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Alabama • Croatia • Cyprus • Ecuador • Japan • Kazakhstan • Mauritius • Scandinavian capitals • Swaziland • Thailand

GOING SOLO Get your clients to embrace travelling alone with inspiring itineraries for one

how to sell...

Japan Cyprus Alabama Thailand Mauritius Scandinavia and more...

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SIGN UP BEFORE JULY 30TH AND BE IN WITH A CHANCE OF WINNING ONE OF 20 SUPER-SOFT HOODIES OR A PAIR OF RETURN TICKETS TO CALIFORNIA!* Visit California STAR Training Programme & Sales Companion ★★ Discover California through a series of inspiring, thematic modules ★ Enjoy all-new chapters on San Francisco, Greater Palm Springs and Monterey ★ Download and share any images, videos or other content to help inspire your clients ★ More content for Anaheim, LA, High Sierra, Santa Monica and Napa Valley coming soon

*Terms & Conditions apply

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this issue FEATURES 08 Cyprus: Break away from the beach to discover this culture hub 27 Mauritius: Join the party as the country celebrates 50 years of independence 38 Kentucky: Experience the home of Bourbon 43 Scandinavia: What's new in the four capitals 48 Solo travel: Going solo doesn't mean being alone 61 Japan: Why now's the time to explore Japan's ancient traditions 69 Thailand: Sell off-peak to bag great deals

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38 12 36



69 33 27



QUICK READS 12 My trip to: Alabama 33 Hidden gems: Ecuador & Galapagos 36 My trip to: LEGOLAND Florida 40 Introducing: Kazakhstan 42 Country profile: Croatia 46 Visit USA: Members' news 65 Six of the best: Alberta roadtrips 66 Travel Uni: Training update 73 Introducing: Swaziland






THE REVIEW 53 Top news stories plus a focus on the Gold Coast


News, competitions, incentives & fams plus a Selling Travel Dialogue on Botswana




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



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Travel Trade Publication of the Year

Travel Trade Publication of the Year

Proudly published by BMI Publishing Ltd 2018 © 2018.

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


welcome S

pring finally made an appearance in the UK last month and it’s ironic really, as it comes just at the time that the Selling Travel team are jetting off to foreign climes. It’s trade show season and we’re committed to attending as many as possible! I’ll be examining the Trump effect at IPW in Denver, our Editor Steve is currently on Cape Cod for the Discover New England Tourism Summit and will barely touch down back in the original England before he jets off to Rendez-vous Canada in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Meanwhile, Andy Hoskins and Ben Coren will be further south in Miami to report on the Advantage Conference. And you can also look forward to a report from Indaba – South Africa’s own travel trade gathering. The business of travel is ever-changing and trade shows are a great Laura Gelder place to analyse and discuss trends as well network, discover new ideas DEPUTY EDITOR and be inspired by new places and ways of exploring them. This month’s cover story is one trend I’m happy to see. Solo travel is on the up for both young and old, but thankfully those going it alone are less likely to penalised, as operators respond to demand. I wouldn’t be writing this if I hadn’t decided to go it alone 12 years ago, on a round-the-world trip which made me determined to work in travel forever! After my friend dropped out I decided that I wouldn't and it’s the single best decision I ever made. Not only did it empower me as an individual but it made sure that I was really open to the world around me and the people I met. The best thing about travelling alone is the friends that you make along the way – in fact, you’re never alone, unless you really want to be! The travel bug has never left me and, as privileged as I am, working in this industry is at times frustrating. This issue has left me reminiscing about Thai rainstorms and yearning for Cyprus’ rustic mountain villages, the cool capitals of Scandinavia, Ecuador’s smoking volcanoes and Japan’s remote monasteries. I hope you enjoy reading about them all.

Industry comments... “This year the MTPA will be running a travel agent booking incentive with Premier Holidays. Our annual ‘Golf and Spa Day’ for key trade partners will again take place in June and the MTPA will be hosting a selection of intimate dinners to update agents.”

“The UK market to Thailand is stronger than just about any other because Brits travel for twelve months of the year. “You can get up to two-for-one discounts off-peak and commonly get free night offers. Tropical rain is quick, you’re not going to get solid grey sky."

Matt Littlechild, Mauritius Tourism Promotion Authority (MTPA)

Chris Lee, UK Marketing Manager, Tourism Authority of Thailand

See feature, page 27

See feature, page 69

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Win a FAM trip to Thailand with Malaysia Airlines - plus earn up to £100 per booking!

Thailand, in the off-peak seasons of May/June and September/October, offers the very best value holidays. This is no secret to UK visitors who are not confined to the school holidays. Over 60,000 Brits headed to Thailand in September last year and that was our quietest month! In fact, Ko Samui, Ko Phangan and Ko Tao in the Gulf of Thailand enjoy a different high season to the rest of Thailand. June to September is the best time to travel to these islands (November to March in the rest of Thailand). Thailand Tourism, Malaysia Airlines and Travel 2 are giving you the chance to win a place on our agent FAM trip to Thailand. Plus you can earn extra cash with all bookings of these great value holidays!

For Thai news, events, features, competitions and e-learning go to


Amazing holiday packages with Malaysia Airlines and Travel 2 including;

Ko Samui, 7 nights staying at 3* Deluxe Hotel Ibis Bophut Samui £659pp Standard room on a bed and breakfast basis. Return shared transfers and return flights with Malaysia Airlines and Bangkok Airways.

Saving of £365pp

Travelling: 4-30 Nov 2018. Price is per person based on two sharing.


Earn up to £100 per booking in First, £50 in Business and £25 in Economy with Malaysia Airlines. Simply enter your bookings to Thailand this May (for departures in May/June) to earn these shopping vouchers at


Four lucky agents will get a chance to go on an amazing FAM trip to Thailand on Malaysia Airlines’ A350. Bookings made from 1 May to 31 May for travel 1 May to 31 Dec 2018. †Bookings to Thailand registered on will qualify.

Terms and Conditions: Malaysia Airlines package and ticket bookings made to Thailand with Travel2 during the incentive period 1-31 May 2018 will qualify. The agents with the highest number of bookings made will qualify to win a place on the Malaysia Airlines FAM to Thailand travelling to Bangkok, Phuket and Ko Samui. Exact dates and the itinerary of the FAM trip will be announced closer to the date of travel. Winners will be confirmed after the incentive. The dates and details of the FAM trip and incentive can change. Malaysia Airlines Giveaway Incentive terms and conditions are available on Malaysia Airlines’ A350 available London to Kuala Lumpur route only. † Bookings to Thailand on Malaysia Airlines flights by UK resident travel agents departing from London Heathrow from 1 May to 31 Dec 2018 will qualify.

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the big picture


Sandwich Harbour Namib Naukluft National Park, Namibia

Just the two of us Another royal baby has arrived but for travel types the only question is: where will Harry and Meghan be honeymooning? Odds-on favourite, according to the feverish tabloids, is Namibia. The couple have links to Africa through charity work and celebrated Meghan’s 36th birthday in Botswana last year. One of the least densely populated countries in the world has to be a stellar choice for one of the most famous couples on the planet.

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Aphrodite mighty

Cyprus has been quietly broadening its appeal beyond the bucket and spade brigade. Kathryn Liston looks at luxury away-from-the-beach options

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ock falls, sharp zig-zag bends and not another car in sight – but the hire car’s sat-nav has to be kidding me! I’m on my way to the agro-tourism village Casale Panayiotis, but as I drive deeper into the mountains of the Paphos Forest, a night in the car looks increasingly likely. Driving round yet another bend, I’m suddenly treated to my first-ever sighting of a mouflon, its huge heavy horns curving around its pretty face. Shy and agile, the handsome local sheep is as elusive as its reputation. With a kick of its heels, it races off up the virtually vertical slope with ease and is gone. She turns out to be the only presence for miles. The only other local we encounter, striding out into the road, a gnarled walking stick in-hand, points to a mountain in the distance when I ask for directions. Tall pines, cedars and strawberry trees fade into dusk. Two phone calls later, we eventually make it to Casale Panayiotis, the result of one man’s vision to transform a crumbling village into a thriving tourism project. It is so worth the lengthy journey.

Inland revenue Travel agents should book beyond the beaches and sell the island’s Troodos Mountains and traditional villages such as Casale Panayiotis, says Sovereign’s Purchasing Manager, Ben Stratton. The agro-tourism village, new to Sovereign last year, “perfectly marries luxury with authentic mountain culture and village.” “A stay in the Troodos mountains can easily be combined with a relaxing break on the beach at one of Cyprus’ coastal resorts. There are some excellent five-star hotels such as Columbia Beach Resort and the new Parklane, A Luxury Collection Resort and Spa.” Olympic Holidays’ Product & Commercial Director, Donna Allcock, says the majority of early bookings for summer 2019 are for four- and five-star properties, particularly for weddings and honeymoons. “Winter this year and next, again in the luxury categories, continues to book at a strong rate. And this summer Cyprus is popular across all options from three-star deals in Ayia Napa to higher-end Family Gold.”


New hotels and refurbishments at old favourites such as the Annabelle (Paphos) are also driving interest. Last year was a record year for Cyprus with an 8.3% year-on-year increase in UK visitors to 1.25 million, and a 14.6% increase in global arrivals to 3.6 million.

Top experiences Traditional crafts: From basket weaving to birdwatching and halloumi cheese-making to lace-making, visitors staying in Larnaka ( can enjoy a host of traditional activities for free. The daily programme, which runs from November to April, also includes a guided tour of old Larnaka and visits to a restored flour mill in the village of Athienou and the Mazotos Camel Park. Wine routes: Wine buffs can explore boutique wineries and family-owned vineyards on seven signposted wine routes. The routes take visitors through charming villages and the Troodos mountains, with wineries highlighted along the way. The Wine Museum in Erimi village outlines the island’s wine-

Aphrodite’s Rock, situated between Limassol and Paphos

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making history, including Commandaria, the world’s oldest. Stepping out: A wonderful way to explore the island’s varied coastline, forests and mountains is on foot. The 52 designated walking trails, which vary in length and difficulty, include a variety of terrains, some passing by UNESCO Byzantine churches and cultural sites. Tee-time: With four top-class courses close to Paphos, Cyprus is a golfer’s favourite. The PGA National Aphrodite Hills Resort ( is undergoing a €2.5 million investment, including rebuilding its greens and bunkers. The Sir Nick Faldo-designed Elea Golf Club ( has made its mark since opening. Secret Valley ( and Minthis Hills ( are the island’s oldest golf courses. Diving deep: An artificial reef and the 63-metre Elpida vessel sunken just off the coast of Larnaka ( are new attractions for divers this year. Warm waters (16-27C), clear visibility (thanks to the absence of plankton), a variety of wrecks, underwater caves and tunnels and an abundance of diving schools and sea life, including sea turtles, hold divers’ attention year-round.

What’s new Hotels: Two five-star hotels will open in September: Parklane Resort & Spa (parklanecyprus. com) – previously Le Meridien – in Limassol with 274 rooms, suites and villas, the Kalloni spa and a children’s park with water slides; and the Amavi (, Paphos, with 207 sea-view rooms and a signature spa. Four new hotels will open in Larnaka this year and next: Radisson Blu ( near the port, Lebay Beach Hotel in Voroklini, Radisson Blu Airport and Conference Hotel, and Solaar Boutique and Spa Hotel.

Clockwise from top left: Cyprus boasts the world’s oldest wine; a mouflon sheep; Kakopetria in the Troodos Mountains; a gyros wrap; Kalidonia Falls

Palm Beach Hotel and Bungalows (, Larnaka, has refurbished its spa and leisure club. The five-star Columbia Beach Resort (, Pissouri, has reopened following extensive renovation, with 169 suites and a new Den Kids Club and Cub Life Creche in conjunction with Worldwide Kids Co. Projects: A €250m luxury Ayia Napa Marina (marinaayianapa) development is scheduled to open in 2021 with apartments, villas, a 600-berth marina plus retail and dining outlets. Major works are taking place in Larnaka. The Municipal Market is being developed in an EU-funded project which will combine traditional stalls and artisan spaces with restaurants. The town centre is being made more wheelchair and pushchair accessible. A new gastronomic route of Larnaka’s mountainous area ( has been created where visitors can see traditional foods and crafts being made. Work is due to start this year on the 1,000-berth Larnaka Port and Marina development. Flights: Jet2 ( is flying weekly from Belfast to Paphos this summer. Cobalt Air (cobalt. aero) now offers business class and economy on its six-times-aweek service from Gatwick to Larnaka.

Tourism talk “Tourism is of course an extremely important sector for Cyprus and contributes greatly to our economy. Among the sectors currently showing growth are health and wellness holidays. “Our long-term goal is to reach six million global tourist arrivals by 2030 and, to get there, we are committed to supporting this strong growth with the necessary infrastructure such as the luxury hotels and spas under construction. Cyprus boasts the cleanest bathing waters in Europe and now has 64 Blue Flag beaches.” Marina Mylona, Tourism Officer UK, Cyprus Tourism Organisation

Where to book it  Sovereign Luxury Travel – 01293 832 459

A seven-night holiday at the five-star Parklane, A Luxury Collection Resort, Limassol, in October costs from £1,399pp on a B&B basis, including UK airport fast passes and lounge access, private transfers and flights from Gatwick with Thomas Cook.  Planet Holidays – 01438 841 270

A seven-night holiday at the four-star Blue Ivy Hotel & Suites, Protaras, leads in at £572pp in May and includes B&B accommodation, scheduled flights from Heathrow and taxi transfers. The hotel is a five-minute walk from Sunrise Beach. 

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my trip to... alabama

the heart of


With white-sand on the Gulf Coast, the USA’s oldest Mardi Gras in Mobile and its historic heart in the middle of the state, Alabama is ripe for a road trip, says Lynn Houghton


light mist descends and envelopes the entire town as parade-goers slip and slide on the rain-soaked sidewalk. It’s mid-day and the Floral Parade has just finished; soggy on-lookers head out, with the crunch of discarded beads underfoot. Nothing dampens the spirits of these Mardi Gras enthusiasts. Some will stay on for the entire two weeks of the Carnival and attend every parade. Mobile was formerly a huge centre of cotton growing and slavery; this region was part of the ‘Black Belt’, where successive fires burnt the prairie over millennia and created rich, black soil. This soil was the wealth of the Confederacy as cotton and tobacco thrived in this unique terroir and in the steamy hot climate. Now, Mobile is most-visited for its beautiful antebellum homes and its annual Mardi Gras – festivities begin on New Year’s Day and culminate on Fat Tuesday. After the Civil War, Joe Cain, who had just returned from the Mardi Gras in New Orleans, decided that to lift everyone’s spirits he would singularly attempt to resurrect the celebration that had its start in 1703. He succeeded, and Mardi Gras is now a vast industry for the town.

Coronation day Each krewe, or mystic society, has a coronation ceremony to crown their own king and queen and after nearly every parade there is an enormous ball for participants and their families. These are black tie, formal affairs and admittance is strictly by invitation only. Everyone here gets into the spirit with townsfolk, shopkeepers and restaurant owners decorating their premises with purple-and-gold colours specific to this region’s celebrations. Revellers who plan ahead can stay in one of the city’s grand hotels including the five-star Battle House, which is historic, opulent, spacious and airy. The screaming, shouting and sheer adulation of the crowds lining the streets during the parades is, well, indescribable.

I throw beads to by-standers while others toss moon pies (like Wagon Wheels), sweets and toys. The night before, I helped the Original Dragons, an African American mystic society, celebrate their 82nd Mardi Grass Ball and Debutante Cotillion. The king and queen, plus debutantes, were in attendance, but the highlight of the evening is the Mardi Gras Strut. Yet another tradition in Mobile is to decorate umbrellas to bring along to these occasions. The ‘strut’ refers to the Jazz tradition of dancing down the streets with umbrellas when attending a funeral.

The U.S. Civil Rights Trail The development of modern Alabama was partly fuelled by the steel and coal industries of Birmingham, a city that sprung up after the Civil War and became a boom town. When limestone, coal and iron ore where discovered in the aptly-named Red Mountain, industrialists realised they had all the ingredients needed to make steel. A boom ensued and, the city grew so quickly, it was called the ‘Magic City’. Men came flooding in to take the jobs the industry created. Most of the manual labour was done by African Americans. It wasn’t long before Jim Crow laws (Jim Crow was a

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my trip to... alabama


Sweet Home Alabama is more than a song. It’s a place where

the skies really are so blue - a land of history, culture, music and adventure. Here, Gospel is sung in churches and folks dance to Blues, Country and Jazz in bars. Locally owned restaurants dish up meals of mouth-watering barbecue and fresh seafood from Alabama’s fishing villages. Alabama’s top museums include the U.S. Space & Rocket Center, the Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum and the legendary studios of Muscle Shoals. Surrounded by great cities - New Orleans, Memphis, Nashville and Atlanta among them - Alabama is the heart and sould of any Southern USA trip.

white entertainer who ‘blacked up’) set about segregating white and coloured residents. Today, drive through Collegeville, an African American neighbourhood, and you clearly see how those black workers had been segregated to marshland (a flood plain). Piles of iron ore and slag punctuate lakes of water that have collected after recent storms. This is where the Bethel Street Baptist Church is located, one of the early ‘battle grounds’ for equal rights and a firm fixture on the new U.S. Civil Rights Trail, which was opened in January this year. The pastor of the Bethel Street Baptist Church, The Reverend F. L. Shuttlesworth, was the President of the Alabama Christian Movement for Human Rights and a friend of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. When the bus boycott came to Birmingham in December 1955, Shuttleworth’s house was bombed but he was uninjured and continued his fight for racial equality. It was the bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, which took the lives of four children, that changed the face of the Civil Rights Movement. This was when Dr. King gave his famous ‘I have a dream’ speech and began to actively promote non-violent demonstrations.

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Visit the ‘freedom sites’ It is hard to imagine that important marches for voter rights were initially organised in the small rural town of Selma. Brown Chapel was the starting point for several marches including the Bloody Sunday incident where protesters collided with state troopers on the Edmund Pettus Bridge. Eventually, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. lead a the 54-mile march from Selma to Montgomery, the state capital; afterwards delivering a speech on its steps –just a few yards from his home church. Dexter Avenue, where the Capitol Building is located, and where slaves were once traded,

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Left: Capitol Building in Montgomery; Above: Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, an interpretive museum dedicated to the Civil Rights Movement in the 1950s and 1960s

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4/24/18 05:56 PM


my trip to... alabama

is the location of the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church, Dr. King’s only posting as a pastor. The parsonage is in a nearby neighbourhood and now a museum dedicated to the memory of Dr. King. All of these sites and many others can be visited by those following the U.S. Civil Rights Trail as it cuts through Alabama.

