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SELLING TRAVEL • OCTOBER 2017

OCTOBER 2017 • SELLINGTRAVEL.CO.UK

TRAVEL TRADE PUBLICATION OF THE YEAR 2015 & 2016

Oman • New Zealand • Philadelphia • Asian beaches • Southern Africa • Tahiti • Uzbekistan • Cruising for niche markets • Cadiz • Christmas markets

FALLING FOR PHILLY Independent spirit, creative clout and world-class entertainment in Philadelphia

how to sell...

Oman Tahiti New Zealand Asian beaches Southern Africa Christmas markets and more...

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Award-Winning River Cruises in Europe On the Rhine, Danube, Moselle, Main, Rhône, Douro, Seine, Saône or Dutch waterways

ENCHANTING RHINE & YULETIDE MARKETS 5 DAY RIVER CRUISE FROM ONLY £699PP Riviera Travel’s award-winning river cruises include everything you need for an exceptional experience. Cruise Europe’s most beautiful waterways aboard the finest ships, featuring superb dining on board and spacious suites and cabins – many with a French balcony for unrivalled views. Choose from 13 fascinating river cruises that take you to the iconic highlights as well as lesser-known gems in destinations such as Cologne, Trier, Koblenz, Heidelberg, Strasbourg, Basel, Lucerne, Douro Valley, Vienna, Budapest, Amsterdam, Avignon, Arles, Bruges, Paris or Rouen.

To book, call: 01283 744370 or visit: www.rivieratravel.co.uk/agents Contact us for agency sales support, email: agencysales@rivieratravel.co.uk Riviera Travel booking terms and conditions apply. Prices correct as of 20-09-17.

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contents

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this issue - we travel further to bring you more FEATURES 8 New Zealand: Adventure in the spotlight

14 New Hampshire: The White Mountains

25 Cruising: Exploring niche

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markets 36 Philadelphia: History, art, cuisine and more 42 California: Update on the Golden State 50 Oman: Hidden gems 74 Southern Africa: country-by country 86 Asian beaches: Southeast Asia's best sandy spots

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16

42

50

86 84

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55

74

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QUICK READS 12 How to Sell: Christmas

P H I LA D E L P H I A

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Markets 16 Introducing: Cadiz 35 Six of the best: Latin American festivals 48 Visit USA: News 83 Introducing: Uzbekistan 84 My Journey: Sri Lanka

N E W Z E A LA N D

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THE REVIEW 65 Top news stories plus

OMAN

hotel reviews

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TALKING SHOP 17 News, competitions, incentives & fam.

ISLANDS OF TAHITI 55 Introducing: The Islands of Tahiti 58 Top ten: Magical moments 60 Fam trip: Island hopping

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

CA L I F O R N I A

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ASIAN BEACHES

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S O U T H E R N A F R I CA

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Their Canada adventure starts here At British Airways, we go above and beyond so your customers can too. They’ll experience our award-winning service to Calgary, Montreal, Toronto or Vancouver direct from London, ready for an adventure of a lifetime. Book today via your GDS. For more information see ba.com

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welcome

5

welcome

Travel Trade Publication of the Year

Travel Trade Publication of the Year

– dedicated to those who love selling travel – Proudly published by BMI Publishing Ltd 2017 © 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: Benjamin Coren and Jessica Pook Contributing Journalist: Jo Austin Group Editor: Andy Hoskins Contributing Editor: Julie Baxter Business Development Manager: Craig McQuinn Advertisement Manager: Lisa Merrigan Creative Director: Matt Bonner Designers: Louisa Horton, Monica Notarnicola, Ross Clifford & Zoë Tarrant Production Manager: Clare Hunter Managing Director: Martin Steady We are members of the Caribbean Tourism Organization, Visit USA Association, LATA, PATA, MENATA, SATOA, the Foreign Airlines Association and the Institute of Travel & Tourism. Whilst every effort is made to ensure accuracy, BMI Publishing cannot be held responsible for any errors or omissions. ISSN: 2056-9319. Cover image Philadelphia, courtesy of bigstock.com

SUBSCRIBE FOR FREE! sellingtravel.co.uk/subscribe

I

t seems no month goes by without some form of disaster natural or otherwise - impacting on the travel industry. In September two of the world’s most popular tourism regions, the Caribbean’s Leeward Islands and Florida, were hit by one of the most powerful hurricanes ever recorded, while further north a devastating earthquake struck just outside Mexico City, one of the planet's most populous cities. But, as always, the world carries on and people still go on holiday. Experts have predicted that Irma will cost the UK travel industry £10 million but one thing’s for sure: of those unfortunate travellers who found themselves in the path of Irma, those who booked with a travel agent will fare much better when it comes to assistance and financial Laura Gelder compensation than those who put their holiday in the hands of the web. DEPUTY EDITOR Inside this issue of Selling Travel is a special section on The Islands of Tahiti, following a group of six agents who flew over 20,000 miles to visit four very different islands. Using three internal flights, a ferry, a series of small and slightly bumpy boat rides and some kayaks, the agents set off in pursuit of the elusive ‘Mana’, or life force, which defines Polynesian culture. Head to page 53 to read about their adventures, which included walking with sharks and kayaking to uninhabited islands. What better way to learn about a destination than from travel professionals who have seen it with their own eyes? Well, it's the next best thing to going there yourself anyway! Elsewhere in the magazine we go from East to West in the USA, taking in California cool (page 42) as well as snowy New Hampshire (page 14) and the diverse streets of Philadelphia (page 36). Plus, a niche market rundown of current cruise options (page 25) and a look at Southern Africa's latest product developments (page 74). Don't forget that there is still time to vote in the Selling Travel Agents Choice Awards, which close on October 16. It's your input alone which makes these awards so have your say and vote today!

LOOK OUT FOR... YOUR GUIDE TO THE BRADENTON AREA Florida, but not as you know it Discover a very different side to Florida, with our guide to Bradenton, Anna Maria Island and Longboat Key. This region of West Florida promises old world charm, fantastic food, pristine beaches and plenty of family-friendly attractions. Your guide to exploring the

Bradenton Area

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Best of all, this authentic region has unique accommodation perfect for the British market. The holiday homes capital of Florida offers candycoloured villas, comfortable condos and cosy cottages which will be a home-from-home - as well as hotels and resorts, of course. Read on for tips on how to sell this up and coming destination.

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the big picture

Caribbean spirit Never far away

Positive outlook

Our thoughts are with the Caribbean after a destructive hurricane season (which is yet to close). It’s a region synonymous with good times, spectacular beaches and rum punch - the ultimate holiday destination. Most of the islands are very much open for business and they need visitors now more than ever, so let’s make sure they get them. caribbean.co.uk

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Win a holiday to Chiang Mai To celebrate the new Qatar Airways flight from Doha to Chiang Mai, Thailand Tourism, Qatar Airways and Anantara Hotels and Resorts bring you the chance to win a holiday for two to Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai. The prize includes flights on Qatar Airways (including all taxes), three nights accommodation in Anantara Chiang Mai Resort and 3 nights in Anantara Golden Triangle Elephant Camp & Resort.

Qatar Airways, recently named Airline of the Year in the 2017 World Airline Awards, has announced that it will launch flights direct from Doha to beautiful Chiang Mai on 12 December 2017, its fourth destination in the country, as it expands to meet increased demand from holidaymakers. Widely regarded as the cultural and soft adventure capital of Thailand, Chiang Mai is the ideal base for an extended trip to explore the delights of the north of the country. Visit local hill tribes, elephant camps, zip wire or river raft through the jungle and visit stunning temples. Our prize includes tranquil seclusion at Anantara Chiang Mai hotel. Relax on your balcony daybed, admiring courtyard gardens or the peaceful flow of Thai river life. Then the Anantara Golden Triangle Elephant Camp and Resort in Chiang Rai perched on a ridge overlooking the hills of Thailand, Myanmar and Laos. The resort opens a window to breathtaking nature. To enter, please go to sellingtravel.co.uk/thai-prize

Introducing ‘Sell the Thai Life’ Thailand Tourism and Selling Travel guide to all you need to know about one of the UK’s most popular long haul destinations. Launching in October it will include. • Thailand Guide including all major Thai cities and beach resorts • ‘Learn More’ section with Thailand’s on-line training scheme • ‘Win More’ section with a monthly prize draw for all agents passing the on-line training • ‘Events’ section including trade shows and roadshows Thailand Tourism will be running or attending in 2017/2018

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new zealand

action stations

The adventure hub continues to add activities while lesserknown Kiwi regions come under the spotlight. Karl Cushing discovers more

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the rising tide is already lapping the rocks we’re hurtling towards. Don’t worry, I’ve only got stuck once,” assures my wisecracking driver as he hammers his bus full pelt up Ninety Mile Beach, rounding the surf-licked rocks with the kind of nonchalant steering wheel flourish that Lewis Hamilton would appreciate. We race on to Cape Reinga and its lighthouse, for views of the endless ocean which swirls around the tip of New Zealand. From dune sandboarding to subtropical snorkelling in the Poor Knights Islands (diving.co.nz) and marvelling at playful dolphins in the Bay of Islands, my May trip to Northland (northlandnz.com/visit) is a fantastic experience all round and I’m not alone in singing the praises of New Zealand’s sometimes underappreciated ‘Far North’. “For me the often-overlooked Hokianga is one of the best places to visit,” says Rebecca Turner, Senior Product Manager, Asia and Australia, Gold

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Medal. “Here, just an hour’s drive from the Bay of Islands and three and a half from Auckland, you can enjoy stunning harbour views, meander through sand dunes and see the world’s largest Kauri trees in an area where the first Maori explorers landed more than 1,000 years ago.” It’s this diversity of landscape and attractions that makes New Zealand such a great sell for UK travellers, notes APT’s Head of Sales and Commercial, Angela Waite: “They are travelling to the other side of the world so they want to see as much as possible. That’s why we combine various travel styles, such as iconic rail journeys and cruising on Milford Sound.”

Northern highlights Most visitors start their journey in Auckland, where they can head to Northland, as I did, fly straight to the South Island or go south overland via places like Rotorua, noted for its geo-thermal attractions, Maori cultural shows

and awide range of activities ranging from ziplines and simulated skydives to jet boats. Other North Island highlights include Hawke’s Bay wine country, majestic Huka Falls and Lake Taupo for its boat cruises and heli-fishing tours offered by specialists such as Chris Jolly Outdoors (chrisjolly.co.nz). An up and coming region is Taranaki, offering stunning volcano views; the oneday Pouakai Crossing hike; driving the Forgotten World Highway; and Taumarunui’s RailBike tours along a decommissioned railway line (forgottenworldadventures.co.nz). East coast top stops include the gannet colony at Cape Kidnappers and the art deco town of Napier, a frequent cruise stop.

Due south For many though it’s South Island which is the main prize. At the top sits the spectacular wine country of Marlborough and the watery charms of

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Marlborough Sounds; beach-lined Abel Tasman National Park; and the cute town of Nelson. Queenstown remains the ‘go to’ place for adrenalin sports but some operators, such as Silver Fern Holidays, are switching their focus to neighbouring Wanaka, quieter but equally adrenalin-packed. Franz Josef and Fox Glaciers offer spectacular hiking tours and scenic helitours landing atop the glaciers, with further snowy options including hikes on Rob Roy Glacier, snow tubing in Tekapo Springs and Mount Cook Glacier Guiding tours in Aoraki Mount Cook National Park (mtcookguides.co.nz). The country also offers fantastic boarding and skiing, including heli-skiing, between June and mid-September. Hiking is famously good and autumn (our spring) offers excellent conditions. The ‘nine great walks’ such as The Kepler, Routeburn and Milford Track remain

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“Experience the great outdoors in glamping-tastic style courtesy of Purepod’s remote, high-end, mostly glass ecocabins, now featured by operators such as Austravel”

major draws. Operators worth a look for hiking tours include Ramblers Worldwide (ramblersholidays.co.uk) and Exodus (exodus.co.uk)... Rail offers yet another way to drink in the scenery and KiwiRail (kiwirail.co.nz) operates The Northern Explorer, TranzAlpine scenic railway, and the Coastal Pacific (currently closed for repairs). Check out specialist operators such as Great Journeys of New Zealand (greatjourneysofnz.co.nz), which offers rail and ferry trips from Christchurch to Auckland. For younger clients on a budget consider Contiki (contiki.com) and G Adventures’ YOLO offering (gadventures.co.uk).

Perfect ten

From left: Rail cart tours with Forgotten World Adventures; a stop for hungry hikers on the Kepler Track; Rewa Rewa Bridge in Taranaki

Have a good wine: Hawke’s Bay and Marlborough, famed for its sauvignon blanc, are excellent places to book wineland tours or hire a bike for a self-guided tour. Take to sea: Head to Kaikoura for whale watching cruises or swimming with wild dolphins. Take a hike: If you can’t manage one of New Zealand’s nine, multi-day ‘great

walks’ try a one-day walk like Pouakai Crossing. Ice to see you: South Island’s Franz Josef, Fox and Rob Roy glaciers make for fascinating hiking, with the option of taking a scenic helicopter ride to the top. Island life: From tall ship charters to dolphin cruises the beautiful Bay of Islands is a boating paradise. Slice of kayak: From exploring Marlborough and Milford Sounds to combing the coastline around Abel Tasman National Park, the country offers spectacular kayaking. Freefall for New Zealand: Skydive over areas such as Queenstown or Abel Tasman with operators such as NZONE and Skydive Abel Tasman. Get glowing: Experience glow worm caves on a ‘black water rafting’ trip in Waitomo Caves or with Waimarino Glow Worm Kayaking in the Bay of Plenty. Treat yourself: Add some class by including a stay in a luxury retreat such as Split Apple Retreat on Tasman Bay, the iconic Huka Lodge or The Lodge at Kauri Cliffs (kauricliffs.com).

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Cruise control: Overnight on a Milford Sound cruise boat and awake to the sight of cascading waterfalls before taking to a kayak for closer inspection.

What’s new  Hotels: Christchurch saw the 204-room Crowne Plaza (crowneplaza.com) open in June. Upcoming is an 88-room Ramada Encore, opening November; Novotel Christchurch Airport opening late 2017; and the 179-room Distinction Hotel and 120-room Holiday Inn Express both opening early 2018. In Auckland Millennium Hotels’ new M Social and the 130-room SO Sofitel Auckland open in early 2018 while in Wellington Accor has reopened its fire-damaged Sofitel Wellington, and the 102-room Sudima Wellington and 108-room Doubletree by Hilton will both open by year-end.  Experiences: Queenstown’s new options include the Nevis Thriller bungee experience (bungy.co.nz); Ziptrek’s new Twilight Tour version of its zipline forest canopy tours (ziptrek.co.nz); and Real Journeys’ latest group tour, The Walter Peak Electric Trail Bike trip (realjourneys.co.nz). New products in Auckland include the All Blacks Experience, set to open by year end, and Auckland Sea Kayaks’ Waiheke Island Coastal Sea Kayak Tour (aucklandseakayaks.co.nz/waiheke). A tenth ‘great walk’, the Pike29 Memorial Track from Blackball to Punakaiki, will launch next year. Recently added cycling trails include the Timber Trail and the Old Ghost Road plus. Elsewhere, Fiordland Discovery has new overnight Milford Sound cruises aboard its luxury boat Fiordland Jewel, which features an onboard ROV for underwater tours and a helipad (fiordlanddiscovery.co.nz).  Tour operator product: Trafalgar (trafalgar.com/ uk) has launched two new Hidden Journeys tours for 2018 – the 22-day Long White Cloud (from

£7,395) and 11-day Endless Shores tour on the of tourism providers over from New Zealand. North Island (from £3,495) — and is offering “We have revitalised the 100% Pure New 10% savings on all land tour bookings across Zealand Specialist Programme and agents can its South Pacific programme if fully paid before now become a Bronze or Silver level Specialist November 30 2017. without having visited the Contiki’s North Island country, through online itineraries will feature “My favourite time to visit and in-office training a new destination in New Zealand is at the very sessions. Once agents 2018 – active volcano have visited New Zealand end of March and the Mount Ruapehu in they automatically become beginning of April. The Tongariro National Gold Specialists and Park. Austravel’s next weather is still lovely and their business listing is brochure will feature a prioritised on newzealand. warm but the beaches are com, allowing them to range of new products less packed with tourists” benefit from direct leads.” including remote PurePod cabins and eight Pip Casey, Regional REBECCA TURNER, SENIOR PRODUCT MANAGER, ASIA AND AUSTRALIA, GOLD MEDAL new high-end lodges, Manager UK & Europe at including Tin Tub Luxury Tourism New Zealand Lodge in Wanaka (tintubwanaka.co.nz).

Tourism talk VOTE NOW! We want to know which is your preferred bed bank sellingtravel.co.uk/awards Clockwise from above: the red hot geothermal lakes of Rotarua; stand up paddle board yoga on Lake Wanaka; a Pure Pod at Little River, near Christchurch; the Milford Track

“The British & Irish Lions rugby tour of New Zealand in June and July had a phenomenal impact, with New Zealand welcoming more than 17,000 Lions rugby fans from the UK alone, helping July 2017 see a 23% increase in visitors year on year. “September also saw a flurry of Tourism New Zealand activity in the UK with a series of Aotearoa on the Road agent training events held in Birmingham, London and Newcastle-Upon-Tyne/Gateshead with a troop

Where to book it

 APT – 0800 046 3002 The 18-day New Zealand Rail Adventure from Auckland to Christchurch takes in sights such as Franz Josef and Fox glaciers and a Milford Sound cruise alongside rail features such as the Taieri Gorge Railway. From £4,895pp twin share departing February 9, including flights and accommodation. aptouring.co.uk  INTREPID TRAVEL; 0808 2745111 The 22-day New Zealand Adventure Northbound, starting in Christchurch and ending in Auckland, is priced from £4,235pp, twin share, excluding flights, based on a November 4 2018 departure. intrepidtravel.com 

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how to sell

Christmas markets By Anna Maria Espsäter

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hristmas markets have been growing in popularity across Europe over the last few decades and the options for visitors have fast expanded. There's everything from quaint old-fashioned German markets to Dickensian-style British affairs on offer - many open as early as mid-November and running until early January. Germany Germany goes to town at Christmas like nowhere else and has the widest range of markets to choose from – all smelling of roasted almonds, mulled wine, gingerbread and baked apples. Frankfurt’s most popular wintertime attraction is its Yuletide market (November 27-December 22), with its focal point the Römerberg old town, which provides a scenic backdrop with its historical timber-frame buildings. On weekends, choirs sing Christmas carols on the stage next to

MUNICH AIRPORT WINTER MARKET

REACHING FOR THE GINGERBREAD

the market’s massive Christmas tree, the tallest in Germany. There are also plenty of Christmas markets in the towns and villages of the surrounding region. For example, in nearby Bad Homburg, Christmas market sales stalls are set up against the regal backdrop of the landgrave’s castle. The market is open on all four Advent weekends and features over 60 booths selling handcraft, Christmas decorations, local foods and hot beverages. One of the market’s most popular attractions is the life-sized and handcarved nativity scene. The children’s favourite, however, is the little steam train that runs around the city’s premier landmark, the white tower, situated in the castle courtyard. Cologne has one of Germany's largest markets, while Dresden’s Strielzelmarkt is the country’s oldest. For Christmas magic with turreted castles, Bavaria beckons while the RhinelandPalatinate region is the place to try the local speciality of white mulled wine, straight from

Christmas Market Essentials SAMPLE PACKAGE Leger Holidays' five-day Slovenia Christmas markets tour, including Ljubljana, Bled and the Croatian capital Zagreb, is from £549pp. It includes return flights, four hotel nights, transfers, city tours, breakfast and dinner. leger.co.uk

USEFUL WEBSITES

lithuania.travel/en-gb

visitsweden.com

germany.travel/en

visitstockholm.com

visitflanders.com/en

visitskane.com

holland.com

visitnorway.com

austria.info/uk

visitfinland.com

slovenia.si/visit

visitestonia.com

visitengland.com

latvia.travel/en

visittallinn.ee

the wine-growers. Less well-known is the market in the historic northern town Celle with one of Germany’s highest wooden towers. “Our bestselling tour Cruising the Rhine Christmas Markets is a very popular five-day river cruise holiday, visiting Koblenz, Rüdesheim and Mainz”, says Harold Burke, Sales Director at Grand UK Holidays. “Guests can enjoy the seasonal scenery as they glide along the majestic Rhine and see the romantic, illuminated towns along the river banks.” In fact, most river cruise lines offer festive trips. Riviera Travel's Enchanting Rhine and Yuletide Markets River Cruise takes just five days and takes in Frankfurt, Koblenz, Rüdesheim and Cologne.

