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SELLING TRAVEL • NOVEMBER 2017

Japan • Mediterranean Sun • Costa Rica • Caribbean Update • Middle East • Indian Ocean • Northern Portugal • Laos • River Cruising • St. Kitts and Nevis

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TRAVEL TRADE PUBLICATION OF THE YEAR 2015 & 2016 NOVEMBER 2017 • sellingtravel.co.uk


WE MOVE UNDER ONE ROOF SO YOUR CUSTOMERS MOVE LESS. Discover how our members work together in our hubs to deliver smoother connections and make Alliance journeys better for your customers. staralliance.com/ connectingyou

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NOVEMBER 2017 • SELLINGTRAVEL.CO.UK

TRAVEL TRADE PUBLICATION OF THE YEAR 2015 & 2016

The world in one magazine

SUNNY OUTLOOK Top holiday destinations and how to sell them

plus how to sell...

Indian Ocean • Laos River Cruising Mediterranean Sun New Hampshire Portugal • Ukraine Japan • Costa Rica Caribbean Middle East and more...

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WHAT WILL YOUR CHOICE BE?

visitcostarica.com

MY CHOICE, NaturalLY.

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contents

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this issue – we travel further to bring you more – FEATURES 8 Japan: Discovering the beautiful north

28 Costa Rica: Eco-friendly and adventurous

35 Caribbean: Bouncing 38 46 52 64

46 44

back from the hurricanes Middle East: Adventure and thrills New Hampshire: Four seasons Mediterranean Sun: Holidays for all budgets Indian Ocean: Weddings and Honeymoons

35

76

87

34 8

52 38

85 74

28 86 64

QUICK READS 32 Visit USA: News 34 Introducing: Ukraine 44 Regional Profile:

J A PA N

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New England 74 My Journey: Laos 76 Introducing: Northern Portugal

THE REVIEW 55 Top news stories plus

C O S TA R I C A

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hotel reviews

MIDDLE EAST

TALKING SHOP 13 News, competitions,

38

incentives & fam.

RIVER CRUISING 77 Cruising update: What's hot on the water

85 Focus On: Irrawaddy 86 Focus On: Amazon 87 My Journey: Rhone 88 At a Glance: River Cruising companies

CA R I B B E A N

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MEDITERRANEAN SUN

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INDIAN OCEAN

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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 www.sellingtravel.net

sellingtravel.co.uk

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welcome

welcome

Travel Trade Publication of the Year

Travel Trade Publication of the Year

Proudly published by BMI Publishing Ltd

– dedicated to those who love selling travel –

© 2017.

Suffolk House, George St, Croydon, Surrey, CR9 1SR, UK T 020 8649 7233 | F 020 8649 7234 enquiries@bmipublishing.co.uk bmipublishing.co.uk sellingtravel.co.uk Publishers: Steve Thompson & Sally Parker Commercial Director: David Clare Editorial Director: Steve Hartridge Deputy Editor: Laura Gelder Staff Journalists: Ben Coren Editorial Assistant: Jessica Pook Contributing Journalist: Jo Austin Group Editor: Andy Hoskins Contributing Editor: Julie Baxter Business Development Manager: Craig McQuinn Advertisement Manager: Lisa Merrigan Creative Director: Matt Bonner Designers: Louisa Horton, Monica Notarnicola, Ross Clifford & Zoë Tarrant Production Manager: Clare Hunter

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I

t was a pleasure meeting so many agents at our two Selling Travel Agents Choice Awards evenings, held in London and Manchester. The events are designed to introduce agents to many of our finalists, across several categories, in our annual quest to recognise the best and most helpful suppliers in the industry. But it’s a two-way street: those very same suppliers, which span the industry spectrum – ranging from destinations and airlines to hotels and tour operators – also got to put their products in front of over 200 agents across both events who, by their very presence, were demonstrating their commitment to upgrading their knowledge and contacts. Admittedly, there were some great prizes on offer at the end of the evenings, but the vibe in the rooms at both venues was of travel Steve Hartridge professionals getting down to business. EDITOR There will be a full listing of all our winners, along with a photo gallery of the event we are throwing for them at World Travel Market this month, in our December issue, but if that is too long to wait take a look at sellingtravel.co.uk/awards. One of those winners was Botswana, which won Best Destination for Wildlife and Nature. I had the pleasure of visiting the country last month, staying at Sanctuary Chief’s Camp in the Moremi Game Reserve on Chief's Island. It certainly delivered on its tag as the 'predator capital of Africa'. Rarely on our game drives did 10 minutes pass without some fabulous animal or bird sighting, and at times I didn’t even have to leave the comfort of my lodge to see an elephant or hyena walking past. It's certainly a deserved winner in our awards, along with all the others you chose. Thank you for voting!

Managing Director: Martin Steady

We are members of the Caribbean Tourism Organization, Visit USA Association, LATA, PATA, MENATA, SATOA, the Foreign Airlines Association and the Institute of Travel & Tourism. Whilst every effort is made to ensure accuracy, BMI Publishing cannot be held responsible for any errors or omissions. ISSN: 2056-9319. Cover image: istockphoto.com

SUBSCRIBE FOR FREE! sellingtravel.co.uk/subscribe

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TRAVEL GUIDE

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St. Kitts Discover everything there is to know about sunny St Kitts, a sun-blessed Caribbean island with attractions aplenty.

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6

the big picture

Lake Pehoé Torres del Paine National Park, Chile

Best in travel Ice-blue skies and jagged snowcapped peaks reflected in turquoise water – Chile’s Lake District is just one of the show-stopping scenes which helped this country top Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel list for 2018. The selection takes into account current events and destination diversity. Add to this Chile’s glaciers, vineyards, beaches, cities and desert and you can see why it won. chile.travel

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with

Pete the Kiwi

Pete the Kiwi knows exactly what makes Air New Zealand a better way to fly. While he’s busy telling everyone, we want to give you the chance to experience it for yourself, with heaps of cool prizes. All you need to do is make as many Air New Zealand bookings as you can between 30 October–15 December 2017, and log them at our website. Every booking earns you another entry into the draw to win the trip of a lifetime to New Zealand (including a miniholiday at your choice of stopover), an OTT London weekend, a VIP trip to LA, and more!

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Legal stuff applies, as you would expect — all the details are on the website.

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japan

falling for northern Japan

Jessica Pook ventures beyond the classic Tokyo-Kyoto-Osaka ‘Golden Route’ to discover serene beauty in the country’s north

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japan

A

s I walk through tree-lined streets, I’m struck by the colourful display on show. But it’s not cherry blossom season and the streets aren’t dusted with little pink flowers – it’s autumn here in Hokkaido and the trees are gold! The cherry blossom season is one of the country’s major tourist attractions, but ask any of the locals here and they’ll tell you to come in autumn. The changing leaves blend from green to red with a final showstopping gold blaze from late September until mid-October, before succumbing to a long winter – and it is a long winter. Lasting from the end of October until March, the north of the country gets some of the deepest powder snow in the world, but the Japanese have the perfect solution to those cold winter nights. My first experience of onsen – natural volcanic hot springs – arrives when my tour guide announces it is as part of my hotel package. I turn to her and voice my disappointment at missing out, due to my lack of a bathing suit. “Do not worry, for the onsen you must go in completely naked” she replies. These are words that send terror through me to my very core. However, more than anything onsen is focused around cleanliness and the springs are usually separated by gender. It is believed that the waters have healing qualities for ailments ranging from skin conditions to cancer and leave visitors feeling healthy and rejuvenated. Right, in I go.

Rapid growth Until recently Japan was considered expensive and a difficult destination to get to. However, recent figures from the Japan National Tourism Organisation (JNTO) show that inbound tourism is growing rapidly, with a 21.1% increase in numbers between April and July 2017, along with a 13.1% increase in UK visitors compared to the same period a year ago. Japan has already surpassed its original target of 20

9

million tourists by 2020, and is now preparing to welcome 40 million foreign tourists by 2020, the year it will host the Olympic Games. And more visitors are venturing beyond the bright lights of the main cities, with a 9.5% growth in foreign tourists staying in regional areas, compared to 3.4% in urban areas. Hokkaido, with its numerous nature parks, dairy farming and world-class winter sports, offers a great alternative to the typical tourist route and has become increasingly popular with skiers wishing to experience the fine powder snow. “Skiing in Japan is blessed by abundant snow of up to 11 metres a season – and there’s a diverse array of slopes,” says Wiets Helwig, Marketing Manager, The Dragon Trip.

Perfect ten Drift ice: Strong seasonal winds from Siberia cause drift ice to form across the Okhotsk Sea. From January to March experience this marvel with a snowshoe walking tour, boat trip or even hot air balloon ride at sunset. Nature watching: Get as close as you dare to over 200 brown bears that reside on the Shiretoko Peninsula or book a whalewatching cruise to see orca and sperm whale. Tea ceremony: The matcha tea ceremony has been part of traditional Japanese culture for centuries. It’s a quiet celebration performed with grace and beauty. Winter sport: Hokkaido accumulates some of the finest powder snow. From November-March it’s a winter sports haven. National parks: Discover the many national parks of Japan. Akan National Park has several trekking routes, providing magnificent views of Mt Meagan and Lake Onneto, a spectacular scene in autumn. Culinary delights: Wonder around the daily fish markets and indulge in some of the freshest sushi. In autumn, chestnuts are a staple ingredient used in many dishes. Stay on a farm: Hokkaido is the country’s most agriculturally rich prefecture,

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ANA is Japan’s largest airline and one of only nine airlines to have been awarded a 5-star rating from Skytrax. ANA flies daily from London Heathrow’s Terminal 2 to Haneda, Tokyo’s most central airport. From Haneda, a hub for 40 of ANA’s domestic routes and 23 of its international routes, ANA also connects you to Sydney with a daily non-stop flight. And it’s all By Design.

ana.co.uk

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japan

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known for its dairy products including Camembert cheese. Many now offer accommodation for those wishing to experience rural life. Traditional dance: The indigenous Ainu people have been around since the 13-century, residing in the northern island of Japan. Witness their traditional dance ceremony and amazing woodwork creations. Hot spring onsen: Part of Japanese culture for thousands of years, onsens offer the chance to relax and experience the healing powers of natural volcanic waters. Crane spotting: The red-crowned crane is symbolic of Japan. Over 1,000 crane flock to the winter feeding site at Kushiro Marshland. Visitors can watch them dance.

Club Med Tomamu next month (December), located on the Tomamu mountain. (clubmed.co.uk)  Attractions: The first Super Nintendo World is coming to Universal Studios Japan, featuring globally known characters and game worlds from Nintendo. The park is scheduled to open in time for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. A Studio Ghibli theme park will open by 2020 near Nagoya. Ghibli Park will recreate landmarks and locations from the My Neighbour Totoro film.  Cruising: The government has designated six major ports as international cruise ship hubs to support plans to increase overseas cruise passengers by 5,000 by 2020. The new ports will be situated in Yokohama, Shimizu, Motobu, Hirara, Sasebo and Yatsushiro.  Transport: The Royal What’s new Express (the-royalexpress.  Airlines: All Nippon “Skiing in Japan raises the jp) offers visitors the Airways (ana.co.jp), has chance to ride in style bar for Europe. There’s introduced the Airbus from Yokohama to abundant snow, a diverse the Izu Peninsula. A321neo to its fleet. The aircraft is now servicing A New Invisible Train array of slopes and a rich domestic routes to/from will start running in cultural experience” Tokyo/Haneda Airport. 2018. The ‘invisible’ train WIETS HELWIG, MARKETING MANAGER, Japan Airlines (jal. uses reflective materials THE DRAGON TRIP com) has launched to blend in with its a new direct flight surroundings and will between London and Tokyo Haneda. The run from Toyko into the mountains of Chichibu. airline operates four flights daily to and from  Operators: England Rugby Travel (englandrugbytravel.com) will operate as official Japan with partner airline British Airways. travel and ticket packages to the Rugby World  Hotels: Marriott International (marriott. co.uk) has unveiled five new hotels across Cup 2019. Japan, including Izu Marriott Hotel Shuzenji JTB Japan Travel Corp. (japanspecialist. co.uk) has launched its new 2018 Sunrise and Nanki-Shirahama, just south of Osaka. Tours programme. JTB are now also Mitsui Fudosan Group (celestinehotels.jp) has launched two new luxury hotels under offering English-language bus tours. the brand name The Celestine Hotels as Tourism talk part of its wider plans to open 10,000 “The Post Office’s Holiday Money Report new hotel rooms in Japan by 2020. named Japan as one of the top 10 best Guntu (guntu.jp/reservation) – a new luxury floating hotel – takes passengers on a value holiday hot spots for 2017. one-, two- or three-night journey through “Tokyo’s debut at number eight this year the scenery of the Seto Inland Sea. makes it the only long-haul destination in Club Med will introduce its brand-new hotel the list of top 10 Best Value cities.

From left: View from Tawadaira stock farm observatory; Niseko skiing; Kushiro fish market; Traditional onsen hot springs; Lake Onneto

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japan

“Japan’s appeal has increased as the yen has fallen in value against the pound by 24.7% over the past five years, turning a country that was once regarded as a luxury destination for the few into a now affordable option for many. “As the host country for the 2019 Rugby World Cup and the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, we hope people will be inspired to visit Japan. “There's a trip to suit everyone: solo travellers, three-generation family holidays, winter sports, cruising and those looking to learn about our culture!” Yumi Takakubo, Head of Trade Partnerships and Marketing, JNTO

features top accommodation and exclusive cultural experiences. Insidejapantours.com  THE DRAGON TRIP – 020 3817 5974 The Dragon Trip (£884) covers nine ski resorts and 200 runs. This six-night tour to Hakuba allows agents to bolt on a range of additional experiences such as meeting with Japan’s snow monkeys. thedragontrip.com 

Where to book it  JTB – 020 8237 1605 The Japanese Capitals 12-day tour features Tokyo, Hiroshima, Kyoto, Nara and Mt.Koya. It costs from £3,723pp, including international flights, accommodation and all guided touring. japanspecialist.co.uk

From left: Japanese Red-crowned crane; Traditional tea ceremony

 INSIDEJAPAN – 0117 370 9730 The operator has introduced a new 10night Luxury Japan tour, costing £8950pp, it

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

UK agents visit Orlando

No󰈢s󰈜 i󰇷 󰇧 󰇱󰈜p-of-󰈣n lu󰈀󰇻󰈦y-de󰇷󰇺󰇮n󰈜󰇹i󰈢󰈡 Co󰇧󰈤t. 󰇮󰇳󰈥 Aus󰇹󰈦󰇧l󰇯a’s Su󰇳󰈤h 󰇴23 Re󰇧d 󰇲󰈣󰈦e 󰈢n

FIFTY UK travel agents participated in the 10th annual Orlando Super Fam. The group consisted of both top-performing Orlando agents and winners from the 10 Orlando Roadshows held in the spring. The agents visited restaurants, retail shops and attractions including Universal Orlando Resort, Walt Disney World Resort and SeaWorld Orlando. Visitorlando.com

Win a trip to Latin America TRAVEL agents booking a Journey Latin America group tour and quoting the incentive ‘Take me to Latin America' will be entered into a draw to win a holiday for two to the region. The more bookings made, the greater the chance of winning the holiday for two. The incentive finishes on March 30, 2018. Journeylatinamerica.co.uk

Contents 14

NETWORKING EVENTS

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40 trip places

Dec󰇪󰇲󰇩󰈥r 6, 2017

NETWORK ITT LONDON The Institute of Travel and Tourism (ITT) will hold an informal networking event at the Phoenix Artist Club, London, from 18.00 to 20.00. Pre-registering is essential. Contact the ITT Events Team on 0844 4995 653 or email events@itt.co.uk for more information.

TITAN TRAVEL is celebrating its 40th anniversary by offering agents the chance to win one of 40 fam trip places. The campaign runs until May 31. Order your passport by contacting 0800 988 5166 or agentadmin@titantravel.co.uk.

BARBARA CHARLTON

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VISIT USA ROADSHOW

sellingtravel.co.uk

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14

AWAR D S the event

Agents vote with their feet! Thanks to all those readers who came to our Selling Travel Agents Choice Awards networking events in London and Manchester in October. Over 200 of you supported the two events and met with 30 of our Awards finalists, with representatives from destinations, hotels, tour operators, airlines and many others. Many of you went home with prizes – ranging from eight-night stays at Fairmont's fabulous properties in Canada, a trip to the Philippines, Champagne, rum and gift vouchers. We promised that many of you would not leave empty handed – and many of you didn't!

THANK YOU FOR VOTING sellingtravel.co.uk

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AWAR D S

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the event

OUR WINNERS ARE NOW ONLINE! FIND OUT IF YOUR FAVOURITES WON: SELLINGTRAVEL.CO.UK/AWARDS sellingtravel.co.uk

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ROADSHOW

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L o n d o n , Ma n c h e s t e r , Ha m p t o n C o u r t , O c t o b e r 9 - 1 2

Two islands, one message St. Kitts and Nevis hosted its fifth UK roadshow in October, highlighting a commitment to the travel trade and the islands' determined strength in the wake of a recent trio of hurricanes that devastated some Caribbean islands. The roadshow comprised four days of events attended by trade and media partners, kicking off on October 9 at the riverside Winchester House, London. Here, more than 60 agents from companies such as Kuoni, Caribtours and Travel Counsellors attended an educational networking evening and heard Racquel Brown, CEO of St Kitts Tourism Authority and Greg Philip, CEO of Nevis Tourism, discuss the islands' USPs and latest news The next day, agents from Elegant Resorts, Lusso, Trailfinders, Prestbury Travel and other companies were hosted in Manchester at Hotel Football, in the Manchester United's Old Trafford Stadium. Then it was back to London where the UK media were treated to a true taste of St. Kitts & Nevis at The Hoxton Hotel, against a lively backdrop of Caribbean rhythms and authentic tastes inspired by this year’s St. Kitts and Nevis Restaurant Week. The roadshow concluded with an evening at Hampton Court Palace dedicated to tour operator partners. Meetings and dinner were attended by Osborne & Ebel, The Turquoise Holiday Company and Funway Holidays, amongst many others.

One C󰇧󰇶󰇯󰇩be󰇧󰇳

Racquel Brown urged trade partners to maintain confidence in the Caribbean following the impact of hurricanes Irma, Jose and Maria. While St Kitts and Nevis escaped unscathed and quickly resumed normal operations, Brown told the audience that “when one island suffers we all are impacted”. The St Kitts Tourism Authority CEO also noted that the recent opening of the Park Hyatt St. Kitts reinforced the island's position in the luxury travel market. She added: "The role of the UK travel trade has become hugely significant for us to achieve our goals and it is testament to the strength of support from our partners and stakeholders that this roadshow is now in its fifth year.” Brown highlighted St. KItts' rich history, unique experiences such as Brimstone Hill and the Scenic Railway and adventure activities like ziplining and paddleboarding. "St. Kitts is the authentic Caribbean that offers adventure, history and culture," said Brown. "Add in the beach and you have one great vacation." For more information on St. Kitts, go to

The 󰇶󰈢󰇱󰈥 of 󰇹󰇭󰇪 UK t󰇶a󰇾󰇪l 󰇹󰈦󰈜de 󰇮󰇷 󰈤t󰇯󰇰󰇱 hu󰇫󰇪󰇱y 󰇷󰇯󰈪nifi󰈛󰇧󰈡t fo󰇶 󰇻󰈤

stkittstourism.kn

sellingtravel.co.uk

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KEEP CALM AND

B K PEACE F MIND Flexibility & Security on your Dream Packages contact Jetset Sales@jetsetholidays.co.uk

3200

All Jetset bookings are 100% ATOL protected with Jetset acting as principal.

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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

Out of Africa and into Sri Lanka Never a month goes by when one of the team here is not somewhere lovely in the world, but as we often tell our clients, they are the ones who really benefit from our travels! Last month saw my colleague Tanya heading off to Sri Lanka with Travelpack’s Lisa Harkness. The trip started with a nice little upgrade from Qatar Airways. I know it's not always possible to turn left but it's great when we do, and we can advise clients on what a difference it makes! Tanya's week-long trip saw her scale the 200-metre-high Sigiriya Rock Fortress, see elephants in Minneriya National Park and tour the Temple of the Tooth Relic in Kandy.

– with her daughter. She cruelly sent us daily pictures from this beautiful island, while all we had to look at was clouds, rain and sluggish Sussex traffic! It was interesting to hear that they were not the only non-honeymooners on the island, which I thought would be wall-to-wall lovers!

Sum󰇲󰇪󰈦 B󰈣ma

I was thrilled to be asked to the Africa Collection Summer Boma. Typically, the weather was 100% British but the chef happily cooked the food under cover! The evening was very well attended, the training was fabulous and the wine was so good that we have booked our Christmas party at this same local golf club which coincidentally owns a Western Cape vineyard called Benguela Cove. Here's to several more glasses of South African wine in December! Many thanks to Chris, James and everyone at Africa Collection, as well as their wonderful suppliers, for their hospitality – which we repaid the following week with a £28,000 booking! I couldn't end without saying how sad we all were to hear of the demise of much-loved Monarch. They will be truly missed, and I really hope that their staff remain within this industry.

Off-t󰇶a󰈝k

She also visited the lesser-known east coast. Trincomalee and Passikudah were off limits until the war ended in 2009 and compared to the west coast the beaches are delightfully untouched by tourism development. It's also worth remembering that Sri Lanka has opposite monsoon seasons for each coast, meaning it's always beach time! Talking of the beach, lucky Justine has also just returned from one – luxury resort Baros Maldives

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 Barbara@Thesussextravelcompany.co.uk  01403 276684

Bar󰇨󰇧󰈦󰈜 Cha󰇶󰇱t󰈢󰇳

25/09/2017 09:00

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

Out and about with Jamaica, Travel2, Funway, Jamaica Travel Market

KEY UK tour operators, airlines and agents met with Jamaican suppliers and partners at the second Jamaica Travel Market, against the backdrop of growing visitor numbers to the island. Pictured at Luton Hoo are, from left: Jade Semple (Barrhead Travel); Michala Burton (Virgin Holidays); Antonia Bouka (TUI); Edmund Bartlett (Jamaica Minister of Tourism); Laverne Walker (Sackville Travel); Sophie Van den Driessche (TUI); Hannah Butler (Expedia); Rikki Partridge (BA Holidays); Helen Edwards (Essential Detail), collecting an award for Scott Dunn, Elizabeth Fox, (Jamaica Tourist Board’s Regional Director UK and Europe) and David Wheterson (BA Holidays) visitjamaica.com

Top training

BEN Owen (centre) and Hugh Bourne (right) of Venture Travel celebrate the end of two weeks of new member training at the Global Travel Group’s dedicated training centre in Chester, with Global Travel Group’s Mark Rowlands. globaltravelgroup.com

Universal visitors TRAVEL 2 Key Account Manager Andy Harris visited Cartwright Travel in Cardiff as part of Travel 2’s Universal Orlando Resorts campaign to win £1,000 towards a Florida holiday. Pictured left to right (top row) is Luke Cartwright, Sue Watts, Harris and Phil Jones. With Steve Philippouin the front. Travel2.com

Trafalgar agents at ABTA

PICTURED are 10 agents sponsored by Trafalgar to attend The Travel Convention in the The Azores. They are accompanied by Sales Managers Chris Price and Mark O’Neill. thetravelconvention.com

Luxury rewards

PURE LUXURY'S Key Account Manager Hollie Stillion congratulates Tracie Ruffell from Exemplar Travel with £500 of Farebank Rewards for winning PURE LUXURY and Dubai Tourism’s latest incentive.

