drive Holiday, for £1,734pp for travel in May this year. Agents can claim a £10 Love2shop voucher for every booking made during the sale period and those who make two or more bookings will be entered into a draw to win prizes that include three Canadian holidays.

Carrier’s ‘Discover You’ campaign targets individual luxury preferences LUXURY tailor-made tour operator Carrier’s new marketing campaign for the start of the year centres around ‘individuals’. Its ‘Discover You’ concept embraces the changing desires of luxury travellers – and the result is a series of new experiences which fall under 10 key travelling personalities such as The Escapist, The Self-Improver, The Adventurer, The Gourmet Globetrotter, The Pioneer and The Conservationist.

For example, The Escapist seeks out holidays to far-flung destinations looking for peace and tranquillity, for which Carrier’s recommendations include COMO Parrot Cay in Turks & Caicos. Gourmet Globetrotters are ‘fastidious foodies’ who want their holidays to incorporate everything from Michelin-starred restaurants to farm-to-table fare. Carrier’s recommendations for such clients include Farmhouse

Inn in Sonoma, California, a property created by two farmers, a Michelin-starred chef and a team of sommeliers. Discover You branding, social media assets and video content is available for Carrier’s key agents and the operator’s tradededicated team will be on the road in January and February, delivering ‘Gourmet Globetrotter’ goodie bags to agents.

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the review


Malta’s LGBTQ training

COCOON MALDIVES BOOK NOW FOR GREAT SUMMER OFFERS Book a minimum of 7 Nights and Receive FREE NIGHTS – STAY 7 PAY 6 20% Off Room Rates PLUS Complimentary Upgrade from HB to All Inclusive Valid for stays between 01 May 19 – 31 Oct 19


THE Malta Tourism Authority has a new online training programme to educate agents about the archipelago’s LGBTQ+ travel credentials. Agents can learn about accommodation, activities and places to visit aimed at the LGBTQ+ market. Each agent who completes the course will receive a certificate and be entered into a monthly draw to win a £50 iTunes voucher. Peter Vella, Director UK & Ireland, Malta Tourism Authority commented: “We pride ourselves on being a welcoming, safe destination for all travellers and travel

agents are key to spreading awareness and this message to their clients. It’s important for the trade to be equipped with the right facts about LGBTQ+ travel to help travellers make an informed decision.” For the third year running ILGA Europe ranked Malta as the number one travel destination on the European Rainbow Index 2018. Malta, Gozo and Comino also have a thriving nightlife scene. Each September Malta Pride brings Valletta’s streets alive with performers and colourful floats that celebrate diversity.

COCO BODU HITHI MALDIVES FANTASTIC WINTER OFFER STILL AVAILABLE Take advantage of last minute offers including: Complimentary Upgrade from BB to Half Board AND Reduced All Inclusive Supplement Combinable with Free Nights + Early Bird Offers! Valid for all stays until 30 Apr 19!

80 prizes from Saga in trade incentive SAGA’S biggest-ever trade incentive features over 80 prizes for bookings made between December 27, 2018, and February 28. Prizes include VIP concert tickets for the Spice Girls and Rita Ora, designer handbags, and spaces on a two-night sailing on Saga’s new ship Spirit of Discovery this July.

ADAARAN CLUB RANNALHI MALDIVES Wonderful House Reef Snorkelling in South Male Atoll JANUARY SALE – Book by 31 Jan 19 and receive: Up to 22% Discount on Room Rates PLUS Further Discounts for Stays over 9 Nights AND Introductory Diving Lesson + Sunset Cruise Valid for stays between 01 Apr 19 – 31 Oct 19 ALSO FIND EXCLUSIVE DEALS FOR TRAVEL TRADE PERSONNEL ONLY ON OUR WEBSITE OVER 200 HOTELS AND A SELECTION OF TOURS AVAILABLE ON OUR WEBSITE MALDIVES • SRI LANKA • MAURITIUS • SEYCHELLES • INDIA • UAE • CARIBBEAN • GREECE • NEW CRUISING AND SAILING. INCLUDING EXCLUSIVE OFFERS FOR SPRING 2019 SUMMER 2019 AND WINTER 2019/20 RATES ARE NOW ONLINE All above offers are subject to availability | Terms & Conditions Apply

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the review

Peak time for Sandals and Beaches SANDALS and Beaches Resorts’ Perks for Peaks incentive offers agents the chance to win prizes that include Jimmy Choo shoes, a 32GB Apple iPad, an Apple Watch Series 4 (with GPS) and a seven-night holiday for two. To enter, agents need to book a holiday to any Sandals or Beaches Resort during the peaks period (December 26 - February 5) in a Butler or Club level suite. Agents must register their booking with their regional Sandals Business Development Manager. Prizes will be awarded each week, starting on January 4, for bookings made in the previous week. about/rewards-programme/

Jasper top for snow business


has appointed Vicky Edwards, ex-Polka Dot Travel Branch Manager, as a Trade Sales Executive to work with agency partners across Birmingham and the Midlands. She will work with independent travel agents to help them market, promote and sell package holidays and grow their businesses.


JASPER National Park in Alberta, Canada, is the ‘Best Ski Town’ in North America. At least according to USA Today readers, who voted the picturesque town top of the snow pile in a recent Reader’s Choice survey. Posing the question “What makes a great ski town?”, the survey asked readers to consider the qualities of a ski town that are most important to them, including ease of access to the

slopes, the local/small-town vibe, the food scene and the history of the area. “Jasper is its people, so it’s really no surprise that it landed this award. We are truly the best combination of all the things that makes the ski town experience so special,” said Brian Rode, VP of Marketing and Sales at Marmot Basin – the area’s leading ski resort – and a 40-year resident of Jasper.   

A Coruña sets its sights on winning a break from UK trade BY LAURA GELDER

THE port city of A Coruña in Galicia, northwestern Spain, has appointed its first ever international travel trade rep for the UK and Irish markets. The strategy, led by UK-based Merce Carballo, is to put A Coruña on the map as an emerging city break hotspot and promote the destination as the base for various special interest holidays. A Coruña is steeped in history and associated with the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage route, but the tourism board will also promote its mix of culture, architecture, gastronomy and nature. Carballo said: “Internationally A Coruña is lesser known than other Spanish cities but this is part of its charm. It will appeal to anyone who is after a slice of authentic Spain.”

STEVEN BALDERSTON has joined the South African Tourism team as a Trade Training Specialist. His key tasks include hosting fam trips, implementing incentives and ensuring agents are provided with all the tools they need to sell South Africa. Steven has also worked for Tourism Northern Territory in the UK.

ULTRA-LOW-COST airline WOW air is to move its Gatwick service to Stansted, from March 31. It will offer daily flights to Keflavik departing at 11.20, to link to connections to the U.S. and Canada. It’s also reintroducing its threetimes-weekly EdinburghKeflavik route, following a seasonal pause, in June.

FUNWAY Holidays’ ‘Peaks Means Prizes’ campaign features discounts of up to 50% off bookings and deposits from £49pp. There are also 90 prizes up for grabs including Caribbean stays and fam trips for bookings made before March 31.

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the review: cruise

Cruise Update

Fred. Olsen courts solos

CRUISE NEWS IN BRIEF CUNARD is to spend a full season in Alaska in 2020, from June through to September, on the newlyrefurbished Queen Elizabeth. Cunard is making its return to Alaska in May 2019 after a 20-year break.