Scandinavia It’s hard to beat Scandinavia for its sheer magical Christmas feel – and more often than not that one essential Christmas prerequisite is guaranteed: snow. Gothenburg’s funfair, Liseberg, is the site of the city's main traditional market: the largest in Sweden features up to 700 Christmas trees. Expect Sámi reindeer herders, ice-skating shows and visits to Santa’s house. There are also numerous smaller markets in town and at Gunnebo House & Gardens nearby. In Skåne, in southern Sweden, both Malmö and Helsingborg host markets, and Bosjökloster Castle, dating from the 11th century, has a market weekend (December 1-3).

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Stockholm boasts the oldest market in the country, in the Old Town, which has been running since 1837. Norway is usually also blessed with the white stuff. Particularly cosy markets include Røros (December 7-10), Trondheim (December 8-20) and the Norwegian Folk Museum, Oslo (December 2-10). Meanwhile coastal city Bergen turns into the world’s largest gingerbread city in December.

Finland Helsinki is home to Finland’s oldest Christmas market, St Thomas, in Senate Square. With over 100 stalls, it’s great for local produce and typically Finnish Christmas food and drink. Also in Helsinki, the Women’s Christmas Fair has been running since 1922, selling homemade products and traditional delicacies. Porvoo, Turku, Tampere, Oulu and of course Santa’s own hometown, Rovaniemi, are other places to catch festive markets this winter.

FESTIVE FRANKFURT

Benelux Belgian capital Brussels’ main square, GrandPlace, gets taken over by Winter Wonders (November 24-31), complete with a sound and light show. A two-kilometre trail through the city includes stalls, a Ferris wheel and an ice rink for lots of Christmas fun. Both Bruges and Antwerp have Christmas fairs and ice rinks, while a number of other towns have smaller markets. Neighbouring Netherlands can be relied upon to get its skates on for Christmas and ice rinks abound across the land. Amsterdam's Winter Lights Festival runs from November until January and major cities Utrecht, The Hague and Maastricht also stage a fetsive market.

Baltics Of the three Baltic nations, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, the first is the one that most avidly decks the halls at Christmas. Tallinn usually has several markets every year and the Old Town market is rightly renowned as one of the

SALZBURG IN THE SNOW

SWEET FESTIVE TREATS

best in Europe, while cities Tartu and Narva manor,” says Harold Burke, Sales Director at put on smaller markets. Neighbouring capital Grand UK Holidays. Based in Llandrindod Riga’s Doma Square is Wells, the four-day also taken over by a coach holiday visits the “Don’t overlook Southern market from the end of wonderful Christmas November until early market in the medieval Europe for Christmas January, while Vilnius’s setting of Ludlow Castle.” markets. In Croatia you Odminiu Square has a Portsmouth dockyard can enjoy an ‘Advent in shorter market (midwill this year again offer December to early a Victorian Christmas Zagreb’ experience, while January). in Portugal both Lisbon to festival, while several castles, including Leeds Madeira offer Christmas Central Europe and Rochester, will host Xmas markets in market weekends. The markets” Austria, the Czech latter also features a Republic, Poland, Dickensian Christmas. Hungary, Slovenia and Croatia usually enjoy an Winchester's market, complete with an atmospheric historic setting. All of Austria’s main ice rink, and stunning cathedral backdrop, cities have Advent and Christmas markets with is another growing favourite on the festive Linz an excellent recommendation for those calendar.  with a sweet tooth thanks to its Linzer Torte and gingerbread.

United Kingdom

YULETIDE DECORATIONS

The UK may be a latecomer to festive markets but the number – and imagination put into them – grows year on year. Several tour operators have added new tours for the season. “One new option is the Ludlow Christmas market and Christmas at Abbey-Cwm-Hir, a Victorian

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new hampshire

mountains White

New Hampshire’s mountains may not soar as high as the Rockies but they make up for it in charm and a fascinating history,says Lynn Houghton

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t’s late spring but there is two feet of white stuff in every direction. With crampons attached to my boots I’m able to schlep through the knee-high drifts but it’s slow going, so it’s lucky that the only sign of wildlife are snow fleas, small black dots on the snow that feed on detritus that fall in their path. “Keep a look out for paw prints, as we have other small animals about that you might just spot,” says our intrepid leader, Mitra Karimian. We are circumnavigating a small lake near the Appalachian Mountain Club’s Highland Center at Crawford Notch, in the hikers’ paradise that is the White Mountains. Beaver frequent this area, as do black bears and moose. But thankfully we are close enough to the lodge and human activity that it’s unlikely we will see a moose (notoriously shy) and we’re noisy enough to scare away most bears. There is no doubt that snow sports are the main draw in this area during winter. The

mountains provide gorgeous views for skiers, snowboarders and snowmobilers alike. The vast forests that cover the landscape are dotted with farms and quaint villages, giving this scenery a uniquely New England feel. Much of the accommodation is wonderfully quirky from ancient inns, such as the Christmas Farm, to grand old properties like the Mountain View Grand Resort. Best of all, the prices for lifts and ski rentals are a fraction of what they are in Aspen, Whistler, Park City and other Western resorts.

Winter winners The rock bottom prices are particularly a draw for families. At Loon Mountain Resort (3,050 ft.) in the town of Lincoln (only a two-hour drive from Boston), I ascend the peak in a cosy enclosed gondola and notice a significant ‘bunny hill’ below me - ideal for younger skiers. Other family-friendly activities include ice skating, snowshoeing and a

zip-lining course across the Pemigewasset River. There’s plenty for adults serious about snow too. The 11 lifts (one a gondola) and 61 trails are a big attraction for both ski and Nordic ski enthusiasts. Not far away is the Attitash Mountain Resort in Conway, another White Mountain favourite, which has 11 lifts plus 68 trails for cross country skiers. The resort is renowned for its ski and snowboard instruction. Extreme Northern Adventures (northernextremessnowmobiling.com) is also based in Conway and offers snowmobiling tours into the nearby hills. Dozens of miles of trails are specifically groomed and maintained for these types of vehicles. Those without a valid driving license are not allowed to be in the driving seat I elect to be a passenger. I still need to be kitted out with all the appropriate gear and struggle into snow boots and waterproofs while an enormous motorcycle helmet is squeezed on my head.

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“Shopping in New Hampshire is tax free so head to Settler’s Green Outlet Village (settlersgreen.com) in North Conway to grab a bargain”

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SNOW ANGELS

SNOW MOBILING STYLE

HANNAH WHEELER, HEAD OF UK SALES, YOUTRAVEL.COM

DRESSED FOR SNOW TIME

MOOSE ON THE LOOSE

It doesn’t take long for everyone to get the hang of manoeuvring the snowmobiles. Speeds of up to 45mph can be attained but nothing faster is allowed. These vehicles are easy to use and fly around corners with ease. On reaching flat ground a few hundred feet above the valley, everyone turns off their machines for a breather, admiring the view over the Great North Wood.The peace is broken when someone throws a snow ball. Soon a snowy battle begins and tiny white cannon balls are flying all around. It’s not part of the itinerary, but we’re here to have fun, after all!

accommodation to suit every budget, cross-country or downhill skiing, snow shoe, sledges and husky rides. The fall foliage is simply stunning.” Andrew Bird, Director at Purely New England

What the experts say:

What’s new

“Lakes and mountains plus photogenic villages dominate New Hampshire’s landscape which also has 18 miles of seacoast. Just a 45-minute drive from Boston, this year-round destination offers breathtaking scenery, tax-free shopping, white steeple churches, covered bridges,

 Hotels: Work has just started on the new Glen House Hotel, Pinkham Notch. Half a century since the last Glen House stood on this site, the family-owned Mount Washington Summit Road Company, which has owned and operated the Mt. Washington Auto Road

“For autumn, clients need to book early as this is a very popular time of year to visit New Hampshire. Remember that a lot of properties will have two- or three-night minimum stays so take that this into consideration when planning an itinerary and use a couple of places as bases to explore the state more widely.” Cath Pusey, Product Director, America As You Like It

since 1906, is planning to have the 68-room hotel open by May 2018. greatglentrails.com New upscale lodging RiverWalk Luxury Condo Resort at Loon Mountain, Lincoln, will be opening this month. Dining, retail and recreation are all in one place with one, two- and three-bedroom suites all with full kitchens and balconies plus views of the White Mountains. riverwalkresortatloon.com �

BOOK IT WITH PURELY NEW ENGLAND Seven-night packages between November 2017 and March 2018 (except Christmas) are priced from £989pp based on two sharing. Includes return flights from Gatwick to Boston with Norwegian Airlines, compact car rental and accommodation in Meredith, Whitefield and Jackson. purelynewengland.co.uk – 0844 80 444 80

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16

introducing

Cádiz Caribbean charm on the Costa de La Luz

T

he oldest city in Western Europe is getting new attention. Accesible and authentic, Cádiz has Spanish charm in abundance, says Hannah Wallis

Tucked around the corner from the mainstream beach hotspots, Cádiz is a taste of real Spain, humble and rich in history. Thanks to excellent and affordable transport links, Cádiz is no longer missed off Andalusian itineraries or used as a one-day cruise stop off and is now attracting its fair share of the lucrative Spanish tourism market. Smaller, lesser-known and therefore less crowded by tourists than Seville and its neighbours, visitors to Cádiz feel welcomed by the sociable gaditanos (people of Cádiz). With 300 days a year of guaranteed sunshine, Cádiz is a safe bet for rain-weary Brits and without the scorching hot temperatures that sizzle inland Andalusia, thanks to the cooling Atlantic breeze. The Cordoba Patios Festival takes place in May and sees courtyards in Cordoba and Cádiz elaborately decorated with blooms.

Caribbean connections The two waterfront castles, San Sebastian and Santa Catalina, frame Cádiz as a historic gem. The city was the departure point for expeditions to discover the new world since 1492 and longestablished trade links have created an affinity

between Cádiz and ports on the other side of the Atlantic, giving the city a Latin American feel. Palm trees line the open, breezy squares around the port of Cádiz, making it feel Havana-esque and transporting travellers to the magical Caribbean without the long-haul flights and associated cost. In the Bond film Die Another Day, Halle Berry's famous entrance, emerging from the water lapping a Cuban beach, was actually filmed on Cádiz's La Caleta beach with San Sebastian Castle doing a very passable impersonation of Havana's romantic, distressed sea walls. Cádiz's cathedral stands tall in golden sunshine above the crumbling limestone buildings and Roman theatre, whilst music from the flamenco school fills the winding streets, enhancing the authentic, Spanish feel. Cádiz is also a haven for foodies, with the fresh fish market providing a sensory feast at exceptional value for money. Choose your produce and have it cooked at a stall across the street to fit in with the locals.

Beyond the city Cádiz actually refers to a whole province, whose beauty is navigated best by the Route of the

White Villages, through the Sierra de Cádiz, exploring settlements of whitewashed cottages that look like brushstrokes in the mountains. Rural tourism in Andalusia is also growing, as an agriculturally-dependent community turns to offering horse trekking and mountain biking.

Did you know? To avoid confusion, locals refer to the city up to its most modern periphery as ‘Cádiz Cádiz’. However, the true heart of the ancient city is referred to as Cádiz Cádiz Cádiz, although this historical hub still boasts modern hotels, some with rooftop views and pools. 

THE DETAILS How to get there Jerez de la Frontera airport is about 35 minutes by car. (ryanair.com; thomson.co.uk)

The city is also accessible by train (renfe.com)

Book it: Kirker Holidays offer three nights B&B at the Parador de Cadiz from £598pp (two sharing). Includes flights, private transfers and the services of a Kirker Concierge. cadiztourismo.com

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

Advantage sets sail for first time

THE Advantage Travel Partnership Cruise Conference will this month be held afloat on a cruise ship for the first time (October 27-28). It will take place onboard P&O’s Ventura for a twonight cruise to Bruges. The conference sessions will start shortly after embarkation and there will be opportunities to network with cruise line partners. advantagecruiseconference.co.uk

South Africa hits the road

SOUTH AFRICAN TOURISM will be out and about this November across the UK and Ireland. The SATSchool roadshow will stop in Cork (13), Manchester (14), Birmingham (15) and London (16). Agents will have the chance to win a place on a fam trip in June 2018. Register by emailing navreet@southafrica.net

Contents 18

A g󰇶o󰇻󰇵 󰈣f a󰇫󰇪󰈡t󰇷e 󰈢f 󰈚󰇼 di󰇷󰈝󰈢v󰈥󰇶 󰇺he 󰇲󰈠s󰇹󰇮 o󰇶󰇪 󰈣󰈡 m Bhu󰇹󰇧󰈡. Fin󰈧 󰈢󰇼󰇺 pa󰇫󰇪 23

BEEN THERE DONE THAT

20

APT's 90 years

Nov󰇪󰇲󰇩󰈥r 6-8 WORLD TRAVEL MARKET LONDON WTM London is the largest UK travel trade event of the year. Travel professionals from 186 countries will gather for three days of networking, negotiating and business brainstorming, at Excel. There will also be lectures and seminars. wtmlondon.com

TRAVEL industry guests attended a gala event to celebrate APT’s 90 years in the the business. They enjoyed a champagne reception, private dinner and an energetic lion dance. A new APT Travel Concierge app will be available in 2018. aptouring.co.uk

BARBARA CHARLTON

24

CLIA CRUISE 360

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18

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 Travel 2, BRIGHT, Maldives host trade event OVER 200 tourism professionals attended the inaugural Travel Trade Maldives event in the summer. Held at Dharubaaruge in the capital of Malé, the show was the first of its kind in the country and attendees included resort and hotel general managers, resident managers, key hotel owners and other travel industry professionals. In total, over 3,000 scheduled meetings took place at the show, to discuss business contracts worth more than £776 million combined. The second Travel Trade Maldives show is scheduled to take place over an extended three days from 1 – 3 May 2018. For further information on Travel Trade Maldives or to register for the show, visit traveltrademaldives.com

Travel 2 training TRAVEL 2 joined forces with the Millington Travel team for their annual training day. Joining over six suppliers to conduct training across their products. Pictured from left, Claire Hills (Key Account Manager, Travel 2), Jemma Lee, Sharon Staples, and Graham Woodham (all from various Millington branches). travel2.com

Dinner partners

24 AGENTS joined Travel 2 on board Holland America MS Koningsdam to celebrate Cruise Plus by Travel 2’s partnership with Holland America. Pictured from left is Bryan Bath from Bryton Travel with Catherine-Anne Anderson, Travel 2. travel2.com

Bright in Winchester BRIGHT'S (Bringing Real Information & Guaranteed Hight Quality Training) first Autum workshop was held in Winchester last month. 35 independent travel agents and homeworkers attended the event hosted by Kirker Holidays, Hurtigruten, Oceania Cruises, Inside Japan, Cox & Kings, Mark Warner and more. brightconsortia.com

Silver Muse’s inaugural voyage SILVER MUSE, the latest ship to join Silversea’s fleet, made its first call in 2017 into the UK at Southampton. Silversea celebrated by hosting guests including trade agents for tours, dinners and a Q&A with Michael Buerk. silversea.com

Superbreak Christmas

SUPERBREAK has launched its Festive Short Breaks brochure packed with ideas and packages for agents to promote. The 44-page brochure includes 255 Christmas packages, 198 New Year packages plus a host of festive entertainment, new Ultimate London festive breaks, Christmas market river cruises and more. Pictured showing off the new look brochure are Kelly Giblin (left), business development manager and Freya McCann, sales executive both at Super Break. superbreak.com

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

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BEEN THERE, DONE THAT

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

Silversea, Superbreak and Prestige Hoildays Prestige hosts agents on action packed canada fam

SEVEN travel agents were hosted on an action-packed fam trip to British Columbia, hosted by Canada specialist tour operator, Prestige Holidays. Escorted by Denise Hunn, the independent tour operator’s Canada programme manager, the week-long adventure included a stay at the remote Knight Inlet Lodge, one of the best places to view grizzly bears in the world amidst Canada's rugged coastline. Pictured from left to right on the trip is Trevor Prior, Westway Travel; Penny Baxter, Travelstar; Elaine Price, Spear Travels; Lyndsey Riddell, Clubworld Travel; Jan Colson, Symphony World

Untitled-3 1 BTDT.indd 19

Travel; Paul Lodge, Carolyn Lodge Travel and Andrew Tait from Travelwise. Summing up the thoughts of all the agents, Paul Lodge said: “The trip was fantastic, a real education into a stunning destination. It was great to be able to experience so many different things and to see so much of this amazing country in a short space of time. "I have a far greater knowledge and understanding of the logistics, accommodation options and the sights and attractions that are available to customers. This knowledge will be invaluable moving forward. prestigeholidays.co.uk

18/09/2017 10:27 9/22/17 11:46 AM


20

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

Can we really ever be off duty? Question: When is a holiday NOT a holiday? Answer: When it is taken by a travel agent! It’s a truth universally acknowledged by travel agents and downright scoffed at by friends and family not in the business that we can never be off-duty. We’ve all heard the same lines: “Work? Sounds like a holiday to me!” But what our friends often don’t realise is that even when we are paying for a trip, many of us take the time out to meet with hotels. I have just spent another 10 days in beautiful rural Mallorca – six nights in the north-east, a 15 minute drive to the fabulous Puerta de Pollenca, followed by three nights at in the middle of the island. Both locations were surrounded by farms and just so perfectly peaceful. However, I did visit a property I had heard much praise for. The Pure Salt Port Adriano was beautiful, a very upmarket adult-only property overlooking the exclusive marina and peaceful sandy beach. I can see why my clients loved it so much – it felt exclusive and the junior suites and swimup rooms were all huge and individually designed. This is the perfect place for couples wanting a peaceful break with upmarket restaurants and shops, all within a two-hour flight from London.