Top tips Shore leave Don’t miss the beauty of the sugar-white sand of Alabama’s Gulf Coast shore. Dauphin Beach, Gulf Shore and Orange Beach are known for sand dunes, gentle surf and hot weather. It is also a nesting ground for sea turtles and the haunt of many sea birds. Accommodation is plentiful, with 17,000 units along the 31-mile coast offering everything from hotels to self-catering units; resorts to caravans

Food and drink Traditional Southern cooking is all about BBQ, but Alabama also has Gulf Coast seafood. Some of the best seafood dishes are Shrimp ‘n Grits and Oysters grilled, stewed or nude (uncooked). There is a vast array of restaurants in Birmingham, from Soul Food and BBQ at Rib it Up (known for Soul Food favourites Fried Green Tomatoes, Chicken Wings and Ribs) through to the experimental Roots and Revelry which has unusual pairings such

Clockwise from top left: Mardis Gras in Mobile; the white sands and warm waters of Gulf Shores; Brown Chapel Baptist Church, Selma; Ribs and more – barbecue Alabama-style

as PB & J – no, not Peanut Butter and Jelly but Pork Belly and Jam! The Marble Ring speakeasy specialises in cocktails and is accessed through a Tardis in a hot dog shop! Visitors to Montgomery should visit Chris’ Hot Dogs on Dexter Avenue, which has been serving up frankfurters for over 100 years. For a more sophisticated touch, Vintage Year is a great choice for local dishes such as monkfish, oysters on the half-shell and Gulf crab cakes. Beignets, a type of fried doughnut, are a favourite in Mobile. Panini Pete’s on Dauphin Street has every type of Beignet imaginable while the Kitchen on George is a top pick for Shrimp ‘n Grits. Moon Pies are synonymous with Mardi Gras and are often used in banana pudding, an Alabama favourite. Meanwhile, A Spot of Tea on Dauphin Street is famous for its Banana Foster’s French Toast and Cathedral Eggs. Try them all for some authentic tastes of Alabama! 

Vintage collection The Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum near Birmingham houses a vast collection of race cars and bikes. Among the cars is the world’s most extensive Lotus collection, anchored by the Lotus 21. Other exhibits include the 1962 Ferrari F-158, in which British driver John Surtees won the 1964 Formula One Driver’s World Championship. The museum’s 1,400 motorcycles span 100 years of production.

Where to book it

North America Travel Service has a 10-night Alabama fly-drive holiday that takes in Birmingham (three nights), Montgomery (two nights), Mobile (two nights) and the Gulf Shores (three nights). Priced from £1,974, the deal includes flights with Delta from Heathrow to Atlanta and AlamoGold car rental. Clients also receive a day-by-day itinerary and a Road Atlas. – 0333 323 9033

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Talking Shop INSPIRED BY YOU Th e i ns i d e t ra c k o n t ra v e l

Especially for travel agents

AVALON Waterways is giving agents the chance to see Kylie Minogue live in concert on September 27, 2018. To win, agents need to book a 2019 Avalon Waterways cruise before May 20 and send their name, agency details and booking reference to agencysales@ Agents get an entry in the draw for each booking made.

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Book Down Under & cash in TRAVEL 2, in partnership with Virgin Australia, is offering five agents £100 in T2 Rewards. To win, agents need to make a new package booking to Australia, including any Virgin Australia flight between March 26 and April 30. Each qualifying booking made within the campaign period is an entry into the draw!

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Top notch offer

Jun󰇪 6 & 7

SELLING TRAVEL DIALOGUE – RIVER CRUISE In London (June 6) and Leeds (June 7), meet Crystal Cruises, Fred Olsen, Newmarket Holidays, Riviera Travel and Titan over nibbles and drinks to get the tips you need to nail those lucrative river cruise sales! Fam trip prizes also up for grabs.

FIRST CLASS Holidays is giving agents the chance to earn £200 in Love2shop vouchers. Agents booking any two holidays during April and May will be eligible. Claims must be submitted by June 30. For details on how to claim, visit:




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

Backstage with Emirates is first class It is rare for me to fly in Business or First Class so when I received an invite to enjoy a Business and First Class lounge lunch, followed by a tour of one of Emirates’ A380s, I jumped at the chance. It turned out to be a brilliant and informative day – once I had accepted that I was going airside to enjoy a great lunch and would not actually be flying anywhere. The lounge is large and comfortable, with direct access to the upper level of Emirates' A380s, and provides passengers with a truly exclusive start to their flight. With many of the airline’s planes now refurbished, passengers can relax in true comfort. The seats are comfortable and spacious – or you can just sleep the flight to Dubai away on a flat-bed. The First Class suites are really luxurious with more than a touch of gold! There are also a couple of good-sized shower spas (passengers book a 30-minute slot during their flight). The floors are even heated so passengers do not get cold feet stepping out of the shower! One of the highlights for me was visiting the mindboggling flight deck and then sitting in the First Officer’s seat in this huge flying machine. Like everything else on Emirates A380s, there was a real feeling of space. I am very much looking forward to flying to South Africa with the airline in September. Yes, you guessed it, I will be in Economy, but even in this cabin the space is very generous.

The majority of customers appreciate the effort we put in and trust us to match their holiday needs

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That said, I am happy that the majority of our customers do still appreciate our efforts and, most importantly, trust us to match their holiday needs perfectly and to follow it all up with fabulous personal service, from the start of their enquiry to their return. We must not lose faith that those loyal customers will not only continue to book with us but also recommend us to everyone they know.

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Although we have plenty of lovely customers there are others who just use us for recommendations and then take these suggestions to direct-sell suppliers. This is a fact of our business that is making the job of a travel agent a harder one. To those of you new to

the trade, this is the norm, but those of us who are a bit longer in the tooth will talk about the ‘good old days ’ when stock was more limited and customers used just brochures and their trusty travel agent for recommendations - and they appreciated that knowledge and service. But these are different days and the world is a much more accessible place now – although that doesn't stop many coming to us to pick our brains before booking with whoever offers them the best price.

  01403 276684

I am looking forward to another three-Greek-Island-Odyssey in June, with time on quiet Alonyssos, in a villa on Skopelos and two nights enjoying the cobbled streets of Skiathos Town. Elsewhere in the office, Tanya has just returned from a long weekend fam trip with Thanos Hotels in Cyprus, staying at The Annabelle and visiting the luxurious Anassa and Alymira, while Justine is getting excited about her family holiday in August to Bangkok, Phuket, Khao Lak and Elephant Hills. Happy Selling!

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

Out and about with Huntington Beach, Gold Medal access all areas TRAVEL AGENTS across the UK are attending the latest series of Gold Medal's Access All Areas training days, now in its fourth year. In the first of this year's events, held in March, Gold Medal unveiled its new quote system which provides agents with an improved quote document to help sell holidays more efficiently to their customers. The Access All Areas events are held at Gold Medal's headquarters in Preston and hosted by Head of Sales, Colin Currie. Lasting a whole day, the events welcome up to 40 agents and offer news, support, incentives and training. Further events are planned for August and November in 2018.

United Denver UNITED and Visit Denver held a launch event in London to mark its new non-stop daily service between Heathrow and Denver. Corporate and leisure trade partners attended and enjoyed live music and cocktails.

Surprise road trip to Oman AVIS and Oman Air announced the winners of their joint incentive to offer 10 agents a driving tour across Oman, from Muscat to Salalah, this month. Pictured from left is Oman Air's Poonam Gil Khosa, Will Hall from the Ministry of Tourism for Oman, the lucky winner – Lotus Group's Derek Miles – and Katherine Edwards and Stig Williams from Avis. The tour will see winners follow a five-day route with luxury accommodation along the way. Whilst on the tour, winners will be encouraged to write a blog of their experiences, with the best blogger receiving two Oman Air flights to anywhere on its network, plus a seven-day Avis car rental.;

Sevens at Sandals JAMAICA'S rugby team stopped by Sandals Luxury Travel store to meet the staff prior to the Hong Kong Rugby Sevens.

10nts, Maldives & Dubai 7nts, The Residence Maldives



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0208 585 4020

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4/24/18 02:16 PM



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

United, Riviera Travel and Sandals Greatdays boosts Euro tours GREATDAYS Travel Group launched its 2019 Group Travel Guide with an enhanced European section aimed at coach tour and group travel organisers. The guide features a new day-by-day format, enhanced European tour itineraries, 16 new UK tours and 14 new tours in London specifically. With more regional UK flights, Greatdays is offering more tours with air travel than ever before Pictured from left is Greatday's Katharine Worsley, Paul Beaumont, Gina Halden and Martin Slater. The guide was introduced at this year's Business Travel Trade Show held in Birmingham.

Skate-style event

Fill your fridge winner

VISIT HUNTINGTON BEACH held a networking event with a laid-back vibe at House of Vans in London last month. Agents attending had the chance to meet the destination team, print their own Huntington Beach t-shirts and even take some skateboarding lessons.

RIVIERA Travel announced the winner of its 'fill your fridge with chocolate' photo competition – Hays Travel Havant won the sweet prize. Pictured from left is Paul Mellon, Riviera Travel Sales Development Manager with Georgia Francis and Ben Perters, both of Hays Travel Havant.

10nts, Abu Dhabi & Sri Lanka 7nts, Centara Ceysands Resort & Spa



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Newmarket partner NEWMARKET Holidays' team has been out on the road promoting its exciting new partnership with cruise line A-ROSA. The team visited travel agents up and down the country to deliver the new brochure and offer training. Pictured above is Sas Rowbotham, Newmarket Holidays with Laura Emmett from Newells Travel in Newquay receiving the shiny new A-ROSA brochure.

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

0208 585 4020

3nts, Yas Viceroy Abu Dhabi Hotel


4/24/18 02:17 PM



Wildlife in India, April 2018

Journey into the wild “This was probably the most difficult and demanding trip we have ever arranged for the travel trade”, says Marc Reading of Talking Stick, who worked with Indian wildlife travel specialists Jungle Sutra to host a fact-finding fam to India for a group of tour operators - it was certainly not a trip for the faint hearted! The tour took the intrepid group into the stark mountains of Ladakh to trek in the footsteps of the elusive snow leopard at an altitude of over 18,000 feet, before heading into central India and visiting two of the country's lesser-known national parks, Pench and Satpura in the Mahadya Pradesh province, to look for tigers and sloth bears. Key highlights of the wildlife-focused trip included spotting mammals in the Upper Himalayas, which is home to rare creatures like the pallas cat and the Himalayan wolf. They followed high roads and then trekked on foot to the remote village of Rumbak in Hemis National Park, spending the night at a home stay. Easter weekend was spent exploring Satpura Tiger Reserve on a walking safari, getting as close as possible to some of the park's striped predators. The group also headed to the Churna Forest Rest House, once a village, but now a good spot for tiger sightings. Properties the group stayed at included the huge Grand Dragon Hotel in Leh, surrounded by snowcapped mountains, the sustainable Forsyth Lodge in Satpura and Jamtara Wilderness Camp in Pench.

Martin Dunn, Wildlife Photography Africa, says: "It was great to take a fresh look at some of India’s tiger reserves in the company of top-notch naturalists; to be able to escape the crowds and enjoy the marvellous diversity of India’s wildlife. "With accommodation and guiding of such high quality I have no worries about offering India to regular Africa safari enthusiasts and I know that, despite the apparent chaos that is most people’s first impression of India, the arrangements will run smoothly.” Trish Berry, Zambezi Safari and Travel Co. Ltd, added: "My first visit to India was incredible. Everything is here - people, wildlife, happiness, sorrow, sacrifice, religion and history. "We travelled to Ley in the Himalayas, trekking at high altitude to find the elusive snow leopard, and then journeyed down to the steamy nature reserves of Satpura and Pench. "Thought-provoking, with astounding variety and never ever boring."


From top: The group - Marc Reading, Trish Nethersole, Varun Mathur and Martin Dunn in Rumbak Village; tiger spotted in Pench National Park; Leh Palace, a former royal residence modelled on Tibet's Potala Palace in Lhasa; jungle sunset in Satpura National Park; looking for wildlife in Pench; walking safari in Satpura

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4/24/18 02:18 PM



St Kitts

with Radstock Co-operative Travel

A year in the making Radstock Co-operative Travel opened its second branch in Paulton, Somerset, last May, following a surge in in-store bookings at its Radstock branch. Selling Travel caught up with Branch Manager Colin Curtis a year on, to find out why customers are returning to high-street stores and which destinations are top sellers for 2018.

MEET... ALLISTER WILLIAMS Executive Director of the St. Kitts Music Festival











St. Kitts Music Festival showcases local talent alongside international stars. From June 27, visitors can enjoy the launch event 'Escape to Salt Plage', followed by big names at Warner Park on festival nights, including Lauryn Hill and Patti LaBelle, then the finale 'White Sands' beach event on July 1.

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"Since the opening of our second store last year we have seen a real growth within the local area for people looking to book with an agent. "We are becoming well known for being an independent travel agency that offers everything from package holidays to tailormade trips and cruises. "Being situated in a bustling shopping complex ensures that we have constant traffic and gives us ample opportunity to catch the attention of potential customers or simply inspire people with our frequently changing window displays. "We've seen a huge increase in customers returning to the high street year-on-year, which has resulted in high sales figures and an increase in staff. We’ve also found that our customers value a friendly face and trust that we will deliver a service and destination knowledge that the internet simply can’t compete with.



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"This year marks the return of Turkey and Egypt, which are destinations that people would have steered clear of a year ago. There is still a huge appeal for these places and Brits especially love the climate and culture that they find there. "Croatia continues to be one of our biggest sellers, along with trips to the States – Florida, Las Vegas and California bookings are on the up as we see the dollar rate increase.

Turkey and Egypt are making a comeback in 2018

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"We host weekly training sessions for our agents and invite tour operators to attend once a month. We are members of TIPTO and complete a lot of online workshops with them. My colleagues strive to expand their knowledge at every opportunity. "We also regularly host customer events which has recently included cruise evenings and afternoon tea with escorted tour operators. We work closely with Shearings by putting together group departures which prove very popular with our regular customers. "There has been a big response from our social media page, which provides us with a great tool in getting instant offers directly to customers and in turn builds a great following for the store. "

It's consistently lauded as one of the best festival experiences. It’s not just about music; we offer great food, good vibes and a family-friendly party where visitors and locals come together.

Kittitians know how to party, or ‘lime’ as we say. One night you can enjoy a full body workout with the infectious Caribbean rhythms and on another the slow jams of reggae or rhythm and blues.

World-renowned artists have been performing since its inception 22 years ago. From John Legend to Chaka Khan and Maxi Priest, these artists help to grow the festival's international audience year-on-year.

The ease of access with British Airways, warm hospitality of the Kittitian people and our rich heritage are all key to selling our destination.

The store is currently recruiting for new staff. Contact for more information on how to apply.

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4/24/18 05:54 PM


SELLING TRAVEL DIALOGUE Tu n b r i d g e We l l s , G l a s g o w , L e e d s

Agents enjoy brushing up on Botswana

It's im󰇴󰈢󰈦t󰈜󰇳󰇺 to en󰇫󰇧󰈪󰈥 di󰇶󰇪󰈝t󰇰󰈠 wi󰇹󰇭 ag󰇪󰇳󰇺s Botswana Tourism brought the sounds of the Kalahari and the Okavango Delta to the UK last month, as agents gathered over the course of three fun and educational evenings in Tunbridge Wells, Glasgow and Leeds. The tourism board travelled across the country with Selling Travel to give agents the chance to learn all about the premier African safari spot. Agents were transported to the desert wilderness of the Central Kalahari Game Reserve and the snaking waters of the Okavango Delta with the help of safari sounds and the infectious smiles of the local people in a video presentation – and had the chance to put their new knowledge to the test to win some great spot prizes. Presentations provided agents with top tips on how to sell Botswana along with exploring a range of accommodation options, attractions and a general geography overview. This was followed by an open discussion and the chance to swap

stories with the experts. Speaking at the Tunbridge Wells event, Dawn Wilson, International Marketing Attaché of Botswana Tourism said: “We find it is important to engage directly with the people who are selling Botswana to the public. Sessions like these enable me to give them a more in-depth understanding of the country itself as well as promoting the tourism aspect.”

Cha󰇳󰈪󰇮n󰇫 󰇵󰈥r󰈛e󰇵t󰇮󰈣󰇳󰈤

Surrounded by Namibia, Angola, Zambia, Zimbabwe and South Africa, Botswana offers some of the best wildlife encounters in Africa. With 38% of its total land area dedicated to national parks and wildlife management areas, along with its new eco-certification scheme which ensures that all camps and lodges are built with sustainability in mind and are restricted to a maximum of 12 rooms per

property, Botswana has been successful in preserving a number of endangered bird and mammal species. Visitors can expect to see wild dogs, brown hyena and cape vultures, alongside resident elephants, cheetahs and black-maned lions that roam freely in mostly unfenced areas. Botswana prides itself on being 'high value and low volume' – which results in unequalled game sightings for visitors. But this doesn't mean agents should disregard it for clients on a budget. “There's a perception that Botswana is an expensive trip, but actually there is something to suit every budget, from basic camps to luxury lodges," commented Belen Nanarro from Botswana Tourism. Some agents are too quick to suggest Kenya when clients ask for a safari, but this betrays a lack of confidence in selling Botswana, which has an option for every price range."

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4/24/18 04:57 PM



Tu n b r i d g e We l l s , G l a s g o w , L e e d s

Don't miss our next Selling Travel Destination Dialogue in June, 2018 – on river cruise. To find out more and see all our events visit:

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Nicole Stewart and Ed O’Brien from Titan Travel said: “We try to come to all the Selling Travel Destination Dialogue events as we get a real insight into a destination and its products, which you can’t get from a brochure. We always learn something new, which makes us more confident when it comes to selling. The customer is forever looking for something different and Botswana has that up-and-coming feel about it.” Tom Seddon, an On Your Travel agent, added: "I regularly sell Kenya and Tanzania but not so much Botswana as I never knew much about it. It's been very interesting to learn about the history and the sound clips really gave us a sense of being out in the game reserves."