ANDY HARMER, CLIA UK & Ireland Director

THIS year CLIA is talking about the ‘Next Generation’. In part because of the huge level of investment and innovation within the industry – with over $60 billion worth of orders for new ships alone – but also to focus on the ‘Next Generation’ of cruisers. ‘Next Generation’ will explore what cruise lines are doing now to change the way people take holidays today and in the future. With 29 ocean and river ships due for delivery in 2019 and 107 by 2027, the cruise industry is changing fast. Cruise lines are busy investing heavily in technological innovations, which will transform guests’ cruise holiday experiences, both ashore and onboard. ‘Next Generation’ will be the theme of our flagship three-day CLIA Conference Conference, in Southampton (May 15–17). The event will include a trade fair, conference sessions and a gala dinner. Delegates will have the chance to visit two of the three ships in port for the event: Celebrity Edge, which launched in Miami last month, Cunard’s Queen Mary 2 and MSC’s Preziosa. Spaces are still available and CLIA travel agent members can sign up at:


THE brand-new Celebrity Flora will be setting sail to the Galapagos Islands from May 26 this year. A 10-night Quito and Galapagos Inner Loop fly/cruise is priced from £8,429pp, with flights from Heathrow. BY STEVE HARTRIDGE

FRED Olsen Cruise Lines is offering solo travellers discounts on a host of sailings between March 2019 and March 2020. The deal on 14 select sailings applies to all new bookings made by February 28, 2019. The featured sailings include the 14-night ‘Landscapes of the Canary Islands’ cruise, aboard Boudicca. Departing Dover on March 9, 2019 it will include stops in Leixões (for Oporto), Funchal, Madeira; Santa Cruz de Tenerife; Las Palmas; Gran Canaria; Arrecife; Lisbon; Vigo and back to Dover. Solo travellers can sail from £1,899pp, with no single supplement on certain grades. The eight-night ‘Isles of Scotland’ cruise, aboard Black Watch, will

leave Liverpool on June 20 2019. Priced from £1,399pp stops will include Greenock, Tobermory (Isle of Mull), Lerwick, Tórshavn (Faroe Islands), Kirkwall and back to Liverpool, UK. Clare Ward, Director of Product and Customer Service at Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines, said: “Over 10% of all of our guests are solo travellers. Across our ocean fleet we have one of the highest proportion of solo rooms in the industry, including suites. “The smaller size of our ships and the attentiveness of our crew makes the holiday experience a more comfortable and less intimidating one for those travelling solo.”

REGENT Seven Seas Cruises has a new online training tool – RegenTrade – that is designed to be a onestop-shop for agents. It consists of a Training Library and a Resource Centre that pulls sales and marketing tools together in one place.

HURTIGRUTEN has added Alaska to its cruise programme. Eight- to 18-day voyages will feature the Inside Passage. Guests will travel aboard the first hybridpowered ship to cruise the Inside Passage.

A-ROSA opens UK office to fuel growth plans A-ROSA River Cruises sees the UK as key to its expansion plans and will open a UK sales and marketing office in early 2019, its first outside of Germany. New builds and the modernisation of some of the existing fleet are planned as part of the cruise line’s growth strategy. The brand-new A-ROSA ALVA will launch on the Douro in May 2019. The ship will be the first of several new additions to the fleet.

Lucia Rowe, the line’s new UK Managing Director, will be putting together a team to work with tour operator partners and agents to grow brand awareness and expand the cruise line’s partnership network. She promises greater trade support and more educationals. “We want as many agents as possible to experience the A-Rosa product,” she said.

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the review: trade show report


Sounds of Nashville Steve Hartridge reports from the annual tourism showcase Musical themes cross state lines MUSIC, a common thread that binds the Southern states, was a key theme at Travel South. Delegates were given a breakfast showing of It All Begins with a Song: The Story of the Nashville Songwriter, a film about those in the city trying to carve a career by penning the next big hit, and also enjoyed a number of live performances by wellknown artists. These included a lunchtime set by Charles Esten (pictured), best known for his role as Deacon Claybourne in the TV series Nashville. Among the popular city attractions enjoyed by delegates were the ‘honky tonk’ bars on the city’s Broadway, with multiple stages featuring live bands playing everything from blues to rock. And several preshow city tours stopped by iconic Nashville sites such as the Grand Old Opry, The Ryman Auditorium and the 18-block Music Row, which now offers its first guided walking tour of historic (and prolific) recording studios and publishing houses.

Southern stars shine bright

THIS year’s Travel South USA International Showcase trade show, a boutique event which brings suppliers of tourism products from a dozen southern states together with tour operators from around the world, attracted the largest UK and Irish delegation in the event’s sevenyear history. Operators in a chilly Nashville included Purely Travel, Vacations to America, America As You Like It, Leger Holidays, Travelsphere and American Holidays (Ireland). The event, which attracted 463 delegates that included 120 international buyers, showcased destinations, hotels and experiences in Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Missouri, North Carolina, South Carolina, West Virginia, Virginia and Louisiana. Themes on the show floor common to all Southern states included music, culture, cuisine, history and the U.S. Civil Rights

Trail, which launched last year. Liz Bittner, President and CEO, Travel South, said: “The Southern USA has enjoyed double-digit increases from the UK and Ireland for three years in a row, beating the national averages, and we expect this trend to continue. “Wholesale operators continue to invest in our region, with new fly-drive products, city stays and even speciality niche programmes for themes like music and history… 2019 is poised to be another terrific year for the Southern USA, and the travel trades in the UK and Ireland will be crucial to continuing this momentum.” Tourism is worth over $159 billion to a region now healthily served by flights from the UK. British Airways has direct services between Heathrow and Atlanta, Nashville (daily from March 31), New Orleans (five flights a week) and, from April 4, Charleston, South Carolina (twice weekly).

Tennessee’s new pathways of notes TENNESSEE Tourism unveiled Tennessee Music Pathways, an initiative designed to guide visitors to the state’s musical points of interest through an online travel-planning tool featuring hundreds of landmarks and attractions promoting seven musical genres: blues, bluegrass, country, gospel, soul, rockabilly and rock ‘n’ roll. “Tennessee Music Pathways connects fans to the people, places and genres that make Tennessee the Soundtrack of America – from large cities to small communities,” said Kevin Triplett, Commissioner, Tennessee Department of Tourist Development.

Nashville live! NEW in Nashville is the chance to watch a live recording session. Offered by Imagine Recordings, in Sound Stage Studios that were once owned by Roy Orbison, on ‘Music Row’, the 80-minute experience ($90pp) sees guests sitting ‘in session’ with top-industry musicians. The experience, featuring two songs (one cover version, one original tune), involves several ‘takes’ as the artists strive for that perfect cut. Guests visit the control room to see audio engineers mixing the arrangement and then have their photos taken with the musicians.

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the review: trade show report

Cajun flavours are a trailblazer

Huntsville aims for moon

RALEIGH, North Carolina’s capital, has its first boutique inn after Guest House Raleigh opened last autumn. The eight-room intimate property is housed in Gorham House, a historic home built in the 1880s.

THE new Lodge at Gulf State Park is a 20-key Hilton property located on Alabama’s Gulf Coast. Inside the state park, the property is just steps from 28 miles of hiking and biking trails. All rooms and suites have beach and park views and the hotel’s many sustainable tourism practices sees 75% of the site dedicated to landscaping using native species that can thrive without irrigation or chemical pesticides. Also, habitats have been created for native birds, nesting sea turtles and the Alabama Beach Mouse. Gulf Shores is known for its miles of pristine white quartz sand.

TRAVEL SOUTH SHORTS ELVIS Presley’s Memphis at Graceland will feature new exhibits in 2019, including ‘Elvis through His Daughter’s Eyes,’ ‘Hillbilly Rock,’ ‘Elvis Gospel,’ and the ‘50th Anniversary Exhibit Celebrating Elvis’ Historic 1968 Comeback Special.’

NEW in Louisiana is the Cajun Bayou Food Trail, linking 18 ‘authentic’ foodie experiences. Guests can download a ‘passport’ featuring all the venues – seven stops and stamps will get them a Bayou t-shirt. “Cajun food is all about tradition, heritage, love and the heart and soul of our region,” said Melissa Durocher of Louisiana’s Cajun Bayou. “But It is not about the heat; we want to arouse taste buds not scald them!” Cajun Country starts just 25 miles from New Orleans.

Gulf Coast lodge


THE U.S. Space and Rocket Centre in Huntsville, Alabama, is looking forward to a big 2019, a year that marks the 50th anniversary of the launch of Apollo 11, the spacecraft that took Neil Armstrong and his fellow astronauts to the moon. New is a key exhibit, ‘Apollo: When we Went To The Moon’, that highlights the Space Race, a period beginning in the 1950s when the U.S. and Soviet Union tried to better each other with their accomplishments in space exploration. The exhibit will run from February 16 to August 23. On July 16, exactly 50 years to the day that Apollo 11 blasted off with rockets engineered in Huntsville, the centre will try to create a Guinness World Record

by launching 5,000 model rockets simultaneously at 09.32, the exact time that the famous mission to the moon launched. Throughout this year the centre will stage a series of re-enactments of Apollo 11’s lunar landing at its Tranquillity Base Lunar Crater exhibit. “This year will be a great time to be sending clients to Huntsville, the city that both trained and launched the Apollo 11 astronauts,” said Sara O. Vowell, Assistant Director of Sales and Outreach for the U.S. Space and Rocket Centre. “We have a series of great events planned, along with our usual exhibits and ever-popular SpaceCamp,” she added.