Ir󰇲a's i󰇲󰇵󰇧c󰇹

My daughter’s best friend booked her Orlando honeymoon with us and they flew out from Gatwick as Hurricane Irma hit Antigua. We were in constant contact with them but they were insistent on going ahead since Irma’s path was still unclear. They made it! And thanks to WhatsApp my colleagues and I kept in contact with them throughout their stay, ensuring that they had stocked up on water and enough food to last a

Our thoughts go out to all those affected by Irma and to all the properties that received such destruction

few days, had fully charged their appliances and even filled the bath with water in case the water supply failed and they couldn’t flush the loos! They were on a 48-hour curfew but it was their honeymoon so I think they managed to pass the time of day! As soon as Disney opened they were there and they didn’t even have to use their fast passes. Thankfully we didn’t have customers in the Caribbean or the Keys that would have been more in the path of that devastating force of nature, but our thoughts go out to all those affected, and to all the properties that received such destruction.

Gre󰇧󰇹 󰇩󰈣ok󰇮󰇳󰈪s

We have had some excited customers going on an extended trip to New Zealand for one month, and we have enjoyed helping them plan this trip of a lifetime with the very helpful Charlie from 1st Class Holidays. They are a Nic󰇪 󰇹󰈣 󰈤e󰇪 y󰈣u: lovely couple in their mid Thanks to the ever-helpful 40s who must have very Vishal and Gary from Travelpack. understanding bosses! We also have a Mer󰇶󰈠 󰉄󰇪x󰇯󰈛o: We got a nice £10k booking from couple of ladies some clients who will be embarking on their second in their 70s who trip to Mexico at Christmas– I’m very jealous of the have decided weather they'll have! to spend their kids’ inheritance New 󰈛󰈢󰇱l󰈥a󰇫󰇻󰈥: Justine is settling in really well by doing a big her destination knowledge is already excellent! Western USA trip with Titan – thanks Out 󰈢󰈇 A󰈆r󰇯󰈛a: The gorgeous Fiona from to Emily for her help 3Sixty came in to show us her amazing properties on this one. They are in Botswana, Mozambique and South Africa – covering California, Las thanks! Vegas and Hawaii and all I can say is “Watch out Vegas!” Like I always say, life is for living, and you can’t take it with you. Go girls!  Barbara@Thesussextravelcompany.co.uk  01403 276684

Bar󰇨󰇧󰈦󰈜 Cha󰇶󰇱t󰈢󰇳

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ON LOCATION

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Bhutan educational trip, July 3-10, 2017

Exploring the mystical valleys of Bhutan Bhutan Journeys took a group of luxury tour operators to visit the kingdom of Bhutan. The group spent seven days travelling across the nation's western valleys, visiting the striking and beautiful dzongs (fortresses) of Paro, Thimpu and Punakha, as well as the seeing the biggest seated Buddha and the kingdom’s numerous historic temples. The trip also included a visit to the famous Tiger’s Nest monastery – a highlight of any visit to the country. The tour explored the valleys and temples and the group took part in plenty of cultural experiences. They descended the Haa Valley to attend the Haa Summer Festival, which showcases alpine flowers and local culture. In the Thimphu Valley they went to Kuensel Phodrang to visit the 169ft Buddha statue and the National Memorial Chorten, built in honour of the third King of Bhutan. A visit to the Art and Craft School provided an insight into Bhutanese painting and artisan woodworking skills. Departing Thimphu to Punakha by car via the 10,000ft Dochula pass offered spectacular views of the eastern Himalayas while colourful prayer flags and memorial shrines were noted all along the pass. Among the trip highlights was a hike up to Taktsang Monastery, also known as the Tiger’s Nest, in the Paro Valley. The trail climbs through a pine forest filled with Spanish moss and more prayer flags and leads to one of the world's most venerated and sacred Buddhist sites. Here the group were able to offer prayers and respects before hiking back down.

BHUTAN

Danny Akthar, from Par Excellence Lifestyles, said: “What a beautiful trip and amazing destination. Everything was seamless and Sonam and everyone at Bhutan Journeys were so hospitable. There was also a great choice of hotels.” Sophie Wynn Williams, of Quintessentially Travel, said: “This truly was such a memorable trip. From staying in some beautiful hotels to enjoying the incredible local food, particularly Ema Datshi – the local chilli and cheese dish. I will never forget the wonderful time I had in magical Bhutan.”

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SHOW REPORT

24

September 9-11, Copenhagen

Cruise360 hits Europe Agents first attending CLIA's rence in Ho Asia Cruise Confe a three-night in jo n ca h in M i h C lus, those who Mekong cruise. P can join a book a place early pore pre-fam to Singa

BY JESSICA POOK

AS Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) celebrated 25-years in the industry, travel agents gathered in Copenhagen for the first Cruise360 event in Europe. The conference, which is a regular fixture in North America and Australasia, gathers cruise lines, travel agents and media in a single immersive event which focuses on giving delegates practical advice and support to grow their cruise sales. Destination awareness continued to be a hot topic, with CLIA’s Training and Development Manager, Peter Kollar commenting: “It is vital that agents learn

about the destinations they are selling and pay particular attention to ports. It is that key knowledge that will help to book shore excursions and ensure that customers are satisfied with the itinerary.” Kerry Anastassiadis, Chairman of CLIA Europe, tackled Brexit concerns, saying: “Immigration and passport control could become very time consuming, with itineraries suffering as a consequence. We will work closely with officials to ensure that we are doing everything to be prepared.” Anastassiadis pointed out that of 1.2 billion holidaymakers a year, just 25 million choose to book a cruise, so more work is to be done! cruising.org

Personal Princess

AGENTS have the chance to test-run Princess Cruises' new technology on the Medallion Mega Fam, the line's largest ever educational. Royal Princess will host 300 agents in May 2018, letting them test run the new wearable technology which replaces the cruise card for payment and gathers data on passengers' preferences for everything from dining to shore excursions. For a chance to be on the fam, agents need to make a 2018/19 Princess booking between September 1 and October 31, and enter code INNO18 princess.com

Clia has announced dates for its 2018 annual The conference in Southampton. 23-25 three-day event will run May gala and will feature a trade fair, ence dinner and a full day’s confer d with speakers from the UK an global cruise industry

Get in polar poisition

FOCUSING on colder climes, Sebourn's Robin West told agents they should educate customers on more polar cruise regions like South Georgia and the up-andcoming Northeast Passage, which follows the coasts of Norway and Russia. The line's Senior Manager of Expedition Operations & Planning, emphasised that cruisers could now enjoy the attractions of the Arctic and Antarctica in the company of scientists and wildlife experts without having to compromise on comfort: “The expedition industry now caters to luxury cruises. Seabourn guests have highquality, stable ship options now in new polar destinations." West added: “These regions have controlled tourism and ships have allocated time slots so that passengers won’t see another ship.” seabourn.com

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ships in the

right

The industry claims that there is a cruise out there for everyone. Jane Archer investigates some niche market options

W

e’ve reached a T-junction in the forest – a good place to pause and catch our breath before continuing the steep climb up Heiligenberg (Saint’s Mountain) in Heidelberg, Germany. The hike, a five-mile walk up and down the mountain in the company of other passengers sailing the Rhine on AmaWaterways’ AmaKristina, doesn’t fit with most people’s image of river cruising as a sedentary holiday for retirees. But the times they are a-changing and AmaWaterways has changed with them. Guided walks around town remain a staple of its river cruise excursions as they offer a great

introduction to the stops along the way, but these days there are also hiking and cycling excursions – and even a wellness instructor on its Seine cruises in France for those who want to practice their yoga and Pilates. In fairness, AmaWaterways is not the only cruise company moving with the times. These days ocean-going vessels have water parks, flight simulators and restaurants, and upmarket yachts promise to pamper and cosset high-spending clients. “The key to filling ships is making sure innovation drives demand,” said CLIA president and chief executive officer Cindy D’Aoust.

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Receive

£100 Spirit of Discovery is here…

voucher for every confirmed booking Plus… win a hotel stay!

New ship, new brochure, new incentives for you We’re sure you’ll be thrilled by our new cruise brochure, which includes the maiden voyages of Spirit of Discovery alongside a collection of 2019/20 Saga Sapphire itineraries. It heralds a new era of boutique style cruising and some incredible new incentives for you. £100 in shopping vouchers for every ocean cruise booked We’ll give you £100 in shopping vouchers for every ocean cruise confirmed before October 31, 2107. Win a boutique hotel break in our weekly prize draw Every Spirit of Discovery booking you make will give you the chance to win a boutique hotel break in our weekly prize draw.

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 £100 shopping vouchers: To claim, email incentives@saga.co.uk with booking details. Applicable to bookings confirmed by October 31, 2017. The weekly prize draw to win a UK boutique hotel break runs for four weeks from September 25, 2017. Facebook prize draw: Only one entry per agent. The winner will be randomly selected from the entries posted. For full terms visit saga.co.uk/agents. Saga holidays are for anyone aged 50+. A travel companion may be 40+. NHA-SC7694 (September 2017).

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To that end, there are now ocean and river cruises to suit everyone. Here is just a taste of the diverse holidays agents can offer – proof of why cruising remains the fastest-growing sector of the travel industry.

Best For Families Parents need only have one concern on a Royal Caribbean cruise: they will likely never see their little darlings. Competition is tough for the ‘bestfor families’ category, and Disney Cruise Line is pretty much bow to bow with Royal Caribbean, but the latter takes the top spot for the variety of child’s play on its big ships. There are pirate parties, science experiments, art, sports and more in kids’ club; beyond its doors are rockclimbing walls, dodgems, surf simulators and ice-skating rinks. Symphony of the Seas, launching April 2018, has waterslides and the fearsome Ultimate Abyss, a 100-feet dry flume ride. Sample: Royal Caribbean International (royalcaribbean.co.uk) offers a one-week Med cruise round-trip from Barcelona on Symphony of the Seas from £1,253pp departing May 13, 2018. Flights and transfers not included.

Best For Seniors With the spotlight often on families, it is easy to forget that most British cruisers are aged 55 and over and are looking for good-value holidays on smaller vessels that offer decent food, fine service and interesting itineraries. Not much separates Cruise and Maritime Voyages and Fred Olsen Cruise Lines, but Fred just inches ahead as its biggest ship Balmoral, with room for just 1,350 passengers, has cruises in the Indian Ocean and around South Africa. As for value, a pint of beer for £3.70, daily tips of £4 per person and primecut rib eye steaks for £20 per person say it all. Sample: Fred Olsen Cruise Lines (fredolsencruises.com) has a 14-night cruise from Aqaba to Abu Dhabi from £2,499pp departing September 20, 2018.

Best Themed River Cruises Whether clients are wine lovers, enjoy painting or have an interest in Jewish heritage, there is a themed river cruise to suit. But where many itineraries dip into the chosen specialism, Tauck goes for a full-on drenching. It’s quality over quantity though, with just French cuisine cruises on the Rhône and classical music-themed voyages on the Danube – the latter in the company of two maestros, with private concerts, a night at the opera and a day in Salzburg, where Mozart was born, among highlights.

“With the spotlight often on families it is easy to forget that most British cruisers are aged 55 and over and are looking for good-value holidays on smaller vessels that offer decent food, fine service and interesting itineraries”

Sample: Tauck’s (tauck.co.uk) 12-day Musical Magic along the Blue Danube combines a week cruising from Budapest to Vilshofen with two nights in the Hungarian capital and two in Prague from £4,985pp, departing October 4, 2018. Price includes flights, transfers, drinks, excursions and tips.

Best For Luxury Sybarites seeking luxury on the high seas can pick Silversea, Seabourn, Regent Seven Seas Cruises and SeaDream Yacht Club but for the ultimate spoil suggest Crystal Cruises. Already big on luxury, it is spending millions of dollars reducing capacity and enlarging suites and penthouses on its ships so passengers have more space. Foodies can indulge in new eateries – a Brazilian Churrascaria, al fresco Chinese and Japanese Peruvian restaurant – and celebrate new open seating in the dining room. Crystal

VOTE NOW! Tell us which is your favourite car hire company sellingtravel.co.uk/awards Opening page: Saga in Greece. This page, clockwise, from left: Dodgems delight with Royal Caribbean; Fred Olsen deck party; cruising for seniors means great value and high levels of attention; family fun with Norwegian

t. el

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Symphony gets its upgrade this autumn with work on Crystal Serenity starting in October 2018.

“We can’t get enough of TV cookery programmes, so of course we want to find ways to rectify soggy bottoms and deflated soufflés on a cruise as well”

F

Sample: Crystal Cruises (crystalcruises.co.uk) offers a one-week Alaska cruise from Vancouver to Whittier (Anchorage) from £1,936pp departing June 3, 2018, including drinks and tips. Flights and transfers extra.

Best For Learning To Cook We can’t get enough of TV cookery programmes like The Great British Bake Off, so of course we want to find ways to rectify soggy bottoms and deflated soufflés on a cruise as well. Viking Cruises, Regent Seven Seas Cruises and Oceania Cruises all have cooking schools but for an all-star cast choose P&O Cruises. James Martin, Marco Pierre White and Eric Lanlard will host classes on Britannia next year, while Atul Kochhar spices up life on Azura and Ventura. Sample: Eric Lanlard (pictured above) will be on P&O’s (pocruises.com) 14-night Canary Islands and Portugal cruise on Britannia departing Southampton April 8, 2018. From £1,098pp. Celebrity cookery classes from £100pp.

Best For Teens Carnival Cruise Line’s Carnival Vista has its fair share of formidable features to appeal to cool teens including Skyride – an 800ft track high above the sea where boy racers can pedal at speeds of up to 18mph – but for something seriously scary point clients towards Norwegian Cruise Line’s newest ships. On the Free Fall waterslides riders literally drop onto the slide (hopefully fast enough to loop around and come out the end!), while a ropes course

• •

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For more information, please visit titanagents.co.uk Excludes Scottish islands and Sark. Home transfers and free regional flights are not included on Titan’s ‘Essential Collection’ holidays.

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cruising

has wobbly beams, zipwires and a six-inch plank that juts eight feet over the side of the ship 160ft above the ocean. Walk it if you dare! Sample: Norwegian Cruise Line (ncl.co.uk) offers a nine-night Baltic cruise from Copenhagen on Norwegian Breakaway from £1,369pp departing May 11, 2018 including flights, transfers, drinks on board and tips.

Best For Solo Travellers A river cruise is a great holiday for people travelling alone because the small vessels mean it is very easy to make friends but walking into a lounge full of couples that first evening on board can be daunting. So hats off to over-50s specialist Saga, which has river cruises just for solos. Not only is everyone in the same boat (excuse the pun) but there are none of the dreaded single supplements to pay. A Saga tour manager is on hand to help folk mix and mingle. There are two cruises on the Douro (with an optional Lisbon extension) and two on the Rhine in 2018 and they sell fast so clients need to plan ahead. Sample: Saga Cruises (saga.co.uk) offers a seven-night solos-only Rhine cruise from Arnhem to Amsterdam from £1,099pp departing March 28, 2018 including coach and ferry from the UK, and drinks with lunch and dinner.

Best For Hellenophiles Plenty of voyages call at the crowd-pulling Greek islands of Santorini and Mykonos but if clients want to be truly immersed in all things Hellenic check out Celestyal Cruises. The company is Greek and one-week itineraries visit five islands, including one of two off the busy tourist highway, so passengers get a true flavour of the country. Seafarers can happily sail away for a week; first-timers not sure of seven nights at sea can pair a three or four-night break with a few days on land. And if that doesn’t tick enough boxes, affordable prices will no doubt swing it. Sample: Celestyal Cruises (celestyalcruises.com) offers a seven-night Idyllic Aegean voyage from Piraeus from €809pp (approx £742pp) departing April 30, 2018 including selected drinks and shore excursions, plus onboard tips. Flights and transfers are extra.

“Voyages to Antiquity is so keen for folk to see as many ruins, palaces, mosques and galleries as possible on its cruises that excursions are included in the price”

Best For Culture Whether island-hopping in the Caribbean or visiting Roman remains, all cruises have the potential to offer a cultural experience – but only if passengers pay for tours ashore. Enter Voyages to Antiquity, which is so keen for folk to see as many ruins, palaces, mosques and art galleries as possible on cruises around Greece, Italy, France, Spain, Iceland and the Caribbean that its excursions are included in the price. The cultural fest doesn’t stop on sea days either, as cruises are accompanied by erudite speakers who lecture in everything from theology to crusades and archaeology.

been given a contemporary Chinese look. Cruises are either three or four nights and variously include Tai Chi lessons, tea ceremonies, cookery classes, trips to local markets and sampan rides. Sample: Wendy Wu Tours (wendywutours.co.uk) offers an 13-day cruise-tour pairing three nights on the Yangzi Explorer with hotel nights in Beijing, Xian and Shanghai from £5,490pp departing March 18, 2018 including international and domestic flights, and most meals. 

Sample: Voyages to Antiquity (voyagestoantiquity.com) offers a 13-day cruise from Athens to Venice from £2,545pp departing May 6, 2018 including flights, transfers, excursions, drinks with meals and tips.

Best For Exploring China Clients can cruise the Yangtze with Viking, Century or Victoria Cruises but Sanctuary Retreats’ boutique-style Yangzi Explorer takes poll position when only the best will do. Not only does it accommodate half as many people as most boats on the river (124, as opposed to an average 300), it has the largest cabins on the river. All have private balconies that have just

Clockwise, from top left: Cocktails aboard Celestyal Cruises; breakfast on Fred Olsen’s Balmoral; stunning Santorini; Crystal Symphony in Alaska

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province in pictures

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Surprising Alberta

ANDY BEST @ANDY_BEST

CLEAR WATERS RUN DEEP IN WATERTON LAKES NATIONAL PARK

WESTERN WAYS IN THE BADLANDS

ICONIC SLOPES AWAIT

MEET THE LOCALS

Expect the unexpected in Alberta’s great outdoors

SPOT THE MAGICAL MILKY WAY

TRAVEL ALBERTA / JAKE DYSON

ERIK MCRITCHIE @ERIKMCR

Put your clients in the heart of Alberta’s landscapes

BRANDON BORN @BRANDONBORN

JEFF BARTLETT @PHOTOJBARTLET T

SKATING ON LAKE ABRAHAM

KATIE GOLDIE @GOLDIEHAWN_

Check out the ice bubbles that form inside Alberta’s lakes

ALAN DYER / AMAZINGSKY.COM

They say a picture paints 1000 words and in Canada’s province of Alberta, the camera lens can focus on some of the most unexpected landscapes on earth. Promote the chance of breathtaking surprises, says Julie Baxter

Alberta has top spots for Aurora Borealis watching

 Keep inspired at: travelalberta.com BE A PART OF THE NORTHERN LIGHTS DISPLAY

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six of the best

Central Florida Unspoilt lakes and wetlands, quaint towns full of American charm, historic landmarks, citrus groves and even a theme park – Central Florida’s Polk County has it all Circle B Bar Reserve There are more than 550 fresh water lakes and 25,000 acres of unspoiled recreational parks in the region and this is one of the best places to see Florida’s wildlife. Even locals bring their guests here to see giant reptiles in their natural habitat. As well as alligators, there are swans, herons and bald eagles. Just make sure to wear comfortable closed toe shoes and a camera to snap the snappiest of creatures.

Safari Wilderness Ranch For free-roaming animals a tad larger, head to this African-veld like setting. This 260acre ranch is much more than a zoo. African Watusi mingle with water buffalo, antelopes and zebras, while lemurs frolic on an island. The safari bus offers shade and allows up-close encounters.