Bright races to Ascot

80 INDEPENDENT travel agents from 42 agencies as well as homeworkers attended BRIGHT’s, (Bringing Real Information & Guaranteed High Quality Training), event at the Royal Berkshire Hotel in Ascot in Octobe. Pictured is Jean-Marc Flambert, Vice President Sales and Marketing UK and Europe for Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority, with Muffy Spencer from Haslemere Travel and Christine Thorne from Fare Wise Travel.

pureluxuryholidays.co.uk

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 editorial@bmipublishing.co.uk

brightconsortia.com

sellingtravel.co.uk

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BRIGHT and ABTA

MORE THAN JUST A BEACH HOLIDAY Suggest something different this winter

Joint FAM to Mexico

FUNWAY Holidays and AMResorts hosted a joint fam as part of a recently-signed marketing deal between the two companies. It was just one of six agent fam trips AMResorts has planned for this year, focusing on Mexico and the Dominican Republic. The first of the fam trips in late September, a five-night visit with stays at Secrets, The Vine and Dreams Riviera, included flights with British Airways. Participants were made up of five travel agents, two Funway reservation team members, Funway’s Product Manager (Malcolm Davies) and Kirsty Lilley, AMResorts. vaxvacationaccess.co.uk

Touring Hong Kong

DORSETT Wanchai Hotel and Virgin Atlantic hosted a group of tour operators on a trip to Hong Kong. From left are Alex King, Darren Gilbert, Jessica Lee, Karan Malhotra, Justine Merchant, Louise Turner, Jas Anand and Emma Warren. anandcollection.co.uk

For brochure, trade log-ins, webinar training & agency support call:

01489 866 955 trade@serenity.co.uk

sellingtravel.co.uk

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WIN!

$500 SHOPPING SPREE EXPERIENCE Macerich Shopping Centers & Fashion Outlets offer visitors the top two activities when traveling in the US – premier shopping and dining – in major markets across the country including Santa Monica Place in California; The Shops at North Bridge and Fashion Outlets of Chicago in Illinois; Scottsdale Fashion Square in Arizona; Washington Square in Portland, Oregon; Tysons Corner Center in Washington DC; Fashion Outlets of Niagara Falls in New York; and COMING SOON Fashion District Philadelphia in Pennsylvania. These premier shopping destinations offer experiential and commissionable shopping packages, such as the new Cook and Shop program for travel professionals; easy integration into travel itineraries with added value including visitor savings of up to $1000 from participating retailers. Visit macerichtourism.com for details.

One lucky winner will receive a $500 shopping spree experience for any of the US destinations noted above, including visitor savings, concierge services, and personal meet and greet.

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JUST ANSWER ONE QUESTION: WHAT IS THE NEW SHOPPING PROGRAM CALLED AT SANTA MONICA PLACE? Macerichtourism.com

10/26/17 04:29 07:00 PM PM 10/26/17


ON LOCATION

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Noosa, Australia, educational fam trip, September 2017

VIP experiences on Australia's Sunshine Coast Tourism Noosa and Thai Airways hosted a group of product managers and senior sales agents from luxury UK operators on a VIP familiarisation trip to Noosa in the Sunshine coast region of Queensland, Australia. The trip was designed to help increase visitation from the high-end UK market, with the week down under tailored to showcase the very best experiences and properties on offer. Located 150km north of Brisbane, Noosa has sun-drenched beaches, lush green hinterland, national parks and pristine waterways. It is referred to as the 'Relaxation Capital of Australia' and billed as a great choice for a laid-back Queensland escape. The group enjoyed lounge access hosted by Thai Airways and took to the skies in style in Business Class seats. Itinerary highlights included spa treatments on arrival and food and wine at some of Noosa’s best restaurants, including Noosa Beach House Peter Kuruvita, Ricky’s River Bar & Restaurant and Sum Yung Guys. A privately chartered flight to Lady Elliot Island, on the southernmost point of the Great Barrier Reef, provided a bird's eye view of the region. Other highlights included four-wheel drive tours on Fraser Island and Rainbow Beach. For their final day and night, the group enjoyed their own private island in the Noosa River. The

Australian home of Sir Richard Branson, Makepeace Island offers poolside relaxation, cocktails and an al fresco dinner by the fire. Owen Walker, Product Manager, Australasia, Canada & Middle East, Cox & Kings Travel Ltd said: “The Noosa trip showed me what a truly wonderful place Noosa is and why it should be included in any East Coast itinerary to Australia. "Noosa is a haven for relaxation and good living, with luxury accommodation and fine eateries overlooking the water. This chilled place, with national parks, beaches and coastal walks, can be used to rejuvenate at the start or relax at the end of a trip," he added. Gary Titterington, Travel Sales Consultant, said: "You can explore Fraser Island, surf in the pristine blue coastal waters, kayak through the Everglades or just soak up the sun on the beach. Whether seeking adventure or pure relaxation, Noosa has it all –it's a real hidden gem on the Sunshine Coast.”

AUSTRALIA

Above from left: Scenic flight over Fraser Island with Air Fraser; kayaking the Everglades with Kanu Kapers; worldfamous Australia Zoo; Carlow Sand Blow on Rainbow Beach

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VISIT USA ROADSHOW Edinburgh, Liverpool, Reading

A tale of three cities The 2017 Visit USA Roadshow enjoyed its largest turn out to date as 31 exhibitors and over 230 agents gathered over the course of three nights in three cities. Hosted by TV presenter Dave Benson Phillips, the roadshow travelled to Edinburgh, Liverpool and Reading, giving agents the chance to network with U.S. industry experts and improve their destination awareness, along with winning some great prizes. Agents at the events had a chance to win one of ten goody bags, while three lucky winners walked away with a fabulous holiday for two to the USA. Edinburgh set the bar high with two return United Economy tickets from Edinburgh or Glasgow to New York, courtesy of United Airlines, with two nights at Hyatt Regency Jersey City. In Liverpool, two Virgin Atlantic return tickets from Manchester to Orlando were won, along with seven nights in a Cruise America RV Rental. In Reading one agent walked away with a pair of Heathrow-New Orleans Club World tickets courtesy of British Airways. Their prize included a three-night stay at Hyatt Regency and three nights at Hyatt House.

Ro󰇻n󰈧-up

Exhibitors seemed thrilled with the format this year. Georgina Evens-Goodrich from Pure Michigan said: “We find these Visit USA events extremely useful as they take us to parts of the UK that we don’t often get to visit. "We received such a good reception this year, meeting with up to 80-plus agents on each evening. It gives us a chance to teach them about a region of the U.S. that they don’t know." Thomas Cook agent Claire Ball commented: “It’s really important for us to be here, especially with our new service from Manchester to Boston. Chatting to suppliers at these events really gives us a confidence boost.”

We've 󰇬󰇧󰈨 s󰇼󰈛󰇭 a 󰈦 go󰈢󰈧 󰈦󰈥ce󰇴󰇺󰇮󰈣n 󰇹󰇭is 󰈂󰇪󰈜 wi󰇹󰇭 80+ ag󰇪󰇳󰇺s 󰈥a󰈛󰇭 ev󰇪󰇳󰇯󰈡g

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Our Magical Middle East,

Sofitel Legend Old Cataract Aswan Hotel

90 HOTELS AND RESORTS

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10/26/17 04:37 PM 17/07/2017 10:43


Agents review

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O n l i n e t ra i n i n g

Extra room for improvement?

GDS | TRAINING | REWARDS

E l e g a n t h o t e l s & RESOR T S t r a i n i n g P r o g r a m m e TRAVEL AGENT: Justine Pountney

The Background: I've been working in the travel industry for 15 years, but on the tour operator side so I'm used to in-house training. Since joining the Sussex Travel Company a few months ago I have started to use

online training and I found this one when I was browsing online. The programme: The six modules cover Elegant Hotels' nine hotels and one restaurant in Barbados. Funtionality: I liked the way the programme was split into modules and the quizzes were broken up, rather than finding myself having to do one long exam at the end. Content: This was good but some of the chunks of text were too long. I struggle to find the time to do training and often get interrupted by calls and queries when I'm doing it, so I need easy-to-read information

T h e v e r d i ct I've never stayed at an Elegant Resorts property but I did know a little bit about them. I certainly feel more confident in matching their products to my customers and still yearn to visit one myself - If money was no object it would be Turtle Beach with the family or

that I can drop and pick back up again – bite-size! What I learnt: Overall, I found the training programme useful and it was particularly helpful to learn which properties are suited to which customers. eleganthotelstraining.com

Colony Club. Next up: I don't have any training on the go at the moment but I'll keep looking until I see something that piques my interest. Travel Uni has a good mix of programmes.

Tips for a better way to fly

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One of the longest in the sky, our Business Premier™ fully lie-flat bed is six foot seven (and a half) of pure heaven. Not forgetting the memory foam mattress, of course. Then the celebrity chef-designed menu is complemented by free-poured New Zealand wines. Add in a host of other luxury perks, and it’s business as usual when your customers fly with us. Outstanding Business Premier™. It all adds up to a #betterwaytofly.

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10/26/17 08:23 PM


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costa rica

'pura vida' discover

From trekking in wildlife-rich cloud forests to remote ecolodge stays and beach breaks, Costa Rica has plenty of all-round appeal, says Karl Cushing

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costa rica

H

ow do you lose something as big as a volcano?” I muse as I venture out into rain-lashed Arenal National Park to stomp about its misty trails. Gaining elevation, the visibility drops further. Bright orange orchids line the path, as do the electric greens of moss-strewn weather-beaten trees. The occasional flouro-hiking jacket breaks through the soupy grey air and drizzle. By the time I reach my goal, the Lava Flow Summit, the fug of fog ensures the promised ‘scenic mirador’ offers as much clue to what lays beyond as a sketch in invisible ink. While I miss snapping my killer volcano shot this is still an epic day out. Pausing for a dip in the thermal water on my hike back to the town of La Fortuna I muse – and not for the first time – on how this colourful country’s natural raw energy, embodied in the national slogan of ‘Pura Vida’, seems to rub off on all who visit.

Eco-capital From exploring its volcanic central spine and wildlife-rich cloud forests to castaway stays and beach experiences on its Caribbean or Pacific coasts, Costa Rica ticks plenty of boxes. It also offers staggering biodiversity, aided by its longstanding ecotourism and conservation efforts, making for unforgettable wildlife and adventure tours. Combined with improved airlift, including direct British Airways services from Gatwick and a Tui (ex-Thomson) flight, this has fuelled a surge in UK visitors over the last two years. Significant developments include a new winter sun option from Caribtours, the latest operator to add Costa Rica to its programme (caribtours.co.uk).

Wildlife Attractions include Naranjo’s coffee country and colonial Cartago, but it’s the adventurous rainforest experiences that most come for. Wildlife ranges from tree frogs and white-faced Capuchin monkeys to sloths, while birding tours yield everything

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from resplendent quetzal to multicolour hummingbirds, toucans and macaws. The Osa Peninsula on the southern Pacific Coast alone accounts for around 2.5% of the world’s biodiversity, with nearby Caño Island offering excellent marine life and snorkelling. Over on the eastern Caribbean coast, visitors can scour the jungly waterways of Tortuguero National Park for wildlife before watching turtles nest on the beaches. Nearby Cahuita fuses wildlife tours in the national park with coral reef snorkelling and dreamy beaches. Monteverde’s stunning cloudforest can be explored by using the excellent network of walking trails, ziplines and canopy walks.

Active escapes The heady mix of wildlife, landscapes and activities such as ziplining and hiking make it a hit with the soft adventure market. Cycling trips have become popular: Explore’s (explore.co.uk) 14-day Costa Rica on Two Wheels starts from £2,690pp, with flights, and Exodus’ (exodus.co.uk) 15-day Costa Rica Coast to Coast Ride option starts from £3,069pp. Hiking choices from Headwater (headwater.com) include an 11-night guided walking tour, Costa Rica Wildlife Walk, from £2,467pp tour-only. Other options include surfing, which is renowned along its Pacific coastline.

Families Costa Rica chimes extremely well with the family market with family-oriented tours available from Exodus, Explore, Caribtours, G Adventures, Rainbow Tours and Cox & Kings (coxandkings.co.uk), which has a new 12-day Costa Rica Family Adventure private tour from £2,095pp. Trips to places such as the Sloth Sanctuary near Cahuita and Jaguar Rescue Centre near Puerto Viejo help get families closer to the wildlife. They can spend a few days helping care for animals at a wildlife rescue centre on some itineraries, such as a tailored tour with Hands Up Holidays (handsupholidays.com).

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costa rica

Perfect ten

“For avid bird watchers suggest heading to San Gerardo de Dota for some of the best chances for sighting the elusive quetzal” KATIE COSSTICK, SOCIAL MEDIA MANAGER, COX & KINGS

This page, clockwise from above: a sloth hanging out; a woman in traditional dress; Ocotal Beach, Guanacaste; street art in La Palma; coffee beans

Hit the road: Self-drives offer an excellent, flexible way of seeing Costa Rica. Options include JLA’s 14-day self-drive Costa Rica: Coast to Coast, from £2,266pp excluding flights (journeylatinamerica.co.uk) and Pura Aventura’s 11-night Costa Rica — Osa Uncovered, from £3,790pp, including internal flights (pura-aventura.com). Hit the Reef: Snorkel the country’s best coral reef and explore the forest trails in Cahuita National Park, a coastal drive from Tortuguero. Alternatively just kick back on its white-sand palm-fringed beach and soak up the laid-back Caribbean lifestyle. See turtles laying eggs: Take boat tours on the inland jungle waterways of Tortuguero on the east coast and watch groups of green and leatherback turtles laying eggs on its beaches during the two nesting seasons (April - May and July - October). Fall for Corcovado: This untouched National Park on the west coast Osa Peninsula, the country’s largest, contains one of the few remaining primary forest habitats in the world: it teems with species thanks to its diverse habitats. Spot some sloths: Cap a visit to Aviarios del Caribe Sloth Sanctuary near Cahuita with a local river boat tour to see them in the wild. Other good sloth spots include Monteverde and Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica’s smallest park, fringed by picture-perfect beaches. Have a crater time: Hike around Arenal volcano and grab some spa time in one of the many local high-end hotels. Or enjoy a free soothing soak in the geothermal waters of the local river, the Río Chollín. Enter near the Tabacón resort. Clock some Quetzal: Spotting Quetzals in the wild is a trip highlight. Savegre Cloud Forest and Los Quetzales National Park, for example, support an impressive population of resplendent quetzal, along with around 170 other

species of birds and sloths, Squirrel monkeys and tapirs. Explore Caño Island: Keep your eyes peeled for dolphins, orcas (December to April) and Humpback whales (July to November) on a boat trip from Drake Bay to Caño Island, home to some mysterious man-made spherical stones and excellent snorkelling. Stay in the rainforest: Kick back in an excellent rainforest lodge such as Lapa Rios Eco-Lodge on the Osa Peninsular; Esquinas Rainforest Lodge in Piedras Blancas National Park; or Pacuare Eco-Lodge where you can arrive and leave on a whitewater rafting trip. Taste the high life: book a high-end bolthole such as Hotel AltaGracia in the Perez Zeledón mountains; Nayara Springs, whose cottages offer views of Arenal volcano; or Four Seasons Resort Costa Rica, located at Peninsula Papagayo.

What’s new  Airlift: KLM (klm.com) has a new twiceweekly service to San José, Costa Rica, from Amsterdam-Schiphol on (Tuesdays and Fridays). Lufthansa (lufthansa.com) will commence its twice-weekly direct service from Frankfurt to San José on March 29, 2018 (Thursdays and Saturdays).  Hotels: Lagarta Lodge (lagartalodge.com/ en) opened in January in the Nosara area. Casa Chameleon (casachameleonhotels.com) has become the first hotel to open in carfree coastal town Las Catalinas in Guanacaste province, featuring 21 villas and a saltwater infinity pool.

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costa rica

Nayara Tented Resort (nayarasprings.com), a sister property to Nayara Hotel and Nayara Springs, will open by the year-end near Arenal volcano, featuring 24, 945-sqare-foot tents. Pacuare Eco-Lodge (pacuarelodge.com) has a range of new luxurious suites and Hacienda AltaGracia (altagracia.aubergeresorts.com), in the mountains of Perez Zeledon, now offers guests a ‘Life of a Caballista’ cowboy experience for the day (from £234 per couple.  Attractions: A new theme park called Discovery Costa Rica (discovery. com), will open near Liberia in 2020, not far from resorts such as Tamarindo  Tour operators: Journey Latin America (journeylatinamerica/agents-incentive) launched a group tours booking incentive in September to celebrate the launch of its new 2018 Group Journeys brochure. Each time agents book one of the tours and quote the incentive ‘Take me to Latin America’ they will be entered into a draw to win a holiday to Latin America for two. The incentive ends March 30 2018 KE Adventures (keadventure.com/holidays) has a new 15-day Natural Wonders of Costa Rica and Panama, priced from £3,295pp, including flights, accommodation and meals.  Cruise: New for 2018, Silversea (silversea.com) has added visits to the Pacific Coast on cruises including its 14-day Callao (Lima) to Fuerte Amador (Panama City), departing March 21, which includes time exploring in Puerto Quepos and Golfo Dulce, for Manuel Antonio National Park.  Tourism board: Having launched an online training academy (costeurekauniversity. co.uk) earlier this year, with the promotional campaign ‘Essential Costa Rica: My Choice, Naturally’ launching in July, the tourism board has now launched Wellness Pura Vida, aimed at positioning the country as a world-class wellness destination. Other key focuses for

This page, clockwise from above: Beautiful decorative art on a carreta, or Costa Rican oxcart; Costa Rica’s Oldest Church in Ujarras; Puerto Limón on the Caribbean coast; the lush landscape of the Central Valley; a great green macaw

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2018 including promoting Costa Rica as a year-round destination.

Tourism talk “Boasting adventure, with the trade and a trade mega FAM.” unique wildlife, stunning beaches Rob Wilson, Head of Sales and Marketing, Travel and and 5% of the world’s Tourism, Four Communications biodiversity, Costa Rica is becoming a firm favourite on the travel agenda. Where to “This year our promotional campaigns “Hire a bike and cycle around book it focused around the region close to the small  EXODUS – 0203 131 6467 encouraging consumers town of Puerto Viejo, going A six-day Costa Rica to put the destination on their ‘bucket list’ and we easily from beach to beach. Family Adventure leads have seen huge interest Also in the area is the Jaguar in at £3,199 per adult and £2,879 per child from both the UK travel Rescue Centre, which has (aged five to 14, based trade and consumers. dozens of sloths of all ages too” on a March 24, 2018 “In the first two departure with flights quarters of this year, JESS MILLETT, MARKETING MANAGER, TUCAN TRAVEL and accommodation. 39,915 Brits travelled to exodus.co.uk Costa Rica, representing  ACTIVITIES ABROAD – 01670 789 991 a 12.3% increase on the same period for 2016. The 12-night Costa Rican Rainforest “This month (November), in association with Explorer mixes eco-lodges and glamping Selling Travel we are running three agent events with activities such as white-water rafting in Manchester, Glasgow and London, with 30 and zip wiring. Guests can also volunteer partners from Costa Rica in attendance. at Eco Centre Danaus. From £2,695pp, B&B, “Looking ahead to next year, our plans will excluding flights. Children aged eight to include integrated advertising campaigns 11 from £915pp. activitiesabroad.com  with targeted media owners, co-op marketing

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ViSit USa nEWS

noVEMBEr 2017

T H I S M O N T H ' S T O P S T O R I E S F R O M V I S I T U S A ' S M E M B E R S • V I S I T U S A .O R G .U K attraction

Museum of Biblical things "The Roadshow gives us the chance to talk to many agents in one evening and educate them on various U.S. destinations and experiences" Neil Jones Louisiana Office of Tourism, UK

Event

Roadshow a great success VISIT USA'S autumn Roadshow was one of the most successful yet as 31 exhibitors and 230 agents gathered over the course of three nights in October. The roadshow travelled to Edinburgh, Liverpool and Reading, giving agents the opportunity to network with U.S. industry experts and improve their destination awareness along with winning some prizes on each of the nights. Visit USA CEO, Tracey Spuyman said: “The quality of agents in all three cities we visited was very high. The feedback we received on each night told us that the networking discussions had been extremely useful in the drive to develop new business opportunities." She added: “We’re delighted that the Visit USA Roadshow has proved to be very productive for our members and we will be exploring ways to develop this event further as we start planning for 2018.” visitusaroadshow.com

THE Museum of the Bible will this month open just three blocks from the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington D.C. The museum, whose aim is to invite all visitors to 'engage' with the Bible, will be one of the most technologically advanced in the world. museumofthebible.org HotELS

IHG and Kimpton rewards INTERCONTINENTAL Hotels plans to integrate Kimpton Hotels' loyalty programme, Karma Rewards, into its main brand-wide IHG Rewards Club. Kimpton Karma Rewards will join in early 2018, offering members a one rewards point programme. kimptonhotels.com airLinE

Dallas next for Icelandair ICELANDAIR will begin a service to its 20th North American gateway, Dallas, from May 30, 2018. The service to Dallas-Fort Worth will operate four times a week. UK passengers will be able to connect via seven UK gateways. icelandair.co.uk

THE USA in brief... rESort MAGEE HOMESTEAD, Near Medicine Bow National Forest in the middle of the high-desert plains of Wyoming, is one of the latest U.S. properties to sign up with Relais and Chateux. A luxury adult-only ranch, the property includes nine cabins, a private lodge, swimming pool and Spa. The restaurant serves a range of plant-based dishes. relaischateaux.com

DEStination THE Beaches of Fort Myers & Sanibel in Florida has launched a new brand campaign for 2018 called It’s What Surrounds You. The tagline is designed to encourage visitors to explore all aspects of the region. The campaign covers six main areas: Romance & Honeymoon, Food, Family, Island Hopping, Wildlife, and Sailing. fortmyers-sanibel.com

oPErator TREKAMERICA'S new Plus Tours lets travellers build their U.S. trip by combining ‘bite-sized tours' ranging from nine to to 23 days. The 11 Plus Tour itineraries range is based on two cross-country ‘hero tours’, New York to Los Angeles and San Francisco to New York, with the nine other itineraries making up smaller sections of the two routes. Prices start from £1,299pp. trekamerica.co.uk

Look out for our Visit USA Association online travel Update for the pick of members' news VUSA-Nov.indd 32

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members spotlight visit denver

introducing...