DOLLYWOOD’S new $37million expansion includes Wildwood Grove, set to open this year. Its 11 experiences will feature six rides including The Dragonflier, a suspended family rollercoaster, a 55-ft-high Wildwood Tree, live entertainment, play areas, a new restaurant and more.;

Travel South will head to St Louis, Missouri NEXT year’s Travel South will be held in St. Louis, Missouri, from December 2-5, 2019. Liz Bittner, President and CEO, Travel South, said: “We will be highlighting the city on the Mississippi River, known for blues, jazz, baseball and the Gateway Arch National Park. “Y’all Come Visit!”

HIGHLANDS Bar and Grill in Birmingham, Alabama, was last year voted the Most Outstanding Restaurant in America by the James Beard Foundation, the country’s highest honour for food and beverage professionals.

NASHVILLE is anticipating the arrival of two major hotels in 2019. Richard Branson’s Virgin Hotels Nashville will open in the Music Row neighbourhood in December, with the Margaritaville Nashville, in the city’s SoBro neighbourhood, scheduled to start welcoming guests by the autumn.

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the review: show report

ORLANDO, USA – NOVEMBER 25-29, 2018

Milestone for Global Jessica Pook reports from the 25th annual Global Travel Conference

dnata invests in bd4travel

New ‘buddy’ initiative

ANDY STARK, Managing Director of The Global Travel Group, explains why it is vital to support the UK’s independent agencies.

CONFERENCE delegates heard that dnata has acquired a majority stake in bd4travel (Big Data for Travel). The tech company provides artificial intelligence to online travel agencies, allowing them to engage with anonymous customers and target them with relevant products and services.

Universal’s training programme UNIVERSAL Studios Orlando has introduced its new Universal and U agent training programme. The 90-minute training is designed to help agents create a memorable holiday and increase sales. Agents can learn from fun video-led content, gain access to marketing materials and be supported by a live chat element. Upon completion, agents will benefit from concessions, including up to four explorer tickets at a 50% discount and no blackout date.


THE Global Travel Group announced plans to launch the ‘Global Buddies’ mentoring scheme, giving new travel agency owners the opportunity to ‘buddy up’ with more established retailers. Cherie Richards, Commercial Director of GTG said: “Our members see themselves as part of a family and are keen to help each other, whether that’s guiding on what brochures to stock or tips on how to get started.” Initially, members of GTG’s executive team will be assigned their own new member ‘buddy’ to

help during their first year of membership but the consortium is keen to get suppliers involved in group mentoring sessions too. The independent consortium celebrated its 25th year by inviting members and suppliers to Orlando to network and hear motivational speakers like Erin Brockovich and Katy Hill inspire them to strive for success in 2019. Since the conference GTG has launched its ‘Make Memories’ peaks campaign as well as rolling out its new iBos technology system.

New branding and logo future proofs Global THE Global Travel Group has developed new branding to ‘future-proof’ the company. The modern brand and logo has been designed to be ‘fresh and forward thinking’ and is available in a range of colours including a rainbow for LGBTQ promotions.

How does The Global Travel Group benefit agents? Made up of over 200 members, we provide independent agencies with vital support and help startup businesses by providing the tools and training needed to put them in good stead before they go live. We provide ongoing training for members, along with marketing materials, and work with the tour operators to offer our agents good rates and high commission. Why are independent agencies important? Independent agencies are able to operate with no boundaries, which is great for consumers. They can have great relationships with big tour operators but aren’t influenced by directional selling, have the flexibility to be more niche and can offer a wide variety of product. What’s trending for 2019? Cruising is becoming more accessible and members have a deeper understanding of this lucrative sector. More millennials are returning to their high street agency and, thanks to Instagram, they often know what they want.

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The Great House Antigua in Mercers Creek Bay has re-opened as a wellness retreat. Formerly a 400-year-old sugar plantation, the property offers on-site lifestyle coaches, masseurs, trainers and dietitians as well as yoga and meditation.



LUX VILLAS FOR EDEN ROC Relais and Châteaux’s Eden Roc Cap Cana in the Dominican Republic has opened four luxury oceanfront villas. Each villa has its own infinity pool and private butler service. Three are one-bedroom villas and the fourth is a two-bedroom residence.

Agents could enjoy a stay in a luxury suite in Antigua

Win a stay in a new Cove Suite

BLUE Waters Resort and Spa in Antigua is offering a seven-night all-inclusive stay for two adults and two children in its newly refurbished Cove Suites. Every booking made to the resort between now and February 7 will be entered into the draw, with Cove Suite bookings amounting to two entries. A weekly secret spot prize will also be given throughout the incentive period. DOMINICA HOTELS The Cove Suites & Penthouses offer uninterrupted RE-OPEN views of the Caribbean with access to an infinity pool Citrus Creek Plantation exclusive to Cove Suite guests. The spacious and is due to reopen on February 1, private suites are ideal for families or for a romantic 2019, following destruction couples getaway. caused by Hurricane Maria Agents neeed to log their in 2017. Also, Jungle Bay bookings at Eco Villas will reopen before February 10, 2019. ill host w a in June 2019 in its new Bookings must be for a ic a Jam of edition th 7 Morne Acouma location. minimum of five nights. 3 l e e v th Tra bbean the Cari lace from Marketp 2019. 29 - 31, January ce. la tp rke chtama CAP Maison in OVER com Saint Lucia has the added a selection peaks of nature-themed period Sandals family holidays to and Beaches its portfolio. The Resorts is offering collection includes Jimmy Choo ‘Snuba Doo’ tours shoes, an Apple Peaks treats from Sandals Try a ‘Snuba Doo’ tour on St Lucia – a cross between watch, a sevenscuba diving and snorkelling – horse riding night stay for two at a Luxury Included® to Cas En Bas Beach and a ‘Bean to Bar’ resort and more in its latest incentive. To chocolate experience which starts with a enter, agents need to book a Butler or Club tutorial on the production of cocoa and level suite at any Sandals or Beaches Resort teaches how to make a chocolate bar. Cap and register their booking with a regional Maison offers family rooms and villas that Sandals Business Development Manager by accommodate up to 12. February 5, 2019.

don’t miss


WHAT are the benefits of being a CTO member? Many members are small representation companies like ours with a portfolio of hotel and destination clients. We don’t have huge budgets so by pooling our resources we can give ourselves and our clients more choice.


TELL us about AMG’s Caribbean interests. AMG has a range of clients across the Caribbean, including the islandS of Tobago, Saint Lucia, Barbados, Antigua and Nassau Paradise Island in The Bahamas.


WHAT CTO activities are you involved with? We always participate in the roadshow and joined the CTO at this year’s International Luxury Travel Market, meeting over 40 new tour operators. We will also be making the most of our affiliation with the new website, which is launching this month (January).


WHAT’S your top Caribbean tip? The Caribbean offers ultra-luxurious all-inclusive properties as well as small. friendly B&Bs, so anyone can afford it! Encourage clients to visit local restaurants and attractions. Sign up to the CTO’s training programme at

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Training, competitions, events January 2019



Quick Quiz Are you a Seychelles Superstar?

1. The Seychelles is made up of 124 islands. TRUE / FALSE

TIPTO has added three new supplier training modules to its online portal. Agents can now complete modules covering Cosmos and Avalon, as well as recent members, Royal Caribbean Cruises and Wendy Wu Tours. The new courses sit alongside modules from all TIPTO suppliers and are available to complete now. Agents who complete modules should increase their supplier knowledge as well as improving their sales potential.

Hot News

Festive cheer in advance

2. The currency of the Seychelles is the Seychelles Rupee. TRUE / FALSE

Newmarket Holidays Training I Modules: 6


QATAR National Tourism Council, has launched its first global destination campaign, 'Qatar. Qurated For You'. The campaign will focus on tailored visitor experiences celebrating its heritage. QNTC has examined Qatar's offerings to showcase how the Qatar experience can be tailored to each of its visitor segments, with a print, TV and digital campaign. Agents can also sharpen up their destination knowledge by completing the destination's online training programme:

Answers: 1: False 2: True

NEWMARKET Holidays' Lapland Santa Experience day trip is now on sale for Christmas 2019. Agents making early bookings can grab hold of some enticing treats. All bookings made by March 31, can be made at early bird prices with a deposit of £50pp. Agents who want to try the Santa experience for themselves can apply for places on the Agents Concession Programme, which offers places with 15% off the full price. The day trip includes a Search for Santa experience, a gift for the kids, a snowmobile trip and a reindeer ride, amongst other activities.