Ridge Island Groves For a placid outdoor stroll, visit this sunkissed attraction which showcases the state’s agricultural staple, the orange. Family owned and operated, here you can sample hand-picked fruit, take a tour through the groves and try handmade fruit flavoured ice creams. You can even send a taste of Florida home by shipping a box of oranges.

Lovely Lakeland Located between Tampa and Orlando, Lakeland is a treat for lovers of art, design and history. Top attractions include an impressive collection of Frank Lloyd Wright architecture, the Polk Museum of Art and the quirky downtown Historic and Antiques district. For a culinary adventure try Posto 9, where Southern comfort food fuses with exotic flavours from around the world.

Grove Roots Brewing Company Soak up some suds at this craft brewery in Winter Haven, where the artisanal beers are inspired by the traditions and tastes of the area’s citrus past. Childfriendly, it has a tasting room and a brew house, as well as an outdoor beer garden to soak up the Florida sun.

Davenport Just ten miles from Walt Disney World, more than 80% of Polk County’s 7,000 vacation rental homes are located here along with Ridgewood Lakes Golf Club. For those missing home, the Proper Pie Company is a British-family owned business with a menu featuring pies, fish and chips and even Scotch eggs! Those with a sweet tooth can head to Sh-Booms Ice Cream & Sweet Treats afterwards for a cupcake.

MORE INFORMATION Central Florida’s Polk County is conveniently located between Orlando and Tampa, and an easy drive to both Gulf and Atlantic beaches. VisitCentralFlorida.org

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introducing

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A theme park built for kids! LEGOLAND® Florida Resort

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EGOLAND® Florida Resort is a multi-day holiday destination built for kids aged two to 12. Located in Winter Haven, just 45 minutes from Orlando and Tampa, the resort includes a 150-acre theme park with more than 50 rides, shows and attractions inspired by popular LEGO® brands and characters, LEGOLAND Water Park and a world-famous botanical garden. LEGOLAND® Hotel, located just steps from the theme park entrance, features 152 rooms and suites, each with its own LEGO theme. LEGOLAND Beach Retreat is a lakefront resort with 83 themed bungalows and 166 rooms.

A whole new world Currently the largest of eight LEGOLAND sites worldwide, the Florida theme park features nearly two dozen rides in themed lands including LEGO NINJAGO® World, LEGO City, LEGO Kingdoms, DUPLO® Valley and Heartlake City. Popular attractions are LEGO NINJAGO The Ride, Ford® Driving School, Quest for CHI, the Grand Carousel and four “pink knuckle” roller coasters – the most of any LEGOLAND theme park. Guests also can enjoy multiple “4D” movies and meet-and-greets with characters including Emmet, Wyldstyle and Benny from “The LEGO® Movie™.”

America in miniature MINILAND USA features miniature replicas of American landmarks made from millions of LEGO bricks, with displays that include the Las Vegas

strip, the White House and U.S. Capitol, the New Seasonal specials York City skyline and Statue of Liberty, a space Events included with park admission include shuttle launch at Kennedy Space Centre and Brick or Treat, a kid-friendly Halloween party, the rush of race cars at Daytona International and Christmas Bricktacular, which combines Speedway. The adjacent LEGO® Star Wars™ the joy of the festive season with giant LEGO MINILAND Model Display features scenes from displays and hands-on LEGO-building activities. the famous film saga Stay awhile created from 1.5 million If your clients want LEGO bricks, plus life“Did you know that to be close to the size LEGO models of Darth Vader, R2-D2 and LEGOLAND Florida Resort action then you can book them into the Darth Maul. was once Cypress Gardens, LEGOLAND Hotel, just Florida's very first theme Summer fun steps from the park park? You can still see the The resort is home entrance. This LEGOto one of only four inspired fantasy homewater skiing show and LEGOLAND Water Parks from-home features botanical gardens that the in the world. Open 152 rooms and suites, park was famous for” seasonally (usually each with its own March to October), it’s LEGO theme - kids can designed to work for live in a pirate cabin younger children. Build a LEGO raft as you float receive the royal treatment in a kingdom-style down the lazy river, race your own LEGO boat room. Alternatively, LEGOLAND Beach Retreat is against other guests, take on several thrilling a lakefront resort with 83 themed bungalows tube and body slides or relax in a private cabana. and 166 rooms. 

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BOS JFK

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Fly from London Gatwick to Caracas, Bogota, San Pedro Sula, Guayaquil, Salvador de Bahia, Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Sao Paulo, Lima, Asuncion, Cordoba, Montevideo and Buenos Aires.

All flights are via Madrid. Cordoba is via Madrid and Asuncion For more information visit us at: www.aireuropaexperts.com or call: 08714230717

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six of the best

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Latin American festivals 1

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Vibrant colour, tribal beats and infectious energy, this is party central, says Neal Baldwin

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Rio Carnival

Welcoming upwards of two million people on to the streets every day, Brazil’s most famous festival is a riot of flesh, colours, heat and music. Highlights include the two major parades, featuring dancers in spectacularly ornate costumes from 200 samba schools. When: 40 days before Easter, in February or March. SELL IT: Journey Latin America has a nine-night Carnival 2018 holiday, including a sightseeing tour of Rio de Janeiro, tickets to Sambadrome for the carnival parade. and a beach break in Buzios. Prices start at £2,559pp including flights and accommodation. journeylatinamerica. co.uk

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Barranquilla Carnival

Often referred to as South America’s ‘other’ carnival, Barranquilla’s four-day extravaganza certainly isn’t an also-ran. Adding a Caribbean twist to Colombia’s colourful folklore, the fun attracts 1.5million visitors annually. Among the music, body paint and feathers are also costumed parades making fun of current events – past laughs have even included controversial topics such as the zika outbreak! When: starts the Saturday before Ash Wednesday. TOP TIP: Barranquilla supports more than 20,000 tourism jobs and is a massive deal for the city. Booking early is vital because hotel space is limited and 100% occupancy is commonplace during the festivities.

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Oruro Carnival

Bolivia’s largest annual event, in the sleepy town of Oruro, dates back over 400 years and is a beguilling mix of tribal Indian and Catholic tradition. For 20 hours the streets are filled with a Theatrical parade telling the story of good triumphing over evil. The devil’s fire is finally washed away at the end with a giant waterfight. When: the Saturday before Ash Wednesday. SELL IT: High Lives Travel offers a 10-day Bolivia Express group tour with highlights including Oruro, La Paz and Lake Titicaca. Prices start at £1,600pp excluding flights. Tailor-made itineraries on request. highlives.co.uk

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Inti Raymi

The Inca Festival of the Sun has a strange history. Marking the Andes New Year, it was originally celebrated as far back as 1412, but was banned by Spanish conquistadors just over 100 years later. The festival has been revived in Sacsayhuaman, near the original Cusco venue, with celebrants in traditional Inca blue and red sharing their music, stories and food. When: June 24. TOP TIPS: Inti Raymi brings huge crowds to Cusco, so accommodation is best booked six months in advance. Advise clients to travel from Lima along the coast over a number of days. It allows a stop in beautiful Arequipa, while slowly acclimatising to the high altitude.

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Day of the Dead

Death doesn’t have to be a sad thing - just ask the Mexicans! The annual ‘Dia de los Muertos’ celebrates lost loved ones, who for one day may visit living relatives. Graves are decorated ornately and nighttime parades, typically with a skeleton theme, do their best to raise the dead from their slumbers. Events happen across Mexico, but are biggest in Oaxaca, Michoacan and Patzcuaro. When: starts October 31. SELL IT: G Adventures has a seven-day Day of the Dead tour to Oaxaca, including the chance to take part in festivities and explore the region. Prices from £949pp, excluding flights. gadventures.co.uk

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Vendimia

If you are going to celebrate all things wine, then why not make the party a week long? Plenty of corks are popped in the Argentine city of Mendoza, as wine lovers from around the world flood in to celebrate the local Malbec, eat mountains of food with the gauchos and await the annual pageant and parade, where one of 18 lucky beauty queens will be named ‘Queen of Vendimia’ (winning a crown of vine leaves in the process). When: Late February-early March. TOP TIPS: Tickets for the final Vendimia pageant are highly prized, but guests needn’t pay high prices from local operators. Instead, advise them to find a local sales point on the official Facebook page and join the queue. 

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philadelphia

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philadelphia

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a fine

Philly With iconic historical landmarks, world-class museums and a diverse range of attractions just outside of the city, Philadelphia’s an east-coast tour must-stop, says Lauren Jarvis

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deconstructed, full-sized Cold War plane plunges into a plaza, and just metres away a 50-foot sculpture of a paintbrush stands guard. A giant, Pop Art ‘AMOR’ sign greets visitors to a park, while a bronze statue of Pennsylvania’s founder, William Penn, surveys his domain from the top of City Hall. And on the edge of the old city, as sirens scream and steamy trolleys roll by, monumental murals reveal stories of triumph over adversity, and herald stars from a golden age, soaring skyward; illuminating this gritty, urban jungle with beauty, colour and light. Philadelphia is home to some of the world’s finest galleries and museums but you’ll see incredible art by simply stepping onto the sidewalk and looking up. There are over 4,000 pieces on display in the street-art capital of the USA. Many are funded by Mural Arts

Philadelphia, which pairs established graffiti and mural artists with local communities, working collectively to develop inspiring art reflecting local icons and interests. Investing in 50-100 projects a year, the public- and privately-funded Mural Arts offers young people training in painting as well as life skills like money management. On a Mural Arts walking tour, I see striking tributes to local heroes and legendary singers; colossal celebrations of music, poetry and the human soul which make my own spirits soar. Philadelphia may be known for its history, but from I am standing, its future looks just as bright.

Within reach Just two hours from Washington D.C. and 90 minutes from New York, Philadelphia is the perfect place to delve into America’s

revolutionary history and indulge in some cultural and culinary delights. ‘Philly’ was the first UNESCO World Heritage city in the U.S. and much of the sightseeing centres around the Independence National Historical Park. A walking tour is a great way to learn about Philadelphia’s important role in the founding of the nation, taking in the halls where the U.S. Constitution and Declaration of Independence were written, the site of the first President’s house, and the iconic Liberty Bell. The new Museum of the American Revolution brings the city’s story to life, too. “Philadelphia is a great walking city, with diverse neighbourhoods and a compact centre which are easily navigated with the help of plenty of signposts and friendly locals,” says Graeme Evans, Global Product Manager for Travelpack.

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philadelphia

“Philadelphia is a great destination for a multi-centre city break, paired with New York or Washington D.C. on America’s east coast” TIM GREATHEAD, U.S. PRODUCT EXECUTIVE, PREMIER HOLIDAYS

Clockwise from above: The Rocky statue; a Philli trolley; Benjamin Franklin at the One Libery Observation Deck; Race Street Pier

There’s a lot of life squeezed in to the city’s 30 blocks, sandwiched like its own infamous ‘Philly Cheesesteak’ between the Schuylkill River to the east and the Delaware River to the west, beyond which lies New Jersey, accessed by the Benjamin Franklin Bridge. The leafy Parkway Museum District includes the excellent Philadelphia Museum of Art, where Sylvester Stallone’s Rocky pounded the steps, and The Barnes Foundation, home to one of the world’s finest collections of French modern and post-impressionist paintings. Buzzy Rittenhouse Square’s brownstone-lined streets have fantastic al fresco restaurants and bars, while the vibrant ‘Gayborhood’ has been a hub for the LGBT community since the 80s. “For anyone with more time on their hands, Philadelphia’s countryside is well worth a visit,” says Evans. “The lush, green landscape is decorated with small homely towns and plush estates, including the spectacular Longwood Gardens, which spans over 1,000 acres and offers incredible illuminated fountain displays set to music.” Art trails lead visitors through independent studios in the creative, country community of Ambler, while the Brandywine River Museum of Art at Chadds Ford houses a collection of nineteenth and twentieth-century works in a tranquil, waterside space. And for those who prefer to master the art of shopping, there’s the vast King of Prussia Mall just outside the city.

led by the City of Philadelphia’s Mural Arts Programme. muralarts.org Enjoy a stately shop: An easy drive from the city, The King of Prussia Mall features over 400 stores where you can take advantage of Philadelphia’s tax-free shopping bonus on clothes and shoes kingofprussiamall.com Camp out with Washington: Visit the site of George Washington’s stronghold at Valley Forge National Historical Park, a key landmark of the American Revolution. nps.gov/vafo Get on board for brekkie: Crammed with foodie delights and artisan goods, head to the historic Reading Terminal Market for breakfast or lunch. readingterminalmarket.org Step back in time: Sign up for a Constitutional Walking Tour and explore some of the buildings, parks and streets of Philadelphia where American history was made.

Perfect ten

What’s new

Hit the Bell: Head to Independence National Historical Park for a free viewing of one of America’s greatest symbols of freedom, the Liberty Bell. nps.gov/inde Reach for the top: Get a 360-degree view of Philadelphia from the One Liberty Observation Deck which soars 57 stories above the city. phillyfromthetop.com Paint the town: Discover some of the world’s best street art on a walking tour

 Hotels: The 179-room Aloft Hotel by Starwood (starwoodhotels.com) opened its doors in August in the historic, renovated Liberty Title and Trust Building. Starwood’s dual-branded 295-room W and 460-room Element Hotels property will open in 2018 in a 51-storey tower. Marriott’s Fairfield Inn and Suites (marriott.com) in Downtown will open in December 2017 with 121 rooms. Early 2018 will see the opening of the 223-

theconstitutional.com

Stage a revolt: Take a march through history at the new Museum of the American Revolution. Witness the struggle for independence and stand centre stage in a battle amrevmuseum.org Escape to the country: Longwood Gardens offers a tranquil retreat outside the city and glasshouses bursting with spectacular displays. longwoodgardens.org Get a taste of history: Tuck into 18th-century cuisine with a modern twist at TV chef Walter Staib’s City Tavern, a Philly landmark since the 1770s when it hosted the country’s founding fathers. citytavern.com

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philadelphia

room Choice Hotels’ Cambria Hotel & Suites Philadelphia Downtown (cambriahotelsandsuites.com) Opening in 2018, the new Four Seasons Hotel Philadelphia (fourseasons.com/ philadelphia) will occupy the top floors of the Comcast Innovation and Technology Center, the tallest tower in Philadelphia. New ‘invisible service’ concept hotel, Lokal (staylokal.com) offers six apartment-style suites and no front desk in a renovated historical building. Kimpton Hotel Palomar Philadelphia (kimptonhotels.com) has launched its Shop Like A Local Volume 4 guide, in conjunction with Kimpton Perks retail discounts.  Flights: British Airways (batraveltrade.com) will be increasing its weekly flight schedule from Heathrow to Philadelphia from seven to 10 flights per week in spring 2018. Philadelphia International Airport is currently undergoing a multi-million-dollar renovation.  Attractions: Fashion Outlets of Philadelphia (fashionoutletsphiladelphia.com) will open in downtown in Spring 2018 with 800,000-sqare-feet of retail, dining and entertainment space. John F. Kennedy Plaza (phila.gov), also known as ‘Love Park’ after its emblematic sign, reopened this summer after extensive renovations. A new LEGOLAND Discovery Centre (legolanddiscoverycenter.com) opened at the Plymouth Meeting Hall this summer.

Tourism talk “The U.K. is the largest overseas market for Philadelphia, and we expect to see continued growth in visitation as we welcome new flights from the U.K. and Ireland beginning next year. “Philadelphia is well-known for its historic role in the founding of the country, and this April the Museum of the American Revolution opened to tell the story of the Revolutionary War. “The city plays host to various annual events, including the largest outdoor free concert in the nation, Welcome America, which takes place along Philadelphia’s famed Benjamin Franklin Parkway. This fall, the Parkway will host a series

of special celebrations for its 100th anniversary. “With its convenient east-coast location, Philadelphia is a gateway city that can be easily combined with trips to other major U.S. destinations. We encourage UK visitors to come and discover Philadelphia.” Julie Coker Graham, President & CEO, Philadelphia Convention & Visitors Bureau

Where to book it  PREMIER HOLIDAYS – 08444 937 666 This Philadelphia Highlights package costs from £749pp, including three nights at the Courtyard Philadelphia Downtown and return flights and transfers.

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“You’ll find live music to suit all tastes in the city, from the Philadelphia Orchestra to hip hop and jazz, plus great dining and an endless variety of restaurants” MAGGI SMIT, MANAGING DIRECTOR, AMERICA AS YOU LIKE IT

trade.premierholidays.co.uk  TRAVELPACK – 020 8585 4020

Spend three nights at The Warwick House Rittenhouse Square, including return flights and transfers, from £729pp. travelpack.com  AMERICA AS YOU LIKE IT – 020 8742 8299

Three nights at the Philadelphia Marriott Downtown Hotel and four nights at the Embassy Suites Philadelphia Valley Forge is from £968pp, including return flights and car hire. americaasyoulikeit.com  WHO FLIES THERE aa.com; britishairways.com; delta.com; icelandair.com

VOTE NOW! Which is the best tour operator for solo travellers? sellingtravel.co.uk/awards

Clockwise from top left: The sign for City Tavern, a reconstructed colonial drinking hole; Philadelphia Museum of Art; Reading Terminal Market; Benjamin Franklin Parkway

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Working in partnership

GDS | TRAINING | REWARDS

Training, competitions, events October 2017

THIS MONTH'S TOP STORIES

Free Jamaica nights INCENTIVE

Quick Quiz Are you a Las Vegas Virtuoso?

1. Las Vegas has more than 300 days of sunshine every year. TRUE / FALSE

Hot News

Saga offers new tours to Hawai‘i

2. Fewer than 20 million people visitied Las Vegas in 2016. TRUE / FALSE

Go Hawai‘i I Modules: 5

gohawaiiagents.com

Racing into Macao NEWS

THE MACAO Grand Prix, one of the most presitgous events in the destination's sporting calendar, will be held from November 16-19, 2017. Now in its sixth decade, the four-day event features races in the Motorcyle Grand Prix, World Touring Car Championship and Formula 3 championship. Considered one of the world's most challenging street circuits due to narrow lanes and limited overtaking points, the 6.2km Guia Circuit is a great sell for petrolheads. macaospecialist.co.uk

lasvegasvirtuoso.com

Answers: 1: True 2: False

THERE are more opportunities to sell Hawai‘i as Saga Holidays introduce a new 'Hawai‘i, a Pacific Paradise' island hopping tour. The 31-night tour will mix relaxation with culture, visiting some of the world's best beaches whilst also exploring some of the islands' hidden treasures. There are five departures from April to November 2018. The tour begins on Maui, the second largest of the islands before continuing on to Kauai, famed for appearing in Jurassic Park.. The tour also takes in Volcanoes National Parker, Wailuku River State Park and Pearl Harbour on Oahu island.

AGENTS can benefit from a new incentive programme at Half Moon in Montego Bay, Jamaica. One complimentary night at Half Moon is awarded for every five-night booking, while for every 10-night booking, earns agents three free nights with breakfast for two at the resort. Agents can also gift their guests dinner at the Sugar Mill restaurant for each 10-night booking. The incentive applied to bookings made between August 1, and December 20, 2017. halfmoon.com

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Training courses to help travel agents and advisers sell more!