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Botswana Tourism is inviting 140 agents from all countries to visit Botswana at the end of

Don't mi󰇷󰈤 t󰇬󰇪 󰈣󰇵po󰇶󰇺󰇻n󰇯󰇹󰈠 to 󰇨󰇪 󰈣󰈡 t󰇬e 󰈡󰇪x󰇹 Bot󰇷󰈟󰇧n󰈜 fa󰇲 󰇺r󰇮󰇴 the year. Each agent will benefit from four days out on safari with one or more Botswana-based operators followed by two-and-a-half days in Kasane for destination workshops and the opportunity to meet operators in one-on-one meetings. Botswana Tourism will pick 25% of the nominations for this trip, the remainder will be nominated by specialist Botswana operators. Contact for more information.

Did 󰈂󰈢󰇼 󰈬no󰇿? 1 Bot󰇷󰈟󰇧n󰈜 is 󰇬󰈢󰈩󰈥 to 󰇹󰇭󰇪 w󰈣󰇶󰇱d's 󰇰a󰈦g󰇪󰇷󰇺 co󰇳󰈝󰇪n󰇹󰈦󰈜ti󰈢󰇳 󰈣󰈆 Af󰇶i󰈝󰇧n 󰈥󰇰e󰇵h󰇧󰇳󰇺s, t󰇬e 󰈩󰇧j󰈣󰇶i󰇺y 󰈢󰈇 󰈟h󰇯󰈛󰇭 ca󰇳 󰇩󰇪 s󰇯󰇫󰇭te󰈧 󰇮󰈡 Cho󰇨󰇪 󰉆󰈜󰇺i󰈢n󰈜󰇰 Pa󰈦k 2 The 󰉄󰇧󰈫󰈪󰈜di󰈫󰈪󰇧d󰇯 Sa󰇰󰇺 󰈑󰇧n󰇷 d󰇶i󰇪󰈨 󰇼p 10,000 ye󰇧󰇶󰈤 󰈜go 󰇧󰇳󰈨 m󰈜󰈫e 󰇻󰇵 t󰇬󰈥 󰇱ar󰇫󰇪󰈤t d󰇶󰈠 la󰈫󰇪 󰇯󰈡 Af󰇶i󰈝󰇧. Se󰇪 t󰇬󰈥 󰈨ra󰇲󰇧󰇺󰇯c wi󰇰󰈨󰇪b󰈥e󰇷󰇺 󰇧n󰈧 󰈄󰈥b󰇶a 󰈩󰇮g󰇶󰈜󰇺i󰈢n 󰇯󰇳 󰇺he su󰇲󰈩󰇪r 󰇲󰈣󰈡t󰇬󰈤 3 The O󰈫󰇧󰇾󰈜n󰇫o D󰇪󰇱t󰈜 is 󰇹󰇭󰇪 w󰈣󰇶󰇱d's la󰇶󰈪󰇪s󰇹 󰇯󰈡la󰇳󰈨 d󰇪󰇰󰇺󰈜 an󰈧 󰇭󰈢s󰇹󰈤 󰈜l󰇲o󰈤t 40 s󰇴e󰈝󰇮󰈥s o󰈇 󰇱󰇧r󰇫󰈥 󰈩am󰇲󰇧󰇱s, 400 bi󰇶󰈨 s󰇴󰇪󰈝󰇯es an󰈧 󰈩󰈢r󰈥 󰇹󰇭an 1,000 p󰇰a󰈡t 󰇧󰇳󰈨 t󰇶e󰇪 󰈤p󰈥󰈛i󰇪󰈤

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4/24/18 04:58 PM


UK & Europe ROADSHOW 2018

MANCHESTER: The Refinery Spinningfields – 6pm until 10pm on 10 May 2018 LONDON: OXO2 (Level 2, Oxo Tower) – 6pm until 10pm on 14 May 2018 Meet top suppliers from the region at this fun and informative event and be in with a chance to win great prizes on the night, including one of two flights to Sydney with Qantas! DON’T MISS OUT – REGISTER NOW!

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4/23/18 02:15 PM



a holiday!

Get a taste of Bahrain Visit Bahrain is rewarding top sellers with prizes ranging from spa treatments to a luxury five-star holiday including flights, transfers and excursions


ocated in the Arabian Gulf, the Kingdom of Bahrain is an archipelago of 33 islands, the only island country in the Middle East. 4,500 years ago, it was the capital of the ancient Dilmun civilisation, who made a home on islands surrounded by waters rich in both fish and pearls. They have left their mark on the landscape, culture and spirit of Bahrain. Today, Bahrain’s astounding attractions extend to world class museums, two UNESCO world heritage sites, white sand beaches, untouched islands, amazing wildlife and the annual Formula 1 Grand Prix at the Bahrain International Circuit. The Bahrain Tourism and Exhibitions Authority (BTEA) are giving away loads of fantastic prizes to agents who sell the destination and log their bookings to Bahrain via the new BTEA microsite at

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Weekly treats BTEA are awarding two Odeon cinema gift cards to every travel agent who logs a booking to Bahrain. Then, for 10 weeks starting 16th April, BTEA is also rewarding the agent with the highest number of bookings with some fun activities in the UK, including, a driving experience, spa treatments and more! To find more about what you can win, visit

Travel, VIP Mercedes Airport transfers and two half day tours, courtesy of Visit Bahrain.

How to enter Simply register at and log bookings to Bahrain to win prizes.

Win a luxury five-star holiday If that’s not enough, the agent with the highest number of bookings at the end of the 10 weeks will win a 5* holiday to Bahrain! The lucky agent will enjoy the lap of luxury, spending four nights at the stunning Four Seasons Bahrain Bay and the Elite Grand Hotel. The prize also includes return flights from London courtesy of SANAD

4/24/18 02:21 PM

Where the Beauty of the place inspires

P ic ture t ake n at Pa ra di s Be ac hcomb er Go l f Reso rt & Spa

the Beauty of the heart


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independence streak

Mauritius is celebrating 50 years of independence in 2018 – but there’s more than a half-century of reasons why it is the Indian Ocean’s ultimate getaway destination of choice, says Nicki Grihault


rom the ancient capital of Mahébourg, I ride down narrow lanes, past candycoloured village houses fringed with lambrequins and stalls piled with coconuts that are sliced open to drink on the spot. Our first stop on this new circular electric bike tour of Grand Port in the sleepy southeast is the monument in the mangrove where the first islanders – the Dutch - set foot on Mauritius. At the ruined Dutch fort in Vieux Grand Port, e-bike discovery’s founder Laurent D’Unienville, an eighth-generation FrancoMauritian, regales us with tales of slave raids, ships stacked with ebony, and duels to the death. A cannon points into Grand Port Bay at Falaise Rouge (Red Cliff) restaurant where tucking into a deer curry lunch, we learn that in

1810, the British fought the French for island sovereignty - and later that year, won it. We ride into Mahébourg, along its waterfront promenade, with views over Lion Mountain, to the Natural History Museum, whose eclectic exhibits include a stuffed dodo, French governor Mahé Labourdonnais’ bed and legendary Corsair Robert Surcouf’s sword. We’ve travelled 30 kilometres and covered four centuries of island history – but, invigorated by the smells and sounds of this tropical island, my legs don’t ache at all.

Celebrations Multicultural Mauritius has seen a 9% increase in UK visitors this year. “Mauritius is celebrating 50 years of

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Shiny and new

“Our staff holidays to Mauritius (with up to 70% discount) allow agents to experience a resort how it should be – with their loved ones”. Alex Artitzone, Product Manager, Osborne and Ebel

independence, which saw Lonely Planet choose it as one of its top 10 places to visit in 2018,” says Sheena Paton, Commercial & Product Manager – Beach at Kuoni. “Access has increased over the past year thanks to British Airways increasing capacity from three to five flights a week over the peak season and new Emirates flights. Plus, it now has accommodation to suit all budgets.” Looking to grow its branded hotels across the world, Mauritius is also on Thomas Cook’s radar. The operator’s Kirstie Boon, Contracts Manager - Maldives, Mauritius and Sri Lanka, says: “It’s the safest destination in the Indian Ocean, with highquality hotels and fabulous standards of service.’ The island is also increasingly attractive for families, with island hotels adding teen clubs, more family-friendly rooms and featuring special offers such as kids stay, play and eat for free. Wellness is a focus, with more hoteliers adding wellness concierges and wellness programmes, such as Shanti Maurice’s fivenight yoga retreats in July, with a daily spa treatment, wellness menus and nature hikes. Sunset Faraway are launching sports packages, with a kitesurfing fam trip going out in late 2018. “In the context of the Indian Ocean, the value for money in Mauritius is hard to ignore,” says Alex Artitzone, Product Manager at Osborne and Ebel, which have seen growth in demand for studio apartments such as the well-priced B-Cozy in Trou aux Biches. With a trend for beach clubs and longer stays in Mauritius, Sunset Faraway has added more self-catering options. Exploration is trendy. Thomas Cook’s customers are increasingly opting for on island twin-centres and touring is on the up. Attitude Hotels’ Otentik Discovery self-guided app has 10 Mauritius itineraries and Mautourco’s ‘stroll in the past’ tour takes in botanical gardens and the capitals’ street food sellers.

The island saw a raft of renovations last summer. La Pirogue has a boho-chic vibe and modernised rooms, new wine bar and theatrical seafood buffet on the beach. The reinvention of sporty Long Beach Mauritius has seen a new Cinq Mondes spa, mixology classes and in 2018 and a new Asian-fusion restaurant called Tamarind Soul. Rebranded as the island’s first wellness hotel, Heritage Le Telfair’s restored Heritage Le Château now sports a sumptuous Presidential Suite and menu designed by Michelin-starred David Toutain. LUX* Grand Gaube has been re-imagined by Kelly Hoppen, with lovely new rooms, a new spa and beauty salon, and exciting dining concepts, Argentinian-Peruvian, Turkish and a Creole Smokehouse. One&Only Le Saint Géran re-opened after a multi-million-dollar transformation last December, with remodelled rooms and suites, fresh dining concepts such as pan-Asian tapas-style Tapasake restaurant, new kids club, sports zone and pool and immersive guest experiences, such as a day with an ecoranger from Mauritian Wildlife Foundation. The east coast’s Solana Beach, no longer exclusive to Kuoni, became adult-only in November, and Veranda Paul et Virginie is couplesonly, with a new infinity pool and sunken deck.

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EXCLUSIVE OFFERS DUSIT THANI MALDIVES Incredible Summer Discounts! Up to 45% OFF Room Rates PLUS Kids Stay + Dine FREE Valid for stays from now – 30 Sept 18

Beyond the beach A birds eye view: New-generation four- to six-seater helicopters ( were introduced last year. Sunset Faraway’s half-day scenic heli-tour from north to south includes Rochester Falls, Black River Gorges and lunch at Rhumerie de Chamarel. Easy rider: Explore authentic island life with E.Bike Discovery’s (electrobikemauritius. com) electro-bike tours in Chamarel, Souillac and Grand Port. New is L’Aventure du Sucre. Try street food: Authentic island experiences include Veranda Resorts’ Taste Buddies ( street food tour of the capital, ‘Porlwi’, which takes guests to try boulette dumplings and Tamarind juice. Eco-safari: Take a guided tour along a raised wooden walkway to spot endemic birds, plants and trees in the recently-opened Ebony Forest Reserve ( Sleep under the stars: Spend a magical night in a new luxurious Bubble Lodge on Ile aux Cerfs, either nestled in a banyan tree or on a private beach, from £300 per night sharing on half board, with butler service and complimentary golf (

HOLIDAY ISLAND RESORT INCREDIBLE TRAVEL TRADE DISCOUNT 5 Nights on Full Board Domestic Flight + Boat Transfers From £143 per person Between 01 May – 25 Jul 18

ANGAGA ISLAND RESORT Fantastic Beach and House Reef Book now for Free Nights and Early Bird Discounts! Rates now available for stays Until 31 – Oct 2019

CENTARA GRAND ISLAND RESORT MALDIVES Fantastic Early Bird Offers Book 90 Days ahead and get: 20% Off Room Rates Valid for all stays from now Until 31st March 2019

What’s new Airlines: Refurbishment on Air Mauritius ( A340s starts in 2018.

Emirates’ ( new daily route from Stansted to Dubai launches on June 8. Alitalia ( resumes its three-timesweekly Rome to Mauritius service on October 28. Kenya Airways’ ( launches a four-times-weekly Nairobi to Mauritius flight on June 7, with connections from Heathrow. Attractions: The 18-hole Mont Choisy Golf Course (, designed by Peter Matkovich, opened last November. Ile aux Cerfs ( gets a soft refurbishment this year. It will add the Island



Opposite page: clockwise from top left: trekking offers great vantage points; yoga, Heritage Le Telfair Golf & Wellness Resort; LUX Grand Gaube; breakfast at One&Only Le Saint Géran. Above: Golf course, Constance Belle Mare Plage All above offers are subject to availability.

Terms & Conditions Apply

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4/24/18 10:30 AM 4/24/18 05:56 PM



Tourism talk

“When out exploring the island, agents are often amazed by the genuine friendliness of local Mauritian people” Mark Boullé, General Manager, Beachcomber Tours

From left: Exploring by segway at Heritage Awali Golf Resort & Spa; the flavours of Mauritius

Bar and Grill, with driftwood cabanas, live music and DJs, fresh local fish and pizzas. Tour operator news: Sunset Faraway Holidays has opened a secondary office in Mauritius to focus on large weddings, with a coordinator on the ground to make the big day run smoothly. Thomas Cook is also rebooting its Mauritius wedding programme this year. Hotels/resorts: Preskil Beach Resort ( re-emerges as the four-star-plus Preskil Island Resort on December 1 – expect authentic island style and new family rooms and separate bedrooms. The legendary Tamarin Hotel will be reborn as three-star-plus Veranda Tamarin Hotel & Spa ( in October, with 50 new rooms, a Seven Colours Spa, new rooftop bar and pool. New product: Agents can now book three- to seven-night Dream Yacht Charter cruises ( by the cabin. A new One Love speedboat tour from Sunset Fataway (, includes a stop at Mahébourg market.

“Mauritius has seen a fantastic start to 2018 thanks to the many newlyrefurbished hotels and updated offerings on the island. This year the MTPA will be running a travel agent booking incentive with Premier Holidays and will host its popular regional roadshow events up and down the UK to update agents’ knowledge on the destination “Our annual ‘Golf and Spa Day’ for key trade partners will again take place in June and the MTPA will be hosting a selection of intimate dinners to update agents.” Matt Littlechild, Mauritius Tourism Promotion Authority (MTPA)

Where to book it  IF ONLY – 0141 955 4000 A seven-night stay at LUX Grand Gaube starts from £1,465pp sharing, which includes breakfast, return flights and transfers.

 ELEGANT RESORTS – 01244 897 514 A seven-night stay at Constance Prince Maurice, in a Junior Suite with complimentary half-board is £2,490pp with Emirates flights. 

Flights from Heathrow and 13 Regional Airports Air Mauritius is the only airline to y non-stop from London Heathrow to Mauritius. We also serve 13 regional airports in the UK and Ireland via Paris and Amsterdam with our partners Air France and KLM. Fly from: London Heathrow, Dublin, Aberdeen, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Newcastle, Durham, Humberside, Leeds, Manchester, Birmingham, Norwich, Bristol and Cardiff. Our Island in the Sky

Call us on 020 8834 5800 or visit our trade website Untitled-3 1 30 Mauritius.indd

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4/23/18 04:31 PM 23/04/2018 14:32






UK TRAVEL AGENT ROADSHOWS 2018 ROADSHOW LOCATIONS 21 May - Aberdeen 22 May - Glasgow 13 June – London 14 June – Brighton


20 June – Jersey


21 June – Guernsey



19 September – Newcastle


20 September – Liverpool



Join the Caribbean Tourism Organization and


Partners for an informative evening of Networking, Fun, and delicious Caribbean-inspired Buffet,


PLUS a chance to win some Great Prizes We kick off the events at 6.00pm and close at 9.30pm

RSVP at For further details call: 020 8948 0057

Media Sponsor:


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27/04/2018 08:35

hidden gems



& t󰇬e G󰇧󰇱󰈜pa󰇫󰈢󰈤


With Air Europa now flying to Quito as well as Guayaquil, confidence in Ecuador is clear. Sarah Gilbert uncovers some top spots

Don’t miss out the mainland

Up in the clouds

Beside the seaside

This year, Ecuador experts Metropolitan Touring are shining a spotlight on the marvels of the mainland. A new tool will enable operators to tailor-make every aspect of an itinerary, with hundreds of options to choose from, destination specialists on hand to assist and guaranteed price matching. They’ve also introduced new airborne adventures, with five helicopter tours flying over some of Ecuador’s most majestic landscapes, including Cotopaxi Volcano’s perfect cone. Individual seats and charters are available, on trips ranging from 30 to 90 minutes.

Just 70km from Quito, the striking Mashpi Lodge – a National Geographic Unique Lodge of the World – sits 950 metres above sea level at the heart of a 3,000-acre private reserve, a biodiversity hotspot with a range of ecosystems - from lower montane rainforest up to cloud forest. Ecuador is number five in the world ranking for bird species and what makes Mashpi special is the high concentration of species in a relatively small area. To celebrate National Geographic’s ‘Year of the Bird’, Mashpi is launching a new birding experience and a dedicated trip in conjunction with the brand.

Mainland Ecuador’s coastline is home to some of South America’s best beaches, with a mix of high-end resorts and quiet fishing villages. Highlights include Montañita, famous for surfing and nightlife and packed with ceviche wagons and empanada vendors; Machalilla National Park, including Isla de la Plata, which is home to some of the species the Galapagos is famous for, like blue-footed boobies; and Canoa, good for surfing and yoga retreats. Beautiful resorts include Palmazul Hotel & Spa in San Clemente (pictured), which has a private beach, spa and Ecuadorian fusion food restaurant.

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hidden gems

“With Silversea Expeditions in the Galapagos everything is included: gratuities, gear and excursions tailored to different abilities and interests. We take frequent breaks to observe wildlife and interpret geology”

Puerto Ayora on Santa Cruz Island (which underwent a major revamp in 2016) means snorkelling from the beach or from a private yacht, hiking and cycling, exploring the mangroves by kayak or simply lounging by the freshwater swimming pool, before taking a stunning inter-island flight to explore Isabela Island from Scalesia Lodge.