NORWEGIAN's yearround service between Gatwick and Denver becomes a three-times-weekly service this winter. Denver is Norwegian’s eighth U.S. route from Gatwick in the past three years. The airline will also launch new services to Chicago and Austin next March. British Airways also flies direct from the UK to Denver, with indirect flights from Icelandair. And from March 25 United will launch a daily direct flight linking Heathrow and Denver. norwegian.com 

AIR NEW ZEALAND plans to up capacity on its Houston route by introducing a seasonal daily service. From March 25 to October 27 next year, the Kiwi flag carrier will operate between six and seven flights a week, up from the current five flights. The move will add an extra 16,000 seats on the route. The airline will deploy its newly configured B787-9 Dreamliner on the service from next month (December). Air NZ also serves Honolulu, Los Angeles and San Francisco. Airnewzealand.com

Cirque du Soleil Las Vegas Angie Sloan UK Representative

attraction

Papillon's dining option PAPILLON Grand Canyon Helicopters has added a luxury dining experience to three of its popular Grand Canyon tours. Whether arriving by helicopter, airplane or Mercedes Sprinter vehicle, guests enjoy a three-course lunch at Grand Canyon West’s new restaurant, Sa’Nyu Wa, which means ‘Home of the Eagle’. The three Papillon packages – Heli Skywalk Tour with VIP dining package, Indian Adventure with VIP dining package and Platinum West Rim with VIP dining package – include views of Hoover Dam, Lake Mead and the Grand Canyon and lunch at Sa’Nyu Wa, which features a panoramic view through glass walls of the canyon and Eagle Point. The Heli Skywalk Tour with VIP dining package begins with a helicopter flight to the West Rim. Upon landing, guests are taken to the Skywalk Bridge where they are given a pass to the horseshoe-shaped, glass-bottom bridge which provides views nearly a mile down to the canyon floor. Prices start from $554 (£415) per adult and $534 (£400) per child. Papillon.com

AER LINGUS PLANS BIGGEST U.S. MISSION

ATTRACTion

Right trail for South TRAVEL South USA is to launch the U.S. Civil Rights Trail on January 1, 2018, featuring over 80 significant landmarks from the Civil Rights Era in the 1950s and '60s. They include the church in Birmingham, Alabama, (pictured) that Klansmen bombed one Sunday, killing four schoolgirls. alabama.travel civilrightstrail.com

AER LINGUS will operate its largest ever transatlantic schedule in 2018, with 177,000 additional seats to North America via Dublin. Philadelphia will become the airline’s newest U.S. gateway, with a service operating four times a week. Aer Lingus’ offers transatlantic connections from 18 UK airports. When connecting in Dublin, Aer Lingus guests 'pre-clear' U.S. Customs and Immigration, allowing them upon landing to enjoy a smooth and swift arrival in the USA. aerlingus.com

How long have you been a Visit USA member? Cirque du Soleil Las Vegas joined Visit USA UK in August 2017. We are keen to connect with more of the trade to share some of the magic of the Cirque du Soleil Las Vegas portfolio and demonstrate the sheer diversity of the shows. What do you hope to gain from your membership? Visit USA offers opportunities for exposure: face to face with the trade, through trade publications and via its website. We provide agents with commission and the tools to sell tickets to their clients pre-departure. Tell us about Cirque du Soleil Las Vegas. We have seven permanent resident shows in Las Vegas. These larger-than-life productions are: Mystère at Treasure Island, “O” at Bellagio Resort & Casino, Zumanity at New York-New York Hotel & Casino, KÀ at MGM Grand Hotel & Casino, The Beatles™ LOVE™ at The Mirage Hotel & Casino, MINDFREAK LIVE! at Luxor Hotel & Casino, and Michael Jackson ONE at Mandalay Bay. How can agents work with Cirque du Soleil Las Vegas? We have just launched our first online training programme DiscoverCirque. com. One lucky agent who completes the course by November 30 will be whisked away to Las Vegas to see two shows, courtesy of British Airways and MGM Grand. angie@sloansquared.co.uk

Subscribe to the Visit USA Association online Travel Update at visitusa.org.uk VUSA-Nov.indd 33

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introducing

Ukraine the heart of Europe

T

his vast and slightly mysterious country – a former Soviet state – is opening up to tourism with visa-free travel and more direct flights from the UK, says Rupert Parker Ukraine represents remarkably good value for money and although it lies at the heart of Europe its golden domed churches, Soviet history and wild mountains somehow give it the air of a much further-flung destination.

Kiev The capital city has wide leafy boulevards, oniondomed churches and relatively few of those dull Soviet architectural monstrosities. Since Ukraine’s independence many of the building have been restored as symbols of national pride. Don’t miss the 1980s reconstruction of the Golden Gates of Kiev or the 11th-century Orthodox cathedral of St. Sophia. The 19th century St. Volodymyr’s cathedral was a museum of atheism during Soviet times. The major attraction is the Lavra Cave Monastery, a complex of religious buildings with catacombs beneath storing the mummified bodies of former monks. Chernobyl is two hours outside Kiev and is the best way to appreciate the scale of the world's most notorious nuclear tragedy. It’s perfectly safe now, they say, and the reactor has a new

shiny metal shell. The town of Pripyat, which once housed 50,000 workers, is slowly being swallowed by the forest and serves as a grim reminder of the dangers of nuclear power.

Lviv Fifty miles from the Polish border, Lviv was once part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and has quaint cobbled streets and architecture similar to other Hapsburg cities like Vienna and Budapest. It’s a pleasant place to wander, with street musicians on every corner, enticing and imposing cathedrals and a Market Square lined with renaissance houses. The elaborate Opera House still stages productions of opera and ballet.

Carpathian Mountains

Clockwise from top left: the Motherland Monument, Kiev; unsettling debris in Chernobyl; Kamianets-Podilskyi on the Smotrych River in western Ukraine; Kiev Pechersk Lavra, or the Kiev Monastery of the Caves

The Carpathians run through the South West of Ukraine, separating it from Romania. The mountains have been home to the Hutsuls, the largest ethnic group in Ukraine and Romania, for hundreds of years. Kolomyia has an excellent musuem dedicated to their culture, with displays of costumes, crafts and music. On the edge of the mountains is the city of Chernivtski, once part of the Hapsburg Empire and known as Little Vienna. However, it's the

Romanians, who once occupied the city, who built its attractive Art Deco buildings. Chernivtsi University, a red-bricked Moorish fantasy with a Technicolor-tiled roof, was built by a Czech architect and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. A day’s excursion from Chernivtsi is the fairytale fortress of Khotyn, on a cliff overlooking the Dniester Rive, while nearby is the impressive city Kamyanets Podilsky, with its 14th century castle guarding a bend of the Smotrych River. 

THE DETAILS Time Zone: GMT +2 Currency: Ukrainian Hryvn £1 - 35UAH Visas: None required Getting there: flyuia. com; batraveltrade.com; ryanair.com; wizzair.com.

Capital: Kiev Languages: Ukranian, although Russian is widely spoken and is the main language in Kiev. Cilmate: A temperate

continental climate with cold and snow winters and hot summers. Book It: Cobblestone Tours is a Canadianbased Ukraine-specialist operator that works with UK agents. The 16-day Great Ukraine: Fall tour takes in highlights from Kiev to Odessa to Lvic. It is priced from $3,680pp. cobblestonefreeway.ca

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10/26/17 06:07 PM


caribbean round-up

bounces Caribbean back

Hurricanes Irma, Jose and Maria tried their worst but despite extensive damage, most of the Caribbean is open for business. Arnie Wilson does a regional round-up

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Anguilla The Anguilla Tourist Board says that this 35-square mile island has made a “remarkable and robust recovery” and is officially open for business again, although Hurricane Irma caused extensive damage. Around 30 small hotels, condominiums, guest houses and private villas have already re-opened or plan to open ahead of the peak winter and Christmas season. Water is available but at the time of writing remained on ration. Most of Anguilla’s larger and five-star resorts plan to welcome guests from mid-2018.

Antigua & Barbuda Barbuda was devastated but Antigua sustained very superficial damage from Irma and has remained open as usual. It is back offering excursions and adventures such as Stingray City, zip-lining, safari land tours and catamaran cruises. Restaurants and bars have re-opened and close to 2,000 of the country’s hotel room stock – with resorts including Cocobay, Jumby Bay, Curtain Bluff, Carlisle Bay, Hawksbill by Rex Resorts, Heritage Quay Hotel and St. James’s Club – will be available by the start of November following traditional summer upgrades and renovations throughout resorts. The Antigua & Barbuda Tourism Authority has already hosted a post-hurricane trade fam, partnering with Elite Island Resorts.

The Bahamas All islands in the Bahamas are open for business. With an expanding airlift network, both to and between the islands, 2017 has been a good year for the islands, especially Nassau with the long-awaited opening of Baha Mar.

Barbados

HURRICANE UPDATE ISLANDS AFFECTED BUT NOW UP AND RUNNING ARE: Anguilla, Antigua, The Bahamas, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Grenada Guadeloupe, Haiti, Martinique, Montserrat, Puerto Rico, St. Eustatius, St. Kitts and Nevis and Turks & Caicos Islands. However, on some islands there is re-building to be done.

Barbados arrivals for the first nine months of the year were up 7% to 453,645 and increased frequencies from British Airways, Virgin and Thomas Cook, plus new hotels, add up to a bullish outlook for the country. Travel 2 will be adding the new Sandals Royal Resort in Barbados, which opens in December 2017, to its Caribbean offering. The hotel will feature five restaurants, a 15,000 ft spa and 222 suites. The hotel has impressive ocean views and is located at the heart of Saint Lawrence Gap, a bustling location on the south coast with white sandy beaches and underground lakes.

THE COUNTRIES THAT ARE IMPACTED AND WILL TAKE SOME TIME TO RECOVER ARE:

Barbuda, British Virgin Islands, Dominica, Puerto Rico, St. Barts, St. Martin, St. Maarten and U.S. Virgin Islands.

caribbean islands.indd 35

British Virgin Islands The BVIs were badly affected and a devastating 80% of people are without homes. As of mid-October, there were no schools, no hotels, no electricity and very limited communication.

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COMITÉ MARTINIQUAIS DU TOURISME

ANTIGUA & BARBUDA TOURISM AUTHORITY

36

Sharon Flax-Brutus, Director of Tourism for the British Virgin Islands, said that pre-Irma it had been poised to have a record-breaking year. The destination spent much of October repairing ports, yachts, accommodation, beaches and tourist attractions. Some hotel rooms are still being used by hurricane relief workers. However, the BVIs is planning to start welcoming guests back to the islands from this month (November).

Dominica The island was badly hit and, with its volcanic landscapes and lush rainforest, some affected hotels remain difficult to reach. Dominica is virtually closed to visitors and the first hotel re-openings are not expected until January 1. The island had launched an ‘Adventuremoon’ campaign to draw in intrepid travellers, with special packages giving greater access to Dominica’s outdoor activities with accommodation, meals, experiences and airport transfers included.

Grenada Delegates at the Caribbean Tourism Organization’s annual State of the Tourism Industry Conference, held in Grenada in mid-October, were told that many island hotels are due to reopen in time for Christmas. The Silversands Grenada, one of the Caribbean’s most auspicious openings for 2018, has already joined The Leading Hotels of the World. Launching in March, this new upscale resort comprises 43 suites and nine residential villas and is anchored by a 100-metre pool - the longest in the Caribbean.

Guadeloupe

Clockwise from above: classic Caribbean cocktails; Martinique church; service with a smile on Sandy Island, Anguilla; an Antigua beach scene; diving in Barbados

The Guadeloupe Islands suffered ‘no major damage’ to their tourism infrastructure and are looking forward to an influx of guests during the upcoming high season. A spokesperson said: “Our flamboyant tropical vegetation is flourishing!”

Martinique Martinique suffered temporary power outages but avoided any major damage. The French isle has seen a 16.7% rise in tourist arrivals based around increased hotel beds and more cruise passengers in 2016. Martinique saw a 500% growth in cruise arrivals over the past seven years.

Nevis This small island escaped the ravages of Irma and Maria but one of its main hotels, the Four Seasons, is undergoing a three-year rolling renovation, but remains open to guests. All other hotels are open. However, one of Nevis’s biggest festivals, the Nevis Blues festival, has been cancelled in 2018. The festival is reliant on financial support from local sponsors and the Nevis Island Administration said that in the wake of the hurricanes priorities lie elsewhere. (See pages 16 and 58 for more).

Puerto Rico Puerto Rico will go ahead with hosting Caribbean Travel Marketplace, the Caribbean’s largest tourism marketing event, in San Juan from January 30 to February 1, 2018, as officials work to prepare hotels and meeting facilities impacted by the hurricanes. “In rolling out a re-energized event, we look forward to showing the world how the courage, determination and hard work of the Puerto Rican people and tourism industry has prevailed in view of the challenges they are currently facing,” said Frank Comito, Director General and CEO of the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA). Comito added: “We anticipate by the end of the year most of the hotels in Puerto Rico will be welcoming guests.”

St. Barts The prestigious Eden Rock hotel, perched on the rocky promontory of St Jean Bay, will reopen in the summer of 2018 following repairs to the

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ST MAARTEN TOURIST BUREAU

damage inflicted by Hurricane Irma. The hotel is commencing an extensive rebuilding and renovation programme in order to further strengthen and improve the existing structures, and hopes to welcome back its guests as soon as possible. Fabrice Moizan, the resort’s General Manager, said: “Our team are working like heroes restoring our beloved rock and beach, and services have now been restored.”

37

St Kitts The island received minimal damage and the airport never closed (see page 16 for more).

Saint Lucia It is business as usual on one of the Brits’ favourite Caribbean islands. Windjammer Landing Villa Beach Resort on the north coast has completed the second phase of its expansion and enhancement project. It has invested more than $7.1 million to expand the resort to include four additional luxury North Point Villas as well as renovate some of the existing villas. The resort has invested nearly $50 million over the past two years to become one of the leading luxury resorts on Saint Lucia. Plans for phase three of this costly and ambitious project are already underway.

St. Martin/St. Maarten

St. Vincent & The Grenadines

The storms took out over 70% of the hotel stock on the Dutch side of the island, St Maarten, but some of these will be back on sale in November. Recovery on the French half, St. Martin, is well underway with support from other Caribbean islands, as well as France. The airport is open and a plan of action is now set in place, with strategies to ensure that the 2018 and 2019 seasons operate as normal. However, 2017 has been a write-off.

The islands are open for business. Petit St. Vincent, a 115-acre privately-owned island resort in the Grenadine island chain, will open for its 49th season on November 1. The private island resort has 22 one- and two-bedroom cottages and will kick off the season with a special ‘Seven for Five’ offer from November 1 to December 19, saving guests 25%. Prices start from $2,750pp (£2,084pp), based on two sharing a one-bedroom cottage. Prices are for seven nights for two people and include three meals daily.

Trinidad And Tobago Trinidad and Tobago remained untouched by the hurricanes. The destination will be celebrating its unique culture in 2018. Tobago’s Tourism Division has been ‘realigned’ ‘as the newly-formed Division of Tourism, Culture and Transportation. The Division’s main focus next year will be to streamline the island’s cultural offerings to “present a more defined tourism product that caters to the wants and needs of the experiential traveller.

Turks & Caicos Clockwise from above: A sisserou parrot, Dominica; a Grenada viewpoint; watersports in St. Maarten; an old sugar mill in the U.S. Virgin Islands

Two hurricanes affected Grand Turk, but the island is entirely cleaned up now and the

majority of it expects be open by Thanksgiving (November 23). Diving is possible on Grand Turks and Salt Cay. Beaches Turks & Caicos is set to re-open its doors on December 14 and will unveil new restaurants, snack bars and water sports activities. As part of the renovations, accommodations in all five villages in the resort have been upgraded, along with the lobbies and public areas.

U.S. Virgin Islands The U.S. Virgin Islands were badly hit and are slowly getting back to the business of welcoming visitors. Seaports are open and businesses and attractions plan to welcome cruisers in November. On St. Thomas, several hotels are closed until further notice. These include Sugar Bay Resort & Spa, Windward Passage, Ritz-Carlton St. Thomas and Frenchman’s Reef & Morning Star Marriott Beach Resort. Bolongo Bay Beach Resort is looking to re-open in the second or third week of December. Caneel Bay in St. John will be closed for the remainder of 2017 and further updates for 2018 will become available in due course. One of the flagship hotels on the island of St. Croix, The Buccaneer, has announced it is accepting reservations for guests arriving on or after November 1. The historic property received minimal damage to its infrastructure. 

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middle east adventure

Middle East

adventure

Benjamin Coren discovers some of the Middle East’s best attractions and excursions – including ancient forts, bustling souks, wild deserts, mountains and theme parks Dubai has also been working to develop its cycling infrastructure and there are now plenty of purpose-built cycle tracks. The Nad Al Sheba has trails of varying lengths and the course is floodlit at night.

BOOK IT WITH GOLD MEDAL Three nights at the five-star Atlantis, The Palm, staying in a deluxe room on a halfboard basis and with flights leads in at £949pp. The deal includes reduced rates and complimentary half-board It is valid for travel between February 26 and March 20, 2018.

Dubai Dubai is packed with theme parks and waterparks such as IMG Worlds of Adventure, the world’s largest indoor theme park, and Aquaventure and Wild Wadi waterparks. Dubai Parks & Resorts opened a year ago and is made up of three theme parks and one waterpark: Motiongate Dubai, Bollywood Parks Dubai, Legoland Dubai and Legoland Waterpark. Guests staying at the onsite resort, Lapita, now receive unlimited access to the parks and benefit from a queue pass allowing them to skip long lines. All guests are eligible for the benefits. Elsewhere in Dubai, adrenalin junkies can go skydiving and see the World Islands and the Palm Jumeirah from an aerial perspective. Skydiving is available for beginners and experts alike, and Dubai is noted as one of the world’s best drop zones. Or take to the skies in a hot air balloon and soar 1,200 metres above the dunes.

goldmedal.co.uk

is located in the heart of the range. A twohour drive up the mountain is only possible with a 4x4, but along the way visitors can see dozens of Omani villages, terraces of produce including figs and pomegranates and huge canyons. Other must-see sights include Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque. The majestic and richly-decorated building is the only mosque in Oman that welcomes non-Muslims and is open Saturday to Thursday between 08.00 and 11.00. Women must ensure they are completely covered. Muscat’s Muttrah Souk is a colourful jumble of stalls filled with exotic spices, antiques, and clothing. Brush up on your bartering skills for deals on authentic souvenirs. Nizwa Fort is a 90-minute drive from Muscat and makes for an exciting day trip. The 17th century towers are full of hidden trapdoors and ‘murder holes’ where boiling date oil was once poured on potential intruders, leaving them very dead but undeniably sweet!

BOOK IT WITH G ADVENTURES

Oman Home to the Al Hajar mountain range, Oman offers plenty of opportunities to go rock climbing, cycling or walking. Green Mountain

G Adventures’ 2018 collection includes a new Highlights of Oman itinerary. Visit the Grand Mosque, Bait Al Zubair Museum and the historic souk in Muttrah. The highlights includes overnights in Wahiba Sands Desert, Ras al Jinz Turtle Reserve and Wadi Nakhr (the Grand Canyon of Oman). The eight-day trip is priced from £1,499pp, with departures from September to December 2018. gadventures.co.uk

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handmade artefacts and preserves Bahrain’s customs and traditions. Bahrain Fort is the site of the former capital of Dilmin. Here archaeological digs have revealed residential, public, commercial and military structures. Visitors can try their hand at Pearl Diving at one of the Island’s snorkelling or scuba sites, and search for their own pearls – and what they find they keep.

“With sunshine all year round0 the Middle East is a fantastic place to visit. In Dubai stay at Atlantis, The Palm, which has its own waterpark. Aquaventure covers 17 hectares and has the world’s first dual slide within a slide” TRICIA BIRMINGHAM, SENIOR PRODUCT MANAGER, MIDDLE EAST AND INDIAN OCEAN, GOLD MEDAL

Abu Dhabi

Ras al-Khaimah The emirate will welcome the world’s longest zipline in December. It will be located on the UAE’s highest peak, Jebel Jais. A viewing deck is also set to open on the peak, offering fantastic views of the range and numerous food trucks. The Middle East’s first via ferrata is also open on Jebel Jais, offering an adrenalinfilled day out with professional instructors and spectacular views. The mountain route is over a kilometre in length with three zip lines along the route. The tourist board’s aim is to welcome one million tourists by the end of 2018. The aim is to build it as a luxury and adventure destination.

BOOK IT WITH TRAVEL 2 Three nights at the five-star Hilton Al Hamra, staying in a guest room with a garden view on a B&B basis and including flights, start from £469pp. The deal includes reduced rates and is valid for travel from February 26 to March 20, 2018, saving £300pp. An East Coast Tour (Grand Canyon Safari) is £63 per adult (not included in the price). travel2.com

Visitors can indulge in an ever-growing range of activities. Taking a 4x4 ride into the dunes is a great way for adventurous travellers to experience the desert. This can be rounded off with a traditional dinner at an Arabic camp with food, drink and what is billed as authentic Arabian entertainment. The famous Yas Marina Circuit offers the chance to watch the annual Formula One grand prix, and hands-on-the-wheel driving experiences are available on the track. Nearby Ferrari World is a must for thrill seekers and is home to the world’s fastest rollercoaster, the Formula Rossa, which reaches speeds of 240 km/h.

Bahrain Next year, Bahrain’s Muhurraq Island takes the mantle of the Islamic Cultural Capital for 2018. This will coincide with the completion and grand opening of the UNESCO site, The Pearling Trail. The trail is made up of 17 listed buildings including a fortress, residences, shops, storehouses and a mosque. There will be host-related cultural events to celebrate including the unveiling of the trail. Bahrain National Museum’s nine halls explore the Kingdom’s rich history and features ancient documents and manuscripts,

Qatar From Doha there is plenty to see and explore in the city and the surrounding area. Spend a day watching the thrilling and traditional spectacle of camel racing, while remote-controlled toddler-sized jockeys speed around the track at Al Shahaniya. Take a sightseeing tour of Doha on the double-decker Doha Bus and take in attractions such as the Souq Waqif, the Corniche, Katara Cultural Village and The Pearl. Then take to the water on a traditional Qatari dhow. Several operators offer dhow cruises, along with snorkelling trips and night sailings. Discover Qatar’s rich history on the northwest coast and see the UNESCO World Heritage site, Al Zubarah. The perfectly restored 18th century fort and archaeological ruins offer an insight into ancient life. 

“Head to the canyons and rocky valleys of the Hajar Mountains. Book a 4x4 safari and drive through the Masafi Canyons. Stop for a picnic in the wadis, which make an Instagram- worthy picture” DEBORAH WADHAMS, PRODUCT MANAGER, MIDDLE EAST AND INDIAN OCEAN, TRAVEL 2

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ADVERTORIAL 40

philippines

Bright lights in

the city Discover culture, cuisine and a new cosmopolitan buzz in the Philippines

T

he City of Manila has been established as a gateway of the Philippines to the Western world. Today, Manila is the primary leading centre of innovation in the country. Heavily influenced by history, religion and culture, visitors find Manila a cacophony of contradictions where antiquity and modernization coexist.

Stay in style Conveniently located in Bay City, Conrad Manila of the Hilton Hotels chain offers a peaceful escape from the hustle of urban life. This five-star property received the TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence in 2017. Inspired by the bay’s traversing vessels, Conrad

Manila’s structure connects to the waters in front. With a 24-hour fitness centre, a luxury spa, an infinity pool, 347 stylish accommodations, two restaurants, a bar, and lobby café, Conrad Manila is the sole hotel with a direct link to the SMX Convention Centre, a venue for Manila’s grandest and most anticipated events.