COURSE LIST

Touring Tenerife NEWS

TENERIFE Tourism Corporation and British Airways hosted a luxury fam trip in June for tour operators to experience the island's exclusive resorts and visitor attractions. The itinerary combined hotel tours with activities such as stargazing in Teide National Park, and visited both the north and south of the island. Some of the attractions visited are distinguished for their exacting standards under the Tenerife Select brand. Agents attended from North2South Travel, Sovereign, Prestige, and Quintessentially Travel. tenerife-expert.com

Hot Event

Hit the road with Thailand in 2018

Amazing Thailand I Modules: 7

TIPTO's new look TRAINING

TIPTO has unveiled a revamped website with more user-friendly functions. The new-look TIPTO website now has a ‘cleaner, fresher look and feel that is geared towards a seamless user journey’. The homepage highlights key areas such as events, news and member competitions and incentives. Agents can achieve Gold, Silver or Bronze status and gain TIPTO star awards. Each month TIPTO will launch a training competition designed to drive agent participation and learning. The site has launched with 11 modules and more will be added in the coming months. visittipto.co.uk

THAILAND Tourism is bringing together hotels, airlines and destination management companies for a series of unmissable evenings in cities across the UK and Ireland. These entertaining nights will include workshop-style speed dating, with tasty Thai food, chilled beer, wine and soft drinks. There will also be a free prize draw to win an amazing fam trip to Thailand. Events will be held in Belfast, Cork, Limerick, York, Sheffield, Cardiff, Bristol, Jersey and Guernsey throughout the year. Places are limited so register your interest now by emailing marketing@tourismthailand.co.uk

A-Z of available courses AMResorts Alaska Anguilla Antigua & Barbuda Aruba Avis Car Hire Beachcomber Tours Beaches Resorts Botswana Boucan Butlins California Caribbean Cayman Islands Centara Hotels & Resorts Colombia Elegant Hotels of Barbados Flanders Florida GDS Gambia Hawaii Heritage Resorts Hoseasons Insider Journeys Jamaica Jewel Resorts Jumeirah Hotels & Resorts Kenya Macao Las Vegas Malaysia Malta Mark Warner Miami New York Namibia Newmarket Holidays Norway PATA (Pacific Asia Travel Association) Puerto Rico Qatar SAGA Saint Lucia Sandals Resorts Seaworld Serenity Holidays Seychelles Sri Lanka St Kitts Trinidad and Tobago Tenerife Thailand 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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california USA

Golden in a

State of mind

Coastal meanders, vineyards, world-class culture, theme parks and an eclectic culinary scene, California encapsulates all the best of the USA, says Steve Hartridge

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s we stride ever higher into the Hollywood Hills, the Greater Los Angeles area opens up below us. Neighbourhoods whose names are familiar from the movies – Century City, Universal City, Glendale, West Hollywood – blend seamlessly into one surprisingly flat urban scape. Danny, our guide from Bike and Hikes LA, tells us to look out for rabbits and coyotes, but the only wildlife we see on this Sunday morning is a red-wing falcon floating high above on a thermal, a few panting dogs running ahead of

their owners and some horses sweating under the weight of their riders. Who knew that Los Angeles was such an outdoors paradise? Our small group had set out from the famous Greek Theatre in Griffith Park, past the park’s golf course and bird sanctuary, with a mission on this three-hour trek to reach the park’s famous observatory. On the way up Danny has lots of stories about the city’s history and the movie stars we might see jogging in the park (we see none), and points out buildings,

like Universal Studios, on the skyline. With its distinctive white dome the Griffith Park Observatory, on the south-facing slope of Mount Hollywood, is the best vantage point from which to see the famous white letters of the Hollywood sign. It has also appeared in many movies, most recently La La Land, but the building itself is no film set extra and is Southern California’s gateway to the cosmos. Visitors can enjoy a range of space and science related attractions, look through telescopes, explore exhibits, see live shows in the Samuel Oschin theatre and much more.

ENT

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A 30-minute Uber ride later I am in the heart of LA’s regenerated downtown, eating spicy noodles in the vegan-friendly Ramen Hood in the nearly century-old Grand Central Market. It is just one of more than 40 stalls serving up food from China to Japan to Vietnam. Outside, on Broadway Street, the city’s large Mexican population is celebrating Cinco de Mayo, a day to celebrate Mexican culture. A short walk later and I am browsing the impressive collection of the Broad Museum, LA’s newest art museum, showcasing its extensive contemporary art collection. If I had the time I could walk the short distance to the Disney Concert Hall and Museum of Contemporary Art. A hike, lunch in a busy downtown market and one of the country’s top art centres – it’s a day that captures LA in a nutshell: recreation, cosmopolitan melting pot and culture – and it’s still not three in the afternoon.

All-round appeal Whether it is beaches, spectacular coastal drives, wine-growing areas, cities packed with world-class galleries and museums and restaurants offering cuisine from every country in the world, California has enough to tempt visitors back time and time again. Its nickname, The Golden State, hints at the year-round sunshine on offer but there’s also desert, mountains, canyons, forests, wildlife and theme parks - Sea World in San Diego, Universal Studios Disneyland in Los Angeles, Disneyland and Knott’s Berry farm, both in Anaheim.

In short, when it comes to attractions, both natural and man-made, it is microcosm of much of what is appealing about the U.S. itself. It’s a big state to cover in one trip. At 163,695 square miles, California is the third largest in the country, after Alaska and Texas - which is why the 10th staging of Visit California’s SuperFAM this month will see 100 agents split between 10 itineraries before meeting up for a two-day finale hosted by Visit Oakland. For visitors – nearly 700,000 Brits visited in 2016 – a northern loop could include San Francisco, Yosemite, North and South Tahoe. A southern tour might combine Los Angeles and its neighbouring regions such as West Hollywood, Venice Beach and Beverley Hills, plus Newport Beach, Long Beach and Huntington Beach, along with San Diego (about a threehour drive south) and Palm Springs (two hours

from both Los Angeles and San Diego), the Mohave Desert and Joshua Tree National Park. Los Angeles will be forever associated with the movie industry and Hollywood glamour, with Beverly Hills the home and playground of A-list movie stars as well as chic shops along Rodeo Drive. The City of Angels’ attractions now includes its downtown area. Anchored by the Staples Center and set a few miles east of the Sunset Strip, this once-forgotten district has had a cool, stylish makeover — with new hotels, shopping, restaurants and cultural spots, such as The Broad, mentioned above. Francine Sheridan, Regional Director, Europe and Middle East - Discover Los Angeles commented: “Downtown L.A. has experienced Opposite: The famous Hollywood Hills. Above: Edgewood Tahoe, a lakeside golf course.

E N T E R T A I N M E N T | B AY C R U I S E S | D I N I N G | S H O P P I N G | & M O R E | O N T H E E M B A R C A D E R O @ B E A C H S T R E E T | P I E R 3 9. C O M

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Above, from top: Hotel Californian in Santa Barbara; the impossibly blue Lake Tahoe

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a recent period of revitalisation, with heavy 500-plus wineries, as well as lesser-known but investment going into the gentrification of equally appealing wine areas. Vine time: Just north of San Diego, the area and new hotel openings and existing Temecula is a pretty town with an Old hotels adapting to attract the leisure market. West heritage and more than 30 wineries. “Now is a great time to visit Downtown with Away from the glitz: Visit walkable emerging neighbourhoods such as the Arts Beverly Hills for its grand mansions, chic District evolving to offer exciting independent shops, art galleries, architecture, spas and salons. eateries, an urban art scene and walking tours; Road trip: Rent a classic car, such as a while the downtown’s rooftop bar scene is Mustang or Oldsmobile, and drive the thriving. Among the newest is Spire 73 at the iconic coastal hugging Route One which InterContinental Los Angeles Downtown, the includes Monterey, Carmel and Big Sur. tallest outdoor bar in the western hemisphere.” In the saddle: In San Francisco rent a Symbolising downtown’s L.A.’s new racy bike and cycle across the Golden Gate makeover, a heart-pounding addition to Bridge. Have lunch in downtown is OUE Sausalito before catching Skyspace LA atop the the ferry back to the city. U.S. Bank Tower. It’s “Whilst in LA I suggest Sloping off: America’s tallest building visiting LA Live which is the World-class skiing west of Chicago. This premier entertainment is on offer at Mammoth open-air observation deck has panoramic destination in Downtown LA Mountain and at family-friendly resorts in views of the city — from featuring music venues, Tahoe such as Heavenly, the Hollywood sign all nightclubs, restaurants as Mt. Rose and Northstar. the way to the Pacific. Take me out to If you aren’t afraid well as a bowling alley the ballpark: of heights, try OUE’s and theatres” Grab a slice of Americana split-level Skyslide, ASHLEY PILKINGTON, ASSISTANT PRODUCT by watching a baseball a translucent glass MANAGER: USA AND CARIBBEAN, GOLD MEDAL Game in Los Angeles pipeline that transports (Dodger Stadium), San brave visitors between Francisco (AT&T Park) or San Diego (Petco Park). the building’s 70th and 69th floors. On the trail: Try mountain bike trails, West Hollywood is LA’s sassy neighbour, cycling wine tours and sand dune known for its nightlife, coffee culture, galleries jeeping in San Luis Obispo County, and juice bars. With year-round sunshine, it Hang out with the cool kids: San also escapes the sea frets – or ‘gloom’ – that Mateo County borders San Francisco Bay can blight southern California’s coastal cities. and includes tech hub Silicon Valley as well as Perfect ten beaches, golf courses, lighthouses, museums, Gold standard: Visit Sacramento, to marine reserves, farms and ranches. On location: The Warner Bros. Studio learn the history of California’s Tour in ‘The Valley’ in L.A. includes a nineteenth century gold rush. The state capital three-hour visit inside a working film studio. is also the gateway to the Napa Valley, with its

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WIFI UP HIGH We’re the first European airline to offer WiFi across our entire fleet, so when you fly Virgin Atlantic or with our partner, Delta Air LinesŽ, you can stay connected on all your transatlantic flights. Find out more at virginatlantic.com

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170-room property stands at the intersection of Wilshire and Santa Monica boulevards.  Tour Operators: Ffestiniog Travel (ffestiniogtravel.com) has launched its first-ever dedicated tour to California. The twoweek rail odyssey includes Amtrak’s ‘Coast Starlight’ train, San Francisco’s cable cars and one of the world’s widest gauge trains, the Redwood Forest Steam Railroad. There is also a two-night stay on board the Queen Mary and three nights on a paddlewheel river boat, the Delta King. Departing September 4 2018, prices start from £4,655pp.  Tourism board: Visit California (visitcalifornia. com/uk) is focusing on the state’s ‘laid back luxury’ product. This month (October) it will for the first time be attending the Private Luxury Forum at Pine Cliffs in Portugal.

Tourism talk

What’s new

This page, clockwise from left: LA’s Farmers Market; San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge; California crabs for sale. Opposite page: LA’s skyline; and its Griffith Observatory

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 Hotels: Due to open this month (October), The Lodge at Edgewood Tahoe, on South Lake Tahoe (edgewoodtahoe.com/lodge) is nestled on the lake’s shores and built in a style designed to capture the spirit of the historic lodges of the great American West. There are 154 luxury rooms and suites, each with its own gas fireplace, a private deck and terrace. The yearround lodge features a heated pool and hot tub. The Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills (waldorfastoria. com), which opened in June, is the first new hotel in Beverly Hills since 2008. The 12-storey,

“The second-largest city in California and eighth-largest city in the U.S., San Diego has world-class theatre, art museums and chic bars and restaurants. Just minutes away are beautiful beaches and the Pacific. San Diego is also the craft beer capital of America, with more than 140 breweries. Blending California’s fresh produce and seafood with the flavours of Mexico, the local “Cali-Baja” cuisine is truly unique. And with downtown San Diego just 20 minutes from the Mexico border, it’s easy to do a day trip to Tijuana on The light rail system. Candice Eley, Director of Communications, San Diego Tourism Authority “Visitors are drawn to the magnificence of America’s largest alpine lake. Its sapphire-blue water is ringed by the ever-green covered granite peaks of the Sierra Nevada. Tahoe South is a modern tourism destination with $750 million of recent renovation, new structures and infrastructure improvements.

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VOTE NOW!

Which is your top destination for wildlife & nature?

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Daytime adventures include skiing, boarding, hideaway between LA and San Francisco.” hiking, biking, boating, golfing, stand-up paddling, Brooke Burnham, VP of Marketing, Visit SLO CAL “Santa Barbara has been considered kayaking and snowmobiling. At night the South ‘The American Riviera’ for over a Shore beats to night clubs, gaming, headliner century. It’s surrounded by undeveloped entertainment, and the most shopping and coastline, with the restaurant choices in the Channel Islands National Sierra. It’s also becoming “When going to Hollywood Park offshore and the Los a mecca of craft beer.” Mike Frye, Event & plan ahead and get a ‘Go LA Padres National Forest inland. The destination is Media Relations, Lake Card’ for savings on popular celebrated for its Tahoe Visitors Authority attractions. It is also ideal for walkability and revered San Luis Obispo a multi-centre trip and can for its refined collection of County (‘SLO and hideaways be easily partnered with Las resorts CAL’) is the epitome of the highly anticipated Vegas or San Francisco” how UK travellers Hotel Californian opens ROSS SINCLAIR, SENIOR PRODUCT MANAGER USA, envision the California this fall. Visitors can enjoy CARIBBEAN AND CANADA, TRAVEL 2 coast: rustic shoreline festivals, arts and cliffs, scenic sunny entertainment, outdoor beaches and award-winning (yet, ‘California adventures, a wine country renowned for its pinot casual’) wineries. Small towns and cities, rolling noir and local cuisine scene fuelled by local hills with lush vineyards and hiking trails, the fisheries, farms and ranches.” masterpiece of Hearst Castle and the famous Michelle Carlen, Director of Sales, Highway 1 ocean views make this the perfect Visit Santa Barbara

Where to book it  TRAVEL 2 – 0800 0224 182 Five nights at the four-star Omni Los Angeles, in a Standard King Room, room-only, is from £899pp with return economy flights.Valid for travel October 29 to December 12 2017. travel2.com  GOLD MEDAL – 0800 014 7777 Five nights at the four-star Doubletree by Hilton Los Angeles Downtown, in a double guest room, starts from £829pp, including flights. Valid for travel between October 30 and December 12 2017. goldmedal.co.uk

 AMERICA AS YOU LIKE IT – 020 8742 8299 California & Nevada on a Harley-Davidson is a 10-night trip starting in Las Vegas and ending in San Francisco, from £2,774pp. americaasyoulikeit.com  GET TING THERE British Airways flies direct to San Diego, Los Angeles, San Jose, San Francisco and Oakland. Virgin Atlantic and Thomas Cook launched summer services from Manchester to San Francisco this year.

The Perfec erfecTT VacaT acaTion aca Tion? JUST ADD

water

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VISIT USA NEWS

OCTOBER 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 SIGHTSEEING

Maverick's rapid flight "Agents attending our three Roadshows will have the chance at each venue of winning a fabulous holiday to the U.S." Tracey Spuyman CEO, Visit USA

Roadshow

Sign up for a road trip THERE is still time for agents to sign up to this month's Visit USA Roadshow, which takes place in three UK cities. The popular networking events, designed to be both informative and fun, are scheduled for Edinburgh (October 3), Liverpool (October 4) and Reading (October 5). Held in The Principal (Edinburgh), Crowne Plaza (Liverpool) and Pentahotel (Reading), the evenings will feature over 30 Visit USA members who will discuss destination and product information with agents. Attending agents who meet all of the exhibitors will be in with a chance of winning a goody bag and a U.S. holiday for two at EACH of the three roadshow stops. “Agents will learn all about the experiences the U.S. can offer in 2018, and the American theme will extend to a popcorn cart with different flavours cooked fresh on site," said Tracey Spuyman, CEO, Visit USA. Sign up for the Roadshows at visitusaroadshow.com

MAVERICK Helicopters has a new Heli & Whitewater Rafting Adventure that combines a helicopter flight out of Las Vegas with a four-hour whitewater adventure on the Hualapai River in Arizona. Rapids range from 'four' to 'seven'. maverickhelicopters.co.uk HOTELS

Waterfront trio for DC A TRIO of new hotels is coming to Washington DC's regenerated waterfront. Canopy by Hilton, Hyatt House and an Intercontinental are all set to open at the two-billion dollar The Wharf project. The first phase is set to open next month (October). hilton.com; hyatt.com; ihg.com STATES

Kosher in New Hampshire THE United States’ first-ever yearround strictly kosher luxury hotel has opened in Bethlehem, New Hampshire. The five-star Arlington Hotel has a bistro, 24-hour tearoom, a juice and cocktail bar, an indoor pool and a gym. visitnh.gov

THE USA in brief... AIRLINE VIRGIN Atlantic, which flies from four UK airports, has become the first European airline to have a fully wificonnected fleet. With joint venture partner Delta Air Lines, Virgin operates up to 39 flights a week across the Atlantic. In 2018 it will add 20% more seats on the GlasgowOrlando route and treble the number of flights from Belfast. virginatlantic.com

EVENT PALM SPRINGS Modernisation Week, which celebrates the desert city's unique modernist history, takes place October 19-22. Now running for over a decade, the event showcases mid-century design and architecture through a mix of educational and cultural experiences. Visitors can also buy a host of art and textile items. visitpalmsprings.com

EXPERIENCE BOGGY Creek Airboats Rides in Kissimmee, Florida, now offers an hourlong 'Romp in the Swamp' experience for visitors wanting to learn how to drive an airboat. After a training session, guests take the controls. The package, which includes a photo and t-shirt, costs from £152. Agents can book through dosomethingdifferent.com

Look out for our Visit USA Association online Travel Update for the pick of members' news VUSA_October.indd 38

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TODD COLEMAN

MEMBERS SPOTLIGHT introducing...