Amanda Middler & Sarah Dooley, Regional Sales Managers, Silversea

Colonial Quito reborn This year marks the 40th anniversary of the Ecuadorian capital being named a UNESCO World Heritage Site and, following a multimillion dollar restoration project, Quito’s 16th-century centre has been transformed. It’s home to some of the region’s finest museums, including the Central Bank Museum, magnificent churches, and picturesque cobbled streets such as La Ronda. To celebrate, Casa Gangotena – a restored colonial mansion-turned stylish boutique hotel – is launching a heritage package, including a new walking tour visiting the city’s oldest Panama hat makers, herbal healers, the San Francisco Market and the church of La Compañia de Jesus with its dazzling Baroque interior. Quito Tourism and The Metropolitan District of Quito have created an innovative new website and app to help visitors navigate the attractions of the city and around. GO UIO showcases the city’s gastronomy (including chocolate and craft beer), neighbourhoods, culture, shopping and natural attractions with a series of routes, videos and an interactive blog.;

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Jungle adventure

Galapagos by land Get an alternative view of the Galapagos on a land-based tour covering one or more of the archipelago’s inhabited islands. You don’t have to be on a boat to enjoy their unique biodiversity and native wildlife species, including penguins, sea lions, lizards and giant tortoises. It can be an ideal option for families or those who just don’t have good sea legs. Staying at the beachfront Finch Bay in

The wildlife-rich Amazon basin – known as the Oriente – covers around a third of Ecuador and is easily accessible by plane from Quito to Coca. Taking a boat downriver to one of the more remote jungle lodges, such as the ecofriendly Napo Wildlife Center, the only lodge within the borders of Yasuni National Park, allows clients to experience the magic of the rainforest in comfort, while waking to the roar of howler monkeys, fishing for piranhas on tranquil blackwater lakes, watching colourful parrots feasting on clay licks and caiman-spotting by moonlight. If they’re lucky, they might even bump into an elusive jaguar.

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hidden gems

colourful textiles and handicrafts, or UNESCO World Heritage Cuenca, centre of the Panama hat trade and full of colonial churches.


The Tren Crucero’s four-day, three-night Train of Wonders journey begins in the Andean Highlands north of Quito and includes visit to the famous Otavalo market, before travelling through the breathtaking Avenue of the Volcanoes past the snowtipped peaks of Cotopaxi and Chimborazo, zigzagging down the engineering marvel of the Devil’s Nose Pass, and arriving into the tropical climes of the coast, stopping off at historic haciendas and artisans’ workshops enroute. 


Highland highlights Ecuador’s highlands are the place to cool down and soak up culture, in cities full of lively markets and colonial architecture, as well as the chance for adventure, with volcano trekking and condor-spotting just some activities on the agenda. Top spots include Otavalo, surrounded by volcanoes and known for its market, where traditionally-clad indigenous people sell

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Ride the rails Jumping on board an award-winning luxury train is a unique way to discover Ecuador’s diverse and stunning landscapes, as it meanders its way from the Andean highlands to the Pacific coast, and back again.

A 10-day holiday taking in Quito, Otavalo, the Avenue of the Volcanoes and the Galapagos Islands is from £3,195pp, based on two sharing, and includes flights from London to Quito via Madrid with Iberia, a Galapagos cruise, accommodation, domestic flights, transfers and excursions. – 020 8600 1881

4/24/18 24/04/2018 06:13 08:25 PM


my trip to... LEGOLAND® Florida

A theme park built for kids



Florida Resort

LEGOLAND Florida is a dream come true for three-year-old Austin, and fun for mum & dad too, discovers Philippa Westwood


e arrive at the LEGOLAND Hotel just after dark and, much to my son Austin’s delight, are greeted by an enormous smoke-breathing dragon. After watching YouTube videos of it on loop and hearing “are we going today?” – for two months – we had finally arrived! We check in with an extremely friendly man (also called Austin) and after numerous high fives and a quick play in the giant LEGO pit, take the dance party elevator up to our Pirate room! Absolutely everything in the hotel is built for kids. There are 152 rooms in four styles – Adventure, Pirates, Kingdom and Lego Friends – with Standard (partially-themed) or Premium (fully-themed) rooms and four VIP Suites with extras like an in-room character breakfast. All rooms have a separate children’s area with bunk beds and TV and a king-sized bed for adults, minifridge, coffee-maker, safe and free wifi. With LEGO movies playing on repeat 24 hours and an in-room treasure hunt for LEGO treats, I think Austin would have happily stayed in the room for three days! But the next morning we tempt him out with an epic breakfast at Bricks Family Restaurant and the chance to meet some characters.

Park life Fuelled up, we take the 130 ‘kid steps’ from the front door of the hotel into the park. Being pass holders at LEGOLAND Windsor we had expected it to be pretty much the same, with the added bonus of some Florida sunshine. We couldn’t have been more wrong! LEGOLAND Florida has several different rides and shows, including the recently-opened Great LEGO Race, and being situated on the shores of beautiful Lake Eloise, this is the only LEGOLAND park to have a water ski show. For those who don’t overindulge at breakfast, there are plenty of dining options in the park, including its famous Granny’s Apple Fries - I demolished two servings by myself! The hotel also serves lunch for families who want to pop back for some down time or a swim in the pool. We spent a full day at the park and quickly realised that we hadn’t even seen half of it. Character appearances at dinner get the children ready for the evening entertainment at the Kids Pyjama Dance Party. It’s strategically placed next to the Skyline Lounge bar, so adults can sit

down and enjoy a cocktail or three while the kids run riot under the supervision of the wonderful entertainers, who tire them out with dancing, games and finally a bedtime story. This nightly event is the key to getting the kids to sleep after a day of excitement and Austin is no exception, falling asleep as soon as his head hits his pirate-themed pillow.

Splashing out The next morning we are up early and head into the park to do our favourite rides and sights again (LEGO Ninjago the Ride, Pharaoh’s Revenge, MINILAND USA and the Ford® Driving School), before heading into the LEGOLAND Water Park. Unlike the splash zone at Windsor, this is a full park where you can easily spend a whole day. There are several water slides, the Build-a-Raft River (where you float round on an inflatable tube adding giant LEGO bricks to your raft as you go), LEGO Wave Pool, DUPLO Splash Safari and the Joker Soaker, an

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my trip to... LEGOLAND® Florida

interactive play area filled with slides, climbing frames, water spouts and a wading pool. Best of all, there are sun loungers galore, so adults can take it in turns supervising the kids while the other gets to relax and soak up the sunshine in peace, The highlight of the day is actually the Master Model Builder Workshop at the LEGOLAND Hotel, where Austin gets to build a LEGO model with a Master Model Builder and take it home as a souvenir. I’ve never seen him so enthralled.

Top tips Book early On-site hotels can book up quickly during busy periods and school holidays Great for little ones Unlike many other theme parks, LEGOLAND is geared at children aged 2-12 Become a Master Model Builder For LEGO superfans, book the Master Model Builders Workshop. Spaces are limited so sign up as soon as you arrive at the LEGOLAND Hotel

Life’s a beach For our final night we head to the LEGOLAND Beach Retreat across the street. The drive-through check in is genius - no kids running riot as you stand in line, you just drive up to a window to take your key and a map. Located alongside Lake Dexter, this relaxed

Main picture: Austin and his dad Dave outside the LEGOLAND Hotel. Above: LEGOLAND Water Park; character breakfast; pirate-themed room; making friends at the park


resort offers 83 brightly coloured beachthemed bungalows in a village-style layout. All 166 rooms have whimsical LEGO decor and feature the same amenities. Each centres around an outdoor play area with fun and challenging elements, all within view of the shaded patios, where adults can put their feet up and relax or even enjoy a take-out dinner. There’s also a free shuttle service to the park. The complimentary breakfast is buffet-style and dinner options include pizza, burgers, seafood and steaks, as well as a great cocktail menu (I can recommend the ‘fish in a bag’). There’s a large heated pool and man-made sandy beach which we have just enough time to enjoy before night falls and it’s time for dinner and s‘mores around the camp fire. To say we are sad to leave in the morning is an understatement. For families with kids (especially young ones) it’s well worth the break away from the other theme parks that Orlando has to offer and we will certainly be back to visit again soon! 

Stay a while You need at least two, preferably three nights to do all 50 rides, shows and attractions. A full day can be spent at the waterpark and a day and a half minimum for the main park Let someone else do the driving The colourful LEGOLAND shuttle leaves I-Drive 360 every morning for the easy 50-minute drive to the park

Where to book it

America As You Like It (020 8742 8299) has a seven-night package from £1589pp based on a family of four. Includes return flights, car hire, three nights at the LEGOLAND Hotel and four at the LEGOLAND Beach Retreat. The LEGOLAND Florida Water Park Combo 2-day ticket is from £80 per adult and £74 per child (3-12yrs).

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savour Kentucky’s

flavours C

elebrate the flavours, spirits and delicious treats Kentucky is known for – from its home-cooked meals and much-loved bourbon whiskey to its outdoor adventure and bluegrass music. Kentucky is bursting with mouth-watering flavour – from savoury barbecue and the tangy kick of our native beer cheese to the smooth taste of bourbon. So take a trip through Bourbon Country and experience one of our many culinary trails, cultural experiences and limitless natural beauty.

Graze on the tastes of the Bluegrass Wind your way through the picturesque byways that connect Kentucky’s thoroughbred country. Visit the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, home to more than 40 breeds, or explore the history at the Kentucky Derby Museum and Churchill Downs in Louisville. After a full day of horse farm tours, travel the Beer Cheese Trail in Winchester to sample a delicious spread, then wash it down with a cold Ale-8-One, a favourite soft drink bottled in central Kentucky.

Discover the dynamic notes of bourbon Learn about ‘America’s Native Spirit’ at historic distilleries in Bourbon Country. From craft distilleries to the world’s largest bourbon producers,

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many invite visitors to learn about their brands and enjoy a tasting during a behind-the-scenes distillery tour. Suggest clients book a tour of Kentucky Cooperage in Lebanon, where new charred oak barrels are crafted for bourbon production. Don’t miss a chance to take in the nightlife along the Urban Bourbon Trail in Louisville. Try bourbon cocktails and whiskey-infused cuisine such as mint julep pancakes, bourbon barrel-smoked salmon or a bourbon ball milkshake. You only need to visit six venues for a full set of stamps in your Urban Bourbon Trail passport and to claim a free t-shirt and a certificate declaring your membership as a ‘Citizen of Bourbon Country’. But the chances are you will want to visit many more! And while in Louisville, make a stop on the Hot Brown Hop to try a classic Kentucky dish that pairs turkey, bacon and rich cheese sauce into a decadent meal. Then journey to the new B-line in northern Kentucky to explore an inviting collection of craft distilleries, bars and restaurants.

Relish the richness of bluegrass music, art & barbeque Tune your ears to the old favourite sounds of Bill Monroe or enjoy more contemporary tunes taking over the airwaves by top Kentucky artists such as Jordan Smith, Chris Stapleton, and Cage the Elephant. Experience Kentucky’s vibrant arts scene with a visit to Berea and

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watch the artisans at work in their studios. Clients can travel to the beautiful river community of Paducah, a certified UNESCO Creative City and home to the National Quilt Museum. Or they can try a different work of art: the slow-cooked goodness of Kentucky mutton barbeque and burgoo, a thick and hearty stew made with different meats and vegetables.

Brewing up a storm While Kentucky is best known for its bourbon, craft breweries that feature quality brews with local flavour are opening up across the state. At West Sixth Brewery in Lexington you can sip on local favourites such as the rich cocoa porter or enjoy seasonal blends like the half-bite IPA or lemongrass American wheat. Then enjoy a brew and a meal at the adjoining Smithtown Seafood Restaurant.

Fill up on history and wine Discover the story of Kentucky by visiting the birthplaces of Abraham Lincoln, Muhammad Ali and Bill Monroe and learn about the Shakers at Pleasant Hill, home to a large, restored Shaker settlement with over 3,000 acres of pristine countryside. Then enjoy a traditional meal prepared with ingredients straight from the garden.

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America’s first commercial winery was planted in Kentucky over 200 years ago. The rolling fields are the perfect place to grow delicious grapes and numerous wineries and vineyards welcome visitors. Enjoy tastings, tours, concerts and outdoor dining at several vineyards, including Elk Creek, which offers a wide variety of award-winning wines, as well as a gift shop, an art gallery, cooking classes, outdoor concerts and much more.

Feast on epic outdoor adventure Find a hidden cove on one of the thousands of miles of waterways or discover a Kentucky Trail Town, located along major trail systems, which are an ideal place to begin your journey with plentiful opportunities for hiking, canoeing, kayaking and more. Kentucky’s 17 state resort parks provide lodging, delicious dining and activities perfect for all the family. And if all that adventure leaves you feeling hungry, visit the restaurant where the Colonel launched his famous recipe for delicious fried chicken or explore one of the many local farm-to-table restaurants popping up across the state. Get inspiration for your client’s Kentucky travel adventure by visiting:

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Kazakhstan Colossal Kazakhstan is something of a sleeping giant when it comes to tourism profile, but its natural appeal and additional airlift could see it stir, says Andy Hoskins Few countries can truly claim to be off the beaten track, but Kazakhstan makes a strong case. The landlocked former Soviet state is the ninth-largest country in the world yet welcomes very few tourists and is not widely featured by UK tour operators. Vast tracts of windswept and uninhabited steppe cover much of the country, and it is this wilderness and an abundance of natural wonders that form a key part of the country's appeal to visitors. Adventure opportunities and unusual cultural experiences are plentiful – from exploring the wilderness on horseback to overnighting in a yurt or sampling fermented horse milk – while the contrasting cities of Astana, its capital city, and Almaty, the former capital, add further interest. “Travelling in this part of Central Asia is not just a trip through historic cities and mountains dotted with yurts, but a journey through time,” says Exodus Product Manager Tom Harari. “It’s an adventurer’s wonderland. The remains of the Soviet Era, the rise of Islam, the great Persian and Mongol invasions are all around.” Today, Kazakhstan is the largest and richest of the Central Asian 'Stans' thanks to its reserves of oil and minerals, and its wealth is most evident in the modern capital city, Astana. Gleaming new skyscrapers are in abundance, but the most striking structure of all is the Bayterek Tower, topped by a golden, globeshaped viewing platform. In the south of the country, where the featureless plains give way to the imposing, snow-capped Tian Shian mountains, is the former capital, Almaty. With its tree-lined streets, museums, cafe culture and lively nightlife, it would not look out of place in Western Europe.



Among notable sights are the Green Market and Panfilov Park, home to the colourful Zenkov Cathedral – constructed entirely of wood in the early 1900s – and a number of Soviet-era monuments, including a World War II memorial.

Into the wild The two cities provide access to a range of national parks and scenic wonders, with the rich birdlife of Korgalzhyn Nature Reserve (west of Astana) making it a hit with 'twitchers'.

THE DETAILS CAPITAL: Astana TIME ZONE: GMT +5/6hrs CURRENCY: Kazakhstani tenge £1 = 472 tenge LANGUAGES: Kazakh, Russian USEFUL CONTACTS: (tourism authority); (Kazakh embassy in London)

VISAS: Until December 31 2018 visitors can travel to Kazakhstan without a visa, provided their stay does not exceed 30 days, according to government advice ( foreign-travel-advice/kazakhstan)

GET TING THERE: Kazakhstan's national carrier, Air Astana, is increasing its operation between

London Heathrow and Astana from five-times-weekly to a daily service from June 1. Its domestic network covers 12 cities including former capital city Almaty ( BOOK IT: UK-based operators offering trips to Kazakhstan include Regent Holidays, Exodus, Intrepid Travel and Explore.


In the south east, meanwhile, Almaty is within striking distance of the 50-mile-long Charyn Canyon; the barren and rugged Altyn Emel National Park and its 'singing dunes'; and the stunning blue Kolsai and Issyk lakes – the latter being considerably easier to access. Almaty's location at the foot of the Tian Shan mountains means that winter visitors can hit the ski slopes within a 30-minute drive of downtown Almaty. Some 500 miles to the west is Turkistan, a historically important trade and religious centre. Its most famous monument is the 14th century, turquoise-domed mausoleum of scholar Khawaja Ahmad Yasavi, unrivalled in Kazakhstan. Further west still is Baikonur Cosmodrome, the world's oldest and largest space launch facility. Once a secret missile testing site, it was where Tim Peake launched into space in 2015.

Access all areas Travelling to Kazakhstan has never been easier. UK passport holders can visit visa-free and stay for up to 30 days until the end of the year. The best time to visit is April to October. 

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country profile


Croatia The Adriatic country, winning plaudits for the quality of its hotels, restaurants and clean beaches, is expecting more UK and Irish tourists this year, who will arrive on a host of new flights, says Ben Lerwill Don’t miss... Zagreb Croatia’s underrated capital has plenty to win over clients, and is now a bona fide city-break destination in its own right. Expect history, culture, gastronomy and a lively cafe scene. Dubrovnik Croatia’s crown jewel – an intact medieval citadel set against the Adriatic – remains one of the classic sights of European travel. Walk a circuit of the city walls to appreciate its good looks in full. Split Not many coastal cities can claim a 1,700-yearold Roman emperor’s palace right in its heart. Built in 305 AD, the structure is massive and more resembles a fortress than a royal home. Hvar Reputedly the sunniest part of the entire country – and certainly one of the best geared to luxury travellers – the island of Hvar is as famous for its high-end yacht culture as its natural beauty.

My 20-mile pedal, from one of Korcula’s coasts to the other, took me past vineyards full of fat grapes, quiet inlets lined with fishing boats and a succession of sunny, slow-moving villages. For much of the journey, across one of Croatia’s 1,000 islands, the big, brawny slopes of the mainland provided the backdrop. A cycling holiday is just one of any number of different forms a trip to Croatia can take – as UK travellers are discovering. The country had more than 792,000 UK visitors in 2017, up more than 25% on the year before. “Now is a great time for agents to be selling the country,” said Ivona Grgan, Director of the Croatian National Tourist Office (CNTO) UK & Ireland. “Zagreb was Lonely Planet’s top European destination last year; we now have Michelin-starred restaurants in Rovinj, Sibenik and Dubrovnik and our beaches and Adriatic seas are consistently listed among the clearest and most beautiful in the world.” “We are dedicated to showing Croatia’s diversity and authentic charm to travel agents through fam trips and roadshows” she added.