Family fun World-class amusement parks, Las Vegas-style casinos, performance theatres and shopping malls abound in th Bay City area. It neighbours the Cultural Centre of the Philippines, where art, heritage and innovations are ever present. Within Taguig City is Bonifacio Global City (BGC), the newest development in the Metro

reflecting contemporary lifestyle. Within reach are international schools, embassies, medical facilities and an array of indoor and outdoor offerings for every member of the family. Artworks and sculptures that spark inspiration as well as creative murals grace BGC. Those looking at interactive fun will revel in The Mind Museum and Kidzania, where children and kids at heart are guaranteed a good time in learning and discovery. For the ultimate adrenaline rush, try the Flying Trapeze, the country’s only full-size flying trapeze rig. Likewise, for children young and old, a visit to Kerry Sports Adventure Zone in Shangri-La at the Fort, Manila leads to a veritable treasure trove of slides, ball pits and more.

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ADVERTORIAL

philippines

CONRAD MANILA

41

FIVE-STAR I’M HOTEL

OLD MANILA, INTRAMUROS

SHANGRI-LA AT THE FORT

THE CALM WATERS OF MANILA BAY

Room for all

City with a buzz

Relax and unwind

With one of the largest portfolios in the city, Shangri-La at the Fort Manila’s event spaces suit any occasion. It hosts 19 multifunction rooms which are available on multiple floors, defining versatility and flexibility. The pillar-less Grand Ballroom can accommodate up to 1,200 guests while the junior ballroom, the Bonifacio Hall, 715 guests. The hotel’s 576 accommodations have stunning unparalleled city and bay views. There are also 97 serviced residences measuring from 90 to 124 square metres, fitted with a kitchenette, a living room/dining zone, walk-in wardrobe and modern amenities for the ultimate comfort and luxury to complement a stay in this diverse country.

Across BGC is Makati, the Philippines’ financial hub. Makati is cosmopolitan: it has a stock exchange, shopping arcades, prestigious clubs and sprawling museums. A gourmand’s haven, Makati has restaurants of international and local cuisines to suit the most discerning palate. Try fine-dining institutions like Black Bird, refreshing concepts such as Hole in the Wall, and weekend markets of Salcedo and Legazpi cements Makati’s culinary reputation. As befitting Makati, I’M Hotel is a property of many firsts: the first five-star hotel in the Poblacion district houses the first Onsen Spa in the Philippines. I’M Hotel is 800metres away from the central business district.

Spanning 3,800 square metres over six storeys, I’M Onsen Spa is the largest state-of-the-art spa in the Philippines, featuring a carbonated bath with Japanese technology. Treatments are available in communal beds, couple rooms with e-suite Jacuzzis or steam rooms, or executive and VIP rooms. I’M Hotel has relaxation lounges and a buffet by renowned Chef King Fonacier. Manila is ready to meet the expectations of enthusiastic tourists and seasoned travellers! Philippine Airlines flies the Manila-London Heathrow route on its new Boeing 777300ER aircrafts four times weekly.  For more information, visit itsmorefuninthephilippines.co.uk

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Working in partnership

GDS | TRAINING | REWARDS

Training, competitions, events November 2017

THIS MONTH'S TOP STORIES

New Qatar guide TRAINING

Quick Quiz Are you a Jambo Kenya Pro?

1. Kenya's eastern coast borders the Indian Ocean. TRUE / FALSE

Hot News

The best way to sell the Thai life

2. The capital of Kenya is Mombasa. TRUE / FALSE

Business as usual NEWS

azantiguabarbuda.com jambokenya.co.uk

Answers: 1: True 2: False

sell-the-thai-life

tawashqatar.com

ADVANTAGE travel Partnership, Antigua & Barbuda Tourism Authority and hotel partner Elite Islands Resorts jointly hosted the first FAM trip to Antigua post- hurricane Irma. Just one month after the storm, Antigua welcomed agents to experience at first hand that the island is fully open for business and ready to build on its position as a top tourist destination. Advantage Travel Partnership is the UK's largest independent travel agent group.

Amazing Thailand I Modules: 7 SELLING Travel is providing agents with a handy online guide, including all the resources needed to sell great holidays to Thailand. Sell the Thai Life features news, competitions, useful information and contacts along with a range of training resources and details of trade shows, including the Amazing Thailand Road Show in 2018. Agents can also win seven nights' accommodation in a luxurious hotel in Thailand by completing the Amazing Thailand Online Training program. sellingtravel.co.uk/

A 12-PAGE dedicated guide to Qatar will be distributed with the December issue of Selling Travel. It covers all the essential information agents need to sell the destination, including the top attractions, shopping, wellness options, accommodation and events and festivals. Discover more about Qatar by signing up to The Tawash online training programme with TravelUni. It features five modules on this culturally-rich destination.

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Training courses to help travel agents and advisers sell more!

COURSE LIST

Trip planning NYC NEWS

NYC & COMPANY has launched Destination Concierge, a travel bot platform that allows travellers to access relevant and useful travel content via social media. With plans to reach over a billion users through Facebook Messenger, Chute’s bot allows travel brands and destinations to distribute their existing content through a new channel, one where travellers are already going for information. Once engaged, the Destination Concierge bot updates travellers with the latest news, personalised recommendations and promotions through Messenger. getchute.com/destination-concierge

On the Road

St. Kitts' new website and training

St. Kitts Specialist I Modules: 4

Travel 2 sales tool NEWS

TRAVEL 2 has created a new mini-brochure to help agents maximise bookings to holiday hot-spots during the winter booking period. The brochure, a go-to guide for agents selling last-minute getaways, covers holidays up until March 2018 and includes popular itineraries including winter cruises. Agents can enhance product knowledge with the Travel 2 Academy online training, featuring modules on destinations, aviation, ground and cruise products. It also features a 'Learn & Earn' incentive scheme. travel2academy.co.uk

ST. KITTS and Nevis Tourism officials returned for the fifth UK Destination Roadshow in October. This year’s event marked the launch of a new website and specialist training programme now available for agents online. The Destination St. Kitts and Nevis Roadshow is a great opportunity for agents to learn key selling points through fun and educational quiz games and meet representatives from both islands. Agents also had the chance to win FAM trip place along with plenty more top prizes on the night. Read more about this year’s event on page 16.

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 Florida Fort Myers & Sanibel Gambia Goa Experience GDS Haven Hotels Hawaii Heritage Resort Insider Journeys Jerusalem Jewel Resorts Jumeirah Hotels & Resorts Kenya Las Vegas Macao Malaysia Miami New York Namibia Newmarket Holidays Ontario Puerto Rico 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 Your Car Hire traveluni.com

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region profile

New England small-town charm A vine time Martha’s Vineyard doesn’t actually have any wineries but the island is famous for its white-sand beaches, lighthouses and cute harbour towns. It is 45 minutes by boat from Cape Cod, Massachusetts. Portsmouth Settled in 1623, this New Hampshire city on the Piscataqua River claims to be the nation’s third-oldest. Head to the Strawbery Banke Museum on the waterfront to see homes and exhibits from three centuries. Maine colours Nowhere in New England do the colours of autumn shine quite so brightly as in Acadia National Park. Expect rocky beaches and granite peaks like Cadillac Mountain, the highest on the East Coast. Stowe away This north Vermont town is overlooked by Mount Mansfield and known for its ski slopes in winter and its hiking trails in summer. Expect picturepostcard white churches and alpine scenery. Martime marvel Mystic, Connecticut, is located on Long Island Sound and is the home of the largest maritime museum in the country, and a sizeable aquarium with a rehabilitation area for marine life such as seals. Old timer town In Providence, the compact ‘creative capital’ of Rhode Island and one of the oldest cities in the U.S.A., 18th- and 19th century homes line the streets of College Hill. In the area is the Ivy League Brown University.

K

nown chiefly for its dazzling autumnal displays, New England has plenty to keep visitors entertained year round thanks to a wealth of natural and historic attractions across all six states, says Lauren Jarvis

New England may cover six states but it is surprisingly compact as well as increasingly accessible from the UK. Most recently, Norwegian has introduced flights into Hartford, Connecticut, and Providence, Rhode Island, from Edinburgh, Belfast, Dublin, Cork and Shannon, but UK connections to Boston have also increased, with Gatwick and Manchester now accompanying services from Heathrow, and Stansted and Birmingham connections to be introduced in 2018. “New England is a place where visitors can savour the rich diversity of American life in one compact, beautifully scenic region,” says Lori Harnois, Executive Director, Discover New England. “They have the choice of staying in charming inns or luxurious resorts and sampling local foods from lobster shacks or fine restaurants. They can hike mountains or stroll coastlines and travel scenic byways that lead to vibrant cities and quaint, small towns.”

MASSACHUSETTS From historic Boston to nautical Cape Cod to the tranquil isles of Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket to the bewitching town of Salem, Massachusetts is a state of infinite character, and endless opportunity. After exploring the elegant capital – taking in a Red Sox baseball game at the legendary Fenway Park or whale

WHALE WATCHING IN MASSACHUSETTS

watching from its famous harbour – it’s an easy drive to enjoy the coastal delights of the Cape or the wonderful South-eastern wineries. New hotel stock includes the 20-room Greydon House (greydonhouse.com) in Nantucket’s historic district, which has a restaurant serving locally inspired cuisine, and Hotel Salem (thehotelsalem.com) on Boston’s North Shore, a 44-room boutique hotel with a rooftop bar opening in October 2017. Loews Boston has introduced Flavor by Loews Hotels (loewshotels.com/flavor) and will showcase local food and drink in its Precinct Kitchen + Bar. The Amazing World of Dr. Seuss Museum (seussinspringfield.org) sprung into Springfield in June and is a good suggestion for families.

NEW HAMPSHIRE Embrace the state’s motto ‘Live Free or Die’ put your pedal to the metal and take a spin around one of New England’s most beautiful regions. New Hampshire is a playground for outdoor enthusiasts, who can hit the ski slopes in the morning and ride the surf in the afternoon. The White Mountains and Lakes regions offer hiking, biking and canoeing, while the capital, Concorde, and the larger city of Manchester have vibrant arts and dining scenes. A new 66-room boutique hotel, The Garrison Hotel (thegarrisonhotel.com), has opened in Dover and is perfectly placed for the region’s

PORTLAND, MAINE

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breweries, restaurants and coastal attractions. Cabonnay (cabonnay.com) is Manchester’s new contemporary restaurant and wine bar, incorporating an art gallery and roof-top patio. Coming soon is the 106-room Tru by Hilton hotel (tru3.hilton.com) which will open in Manchester’s historic Millyard in May 2018, within walking distance of downtown.

MAINE This northernmost state offers visitors a picture-perfect mix of nautical delights and fabulous forests. The rocky coastline is perfect for a hike, while beautiful sandy beaches offer a range of watersports. Cultural and culinary gems await in the artsy little city of Portland, and golfers can take a swing on some of the most scenic courses in the country. Cuisine is a big draw and Maine Foodie Tours (mainefoodietours.com) now operate in five locations throughout the state: Kennebunkport, Portland, Rockland, Camden and Bar Harbor. New accommodation ranges from The Francis (thefrancismaine.com), a smart 15-room hotel located in the historic Mellen E. Bolster House and reflecting the history and culture of Portland, to glamping at the new Sandy Pines Campground (sandypinescamping.com), Kennebunkport, near Goose Rocks Beach.

VERMONT The Green Mountain State offers year-round attractions: a stunning winter-ski destination, a spring foodie escape, an outdoorsy summer getaway or an autumn sojourn in a cosy, country hotel. Welcoming villages are great for a browse, with boutiques, studios and craft shops showcasing local talent, while friendly southern towns come alive with festivals of music and art. The Burke Mountain Hotel (skiburke.com) opened last year with 116 guest suites while a new Hampton Inn opened this year in St. Albans (hamptoninn3.hilton.com), close to Montreal. The new Mad River Taste Place (madrivertaste. com) in Waitsfield invites visitors to learn

KAYAKING IN CONNECTICUT

NEWPORT, RHODE ISLAND

about and indulge in local produce while the new Von Trapp Brewing Bierhall in Stowe (vontrappbrewing.com), serving a range of lager in its Bierhall Restaurant, brings a little taste of Austria to Vermont.

CONNECTICUT When it comes to the perfect New England Instagram post, northern Connecticut can oblige, with its plethora of impossibly quaint villages, white-steepled churches and colonial taverns. An easy escape from the Big Apple, Connecticut also has the rolling Litchfield Hills and Housatonic River, perfect locations for a scenic drive. Or ditch the car and hike the famous Appalachian Trail. Recent openings include The Delmar West Hartford (delamar.com), offering full-service spa treatments, fine dining and complimentary bicycle rentals, and The Goodwin (goodwinhartford. com), a new boutique hotel in Hartford.

“While New England’s autumn colours are spectacular, the season brings higher prices and lower inventory. Spring has its own charm with blossoms creating their own colourful masterpiece, and prices are more competitive” GRAEME EVANS, GLOBAL PRODUCT MANAGER, TRAVELPACK

RHODE ISLAND The ‘sailing capital of the world’, Newport, Rhode Island also has plenty for landlubbers. There are miles of beaches and the Newport Mansions, grand and historic homes once owned by some of the biggest entrepreneurs in the country. The state packs in plenty of top-notch hotels, restaurants and vineyards, and its arts scene is fronted by the popular WaterFire event in Providence, a riverside fire sculpture installation. The $10 million WaterFire Arts Center (artscenter. waterfire.org) opened in Providence this June. Ocean House (oceanhouseri.com) the only AAA Five Diamond property in the state, has had a multi-million-dollar guest-room renovation. 

BOOK IT WITH VACATIONS TO AMERICA A seven-night trip to Massachusetts, including three nights in Boston at The Godfrey Hotel or the Verb Hotel, one night in Salem at the Waterfront Hotel, two nights at the Cape Codder Resort Hyannis and one night in the Mirbeau Inn & Spa Pinehills, Plymouth, starts from £1,595pp, including flights and car hire. 01582 469777; vacationstoamerica.com

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seasonal sensational change

Known for its fall colours, New Hampshire is a yearround destination with consistent snow, gorgeous spring blooms and long, hot summers, says Lynn Houghton

Pictured, clockwise from above: hiking in Monadnock State Park; racing through the white stuff with Valley Snow Dogz; New Hampshire’s many lakes are great for canoeing; Hampton Beach on the Atlantic Ocean

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T

he remarkable change of colour that sweeps through New England’s forests in autumn is one of the great marvels of nature and leef-peeping has a whole tourism industry of its own. As days get shorter and nights colder, the leaf’s chlorophyll begins to dissipate. This signals sugar maple trees to morph from sunny yellow into orange and then an astonishingly deep red; ash trees turn vibrant chartreuse while deciduous oaks range in colour from copper to ochre to brilliant magenta. Nowhere is this fiery display more spectacular than in New Hampshire’s White Mountains, where the forest’s vast swathes of colour are reflected in numerous lakes. What is less appreciated though, is that New Hampshire’s scenery is breathtaking year-round, thanks to landscapes dotted with quaint farms and villages, white steeple churches and covered bridges. For the actively inclined, during fair weather there is hiking, mountain biking, canoeing,

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and fishing. Winter activities like skiing, snowshoeing, and snowboarding are also extremely popular. And then there are some more unique activities for visitors to try out, like learning some essential lumberjack skills or off-roading in Swiss army transport vehicles (alpinezipline.com/adventure/off-road-tour). I found my own niche in axe-throwing. Sounding more alarming than it actually is, it takes place daily at the Mountain View Grand Resort in Whitefield. This whacky activity – where participants are instructed to utter patriotic war-cries while tossing an axe at a target – was my opportunity to be a Viking for a few hours. It’s also a cathartic release, easy to learn and great fun. Another draw for New Hampshire is the down to earth, friendly locals who are quick to tell local tales. The fascinating history of this area harks back to the Revolutionary War, nearly 250 years ago, and culture vultures will find the numerous historic properties and folklore fascinating.

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Up north

A winter’s tale

Pictured, clockwise from above: Fall colours from Milan Hill State Park; summer surfing at the beach; waterside barbie at Lake Wentworth; spring at Applecrest Farm; autumn at Applecrest Farm; Artist’s Bluff; snowmobiling White Lake

Skiing and snowboarding during winter in the White Mountains is a big magnet. And compared to, say, resorts in the Rockies, the prices for ski lift day passes and ski rentals are very reasonable – a massive bonus for families. Many of the ski attractions are only a two-hour drive from Boston, which means international guests can quite literally be on the slopes a few hours after they arrive. Abenaki Ski Area, Wolfeboro, is the oldest community-run ski resort in the country, offering lift tickets for under $20 as well as a 30km crosscountry ski network. Loon Mountain (3,050-feet) has 11 lifts, a gondola and 61 trails which attract both ski and Nordic ski enthusiasts. Attitash Ski Resort in North Conway is renowned for its ski and snowboard instruction and features 11 lifts plus 68 trails for downhill skiers. Ragged Mountain Resort in Danbury has two mountain peaks and 57 trails, including 17 renowned glades and three terrain parks. It also has the state’s only six-person high-speed chairlift. Canon Mountain in Franconia has diverse terrain across two mountains with 95 ski trails and glades plus 11 lifts and sledging and dog sledding but its main attraction is Flume Gorge. This natural granite chasm extends 800 feet around the base of Mount Liberty and has dramatic, crashing waterfalls surrounded by towering 90-feethigh granite walls.

Based in North Conway, Extreme Northern Adventures (northernextremessnowmobiling.com) offers snowmobiling tours through dozens of miles of dedicated and groomed trails in the nearby Great North Wood. This exhilarating activity is very easy to learn but riders must have a current driver’s license. Looking for a bit of après-ski? Just down the road from Attitash is quaint North Conway Village which has restaurants, shops and art galleries lining its main street. Nearby Settler’s Green Outlet Village (settlersgreen. com) is a great place to bag bargains with well-known American brands. Best of all, shopping in New Hampshire is tax-free.

Family-friendly fun One of the favourite pastimes of White Mountain visitors is taking the Cog Railway which ascends Mount Washington, the tallest mountain in the Northeast. Early each day, an historic coal-fired steam locomotive makes the 6,288-foot climb to the mountain top, recreating the experience of what it was like to be a passenger in the early days of travel. For nature enthusiasts, the trails at the Appalachian Mountain Club’s Highland Center at Crawford Notch (outdoors.org/lodging-camping/lodges/ highland) offer great hiking. There is even a hiker shuttle during the summer to take enthusiasts to nearby trailheads. Due to donations from the recreation company L.L.Bean, there is also a fully kittedout gear room with free-to-hire boots and other gear for those staying at the lodge. Wildlife can be spotted in the mountain’s woods any time of year. Very lucky hikers may see a lone moose lounging

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in the shallows of a lake. Easier to spot are red squirrel, beaver and even black bear, outside of the winter hibernation period. During September, many twitchers come to spy on kittling broadwinged hawks, bald eagles and osprey. It is certainly worth treating children to a tour of the Mountain View Grand Resort’s farm. This property was originally a fully functioning farm in 1865, when it was purchased and converted to a hotel. The farmer takes guests around every morning from 08.30 -09.30. Though the farm now focuses mainly on yarn production, visitors can also take part in egg collecting, harvesting vegetables, or participate in spring shearing. Sheep, ngora goats, llamas, alpacas and Angora rabbits are some of the livestock residents.

Inns and eats Seeing how the region’s famous maple syrup is collected and processed is a fun excursion. The 200-year-old Remick Country Doctor Museum and Farm in Tamworth belonged to the local doctor and the original farm is still a working concern. Here they distil maple to make some of the area’s scrumptious syrup and sweets. Visit the doctor’s home and office to see how rural medics plied their craft back in the days of the early settlers. There are many inns and pubs that serve great food and locally brewed beer. Summer brew festivals held at the resorts are soaring in popularity. Places like The Woodstock Station and Brewery near Loon Mountain in North Woodstock, formerly the rail station, now has its own microbrewery and creates beers such as Pig’s Ear Brown Ale or Lemon and Blueberry Pale Ale. Americans are famous for their breakfasts

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and restaurants here will not disappoint. Waffles drowned in syrup then topped with strawberries seem to be on most menus as is America’s version of a fry-up: sausage and bacon, fried eggs, grilled tomatoes, and toast. For a real treat, try out the Lakehouse Eggs Benedict with Maine lobster at Lakehouse Grille at Mill Falls at the Lake while enjoying the spectacular views that surround the property. On the shores of Lake Winnipesaukee, The Mill Falls at the Lake has five different hotels. Church Landing is Adirondack style with woodsy, quirky antique type décor inside. There is an enormous, inviting fireplace in the lobby as well as smaller versions in each of the 70 rooms. The original old linen mill, dating to the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, has been preserved and reconstructed into a four-floor marketplace. There are tales of ghosts in a few of the very old properties in the mountains. Built in 1856, the Mountain View Grand Resort recently had a visiting spiritualist convinced that an apparition of one of the early owners inhabits a room off the lobby, sitting cosily by the fireplace. The manual elevator here is vintage 1920s and slightly wonky so it must be operated by a member of staff. Christmas Farm Inn in the

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village of Jackson has a few haunted tales to tell too. Parts of the 300-year-old Jackson village have been annexed to the Christmas Farm Inn over the years, including the Free Will Baptist Church, built in 1803, which was stuck to the back of the lodge when the owner needed more room.

Tourism talk

From left: crowds at The Sandwich Fair, a country show; Arethusa Falls; relaxing at Boathouse Lodge

“New Hampshire welcomes more visitors from the UK than any other overseas market. They tend to be experienced travellers who seek backroad, cultural experiences mixed with a bit of soft adventure. “Lodging and attraction partners located in different parts of the state have reported that their late spring and early summer started out far ahead of last year but was offset by a slower July and August. They claim that most of their annual influx of UK visitors arrive during the autumn foliage season. So far, bookings are trending flat with last fall which was a good year for New Hampshire overall. The added airlift likely plays a role in keeping our UK inbound in good shape, despite the strong U.S. dollar.” Michele Cota, Trade & Industry Relations Manager, NH Division of Travel and Tourism Development

Stay here.

Relax here.

“The fall foliage in New Hampshire really must be seen to be believed. It is, quite simply, stunning” ANDREW BIRD, DIRECTOR AT PURELY NEW ENGLAND

Where to book it  PURELY NEW ENGLAND – 0844 80 444 80 Departures from November 2017 to March 2018 (except Christmas/Easter) are priced from £929pp, based on two sharing with return flights from Gatwick with Norwegian Airlines. The package includes compact car rental for seven nights; two nights’ room-only at Inn at Mill Falls, Meredith; two nights B&B at Mountain View Grand Resort, Whitefield and three nights’ B&B at Christmas Farm Inn, Jackson. purelynewengland.co.uk

 AMERICA AS YOU LIKE IT – 020 8742 8299 A 10-night holiday twinning a city break in Boston with New Hampshire’s rural attractions is from £1395pp, based on two sharing and including return flights to Boston with Delta, three nights, room-only, in Boston at the Midtown Hotel, seven days’ car hire, four nights’ B&B in the New Hampshire White Mountains at the Hampton Inn, North Conway, and three nights’ room-only in the New Hampshire Lakes at the Inn at Mill Falls, Meredith. americaasyoulikeit.com  For more information visit: visitnh.gov

Play here.