On Location Tours

ICELANDAIR began flying to Tampa, Florida, from its Reykjavik, Iceland, hub last month. The yearround service, to the airline’s 18th North American gateway, runs twice a week with flights timed to connect with those from four of the seven UK airports Icelandair serve: Manchester, Glasgow, Heathrow and Gatwick. Tampa, which escaped the worst of Hurricane Irma, is known for its shopping, festivals and culinary scene. It is close to the beaches of Clearwater and to Sarasota and St. Petersburg. icelandair.co.uk

ALAN LOCHER,

SENIOR DIRECTOR PR,

MARKETING AND SALES

TOUR OPERATOR

Trekamerica's Big Easy TREKAMERICA has two new festival-focused New Orleans tours for 2018/19. The new nine-day tours start in New Orleans before ‘roadtripping’ down to Florida to take in the beaches of Destin, Orlando’s theme parks and Miami’s Art Deco South Beach. Departing May 3, The Big Easy Music Festival tour kicks off with the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, with three nights in New Orleans before heading to Destin for a beach break and then moving on to Orlando to take in Universal Studios and Disney. It concludes in Miami. The deal is priced from £1,799pp, including festival tickets. The Mardi Gras and the Sunshine State tour starts with four days in New Orleans, includes a Bourbon Street Balcony Party, a tour of the city and a Honey Island Swamp excursion. Clients then head down to Florida's beaches and theme parks before wrapping up in Miami’s South Beach. It is priced from £1,549pp. Both tour prices do not include international flights. trekamerica.co.uk

HISTORIC PHILLY GETS 10 FROM BA

TRAIL

Hop to it in Florida ST. PETE/CLEARWATER has created a ‘Beer Passport’ for lovers of real ale. Hop-headed enthusiasts can visit up to 33 breweries on the new St Pete/ Clearwater Craft Beer Trail. For those who drink or sip their way through all 33 there are limited edition Gulp Cost brewery T-shirts and SiliPints (unbreakable pint glasses) on offer as well as 'secret' prizes. gulpcoast.com

BRITISH Airways will increase flights between Heathrow and Philadelphia International Airport next spring, growing the service from seven to 10 flights a week. From April, the airline will operate an additional flight on Monday, Friday and Sunday, departing at 17:00 and arriving in Philadelphia at 19:55. Philadelphia has 67 National Historical Landmarks and top museums such as the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Barnes Foundation. batraveltrade.com LUCIO ROSSI

PREMIER Holidays and United Airlines have joined forces to promote Washington DC. Travel agents can take advantage of promotional items like window posters, flyers which incorporate the top 10 things to see and do in the city and a video to share on social media. They can also earn up to £150 for every D.C. booking. A threenight Washington DC. Highlights package is priced from £1,099pp, staying at the Washington Hilton. premierholidays.co.uk

When did On Location Tours join Visit USA? We joined Visit USA in 2016. What do you hope to gain from your membership? We are looking to form new partnerships with UK tour operators and the media as well as strengthening our existing ones. Tell us more about On Location Tours. On Location Tours is a TV and movie tour company based in New York City. The company has been in business for 18 years and offers a variety of one-of-akind TV- and movie-themed bus tours. Do you offer agents commission? Yes, we offer commission to all travel agents selling our tours. Do you have a favourite tour? My favorite tour has to be our brand new one! Our Super Tour of New York City covers just about all of the TV and movies that feature my favorite superheroes. We take guests to filming locations all over the Big Apple. The tour introduces guests to some great locations that have featured on both the big and small screens. From the original Superman to The Avengers to all the new Marvel TV shows on Netflix – the tour covers them all. Who should UK travel agents contact if they want to sell your tours? They can email me at alocher@onlocationtours.com. onlocationtours.com

Subscribe to the Visit USA Association online Travel Update at visitusa.org.uk VUSA_October.indd 39

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oman hidden gems

Oman’s

s m e g n e d d i h

With its alluring coastline, lunar landscapes, spectacular canyons and enchanting deserts, Oman is firmly on the tourist map as a destination with plenty of diversity, says Clare Walsh

climbing, cycling or walking. It is also here that guests can view the impressive mountain scenery from ‘Princess Diana’s Point’, a platform that references Diana’s visit in 1986. Ancient villages and settlements scattered across the region can also be explored; visitors will find tiny mosques and communal washing facilities. The cooler mountain air offers welcome relief, making it an ideal climate for exploring.

A chaotic jumble of colourful stalls scattered under a giant timber roof invites visitors to step inside and navigate the labyrinth of frankincense-scented alleyways where vendors jostle for custom. Bartering skills can be honed for deals on exotic spices, antiques and clothing, while getting lost among the narrow alleyways all adds to the experience.

Head for the top Breathtaking canyons and clear mountain air will greet visitors who climb aboard a 4x4 for the trip up Green Mountain. Situated at the centre of the dramatic Al Hajar mountain range, it is one of the easiest peaks to reach in the Sultanate’s mountainous interior and those who make it find themselves more than 6,000ft above sea level once they reach the top. Visit in April or May and find carpets of damask roses covering the ground, while terraces of pomegranates, figs, grapes and walnuts are on display at other times. The lunar-like landscape of the mountains features huge gaping canyons and a vast wilderness that is an escapist’s dream. Resorts located in this region, such as the Anantara Al Jabal Al Akhdar, can arrange rock

Incredible architecture Beautiful chaos Gold, frankincense or myrrh? You don’t need to choose – finding all three of the nativity ingredients is easy at Muttrah Souk in Muscat, perhaps the Middle East’s finest traditional Arab market, which is located in the vibrant old commercial centre of Muttrah Corniche.

Decorating the Muscat skyline with Orient mystery, visitors to the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque should prepare to be wowed. Gifted by the Sultan to his people to mark the 30th year of his reign, the marble-clad exterior is an impressive example of modern Islamic architecture. However it is in the men’s prayer room that the real extent of the building’s majesty is revealed.

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Visitors will find pillars and domes adorned in richly-coloured mosaics, while the eight-tonne chandelier glitters with thousands of Swarovski crystals. A further highlight is the beautiful Persian carpet that is the second largest in the world and took 600 women four years to weave. The building, the only mosque in Oman that is open to non-Muslims, can be visited Saturday-Thursday between 8am and 11am. Women must ensure they are completely covered, including their head, ankles and wrists. If visitors do not have the necessary clothing it can be hired at the mosque for a small charge. sultanqaboosgrandmosque.com

Home to around 3,000 Bedouin, these nomadic people have been wandering the region for thousands of years. After a day of dune bashing, camel riding or sand boarding, visitors can relax under romantic skies in a traditional Bedouin desert camp adorned in rugs and textiles. From here they can watch the canvas of the night sky fill with stars and the Milky Way as they absorb the serene beauty of the desert.

Cultural treasures

Island escape Pristine sands and iridescent water await visitors at the stunning Daymaniyat Islands Nature Reserve. This collection of nine tiny uninhabited islands is easily accessible by boat from the port in Muscat. Rich in marine heritage, the islands offer superb diving and snorkeling. The diving is spectacular, with walls, drop-offs, submerged reefs including rare corals and impressive swim-through caves. The visibility underwater is excellent and swarms of multi-hued fish are rarely far away. Turtles, barracudas, rays, eels and turtle sharks are also often spotted around the 22 dive sites scattered across the islands. There are several dive operators in Muscat offering tours with public and private trips departing daily. It is also possible to camp on the islands between October and February. But those just wanting to soak up the sun will have plenty of opportunity, while birdwatchers can enjoy spotting migratory species such as the ospreys, sea eagles, hawks and many types of tern. In the summer, turtles return to lay their eggs on the white sands.

To get a grip on Omani history, a visit to the National Museum located in the heart of Muscat is a must. The collections showcase all stages of the Sultanate’s history from the earliest human settlement to the present day. Impressive exhibits of clothes, weapons and tools are on display, while a small theatre shows a fascinating film explaining Oman’s history. Particularly interesting galleries include the Splendours of Islam Gallery, the Land and People Gallery and the Arms and Armour Gallery. There are also regular temporary exhibitions throughout the year. Once visitors have had their fill of culture, they can sample the traditional speciality of dates with cardamom-infused coffee in the ground floor coffee shop.

Turrets and traps One of Oman’s most popular attractions, the 17th century Nizwa Fort, is located just 90 minutes’ drive from Muscat. The journey from the capital is impressive and follows roads through alluring landscapes of striking wadis (river valleys) and dramatic mountains. There’s an informative talk at the start of a visit outlining the fascinating history of the fort. But the really exciting part is exploring the towers, which are full of hidden trapdoors, wells and false steps where boiling hot date oil was poured on unwelcome guests from the aptly-named ‘murder holes’ above. Further highlights include wandering through the circular gunnery and vast courtyards and admiring the spectacular views from the top of the turrets, while outside Nizwa has a bustling souk. 

SCOTT DUNN – 0208 682 5055

Arabian nights Silent, starry nights and solace define a trip to the enchanting Sharquia Sands (known locally as Wahiba Sands) and will appeal to those seeking an authentic desert experience. Here visitors find 4,000 square miles of fiery golden sands and spectacular dunes.

A seven-night Family Adventure to Oman costs from £2,400pp, based on a family of two adults and two children. It includes four nights at the Shangri-La Barr al Jissah Resort and Spa, one night at Ras al Jinz Turtle Reserve, one night at Desert Nights Camp, and one night at Alila Jabal Akhdar as well as flights from the UK and private transfers. scottdunn.com

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H O W

T O

S E L L

© GRÉGOIRE LE BACON

Seven days, six travel agents, four islands and countless hours of sunshine

CONTENTS • 55 Introducing THE ISLANDS OF TAHITI • 58 Top ten magical moments • 60 The fam trip Cover_v4.indd 1

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The Islands of Tahiti introducing

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String of pearls South seas sensation

L

ike the scattered loot from a pirate’s treasure chest, THE ISLANDS OF TAHITI are strewn over vast swathes of the Pacific Ocean, covering an area the size of Europe. Each island is a unique jewel offering its own version of paradise and this May six UK agents were lucky enough to visit four of them. International flights all arrive into the capital Papeete and from the moment you touch down you can feel the Polynesian pulse. The air is scented with the exotic fragrance of flowers and you can already hear the music drifting over the sound of the roaring jet engines. “Arriving in Tahiti feels like stepping in another world,” says Juan Sanchez, All About Tailor-made Travel. “Immediately on stepping off the plane you are immersed in the authentic Polynesian culture as you see the welcome party dancing and singing with flowers in their hair.”

Embraced by Mana Although oceans apart, all THE ISLANDS OF TAHITI are all connected by Mana, the life force and spirit which Polynesians believe surround them. The first islands were settled 3,000 years ago but many traditions remain

deeply rooted and are still evident in the dance and songs you hear, the intricate tattoos adorning the people and the ancient tiki statues which still stand in some sacred corners. The area is also known as French Polynesia and has a strong European influence which encompasses everything from the gourmet cuisine to the language. "There is such a surprising mix of people – it’s a real mélange of cultures and influences,” says Joyce Buxton, Kuoni. “But it’s the people that make it because they are so welcoming! Everyone has a fascinating story to tell.”

This page, from top: the group in Rangiroa's Blue Lagoon; Polynesian dish poisson cru. Next page, from top: traditional tattoo art; sunset in Raiatea; the agents enjoy their welcome flower garlands in Moorea

THE DETAILS Time Zone: GMT -10 Curency: French Pacific Franc. £1=CFP135.2 Visas: UK and Irish passports holders can stay visa-free for three months Getting there: airtahitinui.com;

airnewzealand.co.uk. Capital: Papeete Languages: French, Tahitian, English Cilmate: Tropical climate. Dry season March to November and wet season December to late February.

PICTURES COURTESY OF TAHITI TOURISME 2017 & LAURA GELDER

Five archipelagos, myriad isles The Society Islands: The best-known group of islands includes Tahiti and Moorea, which the group visited, famous Bora Bora and Tetiaroa, home of The Brando, Marlon Brando’s exclusive resort. Thanks to its mix of flat atolls and peaked volcanic islands, plus a bustling capital, this group has more than enough to fill a holiday. The Tuamotu Islands: The agents visited Rangiroa and Tikehau but the 76 islands and atolls within this archipelago are spread over an area of more than 20,000 square kilometres. The Marquesas Islands: The lush jagged peaks of the Marquesas are described as the cradle

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Indulge in Bora Bora’s newest sumptuous Overwater Villas. Conrad Bora Bora Nui introduces its stylish Pool and Royal Overwater Villas boasting sleek infinity plunge pools and comfortable catamaran nets. Lounge directly over the water, take in the stunning scenery and watch the sun go down. For added luxury, enjoy breathtaking views of the lagoon in the Presidential Villa - the only two-story overwater villa in the whole of the South Pacific.

T A

BP 502 Vaitape, 98730 Bora Bora, French Polynesia | +689 40 86 49 00 | reservations@hilton.pf | conradhotels.com

Cont Wee with

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introducing

of Polynesian art and are home to mysterious smiling statues, hidden in the jungle. The Austral Islands: Only four of these islands can be reached by plane but the area is famous for humpback whales and hiking. The Gambier Islands: The most far-flung archipelago offers a rich cultural heritage.

Island hopping

LD ER

T O K Y O

LA UR A GE

P A R I S

E 2017 &

A N G E L E S

The destination is famous for its iconic overwater bungalows and there are certainly plenty of fivestar resorts which offer private ocean views, but there are also smaller boutique properties with intimate beachside accommodation, as well as the guesthouses: great-value familyrun establishments offering a real cultural experience. “We have a lot of clients on a budget and the pensions are perfect for them,” says Laura Hodgson. “Air conditioning is often absent so it’s not for everyone but you get a fan, fridge, direct beach access, beautiful gardens, fantastic food and an authentic experience.” 

TO UR ISM

L O S

Home from home

OF TA HI TI

T A H I T I

yacht or catamaran. “I think sailing is fantastic for value and it means you get to see so much more,” says Rachel Croome, Trailfinders. “You don’t have to unpack every day and 97% of sailing time is within a calm lagoon – it’s like a moving overwater bungalow!”

SY S CO URTE

While some islands can be reached by boat, Air Tahiti has an extensive network of flights which are an experience in themselves. “A real highlight was flying from Tahiti to Tikehau and seeing the contrast between the lush volcanic islands and the flat coral atolls in the Tuamotus,” says Laura Hodgson, Travel Nation. “I was surprised by how accessible the islands are and there’s nothing like the quaint little airports,” says Joyce Buxton. “On some islands the terminal is nothing but a hut and the person who plucks your baggage off the ‘carousel’ (a wooden shelf) ends up being the same person who drives you to the resort. Thank goodness there are still places like this left in the world!” Other options include cruising, either by larger ships such as Paul Gaugin Cruises, or by private

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The Islands of Tahiti

A U C K L A N D

S Y D N E Y

Your Tahitian experience starts right from boarding

Contact us on 0844 482 1675 or resa@airtahitinui.co.uk Weekly departures to Papeete (PPT) from Paris Charles de Gaulle (CDG) and Los Angeles (LAX) with connecting flights available from London with partner airlines. sellingtravel.co.uk

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Top ten

Magical

moments

PICTURES COURTESY OF TAHITI TOURISME 2017 & LAURA GELDER

From a castaway lunch on a deserted motu to walking with sharks, here are our agents’ most memorable experiences

“As well as being friendly and warm, our guides sang, danced, caught our dinner and cooked it!” RACHEL CROOME, TRAILFINDERS

Get yourself a black pearl: From dark-gun metal to dove grey, each Tahitian black pearl shimmers with iridescent hues of pink, green, purple and blue. Head to a farm to see how these semi-precious orbs are created and harvested. “At Gauguin Pearl Farm on Rangiroa it was fascinating to see how they make the pearls and then we got to create our own beautiful, one-of-a-kind jewellery,” says Kelly Cope, Destinology.

fish you can imagine, looking out over our own deserted island.”

Fish for your own supper: “Watching our boat captain fish for our lunch in Tikehau lagoon was amazing, says Joyce Buxton, Kuoni. “I’ll never forget watching him come up with a red snapper gleaming on the end of his spear! Just half an hour later it was sizzling on the barbeque and we tucked into the freshest

Get a bird’s eye view: “Flying from Papeete to the Tuamotos and looking down on the islands was incredible,” says Juan Sanchez, All About Tailor-made Travel. “From above you can see all the colours of the lagoon and the full circle of the atoll - wow! You just can’t wait to get off the plane and explore.”

Take a lagoon tour: Getting out on a boat and exploring some of the motus which make up the atolls is a must-do. “Seeing the Blue Lagoon in Rangiroa was my highlight, says Mairead McBride, Travel 2. “It’s a little slice of paradise with the bluest water I’ve ever seen – Instagram-perfect, with no filters.”

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The Islands of Tahiti Top ten

Scuba or snorkel beneath the blue: “Just a one minute boat trip from my Tahiti hotel, we sank down to find ourselves in a tranquil sandy bowl, “ says Laura Gelder, Selling Travel. “We floated over two wrecked ships and the shell-like remains of a tiny plane; spotted a fat puffer fish resting on a rusty deck and an eagle ray flying gracefully past – and this wasn’t even a renowned dive site!” See Polynesian culture in action: Dance and song is integral to Polynesian culture. You’ll see locals playing ukulele at the bus stop and you’ll be greeted by live music at every new hotel. “No trip to French Polynesia is complete without a cultural dance and music show, says Laura Hodgson, Travel Nation. “The music, dancing and body art are fabulous.”

Walk or swim with sharks: Stealthy and majestic reef sharks are a presence you’ll have to get used to in THE ISLANDS OF TAHITI, but a totally harmless one. “In Rangiroa we walked from the boat to the motu, wading through a soup of silver sharks, says Juan Sanchez. “It was surreal but amazing to see all the black-tipped fins swirling around us!” Shop local: Fragrant coconut oil soap or tiare flower body oil, shimmering shell or black pearl necklaces, striking Polynesian paintings and carvings – Tahiti’s shopping has plenty to offer. “The locals are so friendly and keen to help you find the perfect souvenir, says Kelly Cope. “Papeete’s choice of fabrics, herbs, spices and jewellery are enough to keep you wandering the streets of this amazing city.”

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Top deck views: The Aremiti ferry, which travels between Tahiti and Moorea, is no sleek cruise ship but its journey is no less stunning. “As you appproach Moorea on the ferry you see the vegetation rising out of the sea looking exactly like the jungle island in the Disney film Moana,” says Joyce Buxton. Go by paddle power: Endless islands stretch as far as the eye can see, each gleaming more temptingly than the one before and begging to be explored. “In Tikehau we kayaked from the resort to the next motu, says Rachel Croome, Trailfinders. “One minute you’re launching the kayak from the hotel beach and the next minute you’re alone, exploring a completely deserted motu with no sign of habitation at all.” 

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The Islands of Tahiti

the fam trip

hopping island

From the lush volcanic peaks of Tahiti and Moorea to the lagoons and deserted motus of Tikehau and Rangiroa...

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ver just ten days an intrepid crew of travel agents flew over 20,000 miles to visit four distinct islands.

get a sense of the culture right away, which you don’t always get with other beach destinations.” As well as sipping Champagne in five-star resorts, the group trekked across an uninhabited island of nesting birds, swam and walked with sharks and ate coconut bread baked between palm leaves on their very own motu.

Using three internal flights, a large ferry, a series of small and slightly bumpy boats and a few kayaks, the agents set off in pursuit of the elusive ‘Mana’, or life force, which binds this island nation together. “Until you land in THE ISLANDS OF TAHITI and visit a few different islands you can’t fully appreciate how remote it really is,” says Laura Hodgson, Travel Nation. “Before I came someone told me it was the land of sounds, flowers and scents and I felt that as soon as we landed – you

Tahiti: the Queen Island Don’t be fooled into thinking this is just a jumping-off point. Being the most populated island means a great choice of shops, restaurants and hotels. “Tahiti has some of the most luxurious and scenically beautiful airport hotels you will ever see,” says Laura Hodgson. This mountainous and verdant island boasts black and white sand beaches, a wild interior and a beguiling capital which is bursting with

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The Islands of Tahiti the fam trip

Opposite page: Tikehau at sunset. This page, clockwise from top left: looking down on Moorea’s coast; an island tour in Moorea; Papeete’s bustling and colourful market, Tahiti; Moorea-grown pineapples; Juan enjoys some beach time

Wan Pearl Musuem; The Musée de Tahiti et des Îles, full of Polynesian artifacts and cultural insights; hiking up to the summit of Mont Aorai for dizzying South Seas views and Place Vaiete’s Roulottes – mobile food vans which sizzle with local flavour and serve up dishes ranging from Chinese stir fry to French crepes and fish baguettes, all with a backdrop of live music and a tantalising view of neighbouring Moorea.