New flights This year sees new services to Dubrovnik from Birmingham, East Midlands, Newcastle, Southend and Manchester, to Pula from Liverpool and Southend, and to Split from Birmingham, Manchester, Gatwick, Bristol and Glasgow. In addition, there’s also a new service from Dublin to Zagreb. Croatia, shaped over time by everyone from the Slavs to the Romans and the Venetians to the Austro-Hungarians, drew more recognition

BOOK IT WITH REGENT HOLIDAYS Priced from £1,445pp, the South Croatia fly-drive holiday is a 13-day exploration of the Dalmatian coast, including three nights apiece in Dubrovnik, Split and Korcula, as well as visits to Ston, Cavtat and Krka National Park. The deal includes flights, car hire and accommodation with breakfast. – 020 3131 2003



in 2017, in the form of two new UNESCOWorld Heritage-listed attractions: St Nicholas Fortress in Sibenik and the fortified city walls of Zadar. On a far more modern note, the new James Bond film – coming out in 2019 with the working title Bond 25 – is rumoured to be using Dubrovnik as a key location. Similarly, the new Tom Hanks blockbuster Black Money Games is to feature several scenes on Hvar. And Dubrovnik already draws Game of Thrones fans, thanks to the Old Town appearing multiple times in the series.

Diverse and accessible “Croatia has a huge variety of holiday options,” says Chris Rand, Sales and Marketing Manager at Balkan Holidays. “There are quality hotels in the resorts and you can dine out in excellent restaurants for value-for-money prices. It has one of the most beautiful coastlines in the world, and you can get from Gatwick to Dubrovnik in just two and a half hours.” No less than 24 new four and five-star hotels opened in 2017, including the four-star Hotel Salona Palace in the Dalmatian town of Solin, just north of Split, and the five-star Hotel Royal Blue in Dubrovnik. Marriott is reported to be opening a new property in Split, as part of the new Westgate development, while Brizenica Bay on Hvar is set to welcome a 148-room Four Seasons Resort, together with 33 Four Seasons private villas. The opening is tentatively set for 2019. And Croatia is not all about sea and sun – Zagreb’s Christmas market has been voted the best in Europe for the past two years. 

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scandinavian capitals


four to the

The Scandinavian capitals, long linked by history and their proximity to the water, are now centres for innovative design and technology as well as gastronomic excellence. Anna Maria Espsäter looks at what’s new



Copenhagen sits on two islands – and this makes all the difference during the summer months when the city really comes alive. Across the strait from Sweden, Copenhagen is home to several Royal Palaces, the quaint harbour area of Nyhavn, the pedestrianised shopping mecca, Strøget, and the somewhat underwhelming Little Mermaid statue of Hans Christian Andersen fame. Exemplified by the waterside restaurant, Noma, which has regularly been voted ‘the world’s best’, Copenhagen is a culinary destination par excellence. The Danish capital retains something of a small-town feel and visitors are never far away from the countryside here.

With Norway’s capital situated on the Oslo Fjord, unsurprisingly many of its key sights can be enjoyed outdoors. These include Vigeland Park, the world’s largest sculpure park, and a more recent addition, Ekeberg Park, a sculture and national heritage park that is free to visit. Then there’s Holmenkollen ski jump and museum; Akershus Fortress, a medieval castle; and the kilometre-long shopping street of Karl Johan. Not to be missed are the Viking Museum and the new Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art. A 30-year project is revitalising a large area along the Oslo Fjord and creating a National Museum on the waterfront.

Above: Colourful Nyhavn, a popular waterside spot for dining and people-watching in Cophenhagen

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scandinavian capitals

Stockholm The largest of the four cities, the Swedish capital is comprised of 14 islands, where the Baltic Sea meets Lake Mälaren. The surrounding archipelago is home to some 30,000 islands, islets and skerries, as well as one of Scandinavia’s finest art centres, Artipelag, which opened in 2012. Well-known for its Old Town, founded in 1252, Stockholm’s main sights, old and new, are spread out over those 14 islands, which are home to Royal Palaces, historic buildings and excellent museums, including the maritime-themed Vasa Museum and the more frivolous ABBA Museum.

and recreational and professional spaces. Nearby Copenhill, an artificial ski slope and hiking area built atop a new green waste management centre, is set to open this autumn. At 85 metres the ski centre’s café roof will have a viewing platform with incredible views of the Danish capital.

Also coming soon

New openings and sustainability: Oslo airport, Gardermoen, has opened a new, sustainable terminal and the Norwegian capital is gaining a reputation as the greenest city in the world. It has been named European Green Capital for 2019, while Lonely Planet recommends Oslo as one of its top 10 places to visit in 2018. Helsinki In Finland, the Amos Rex Museum (, which will include a large Across the Baltic to the east, and spread out over no less than 312 islands, the Finnish exhibition hall underneath the Lasipalatsi capital has the smallest population of Square in Helsinki, is set to open in August. the four cities. In Stockholm the The focal point National Museum “My personal Scandinavian ( will of centenary of reopen in October independence city favourite is Helsinki: after an extensive celebrations in 2017 the elegant Lutheran renovation, while the (to mark the occasion Cathedral is a beautiful Strindberg Museum Finnish passports and ID cards gained building. With a free day to ( is open again, also a new look with explore Finland’s capital, after refurbishment. artwork portraying our guests can really get to The Jewish Museum the landscape of ( has Finnish Lapland, the know this amazing city” new premises in Northern Lights, and Julian Appleyard, Commercial Director, Great Rail Journeys the Old Town and snowflakes) Helsinki in the archipelago, is now looking Utö Fitness Centre will open this forward to a plethora of openings month with an outdoor gym, yoga and events throughout 2018. park, hiking and jogging trails. Scenic Helsinki has plenty of parks and Upcoming events: There are events aplenty green areas in the centre, right by the Baltic, across the four capitals in 2018. Stockholm including an open-air museum and central market. Key modern sights include the abstract is hosting Europride ( from monument to composer Jean Sibelius in July 27 to August 5 and for LGBTQ travellers Sibelius Park, while the great outdoors can there is a new tour operator StandOut Travel be enjoyed on nearby Suomenlinna Island. – Gaycation in Sweden (, focusing on day trips, tailor-made tours and weddings. Design and architecture This year has been dedicated to the tribute Innovative design and architecture are of Swedish film director Ingmar Bergman, big themes across the Nordic region. who would have been 100 in 2018, with Oslo, in particular, is in the midst of a multiple events take place across the city. complete architectural revamp of epic In Copenhagen, Tivoli Gardens ( is proportions. Also known as Fjord City celebrating its 175th anniversary with lots (, it is revitalising old port of events throughout the year, while the areas and former industrial sites. That Copenhagen Jazz Festival ( will mark new National Museum ( its 40th anniversary this year (July 6-15). is due to open near the Fjord in 2020. Food & drink: When it comes to gastronomy, Meanwhile, in Copenhagen, the restaurant openings and new bars, the new BLOX building (, officially scene is booming in all four capitals. inaugurated in May this year, will In Oslo, Galt ( received its first Michelin star only five months after house the Danish Architecture opening and HIMKOK ( has been Centre/Danish Design named one of the world’s best 20 bars. Centre. The unique venue The new Oslo harbour promenade is home will combine homes

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scandinavian capitals

to a number of hip and trendy restaurants while out in the Grűnerløkka district is the new and already hugely popular Vippa foodhall ( Housed in the shell of a former warehouse, the emphasis is on sustainability and multiculturalism – it offers everything from sushi to pho to ghoulash. Scandic’s Stockholm hotel, Downtown Camper ( has opened The Nest Cocktail Lounge, as well as an openair pool, sauna and shower, all atop its roof. There are also more than 20 new restaurants due to open across town. In Helsinki, Chapter cocktail bar (, has recently opened a fine dining restaurant with the same name. Copenhagen’s aforementioned Noma (, by now something of a grandfather of new Nordic cuisine, has reopened in a new location, complete with urban farm. The Copenhagen Street Food Market ( is also moving to a new location this spring. These establishments, offering everything from Nordic cuisine to international fare, just scratch the surface of what are now truly varied culinary destinations.

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Where to book it  GREAT RAIL JOURNEYS – 0800 240 4470 The Highlights of the Baltics & Scandinavia is a 19-day tour of seven countries by rail, including Stockholm, Copenhagen and Helsinki, as well as Riga, Tallinn and St Petersburg. Prices start from £3,995pp for departures May to September 2018 and May to September 2019. Save up to £200pp on 2019 dates when booking before June 1 2018.

 SAGA TRAVEL – 0808 274 4312 Aimed at the 50-plus market, a 14-day Scandinavian capitals and St. Petersburg cruise starts from £2,119pp. It includes Copenhagen, Oslo and Stockholm and offers VIP door-to-door service, full-board, accommodation, activities and a gala buffet.

 KIRKER HOLIDAYS – 0207 593 1899 A six-night Royal Palaces of Denmark tour, focusing on Copenhagen and the surrounding area, is priced from £2198pp and includes return flights, B&B, three dinners, sightseeing and a Kirker lecturer. 

Opposite page, from top; Kiasma Contemporary Art Museum, Helsinki; Stockholm’s Old Town; The Oslo Opera House and floating sculpture She Lies; Copenhagen’s Little Mermaid. Above: Uspenski Orthodox Cathedral, Helsinki

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May 2018


Unique Delta

DELTA will resume the UK's only direct services to Salt Lake City, Utah, and Portland, Oregon, this month. The first flight to Salt Lake


New York draws the crowds LAST year was the eighth consecutive year for record-breaking tourism numbers to New York City (NYC), with the city welcoming an estimated 62.8 million visitors, an increase of 2.3 million visitors over 2016. This number included 13.1 million international visitors, an all-time high. Last year saw several new Midtown attractions debut including National Geographic’s Encounter: Ocean Odyssey, the NFL Experience, Opry City Stage, Gullivers Gate and Spyscape. "NYC has the most active hotel development pipeline in the U.S. Even with the 4,000 new rooms added to the city’s hotel inventory last year – bringing the total to nearly 116,500 rooms – demand remained strong," commented Fred Dixon, President and CEO of NYC & Company.

“Visit USA now boasts over 200 organisations representing the spectrum of providers of travel and tourism to the USA" Tracey Spuyman CEO, Visit USA (UK)

City will leave Heathrow on May 2 whilst the Portland service kicks off two days later on May 4.;;

Grand in California

SMALL group adventure

specialist Grand American Adventures has two new cycling tours to California, the first in a new cycling series the operator is developing. The tours, being offered from SeptemberNovember 2018, will take riders through the state's wine regions and along the Pacific Coast Highway.

Fall for new Hyatt HYATT Place Niagara Falls,

the latest hotel option close to the New York State tourism hot spot, will begin accepting reservations on July 2. A short walk from Niagara Falls State Park and the Maid of the Mist boat right to the base of the falls, the hotel will include an indoor saltwater pool.;

THE USA in brief... UNITED AIRLINES Airlines inaugurated its non-stop seasonal service between Heathrow and Denver last month. Passengers on the first flight enjoyed a special gate celebration which included entertainment from bluegrass band, Hot Rock Pilgrims. The daily service will operate until October 27, 2018.

SPORTS fans heading to Boston this year should note that 2018 marks the 100th anniversary of the Red Sox 1918 World Series title. Learn about this and all things Boston baseball by touring historic Fenway Park on non-match days. The current season is well underway and with over 80 home games there are usually tickets available for visitors. ATTRACTIONS

THE Mob Museum in Las Vegas has unveiled its latest attraction: The Underground Protected by Zappos. This expansive exhibition on the Prohibition period occupies the entire basement level of the museum and includes a working distillery and 'speakeasy'. The museum charts the history of organised crime and police enforcement in the city. ATTRACTIONS

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

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MEMBERS SPOTLIGHT VISIT USA IS ON THE ROAD AGAIN THE annual Visit USARoadshowwill be visiting Manchester, Birmingham and London on October 2, 3 and 4 respectively. Over 30 Visit USA exhibitors will be on hand to provide agents with information and ideas. A holiday to the USA will be up for grabs at each location. Registration opens mid-May. visitusaroadshow. com

BA INCREASES AIRLIFT TO PHOENIX BRITISH Airways has brought back an additional non-stop flight between Heathrow and Phoenix, Arizona. The extra service is currently operating on Tuesdays and Fridays, with a second Sunday service scheduled to be added on May 6. The extra flights, which leave Heathrow at 12:15, will run through October.



RV Re ntals

Cruise America does Dallas

RV RENTALS specialist Cruise America is now offering vehicle rentals in Dallas, Texas. The company, which offers rentals from over 27 depots in the U.S., has four different models with each one selfcontained and including a kitchen, a bathroom (with a hot-water shower), a generator and comfortable sleeping quarters. Tracy Thompson, the company’s International Sales and Marketing Manager commented: “ We have introduced Dallas due to popular demand from our tour operator partners and the increased volume and frequency of flights to the city.” The Lone Star State city is not short of familiar icons: there’s J.R. Ewing of the TV series Dallas; the Dallas Cowboys American football team and the Dallas Farmers Market, one of the largest open-air markets in the country.

Norwegian ups U.S. ante NORWEGIAN will add 150,000 additional seats to the U.S. this summer. The additional longhaul frequencies out of Gatwick will see the airline offering 11 weekly flights to Los Angeles, daily flights to Boston, six flights a week to Oakland, three flights a week to Fort Lauderdale and four flights a week to Orlando. Norwegian also flies to Chicago and Austin.

Electric in San Diego

ELECTRIC Eel, San Diego’s tallest and fastest rollercoaster with loops, twists and plenty of adrenaline-pumping airtime, will open at SeaWorld California on May 12. Riders will reach speeds of more than 60 mph and rocket skywards to nearly 150 feet.

What are the main benefits of Visit USA membership? We can glean and share market knowledge. Plus, Visit USA runs a fantastic network of trade and consumer events. How well does the trade know Washington state? Seattle is becoming better known. Agents know the Space Needle and perhaps the Museum of Pop Culture and the whale-watching opportunities (out of Seattle). More of a challenge is the state as a whole. Few realise we have wine-tasting experiences and three national parks, or the fact you can drive from Seattle to Vancouver in two and half hours – so can have a two-nation vacation! What news should agents be highlighting to clients? Last year Norwegian introduced four flights a week out of Gatwick; Virgin took over the Delta route and we now have at least a daily flight with British Airways. This month (May) Aer Lingus launches from Dublin to Seattle (four times a week) and there will be two flights a week from Manchester with Thomas Cook Airlines. Tell us your own favourite experiences in Washington It has to be whale-watching from Seattle. We watched them for over two hours.

Subscribe to the Visit USA Association online Travel Update at

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solo travel

single ticket

Solo travel is soaring in popularity, with operators across the board doing more to attract single customers. Katherine Lawrey explores some of the options

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solo travel


fancy spending Christmas somewhere different, somewhere more exotic than the English village where I grew up. But I don’t want to spend it on my own so I book an escorted tour, for the company and the seasonal cheer. On the way to the airport I start to balk at the thought of Christmas with strangers and missing out on my mum’s turkey and all the trimmings, but it’s too late now! Three days later, on Christmas Eve, I find myself in the company of 16 other like-minded souls, squished across three tables in the dining car of an overnight train from Bangkok to Chiang Mai. Coloured paper chains criss-cross the ceiling, electro-pop music is blaring from the speakers and the cold beers are plentiful. It’s not long before we are dancing, and the train bounces along in time to the music. This is the night that bonds us, and when we wake the next morning, after a night bundled in our train bunks, I swap Christmas greetings with new friends. We celebrate New Year’s Eve in a homestay in Vang Vieng, eating traditional Laotian food and swapping national games and songs with the villagers. There’s no wifi to

wish friends and family at home a happy New Year, but I don’t feel lonely because our group now feels like one big family.

Never alone More than 40% of G Adventures’ UK customers last year were solo travellers. The group tour operator doesn’t charge solo supplements, meaning single travellers are not penalised – but they are paired with another solo traveller to share a room. There’s a chance, however, your client could have their own room, if the numbers work out in their favour. “The opportunity to explore off-thebeaten track destinations in a small group, while making meaningful connections with like-minded travellers and local communities, makes us increasingly popular with the solo market,” says Brian Young, Managing Director at G Adventures. He adds: “The safety and security that comes as part of travelling with a group is particularly important to our female travellers, who make up over 60% of our UK solo numbers.” G Adventures’ tours tend to attract all ages, from twenties to fifties, but if your clients are that bit older and want a similar age group then consider Collette. In February the company reported 25% of forward bookings for 2018 had been made by solo travellers. And clients willing to share a room with another solo traveller won’t be charged a single supplement. Alternatively, look out for ‘no single supplement’ offers, which are on the increase. Great Rail Journeys is one operator that, from time to time, release these, with around 15% of its customers single travellers. Tours currently on offer with no single supplement include a Grand Tour of Switzerland; the Italian Riviera, and India’s Golden Triangle and Tiger Safari. Alex Roberts, Group Marketing and Sales Director, says: “An escorted group tour with


Great Rail Journeys is certainly not a couplesonly affair! There is always a social atmosphere on our group tours and the freedom to be as involved as the customer prefers.” The default suggestion for single travellers is usually an escorted tour, but there are other options. “Many single travellers want a ‘normal’ holiday: sun, sea, relaxation and our house parties provide that, in a sociable atmosphere with the support of our hosts,” said Colum McLornan, Managing Director of Friendship Travel. Some cruise ships are targeting solos - Norwegian Cruise Line has studio staterooms on five of its ships and offers hosted bar crawls for solos to break the ice, and Cunard’s recently remastered Queen Mary 2 introduced 15 single staterooms. Singles Specialist Just You has a range of options like city breaks and beach holidays. Health and wellbeing addicts should look at September Solos, a month when the

Opposite page: Cycling in Saint Lucia with The BodyHoliday. This page, clockwise from top left: Great Rail Journeys’ Glacier Express; Titan in Morocco; meet new friends on a singles tour; Riviera has a Danube trip aboard the Oscar Wilde; the Yangtzee river – China is ripe for escorted tours

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Escorted tours exclusively for solo travellers Holidays for solo travellers cost less than you think...

This collection is built on a selection of tried, tested and loved itineraries and are now available for those travelling on their own. An airport meet and greet service and welcome dinners are added to ensure our solo travellers’ needs are perfectly met.

Why choose Riviera Travel?