'Qurated' Qatar

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Training courses to help travel agents and advisers sell more!

New Haven vision



BOURNE Leisure's family brand, Haven, is trialling numerous new concepts at its holidays parks as part of a £100 million investment. Five parks will trial the new concepts which will open from spring/summer 2019. They include an adventure village in Wales, a waterpark in Norfolk and an expanded indoor activity area in Scotland. "This is the start of our journey to trial what the Haven of the future looks like and ensures that we continue to give all our guests the best possible experience every time they stay with us", said Gerard Tempest, Guest and Proposition Director at Haven.

Hot News

WA is the one to watch in 2019

ABTA Knowledge Zone I Modules: 31

Zoom to Zabeel NEW OPENING

ZABEEL House by Jumeirah has opened in The Greens in Dubai. Located in Tower 3 of Dubai's striking Onyx Towers, it features 210 rooms, two restaurants, a gym, an outdoor pool with cabanas and two outdoor cinemas. It is the third hotel to open as part of the group's casual brand which launched earlier this year. Booking is now open at The hotel is suitable for those looking for a social destination in Dubai and it is both family and dog-friendly. To discover more about Jumeirah and its brands, complete the 10 training modules on its worldwide properties:

Working in partnership

ABTA has named Western Australia as one of 12 destinations to watch in its 2019 Trends report. ABTA cited several reasons for its inclusion, such as the new Qantas non-stop flight from London to Perth, recent developments in Perth, the bohemian charm of Fremantle, the state coastline and nearby natural attractions like Ningaloo Reef and the Bungle Bungle Range. Perth is currently experiencing a 'room-boom' making it the most affordable city in Australia, with 3,100 new rooms added since 2012. Agents can discover more about ABTA, its work with the trade and its code of practice by completing ABTA's online training programme:

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

powered by

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safe the bet

Being able to predict the exact cost of a holiday is an increasingly attractive prospect for most holidaymakers. Debbie Ward looks at what’s new in escorted touring


Main picture: Experiential travel activities, like wine tasting, is on the rise. Above: Nan in Northern Thailand is tipped to grow in 2019 by Asia DMC Khiri Travel’s founder, Willem Niemeijer

’m pacing the pretty streets of Reykjavik, not sightseeing but browsing menus and wincing my way through mental arithmetic as I try to work out the best meal deal. It’s a tricky process, with even a pizza looking like it will set me back £20. Thankfully, for the rest of my stay I’m on an escorted tour with my meals and drinks included and all paid for upfront. Over the next few days I’m taken round the popular Golden Circle touring route, boggling at how spectacular features like the Gullfoss waterfall and piping hot geysers have barely a barrier around them – so every day the boiling, seething underbelly of this land is exposed to its residents. I swim in a thermal pool and I soak in the Blue Lagoon on my way back to

the airport. I’ve covered a lot of highlights in a short space of time and I haven’t broken the bank. Though Iceland’s on-the-ground prices have improved since my visit, escorted touring remains a useful way to keep costs under control in expensive destinations.

Forecasting fascination With Brexit uncertainty, including the likely fluctuating value of the pound, looming large in 2019, the set costs offered by escorted tours could be an important selling tool for this already booming sector – wherever clients are headed. “In many cases transport, accommodation, food, tours and much more is all included in the one price paid – giving peace of mind to customers

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who might need it,” points out Shearings’ Managing Director Jane Atkins. The trend for experiential travel, meanwhile, continues. Newmarket Holidays has introduced small group tours to focus on this aspect including a Food and Wines of Northern Italy holiday and homestays and cooking classes in India. APT has two new experience-slanted luxury small group journeys in New Zealand for 2019. “With an increase in demand for tours that cater to smaller groups, these trips allow travellers to venture off the beaten track, explains Head of Sales and Commercial, Angela Waite. “Highlights include an invitation to join locals at their Rotorua home for an authentic Maori dinner, a twilight cruise to Waiheke Island

for some wine tasting and a whalewatching cruise in Kaikoura,” Sri Lanka, where APT also has new dining experiences, is in the consumer spotlight, having been voted top emerging destination for 2019 by Lonely Planet. A lesser-known national park in Sri Lanka, Kumana, is among the rising star predictions from Khiri Travel Founder, Willem Niemeijer, as the Asia-based DMC celebrates its 25 anniversary. He also tips Nan in Northern Thailand, which has access to Luang Prabang in Laos; Flores – the gateway to Komodo; Cambodian Islands including Koh Rong Samloem and Koh Rong; and Myanmar’s Mergui Archipelago. Japan is booming for many escorted touring operators, thanks in part to


“The USA is our top-selling destination for 2019… it’s possible many people visited years ago on a self-drive or independent trip and now want to explore it again, but in a more structured way” Jane Atkins, Managing Director, Shearings Holidays

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“Durban has traditionally been overshadowed by Cape Town, but that could change with British Airways’ new direct service. The Indian Ocean escape offers yearround sunshine, colourful Afro-Indian culture and cuisine and friendly locals” Arno Delport, Sales and Marketing Manager, Acacia Africa

the buzz being creared around next year’s Rugby World Cup. A British Airways London-Osaka flight, coming in March, should only increase demand. Looking further ahead, Saga tips South Korea for growth and has a new tour featuring Seoul, Gyeongju and Busan. “I believe that as the relationship between North and South Korea is cooling dramatically, the perception of South Korea as a travel destination is becoming more positive and clients are feeling more safe to travel to this fantastic destination,” says Tom Cranshaw, Saga’s Product and Purchasing Manager for Asia, the Indian Subcontinent and Australasia. Closer to home, Plovdiv in Bulgaria (newly featured by Shearings) is one to watch as it becomes the European Capital of Culture. But with 500th anniversaries relating to Havana, Leonardo da Vinci, the first world circumnavigation and the 50th anniversary of the U.S. making the moon landings among other significant commemorations in 2019, there plenty more to stimulate travel demand.

Ocean Atlantic for 2019. G Adventures ( has introduced Maldives island hopping, Taiwan, Senegal and Gambia as well as Wellness Nepal and Wellness India to its mindfulness programme, which features yoga and ashram stays. Tucan Travel ( has a new tour to off-the-beaten-track Chachapoyas, a region in northern Peru that was home to the Chachapoyas people before the Incas arrived. The itinerary includes visiting an ancient citadel plus natural attractions. Elsewhere in Latin America, Exodus ( has a new Hidden Mexico itinerary focusing on the country’s natural side, visiting a canyon and two biosphere reserves, staying in an eco-lodge and taking boat trips. Cycle the Balkans, covering Albania, Macedonia, Kosovo and Montenegro on two wheels over two weeks, is also new. Among five new journeys in Insights Vacations’ ( 2019 Europe & Britain programme is a 10-day Northern Lights Explorer to Finland and Norway. European hop-on, hop-off specialist Busabout ( is expanding into the U.S. with a West Coast USA unlimited pass which includes San Diego, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Las Vegas.

Top experiences Passion play: The huge Oberammergau passion play relating Biblical events up to the Crucifixion is staged just once a decade. Operators are already taking bookings for the next, in 2020, when 1,500 Bavarian villagers will mount 100 summer performances. Newmarket Holidays ( has an eight-day

What’s new

Above: ‘Shooting’ bige game on a safari in South Africa. Right: Pink Beach in Flores, Indonesia

Tours: Jordan and Petra (with an extension to Jerusalem), plus Sardinia and Corsica and Montenegro (featuring Budva, Cetinje and the Bay of Kotor) are among new touring product from Riviera Travel ( The operator has also added a cruise to Antarctica on the MV

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in the Book now for just £40pp deposit†

New Worldwide 2019/20 brochure is out now

Peaks incentive £10 Lifestyle voucher for every booking Weekly prize draw

Why choose Titan? • Guaranteed departures • Titan’s Price Promise • Fly from an airport near you‡ • VIP door-to-door travel service*

Win a river cruise FAM trip place

• Prices starting from £799pp • Solo travel holidays

NEW - book online at

Deposit available on majority of Titan tours - book by 31 January 2019 International flights from local airports are offered subject to daily schedules and availability. *Mainland UK only.