Life is better at the Lake. Mill Falls at the Lake... 4 Country Inns • 5 Distinctive Restaurants • 11 Unique Marketplace Shops Cascade Spa • EKAL Lake Activity Center • Lake Winnipesaukee 312 Daniel Webster Highway, Meredith, New Hampshire • 01 (877) 578-1512 • millfalls.com Untitled-3 1

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advertorial

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ON TOP OF THE WORLD The Mount Washington Cog Railway was a world-first and now it’s a must-do

T

he Mount Washington Cog Railway is a feat of engineering, a little piece of history and and an essential experience for visitors to New Hampshire. It’s the first mountain-climbing cog railway in the world and the only cog railway east of the Rockies – designated as a National Historic Engineering Landmark in 1976. Privately and locally-owned for 30 years, the Cog has remained a key icon of New Hampshire’s heritage and stayed true to its historic roots. Visitors can catch the train between May and November from just outside the pretty Bretton Woods village in the White Mountains, six miles from the grand Mount Washington Hotel. Train buffs, history geeks and nature lovers alike can’t fail to be inspired by a journey on the Cog. A spectacular climb awaits up the three-milelong raised track which peaks at the 6,288-foot

summit of Mount Washington. The three-hour round trip is enjoyed in a historic-inspired coach. There are daily services powered by coalfired steam from a 1908 vintage locomotive, as well as rides powered by bio-diesel. Visitors will feel a sense of adventure and history thanks to the lively commentary from the brakeman, who points out places of interest and tells the incredible story of the railway as well as the various climate zones it passes through on its journey to the top of the highest peak in the northeastern United States.

Peak performance

As the train reaches the summit, the Sherman Adams Visitors Center comes into view. Railway passengers have an hour to explore this cosy mountain-top facility, which houses a winter weather exhibit, cafeteria, gift shop and the

original hiker’s hotel– the 1853 Tip Top House. The spectacular panoramic views are best seen from the Observatory deck, spanning the peaks above the clouds and looking down on the mountains and valleys of New Hampshire all the way from the Atlantic Ocean to Canada.

Back down to earth

Before or after their trip, guests can take in the authentic atmosphere at Marshfield Base Station, enjoying lunch indoors or out with views of The Cog chugging up and down the mountain. They can also explore the new Cog Railway Museum and gift shop, with its fun and interactive exhibits. Find us at 3168 Base Road, Marshfield Station, NH, six miles from Bretton Woods and Route 302, three hours north of Boston and six hours north of NYC. For more information & schedules, visit thecog.com 

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mediterranean sun

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a place in the sun

Guaranteed sunshine, beautiful beaches, accommodation to suit all budgets and short flight times – what’s not to like about the Mediterranean, says Jeannine Williamson

T

he British love affair with the Med shows no sign of cooling, with countries such as Cyprus reporting an 8.6% rise in UK arrivals up to from January to August 2017 and on track for another record-breaking year. Hot spots for 2018 include Malta, with its capital Valletta being crowned European Capital of Culture, and Croatia. Louise Heatley, Head of Product and Contracting at Great Rail Journeys, cites Croatia as the new ‘place to go’, thanks in part to Game of Thrones. while Lauren Ross, Product and Commercial Manager Europe for Simply Luxury by Travel 2, says: “We’ve seen a large growth in demand for the Greek Islands and Italy. There has been a 107% increase in growth to Italy and a 175% growth to Greece year on year.”

Malta Malta combines the familiar sights of red telephone boxes and British stores with a unique culture, unspoilt countryside and a warm climate. Two distinct periods of rule – the Knights of the Order of St John of Jerusalem and the British – have shaped the island’s history and left a rich legacy of architecture and sights. Malta has traditionally appealed to a mature market, but its family-friendly beaches, watersports – including some of the best dive sites in the Med – outdoor activities, spas, cuisine, nightlife, festivals and range of accommodation including rustic farmhouses and boutique hotels make it ideal for all age-groups and tastes. New product: Air Malta (airmalta.com) relaunches

weekly flights from Manchester to Malta from May 1, 2018. After the discontinuation of the route this summer, the decision was reversed in line with growth strategy.

Cyprus The Med’s third-largest island, with 10,000 years of history, more than 300 days of sunshine and Europe’s cleanest bathing waters in Europe, offers many different experiences. The resorts of Larnaca, Limassol and quieter Paphos are all great bases for a stay, with easy access to the main attractions. The Tombs of the Kings, where underground burial chambers resemble vast homes, is the top sight. Also on the ‘must see’ list is the ancient city kingdom of Kourion with its Greco-Roman theatre, while no visit is complete without taking a photo at Aphrodite’s rock, where the goddess of love was said to have risen from the waves. Top tip: Animal lovers should head for Skarinou’s Golden Donkeys Farm (goldendonkeys.com), between Larnaca and Limassol. It’s home to 170 donkeys, once the island’s main mode of transport. Visitors can taste donkey milk and buy cosmetics made with it.

Spain The most popular destination for Brits, with magnets including buzzing Benidorm, the beautiful coastal city of Barcelona and the island of Mallorca, with enticing resorts and the elegant capital of Palma, need little introduction. For something new, suggest

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Alicante in Valencia, an up-and-coming region combining beach, sun and a glamorous lifestyle with historic and cultural sites. Travellers can experience the thrill of the Spanish Grand Prix with Shearings’ (shearings.com) new 2018 tour. The 10-day half-board coach tour, departing May 8, is based in the resort of Santa Susanna and includes entry to both the qualifying rounds and race day near Barcelona. Sell it: The Canary Island of La Palma is a 2018 new destination for Olympic Holidays (olympicholidays. com). Seven nights B&B at the four-star Las Olas leads in from £390pp, including flights.

Corsica The closest Mediterranean island to the UK remains relatively uncommercialised. With the highest mountains and most rivers of any island in the Med, it’s a great destination for visitors that want to combine chill-out time with activities like canyoning, rock climbing and hiking, plus watersports along its 620-mile coastline. Ajaccio, the capital, was the birthplace of Napoleon. Its 16th century old town is filled with pastel-coloured buildings. Aleria has the remains of a Roman town and winery, while Bastia is a quaint old port town.

Greece

Properties include the stunning five-star Eagles Palace Villas being offered by Travel2 (travel2. com) from £1,089pp with flights and a lounge pass. Four Seasons (fourseasons.com) opens its first property in Athens in spring 2018. Following a €100-million upgrade, the existing Astir Palace debuts as the 300room Seasons Hotels and Resorts and Astir Palace. Also opening in May 2018 is Corfu’s luxurious 403-room Ikos Dassia resort, featured by Caribtours (caribtours.co.uk) with all-inclusive prices from £1,129pp.

Most visitors head straight to the sun-drenched islands. From Crete – the largest – to the iconic white buildings of Santorini and livelier islands of Rhodes, Corfu and Kos, each one is different. However, the mainland is also a delight. Halkidiki is where the Greeks holiday.

New product: Mark Warner (markwarner.co.uk) is introducing foiling to its watersports programme in Kos and Rhodes for summer 2018. The thrilling new aspect to dinghy sailing and windsurfing involves hydrofoils and fins being used to increase speed.

Top tip: Known as the ‘Mountain of the Sea’, Corsica’s highest point is 8,891ft Monte Cintu and 20 other mountains reaching more than 6,560ft. It’s a paradise for keen cyclists who can follow challenging routes such as the one used in the 2013 Tour de France.

Croatia

Opening page: Podrace beach in Brela Makarska Riviera Croatia. Above: Maltese capital Valletta at night. Above: Valencia Old Town; Italian sweet treat, cannoli; Ripe strawberries at a outdoor farmers market in Nice France

Sporting one of the sunniest coastlines in Europe, which stretches for 3,625 miles, plus more than 1,244 islands, 16 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, eight national parks and excellent regional food and wine, Croatia has a broad appeal across all markets. The jewel in the crown is Dubrovnik, the magnificent 15th century walled city that’s known as the ‘Pearl of the Adriatic’. Further down the coast is Split, the stylish port city and capital of the Dalmatia region that’s famous

for its magnificent Diocletian’s Palace. Island-hopping opens up another wealth of possibilities, including lavender scented Hvar, Korcula with its vineyards and olive groves and Brac, famous for its golden horn-shaped beach. Sell it: Great Rail Journeys’ (greatrail.com) Classic Croatia & Adriatic Cruise summer tour starts from £2,295pp and takes in the islands and cities of the Dalmatian coast including Dubrovnik, Hvar and Mljet National Park.

Italy Sicily and Sardinia, the Mediterranean’s largest and second-largest islands respectively, combine sunshine with classy sightseeing: Sicily is home to no less than seven UNESCO sites. Sardinia’s glitzy Costa Smeralda is studded with elite hotels and beautiful beaches. Simply Luxury by Travel2 (travel2. com) has added Sicily and Capri to its portfolio with 13 new properties. For clients that want to stay on the move, Arena Rail Holidays (arenatravel.com) has added two new Italian tours for summer 2018, including the eight-day Little Trains of Sardinia itinerary, departing June 2 from £1,449pp. Back on the mainland, the Adriatic coast has plenty of safe beaches that are ideal for families. Sell it: Titan’s (titantravel.co.uk) new nine-day Enchanting Calabria tour will appeal to culture vultures as it explores dramatic coastlines and beautiful landscapes. From £1,499pp including flights and door-to-door transfers. 

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the review

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O N LY T H E T R AV E L N E W S T H AT R E AL LY M AT T E R S

M E L I A H O T E L S : FIRST IGUAZU FALLS RESORT

S O N O M A C O U N TY BACK IN BUSINESS

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ST HELENA FLIGHTS FOR SALE

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SHG PRESS OFFICE

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CHECKING OUT DUSIT D2, DUBAI

GET ONLINE – R E A D A L L O U R M A G A Z I N E S A N D C H E C K O U T O U R D A I LY S E L L I N G T I P S AT S E L L I N G T RAV E L.C O.U K

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Tourism Update

Zimbabwe’s paradigm shift

CAROL HAY UK Manager Caribbean Tourism Organization

TRAVEL AGENTS are invited to attend

the

Caribbean

Tourism

Organization’s (CTO) Travel Agents Training Day at World Travel Market, London, on Wednesday November 8. Come to the CTO’s stand (CA240) to meet Caribbean industry partners and gather the latest news from the Caribbean region. Our training day will start at 10.00, with presentations from, among others, Grenada Tourism Authority (headline sponsor), Anse Chastanet & Jade

BY RACHEL ROBERTS

Mountain Resorts, Saint Lucia, Barefoot

Z I M B A B W E’S Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa has pledged to give much-needed funding to the country’s tourism industry. In a speech at last month’s Sanganai Expo in Bulawayo he said: “Zimbabwe can’t afford to be caught flat-footed in the competitive environment of tourism”. He also called for “aggressive marketing” of the country as a holiday destination. With stringent U.N. sanctions still in place over alleged human rights abuses under President Robert Mugabe, Zimbabwe’s tourism sector faces particular challenges. Chinamasa acknowledged the difficulties faced by embassies abroad in promoting the country, promising a “paradigm shift” in the way they are treated and for the government to “understand the challenges and do their best to meet them”. The country has an ambitious target of

Holidays, Saint Lucia, Courtyard Marriott Nassau Junkanoo Beach, The Bahamas, Elite Island Resorts, Essential Detail, Martinique Tourism Committee, Saint Lucia Tourism Authority, SunGroup Hotels, SunGroup Inc., Sunswept Resorts (BodyHoliday & Rendezvous, Saint Lucia) and the Tobago Division of Tourism. Agents will be able to participate in the Caribbean Treasure Hunt, with the chance to win some great prizes. To round off the day they can join us at our Caribbean Sunset Hour! Register for our Training Day at caribbeantravelguru. com/reg-form.html.

The October winners of the Caribbean Travel Guru Training Programme were Flloyd Walcott of Sackville Travel, who won a L’Occitane Gift Set for making the

attracting five million tourists by 2020. In 2016, it received 2.1million visitors. However, Nigel Vere Nicoll, CEO of the African Travel & Tourism Association (ATTA) warned that the most urgent challenge is access and freedom of movement affecting our operators in Zimbabwe. He said. “Unnecessary roadblocks and long queues at ports of entry are becoming unacceptable. ” Jon Danks UK&I Head of Marketing & Communications at South African Airways (SAA) said: “SAA has enjoyed a close relationship with Zimbabwe Tourism Authority for a number of years and we look forward to continued growth together in the future.” South African Airways operates doubledaily flights from Heathrow to Johannesburg and onward with seamless connections to Bulawayo, Victoria Falls and Harare.

China Airlines brings back Gatwick-Taipei CHINA AIRLINES is resuming flights to the UK following a five-year hiatus, with the launch of a new non-stop service between Gatwick and Taipei’s Taoyuan International from December 1. The new service, operated by an A350-900, will run four times a week from Gatwick’s South Terminal, with a flight time of just over 13 hours. Roger Han, Senior Vice President, Europe at China Airlines said: “For British travellers our route network offers a wonderful array of destinations throughout Asia or onward to Australia.” Economy fares start from £525, Premium Economy from £915 and Premium Business Class fares from £1,875, with these prices valid for travel from December 1 to March 23, 2018, and bookable until November 15. The airline previously operated a route between Heathrow and Taipei from 2010 to 2012. china-airlines.com

zimbabwetourism.net; saa.com

most Caribbean bookings, and Amy Brooks of Bath Travel who won £50 Love2Shop vouchers for doing the most exams and quizzes.

For all queries email Anne-Marie Brooks at abrooks@caribtourism.com or call her on 0208 948 0057.

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

Melia Hotels falls for Iguazu by opening hotel in national park MELIÁ HOTELS INTERNATIONAL has announced the imminent opening of the Meliá Iguazu, the only hotel located in the heart of Iguazu National Park in Argentina – one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The hotel has 169 rooms, a vast range of dining options, and takeaway facilities that allow guests to dine in their room overlooking dramatic scenery that includes views of the Devil’s Throat Falls. There are also two swimming pools, a spa,

a gym and multiple children’s play areas . A visitors centre educates guests on the fragile environment of the Iguazu. Next year many of the facilities will be upgraded. The hotel’s namesake, the Iguazu Falls, is comprised of over 270 waterfalls, which reach heights of 80 metres. The Devil’s Throat waterfall formation marks the border between Argentina and Brazil. The waterfalls are the most popular attraction in Argentina’s northeast region. melia.com

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the review

Sonoma County back in business after fires CALIFORNIA’S Sonoma County, which saw devastating losses to human life and property when wild fires raged through the region last month, has announced most hospitality businesses are open and receiving visitors. Popular institutions like Armstrong Redwoods (pictured below), Bodega Head at Sonoma Coast and the historic Sonoma Plaza remain open. The fires were situated along Sonoma County’s eastern border and in the rugged mountains, with the western and southern parts, as well as the Pacific Ocean coastline, remaining unimpacted. “Our lush vineyards, hundreds of thriving wineries, stunning beaches, and ancient redwoods are here and most of them are open,” said Tim Zahner, interim CEO of Sonoma County Tourism. He added: “We’re going to need visitors now more than ever. Please continue to support Sonoma County wineries, breweries, cheese makers, farmers, and local artisans.” Sonoma County is located 30 miles north of San Francisco. sonomacounty.com

South Africa’s trade film

BY LAURA GELDER

S O U T H A F R I CA N TO U R I S M has released a new film and accompanying images that places the country’s people at the heart of its marketing message for the travel trade. Drawing on the tradition of South African heritage story-telling, the film was shot across the country and directed by well-known South African filmmaker, Teboho Mahlatsi. It tells the story of Bheki, a young Mbhaco (a traditional Xhosa wedding gown) looking for design inspiration. During his travels he witnesses South Africa’s vast array of cultures, unforgettable experiences and warm, culturally rooted people. South African Tourism UK Manager, Tolene Van der Merwe, commented: “We hope that our film will aid members of

the UK travel trade to gain a deeper knowledge of South Africa and therefore to inspire holidaymakers to want to visit. South African Tourism has a commitment to attracting five million more tourists to the destination in the next five years and we know that, by working closely with the trade, we’ll be able to effectively communicate the abundance of heritage, art and culture which makes our beautiful country hard for holidaymakers to resist.” The 10-minute film is available alongside an image bank that agents can use. The film has been released on South African Tourism’s YouTube channel (https://

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Three ways to share Alberta's digital assets TRAVEL ALBERTA has launched a new library of images, videos and promotional collateral designed to help the trade better sell the province. The material is designed to reflect the spirit, diversity and excitement of activities offered across the province in both winter and summer. Alberta is known for world-class attractions and festivals such as Calgary’s annual Stampede, which bills itself as ‘The Greatest Show on Earth’, and major resort areas – both winter and summer – such as Banff, Lake Louise and Jasper. Agents can now access digital images and video on three different platforms: the Multimedia library (multimedia.travelalberta.com), a YouTube Travel channel (youtube.com/user/ TravelAlbertaCanada) and the Travel Alberta UK website travelalberta.com. *Look out for the winter 2017/18 issue of Selling Canada, distributed with this issue of Selling Travel.

www.youtube.com/user/SouthAfricanTourism),

digital and social media platforms as well as selected international television platforms. southafrica.net

Your chance to win! Find out more on page

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GeneralNews-Nov.indd 57

Don’t miss your opportunity to WIN the trip of a lifetime to New Zealand, plus other fantastic prizes!

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Mask optional. Fun inevitable. Mask optional. Fun inevitable.

the review

Nevis brings ‘back to business’ message to UK

BY STEVE HARTRIDGE

THE Nevis Tourism Authority returned to the UK last month for the fifth running of its UK roadshow with the message that the tiny but spectacular island is still very much open for tourism. Product partners from the island at the Destination St Kitts & Nevis Roadshow, included Montpelier Plantation Inn, Nisbet Plantation Beach Club, The Four Seasons Resort and The Mount Nevis Hotel. They networked with agents, tour operators and the media during several events to hammer home the message that the island’s tourism facilities emerged unscathed from the triple whammy of hurricanes Irma, Jose and Maria. “We got lucky... whilst several other

Caribbean islands are still recovering, we were unharmed,” said Greg B. Phillip, CEO of Nevis Tourism Authority. “In this difficult time, whilst we cannot forget our neighbours we must fly the flag for the Caribbean. We would like to spread the message that everyone on Nevis is standing by to share our beautiful island with the world; we are ready and waiting to welcome visitors back.” Lindsay Grant, Minister of Tourism for the Government of St. Kitts and Nevis, said: “Along with the sunshine Nevis has a unique historical past that visitors will find fascinating. We are the Caribbean, but we are also uniquely Nevis.” nevisisland.com

Dubai Versace bar hits all the right notes In New Orleans, it’s Tuesday Fat Tuesday every of week. the week. In New Orleans, it’s Fat every day day of the Perhaps it’s because the city is birthplace the birthplace of jazz Perhaps it’s because the city is the of jazz the cocktail. There’s something to amuse and and the cocktail. There’s something to amuse and and delight around every cobblestoned corner, especially delight around every cobblestoned corner, especially the tax-free shopping savings. the tax-free shopping savings.

Visit NewOrleans.com Visit NewOrleans.com start planning your today! andand start planning your triptrip today!

GUESTS staying at the Palazzo Versace Dubai can drop into multiGrammy-winning Quincy Jones’ first-ever hotel bar and lounge. Q’s Bar and Lounge, a plush ‘living room’ space, features live music from world-class or up-and-coming acts,

along with cocktails and food themed around the New York and New Orleans culinary scenes. With 215 rooms and suites, the Neoclassical Italian-inspired hotel is in the heart of the Culture Village, with views of Dubai Creek. palazzoversace.ae

+ i

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Operators book new St Helena flights SHG PRESS OFFICE

All-inclusive Rihiveli

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

UK TOUR operators have started including flights with packages to St. Helena, utilizing the Island’s first-ever commercial service to the island. Rainbow Tours and Discover the World will quote flight prices to agents booking one of their St Helena packages. SA Airlink is now finally operating a weekly service to Johannesburg and to Cape Town (via a stopover in Windhoek,

Namibia). The new service ends the island’s reliance on a ship which sailed from Cape Town every three weeks. The airport was originally due to open in 2016 but dangerous winds delayed proceedings. Discover The World offers a St Helena tour including seven nights and accommodation. Rainbow Tours will tailormake a tour, with the new flights, at the time of booking. sthelenatourism.com

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Paradise in Thailand THAILAND’S newest five-star hotel will open its doors to guests on Koh Yao Noi Island on January 8 2018. Set on the same stretch of secluded beach as its sister hotel, Paradise Koh Yao, Tree House Villas include 25 signature Tree House Villas, with duplex living space and private infinity plunge pools accessible via their own suspension bridge, and six other single-storey beachfront pool villas with beach access. The resort is in a tropical rainforest on its own private bay. Koh Yao Noi Island is a 55-minute (hotel) speedboat ride from Phuket or a 25-minute speedboat journey from Krabi. themccollection.co.uk

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• Book online at: www.cruiseandmaritime.com • Call: 0844 414 6161 • Agency Sales: 0844 414 6140 • Brochures: www.trade-gate.co.uk +Applies to sales achieved over £5k for 2016/17 cruises. Subject to availability. Terms & Conditions apply. *Buy One Get One Free fares valid until 5 December 2017 on selected sailings. Offered for sale in the UK by South Quay Travel & Leisure Ltd trading as Cruise & Maritime Voyages. ABTA V9945. ATOL 4619. Calls cost 7p per minute plus your telephone company’s access charge. 3919 sellingtravel.co.uk

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the review

Kiwi Pete points to NZ AIR NEW ZEALAND has launched its first-ever global brand campaign in the UK. Featuring New Zealand-born actor Sam Neill, it aims to showcase to travellers why the airline is a better way to fly to New Zealand. Neill takes centre stage as the voice of CGI character Pete, a kiwi bird that wants to see the world but is hindered by his inability to fly - that is until Air New Zealand steps in. Pete takes viewers on a journey, seeing the flying experience onboard Air New Zealand through the eyes of the kiwi. He also tells other passengers about all the best things to do in New Zealand. airnewzealand.co.uk

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Contiki has new explorer India trip

NEWS TO USE IN BRIEF B R I T I S H A I RWAY S

will be

returning to the Seychelles from March 24, 2018. The direct twice-weekly flights from Heathrow Terminal 5 will depart on Wednesdays and Saturdays, with return flights on Thursdays and Sundays. Operators are eying the fact that the 10-hour flight and four-hour time difference makes even a long-weekend getaway to the Indian Ocean possible. batraveltrade.com AVANI HOTELS AND RESORTS is

YOUTH travel operator Contiki has launched a new Southern India trip as part of its Asia 2018 programme. Southern Spice, an 11-day ‘In-Depth Explorer’ style trip, will see travellers journeying south from Chennai to Pondicherry, through to Kumbakonam, Madurai, Periyar, Kumbakonam, the Kerala Backwaters and finally Cochin. Highlights include an overnight stay

on a houseboat on the Keralan Backwaters, a Martial Arts performance in Kalaripayattu and a visit to Auroville, a spiritual township dedicated to peace. Prices start from £1,589pp and include 15 meals, twin-share accommodation, on-trip transportation and sightseeing highlights. Departures begin in January 2018.

planning two new hotels in Tunisia. The

contiki.com

avanihotels.com

brand’s debut in North Africa will see the 41-key AVANI Les Berges Du Lac Tunis Suites open in Les Berges du Lac II, in the Tunisian capital, in the coming months. The 250-key AVANI Gammarth Tunis Resort & Spa is expected to open in 2021 in a prime beachfront location 20 minutes from Tunis Airport.

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Checking out...