Fantastic value holidays for solo travellers Which? Travel Brand of the Year 2017 Great levels of commission paid on the whole holiday price Thoughtfully-balanced, tailored itineraries The industry’s’ finest tour managers

Order your brochures at Tradegate

CONTACT US FOR AGENCY SALES SUPPORT Call: 01283 744307 or email:


CALL RESERVATIONS 7 DAYS A WEEK To book: 01283 744370 or book online: Prices are based on two people sharing and are correct at time of print. Single supplements may apply. Solo holidays are operated by and subject to booking conditions of Riviera Travel, ABTA V4744 ATOL 3430 protected. Subject to availability. Additional entrance cost may apply. Images used in conjunction with Riviera Travel.

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solo travel

BodyHoliday resort in Saint Lucia offers additional activities and hosting for solos, which brings a spike in individual bookings. The Maldives Mirihi Island is running a solo travel special until September 30 which removes single supplements. Solo guests can enjoy sunset sailing trips, whale shark safaris, yoga classes, football and the weekly beach cinema.

What’s new Titan ( attracts solo travellers by offering low single supplements on its tours and cruises, from £100 to £300 across a range of cabins on Titan’s exclusively chartered MS Serenade 1 throughout 2018 and for 2019 the operator has increased its selection of longhaul holidays reserved for solo travellers, to the likes of China, Sri Lanka, Morocco and Vietnam. Galapagos, Ecuador, Transylvania and the Inca Trail head the 12 new tours that Just You ( has launched for 2018 and 2019. Highlights of the 15-day Galapagos tour, from £6,599pp, include seeing giant tortoises on Santa Cruz Island and hiking up Sierra Negra Volcano. Just You has also introduced a range of walking holidays, helping clients explore Cyprus, Malta, Spain, Nepal and the UK on foot. Riviera Travel ( has a new China tour aimed at solo travellers. The 16-day tour, priced from £3,399pp, will depart March 19 2019 and will cover the country’s highlights such as the Great Wall of China, the Terracotta Warriors in Xian, the Chengdu Research Base of giant panda breeding and a Yangtze River cruise.

Top experiences Age no barrier to adventure: Clients with an appetite for adventure may be tempted by Saga’s Ethiopia tour: An Antique Land for Solo Travellers. It will feature spectacular scenery and an array of cultural treasures. The 12-night tour starts from £2,699pp, including Heathrow to Addis Ababa flights, 11 nights’ accommodation, 33 meals and a VIP door-to-door travel service. Departures are on October 10 and November 14, 2018. On the river: Riviera Travel has two new dedicated river cruises for solo travellers this year including the Blue Danube River Cruise for Solo Travellers. The eight-day tour on the Oscar Wilde is from £1,299pp. Departing November 1 it includes guided tours of Vienna, Bratislava and Budapest, a classical quartet recital onboard and a cruise through Austria’s scenic Wachau region. Best foot forward: For clients who are keen walkers, Ramblers Walking Holidays has no single supplements on a range of holidays such as the seven-night Walking the Moselle Trail in south-west Germany. Prices start from £1,075pp on selected dates in July and August 2018, with all transport costs included and half-board accommodation at the Hotel Karl Noss.


the group will explore green pine forests and tea plantations; visit the spiritual centres of Amritsar and Dharamshala, and take the Himalayan Toy Train from Shimla to Kandaghat. The lead-in price is £2,699pp, based on single room occupancy.

 G ADVENTURES – 0344 272 2060 A new 10-day Sailing Greece tour sails around the Cyclades. With a maximum group size of eight sleeping aboard a 52ft catamaran, the flexible tour starts and ends in Mykonos. A skipper is in charge at all times so no sailing experience is necessary. From £1,129pp excluding flights and meals. 

Where to book it  TITAN – 0800 988 5873 The operator has a small group solo departure on October 17, 2019 for a 12-day tour In the foothills of the Himalaya. Travelling from Delhi,

Clockwise from top left: a giant tortoise in the Galapagos; beautiful Bratislava; Sigiriya rock fortress in Sri Lanka; photographing the blue lakes of Nepal

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the review

Tourism Update

Titan’s rush on river cruise

CAROL HAY UK Manager, Caribbean Tourism Organization

JOIN US ON THE ROAD! Come and join the Caribbean Tourism Organization’s award-winning Caribbean Agent Training Roadshows across the UK and Ireland: May 8, Dublin; May 9, Galway; May 10, Cork; May 21, Aberdeen; May 22, Glasgow; June 13, London; June 14, Brighton; June 20, Jersey; June 21, Guernsey; September 19, Newcastle; and September 20, Liverpool. To attend in Ireland, email Michelle Ryan, For UK events, register at caribbeantravelguru. com/reg-form.html

For any queries, please contact Florian Devillers on 020 8948 0057 or at As usual, agents have the chance to win some great prizes, by completing and by logging Caribbean bookings on Those agents that become Caribbean Travel Gurus during May have the chance to win £50 of Love2Shop Vouchers and if you make and log your Caribbean bookings, you could win an additional £100 of Love2Shop Vouchers! Just when you thought things couldn’t get any better, the CTO will be hosting a multi-centre fam trip to the Caribbean from May 30 to June 7 2018. If you haven’t yet completed Caribbean Travel Guru to be eligible for a place, now is the time to do so! For more information on Caribbean Travel Guru, please email Ann-Marie Brooks at or call 020 8948 0057

Caribbean Tourism Organization Suites 52A & 53, 5th Floor AMP House, Dingwall Road, Croydon, Surrey CR0 2LX Tel: 0208 948 0057


TITAN has launched its new River Cruise brochure for 2019, and an agent incentive for May. The brochure has 24 new itineraries on the Dutch Waterways, Rhine and Danube on board its exclusively chartered river cruise vessels, the recently-refurbished MS Serenade 1 and the new four-star 180-passenger MS Bellejour, which has a spa, restaurant and lounge bar with floorto-ceiling windows, plus a sun deck with wraparound views. The brochure offers the first chance for passengers to book a 2019 river cruise and select their cabin at the same time. Guests who confirm their holiday by June 26 2018 can benefit from a low deposit of £99pp. Titan has increased the number of

regional flights for its guests and on arrival they will receive a complimentary transfer between the destination airport and ship and back at the end of the cruise. The brochure also features late availability on MS Serenade departures for 2018. This includes the 10-day Lucerne and the Legends of Germany itinerary (departing October 4 from £1,899pp), combining a seven-night cruise with two nights at the Wilden Mann Hotel, Lucerne. New itineraries include the one-off In the Footsteps of Turner itinerary (departing August 22, 2019 from £1,599pp), which features special talks from an art historian. For every river cruise booking in May agents can claim a £20 Lifestyle voucher and a cuddly Bubbles the fish.

Did you know?

Six of the best from Qatar QATAR Airways is to launch direct flights to its hub in Doha from both Cardiff (May 1) and Gatwick (May 22). The introduction of the two cities means the airline serves six UK airports, adding to Heathrow, Manchester, Birmingham, and Edinburgh. Both the daily service from Cardiff and the double-daily service from Gatwick will be operated by a Boeing Dreamliner 787 aircraft. The flight from Cardiff - the first direct flight linking Wales and the South West to a major global hub in the Gulf region seven days a week – will leave Cardiff at 15.55 on Monday, Wednesday and Saturday, arriving 00.50 and leave 08.10 on Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday, arriving at 17.05. The Gatwick flights will depart at 09.00 (arriving 17.40), and 15:25 (arriving at 00:05). There will also be a third seasonal service, operating from June 15 to September 29.

GERMANY has more than

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300 restaurants with one or

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National Tourist Board is pushing


food tourism, which attracts

offers something for all tastes.

€6.7billion a year.




cosmopolitan restaurant

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and buzzy markets are going

value for money, with affordable

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innovation, with new twists on


smaller, regional,

family-run restaurants, which

traditional favourites.” Beatrix

are found all over the country.

Haun, Director, GNTO UK & Ireland

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the review

Tonga-Samoa link REAL Tonga Airlines and Samoa Airways have signed a codeshare agreement that sees the two airlines sharing a new route service between Tongatapu, Tonga to Apia Faleolo Airport, Samoa (via Vava’u, Tonga), using a 30-seater aircraft SAAB340. The twice-weekly service (Mondays and Fridays) starts May 4. This new route will save travellers time and money as the alternative flight options are via Fiji or Auckland, involving an overnight stay and taking 30 hours to complete. The new service will take three hours and 15 minutes to Samoa and the flight’s schedule will improve connections with Pago Pago, American Samoa’s capital and Honolulu, Hawai’i. Samoa has direct flights from Auckland, Brisbane, Honolulu, Nadi, Pago Pago and Sydney - and now Tonga.;

UK launch of National Geographic Expeditions


NATIONAL Geographic Expeditions has expanded into the UK market, offering experiences that aim to embody adventure, conservation and education. The trips operate across all seven continents, with more than 80 destinations to choose from, including small-ship cruises to the Galapagos Islands, Iceland or the Arctic starting from £3,975, a stay in over 59 luxury eco-lodges, ranging from £55 per night, or private tours to destinations such as Chile’s Easter Island, from £750pp. Travellers may find themselves on trips with a zoologist who identified new mammal species or an

adventurer who’s climbed 17,000ft peaks. Nathan Philpot, Travel Director (Europe & Africa) of National Geographic Expeditions said: “On our Land and Small Ship Expeditions travel agents will typically earn £1,500 per booking. This will be lower on our Small Group Tour – National Geographic Journeys where we offer a more accessible price point and significantly higher on our Private Jet Expeditions where agents can earn over £10,000 per booking!” A portion of the proceeds from National Geographic trips fund more research.


Maldives gets a new Marriott JW Marriott Maldives Resort & Spa will be the newest resort in the Maldives when it opens on the island of Vagaru, Shaviyani Atoll, in November. Highlights at the 61-villa property will include a treetop restaurant, four other restaurants an expansive wine cellar, an open-air cinema, a house reef complete with marine life, an on-site marine biologist and a Kid’s Club and a Spa, both by JW. The secluded one- and twobedroom beach villas, set amongst lush greenery, will each have their own private beach area and pool. The over-water suites with private pools will stand on stilts over the Laccadive Sea. The water sports and dive centre will run deep-sea fishing, sailing excursions, para-sailing, jet skiing, kayaking, line-fishing, kite surfing, diving and more.

Alicia is key to Aruba

Experience a wider range of The Gambia THE Gambia Experience’s biggest-ever brochure features holidays and experiences for travel between November 2018 and October 2019. Included alongside multi-centres and a wider choice of Senegal twin-centres are beachfront hotels, floating river and jungle lodges, up-river camps, spa resorts, wildlife reserves (including a chimpanzee rehabilitation camp) and wildlife and birdwatching tours led by BBC presenter Chris Packham. Holidays are priced from £649pp - based on seven nights B&B at African Village Hotel, including flights and transfers. The Gambia Experience operates year-round charter flights to The Gambia from Gatwick, with Star Class and Star Plus upgrades available during winter and regional departures from Manchester and Birmingham in winter.

ALICIA Keys is the key headline performer at this month’s Soul Beach Music Festival, on the Dutch Caribbean island of Aruba (May 23 to 28). The 15-time Grammy award-winning singer and actress will be on stage on Saturday, May 26. It will be the 18th edition of the music festival, one of Aruba’s most popular annual events. Aruba lies just 15 miles north of the South American coastline. TUI is to operate a weekly charter departure from Gatwick between May and October 2018 and tour operators offering packages to Aruba include TUI, First Choice, Virgin Holidays, Kuoni, Hayes & Jarvis and Black Tomato.;

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the review

Shearings give families a break SHEARINGS Holidays has a new eight-page family brochure showcasing UK and Europe holidays for families. Packages are available for attractions including Cadbury World, the Warner Bros. Harry Potter studio tour, Disneyland® Paris and Efteling. For each of the holidays featured, Shearings has indicated the age group that they are most suitable for: Tiny Tots (up to four years), Juniors (five-10 years) and 10 years-plus. There are also details of what is included in each package, such as tickets and excursions, to demonstrate the products’ value. A seven-night deal staying at Lake Como Apartments, which can accommodate up to 10, leads in at £654 for adults and £589 for children. The price includes return flights, resort transfers and seven nights’ self-catering accommodation.

AmaMagna debuts


AMAWATERWAYS will debut its newest ship, AmaMagna, in May 2019. The vessel will be the operator’s biggest to date. The 196-passenger ship will be almost twice the width of traditional river cruise vessels and will sail the new Danube itinerary that will be featured in AmaWaterways’ 2019 programme. AmaMagna aims to increase the passenger-to-space ratio with some of the largest living spaces in river cruising, including 98 staterooms. It will also feature multiple dining options such as a glass-enclosed restaurant and more onboard activities, with a push on wellness. News of the launch follows record bookings for the trade-only operator after an appearance in Channel 5’s Cruising with

Sheraton Full Moon Maldives for less

Jane McDonald earlier this year lead to an influx in sales. Its AmaDara ship was featured in the latest series, which saw McDonald sail along the Mekong River stopping in Hanoi, Halong Bay and Siem Reap along the way. Jamie Loizou, Sales, Marketing and Digital Director for AmaWaterways commented: “We were so busy with bookings after that show that our phone lines crashed. This year we have experienced a 58% year-on-year growth and a 45% repeat booking rate. Featuring on such a popular show definitely ensured we were at the forefront of people’s minds when booking a rivercruise. I think Jane McDonald has opened up the world of cruising.”

Saga’s all in for Marrakech SAGA has a seven-night allinclusive deal to Marrakech, priced from £399pp. The package includes all meals with accommodation at the Iberostar Club Palmeraie, a free bar open 15 hours a day, wine and water at lunch and dinner, free wifi, fruit and water on arrival, a Saga representative, porterage at the hotel, a tourist visa and transfers. The deal is available during September 2018 and April 2019, with flights from Gatwick. Saga has created four ‘Time to’ holiday styles: Go for it, Stay & Explore, Discover and Unwind. Each style helps guests decide on a holiday that feels right for them. The Marrakech holiday is in the Unwind category. The 318-room hotel is set in an 11-acre garden, with views of the Atlas Mountains, three pools, a fitness centre, spa and sauna and tennis courts.

Antigua’s new wellness retreat

TRADE - FRIENDLY wholesaler Osborne & Ebel has a special deal for Sheraton Full Moon Maldives. Five nights start from £375pp on a full-board basis, including return speedboat transfers for travel between now and October 31 and between May 1 and October 31, 2019. The resort is set in North Male Atoll and offers multiple dining options, a fantastic beach and a great selection of activities. For details contact:

THE Great House, a 400-year-old former sugar plantation, has opened Antigua’s newest wellness sanctuary retreat. Set in the 26-acre Mercers Creek estate, the health, fitness and wellness retreat gives guests access to nutritionists, fitness instructors, masseurs, yoga and meditation experts. Illustrious past guests have included the Kennedys, Greta Garbo, HRH Princess Margaret and Humphrey Bogart, said current owner, Janey Howell.

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the review

Dusit’s brand for millennials Dusit International has launched a new brand, ASAI Hotels, aimed at pairing travellers with authentic local experiences in cities and resorts worldwide. Set to launch Q1 2019, with the first hotel in Bangkok’s Chatuchak Market, ASAI Hotels is being touted as an affordable lifestyle brand and will follow a sustainable, communityfocused concept, with each property designed to reflect the culture and heritage of its location through collaborations with local artisans. ASAI hotels will leverage the latest technology like self-check-in kiosks and online guides that link guests with local experiences. Five more hotels will open in 2019 – three in Cebu, Philippines, one in Yangon, Myanmar and one in Bangkok’s Sathorn district.

Explore further, says Bali

NEWS TO USE IN BRIEF GERMANY’S National Tourist Board announced a 7.9% increase in British overnight stays for January 2018, compared to the same month last year. The UK is now the second most important source market for Germany, ahead of the USA, Switzerland, Italy and France. Ireland also performed strongly for January, with a 14.1% increase in overnight stays. germanytravel LA R I V E P E N T H O U S E has opened for exclusive-use bookings on Cape Town’s platinum mile in Mouille Point. The deluxe penthouse accommodates up to eight and has a rooftop pool, gym, butler service, full breakfast, all beverages and 24-hour security. Prices start from R75,000 per night.


BALI Tourism Board is hosting a fam trip for UK operators to highlight its ‘A Different Side of Paradise’ programme. The trip, which will run in the second quarter of 2018, will present destinations in Bali such as Ubud, Pemuteran and Uluwatu, in addition to Bali’s popular Kuta, Sanur and Nusa Dua areas. It follows the Bali and Beyond UK Roadshow this March, which asked agents to encourage their customers to venture beyond the tourist hot spots. The tourism board was accompanied by 18 companies for the roadshow: tourism bodies and specialised Bali operators and

hotels, as well as airline Garuda Indonesia. Gilda Sagrado from Bali Tourism Board said: “Listening to our UK partners, Bali has put together a programme to introduce new destinations. We want to maintain our good arrival numbers from the UK by promoting these as well as specialised tours specifically aimed at the UK market.” Bali has enjoyed consistent double-digit growth for the past three years, with UK arrivals the highest amongst European countries into Bali. For more details on the fam trip agents can email:

L.A. Tourism launches new training programme BY JESSICA POOK

THE LOS ANGELES Tourism & Convention Board has launched L.A. Insider, a new training tool for agents selling L.A. The online programme will keep agents up-to-date with the latest tourism offerings and help them sell the city. Completion of training gives agents access to discounts and specials from L.A. members, the chance to participate in fams and a certificate. L.A. Insider will provide access to L.A. Tourism’s marketing assets, sales collateral such as factsheets, maps and videos and neighbourhood tours in virtual reality. Said Francine Sheridan, L.A. Tourism. “New restaurants, attractions and hotels are opening up quickly and it can be difficult to stay on top of new developments – L.A. Insider aims to provide the travel trade with a one-stop-shop.” An L.A. Insider app is also available to download.

GREAT LAKES USA, which represents Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, Indiana, Ohio and Wisconsin, has launched a new website for the UK and Ireland markets. The site is aimed at consumers and trade, with a focus on the experiences that can be enjoyed in the region, such as music, golf and shopping. It also includes suggested itineraries. THE AZORES saw a surge in UK visitors in the last quarter of 2017, with the number increasing by 14.6% over the same period in 2016. A new seasonal Ryanair route from Manchester Airport to Ponta Delgada, the capital of São Miguel, will launch in June and run to October. CLIA will hold agent showcase events in Manchester and Norwich focusing on the luxury cruise and river cruise sectors. Around 70 places will be available at each event, held in September. LATVIAN airline airBaltic has launched a direct service between Gatwick and Tallinn, the Estonian capital. The flight time of the twiceweekly service is around three hours.