Moorea: the magical island The sight of Moorea’s wild, Jurassic-looking peaks inspired the biggest sighs of the trip. From afar its mountains look as if they’re smothered in green velvet but up close you can see the tangled jungle. “From the gorgeous beaches up to the mountains, the flora and fauna of Moorea is like no where else on earth,” says Joyce Buxton, Kuoni. “I also loved the feel of the island and the fact that you can really get an insight into Polynesian culture just by driving through all the little villages, all authentically simple but beautifully kept.” Moorea has a wide, shallow lagoon surrounded by the island’s vertical mountains, where waterfalls tumble down fern-softened cliffs. Watersports abound, including paddle-boarding, kiteboarding, surfing, diving and water-skiing. “Moorea is my favourite island because I loved the diversity,” says Mairead McBride, Travel 2. “You could be lying on the beautiful

“I found Papeete surprisingly French but also unmistakably Polynesian - I saw people with baguettes under thair arms wearing flowers in their hair!” JUAN SANCHEZ, ALL ABOUT TAILOR MADE TRAVEL

PICTURES COURTESY OF TAHITI TOURISME 2017 & LAURA GELDER

vibrant culture, from its tasty food trucks to its street art and colourful markets. “I would always recommend spending your first couple of nights in Tahiti so that you can rest and relax after the long flight and acclimatise to the tropical weather and time zone,” says Juan Sanchez, All About Tailormade Travel. “I’d also recommend a day trip to see the markets and getting a local guide to take you around the island and see the sights like different beaches and waterfalls. Your clients may not have come to Tahiti for hustle and bustle but Papeete is a fascinating end to any trip and a great chance to grab some local souvenirs. Marché Papeete is a covered twolevel market bursting with tropical fruits, fresh fish, moreish local snacks, aromatic spices, flower garlands and coconut oils, shell and mother of pearl jewellery and carved wood masks. For those who can tear themselves away from the beach, other attractions include the Robert

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Clockwise from top left: A resident of Bird Island, Tikehau; looking out over a motu, Tikehau; Mairead enjoys a boat transfer; tiny Tikehau Airport; fish for lunch in Tikehau

Tikehau: islands of pink sand If you’re looking for somewhere to play out your Desert Island Discs fantasy then Tikehau is waiting. This atoll’s oval-shaped lagoon is surrounded by countless motus and stretches of white and pink sand which seem to reach to the end of the world, if you’d just keep walking through the warm, clear shallows. There are just 400 inhabitants in Tikehau and they mostly live on the one motu in the village of Tuherahera. Accommodation across the motus ranges from the romantic barefoot luxury of Tikehau Pearl Beach Resort to Ninamu’s quirky collection of bungalows fashioned from palm and shell, as well as many simple beach hut pensions with Polynesian flower-patterned curtains fluttering from the open windows. “If you are looking for nightlife then forget it, but if your clients want to completely switch off from the outside world then remote Tikehau is the place,” says Mairead McBride, Travel 2. Lagoon tours offer the chance to experience the most fascinating motus, stopping to lie on the pink sand and snorkel in the clear sea. The group enjoyed a barbeque lunch on an isolated atoll, eating just-caught fish from paper plates at a battered plastic table, the smell of salt and palm leaf smoke in the air. “This was the best meal of the trip,” says Juan Sanchez.”Just the fish we’d just seen plucked out of the sea moments earlier, simply barbequed on the

“I’m a huge fan of poisson cru, raw fish marinated in lime juice and coconut milk. I’ve made it at home but nothing beats eating it on the beach!” LAURA HODGSON, TRAVEL NATION

PICTURES COURTESY OF TAHITI TOURISME 2017 & LAURA GELDER

beach one day and hiking through the lush green mountains the next. I also like the fact you can easily leave the hotel and experience local restaurants and bars.” The sharp inland landscape includes an ancient volcanic crater which has become a lush valley, perfect for hiking, horse riding or quad biking. Four-wheel-drive tours take you past meadows grazed by cows and horses, pineapple fields, little wooden houses painted in pretty pastel shades and tumbling with bougainvillea and hibiscus, the decimated and eerie remains of a Polynesian temple and finally Belvedere Lookout, where you can gaze on Opunohu and Cook’s Bays and the craggy Mount Rotui with its witch’s hat peak. “If you want a more active holiday, both on land and at sea, then Moorea is a good option,” says Laura Hodgson. “It benefits from a five-minute flight or 30 minute ferry crossing from Tahiti so it’s convenient for travellers who are tight on time.”

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“You can’t compare Tahiti to anywhere else because it’s about the destination, not the accommodation. It’s far away but those who make the journey are rewarded” RACHEL CROOME, TRAILFINDERS

beach and served with delicious coconut rice.” “A lagoon tour is a great way to sample a true Robinson Crusoe experience, and get a flavour for island life,” says Kelly Cope, Destinology. The research crew of Captain Cousteau recognised Tikehau as the Tuamotus’ ‘most fish abundant atoll’ and divers and snorkellers will be rewarded with world-class opportunities to see majestic manta rays as well as a constant ballet of sharks and dolphins and a rainbow array of reef fish. Deserted motus also offer the chance to spot tropical birds like red-footed boobies, greater crested terns and blue noddies. Many lagoon tours will stop off at Bird Island, a lonely motu of jagged black rock and palmstrewn beaches, where huge crabs scuttle through the tangled interior, snow-white birds peep from the green trees and birds’ eggs rest untouched on fallen branches.

Rangiroa: endless skies The largest atoll in the Tuamotos, Rangiroa offers the same marooned in a lagoon experience that neighbouring Tikehau does, with a slightly bigger slice of island life. “If you stay on the more populated motus in Rangiroa then you can take a drive or cycle, get quite an island experience, see

how the locals live and visit local restaurants and bars,” says Mairead McBride. “You can still get the castaway feeling on the more remote motus too, but I like that it has both.” Rangiroa’s main village, Avatoru, has a primary school, three brightly-painted churches, a post office, medical centre and pharmacy. Dogs and chickens roam free and you can pick up a hair cut or a croque monsieur. It sits just off the Tiputa Pass between two islands, a spot renowned for diving. The group gathered at sunset to watch for the playful dolphins who regularly put on a show, dancing in the fast-flowing water Located on the western side of Rangiroa is the atoll’s most astounding attraction: the Blue Lagoon. A lagoon within a lagoon, its electric turquoise water doesn’t look real. Baby black tip reef sharks twirl in the shallows where you can feed them like ducks and the only sound is the seagulls and the distant roar of the Pacific hitting the outer reef. I cannot recommend this experience enough,” says Mairead McBride. “You have your own time to relax on the white sand, snorkel or explore neighbouring motus which are walking distance through the shallow water. It was so surreal, having to wade past sharks. The guides were fantastic, cooked an incredible meal and finished it off by singing and playing their instruments – amazing!” 

Clockwise from top left: It’s an agent’s life in Rangiroa; Moorea’s mountain; taking a break in Tikehau; happy hour, Moorea; dolphin watching, Rangiroa; fresh coconut; local entertainment

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Tourism Update

Industry weathers Irma

CAROL HAY UK Manager, Caribbean Tourism Organisation

DEAR Travel Industry Colleagues, the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) needs your support! The CTO has activated its CTO Relief Fund, through GoFundMe, to help families and countries rebuild after hurricanes, particularly Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Maria, which both impacted a number of member countries. All of the money raised will be sent directly to CTO member destinations affected by the catastrophic storm. For more information on the fund or to make a donation, visit gofundme.

BY LAURA GELDER

com/hurricane-relief-fund-cto. Thank

ONE of the most powerful hurricanes ever recorded, Irma barrelled through the Caribbean’s Leeward Islands and Florida this September, leaving destruction in its wake and a purported bill of £10 millionplus for the UK travel industry. Some islands which were braced for destruction escaped with minor damage, such as Antigua, whose V C Bird International Airport was open by 2pm the day after. Its sister island Barbuda, however, was less fortunate, with 90% of homes destroyed and hotel infrastructure damaged, although with less than 100 hotel rooms, the direct effect on tourism was minimal. Hurricane Irma’s impact on the British Virgin Islands was described as “devastating”, by Sharon Flax-Brutus, the islands’ Director of Tourism.

you in advance for your support. Now, more than ever, you need the latest news on the Caribbean region, so you can correctly inform and update your clients. If you haven’t done so already, please register for the Caribbean

Travel

Guru

Training

Programme: caribbeantravelguru.co.uk. Rewards range from luxurious hampers to experience days and vouchers. All you have to do is make and log your Caribbean bookings while working through the quizzes. Our September winner was Lindsey Hayes of British Airways, who won £100 Love2Shop Vouchers for making the most Caribbean Bookings. This October you can win a lovely

Other destinations affected include Anguilla, St Martin/Maarten, St Barts, Turks and Caicos and the Florida’s Keys. ABTA’s Sean Tipton emphasised the importance of the trade in acts of God: “Tour operators offer customers free cancellations/amendments, as well as ensuring they are safeguarded if they were in a resort affected. Independent travellers may well have to pay cancellation fees and they would not have been given the important assistance and advice provided by a travel company,” he said. Travel 2 and Gold Medal expanded its customer contact centre to answer an increased volume of calls and said it would work with agents to “ensure they have full confidence and the tools and resources to sell this fabulous part of the world.”

Caribtours expands its reach CARIBTOURS has added Costa Rica and South Africa for the first time in its 2018 worldwide brochure. In Costa Rica, an 11-night Family Adventure tour, which includes guided kayak tours exploring mangrove ecosystems and natural thermal waterfalls, white-water rafting excursions on the Balsa river and ziplining across Costa Rica’s canyons and treetops, starts from £3,869 per adult and £1,025 per child, including flights, accommodation, breakfast, private transfers and sightseeing. In South Africa, the nine-night Western Cape & Safari Tour, a combination of the best of Cape Town and the Cape Peninsula, includes a Sabi Sand safari and a tour of the winelands. Among the activities on offer are a cable car journey up Table Mountain, coastal drives to wine tastings and a canoe trip in Livingstone. Prices start £4,955pp, including flights, accommodation, breakfast, private transfers, guides and sightseeing. caribtours.co.uk

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

EasyJet offers long-haul connections from Gatwick Airport EASYJET is now offering longhaul connections from Gatwick after partnering with Norwegian and WestJet. The new ‘Worldwide by easyJet’ arrangement – the first of its kind from a European low-cost carrier – sees easyJet selling fares from the two airlines on its own website to destinations across North and South America. Connecting passengers must collect their luggage from their arriving flight and deposit it at the GatwickConnects

desk for loading on to the next flight. The service is subject to a two-and-ahalf hour minimum connecting time and GatwickConnects will re-book customers on to the next available flight if they miss any segment of their journey. EasyJet plans to introduce similar services and additional partners at other European airports, with talks already “far advanced” with Middle Eastern and Far Eastern carriers. easyjet.com

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Kentucky’s showcase

Weekly updates straight to your inbox! BY SALLY PARKER

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

w Ne eb w si te

KENTUCKY Tourism gathered the trade to celebrate the release of Kingsman 2: the Golden Circle, set in the Bluegrass State, with an excluisve screening at London’s Fox Studios. The second installment in the Kingsman franchise sees the British secret spy organisation destroyed and it remaining agents head over the Atlantic to find their American counterparts, whose front is a bourbon distillery, Old Forester. Old Forester is one of over 60 bourbon distilleries in Kentucky, which is also known for its southern hospitality, bluegrass music and horses. Kristen Branscum, Kentucky Commissioner of Tourism, said: “The Director, Matthew Vaughn, calls the

movie his ‘love letter to the state’ and it is set to showcase Kentucky to a worldwide audience.” A gateway to the Midwest, centrally located Kentucky is within a day’s drive of 70% of the USA. The state is keen to promote its arts and entertainment; history, including the US Civil Rights Trail which launches January 2018 with several sites in Louisville; outdoor adventures, including thousands of miles of rivers, hiking trails and the longest caves network in the world, and dining. 2018 will be the year of Kentucky food, with revamped food trails launching in March across nine regions and showcasing specialities like fried chicken and beer cheese. kentuckytourism.com

Nicaragua launches UK campaign THE Nicaraguan Tourist Board has launched a major UK tourism plan. Key features include a visit by the country’s Minister of Tourism to London, co-op agreements with tour operators, fam trips, training for the UK trade and boutique events featuring high-end Nicaraguan products such as rum, cigars, and coffee. It will also work closely with LATA to support trade and media.

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Rainbow goes wild RAINBOW Tours has expanded beyond its core destinations of Africa and Latin America by introducing itineraries in four new countries: India, Borneo, Sri Lanka and Canada. The company, which celebrates its 20th anniversary this year, has repositioned itself as a specialist tour operator for wildlife and nature holidays with the release of a new Safari and Wildlife Guide focusing on encounters with animals, birds and marine life. These include birding itineraries in Costa Rica or Peru, gorilla trekking and big five safaris in East or Southern Africa. Wildlife lovers may be lured to India in the hope of spotting tigers, but rhino, elephant, swamp deer, leopards, sloth bears and wild buffalo can also be encountered. Amongst the India itineraries is India Wildlife Experience: Pench & Satpura, which explores Pench - the original inspiration for The Jungle Book – and Satpura National Park, one of India’s lesser known reserves. The 12-day trip starts from £3,295pp. rainbowtours.co.uk

Three ways Down Under

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NEWS TO USE IN BRIEF GARUDA Indonesia will offer the only return, non-stop flights between the UK and Indonesia when its new service begins operating from Heathrow to

Jakarta’s

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International Airport from October 31, 2017, having cut out a stopover at Singapore Changi enroute to London. The new flight will operate on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. garuda-indonesia.com INCLUDED with this issue of Selling

Travel is a guide to The Bradenton Area of Florida’s west coast. Elliott Falcione, Executive Director, Bradenton Area CVB, commented: “The Bradenton Area is a truly unspoilt gem. We’ve been working hard to improve awareness of our beautiful community through strategic trade partnerships. Our bed-stock is mostly self-catering, covering everything

BY STEVE HARTRIDGE

CUSTOMERS travelling Down Under in 2018 with Qantas and Emirates will be able to choose from three routing options after the airlines applied to extend their partnership for five more years. The deal will see the airlines better leveraging each other’s networks by offering options from the UK to Australia via Dubai, Singapore and direct to Perth. Qantas plans to re-route its daily London-Sydney A380 service via Singapore rather than Dubai and upgrade its existing daily Singapore-Melbourne flight from an A330 to an A380 from March 25, 2018. Also, as announced in April, from March 24, 2018 Qantas’ existing London-DubaiMelbourne service will be replaced with its

direct Dreamliner service flying LondonPerth-Melbourne. This change will also see Qantas boost its network across Asia, providing UK customers more options to travel to destinations in Southeast Asia serviced by the broader Qantas Group network. Emirates will still offer the opportunity to fly from the UK to Australia, via Dubai. The airline will continue to operate 77 weekly services from Dubai to Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth, and Sydney. The airlines will shortly seek reauthorisation from regulators to continue under an expanded partnership. Tickets for all three routings are now on sale.

from small condos to luxurious homes. We hope this supplement helps provide relevant information to our trade partners.” bradentongulfislands.com THE Park Hyatt St. Kitts Christophe

Harbour has soft-opened and will fully open on November 1. The 126-room resort is the first Park Hyatt in the Caribbean and spans Banana Bay. Rooms have sea views and premium suites have private rooftop pools. Other features include three signature restaurants, the Sugar Mill Spa & Sanctuary spa, a wellness centre and two pools. stkitts.park.hyatt.com

qantas.com; emirates.com

Smile all the stay. All our hotels are in dreamlike settings, but if we can go the extra step, rest assured that we have what it takes to surprise you, over and over again, so you’ll keep wondering what’s next?

M A U R I T I U S • R É U N I O N • M A L D I V E S • C H I N A • T U R K E Y • V I E T sellingtravel.co.uk NAM • U.A.E

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GNTO/ NIKLAS, UWE

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THE German National Tourist Board UK and Ireland (GNTO) is aiming to highlight the diversity of regional dishes throughout its 16 Federal States with its new market campaign for 2018, Culinary Germany. The campaign will focus on traditional favourites and innovations from rural regions such as the Black Forest to internationally renowned restaurants in major cities such as Berlin, Hamburg and Munich. It will also showcase Germany’s 13 wine growing regions, more than 290 Michelin-starred restaurants and its foodie scenic routes. “This is a major campaign to tempt people to explore different areas of Germany through their favourite foods

and perhaps discover something new” says GNTO’s new director for the UK and Ireland, Beatrix Haun. She added: “If you’re a wine aficionado you’re spoilt for choice. Swap the big beer festivals for smaller, cosier, regional celebrations and discover Gemütlichkeit – Germany’s special recipe for combining good food with good company. Not only is German food delicious, each region has a story to tell.” The announcement follows a boost in overnight stays in the first half of 2017. The Federal Statistical Office registered 36.7 million international overnight stays to the end of June, 1.2 million more than the previous year” germany.travel

Exclusive trade deal from Osborne & Ebel TRADE - FRIENDLY wholesaler Osborne & Ebel has released a deal for the new four-star-plus Maldives resort Reethi Faru Island. Five nights is from £319pp on a B&B basis including return seaplane transfers. The resort has 150 villas, numerous restaurants and bars, activities and a fantastic house reef. For details contact: sales@osborneandebel.com. osborneandebel.com

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SEPTEMBER 5, 2017, LONDON

Unite Middle East A regional showcase sponsored by JA Resorts & Resorts, Alpha Destination Management, Desert Gate Tourism and Selling Travel N E W S TO U S E GUESTS staying at Lapita Hotel in Dubai Parks & Resorts can now benefit from free unlimited access to the site’s three theme parks as well as a queue jumping pass. marriott.co.uk DUKES DUBAI is now open. The fivestar property has 506 rooms now available to book. Hotel features include a female-only Duchess Floor, Cigar and Whiskey Lounge, indoor pool and a free kids club. dukesdubai.com BAHRAIN is set to be the Islamic Cultural Capital for 2018 with numerous related events running throughout the year. The UNESCO Pearl Trail has also opened. btea.bh THE WORLD’S longest zipline is due to open this December in Ras Al Khaimah. It will be located on Jebel Jais, the UAE’s tallest mountain, close to the emirate’s Via Ferrata. A viewing deck is also due to open featuring a range of activities and food trucks. raktda.com

“This event has proved to be advantageous for pushing sales and providing a great platform for companies to keep partners up to date” DEBBIE FLANNAGAN, UNITE MARKETING & PROMOTIONS

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the review: checking out

Checking out...

HOTELS / RESORTS / TRAIN JOURNEYS / CRUISES / AIRPORT REVIEWS

S T A Y : HO T E L ART S – Calgary, Canada BY JULIE BAXTER

THE BACKGROUND: Formerly a Holiday Inn, Hotel Arts was bought and rebranded in 2005 when it reopened as Calgary’s first ‘designer boutique-style hotel’. THE LOCATION: Located in the Heart of Downtown Calgary, Hotel Arts is a short walk from the Saddledome, Studio Bell (National Music Centre), TELUS Convention Centre and other downtown attractions. THE ROOM: My standard room included two very comfortable queen-sized beds, desk area and chair. The sliding floor to ceiling doors opened to a small balcony overlooking the road and Calgary Tower beyond. Contemporary in style, leather furnishings and stylish modern lamps were set against a funky feature wall and distinctive art works. The bathroom had a bath with overhead power shower and was a reasonable size. KEY FACILITIES: The hotel certainly lives up to its name, with a wide range of interesting and world-class pieces of art in its entrance hall, reception and public areas.