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HOTELS / RESORTS / TRAIN JOURNEYS / CRUISES / AIRPORT REVIEWS

S T A Y : DU S I T D2 K E N Z HO T E L – Dubai BY LISA MERRIGAN

THE BACKGROUND: dusitD2 Kenz is Dusit International’s millennial-focused brand, offering cutting-edge design, superior connectivity and a modern take on convenience. This Dubai edition is set in a great location and makes an ideal base for couples, business travellers and families alike. THE LOCATION: Located in the Barsha Heights district of Dubai, it’s set on the city’s famous Sheik Zayed Road with the Internet City metro station just outside. The location is convenient for Dubai Marina, Dubai International Airport and Dubai Mall. Travelling to the hotel from the airport takes about 25 minutes in a taxi and costs around 75 AED. THE ROOM: On my arrival at reception, I was greeted by a friendly and welcoming member of the staff who made sure that the whole process was both swift and seamless. I was taken to my ‘D’light’ category room which is approximately 32sqm. Contemporary and stylishly furnished it came with some special touches, including the mini-bar, with the most extensive alcohol free

T H E V E R D I CT Located right in the middle of ‘the action’, this hotel will hit all the right spots for families and couples alike. I loved the many small touches offered by the hotel, such as cool items in the mini-bar like popcorn and salted caramel which made my night in watching an in-house movie all the more inviting!

beverage selection I have ever seen, and lovely Ritual-branded spa products. KEY FACILITIES: The wellness center, named D’fit, includes state-of-the-art Techno gym equipment. For those who want to relax there is a sun lounge zone by the pool which provides a panoramic view of Dubai’s amazing skyline. There is also the D’Stress spa where there are daily deals on treatments available.

RESTAURANTS: The dining areas are Ostro and Wise Kwai, the former serving a delicious array of Mediterranean-inspired food and the latter offering authentic Thai food delicacies. The hotel also offers an extensive 24-hour room service menu with speedy service.

RATES: Prices start from as little as 277 AED per night (around £60). Summer discounts available.

Al Khareef 1st Street, Barsha Heights, Sheikh Zayed Road, PO Box 71162, Dubai, UAE  dusit.com/dusitd2/dubai;  +97145672222

S T A Y : F O U R S E A S O N S A T T E N T R I N I T Y S Q U A R E – London, UK BY ANDY HOSKINS

THE HOTEL: The highly anticipated Four Seasons at Ten Trinity Square opened earlier this year in the grade II-listed former headquarters of the Port of London Authority, opened in 1922. The 100-room hotel is adjacent to the Tower of London and Tower Hill Underground station.

THE CHECK- IN: I downloaded the Four Seasons app a couple of days before my visit and used it to check-in, but this didn’t seem to expedite the process on arrival at the hotel. I’d earlier received a push notification informing me my room was ready. The small reception area and large adjacent Rotunda bar and lounge area are elegant and airy.

THE ROOM: I stayed in a spacious and well-equipped Executive room with stylish yet relatively subdued decor and furnishings. There was ample room for a sofabed, coffee table and desk, while wardrobes were set either side of the entrance to a lavish marble bathroom. This had a huge bath, walk-in shower and intricate green and gold mosaic tiling. Room features also included a wallmounted TV, coffee machine, minibar, safe, tablet (for various room and hotel-related functions), electric blind and curtains –and enough lighting options to make it a challenge achieving complete darkness. THE FACILITIES: There are two highlyrated, attractive restaurants: La Dame de Pic for French cuisine and Mei Ume for Asian. There’s also an appealing pool, spa and surprisingly large gym. The app also proved useful. While I was out that evening I used it to request an iron and ironing board.

T H E V E R D I CT This is a typically fabulous Four Seasons hotel with excellent facilities and services. Of course, it has the price tag to match and that is further inflated by its enviable location in the City of London. My only regret is I was unable to sample either of the hotel’s revered restaurants. RATES: From £680 per night for an Executive room.

London EC3N 4AJ;  fourseasons.com

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 JAPAN – SEPTEMBER 20-23, 2017

Japan’s winning 2020 Olympics expected to accelerate sharp rise in tourism arrivals

Japan ready for business SEVERAL new convention and exhibition centres are planned across the country. Construction is underway on state-of-the-art buildings in Kumamoto, Kanazawa and Kyoto, with others earmarked for more rural areas. The JNTO is also pushing unique conference venues such as Tokyo’s State Guest House, Akosaka Palace – a national treasure – Okinowa Aquarium, Heian Shrine and Kongo Noh Theatre in Kyoto. Haruna Sue from JNTO’s Inbound Promotional Department said: “Along with recommending Japan as a great business destination, visitors might be encouraged to return for a pleasure trip once they have a taste of what we have to offer.” jnto.go.jpn

JNTO Travel app an essential travel companion THE Japan Official Travel App is now live, providing tourists with all the information needed to plan a trip to Japan. Tourists can access information from pre-planning to useful, realtime transit information, restaurant listings and Wi-Fi access points. Download here: jnto.go.jp/smartapp/

Japan targets 40 million

IN BRIEF JNTO will launch a global long-haul marketing campaign in early 2018. The campaign will target the UK, USA, Canada, France, Germany and Australia and will feature new promotional videos showcasing activities including diving, trekking and art exhibitions. jnto.go.jpn THIS year saw the legalisation of Airbnb in Japan. The new law, approved in June, allows Airbnb hosts to rent homes and apartments in the country, providing affordable accommodation for tourists. Airbnb is anticipated to be the most popular form of accommodation during the 2020 Olympics.. airbnb.co.uk A new Four Seasons hotel along with five new Marriott properties are being

BY JESSICA POOK

BETTER than expected inbound tourism figures has seen the Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO) double its visitor number predictions for 2020, the year the country hosts the Olympic games. Just two years ago the JNTO was hoping for 20 million in the year the Games comes to Tokyo but has now raised this target to 40 million – and the ambitious projections do not stop there, delegates at Visit Japan Travel & MICE Mart 2017 were told. This new-found confidence is based on an impressive growth in inbound tourism, with figures for 2017 already surpassing the 20 million mark, an increase of 20% on last year. There has been solid growth from most major European markets as well as a rise in demand from Southeast Asia and Russia following enhanced relaxation of visa rules. The JNTO has three key strategies towards hitting its revised targets: marketing and promotional development, vitalising the local economy

and developing profitable inbound tourism. The tourism body intends to use both the 2019 Rugby World Cup and the Tokyo 2020 Olympics as an opportunity to increase destination awareness and raise the quality and competitiveness of inbound tourism towards the next target of 60 million in 2030. Repeat visitors now make up 60% of Japan’s inbound market with many of these choosing to explore beyond urban areas, explained Mamoru Kobori, Executive Vice President of JNTO. Initiatives to promote regional areas of Japan and urge tourists to explore beyond the Golden Route of TokyoKyoto-Osaka are ongoing. Kobori added: “People living in remote areas are beginning to understand how to accommodate tourists. We plan to encourage visitors to go beyond the well-travelled routes to experience the hospitality and local culture found in these areas.” Japan annually receives around 300,000 visitors from the UK, a figure that is growing. “We see a very good response from travel agencies specialising in Japan and engaging in Japanese culture,” added Kobori.

developed across Japan in time for 2020. marriott.co.uk, fourseasons.com The country has launched a new nationwide expressway pass that allows visitors from abroad to take unlimited travel on most expressways. Visitors with foreign passports who use certain designated rental car companies can use around 10,000 expressways across the country for a period of either one or two weeks for a fixed price. jglobal.w-nexco.co.jp/en/jep

“We often find visitors will use the same operator to book a return trip to the lesser-known areas” MAMORU KOBORI, EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT OF JNTO

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 THE AZORES – OCTOBER 09-11, 2017

ABTA Convention Benjamin Coren reports from the annual gathering of the UK’s travel trade

Virtual is a reality VIRTUAL reality and augmented reality technologies could be a strong sales tool for high street travel agents as commercial applications for new technology is becoming clearer. VR and AR can commercially offer an opportunity to ‘try before you buy’, getting customers excited about destinations, said Clare de Bono, Head of Product and Innovaton at Amadeus. “Augmented reality can be used in numerous ways. Imagine as a customer walks down a street they can see destinations in the shop window, and even see themselves in the picture. It’s a potentially powerful selling tool. There is adoption for this technology: Pokemon Go, an AR-based app, achieved 100 million downloads in less than 30 days after its launch. The adoption for AR is there.”

ABTA calls on ATOL THE government’s decision to repatriate Monarch airline passengers, regardless of whether or not they were protected by the ATOL scheme, has prompted ABTA to call for better protection in the future. A statement issued by ABTA welcomed the Transport Secretary’s commitment to consider potential reforms. “The ATOL bill, currently in the House of Lords, provides an early opportunity to put in place legislation to protect consumers if another airline collapses. ABTA supports a proposed amendment to the Bill by Lord Rosser, to make regulations so that all passengers can be protected in the event of a future airline failure.” ABTA believes the government should consult the industry and that any new scheme,should ensure all passengers are protected regardless of how they booked their flights.

Industry looks to the future

ABTA IN BRIEF THOMSON CRUISES admitted it faces a struggle to establish brand recognition after adopting the Marella. name. “We must explain to customers that the great things they’ve had from Thomson in the past will still be there and we also hope to attract new customers”, said Helen Caron, Distribution and Cruise Director, TUI UK & Ireland. ONLINE travel bookings have increased from 76% to 83% in the last year. Bookings on mobile devices have grown from 13% to 20%, while PC bookings have fallen from 92% to 85%. The average number of holidays taken per person each year has grown to 3.8, an increase of 0.4 on last year. This is almost equal to numbers seen in 2011 (3.9), according to the ABTA

Holiday Habits Report. BY BENJAMIN COREN

DELEGATES at the ABTA Travel Convention, held last month in the Azores, were invited to consider a range of crucial issues currently impacting on the travel industry. Under the billing of ‘The Next Chapter’, a programme of seminar sessions considered issues such as technological change, security questions, the direction of the economy, the changing roles of leisure in consumers’ lives and, inevitably, Brexit. “The future gets a bad press,” said Tom Johnson, Director of the Trajectory Partnership. “The role of leisure and free

time will change. Holidays are saying something about who we are. “The increase in digital leisure time presents an opportunity for the travel and tourism sector, but because so much information is accessible, consumers are much more difficult to please. There is a demand for authenticity and consumers are better at spotting fake authenticity,” Johnson added. Andy Washington, CEO B2C Europe, dnata said: “Digital socialising will grow and influence millennial decision making.” abta.com

Report highlights top holiday-takers in Britain FAMILIES and over-65s are taking the most holidays, while younger groups are taking fewer, according to ABTA’s 2017

Holiday Habits Report. People with older families took 4.5 holidays in the last 12 months. Meanwhile, those with children under five took 4.1 holidays, compared to the national average of 3.8.

NORWEGIAN Air’s Head of Sales, Dominic Tucker, said the low-cost carrier is committing to the long-haul market out of the UK, admitting overcapacity in the short-haul market. He added that the carrier is flying at 85% capacity shorthaul and 96% long-haul. The airline has 220 aircraft on order. N E XT

Y E A R’S

ABTA

Travel

Convention will be held between October 8-10, 2018 in Seville, Spain.

“Despite a year when people’s spending power has been squeezed, it is encouraging to see holiday-taking increasing” Mark Tanzer, Chief Executive, ABTA

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indian ocean: weddings & honeymoons

a ring give me

Whether it’s a stay in a single destination like Sri Lanka or a twin-centre that combines Mauritius and Reunion, the reasons for a wedding or honeymoon in the Indian Ocean are adding up, says Clare Walsh

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oconut trees sway and sapphire waves sparkle as the water lazily laps silver sands as I wait for one of my closest childhood friends to appear in her wedding dress. As she makes her way down the beachfront aisle I ponder how this Eden location fulfills every cliché of paradise – but it is one the guests are more than happy to indulge in. The luxury hotel Anna and Adam are getting wed in is typical of Mauritius. Impeccable personal service has ensured everything is taken care of for the big day, from prewedding massages to the Sega dancers that entertain us by night under a crimson sky. The Indian Ocean boasts some of the most romantic destinations in the world, but it wasn’t just the paradisiacal location that convinced my friends to wed here. The average cost of a wedding in the UK is around £20,000, where as couples to tying the knot abroad can expect to pay around £7,000 - £8,000.

Twin centres A big Indian Ocean draw card is the option of a dual-destination trip to combine both a wedding and the immediate honeymoon. Research undertaken by ABTA in 2014 highlighted the popularity of twin-centre holidays for this market and the trend has only accelerated since then. Mauritius and Reunion Island, for example, are just a 40-minute flight apart but enable couples to combine a blissed-out beach break with an active exploration holiday. Alternatively, a direct flight between Mauritius and Antananarivo gives nature-loving couples the option of combining underwater magic in Mauritius with a lemur safari in Madagascar. Pairing the dreamy Maldives or Seychelles with Sri Lanka is another popular combination. A short 90-minute flight between Malé and Colombo enables couples to spend their first days as newlyweds exploring temples, tea plantations and Yala National Park.

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Karen Cooper, Wedding Specialist at Hayes & Jarvis, said “As well as being beautiful Indian Ocean destinations, the Seychelles and Mauritius are both great wedding destinations as the paperwork requirements are very straight forward and do not involve expensive preparation of documents and/or translations, as required by some countries. “Whilst it is not possible to get married in the Maldives, it is a very popular destination for renewal of vows/blessing ceremonies and is a great location for couples that always dreamt of a wedding by a beach but may have felt pressure by family and friends to get married in the UK. “We are finding that more couples are booking multi-centre wedding/honeymoon destinations, to combine the beach location with somewhere very different that offers more of an ‘adventure’ feel. A Mauritius and Reunion Island twin-centre is perfect for couples looking for luxury beach and adventure in one trip.”

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

reservations@hurawalhi.com

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www.hurawalhi.com

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For agents, weddings and honeymoons can be a lucrative sale opportunity with excellent commission potential. It is the chance to sell that genuine once-in-a-lifetime holiday and care must be taken to drill down exactly what type of wedding clients want. For example, some may chose a wedding abroad to escape the excessive planning, family politics and long guest lists. One option is the five-star Four Seasons in Anahita in Mauritius, which has recently launched its newest wedding package. Couples desiring a private wedding experience can marry at their new wedding venue on the islet of the Quiet Beach. It is aimed at intimate ceremonies for two or a small group wedding celebration. Alternatively, Gili Lankanfushi in the Maldives launched a ‘Secret Wedding Experience’ at the end of last year for couples who want a wedding blessing alone. The hotels says the concept was designed “in response to a growing number of requests for boutique weddings which reflects the upward global trend for destination luxury elopements”. Aitken Spence Hotels promises it can

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make “any crazy, themed, out-of-the-norm idea a reality” and uses examples like an Indian-themed wedding with Italian food. At Heritage Resorts, which has three properties in Mauritius, wedding venues on offer include the beach, the trendy C Beach Club, the gardens of 19th century Château de Bel Ombre or a nature reserve.

Perfect ten Honeymoon highlights: As part of the honeymoon offer at Ravenala Attitude Hotel in Mauritius, brides stay free on an all-inclusive basis when the groom pays a single room rate. Honeymooners will also receive a cake, gift from management, a special turndown service and one candlelit dinner. Dine with a difference: Hurawalhi has a range of romantic dining options including a table for two at its underwater restaurant, a candlelit beach dinner and a gourmet picnic on Dream Island. Call of the wild: Noel Rodrigo’s Leopard Safaris in Yala National Park in Sri Lanka features a luxury lodge tent with romantic reclaimed wood four-poster bed and en-suite

From left: An avenue of baobab trees in Madagascar; a deluxue beach villa at Dusit Thani Maldives; fishermen in Sri Lanka; a wedding at the Maritim Resort & Spa Mauritius

LUX* GRAND GAUBE, MAURITIUS A pioneering vision from designer Kelly Hoppen delivers an eclectic, retro-chic lifestyle that’s effortlessly sophisticated, yet informal. Amidst lush tropical gardens, LUX* Grand Gaube is enveloped by undulating coves, the calmest of lagoons and is blessed with two tranquil beaches and two swimming pools. A global culinary journey leads to live cooking stations at the Palm Court, Peruvian and Argentinian cuisine at INTI, authentic Creole flavours at Banyan and a Turkish twist at Bodrum Blue. Add our famous Café LUX*, the Beach Rouge dining club plus a host of surprises at every turn - resort living has never looked or tasted so good. With an easy living, smile-inducing personality LUX* Grand Gaube is the best of every world.

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EXCLUSIVE offErS ANANTArA KIHAVAH MALDIVES

Fantastic Offers still available for 2017 Up to 30% Discount on Room Rates ! PLUS Room Upgrade Offers From Beach Pool Villa to Over Water Pool Villa Valid for stays between now – 27 Dec 17

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A unique traditional Maldives experience Fantastic location for Dive Trips Book now for Summer 2018 and receive: 20% Discount on Room Rates PLUS FREE NIGHTS: Stay 7 Pay 6 or Stay 14 Pay 11 Valid for stays between 01 May 18 – 31 Oct 18

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ALSo fIND EXCLUSIVE DEALS for TrAVEL TrADE PErSoNNEL oNLY oN oUr WEBSITE

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osborneandebel.com All above offers are subject to availability.

Above: Bassin La Paix waterfall on Reunion Island

Terms & Conditions Apply

bathroom for couples combining romance with adventure can also opt to ride in a private jeep on game drives for a small supplement. True romance: Newlyweds can enjoy dinner surrounded by 1,000 candles on One Palm Island when they opt for the ‘Secret Wedding Experience’ at Gili Lankanfushi in the Maldives. On return to their room their bed will have been laid out under the stars. Adventure seekers: Couples can make memories when they take to the skies on a romantic helicopter tour over Reunion’s national park, or jump in a 4x4 to tour the island’s active volcano, Piton de la Fournaise. Furry friends: Kirindy Mitea National Park in Madagascar boasts the largest density of primates in the world. Honeymooners seeking adventure will love exploring spiny forests, coastal mangroves and grassy dunes. Extravagant entertainment: Mermaid acrobat performers and soft-shell tacos served by the metre are just some of the experiences that await fun-loving couples at Finolhu, Maldives. Weddings can include a ‘groovy celebrant’ to conduct the ceremony, personalised bridal buggy or decorated wedding beach hut. Head for the hills: The newly-opened Camellia Hills hotel in Sri Lanka’s stunning Hill Country offers plenty of opportunity for active couples. Order a gourmet picnic before heading off to visit tea estates, scenic lakes and cascading waterfalls. Specialty Spas: Enjoy spa treatments with a difference at the Conrad Maldives Rangali Island where glass-floored treatment rooms set on stilts display enchanting views of the coral reef below. Sea urchins at sunset: This is the new experience for guests at LUX* le Morne on Mauritius. Just before sundown, the resident guest experience manager heads out into the lagoon in search of fresh sea urchins which are then served up at sunset on the beach.

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HM UK


We know Indian Ocean Best Fly Air Seychelles

Enjoy the warm creole hospitality from an all Seychellois cabin crew and a selection of dishes inspired by the traditional Creole cuisine when traveling with Air Seychelles. The national carrier of the Republic of Seychelles offers daily flights between Seychelles and London with codeshare partners, Etihad Airways via Abu Dhabi in addition to offering three weekly flights with Air France via Paris to the Seychelles. The airline also offers seamless connectivity to guests traveling to Praslin, Mauritius, Johannesburg and Antananarivo.

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Step back in time to 19th century Ceylon Our 19th century tea factory converted to an exotic holiday resort, is the first of its kind located in the mystical hill country of Sri Lanka. Experience the old world charm of the British who ruled Ceylon in the era, coupled with the world-acclaimed cuisine, service and hospitality of Aitken Spence Hotels with a stay at this beautiful hotel. With the lush green vistas and curated experiences, this is a vacation you will never want to leave. T: +94 112 308 408 | E: ashmres@aitkenspence.lk | www.aitkenspencehotels.com HERITANCE IS A PART OF AN INTERNATIONAL NETWORK OF HOTELS BY

Your escape from reality

Whether it is blissful solitude, love-lit vacation or adrenaline expedition that your soul craves for, our beautiful island, just a 15 minute speedboat ride from the Male airport, will cater to your every whim.Surrender to the beauty of the vibrant aquatic flora and fauna, and the sun-kissed beaches as you enjoy a holiday in our exotic resort.

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T: +96 03 323 323 F: +96 03 315 237 E : marketing@adaaran.com.mv ADAARAN IS A PART OF AN INTERNATIONAL NETWORK OF HOTELS BY

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What’s new  Hotels: Atmosphere Hotels and Resorts is continuing it expansion with the opening of another addition to its Maldives Resort portfolio, OBLU SELECT at Sangeli (oblu-sangeli.com). Opening on July 1 2018, it will feature exclusive overwater honeymoon pool suites and will include a welcome bottle of champagne, fruit, canapés, complimentary dining and two couple massages. October saw the re-opening of the Couples Hotel at Veranda Paul et Virginie (veranda-resorts.com/en) in Mauritius after a three-month renovation. Improving the experiences on offer for couples was the main focus for the renovation. They include a new infinity pool, a sunken bar, fitness suite and a shisha corner. September saw the opening of Amari Galle Sri Lanka (amari.com/galle-srilanka/) Wedding ceremonies are offered at the outdoor wedding pavilion overlooking the beach and features 172 rooms and suites, a multi-tiered pool deck with direct beach access and a spa. Dusit Thani Maldives (dusit.com/dusitthani/maldives/) recently introduced a new villa category: Beach Deluxe Villa with Pool. Three of these have been released for sales and a further three will be completed by the end of the year. It has also completed renovations at the restaurant. The Shangri-La le Touessrok Resort & Spa in Mauritius (shangri-la.com/mauritius) has a new wedding package. Guests are now invited to host their day on the exclusive L’llot Mangenie, a private island reserved for hotel guests. Movenpick Hotels & Resorts (movenpick.com) is opening its first property in the Maldives next year. Situated on the remote Kuredhivaru Island in the Noonu Atoll, the resort will feature 33 beach villas and 72 overwater villas. Huvafen Fushi in Mauritius (huvafenfushi.com) is making its return at the end of 2017. Newlyweds will be able to relax in the world’s first

underwater spa and unwind in the Vinum wine bar eight metres below the heart of the island.

Tourism talk “Although an already established weddings and honeymoon destination, with so many new experiences now being offered, there has never been a better time for Mauritius to be at the forefront of travel agents’ minds, particularly as the average wedding in the UK costs over £20,500 compared to just £6,924 in Mauritius.

Clockwise from left: Horizon B Bar at Gili Lankanfushi, Maldives; Shangri-La Le Touessrok Resort & Spa; Camellia Hills, a five-bedroom bungalow nestled in Sri Lanka’s tea plantations

LUX* NORTH MALE ATOLL, MALDIVES UPLIFTING LUXURY Disrupting the Maldivian mould, traditional thatched villas are replaced with penthouse residences demonstrating forward- thinking design for the Indian Ocean NATURALLY BEAUTIFUL Inspiring nautical tones enhance this intimate resort styled by Singapore design group Miaja, in a scheme that blends superyacht panache with a vibrant South Beach pulse. Each of the 67 double-storey residences are situated either on the beach or overwater. A NEW PERSPECTIVE Each residence features a private reef terrace – elevated fivemetres above the lagoon. Big Green Egg barbecues, ocean-view rooftop bar, big-screen cinema, starlight Jacuzzi and two worldclass restaurants, signature LUX* beach club Beach Rouge, Café LUX*, and LUX* Me Spa and kids’ club complete the offering.