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STD Cruise advert.indd 1

4/24/18 02:37 PM

the review: news in focus...


Gold Coast, Queensland It was all fun and games on Australia’s Gold Coast last month as the 2018 Commonwealth Games rolled into town - and the destination ‘reinvented’ itself for the occasion ALL IMAGES ARE COURTESY OF GOLD COAST TOURISM

Visitors enjoy golden moments The Gold Coast in Queensland was in the spotlight last month as it hosted the 2018 Commonwealth Games. Up to 4,500 athletes from 71 nations – competing for 275 gold medals – and 600,000 visitors descended on the metropolitan region south of Brisbane, on Australia’s east coast. “Hotels, restaurants, attractions and tours have enjoyed a surge of interest, and benefited from many visitor markets they were previously less familiar with,” said Destination Gold Coast’s CCEO Martin Winter. The destination is a popular holiday getaway due to attractions that include 57 kilometres of sandy beaches (with surf breaks perfect for both pros and beginners), a system of inland canals and waterways stretching for 250km and family attractions including theme parks like Dreamworld, Sea World and Wet’n’Wild. Inland, visitors will find 100,000 hectares of rainforests, including the World Heritagelisted Gondwana Rainforest, with panoramic views and waterfalls. Hiking trails criss-cross Lamington National Park’s mountain ridges and valleys, home to rare birds and rainforest.

New Gold Coast Returning Brits who have previously visited the Gold Coast a few years back will certainly notice changes today, says Jan Hutton, Chief Marketing Officer of Gold Coast Tourism “The lure of the white sandy beaches and blue skies of the Gold Coast has put us on the ‘must visit’ list for generations of UK holiday-makers. Today Brits are taking a second look at our city, because we’re not the place they used to know.” “Just like traveller expectations, our city has evolved. Yes, we’re still home to incredible beaches and theme parks, but there is now so much more to the Gold Coast story.” Hutton added: “Through two years of research and consultation, we’ve discovered that what distinguishes the Gold Coast in an everincreasing world of choice for travellers is not actually our beaches or theme parks. Instead, it’s the unmistakable life affirming energy that lives here. “It’s the promise of what a visitor will feel

when they come here. It’s your shoulders relaxing as you look toward the rainforest canopy or stand beneath a waterfall in our hinterland. It’s meeting locals at a street food market in the back streets. It’s chatting with the brewer over a cold craft beer and discovering new and unique neighbourhoods off the wellworn path. “

Upgrades Destination Gold Coast’s CCEO Martin Winter said the Gold Coast’s tourism industry had been preparing for the Games since 2011. More than $13.5 billion (around £8.3 billion) has been pumped into major infrastructure projects that will leave a lasting legacy for city residents. A signature development is the Gold Coast Cultural Precinct, a new hub for arts, culture and creative enterprises aimed at locals and visitors alike. The new outdoor space will cater for festivals, cinema, concerts and events.

“Travellers want memories over monuments, and the Gold Coast is rising to the challenge” Jan Hutton, Chief Marketing Officer, Gold Coast Tourism

BOOK IT WITH AUSTRAVEL A trade-only 14-night deal is from £2,349pp. It includes Emirates flights from Gatwick or Heathrow, 11 days’ car hire, three nights at the four-star Pullman Hotel, Brisbane; seven nights at the four-star Vibe Hotel, Surfers Paradise; a Croc Express transfer to Australia Zoo; a 60-minute balloon ride along the coast with O’Reilly’s Vineyard, and four nights at the four-star O’Reilly’s Rainforest Retreat. Selected travel in November 2018. – 0808 250 4889

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prime time

Tokyo, Mt. Fuji, cherry blossoms and geishas remain Japan’s tourism mainstays but there are plenty of ways to experience a more traditional and complex Japan, says Rowena Marella-Daw



wo gnarling giant deities greet me at the gates of Danjo Garan’s temple complex in Koyasan, the starting point of my journey through the ancient Kumano Kodo trails, Japan’s spiritual heartland. Just behind them another deity awaits, grinning with four fangs. By now my senses are awake to the stillness around me; the bright vermilion pagodas; the aroma of incense; fresh mountain air enveloping Mt Koya in Wakayama prefecture. The road to salvation is long indeed. Next door, I trail pilgrims perusing Okunoin cemetery’s two-kilometre cobbled path which leads to the grand mausoleum of Kobo Daishi, founder of Shingon Buddhism. Steep slopes cradle this sanctum, with towering pine and cedar trees from which slivers of sunlight peek. There are thousands of gravestones and stupas, some as ancient as the 1,200-year old forest. Every few yards I stop and ponder who these souls were. My guide is way ahead with the group, but I catch up and ask the question: “Why are some statues adorned with red bonnets and bibs? “They represent Jizo, a deity who protects children who died from unfortunate circumstances, and are trapped in the underworld,” she answers, with passion. “There are shrines dedicated to samurai warlords and heads of corporations too,” she adds. With those thoughts, I spend the night at a ryokan in Yonumine Onsen, a hot spring village set deep in Mount Koya.

Good to go Japan’s wealth of natural wonders, culture, history, arts and culinary gems can be mind-boggling, particularly for first-time visitors. Fortunately, there are many tour packages designed to introduce Japan neophytes to the country’s many facets. COURTESY OF ROWENA MARELLA-DAW

Left: the 50-metre-high Konpon Daito Pagoda, or Great Pagoda, in Koyasan; one of its grinning deities

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However, a deeper understanding and Continue the spiritual journey exploring the appreciation of Japan requires more than just Kumano Kodo pilgrimage trails. Learn about ninjas: Iga City, home of one visit, and savvy travellers are looking ancient Ninja clans, is a quiet enclave for bespoke, prefecture-focused experiences that belies an intriguing past, when Ninjas beyond the usual Mt. Fuji, geishas and worked alongside warring samurai clans. At cherry blossom – spring is the peak season Iga’s Ninja Museum of Iga-Ryu (, in Japan, where there are tonnes of cherry experts demonstrate traditional Ninjutsu tactics blossom-related festivals going on. and weaponry skills, while a guided tour reveals There’s a growing interest in traditional typical escape doors, traps and hiding places. culinary encounters, so much so that specialist Meet a local teashop owner whose grandfather tour operators are curating authentic was a bona fide Ninja. gastronomic itineraries that take clients Become a to the very heart of samurai: Japan’s foodie culture. “There’s a rising Explore the world of This year is a good time to visit – and for demand for self-catering samurai warriors at Toei Kyoto Studio Park various reasons. With traditional townhouses ( the 2019 Rugby World (machiya), which are html), a working film Cup and the 2020 great places to stay, studio backlot set in Summer Olympics the Edo period and looming, prices will particularly in Kyoto” complemented by go up, and sports fans Ruth Hubbard, Japan Product Manager, Inside Japan kid-friendly samuraiwill descend upon the themed shows. Or in country. So visiting this Tokyo, join a fascinating guided tour at the year presents an opportunity to experience Samurai Museum ( in Shinjuku. Japan for what it truly is – tranquil and Eat like a local: Getting under the skin spiritual, yet quirky and innovative. of Japan means devouring its culinary Compared with, say, Switzerland and culture. Visit the Shinyokohama Ramen museum the Nordic countries, Japan is certainly ( in Yokohama. Japanese affordable, and as David Peat, Sales & whiskies are winning awards, so book (months Operations Executive at JTB Europe Ltd ahead) for a tour of a distillery, the best known says, “Japan offers incredible value for of which is the Suntory Yamazaki Distillery money in terms of exceptional service ( outside Kyoto. levels, and the current exchange rate is Dive with Ama divers: Meet the more favourable compared to what it was legendary Ama female divers in the following the post-Brexit referendum”. coastal village of Osatu in Ise-Shima (iseshima-t. com/en/tours.html) and you can even dive with Think outside the Bento Get spiritual: When Japan’s big cities them. They have kept the 3,000-year old overwhelm, escape to the mountains, tradition of free-diving alive - once a lucrative where the tranquil atmosphere will revive the livelihood for women, wearing only loincloths soul. At Koyasan in the Kii Peninsula, spend an and diving for pearl oysters. The oldest is Reiko, hour of meditation followed by a meal of shojin 85, who retired seven years ago. Here, they tell ryori, the traditional Buddhist vegetarian their tales, grill fresh catch for visitors, and cuisine, and stay at a temple lodging (shukubo). perform a traditional dance.





18 11:38


Clockwise from top left: A disciple of Iga-ryu Ninjutsu; the bright lights of Osaka; Ama pearl divers; find spiritual peace on the Kumano Kodo pilgrimage trail; fine dining and great food is one of Japan’s draw cards

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Clockwise from top left: the three-tiered Seigantoji Temple, Nachikatsura-cho; Toei Kyoto Studio, a theme park where visitors can watch the filming of period dramas; a walkway in Sagano Bamboo Forest, Kyoto; view of Takayama - the city hosts a popular biannual festival featuring floats and puppet shows; Shin-Yokohama ramen Museum, a food court devoted to Japanese ramen noodle soup






What’s new modern budget hotel in Tokyo is available from Hotels and resorts: Club Med Tomamu £46. Flight prices from the UK to Japan have also Hokkaido ( dropped this year, with the current best offer being opened in January, offering access to Japan’s £585 return with Air France. largest indoor wave pool, Mina-Mina beach. “Almost 311,000 UK visitors travelled to Japan Hotel Gracery ( will open its in 2017, a 6.2% increase from the previous year. 10th property in autumn this year, located “UK tour operators and cruise companies in Tokyo’s historic Asakusa district. are reporting that Japan has become very Tourism trends: Osaka is dubbed as ‘Japan’s popular, with sales going well, especially kitchen’ and is also said to nurture the highest for autumn and spring departures when number of comedians. It’s also gearing up to travellers can marvel at the gorgeous autumn become a ‘wellness destination’ with packages colours and stunning cherry blossoms. incorporating medical “However, these two check-ups, massages, periods are not must“Courtesy and forest meditation, visit times. Our mild consideration for others climate in spring is vegetarian meals and visits to hot springs. are a top priority in Japan, replicated in autumn, up Sports tourism: The to early November, and especially on trains” Okinawa Karate allows visitors to explore Rowena Marella-Daw, Travel Writer Kaikan (karatekaikan. Japan comfortably.” jp) opened in Naha, Yumi Takakubo, Head of Okinawa’s capital last year. Trade Marketing and Partnerships, JNTO London Facilities include a museum, four competition Where to book it courts, training and seminar rooms.  INSIDE JAPAN TOURS – 0117 370 9730 Airlines and airports: The opening Highlights of the Honshu Hiking Self-Guided of Okinawa’s third international Adventure include a visit to Mt. Takao, trekking airport, scheduled for autumn 2018, is along the Nakasendo Way, stays in traditional expected to boost visitor arrivals. family-run ryokans and a five-day journey along ANA ( has launched a daily Chef Service in the ANA Lounge at Haneda the Kii Peninsula’s Kumano Kodo trails, one of Airport, and is now serving sake in only two UNESCO-registered pilgrimage routes Economy Class on international flights. in the world. The package starts from £2,630pp, JAL ( offers a Premium Night with 16 nights’ B&B, meals and a seven-day Japan Flight programme designed to maximize Rail Pass. International flights are not included. sleeping time on board by dimming cabin  PETTITTS – 01892 250 708 lights soon after takeoff, and serving the Sushi and Samurai – A Food Tour of Japan first meal seven hours into the flight. showcases a hotpot of culinary experiences: Tourism talk lessons from a soba chef, a sushi-making “Japan is expensive!’ is one of the masterclass, a visit to Osaka’s Dotonbori frequent comments I hear from agents. restaurant quarter and a breakfast at Tokyo’s But right now the pound is worth 150 Tsukiji fish market. The 15-day trip starts from yen, making Japan great value for British £5980pp, with flights, guided sightseeing in Tokyo, travellers. In Tokyo, a one-day metro card is £4, a Kyoto and Osaka, train travel and accommodation.  sushi lunch starts at just £6, and a room at a

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six of the best


roadtrips through



The wide open roads of Alberta are perfect to explore by car. Check out these great itineraries, packed with activities for all seasons, says Laura Gelder The Great Northwest Starting in Edmonton, this action-packed itinerary can start with a trip to the Art Gallery of Alberta or historic Fort Edmonton Park. It continues under wide open skies to Whitecourt and its top hiking trails; Grande Prarie (pictured) for local art and dinosaur digs; Grande Cache for stunning river valley views; and Jasper, with options including a motorcycle tour, Maligne Lake Cruise or glacier adventure. Then wind back to the capital via pretty Edson, set among forest, lakes and sand hills.

Landscape, cities and Rockies Starting in Calgary, this seven-day trip has a good mix of urban safari and wild spaces. In Calgary there’s various tours – by segway, raft or on foot via the city’s best eateries or breweries, as well as attractions like Winsport Canada Olympic Park. From here, it’s a short drive to quirky alpine town Canmore. Located in Kananaskis Country (pictured), it’s near a vast network of provincial parks offering walking, horse trekking, rock climbing and more. The trip then continues to Banff, Lake Louise and the Icefields Parkway to Jasper before finishing in cosmopolitan Edmonton.

Winter wonderland Running from Calgary to Edmonton via Alberta’s iconic national parks, this eight-day trip is all about embracing winter and the white stuff! Travellers can ski, snow shoe, take an ice walk or dog sled through Alberta’s magical landscapes. Suggested activities include seeing a hockey game in Calgary or snow tubing at Mount Norquay, ice skating at Lake Louise (pictured), scaling glaciers and canyons with Rockaboo Mountain Adventures in Jasper and a snowy Segway tour through the streets of Edmonton.

Badlands and Southern Alberta Starting in Calgary, this drives straight to Banff and Canmore, before looping back east to the canyons, coulees and wind-whipped hoodoos of the Badlands. Uncover dinosaur fossils in Drumheller; stay at the Historic Bar Diamond Guest Ranch and ride old wagon trails; cafe-hop and enjoy local art and culture in Medicine Hat; hike and stargaze in Cypress Hills Provincial Park (pictured); search for ancient rock art in Writing On Stone Provincial Park; relax in Waterton Lakes National Park and marvel at Head Smashed in Buffalo Jump enroute back to Calgary.

Calgary hub and spoke Visitors can actually use Calgary as a base and day trip to some of Alberta’s top destinations. The drive to Banff is just one and a half hours and from here visitors can fit in activities like horse trekking the Bow River, a Lake Minnewanka cruise (pictured) or spotting grizzly bears from the Lake Louise Gondola. Drumheller and the Badlands is one hour 45 minutes, along with the Royal Tyrrell Musuem and Dinosaur Provincial Park. Kananaskis is under an hour away, with 4,000 sq km of mountain parks and foothills to explore.

Jasper in winter This four-day Edmonton round-trip can be done with or without a car taking the VIA Rail train between the two. Just outside the city, the snow-draped landscape of Elk Island National Park (pictured) is a great place to learn about wildlife on a guided interpretive snowshoe tour. In Jasper winter activities include walking along the frozen floor of Maligne Canyon past naturally formed ice sculptures and icefalls, star gazing in a Dark Sky Preserve and skiing or boarding in Marmot Basin. Back in the city is West Edmonton Mall, home to over 800 shops.

For these and more itinerary ideas see:

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Training, competitions, events May 2018



Quick Quiz Are you a Tenerife Expert?

1. Tenerife is the largest of seven Canary Islands. TRUE / FALSE

Hot Incentive

A New York state of mind

2. Mount Teide is the higest peak in Spain, at 3,718 metres. TRUE / FALSE

I Love New York Training I Modules: 5

Butlin's smackdown NEWS

WWE wrestling fans are in for a treat as this year's live tour comes to Butlin's Minehead Resort. Stays can be booked now, as a weekend break from November 9-12, 2018, with seating in the Skyline Pavilion. Seating is arranged by level of accommodation, so book now for great seats. Agents can become a Butlin's expert and claim a free day pass for completing Bourne Leisure Training successfully. It provides training on Bourne Leisure's other products: Warner Leisure Hotels and Haven.

Answers: 1: True 2: True

THE NEW YORK STATE online training programme has arrived, and to mark the launch, the ILNY UK and Ireland team are offering the opportunity to win a trip to the Empire State. Sign up and complete the course to be entered into the prize draw for a chance to win two return flights to New York, courtesy of Norwegian Airlines. There will also be £20 vouchers for the five runners up. A winner will be picked after September 20, 2018. Become a New York State expert and unearth the activities on offer in the state, including fishing, skiing, hiking and boating. Year-round festivals and rich history and culture await in NY, one of the 13 original colonies.

ABTA has introduced a new online training programme supporting members' on how to talk to customers about the availability of Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) travel advice. The course has been developed in response to requests for support and guidance on when to raise the matter of FCO travel advice, and how to respond to difficult questions customers may have. Only those working for ABTA members are able to use the tool.

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Training courses to help travel agents and advisers sell more!

Lap of luxury



ANGUILLA'S luxury sector is undergoing significant growth with a trio of property announcements. Quintessence Hotel is to become the first on the island to join the Relais & Chateaux collection. Meanwhile, CuisinArt is celebrating the re-opening of The Reef, the boutique sister property of CuisinArt Golf Resort & Spa, which is currently undergoing a multi-million dollar refurbishment and due to re-open on November 1. Belmond Cap Juluca, located on the tip of Anguilla's West Village, has announced an opening date of November 17, with rates from £523 per night.

Hot News

Seychelles swims into the spotlight

Seychelles Superstar I Modules: 5

Latest Las Vegas NEWS

LAS VEGAS is welcoming more openings and events. Catch Restaurant is scheduled to open this Autumn at the ARIA Resort & Casino, with its renditions of seafood, sushi and steak. Comedy Cellar has also opened its first location outside of New York City at Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino. The 300-seat club brings its unique Greenwhich Village vibe to Vegas with brick wall and stained glass interiors. Agents can complete the Las Vegas Virtuoso online course, and have access to exclusive industry discounts, fam trip opportunities and events once all the training modules are complete.