† ‡

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tour that also takes clients to Innsbruck and Salzburg. Family exploration: Escorted touring operators are increasingly helping families get adventurous. Besides Iguacu Falls and Rio, Explore Travel’s ( new Family Brazil Adventure Holiday includes a lesson in the ancient martial art of Capoeira in Salvador, a visit to a sea turtle project, jungle survival skills and a night in a hammock in the Amazon with a motorised canoe trip to spot Caiman after dark. The long and short of it: Acacia ( is adding more bite-sized itineraries for time-strapped millennials while, for those with more freedom, its longest trip – the new 62-day South Africa to Kenya tour – visits nine countries. Well-established destinations have been combined with lesser-known Swaziland, Lesotho and Malawi. Going local: Dining with locals is the kind of authentic experience that is increasingly appealing to escorted touring

Above: New Zealand’s Kepler Track, a popular hiking route. Right: millennials enjoy a bus tour


Your Holidays & Tours Collection

clients. A ‘Be My Guest’ lunch with local craft beer tap house owners is one of the highlights of Trafalgar’s ( new Cape Cod Delights tour spanning five cities and the beaches of Martha’s Vineyard. Archaeology under canvas: Unique ways to visit major sites can help convince clients that escorted touring is no


UK & Ireland | Europe | USA & Canada | India | Further Afield

New brochure

out now!

Find a Nugget to WIN! We have hidden 50 Gold Nuggets in our latest Holidays & Tours Collection brochure packs! Order now for your chance to win a wonderful prize! To redeem your prize send a selfie with your voucher and tag Nic Newmarket on Facebook by 31 Jan.

Order your brochure at

Prizes include: • 1x Food & Wines of Northern Italy Tour for 2 • 1x place on the next A-ROSA River Cruise Fam-Trip • 1x Samsung Galaxy Tablet • 47 x £20 Love2Shop Vouchers


Email | Call 0330 160 7999 | Online Agent Training Touring.indd 58 Selling Travel HPH 210 x 146 TOY Campaign 2019_01.indd 1

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Insightful guided tours and visits

Free time to explore

Return UK flights and oversea transfers

We never discount our prices so you don't have to

Outstanding tour managers

A dedicated sales team available for support






10 days from only £2,159pp

22 days from only £6,389pp


CONTACT OUR AGENCY SALES TEAM: Call for support: 01283 744307 | email:

CALL RESERVATIONS 7 DAYS A WEEK: Call to book: 01283 744370 | Book online:



Prices are based on two people sharing and are correct at time of print. Single supplements may apply. Operated by and subject to booking conditions of Riviera Travel, ABTA V4744 ATOL 3430 protected. Subject to availability. *On selected departures, our tour of Sri Lanka continues to the Maldives for a seven-night full-board cruise. Additional entrance cost may apply. Images used in conjunction with Riviera Travel.







ABTA No. V4744

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of Borneo and the 2019 launch of Indonesia will continue to add strength. South America is booming, in particular we have seen huge growth in demand for Chile, which is set to increase in 2019 with the solar eclipse in July. John Warr, Global Sales Director, Wendy Wu Tours

Where to book it TITAN TRAVEL – 0800 988 5823 The 14-day Essence of Japan tour is from £3,999pp and visits Tokyo, Mount Fuji, Matsumoto, Takayama, Kanazawa, Hiroshima, Nara, Kyoto and Hakone. Activities include a tea ceremony, three bullet train journeys, city tours, a lake cruise and sake tasting, plus flight and all Titan’s usual services like VIP transfers.

longer a passive way of travelling. Rainbow Tours ( has a new two-day northern Guatemala excursion visiting the archaeological site of Uaxactun on an overnight camping trip. Guests will also be given a guided tour of Tikal National Park.

Tourism talk “Solo tours are selling extremely well. In some cases these are single people who want to make the most of life and don’t need a partner to do so, whilst in other cases couples have different interests” John Warr, Global Sales Director, Wendy Wu Tours

Above: Myanmar’s Mergui Archipelago is tipped to rise in popularity this year. Right: Unique ways of seeing the world are a selling point – and touring via a segway offers just that

“We saw a huge growth in escorted touring in 2018. For 2019, we’re meeting demand from a wider audience that wants more variety of touring styles by introducing a dedicated solo touring portfolio as well as new experiential features in our Classic Tours. “Active, Flexible and Go Beyond tours have been expanded and given more prominence to reflect greater demand. This is testament to the fact that the experiential sector in escorted touring is continuing to grow. “There’s also likely to be a resurgence in tailor-made touring based on more intelligent systems to specifically target individual requirements. “Solo tours are currently selling extremely well. In some cases these are single people who want to make the most of life and don’t need a partner to do so whilst in other cases it’s recognising that sometimes couples have different interests. We’re now the leading specialist group tour operator to Japan from the UK, with Japan our number two destination. Southeast Asia ranks third, with Vietnam remaining popular especially with Cambodia. The recent success

NEWMARKET HOLIDAYS – 0330 160 7700 Priced from £1,749pp, the eight-day Oberammergau & the Tyrol tour includes six nights in the Austrian Tyrol, exploring Innsbruck, Salzburg (the Sound of Music city) and Lake Achensee. There’s also a Category Two ticket for the Oberammergau 2020 Passion Play. RIVIERA TRAVEL – 01283 880 272 A 13-day Sri Lanka tour is from £1,699pp and takes in four UNESCO World Heritage sites – the Golden Temple Dambulla, Kandy, Sigiriya and Galle Fort – plus countryside, beaches and wildlife. It includes threeto four-star half-board accommodation and return flights, with Manchester departures available on selected dates. 

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SAVE UP TO 25% Save on over 100 small group tours. Hurry, sale ends 31 January 2019.

Northern Thailand Hilltribes Trek

Amazon to the Andes

Best of Southern India

5 Days | Was £249. Now from £187. ›   Explore the vibrant colours of

12 Days | Was £1,699. Now from £1,274. ›   Soak in the views and culture of the

14 Days | Was £849. Now from £637. ›   Spot wildlife in beautiful parks

Chiang Mai ›   Trek through Northern Thailand ›   Support tribes in remote locations

Sacred Valley ›   Climb the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu ›   Spot wildlife at our exclusive

›   Explore tea and spice plantations ›   Take a rickshaw ride through the streets of Madurai

by experiencing their homestays

G Lodge Amazon

Hawaii Multi-Island Adventure

Cuba Explorer

Costa Rica & Panama Quest

15 Days | Was £4,399. Now from £3,299. ›   Watch the sunset while cruising

9 Days | Was £1,069. Now from £802. ›   Cruise through Havana in a

16 Days | Was £1,449. Now from £1,087.

by Honolulu ›   Explore the natural playground that is Kauai ›   Visit Volcanoes National Park

vintage automobile ›   Watch local experts make the famous Cuban cigar ›   Stay at local homestays for an authentic Cuban experience

›   Soak in the thermal hot springs of Arenal Volcano ›   Learn about coffee production and support a local community ›   Stare out into the crystal-blue

Caribbean waters in Bocas del Toro 24/7 Agent Hotline: 0344 272 2200

TERMS AND CONDITIONS Eligible passengers shall receive up to 25% off per person on guaranteed departures of select small-group tours and departures as indicated on our website. Tour must be booked by 31 January 2019 at 23:59 EST for travel departing between 1 January 2019 and 30 April 2019. Valid for new bookings only and must quote the applicable promo code at time of booking. Cannot be combined with any other offers, promotions or discounts and is subject to availability. Does not apply to Private Groups, Independent trips, pre- or post-tour accommodation, insurance, airfare not specified in the itinerary, upgrades, Gear Shop, extras, “My Own Room” or “My Own Tent,” transfers, theme packs, or other in-country or on-board services. G Adventures reserves the right to withdraw this offer from sale at any time without prior notice. All G Adventures’ tours are subject to G Adventures’ full booking conditions, found here:

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We guarantee the same prices for our holidays regardless of whether they are online, in a brochure or with a travel agent 96% of customers would book again All holidays backed by our Money back guarantee

INCLUSIONS Optional travel insurance* included on all overseas holidays VIP door-to-door travel service^ included on all long-haul holidays and ocean cruises, and on selected European holidays and river cruises Visas included where needed

REWARDS Industry leading incentives, including the opportunity to attend VIP event days Highly competitive commission rates Amazing FAM trips to destinations such as India, South Africa and Croatia

Terms and Conditions: Every Saga holiday or cruise booked between December 27 to February 28, 2019 will be automatically entered into a weekly prize draw. Entries are unlimited. See for full terms and conditions.*Optional travel insurance underwritten by Great Lakes Insurance SE, UK Branch, and additional cancellation rights, unless your customers have their own insurance, in which case a reduction is available. Cover is subject to medical questions. ^Return service up to 250 miles each way on Saga ocean cruises. Saga holidays are for anyone aged 50+. A travel companion may be 40+. NTA-AP5759.