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“Mauritius has also been awarded the latest World Travel Award for Weddings and Honeymoons in recognition of the destination’s excellence in this sector. “Some of the newest wedding and honeymoon experiences in Mauritius include the first swim-up rooms on the island at the Victoria Beachcomber Resort & Spa. As well as the usual amenities offered by Beachcomber resorts, this is an adult

only wing and therefore a perfect choice for the couple travelling child-free and looking for luxury. Kevin Ramkaloan, Director of Tourism, MTPA

Where to book it  HAYES & JARVIS – 01293 762 456 A 12-night honeymoon to Sri Lanka and the Maldives starts at £2,549pp, saving up to £857pp.The offer includes five nights at the five-star Anantara Kalutara Resort in Sri Lanka on a B&B basis and seven nights at the five-star Anantara Veli Maldives Resort on a half-board basis. Also included is a complimentary upgrade to half-board in the Maldives and all flights. The deal is based on a May 13 departure. hayesandjarvis.co.uk

 RAINBOW TOURS – 020 3131 2831 A 14-day tour starts with one night in boutique hotel Maison Gallieni in Madagascar’s capital Antananarivo, followed by three nights in Madagascar’s Andasibe-Mantadia National Park for wildlife watching with a private guide. It ends with seven nights at Paradise Cove Boutique Hotel, Mauritius. From £3,335pp including flights with Air Mauritus. rainbowtours.co.uk 

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Above: A couples massage at Anantara Sri Lanka. Right: enjoying a drink at Constance Belle Mare Plage Mauritius

24/10/2017 12:23

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my journey

A jo󰇻󰇶󰈡󰈥y 󰇹o...

La󰈢s!

Mor󰇳󰇮󰈡g co󰈛󰈬t󰇧󰇯󰇰󰈤 on 󰇧 Mek󰈢󰇳󰈪 c󰇶󰇼i󰈤󰇪

or 󰈪 se󰇶󰇪󰈡󰈥l󰈂 󰈨ow󰇳 󰈦󰇮v󰈥󰇶󰈤 t󰇯󰇳 o󰇧 fl , 󰇮󰈥󰇷 󰈨d 󰇴a 󰈨y 󰇼󰈧 m 󰇻󰇫󰇭 󰈢󰇷 Whe󰇹󰇭󰇪r 󰇴󰇱󰈣d󰈧i󰈡g 󰇹󰇭ro 󰈛󰈣󰈝k i󰇷 󰇺r󰇧󰇳󰈤fix󰈥󰈧 󰇩y La 󰇪w 󰈌󰈦 c󰈂 Lu , 󰇺s 󰇧󰇳 󰇵h 󰈥󰇰e 󰈣󰇹󰈤te󰇴󰈤 󰈢f fo󰇰󰇱󰈢w󰇯󰇳󰈪 in 󰇹󰇭󰇪 g󰇯a󰇳󰇺 f󰈢

I

’m wallowing up to my knees in mud, being half-dragged through a rice paddy by Rudolph, a pink-bottomed buffalo who’s a surprisingly fast mover. Pausing while Rudolph takes a toilet break, I feel warm sludge oozing between my bare toes. Trying not to think about what I might be standing in, I focus on the stunning scenery instead: low-slung hills in fifty shades of green watched over by flooded paddies that reflect big fluffy clouds back at the sky. Then, with a sudden jerk of the hand plough, we’re off again, churning at the waterlogged earth to prepare it for planting. Here at Living Land, I’m getting a hands-on introduction to all 14 stages of rice farming, from selecting the best grains to sowing, harvesting and threshing. With each stage demonstrated in a different part of the farm, you can experience a full season of farming in a single morning. Lao people eat more sticky rice than any other nation. My favourite is the red kind, especially when dipped into spicy jaew or savoury padaek sauce.

cultural pride. You can even have a go at traditional crafts yourself, like Hmong embroidery and Katu backstrap weaving.

Une󰇷󰈝󰈢 c󰇯󰇹󰈠 s󰇹󰈦e󰇪t󰇷 My base in Laos is the ancient capital of Luang Prabang. With its UNESCO-listed old town and abundance of local attractions, it’s easy to see why this is the country’s most popular tourist hub. I’m staying at the new Azerai hotel and steps from my modern room are wooden houses, Indochinese villas and gilded wats and Buddhist temple. Each morning, wet markets fill the alleyways, and saffronrobed monks file through the streets for their daily alms ritual. I explore the city on foot, visiting the Royal Palace Museum, the dazzling Wat Xieng Thong, and ancient Wat Wisunarat. I enjoy a long lunch at Manda de Lao restaurant, where Laotian cuisine is served beside fragrant lily ponds.

I fil󰇰 󰈩y 󰇨a󰈪s d wi󰇹󰇭 w󰈢󰇽󰈥󰈡 s󰈛a󰈦v󰇪󰇷 󰈜󰈡 em󰇨󰈦󰈢󰇯de󰇶󰇪󰈨 t󰇶󰈣u󰈤󰇪r󰇷, ha󰇳󰈨m󰇧󰈧󰈥 i󰈡 La󰈢s

Fe󰇪d󰇯󰇳󰈪 el󰇪󰇴󰇭󰈜n󰇹󰈤 at Man󰇧󰉁󰈜o sa󰇳󰈝t󰇻󰈜󰇶󰈠

M󰈘 󰉃AG 󰈎󰈉󰈷󰉂 MO 󰉄󰈺󰉅T󰉍 Han󰈧-p󰇰o󰇻 󰈪h󰇯󰇳󰈪 a r󰇮󰈛 wi󰇹󰇭 R󰇻d󰈣 󰇰󰇵h 󰇹󰇭e w 󰈥 󰇵ad󰈧󰈠 󰇧󰇹󰈥󰈦 buff󰇧 Me󰇪t󰇯󰇳󰈪 m 󰇰󰈣... a󰇷󰇺󰇪r 󰈜󰇶󰇺 is󰇧󰇳󰈤 󰈜t O Pok 󰈓󰈢󰈫 󰈜 󰈛󰈬 󰈡 vi󰇰󰇱󰇧g󰈥... E d Ba󰇳 󰈗󰇧󰈡g 󰉀󰇬󰈣󰈡 g x󰇴󰇱or󰇮󰇳 ma󰇶󰈬󰇪t󰇷 󰈜 󰈪 L󰇼an󰇫 󰈑󰈦󰇧b󰈜󰇳󰈪’s 󰈡d o󰇰󰈨 t󰈢󰇿 󰈡 󰈣l󰈧 󰈆o󰈢t

Et󰇬󰈡ic 󰇪󰈧󰇼󰈝at󰇮󰈣󰇳 A landlocked country bordered by five Southeast Asian neighbours, Laos certainly isn’t a ‘fly and flop’ destination; here, it’s more about experiential tourism. For example, I follow the journey of silkworm to silk scarf at Ock Pop Tok craft centre, and watch artisans at work in Ban Xang Khong village. And at the Traditional Arts and Ethnology Centre (TAEC) I learnt how to recognise handmade Lao textiles from cheap Chinese imports by examining the pattern and dye. Laos is one of the world’s most ethnically diverse countries, home to 49 official groups and TAEC educates visitors about these minority communities and aims to boost

Lan󰈧 󰈢󰈆 󰈥le󰇴󰇭󰇧n󰇹󰈤 Laos was once known as ‘the land of a million elephants’ but today there are less than a thousand in the wild, and the welfare of domesticated ones is a real concern. MandaLao sanctuary tackles this by swapping the harmful practice of elephant riding for ethical encounters, with no chains and no forced contact.

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my journey A p󰇰a󰈝󰇪 t󰈣 󰇲o󰈢 󰈦 be󰇳󰇪󰈜󰇺h 󰇹󰇭e fa󰇲󰈢󰇼󰈤 Pak O󰇻 Cav󰇪󰇷 󰈉󰈜󰇾es

75

s i󰇳 󰇧 󰈥󰇳 󰇺ex󰇹󰇮󰇱󰈥 󰈥t v 󰈢 󰈟 󰈧 n a H 󰇶󰈬 󰈜ba󰇳󰈪 m󰇧 Lu󰇧n󰇫 󰈑󰈦

Visiting the sanctuary I’m standing transfixed beside a stream as five elephants lurch out of the forest towards us. The largest lumbers up to me and helps himself to the banana I’m clutching. As he munches he seems to be smiling and I start to relax. After washing their backs with buckets of river water, we join them for a walk. We follow the eles as they head to the forest. When they stop, we stop. And when baby Kip comes trundling through the trees, all bandy legs and eyelashes caked in mud, the group lets out a communal “awww.”

Mek󰈢󰇳󰈪 󰇯n 󰇷󰇺y󰇰e Of course, Laos isn’t just about ploughing fields and scrubbing elephants so I spend my last day chilling out on a luxury Mekong River cruise. The boat is furnished in teak, rosewood and marble. There’s an air-conditioned cabin at the stern and a sundeck at the bow. As we putter through caramel-coloured waters, I sip my whiskey cocktail and watch the Lao river life glide by. Green hills lie across the horizon like sleeping dragons, wooden huts dot the waters’ edge, stupas poke out of the green, and children wave from the banks. After a couple of hours, we moor beneath the towering limestone cliffs that harbour the famous Pak Ou Caves. Stepping ashore, I climb 150 steps to the first sacred cavern and, out of respect, remove my flip-flops and cover my shoulders with a shawl. Inside, every crevice is filled with Buddhist icons. Some are large, golden, and bathed in candlelight. Others are hidden in the dark and are as tiny as a thimble. There’s an astounding 4,000 statues here.

Sav󰇽󰈠 s󰇬o󰇵p󰇮󰇳󰈪 We enjoy a four-course lunch on the boat and cruise to the recently opened Pha Tad Ke Botanical Gardens for an afternoon jaunt. Arriving back in Luang Prabang at sunset, the night markets are in full swing so I head to the food quarter for some barbecued fish and Beer Lao – the local brew. There’s time for some last minute shopping and I fill my bags with woven scarves and embroidered trousers which, I’ve checked, are genuine local crafts, handmade right here in Laos.

The 󰈧󰇧󰈄z󰇰󰇯󰈡g Wat 󰈗󰇮󰈥󰇳󰈪 Tho󰇳󰈪 c󰈢󰇲󰇵l󰈥󰈀

Ric󰇪 󰈇󰈜󰈦mi󰇳󰈪 󰇧t Liv󰇮󰇳󰈪 L󰈜n󰈧 󰈆a r󰇲

Fab󰇻󰇰󰈣u󰈤l󰈂 󰈆re󰇷 󰇭 f󰈢󰈣󰈧 at L󰇻󰈜󰇳󰈪 󰈑ra󰇨 󰇧󰈡g ni󰇫󰇭t 󰇲󰇧󰈦k󰈥󰇹

O󰉇󰉀 󰈾T 󰈈 󰉈 T 󰈺 󰉋 W󰈍E 󰇧y󰇷 󰇯󰈡

󰈨 󰇪r󰇷 󰈤󰈥ve󰇳 ff o 󰇮󰈜 󰇷 󰇮 A e Sel󰇪󰈛󰇺󰇯v 󰇹󰇭󰇪 Az󰈥󰇶a t a 󰈩 󰈣 󰈢 R r󰈧 a C󰈢󰇼r󰇹󰈠a n󰇫 󰈑󰈦󰈜ba󰇳󰈪, f󰇶o󰈩 u󰇧 Hot󰇪󰇰 󰇯󰈡 L 󰇭 s󰈥a󰇷󰈢󰈡. In󰈛󰇱ud󰇪󰈧 i󰈡 h󰇮󰇫 £2475p󰇴 S󰇮󰈡g󰈜󰇴o󰈦󰇪 󰇬 it 󰈟 󰇷 t 󰇭 s󰇯o󰇳 ar󰇪 fl󰇯󰇫 󰈜󰇳󰈨 ad󰇲󰇮󰈤 s 󰈦 󰇪 󰈇 s 󰈡 a 󰇶 Air󰇰󰇮󰈡󰈥s, t u󰇶󰈤 m󰇪󰇳󰇺󰇯on󰇪󰈧. to 󰇹󰇭󰇪 t󰈣 󰈤󰇯a.co󰇲 se󰇰󰇪󰈝t󰇯󰇽e󰇧

Wat 󰈖󰇮󰇷󰇼󰈡ar󰇪󰇹 te󰇲󰇵l󰇪 󰇯󰇳 Lu󰇧󰈡g Pra󰇨󰇧󰈡g

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introducing

Northern Portugal the cradle of Portuguese culture

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or an authentic taste of Portugal steer your clients towards Porto and the historic north, says Karl Cushing, as he explores a selection of Small Luxury Hotels' properties in the region.

This is the cradle of Portugal — everything started here,” declares my guide Francisco as we enter Guimarães castle, powerbase of Portugal’s first king. But beguiling northern Portugal, I am about to discover, is awash with historic sites.

Porto A compact, sloping jumble of jaunty red tiled roofs and austere baroque architecture, ‘the city of bridges’ is very easy on the eye. Scenic miradors and enticing cafes offer welcome breaks as I wander its historic backstreets, sampling the excellent port and local ‘vinho verde’ wines. Gaia, which faces Porto across the twinkling Douro River, is home to major port cellars such as Taylor’s and Croft along with Porto Cruz (myportocruz.com) — a great spot for a tasting with its rooftop bar. I hit its restaurant for a boozy lunch before heading out to explore the winding streets, winding a bit myself enroute to the Hotel Infante Sagres (slh.com/infantesagres). Once the city’s only five-star, it's showing its age, but new owners will close it this month (November) and transform it into an 86-guestroom charmer with more suites, better facilities and added glitz, including a Vogue Cafe. It will reopen next April.

Pousadas I sample my first historic Pousada hotel over an indulgent lunch at Pousada Mosteiro de Guimarães (slh.com/pousadaguimaraes). Set in the

Clockwise from top left: Porto's historic centre from the Douro River; the cathedral in Braga; the Roman bridge in Ponte de Lima; pastel de nata, or custard tarts

tree-lined hills overlooking the medieval town of Guimarães, this former 12th century monastery and royal residence has 51 rooms, decorated with antique furnishings, housed in the former cloisters. Pousada Mosteiro de Amares, formerly a 12th century Cistercian monastery near Braga, proves better still (slh.com/pousadaamares). Popular for weddings, the property oozes romance, its crisp white and exposed stone interiors as soothing as the dreamy dusk views from the terrace, and with rooms from £95 B&B it’s also a steal.

include the subterranean spa area with goat’s milk treatments. The downside is the property's roadside location, poor landscaping and somewaht modernist concrete confines. There's just time to see cute, cobbled coastal town Viana do Castelo and its impressive Sacred Heart Church before a last stop in Porto's Matosinhos, a district famed for its fish restaurants. A seafood meal at Os Lusiadas (restaurantelusiadas.com) ensures I leave with a strong taste for Portugal’s enchanting north. 

Alto Minho – the far north

THE DETAILS

Continuing north across smooth granite bouldertopped mountain passes I dip into the beautiful Peneda-Gerês National Park before stopping for lunch at Ponte de Lima, Portugal’s oldest town. For many it’s the impressive bridge that proves the enduring image but for me it’s the pig-based feast which Francisco, owner of local DMC Bliss Tours (blisstours.pt), orders us for lunch: arroz de sarrabulho, a hearty dish of rice, blood and pork. That evening I tuck into the local wines at the excellent Wine Atelier facility at Carmo’s Boutique hotel (slh.com/carmosboutique). One of SLH’s design hotel members its strong points

Getting there: flytap.com; (slh.com/travel-agents) batraveltrade.com; ryanair. Book It: Sunvil's Northern com; easyjet.com Portugal tour is a sevenSmall Luxury Hotels: night trip taking in the SLH’s Small Luxury region's Pousadas in Heroes programme Porto, Barcelos, Lamego, offers agents reward and Pinhão. It includes points for bookings its flights from Gatwick and hotels, commission rates car hire from £770pp, of 10-20% and 50% off based on two sharing. the best available rate Find out more: uk.visit portoandnorth.travel for personal bookings

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River Cruising CONTENTS • 78 River cruise update • 85 Six of the best

Irrawaddy stops • 86 Focus on the Amazon • 87 My Journey, The Rhône • 88 At a Glance

ANDY HARMER, UK & IRELAND DIRECTOR, CLIA “In 2016 river cruising grew by 11%, with a notable increase in passengers to destinations outside of Europe (15%), largely Asia. We can expect to see a new generation of river cruisers in 2018, with debuts like U by Uniworld tapping into the millennial market and new ports of call and onboard experiences, like swim-up bars, being introduced by all operators.”

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River Cruising

good booking

The river cruise market is heading upstream with investment across the deck in new ships, new itineraries and more excursions. Jo Austin sets sail

A

s we watch the river cruise market transform into the travel industry’s fastest growing segment, Lucia Rowe chair of the CLIA River Cruise Committee and head of A-ROSA UK confirms that travel agents are playing a key role in increasing sales. “The industry is seeing unprecedented demand for 2018/19,” she says. The move towards specialising in specific market sectors has helped provide a tailor-made approach

and TV programmes like Cruising with Jane Macdonald has been hugely beneficial in raising consumer awareness.” A-ROSA reports an 80% growth in UK passengers during the last 12 months and through a new partnership with Shearings Holidays (shearings.com) it is planning a range of agent-focused marketing and social media activity alongside educationals (arosa-cruises.com). Themed river cruising is very much the

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This page, clockwise from top left: Saga in Russia; celebrity chef Luke Nguyen is all aboard with APT; Scenic Spirit’s pool deck; the Salon Bar aboard CroisiEurope’s RV Indochine II; street food in Vietnam

River Cruising

flavour of the market as it helps to open up already set on the Mekong for its third ship. the concept of river cruising to those who may On a different scale is the launch of not have considered it previously by providing a CroisiEurope’s (croisieurope.co.uk) African Dream ship at the end of this month (November), unique way for them to indulge in their hobby. which will sail on the Chobe and Zambezi on Excursions and VIP experiences are also three-night cruise safaris followed by a fourattracting well-travelled passengers who night stay at the five-star Cascades Lodge. want to experience something out of the CroisiEurope has ordinary. Scenic’s expanded its Mekong ‘Enrich’ experiences fleet with the launch on its Southeast Asia “Partnering with A-ROSA programme include means we can now offer the next of RV Indochine II, sailing between a private dinner in level of ship class and attract Siem Reap and Ho an Angkor temple. The opportunity new customers.We are especially Chi Minh City on nine-day itineraries for extended and excited about the multifrom August to overnight stays is also generational opportunities that April. RV Indochine proving popular and our partnership offers” II is the only cruise an added incentive ship that can dock for travel agents to JANE ATKINS, MANAGING DIRECTOR AT SHEARINGS HOLIDAYS in the heart of Ho create tailor-made Chi Minh City and opportunities. highlights include a tour of the temples New ships come sailing in of Angkor, a visit to Phnom Penh and The big news is the launch of Uniworld’s The a cruise along the Cho Gao Canal. B (ubyuniworld.com), previously River Baroness, Crystal Cruises has set a new standard of as it unveils its U by Uniworld river cruise luxury on Europe’s rivers with the arrival of brand for fun-loving travellers between Crystal Mozart this year. All-suite, all-balcony the ages of 21–45. That’s quite a wide age Rhine Class ships are now adding to the luxury range, but no doubt the 40s are the new 20s with the launch of Crystal Bach and Crystal and quadragenarians can enjoy camping on Mahler to be followed by Crystal Debussy and the top deck just as much as their younger Crystal Ravel next year. The 11-day Grand companions. The B is the first of the fleet’s Danube Celebration on Crystal Mahler features ships to be re-styled and sailings on The B a double overnight stay in Budapest, with and the brand’s second ship, The A, begin in a Christmas Day sailing on the Danube. April 2018 with four eight-day itineraries on Viking Cruises (vikingrivercruises.com) will be returning to Egypt in 2018 with the launch of the Rhine, Main, Danube and Seine. Sights are

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river cruising update

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Viking Ra. Tailored for 48 guests, she will sail the Nile on a 12-day Pharoahs and Pyramids cruise from March 2018, costing from £5,295pp. Emerald Waterways’ fleet of revolutionary Star-Ships offer modern luxury at an affordable price. Emerald Liberté is the third Star Ship to launch this year and itineraries include the Rhine and a new sailing through Holland and Belgium. Belmond Afloat’s (belmond.com) new Belmond Lilas and Belmond Pivoine are set to follow six-night itineraries along the canals and rivers of Alsace and Champagne from April 2018. Riviera Travel has launched five new five-star ships this year: Thomas Hardy, Emily Bronte, Oscar Wilde, Douro Elegance and Douro Serenity. Robert Burns and Douro Splendour will join the fleet in 2018. New for 2018 is Riviera’s Gems of Eastern Europe 14-night cruise from Budapest to the Black Sea and an optional £59 drinks package. Amadeus Queen (lueftner-cruises.com) will launch in Spring 2018 to sail the Danube, Rhine and Main rivers as well as Dutch and Belgian waterways. European Waterways (europeanwaterways.com) adds the 12-passenger Spirit of Scotland luxury barge on the Caledonian Canal in 2018.

New itineraries Scenic’s Southeast Asia brochure is jampacked with exotic itineraries on the Mekong and Irrawaddy. New for 2018/19 is a 24-day cruise which takes guests beyond the tourist trail in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia. APT (www.aptouring.co.uk) returns to Russia in August 2018. The 13-day Russian Waterways itinerary will traverse the network of rivers and lakes that join Moscow with St Petersburg. The River Cruise Line’s (rivercruiseline.co.uk) Battlefields and Stories of the Great War sevenday cruise takes in Brussels, Antwerp and Ghent. Titan (titantravel.co.uk) features seven new itineraries in 2018, its 40th anniversary year, including an exclusive Wild France with Camargue. CroisiEurope offers small barge cruise on MS Anne-Marie. The seven-day itinerary offers the chance to try local delicacies and delve into French history, with prices from £2,249. New from Titan is a six-day Beautiful Veneto cruise along the Po aboard CroisiEurope’s MS Michelangelo. Tauck’s (tauck.co.uk) 2018 itineraries include the 14-day Royal Danube, Berlin & Krakow and the 11-day Rhine Enchantment,

Milan to Amsterdam. A new 10-day Savouring France: Paris, Lyon & Provence cruise includes two nights in Paris and a sevennight Rhone cruise aboard MS Emerald.

Themed cruises Tauck’s Europe programme for 2018 includes after-hours tours of the Louvre and a private dinner inside the German Parliament. For an authentic culinary experience in Vietnam, APT (aptouring.co.uk) features walking tours with chef Luke Nguyen to watch locals cook street food. Amadeus’ golf-themed cruise is proving popular with cruisers and non-cruisers alike.

“With our all-inclusive itineraries, butler service and fine dining, as well as our free, one-way Business Class flight upgrade, our Southeast Asia luxury river is extremely popular with travel agents” DAWN QUINN, ACTING NATIONAL SALES MANAGER, SCENIC

Clockwise from left: U by Uniworld’s The B; Cambodia’s Angkor Wat is accessible from the Mekong; and France’s Camargue and its wild horses is close to The Rhone

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Receive a shopping voucher for every booking

Our VIP door-to-door travel service is back Your customers can once again travel in style as we have reintroduced our VIP door-to-door travel service on all river cruises† of 11 nights or longer. This promotion is available now, so make your booking today.