Working in partnership

THE SEYCHELLES ISLANDS will, for the first time, host the Fédération Internationale de Natation (FINA) Marathon Swim World Series Open Challenge this year. On May 20, swimmers from around the world will converge on Beau Vallon Beach for a marathon swimming competition. The worldwide open challenge is set to be a huge event. “Tourism accounts for more than 58% of Seychelles’ GDP, so we’re excited to host this high-profile sporting event for the first time,” said Sherin Francis, CEO of the Seychelles Tourism Board. “We can’t wait to show our warm hospitality to everyone coming to the FINA Open Water World Series.” Agents can boost their Seychelles expertise online at:

A-Z of available courses ABTA Alaska Amtrak Vacations Anguilla Antigua & Barbuda Aruba Beaches Resorts Boucan Hotel Chocolat Bourne Leisure Butlins Caribbean Tourism Centara Hotels & Resorts Cirque de Soleile Corsican | Sardinian Places Cruise Adviser Elegant Hotels Essential Detail Flanders Fort Myers & Sanibel GDS Haven Hotels Hawaii Heritage Resort Jerusalem Jewel Resorts Jumeirah Hotels & Resorts Kenya Las Vegas Macao Malaysia New York city New York state Namibia Newmarket Holidays Ontario Qatar Railbookers SAGA Saint Lucia Sandals Resorts Serenity Holidays Seychelles Simon Malls Solus St Kitts Tenerife Thailand TIPTO Travel 2 Turks & Caicos US Airtours Veranda Resorts Virgin Limited Edition Voyages SNCF Warner Leisure Hotels Windjammer Landing Hotel

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thailand off season


rainbows chasing

Heading to Thailand in its off-peak season, over the British summer, means bargain deals and more chance of selling upgrades. Debbie Ward finds out more


s the sun heads for the horizon there’s a cluster off us standing with our beach towels under a tree on the edge of the sand. Laughing, we’ve just darted here to shelter from a sudden sharp downpour. The rest of the day has been glorious. Taking a boat from Krabi’s Ao Nang beach we’ve been out for hours, sunbathing on tiny white sand islets, snorkelling and tucking into a packed lunch of chicken and fried rice, followed by fresh pineapple bought from a longtail boat snack shop. We know that, unlike home, rain in Thailand is usually short lived, and if it continues, we’ll simply race through the warm shower to a nearby restaurant and watch some lightning over the sea - it’s still balmy enough to sit in

short sleeves at an opened-sided bar. Tomorrow, there’s kayaking in mangroves to look forward to.

Right as rain Savvy travellers still head to Thailand off-peak, with the fantastic bargains to be had between mid April and the end of October more than making up for the chance of tropical showers. Debbie Haw, director of Far East Collection, represents several well-known Thailand hotels, and says many in Phuket still run at 85% occupancy in low season, thanks to the great value for money. Cape Panwa and Kantary Bay are among those with stay-four-nights-get-five-nightsfree offers. “We even get retired people doing

20 nights plus 20 free as it’s cheaper for them to lie on the beach in Thailand than to spend the summer at home!” says Haw. Premier Holidays’ Head of Faraway, David Carlaw, says: “Off-peak season in Thailand is perfect for deal hunters as they can potentially save hundreds of pounds per couple, especially for travel in April, May and June. It’s low season during this period but not rainy season - it gets hotter and more humid but is generally not wet. “Krabi, Phuket and Phi Phi are good for visiting at this time as they see very little rain; if it does rain, it’s normally in the evening.” He says fourstar hotels here do well in last-minute flash sales. It’s also a good time to upgrade room types. Haw often recommends friends go in

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thailand off season

some form of pampering or massage. Diving: Among Thailand’s best-known diving spots, Koh Tao near Koh Samui in the Gulf of Thailand is perfect for beginners and sees its best weather between May and October.

What’s new Hotels: The Sarojin at Khao Lak (sarojin. com) has launched a Summer Offer of 50%

“Off-peak season in Thailand is perfect for deal hunters. They can save hundreds of pounds per couple, especially for travel in April, May and June” David Carlaw, Head of Faraway, Premier Holidays

October. “It isn’t that different to November, when it’s double the price.” For those concerned about the higher humidity she points out “you’re lying on a beach and getting in a pool, you’re not going to work in it!” Of course, the whole of Thailand is not off-peak in summer – sheltered Samui has an opposite climate, with its peak in July and August. This time is a good fit with particular clients like budget-conscious couples marrying in the UK in summer, and families who are used to being penalised by peak prices in the school holidays.

Top experiences

Clockwise from top: Nai Harn Beach, Phuket; massages and other treatments can be cheaper during low season; ancient Sukhothai

Festivals: Some key festivals fall during Thailand’s off peak months. Hua Hin Jazz festival in June involves international acts on several stages and on the beach. Not for the faint-hearted, Phuket Vegetarian Festival in early October sees hair-raising feats of religious devotion from Taoists expect fire-walking, climbing razor blade ladders and receiving multiple piercings. Processions take place in Phuket Town. Active: Golfers can tee off on many golf courses in the North of Thailand where the air is cooler and some floodlit courses even allow play at night. Light cycling excursions bring a welcoming breeze on humid days. The ruins at Historic Ayutthaya and Sukhothai and the leafy suburbs of Bangkok are popular places to do a bike tour. Spa: Thailand’s famously good spas are a great refuge during any inclement weather. Look out for deals on the spa itself or point out that off-peak room savings can be spent on pampering. Some of Thailand’s most famous spas include Chiva Som in Hua Hin and Kamalaya on Koh Samui - but almost every hotel offers

off stays April 16 - October 31 2018, plus an extra 10% off May 10 to September 30 2018, when booked 30 days or more in advance. The resort added two-bedroom residences last year, responding to demand from families. Guests who stay at Soneva Kiri on Koh Kood ( for three nights and participate in an environmental initiative receive three nights free under a new Stay for Good promotion running May 10 – September 28. AVANI ( is set to open a hotel on Samui in September and its third Bangkok property at the end of the year. The 382-bedroom AVANI Sukhumvit Bangkok will be part of the Century The Movie Plaza 2 shopping and cinema complex. Cruise: Dream Yacht Charter (dreamyachtcharter. is offering three ‘By the Cabin’ cruises departing its Phuket base and visiting islands in the Andaman Sea. The crewed catamarans have 10 cabins with private bathrooms. Cruises follow four and eight day itineraries and are commissionable to agents. Airlines: Bangkok Airways ( began a new direct service between Chiang Mai and Hanoi in March. It already offers Bangkok to Danang and Bangkok to Phu Quoc in Vietnam. It has also added a second daily service from Bangkok to Vientiane, Laos and signed a codeshare agreement with Oman Air on eight domestic Thailand routes. Philippine Airlines ( launched a thrice-weekly Cebu to Bangkok service in December last year. Roadshows: The Amazing Thailand Roadshow will be visiting Jersey on September 4 and Guernsey on September

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#BookCentara Centara’s gracious Thai hospitality is ever present in all of our hotels and resorts in Thailand including Bangkok, Pattaya, Chiang Mai, Hua Hin, Phuket, Samui, Krabi and beyond in Vietnam, Sri Lanka, the Maldives and now, the Middle East. Your clients can choose from our city hotels with rooftop bars or luxurious beachfront resorts in top tropical destinations. Whether looking to party, relax on the beach or uncover a little culture, at Centara Hotels & Resorts, we bring ‘the land of smiles’ to all our destinations, along with divine dining, award-winning spas and a thousand ways to enjoy city or sea. Most of all, our guests appreciate Centara’s graceful, Thai-style service. For a unique experience your customers will thank you for, find out more at the contacts below. DISCOVER MORE AT 01474 872727



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thailand off season

5. Agents can request a place by emailing

Tourism talk “The UK market to Thailand is stronger than just about any other because Brits travel for twelve months of the year. “You can get up to two-for-one discounts offpeak in Thailand and commonly get free night offers. Tropical rain is heavy and quick, you’re not going to get solid grey sky and solid rain. The best Thailand holiday will always be one with a combination of jungle, countryside and beach and if you’re somewhere in the north of Thailand a little bit of rain doesn’t make any difference. People should also remember July is when Samui is actually coming into peak season, and some hotels still discount either side of its July and August peak.” Chris Lee, UK Marketing Manager, Tourism Authority of Thailand

including return flights from Heathrow and transfers, valid for travel until June 30.

 EMIRATES HOLIDAYS – 0208 972 8949 Emirates Holidays is offering the Evason Hua Hin from £645pp for seven-nights in an Evason room with breakfast and return Emirates flights. The price is valid for travel on selected dates from May 13 to June 14 2018 from Gatwick. 

Where to book it Above: colourful corals in the Andaman Sea. Right: AVANI Sukhumvit Bangkok

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 PREMIER HOLIDAYS – 08444 937 444 Premier Holidays has an offer for seven nights’ B&B staying at Krabi La Playa from £849pp,

4/24/18 02:42 PM 12/04/2018 16:41



Swaziland Postage stamp-sized Swaziland is a microcosm of the best Africa has to offer and is just a short drive from Johannesburg. South Africa's friendly neighbour is extremely safe, easy to get around and despite being one of the smallest countries in the Southern hemisphere, more than makes up for its lack of size with a hugely diverse range of attractions and activities. Nature lovers can track down rhinos in the wild Lowveld or seek out rare birds in the rugged Highveld. Historians can visit the world’s oldest mine at Ngwenya or follow the colonial trail of the early settlers. There are also plenty of accommodation options: traditional safari camps, eco resorts, international hotel chains (including the new Hilton Garden Inn which opened in the capital Mbabane in April) and the opportunity to stay in a traditional beehive hut.


The UK isn't the only country with a royal celebration in 2018. This year Swaziland celebrates 50 years of independence and King Mswati III's 50th birthday – visit now, says Petra Shepherd


Festival fever Swaziland is one of the few monarchies in Africa and embraces and upholds its own unique and ancient traditions. It's a nation that revels in the spectacle of music, elaborate costume and dance, and attending one of its many festivals is the best place to experience all three. Precise dates of the festivals are not published in advance, being dependent on the vagaries of ancestral astrology. However, the top festivals include The Incwala Festival in December/ January, The Marula Festival in March, The Bushfire Festival in May and the popular Umhlanga Reed Dance in August. The latter is an ancient festival and sees the nation’s women come together to cut new reeds to present to the Queen Mother. Over 60,000 women take part in this visual spectacle and the main events happen at the royal parade grounds at Ludzidzini.


Adrenaline rush

Arts, crafts and culture

You can be abseiling the highlands in the morning and game viewing on horseback by sunset. There's also white water rafting on the Usutu River or quad biking around the Devils Cauldron. For a heart-in-mouth experience, the Malolotja zip wire is situated in a deep forested gorge with 11 elevated platforms whilst an 800m course of subterranean passages 90m below ground, the only major granite cave system in Southern Africa, is ripe for caving.

Arts and crafts like glass blowing and candle making are very much part of Swaziland's cultural experience, showing how the country's modern-day skills go alongside its rich traditions. Swazi Candles is one of the country's bestknown craft operations, whilst Ngwenya Glass offers a chance to watch glass blowing first-hand and browse a showroom full of beautifullycrafted glass ornaments. The Mantenga Cultural Village is a working reconstruction of a traditional homestead from the 1850s, with excellent dancing displays.

THE DETAILS TIME ZONE: GMT +2hrs AREA: 6,704miles2 POPULATION: 1.3 million CURENCY: 1 Lilangeni = 1 Rand or around £0.58 VISAS: Not required for UK visitors SEE: CAPITAL: Mbanane LANGUAGES: Swazi, English

BOOK IT: Explore offers an eightday tour including Malolotja Nature Reserve and Milwane and Mkhaya Game Reserves from £1594pp, excluding flights and based on two people sharing



GET TING THERE:, and fly direct to Johannesburg from where it's a four-hour transfer to the capital with

Wildlife encounters For traditional African big game viewing, Hlane Royal National Park and Mkhaya Game Reserve are home to a variety of big mammals, including elephant, hippo, giraffe, zebra and rhino. Mkhaya is one of the best places on the continent to see both black and white rhino, whilst Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary is a great place for families as it offers a large choice of activities, including horse riding, mountain biking and hiking. 

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the final word

the quirky side of travel Sticky fingers Most of us can admit to sneaking the odd toiletry or coffee pod when checking out of a hotel room, but new research from travel insurance specialist Columbus Direct has revealed that 24 million Brits risk additional hotel charges and even prosecution for 'accidental' theft. Hotels are reportedly losing millions of pounds each year as guests help themselves to items such as dressing gowns and slippers. Just a third (38%) of Brits think that taking items from the hotel room counts as theft, with many believing such items as batteries, light bulbs, glasses or cutlery are built into the cost of the room! In addition, an estimated 1.6 million Brits take alcoholic drinks from the mini bar and refill them with water, while other missing items include hairdryers, televisions and even a bed!

SIX... Spring Wedding venues

The power of poo Marwell Zoo has announced it will convert some of its 700 tonnes of animal waste into energy. The waste will be used to heat its latest project, an £8 million Tropical House, along with other buildings across the zoo. The process will reduce the zoo's dependency on fossil fuels with the goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2020. At least the monkeys won't have anything to throw now...

Bridebook’s UK Wedding Report analysed the UK’s favourite places to get hitched.

63% Sporting venue/ Stadium

32% Museum/ Attraction

Doggy departures


Ferry operator DFDS are introducing a new range of pet-friendly products on its services from Dover to Calais and Dunkirk. With 1,000 Furry Pet Travel Kits to give away, pets can enjoy a pop-up water bowl, a bottle of water, tasty treats and a pet-travel checklist for owners to ensure their furry friends are departure-ready. The service sets sail in the summer so no need to practice that doggy paddle.


27% Garden/Outdoor

28% Golf course

26% Home/Marquee

THE JUNE 2018 ISSUE OF SELLING TRAVEL WILL FEATURE: • South Africa • Weddings and Honeymoons worldwide • Dubai • Vietnam • Ireland • Israel• New England • Macao • CONTACT US; PLUS ONLINE Daily Selling Tips • Destination Guides • Photo Galleries • Travel Uni

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Readers Offers

please visit our website.

For up to date arrivals sign /

0800 619 0707

Middle East

SunGroup Hotels

SunGroup Hotels offer a unique collection of hotels in Barbados & Saint Lucia.

Saint Lucia

Bel Jou Hotel



59 AI

An adults only hideaway with outstanding views over Castries and the Caribbean Sea

Time Out Hotel



25 CB

Perfect for a true Bajan experience with restaurants of St. Lawrence Gap just a short stroll away

Worthing Court Apartment Hotel

26 CB £94 AI


Located on the South Coast, across the road from Worthing Beach

Sugar Cane Club Hotel & Spa

An adults only boutique hilltop retreat, overlooking the West Coast

Discount on Travel Insurance

Jebel Ali Beach Hotel



105 AI £152 AI


1 child under 12 yrs shares FREE

Palm Tree Court

2 children under 12yrs share FREE

Fujairah Le Meridien Al Aqah Beach Resort


2 children under 12yrs share FREE

Ras Al Khaimah Rixos Bab Al Bahr £ Oman Shangri-La Barr Al Jissah Resort & Spa £

82 AI 89 AI

67 BB

Based on a stay at Al Waha


Additional 20% discount on our travel insurance for industry staff

● Kids go FREE - up to 3 kids insured free per insured adult ● Selection of adventure sports covered as standard ● Additional add-ons available such as cover for winter sports or travel disruption (Additional fees may apply, please see terms & conditions for more details)

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


Touchdown is a trading style of Travelbrands Ltd. Travelbrands Ltd travel insurance is arranged and administered by Insure & Go Insurance Services Ltd. Travelbrands Ltd is an introducer appointed representive of Insure & Go Insurance Services Ltd for Travel Insurance. Insure & Go Insurance Services Ltd is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (Firm Reference Number 309572) with registered address: 1 Victoria Street, Bristol Bridge, Bristol, BS1 6AA. Registered in England and Wales (Company no. 04056769). Travel insurance is underwritten by MAPFRE Asistencia Compañía Internacional de Seguros y Reaseguros, Sociedad Anonima, trading as MAPFRE Assistance, which is authorised by Dirección General de Seguros y Fondos de Pensiones and subject to limited regulation by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority. Details about the extent of regulation by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority are available on request. MAPFRE UK Branch Registered Address: Dixon House, 72-75 Fenchurch Street, London, EC3M 4BR. Company Number: FC021974. Branch Number: BR008042.


Kuala Lumpur

Traders Hotel Kuala Lumpur

49 BB £69 BB £

Banyan Tree Kuala Lumpur Brand new hotel opening in Jul'18

Langkawi Meritus Pelangi Beach Resort & Spa

61 BB Tanjung Rhu Resort £69 BB FREE Night Offer applies The Danna Langkawi £102 BB FREE Night, FREE Room Upgrade & FREE Transfers Offers FREE Room Upgrade, when staying 5nts or more

Penang Golden Sands Resort by Shangri-La Eastern & Oriental Hotel Borneo Nexus Resort & Spa Karambunai


39 BB £55 BB £

54 BB


Treat yourself to a luxury stay at

The Library; Koh Samui, Thailand from

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

Hotel prices are “from” per person per night and based on 2 adults sharing unless otherwise stated. Offers subject to availability and maybe withdrawn without notice. Terms & conditions apply.

99 BB


Book with confidence ACCREDITED AGENT

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per person deposit


by 2 9 J u

0 ne 2


Titan River Cruises Introducing our new Titan cruise ship...

MS Bellejour

2019 brochure OUT NOW!

What’s included on a Titan river cruise aboard MS Serenade 1 and MS Bellejour Titan’s VIP door-to-door travel service*

Wine, beer and soft drinks with lunch and dinner

Return scheduled flights from the UK

Bottled water in your cabin, replenished daily

Spacious 15m2 or 16m2 river view cabins with en-suite bathroom

Tea and coffee at all times

Breakfast, lunch and dinner

Wi-Fi on board

Welcome buffet

Port charges and airport taxes

Gala dinner

Onboard entertainment

Excursions and visits

Book any river cruise in May and receive a £20 Lifestyle voucher plus Bubbles the fish!** *Excludes Scottish islands and Sark, where vehicle access is restricted. **To claim please email For more information visit

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Selling Travel May 2018  

The world in one magazine Cover Story: Solo travel, plus how to sell... Japan • Cyprus • Alabama • Thailand • Mauritius • Scandinavia and mo...

Selling Travel May 2018  

The world in one magazine Cover Story: Solo travel, plus how to sell... Japan • Cyprus • Alabama • Thailand • Mauritius • Scandinavia and mo...