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Every holiday or cruise booked from December 27 to February 28, 2019 will be automatically entered into a prize draw to win one of these amazing prizes. Online bookings will be entered twice!

1 of 4 VIP tickets to see the Spice Girls 2 VIP Summer Garden Tickets to Florence & The Machine 3 pairs of VIP tickets to see Rita Ora A Champneys Spa Break for 2 at Henlow Apple iPad 32gb Apple iPhone X 64GB Michael Kors Leather Tote Bag Lulu Guiness Lips Clutch Bag 2 x Sonos Play 1 Speakers GHD Max Hair Straighteners His and her’s RayBan Aviator sunglasses Sony PlayStation 4 Pro 4 x Sparkling Afternoon Tea for 2 Sunrise Hot Air Balloon Flight with champagne for 2 5* London theatre break and top price seats for 2 Weekly food shop at M&S or Waitrose Fit Bit Charge 2 5 x Luxury Hampers 5 x £50 Wagamama vouchers 20 x £10 Starbucks vouchers Coco by Chanel ladies perfume Mac Makeup bundle worth £100 Mens or Ladies Nike Trainers with ‘Customise’ worth £200 1 of 20 Saga Seals A bottle of Hush Heath Sparkling Wine Spaces on Spirit of Discovery’s 2-night Trade cruise

Book online at, call FREE on 0800 074 8021 or contact Agency Sales FREE on 0800 068 8732 Find us on social media Saga Trade Team NTA-AP5760

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New brochure out now!

A free gift for your customers! Book by 31 January!

Your All-Inclusive


European River Cruise Collection 2019


Rhine | Danube | Rhône & Saône | Seine


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Email | Call 0330 160 7999 | Online Agent Training Untitled-2 1

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Britain’s leading independent cruise line

Welcome to our world of cruises! BUY ONE GET ONE





Marco Polo



Worldwide Cruise Collection 2019/20 • Traditional British cruise experience • Six smaller to mid-sized cruise ships • Exceptional value for money and choice • Great deals for singles and groups • Specialists in no fly cruising holidays • Over 150 cruises from 15 UK & Ireland ports

Book online at: Call: 0844 414 6161 Agency Sales: 0844 414 6140 Brochures:

Subject to availability. Terms & conditions apply. Offered for sale in the UK by South Quay Travel & Leisure Ltd trading as Cruise & Maritime Voyages. Calls cost 7p per minute plus your telephone comany’s access charge. ABTA V9945. ATOL 4619. 4831

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drifting With new ships and itineraries for 2019, there’s never been a better time to enjoy the varied delights of setting sail on European waters, says Jeannine Williamson

ruising offers a cost-effective and stress-free way to explore Europe, with meals and entertainment included in a single tariff and clients only having to pack and unpack once. Sailings cover multiple destinations in one holiday, from big-hitting cities such as Rome, Barcelona and Athens to smaller medieval gems like Estonia’s Tallinn and Kotor in Montenegro.

Western Europe From the dazzling spectacle of the springtime Dutch bulbfields to the French Atlantic coast and Portuguese ports where great maritime explorers set sail, this large chunk of the continent also covers Spain, Germany and Belgium. This year, boutique line Azamara Club Cruises unveils intensive itineraries in nine countries, providing passengers with in-depth insights into destinations including France and Spain. The latter features a seven-night cruise leading in at £1,391pp and visiting Seville, Malaga, Almeria, Valencia, Palma de Mallorca and Barcelona. On the inland waterways The River Cruise line has teamed up with celebrity gardener Charlie Dimmock for green-fingered sailings with visits to Holland’s renowned Keukenhof Gardens and the National Botanic Garden of Belgium. There is also a new ‘Captain’s Choice’ Heart of Holland sailing on the line’s popular heritage vessel, Lady Anne. These cruises include coach and ferry travel and are ideal for clients that prefer not to fly.

Left: AmaWaterways’ AmaMagna in Budapest. Above: atmospheric Amsterdam

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On the Danube, AmaWaterways is launching the ground-breaking AmaMagna, which will be twice the width of other river ships yet carry just 198 passengers. In Portugal CroisiEurope debuts Amalia Rodrigues on the Douro, the sixth premium-rated ship to join the fleet, and AmaWaterways launches AmaDouro, its second vessel on the river. Book it: Azamara Club Cruises (azamaraclubcruises. has a 14-night Tall Sails and Remembrance itinerary commemorating the 75th anniversary of the Second World War D-Day landings, with options to visit the beaches and memorial sites. It starts from £4,079pp, departing May 28, 2019. The River Cruise Line’s ( seven-night Springtime in the Gardens of Holland and Belgium itinerary, hosted by Charlie Dimmock on the four-star MS Serenity, is from £945pp, departing May 3, 2019.

Southern Europe This sun-soaked region includes Greece, Croatia, Italy and lesser-known destinations such as Corsica, which is the closest Mediterranean island to the UK. Being named in Southampton in March, MSC Bellissima is the latest addition to the ever-growing MSC Cruises fleet. The 4,500-passenger vessel is the second of the line’s Meraviglia-class ships and will include an indoor promenade with an LED ceiling projecting different scenes, Cirque du Soleil at Sea and the exclusive ‘shipwithin-a-ship’ Yacht Club area.

Clockwise from top left: Royal Caribbean guests can now visit the beaches of County Mayo, Ireland; Celebrity Cruises offers Russian capital St. Petersburg; Saga clients can now enjoy Germany’s dramatic coastline or explore trendy Copenhagen

Bellissima will spend its first summer in Shearings Holidays is offering new Malta the Western Mediterranean, with home and Sicily cruises on CroisiEurope’s MS La ports at Genoa, Marseille and Barcelona. Belle de l’Adriatique – and agents can add Launching in the Mediterranean this a two-night extension in Catania from October, Princess £130pp. Cruises’ new vessel, CroisiEurope “CroisiEurope debuts Sky Princess, will itineraries on Amalia Rodrigues on the feature the line’s the same vessel first ever ‘Sky Suites’, Douro in Portugal, the sixth include a sevenlocated on the top premium-rated ship to join night round-trip decks and with the Treasures of the the line’s fleet” line’s largest private Adriatic cruise balconies. from Dubrovnik, The 3,600-passenger vessel’s maiden taking in Croatia, Greece, Albania and season will include a new six-night Montenegro. Mediterranean round-trip Rome sailing, which agents can combine with a Rome Book it: Seadream Yacht Club ( to Barcelona voyage to create a 12-night has a six-night Wine Voyage from Dubrovnik cruise option. to Civitavecchia (Rome), also calling at Kotor in SeaDream Yacht Club has announced Montenegro, Taormina (for Etna), Sicily, Amalfi new themed wine voyages for 2019. and Capri. Starting from £2,763pp, it departs on Visiting picturesque yachting ports in the October 5, 2019. Mediterranean, and ranging from four to 10 Shearings Holidays’ ( has nights, itineraries feature private vineyard an extensive collection of river cruises and some visits, wine tastings and gourmet dinners, ocean cruises, including the seven-night Best of the plus exclusive activities such as truffle Mediterranean cruise on Celebrity Silhouette.Prices hunting in the Italian forests of Castello start from £1,629pp and include all drinks and Delle Regine. flights, for October and November 2019 sailings.