Call FREE on 0800 074 8021 or visit saga.co.uk/agents Become a Saga expert, visit sagaexperts.com Find us on social media Saga Trade Team To claim your vouchers, simply email incentives@saga.co.uk with booking details. The value of vouchers depends on time of booking. For full details visit saga.co.uk/agents. Vouchers will be sent by email from Red Letter Days, please allow four weeks for delivery. †All bookings except our Gems of the Russian Capitals cruise. Saga’s holidays and cruises are exclusively for the over 50s, but a travelling companion can be 40+. Terms and conditions apply. NHA-RC5370.

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River Cruising

river cruising update

The ‘tailor-make’ option allows guests to choose excursions they are interested in, scaling up or down depending on their budget. European Waterways (gobarging.com) is offering an opportunity to follow the 2018 Ryder Cup on the L’Albatros Course in France. APT (aptouring.co.uk) features 155 Freedom of Choice experiences in 46 locations. Says APT’s Angela Waite: “This is popular with those who travel together but have different interests. Agents can offer active or cultural, culinary or educational activities.”

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and including flights, transfers, six guided tours and all meals and drinks on board. vikingcruises.co.uk

 U BY UNIWORLD – 0845 678 5656 The eight-day Seine Experience runs roundtrip from Paris and includes visits to Honfleur and Rouen. From £1,799pp including nine excurisons and a celebrity DJ party. ubyuniworld.com 

Where to book it  SAGA HOLIDAYS – 0800 656 9919 The Gems of the Russian Capitals river cruise on MS Victoria soaks up the culture of St Petersburg before visiting Kizhi Island and the palaces and cathedrals of The Kremlin in Moscow. Prices from £1899pp for 11 nights. travel.saga.co.uk

Above: Inside the Reichstag Dome: on some of its cruises Tauck offers a private dinner inside the German parliament. Right: CroisiEurope’s RV Indochine II

 VIKING RIVER CRUISES – 0800 31966 60 Romantic Danube is an eight-day cruise costing from £1,945pp, based on two people travelling on November 24 2018

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MEET THE FIVE-STAR EMILY BRONTË Launched: 2017 Length: 135M Crew: 44 Guests: 169

Decks: 4 Suites: 88 Godmother: Christina Astill (Go-Cruise)

In 2017 we also welcomed to our fleet brand new sister ships to the Emily Brontë, the MS Thomas Hardy and MS Oscar Wilde and the MS Douro Elegance. In 2018 we look forward to welcoming the MS Robert Burns. Those agents attending the CLIA River Cruise Convention in Amsterdam will have the opportunity to experience the Emily Brontë first hand as she will be one of the host ships at the convention.

FACILITIES • Thoroughly air conditioned public areas and individual heating controls in the cabins

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• Stunning restaurant on the Main Deck serving buffet breakfast, buffet lunch and four-course dinner • Lounge and bar to enjoy cocktails and the early risers' breakfast • Bistro with open kitchen, large panoramic windows and al fresco seating • Lift between Emerald, Ruby and Diamond decks • Laundry Service

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• Spa and wellness area featuring Nail Salon and Hairdressing Service • Boutique gift shop for your holiday souvenirs • Reception area open 24hrs • Small splash pool and putting green on the Sun Deck • 24hr self service station for complimentary tea and coffee

For more information on our award winning River Cruise collection, visit www.rivieratravel.co.uk/river-cruises Riviera Travel booking terms and conditions apply. Prices correct as of 19-10-17.

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River Cruising

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Irrawaddy stops

1 4

3 2 IRRAWADDY RIVER

6

six of the best: myanmar

Myanmar has exploded in popularity but an Irrawaddy cruise remains one of the best ways to see the country in the lap of luxury, says Laura Gelder

5

1

Mandalay

The former royal capital is a typical Southeast Asian trading post, but now its ramshackle warehouses and ancient-looking oxcarts are combined with shiny new hotels and honking traffic. A religious centre, the city has plenty of tea houses to frequent and temples to explore, including the Mahamuni Pagoda and its impressive golden Buddha. Mandalay Hill is a 240-metre-high mound to the northeast of the centre and is where the city got its name. From the top there’s a bird’s eye view of its flat expanse.

2

Sale

Sale is a small town that is perfect for wandering around on foot or by trishaw. The rusty red streets are punctuated by palm trees and sprays of bougainvillea and cool, dark tea houses are just the place for a refreshing drink. The fine carvings of the Yoke Sone Kyaung monastery and the splendid colonialstyle houses are the town’s highlights.

3

Bagan

This ghost city is testament to the religious devotion of former kings who built more than 4,000 temples over hundreds of years. Although many have crumbled into the parched earth, thousands still stand with their intricate carvings intact – and are best viewed at sunrise or sunset. A popular activity for tourists here is a hot air balloon ride, affording spectacular views over the many temples.

4

Inwa

Just 20 kilometres south of Mandalay, Inwa is also a former capital but was finally abandoned in 1839 after a series of devastating earthquakes. Highlights include a 200-year-old teak monastery, a brick pagoda and the remains of Inwa Fort. Between Inwa and Mandalay is the village of Amarapura, with its lake and the famous rickety teak bridge of U Bein. Across the river is Sagaing, a monastic centre where dozens of pagodas stud the green hills.

5

Rangoon

To all intents and purposes Rangoon, the country’s former capital, is still the cultural, economic and historical heart of Myanmar. It’s worth spending at least two days here to fit in the vibrant markets, the huge gilded stupa of the Shwedagon Pagoda and the various districts including a Chinatown. The slow circular railway is a good way to peer into various suburbs and neighbouring villages for an insight into Burmese life.

6

Pyay

A stop at modern-day Pyay, also known as Prome, includes the ancient city Sri Ksetra, a prosperous place during the fifth and ninth centuries and now a UNESCO World Heritage site with numerous ancient and ruined relics including tombs, temples, pagodas, palaces and other religious sites. Another popular site around Pyay is the Shwe Myet Hman pagoda and its bizarre golden-sunglasses-wearing Buddha – not surprisingly, the only such Buddha in the world!

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River Cruising

focus on: on: the amazon

The Amazon The rainforest road Pacaya Samiria This Peruvian National Reserve area of flooded forests is known as the ‘Jungle of Mirrors.’ Its home to iconic Amazonian species such as pink river dolphins, giant otters and macaws. Intriguing Iquitos The word’s largest city that can’t be reached by road, this Amazonian capital offers a mix of mud huts and tiled mansions, bustling markets and riverside restaurants.

O

ne of the world’s most famous rivers, this 4,000-mile epic waterway offers wildlife galore as well as cultural encounters, says Laura Gelder The second-longest river in the world originates in the mighty Andes before flowing through nine countries and finally emptying into the Atlantic – amounting to one fifth of the world’s freshwater which flows into the sea. For cruisers, the options are split into two main choices: the Brazilian Amazon or the Peruvian Amazon.

BOOK IT WITH DELFIN Delfin Amazon Cruises (delfinamazoncruises.com) offers a five-day/four-night cruise on the Delfin II, departing from the port of Nauta from £3,181pp. The price includes all on bhvboard meals, transfers to/from the vessel when arriving on recommended flights to Iquitos and all excursions including kayaking on the Zapote River and an encounter with pink dolphins in Belluda Cano Creek.

Mighty Manaus The Amazon’s farthest navigable port, 1,000 miles from the sea, is a former boom town thanks to rubber. Find faded Belle Epoque mansions and the Teatro Amazonas opera house. Anavilhanas Islands Near Manaus, the biggest freshwater archipelago in the world, is home to reptiles, birds and monkeys in the wet season and cats and tapirs in the dry. Hop ashore for a beach dinner.

WHEN TO GO The Amazon is warm and humid year-round so the main seasonal differentiation is between wet (or high water) season from December to May and dry, (or low water season) fom June to November. However, it is surrounded by rainforest so a downpour should never be ruled out! The wildlife is prolific year-round but experiences vary. During dry season the jungle paths are more accessible so active clients who want to explore on foot and get up close to animals may prefer this. The downside is that this season is hotter. In wet season the water levels rise 20 feet higher, making smaller tributaries more accessible by ship. For clients who want to sit back, relax and enjoy floating down the river and seeing the wildlife from their deckchair, this is the best time as animals and birds come closer to the river’s edge and the plants are in bloom. The downside is more mosquitos.

WHAT TO EXPECT An Amazon cruise will predominantly appeal to nature lovers. The wildlife cruisers can expect to see includes sloths, various varieties of monkey, river dolphins, the long-snouted tapir, caimans and piranha fish. The birdlife is prolific and

the exotic varieties on display will captivate non-twitchers too – scarlet macaws, bright-blue kingfishers, technicoloured toucans and delicate and diminutive hummingbirds to name a few.

HOW TO SELL An Amazon cruise is likely to be one small part of a much longer South American itinerary. Iquitos-based cruises can be as short as three or four nights and add nicely onto other tours and attractions in Peru or neighbouring Ecuador. Most Brazilian Amazon itineraries originate in Manaus or Rio and sail up the Amazon to the port of Macapa. The river’s lower reaches in Brazil are so vast that ocean-going ships can sail on them, including Crystal Cruises, Regent Seven Seas and Fred Olsen. Many cruise lines offer itineraries which combine the Amazon with the Caribbean, other parts of South America or Antarctica. 

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River Cruising

my river cruise journey

87

The Rhône Lynn Houghton goes rolling on the Rhône, with its vivid rural scenes with wild horses and sunflowers, plus the gastronomic capital of France

I

awake on the second morning of our Rhône River journey on A-Rosa Stella to the magnificent sight of the walled city of Avignon virtually within touching distance. The sky is an azure blue, the temperature is warm and rising but the deep green hue of the water flowing alongside our vessel is wonderfully cooling.

On yer bike There is a 20-km bike ride this morning and I am the only English speaker among 12 Germans, but the guide translates pertinent information. We cycle through the countryside, along the back roads and paths of the Île de la Barthelasse located on the opposite side of the river from our mooring. The gorgeous peach trees, acres of sunflowers and fresh air make for a scenic and dreamy ride.

The Famous Camargue By far the best excursion is at our next port of call, Arles. The Camargue Jeep Safari through this famous marshland includes a stop at tiny village Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer and the chance to see wild white horses grazing in fields of purple saparella. The black Camargue bulls are on show, too. They perform in the Camarguaise Courses, a type of bull fight that sees the animals become

heroes while men in white dash around them like clowns. There are also opportunities to photograph flocks of flamingos standing in the shallow lakes, but these remarkable birds are often far in the distance.

Life Onboard The A-Rosa Stella’s casual style is truly a bonus during the hot summer weather. There is no dress code to worry about and dining is buffet-only and flexible. There is a bar and lounge located at the bow of the vessel with floor to ceiling windows for enhanced visibility. The Sun Deck has loungers, a pool and a covered area with tables and chairs for eating and drinking while the ship’s lower deck has a small gym, two treatment rooms, a sauna and relaxation room. The middle deck is home to a large dining room flanked by the buffet area. A smaller dining area, just behind, is used for special events. I indulge in the Tournon Exclusive Meal (an extra charge) which is a regional dinner matched with appropriate wines for all five courses. There is at least one night of special entertainment – ours is a spectacularly good act with guitarists and a flamenco dancer. My brightly decorated cabin is spacious enough and has ample storage. TV channels come in German, English and French. Bath

products are included and there is a good-sized shower cubicle as well as bath robe and slippers.

Gastronomic France Lyon, our embarkation and debarkation point, is known for its cuisine. I stop at a tiny country restaurant near the Saône River and I am completely blown away by the quality of the food. In the old town are lovely shops selling puppets, silk and souvenirs. The funicular up to the Basilica Notre Dame de Fourvière is a mustdo experience for panoramic views of the city. Also unmissable is Les Halles, about a halfhour walk from the ship’s berth. This upmarket indoor market features fresh meats, cheeses, chickens, fish, fruit and vegetables. There are tiny restaurants where you can pull up a chair and have a meal that is second to none. No wonder they say this region is the gastronomic capital of France! 

BOOK IT WITH COSMOS Cosmos offers A-Rosa’s seven-night Rhone Route Mediterranean cruise aboard A-Rosa Stella in June 2018 from £1571pp, including meals and drinks, a private home pick-up service (within 50 miles of departure airport), return flights and transfers. Based on two sharing. 0800 440 2797; cosmos.co.uk

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DUTCH Waterways

FRENCH Waterways

A-ROSA River Cruises

020 3290 5713 arosa-cruises.com

£999pp, 7-night Danube Classic cruise, incl. meals, drinks, and a 15% spa discount

AmaWaterways

0800 320 2336 amawaterways.co.uk

£1,778, 7-night Melodies of the Danube cruise incl. all meals, drinks and excursions

APT River Cruises

0800 012 6686 aptouring.co.uk

£1,995pp, 8-day Reflections of the Rhine & Main incl flights, meals, excursions, transfers

Avalon Waterways

0800 668 1865 avaloncruises.co.uk

£1,465pp, 8-day Taste of the Danube cruise (incl. UK transfers with chauffeur & flights)

Belmond

0845 077 2222 belmond.com

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

CMV Signature River Cruises

0844 963 0000 cruiseandmaritime.com

£699pp, 5-night Rhine & the Netherlands with flights and transfers (no drinks included)

CroisiEurope

020 8328 1281 croisieurope.co.uk

£312pp for a 4-day mini cruise in Paris

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Crystal River Cruises

020 7399 7604 crystalcruises.co.uk

£2,580pp for a 7-day Danube cruise from Budapest to Vienna

Emerald Waterways

0808 115 0469 emeraldwaterways.co.uk

£1,295pp, 8-day Danube Delights cruise, incl. flights, excursions and meals on board

European Waterways

01753 598 555 europeanwaterways.com

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

 

Far Horizon Tours & Cruises

01252 714 477 perlrivercruises.com

£1,579pp, 7-night Brahmaputra cruise. Cruiseonly incl. excursions & international transfers

Fred.\River Cruises

0808 159 5256 fredrivercruises.co.uk

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

Great Rail Journeys & Rail Discoveries

0800 240 4470 greatrail.com/raildiscoveries.com

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

Insider Journeys

01865 268 944 insiderjourneys.co.uk

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

Mekong Prestige River Cruise

0808 168 1458 ewaterways.co.uk

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

Mekong River Cruises

01252 714 477 perlrivercruises.com

£650pp, 5-night Luang Prabang roundtrip cruise incl. excursions and transfers

Newmarket Holidays

0330 160 7999 newmarketholidays.co.uk

£269pp, 4-day Rhine Christmas Markets Cruise

Pandaw

020 8326 5620 pandaw.com

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

Riviera Travel

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

£699pp for the four-night Christmas Markets itinerary

Saga

0800 074 8021 saga.co.uk/rivercruises

£529pp, 4-nights Holland in Bloom, fullboard with return coach travel

Sanctuary Retreats

+44 (0)1242 546609 sanctuaryretreats.com

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

Scenic

0808 115 0463 scenic.co.uk

£1,595pp, 8-day Gems of the Danube cruise, incl. flights, excursions, meals & drinks

Shearings Holidays

0344 556 0888 shearings.com/rivercruises

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

Tauck River Cruises

0800 810 8020 tauck.co.uk

£2,440pp, 8-day ‘Holland & Belgium in the Spring’ incl. flights & category one cabin

Titan

0800 988 5800 titanagents.co.uk

£1,149pp, 6-day Charms of the Elbe and Havel, including VIP transfers

The River Cruise Line

01858 438 455 rivercruiseline.co.uk

£995pp, 10-day Danube, Vienna & Budapest full-board cruise on the four-star Serenity

Uniworld

0808 168 9231 uniworld.com/uk

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

Viking River Cruises

020 8780 7985 vikingrivercruises.co.uk

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

Wendy Wu Tours

0800 902 0888 wendywutours.co.uk

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

LEAD-IN CRITERIA

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CHOBE, Botswana

RHINE, Switzerland to the Netherlands

£1189pp, 7-night Tulip Serenade cruise incl. flights, non-UK transfers & port charges

RESERVATIONS

PO, Italy

MOSELLE, France, Lux, Germany

0800 035 6411 amadeus-rivercruises.co.uk

CRUISE LINE

DOURO, Portugal

Amadeus River Cruises

Your official guide to river cruising

DANUBE, Central Europe

MAIN DANUBE CANAL, Germany

At a glance

RUSSIAN Waterways

River Cruising

at a glance

ELBE, Czech Republic to Germany

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 

 

 

Selected cruises

Selected Luxury Cruises

Pre-paid drink packages

 

Upgrade onboard

Selected cruises

Selected cruises

Selected cruises

Rail - local station only

 

 

Selected cruises

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WI-FI INCLUDED

ALL INCLUSIVE OPTION

UK TRANSFERS

KAPUAS, Borneo

AMAZON

MURRAY RIVER, Australia

MISSISSIPPI, USA

IRRAWADDY/ CHINDWIN, Burma

YANGTZE, China

INDIAN Waterways

NILE, Egypt

MEKONG, Cambodia, Laos, and/or Vietnam

at a glance

Pre-paid drink packages

Weekly updates straight to your inbox! Subscribe to Selling Travel Digital today and receive your weekly quick read features, news round-up, incentives and more!

 

 

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Selected dates

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Coach/ Air/Rail

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In Europe

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 Pre-paid drink packages

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90

the final word

the quirky side of travel – lost in translation, cabin fever, whales – Fancy doing a ramen? Does that sound... saucy to you? Researchers from Deliveroo polled 1,500 Britons and asked them to identify some of the world’s most famous foods – and uncovered some unsettling results. The Japanese staple soup, ramen, was the subject of the most confusion with 24% thinking it is a religious festival, 13% identifying it as an Egyptian Pharaoh and a one-track-minded 4% believing it's a sexual position in the Kama Sutra. Vietnamese noodle soup, Pho, didn't fare much better either, with 15% thinking it was a type of exotic fish and 10% saying it was a character out of Game of Thrones. Some Brits thought a falafel was part of a jet engine and an enchilada a South American animal.

TOP 6… Chalet leftovers A whale of a time! Selling Travel's Benjamin Coren took to the waters of the Atlantic Ocean during the ABTA Travel Convention last month, which was held on Sao Miguel Island in The Azores. As well as witnessing whales and dolphins in their natural habitat, he explored the island's volcanic craters. Read the news from the ABTA convention on page 69 of this month's issue.

Typical items which skiers leave behind, according to Ski Beat's chalet hosts. skibeat.co.uk

1

Phone chargers

2

Keys

3

Toiletries

4

Passports

5

Glasses & contact lenses

6

Socks & thermals

thetravelconvention.com

Don't sweat it – be Swedish Swedish nature reduces stress, according to a new case study. By spending 72 hours in glass cabins on an island of their own, five people with stressful jobs (including a French Taxi driver, a German police officer and a British broadcaster) decreased their stress levels by almost 70%, according to stress expert Walter Osika. The Selling Travel team would love to try it, but can we have some curtains? visitsweden.com

THE DECEMBER 2017 ISSUE OF SELLING TRAVEL WILL FEATURE: • Dubai • Mexico • What's Hot For 2018 • Nevada • Philippines • Escorted touring in Australia • Egypt • Kentucky • Selling Travel Agents Choice Awards special • CLIA River Cruise Convention • West Hollywood CONTACT US sales@bmipublishing.co.uk; editorial@bmipublishing.co.uk PLUS ONLINE Daily Selling Tips • Destination Guides • Photo Galleries • Travel Uni

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touchdown

Readers Offers

please visit our website.

For up to date arrivals sign /

0800 619 0707

www.touchdown.co.uk

holidays@touchdown.co.uk All-Inclusive in the Middle East

Luxury Far East Selection

We have some great All-Inclusive offers in the Middle East and with virtually guaranteed weather why not? Getaway this November / December from £97

from

Fujairah Le Mériden Al Aqah Beach Resort

97 AI

£

2 children under 12yrs share FREE

Ras Al Khaimah Rixos Bab Al Bahr

£

2 children under 12yrs share FREE

Dubai Mövenpick Hotel Jumeirah Beach

117AI

176 AI £183 AI

£

JA Palm Tree Court

2 children under 12yrs share FREE

91

Looking for a luxurious hideaway? We have some special properties on offer in the Far East.

from

Thailand Bo Phut Resort & Spa; Koh Samui

65 BB £146 BB £

FREE Room Upgrade when staying 6nts or more, for selected dates

Keemala; Phuket

Based on a Clay Pool Cottage

The Danna Langkawi

Malaysia

FREE Night & FREE Room Upgrade offers apply, for selected dates

Indonesia Samabe Bali Suites & Villas

£

99 BB

£

111 BB

Includes FREE airport transfers, 1 in room massage & tickets to a Devdan Show

Many more properties available, call for details.

Elegant Hotels; Barbados

Elegant Hotels offer a unique collection of award winning luxury hotels beautifully situated along stunning beaches on the platinum West Coast and lively South Coast of sun soaked Barbados. Elegant Hotels offers a variety of inclusions including complimentary water sports, free water taxi between hotels, WiFi and more.

Tamarind

Turtle Beach

by Elegant Hotels from £ BB

by Elegant Hotels from £ AI

90

137

1st child under 12yrs shares FREE, year round

1 child under 16yrs shares FREE, valid for selected dates

Waves Hotel & Spa

Colony Club

by Elegant Hotels from

by Elegant Hotels

137 AI

£

from

The House

Crystal Cove

by Elegant Hotels

by Elegant Hotels from £ AI

150

from

tin

um

Pla

177 BB

£

Includes a 30 min Jet Lag massage, champagne breakfast & more

1 child under 16yrs shares FREE, valid for selected dates

New offer for 2018 Atmosphere Kanifushi; Maldives

I

sA

Plu

139 BB

£

1st child under 12yrs shares FREE, year round

1 child under 16yrs shares FREE, valid for selected dates

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. Terms & conditions apply.

156 AI

£

Book with confidence ACCREDITED AGENT

www.touchdown.co.uk

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NEW RESORT OPENING DEC ‘17

INTRODUCING SANDALS ROYAL BARBADOS.

ALL SUITES. ALL LUXURY. ALL ON A JET-SETTER CARIBBEAN ISLAND. Located in the spirited St. Lawrence Gap, adjacent to Sandals Barbados, this all-new resort is due to open its doors in December ‘17. Enjoy world-class cuisine at six signature restaurants, unlimited premium brand drinks at four bars, a lively entertainment area, a 15,000 sq. ft. Red Lane® Spa, as well as a 6,000 sq. ft. state-of-the-art wedding facility. Plus the launch of Sandals Royal Barbados means the launch of many firsts, including:

FOR MORE INFORMATION ON THE WORLD’S LEADING ALL-INCLUSIVE RESORTS Call Agency Sales 020 7590 0210 Email agencysales@sandals.co.uk Visit sellingsandals.co.uk

OR TO BOOK

• Sandals First Rooftop Pool & Restaurant • Sandals First Glass Infinity Pool • Sandals First

Call 0808 164 3459

Bowling Alley – Lovers Lanes • Sandals First Gentlemen’s Only Barber Shop – The Clip Yard

Visit sandals.co.uk/agents

THE MOST EXCLUSIVE ALL-INCLUSIVE. EVER.

Swim-up Butler Suite

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Le Jardinier Restaurant

Lovers Lanes Bowling Alley

10/26/17 01:09 PM

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