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Scandinavia The dramatic scenery of Scandinavia is at its most breathtaking in the Norwegian Fjords, where typical sailings feature picturesque Stavanger, Bergen and Flam and the option to visit the capital, Oslo. Other cruises include the ultra Scandicool and culture rich cities of Copenhagen and Stockholm. Saga Cruises’ first new-build vessel Spirit of Discovery launches in July and will sail out of Dover. The 999-passenger ship, catering for the over-50s, will notably have 109 cabins for solo passengers and offer private home transfers. Also look out for Saga’s second brand new ship, Spirit of Adventure, coming in 2020. The growth of Viking Ocean Cruises continues apace with Viking Jupiter, the sixth 930-passenger ship in the fleet, launching this year, with another 10 on order. The vessels have understated Scandinavian decor and itineraries include the 14-night Viking Homelands Stockholm to Bergen cruise. Hurtigruten has announced it has ordered the construction of a third hybrid powered expedition cruise ship (to be launched 2021), continuing it’s quest to be the greenest fleet on the seas. The line’s first hybrid-powered expedition ship, and also a world first, MS Roald Amundsen embarks on her maiden voyage in 2019. The 2020/21 programme will see the launch of its second hybrid MS Fridtjof Nansen, which will visit Greenland, Iceland and the Norwegian coast. The line currently has savings of up to

From top: Onboard fun with Royal Caribbean; bird watching on Saga’s Voyage Across the Continent

£1,000 on new expedition cruises for 2020/21 for bookings made by March 31.

This year Scenic is launching the ultra-luxurious discovery yacht Scenic Eclipse, from which passengers will be Book it: Hurtigren’s able to embark ( on unforgettable “Cruising offers a cost12-day Astronomy excursions on the effective and stress-free way ship’s helicopter Voyage starts and to explore Europe, with ends in Bergen. The and seven-seat science-focused winter submarine. The meals and entertainment cruise will offer the inaugural season included in a single tariff chance to learn about will feature a and clients only having to the Northern Lights selection of Baltic pack and unpack once” and the cosmos, sailings. accompanied by one of Eastern Europe three renowned astronomers who give onboard is the place to discover the ‘other side’ lectures and presentations. Stops include Art of the Danube, the great river that flows Noveau Ålesund, the Lofoten Islands, the world’s through Bulgaria, Serbia and Romania to most northerly town of Hammerfest, and Tromsø. the wildlife wilderness of the Danube Delta Priced from £1610pp, sailing are from now until at the Black Sea. Amadeus River Cruises March 2019 and October 2020 to March 2021. pioneered sailings in this area and for 2019 the line welcomes its new silver-class ship The Baltic & Amadeus Star, with onboard facilities that Eastern Europe include a spa and hair salon. The northernmost sector of Europe encompasses fascinating Baltic countries Book it: Scenic’s ( 11-night Baltic Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. Cruises here Tradewinds Route Amsterdam to Copenhagen also overnight in the stunningly beautiful sailing includes calls at Helsinki, St Petersburg, Russian city St Petersburg and visit Poland. Tallinn, Klaipeda and Gdansk. It is priced from

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our NORTHERN LIGHTS PROMISE EMAIL ORDER your brochure at VISIT Northern Lights Promise is valid on all 12-day Norway coastal voyages from 1 October 2017 – 31 March 2018. Full terms and conditions apply. Please see website for details.

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18 16:19

Free 6 or 7-day voyage if the Northern Lights don’t occur on a 12-day voyage with us along the Norwegian coast coast between October and March.

experience the aurora

uk departure airports

On a journey with Hurtigruten, the Aurora Borealis comes to us. Our ships sail in the Arctic Circle in Norway, directly under the Auroral Zone. From the convenience of our observation decks, our guests get a front-seat view of the lights for free, for as often and for as long as they appear. We’ve been sailing under Norway’s Northern Lights since 1893, no one knows them like we do.

• Visit 34 charming ports northbound and southbound from Bergen to Kirkenes and back again



• Exciting optional excursions such as whale watching, king crab safari, and husky dog sledding

• Freshly-sourced food and delicious

menus on board inspired by authentic Nordic cuisine

• Convenient flight-inclusive voyages from a choice of 9 UK airports






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CARNIVAL ANNOUNCES EXTENSIVE EUROPEAN SCHEDULE Carnival Cruise Line will return to Europe in 2020 with the totally transformed Carnival Radiance sailing on nine- to 13-day voyages. In the same year Carnival Legend will operate the most diverse European season to date with nine- to 16-day sailings visiting 34 ports in 14 countries including Norway, Scotland, Ireland, Croatia, Portugal, Greece, Greenland and Iceland. Christine Duffy, President of Carnival Cruise Line, said: “We’ve put together an unmatched programme of European cruises, featuring off-the-beaten path destinations as well as some of the most popular seaside port cities.”

Clockwise from top left: Berlin Cathedral; Malta’s Grand Harbour; chocolate treats on a Saga cruise

£6,515pp and departs June 9 2020. CroisiEurope ( has a 10-night round-trip Budapest cruise on the Lower Danube, sailing through Bosnia and Serbia. Priced from £1,499pp it departs May 5, 2019.

North Sea

England, including Portland in Dorset. For a unique experience suggest clients combine sail and steam in Scotland with a new itinerary from Great Rail Journeys. For 2019 the holidays by rail specialist is chartering the 54-passenger MV “Launching in the Med in Lord of the Glens, October, Princess Cruises’ which is designed new Sky Princess will to navigate the feature the cruise line’s first inland waterways ever ‘Sky Suites’, located on of Scotland and the open sea.

Sailing closer to home, the North Sea is the gateway to Ireland, the atmospheric Scottish Isles and the top decks, and the line’s onwards to Iceland. largest private balconies” Shearings Holidays Book it: Shearings has unveiled a raft Holidays’ of new cruises in conjunction with Cruise ( 11-night Iceland & Faroe & Maritime Voyages. All sailings have UK Islands cruise aboard MS Magellan calls at Dublin, departure points and are combined with Reykjavik, Isafjordur, Akureryi, Klaksvijk and the operator’s extensive coach network to Torshavn. Priced from £1,054pp it departs Liverpool reach the embarkation ports. July 9, 2019. Celebrity Reflection will return to Dublin Great Rail Journeys’ ( 12-night in 2020. The only major cruise line to base trip featuring Edinburgh, The Jacobite Steam Train a ship in Ireland for the third consecutive and a Scottish Islands & Lochs Cruise, combining year there will be six sailings, with a a Caledonian Canal cruise with a rail tour in new 10-night Irish Sea itinerary calling the Highlands, is priced from £2,695pp, with at destinations in Scotland, Ireland and departures on April 30 and September 17 2019. 

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Crystal_OC_SellingTravel_Ad_Jan19.qxp_Crystal_OC_SellingTravel_Ad_Jan19 20/12/2018 17:55 Page 1


V O YA G E W I T H T H E W O R L D ’ S B E S T



Michael Dupont Head of Sales Tel: 07921 949469

Cruise Only Fares From

Deluxe Stateroom (C3 Grade)

from £2,192 per person

Deluxe Stateroom with Verandah (B3 Grade)

from £3,085 per person

Natalie Read Regional Sales Manager South Tel: 07896 971316

Jon Schofield Regional Sales Manager North & Scotland Tel: 07841 921533

Nan Short Representative Northern Ireland & Eire Tel: 02890 642252

Megan Saunders Trade Sales Support Executive Tel: 020 7399 7602

Itinerary Highlights:

Venice (overnight), Kotor, Corfu, Dubrovnik, Split, Koper, Venice.



020 7399 7601

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Fares are per person, cruise only in UK sterling based on double occupancy in an outside stateroom and include port, security and handling charges, which vary by departure. All fares, offers and itineraries are subject to change and availability and can be withdrawn at any time. Fares may fluctuate and should be used as a guide only. Prices may go up or down. You should contact us on 0207 399 7601 before booking, or visit our website The fares are available to new bookings only and are only available to UK & Eire residents. Restrictions apply. See for complete terms and conditions of all offers. ©2018 Crystal Cruises, LLC. Ships’ registry: The Bahamas.

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CAMBRIDGE BEACHES RESORT & SPA, BERMUDA Adults only, Spa, four private beaches. Pink Sale Book by 31 Jan 19 Save at least £420 per per son


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country profile


Bermuda Small but perfectly formed, Bermuda offers a perfect mix of exciting island adventures, elegant experiences and picture-perfect beaches, says Lauren Jarvis Top Bermuda stops


Whale of a time Book a boat tour at the Island Tour Centre to catch the annual migration of 10,000 humpback whales. The giant mammals travel through Bermuda’s warm waters in March and April. History makers One of the stops on the African Diaspora Heritage Trail is the fascinating Tucker House Museum. Once a barber shop run by a former slave, Joseph Hayne Rainey, it’s now a window to the past. See the birdies Spot some of Bermuda’s colourful bird species which include spotted sandpipers, eastern bluebirds and blackand-white warblers. The best place to see them is on a birding trip around Spittal Pond. Party time Head to Hamilton for Harbour Nights, an alfresco celebration of food, crafts and music which takes place on every Wednesday evening from May to August. Arrive in time for sunset. Local flavours Visit the atmospheric Swizzle Inn and make sure you order one of Bermuda’s most famous tipples: a Rum Swizzle blended with local Gosling’s rum, orange, pineapple, lemon and falernum.

Like seahorses and fireflies; rainbows and the northern lights, the pink-sand beaches of Bermuda are one of earth’s natural wonders that are so magical they verge on the mythical. But the softly shimmering rose-hued sand feels very real between my toes as I wander the shoreline of Elbow Beach, the turquoise waters of the North Atlantic Ocean lapping at my feet. In this beautiful British Overseas Territory, lying 600 nautical miles off the east coast of the USA, colours seem to ‘pop’ under almost year-round sunshine. Lush, green palms sway over pastelpainted houses, while dazzling, whitestepped roofs bake under blazing skies and the brightest of Bermuda shorts are spotted everywhere from bars to banks!

Island nation Although referred to in the singular, Bermuda is actually made up of over 138 isles. But the majority of attractions are found on eight main islands connected by bridges and causeways, divided into nine parishes and totalling just 22 miles in length. Stylish resorts and rental properties abound, but Bermuda is also firmly on the world cruise map. Three terminals in the capital, Hamilton, historic St George’s and the picturesque Royal Naval Dockyard welcome cruise lines such as Carnival, Celebrity and Royal Caribbean. While the sub-tropical climate is



distinctly non-British, English is the official language here. Rental cars are a no-no but visitors can explore via the reliable public buses and ferries, and hire bicycles, scooters or a dinky electric Renault Twizy (with driving on the left).

Big on adventures Despite its diminutive size, Bermuda is big on activities – from snorkelling and diving on the thriving offshore coral reefs to playing a round of golf on one of several world-class courses – Bermuda has more golf courses for its size than anywhere else – or learning to sail at the prestigious Royal Bermuda Yacht Club. Several high-end hotels, including The Loren in Tucker’s Town and Fairmont Southampton, offer excellent spas while wildlife lovers will enjoy humpback whale-watching, dolphin spotting or birding and foodies will be happy dining beachside on Bermudian cuisine, which reflects the island’s colonial past (the very British afternoon tea is still popular, as is Portuguese red-bean soup). St George’s, the Clocktower Mall in Dockyard and Hamilton’s Washington Mall are all great destinations for a relaxed shopping spree, with their mix of one-off boutique shops and international stores, while Hamilton also offers some interesting galleries and museums, including the Bermuda National Gallery and the Master-works Museum of Bermuda Art.

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There are stunning, stalactite-strewn crystal caves to discover in Hamilton parish and several historic hilltop forts to explore, including the impressive Fort St. Catherine and Martello Tower in St George’s. And don’t underestimate ‘the power of pink’: spend a few days dreaming on Bermuda’s soft sand and you will likely already be planning your next visit.

Soon to take off A new state-of-the-art terminal is scheduled to open at Bermuda’s L. F. Wade International Airport in July 2020, housing a new departures hall, arrivals concourse, retail outlets and dining areas. “This $280 million (BMD) project will enhance and extend the passenger experience, with modern lounges, three outdoor terraces offering fantastic ocean views, lush landscaping with lots of green spaces and relaxing water features,” said Mikaela Pearman, Marketing and Communications Officer at Skyport. Designed with sustainability in mind, the terminal in St George’s parish will also include a nature trail, indigenous plants, cultural displays, marine-inspired decor and a putting green.

What’s new? The new Azura Boutique Hotel and Residences ( will open in Warwick in 2020. Willowbank Resort (willowbankresort. com) in Somerset has opened under new management following a complete renovation, including a refurbished pool and tennis court, plus a new basketball court, gym and children’s play area. Luxury private escape, Hawkins Island (, is now available for exclusive hire, with the Main Villa and Guard House both sleeping eight guests.


The St. Regis Hotel (theresidencesbermuda. com) in the historic town of St. George broke ground in early May 2017, with a projected 2021 opening date. With 122 rooms and suites, the hotel will have an 18-hole golf course and a casino. The West End’s 182-acre ultra-luxury waterfront destination, Caroline Bay ( will feature the new Ritz-Carlton Reserve hotel with 77 guest rooms and two presidential villas, as well as 173 Ritz-Carlton Reserve Residences and a super-yacht marina. AirBnB Experiences ( is launching in Bermuda in spring 2019, offering guests experiences designed and led by locals. The Fairmont Southampton Resort ( has special packages for the 44th annual Bermuda Festival of the Performing Arts ( which runs from January 19 to March 9. For more information on Bermuda see: 

“It’s easy to get around Bermuda with a travel pass, valid for all government-run buses and ferries. A three-day pass costs $42 BMD (around £33) and it’s a great way to see the sights” Shubhra Halliday, Head of UK Commercial, Prestige Holidays




Bermuda’s annual Pink Sale offers discounts on holidays from January to April and September to December. This April escape for two includes seven nights (room-only) in an Ocean View Superior Room at Grotto Bay, with return British Airways flights from Gatwick and airport transfers, for £1,289pp. Bookings must be made by January 22. 0844 8044 480;

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the final word


the quirky side of travel New year, new country

How are those New Year resolutions going? Has the juicer been consigned to the back of the cupboard or are you still having kale juice for breakfast? InterNations, an expat community, has compiled a list of the nine most common New Year’s resolutions and the best destinations for pursuing them, based on data from the Expat Insider 2018 survey. For those aiming to start a family, apparently Finland is the place to be, while those lookin' for luv love should jet off to Chile, where 93% of expats are chuffed with their love life. Pledging to save money in 2019? Move to Colombia, where 84% are satisfied with their financial situation and nearly two-thirds say their disposable household income is 'more than enough'!

TOP 6… fastest growing holiday destinations Destination detox

Online travel guide Trip101 has created a list of the most ‘extraordinary and unusual’ places to stay and renew the mind, body and spirit. If your clients are stressed out, suggest a a digital detox in Canada or a coffee bean scrub in Kenya. Or how about Mexico’s Rancho La Puerta spa, where the diet is lacto-ovo pescatarian (hold the burritos).

According to On The Go Tours, these destinations are the true rising stars among UK travellers over the last decade





All the Write Stuff in Vegas

Travel industry folk from around the world met up in Las Vegas last month for the American Cup Golf Invitational. Those new contacts made far outstripped the number of successful birdie putts, but that hasn't stopped Selling Travel editor Steve Hartridge (far right) from mentioning here that he was on the winning (media) team, along with regular STM contributor Peter Ellegard (far left).



THE FEBRUARY 2018 ISSUE OF SELLING TRAVEL WILL FEATURE: Flights to Latin America • India's Tiger Reserves • Korea • Luxury Cruising • New Zealand • South African Safaris • Sustainable Travel • The UAE's Hotel Hot List • Weddings & Honeymoons Worldwide • CONTACT US; PLUS ONLINE Daily Selling Tips • Destination Guides • Features • Photo Galleries • Blog • Reviews

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RIVERS OF THE WORLD CroisiEurope Cruises has pioneered river cruising on the most beautiful waterways in Europe. Over the past 42 years this family owned company has become Europe’s leading river cruise operator; now owning, managing and operating 55 river ships and canal barges. Their expansion onto worldwide and exotic rivers means CroisiEurope Cruises can now also bring you unforgettable river cruise journeys across the globe.

THE MAJESTIC LOIRE An exclusive itinerary




MAGNIFICENT MEKONG Experience the pulse of Asia



IM067100025 - ©Shutterstock - ©Alexandre Sattler

INFORMATION AND RESERVATIONS ✆ 0208 3281 281 - Email: or visit

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Selling Travel January 2019  

The world in one magazine Cover Story: Golden State, plus how to sell... European Cruising • Escorting Touring • Indian Ocean • UK Holidays...

Selling Travel January 2019  

The world in one magazine Cover Story: Golden State, plus how to sell... European Cruising • Escorting Touring • Indian Ocean • UK Holidays...