T H E V E R D I CT An interesting hotel with lots of character and quirky style. The somewhat uninspired exterior hides a boutique property which is home to a restaurant of high renown and world class art works. The beds are super comfortable and the location is great.

It’s a designer-feel property with widespread use of slate, glass and object d’art. There is a small open air pool in the centre of the building, viewable through floor to ceiling windows in the hotel’s reception/lounge area. RESTAURANTS/BARS: A select buffet and à la carte breakfast is served each morning in the Yellow Door Restaurant which, for lunch and dinner, offers bistro-inspired cuisine. It was named Best Restaurant 2015 at the

Tourism Calgary White Hat Awards and is especially rated for its weekend brunch menu. The Raw Bar features ‘Vietmodern’ cuisine and an award-winning range of cocktails in a contemporary lounge-style setting open Tuesday to Saturday. In the summer, the bar links to the poolside patio where meals are served al fresco.

RATES: From around £99.

Hotel Arts, 119-12th Avenue SW, Calgary, Alberta  hotelarts.ca;  info@hotelarts.ca

S T A Y : NOVO T E L T OU L OU S E C E N T R E W I L S ON – France BY BENJAMIN COREN

THE BACKGROUND: This contemporary four-star hotel is located in a classic building comprised of the so-called ‘pink city’s’ characteristic terracottta stone. THE LOCATION: In the picturesque heart of Toulouse beside Jardin Pierre Goudouli on Place Wilson. Place du Capitole is a two-

minute walk and Saint Sernin Basilica about half a mile. It is close to the Jean-Jaures metro station and Toulouse Airport is around 20 minutes away by car. THE ROOM: I stayed in a Superior room located on the top floor of the hotel. It was modern and comfortable, but did not benefit from much natural light due it being an attic

room with a single roof window. The bedroom and bathroom were divided by a glass partition which had a mist function for privacy. The room had a queen-size bed and in-room amenities included free wifi, a minibar, rain shower, safe and a flat-screen TV. There was a large desk and chair, large wardrobe, plenty of power points and lots of storage space. KEY FACILITIES: Leisure facilities include a fitness centre, suana, hammam and Jacuzzi. There is also a video games area and indoor playground for kids. RESTAURANTS/BARS: The hotel has a lounge area in the reception with a modern and bright bar. Eating options include the traditional fare of La Brasserie Du Capoul and the Novotel Cafe by Capoul. The former features a terrace and guests can enjoy snacks and musical entertainment in the bar. A breakfast buffet is provided.

T H E V E R D I CT The central location is convenient and with parking just 100-metres away it’s a good jumping-off point for the surrounding region, including the Pyrenees and other cities like Carcassonne. Rooms were comfortable and the staff were helpful and friendly throughout my stay. RATES: Nightly rates are available from €105.

Novotel Toulouse Centre Wilson, 15, Place Wilson, 3100 Toulouse, France  novotel.com

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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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southern africa

things wild

From Cape Town in South Africa to Chobe in Botswana, Southern Africa offers a wealth of experiences, says Karl Cushing

Africa C

SOUTH AFRICA TOURISM

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t’s not for nothing they call Victoria Falls ‘The Smoke that Thunders’. I can hear the constant, bass-like roar of this mile-wide downpouring of Zambezi River long before I first clap eyes on it. The majestic falls are one of the world’s must-see sights and to gaze upon them truly stirs the senses, not least the romantic ones it seems. Rumour has it that Prince Harry popped the question to girlfriend Meghan Markle following their recent visit – but my other half at the time had to make do with

afternoon tea at the colonial Victoria Hotel over on the Zimbabwean side after our visit.

Zambia Back on the Zambian side Victoria Falls and the capital Livingstone can be easily ticked off during a stay in a Lower Zambezi lodge such as Chongwe, Chiawa or Sausage Tree (sausagetreecamp.com). Meanwhile out east, South Luangwa, home to excellent properties such as

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Kafunta River Lodge and Chinzombo Safari Camp, was where the walking safari concept was born. “South Luangwa is one of the best parks in Africa and a walking safari here is an exceptional experience,” says Ton de Rooy, Managing Director of country specialists Robin Pope Safaris. “Every sight, sound and smell is powerfully intensified as your guide leads you through the bush.” Moreover, says de Rooy, the country has the best guides on the continent and its parks remain remarkably uncrowded. A great example is Kafue National Park, a handy stopover on flights from the capital Lusaka to Liuwa, which operator Wildlife Worldwide calls “one of the best kept secrets in Africa”. Plus, North Luangwa National Park, home to camps such as Mwaleshi, is home to the country’s only population of black rhino (remoteafrica.com/mwaleshi-camp/). “Recommend visiting during Zambia’s ‘Green Season’, especially January and February,” says de Rooy. “Thanks to the rains, the bush is more vivid than ever, baby game is being born and, with numerous lagoons full, exploration by boat opens up a watery world. It’s also the most affordable time to travel.”

Top three On the move: Watch Africa’s secondbiggest wildebeest migration on Liuwa Plain each October. Go batty: Stalk 5ft tall shoebills in the Bangweulu Swamps or catch the November congregation of millions of fruit bats in Kasanka National Park with Robin Pope. Get high: Take a Busanga Plains balloon flight or a helicopter over Victoria Falls. Left: a game drive through the Cradle of Humankind. Above, clockwise from top left: A leopard near Jao Camp in Botswana; a walking safari in South Africa; tracks near Kanana Camp in Botswana’s Okavango Delta

What’s new  Lodges: Norman Carr’s (normancarrsafaris.com) new King Lewanika Lodge is the first permanent safari lodge in Liuwa Plain National Park. Other hot openings include African Bush Camps’ Thorntee River Lodge (africanbushcamps.com) in Mosi oa Tunya, near Victoria Falls, and the Three Rivers camp in South Luangwa (luangwa.com). �Airlines: Proflight (proflight-zambia.com) has a new service from South Luangwa to Lower Zambezi, making it possible

to visit more than one park without having to travel via Lusaka. Proflight also flies to Kalabo, for Liuwa Plains.

Where to book it  WILDLIFE WORLDWIDE – 01962 302086 The 11-day Leopards of Luangwa tour is priced from £5,395pp (May-November), including international and domestic flights, and stays in Luwi, Nsolo and Kakuli camps. wildlifeworldwide.com

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Visit Southern Africa A clearly different experience

01403 256 655

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South Africa

Clockwise from top left: Rhino in the South African bush; a mobile safari with Robin Pope; Feline Fields’ The Lodge in Botswana’s Kalahari; Constantia Wine Valley in South Africa

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South Africa scores big for its accessibility, great value and world-class products, from its food and wine to properties such as the refurbed Lion Sands Ivory Lodge (lionsands.com). There are ‘Big Five’ safaris and national parks such as Kruger, that are ideal for firsttimers. Cape Town, with new direct services from Gatwick launched by both British Airways (batraveltrade.com) and Thomas Cook Airlines (thomascookairlines.com) late last year, can either be combined with a safari break or as a standalone holiday. Highlights include Table Mountain, picturesque (but cold) beaches and the Cape Winelands. Down the Garden Route, an Eastern Cape safari makes the perfect end of a selfdrive; KwaZulu-Natal’s national parks and concessions combine well with the beautiful Drakensberg Mountains and battlefield sites such as Isandlwana; and the Northern Cape is home to parks such as Mokala and camps such as Marrick (marricksafari.com).

Other unique selling points, notes Tolene van der Merwe, UK Country Manager for South African Tourism, include cultural sites such as Maropeng – The Cradle of Humankind – where the earliest human remains have been discovered; and sites connected with Nelson Mandela’s life, such as Robben Island, where he was imprisoned for 18 years. These will take centre stage next year as the country celebrates the centenary of Mandela’s birth (nelsonmandela.org). “One of the biggest growth areas of interest we’re seeing is in adventure activities, from cycling, hiking and watersports to skydiving

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and bungee-jumping,” says van der Merwe. “ Additionally, the scale and variety of marine wildlife, including Great White Sharks, whale watching and penguins, is one of the biggest pulls for UK visitors.” Suzanne Walford, Product Manager at luxury travel specialist Knighton Reeve and African Pride, points to the latest property openings and new flight services as further cause for excitement, not least the new service from Plettenberg Bay, for the Garden Route, to Graaff Reinet in the Karoo. “This ties in very nicely with a safari at Samara Private Game Reserve, cutting out

a rather lengthy road transfer,” she notes. For golfers, Fancourt near George is a premier destination, with its three championship courses. But its prime Garden Route location and range of activities will also appeal to families. On offer are tennis, biking, eco-rider trails, a leisure centre with heated and outdoor pools, gym, cinema, Kidz Club and Teen Lounge. Accommodation at Fancourt is in the family-friendly Fancourt hotel and stylish adults-only Manor House.

Top three Lake lounging: Shayamanzi Houseboats on the shores of Lake Jozini, offer views of the Lebombo Mountains and access to the Pongola Game Reserve Driving forces: Drive the scenic Garden Route or Panoramic Route. Vine time: Visit ‘wine country’ in Constantia (near Cape Town), Stellenbosch or Franschhoek.

What’s new  Lodges: Singita (singita.com/lodge/ sweni-lodge/) reopened its Singita Sweni Lodge in

Kruger in July. Other openings include Savanna Private Game Reserve in the Sabi Sand reserve.  Hotels: The stylish Silo hotel (theroyalportfolio. com) and Zeitz MoCAA (zeitzmocaa.museum) have

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Clockwise from top left: Widerness Beach in South Africa’s Garden Route; a mobile safari stop; Eagle Island Lodge in Botswana; a hippo in the Zambezi

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opened on Cape Town’s V&A Waterfront. Also new is Schulphoek House in Hermanus and the Hallmark Hotel in Johannesburg’s trendy Maboneng district.

Where to book it  SAGA – 0800 056 0464 A nine night all-inclusive Saga Bush Camp holiday near Kruger, costs from £2,299pp for departures from January 22, 2018, including flights from Heathrow. saga.co.uk

Botswana

Above, from top: Thorntree River Lodge in Zambia; lion watching in Bostwana. Opposite page, left to right: stark landscapes in Namibia; a Herero woman in Namibia

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(November – February) the water levels only begin to rise from May, often reaching their peak during July and August,” she advises. “By September the levels are subsiding and in October the terrain is at its driest.” For Sean Clark, Director of Sales, Marketing and Touring for Africa at Belmond Safaris, Botswana offers “the ultimate safari experience”. His top picks include the caves and rock art at Tsodilo Hills and visiting the Savute Marsh and Savute Channel, as profiled in NatGeo’s recent series Savage Kingdom. For more affordable safari options try looking around Chobe National park or consider small group tours such as Rainbow Tours’ Exclusive Botswana (rainbowtours.co.uk).

From the arid Kalahari and Makgadikgadi salt “South Luangwa in Top three pans to wildlife-rich Zambia is authentic and Paddle away: Moremi Game Reserve, Take a guided Botswana calls out for raw, and changes with the mokoro canoe safari in multi-centre trips and seasons. The game viewing the Okavango Delta. supports a rich vein is hugely rewarding. Bird’s eye view: of high-end lodges Take to the skies such as Ngoma Safari It’s also the home of the over the Okavango Delta Lodge, which looks out walking safari” in Belmond Eagle Island over the Chobe River TIM HENSHELL, Lodge’s onsite helicopter. and offers river cruises, KAMAGEO Going local: game drives, game Meet San walks and bush picnics. bushmen on tours with operator Sanctuary For a nice flexible solution consider Retreats (sanctuaryretreats.com). andBeyond Expeditions’ all-inclusive mobile camping safaris while families will love Ker What’s new & Downey Botswana’s (kerdowneybotswana.com) camps such as Okuti and Kanana, with their  Lodges: Wilderness Safaris (wildernesssafaris.com) will open its new Qorokwe camp interactive Young Explorers programmes. in December and its new-look Mombo and As Fran Hird, Managing Director at Ker Little Mombo camps reopen in February. & Downey Botswana, notes however the Ker & Downey Botswana’s latest camp, country’s biggest draw remains the watery Dinaka, located by the Central Kalahari wonderland of the Okavango Delta, where Game Reserve, will open in March 2018. timing is key. “While the rains in the Delta  Safaris: Duba Expedition Camp and Selinda traditionally fall during the Summer months

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Camp will run Wild Studio photography safaris in early 2018, while Pangolin Khwai Camp will host photography tours from March 2018. (pangolinphoto.com/safaris/pangolin-khwai-camp).

is high for the country which is also a “phenomenal” adventure destination. “Take a hot air balloon flight at Sossusvlei over the world’s tallest sand dunes; search for desert-adapted elephant and track critically endangered black rhino on foot in the Damaraland area; feel the breeze of the Atlantic ocean along the Skeleton Coast or visit a Himba settlement, one of the last true nomadic people on the planet.” Samuel Hancock, UK Sales and Marketing Director at Namibia Tourism Board says getting to Namibia “has never been easier” thanks to the current choice of flight options into Windhoek. “And with our fantastic selfdrive choices getting around is a breeze too. Also, there are a number of quality lodges currently being developed,” he added. Other key operators include Namibia Exclusive (namibia-exclusive.com) which operates four lodges in the country.

Where to book it

Top three

 AFRICA COLLECTION – 01403 256 655 A 12-day Botswana full service mobile tented safari is from £3,765pp and includes the Okovango Delta and Chobe National Park. Quote ‘Selling Travel’ for a 15% discount.

Desert dwellers: Track animals such as oryx and desert-adapted black rhino amid the stunning dunes and desertscapes. Picture perfect: Snap the dunes of Sossusvlei and rusting hulks of shipwrecks on the Skeleton Coast between wildlife sightings. Local tips: Interact with the locals including Himba, Damara and the San Bushmen of the Kalahari.

africacollection.com

Namibia Alongside its unique features such as the foreboding Skeleton Coast, ancient Namib desert and photogenic Dune Sea of Sossusvlei sits the wildlife-rich Etosha National Park, vast Fish River Canyon and fascinating habitats such as Damaraland and Kaokoland with their desert-adapted wildlife. Roberto Viviani, Business Manager Europe and UK at Wilderness Safaris, says demand

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“Be sure to do some hot air ballooning at Sossusvlei over the world’s tallest sand dunes, feel the breeze of the Atlantic ocean along the Skeleton Coast or visit a Himba settlement” ROBERTO VIVIANI, BUSINESS MANAGER EUROPE & UK AT WILDERNESS SAFARIS

What’s new  Lodges: The hotly anticipated Ship Wreck Lodge will open on the coast in the Skeleton Coast National Park next summer,

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featuring 12 shipwreck shaped chalets. Sossusvlei Lodge has just been refurbished and Wilderness Safaris is to close its Serra Cafema camp in Namibia’s north-west from January to mid-June 2018 for a major rebuild. ��Zambezi Mubala Lodge, part of The Gondwana Collection, will open in the Zambezi region in November.

Where to book it  G ADVENTURES – 0344 272 2040 The 21-day Southern Africa Highlights, a Nat Geo tour from Cape Town to Victoria Falls, features nine days in Namibia. From £,3773pp. gadventures.co.uk

Mozambique

Above: The new airport at Victoria Falls has resulted in an upsurge in tourist arrivals, South African Airways is among the carrier to fly there. Right: hyena

With its weakened infrastructure traditionally much of Mozambique’s appeal has relied on its excellent diving and laid-back resorts such as Tofo and Vilanculos but high-end resorts such as andBeyond’s Benguerra Island and swanky Vamizi Lodge have seriously helped to raise its international profile. Machangulo Beach Lodge is something of a beach paradise just a one-hour boat trip away from Maputo, Mozambique’s capital, or via air from Johannesburg. It is built on the dunes of the Santa Maria Peninsula, overlooking the channel between the mainland and Inhaca Island, nestled amongst untouched dune forests. Recently refurbished, activities include snorkelling, diving, fishing,

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whale watching and boat cruises. Lodges such as Nuarro (nuarro.com) offer affordable PADI certified dive courses while the shore of Lake Niassa (Lake Malawi) boasts the excellent Nkwichi lodge and vast Manda Wilderness (nkwichi.com). Another prime spot for wildlife is Gorongosa National Park where Muzimu, the first of a number of planned tented camps, will open in late 2017 (gorongosacollection.com). With new air services such as SA Airlink’s service to Vilanculos from Phinda, South Africa, and the government’s recent decision to start offering visitors 30-day Visas on arrival, its star is rising. Operators who have introduced Mozambique beach stay extensions recently include Ranch Rider which features Machangulo Beach Lodge stays, backed by visits to the Garonga Safari Camp and horseback safaris in Greater Makalali Game Reserve (ranchrider.com).

the town of Xai-Xai as well as Tofo and Vilanculos. From £1,485pp. acacia-africa.com  MACHANGULO BEACH LODGE – +27 13 744 0422

Specials for 2018 include 50% off for brides (plus VIP extras like massages), free night offers for stays of four nights or more and a pay for eight nights stay for ten deal, with free boat transfers. machangulobeachlodge.com 

Where to book it Above: Segways in Fancourt South Africa. Right: Sea views on the Mozambique coast

 ACACIA AFRICA – 020 7706 4700 14-day Mozambique & Zimbabwe Explorer camping overland tours now include coastal

St Helena Island’s unique character lies in contrasting and spectacular scenery, a rich cultural heritage and an environment exceptionally rich in biodiversity. Just a few of the reasons why adventure awaits at this remote jewel in the South Atlantic Ocean. The perfect destination for active exploration and discovery.

www.sthelenatourism.com @visit.sthelena

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@sthelenatourism

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Uzbekistan Silk Road splendour

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he very name Uzbekistan summons images of myth and legend, explorers and the historical Silk Road joining China to Europe, but now a new breed of adventurer is discovering it: the intrepid tourist, says Judith Baker

Not on the radar for UK travellers for many years, Uzbekistan, which became independent from The Soviet Union in 1991, is seeing a rise of interest. Several UK tour companies are reporting an upsurge in bookings to the region following the ‘comeback’ of Iran and an increase in adventure tours to exotic Asian destinations. Most travellers visit Uzbekistan as part of a wider tours of the Stans. Neighbouring Kyrgyzstan offers epic landscapes and a nomadic shepherd culture while less well-known Turkmenistan has more ancient cities and a fascinating past thanks to its prior dictatorship and bizarre personality cult. Other visitors opt to travel overland to China by train and join the Trans Siberian Express.

Top attractions David Pettitt from tailor-made specialist Pettitts says: "Spring and summer are probably the best times to visit Uzbekistan. We’ve noticed an increase in interest helped by an improved infrastructure. The high-speed Afrosiyob train between Samarkand and Tashkent is excellent." Samarkand’s Registan square was built between

Clockwise from top left: The Registan, or public square, Samarkand; the Tashkent television tower; locals in traditional Uzbek costume; Central Square in Tashkent

the 15th and 17th centuries and is Uzbekistan’s crowning glory: the three grand edifices here are among the world’s oldest and feature a wealth of azure ceramics with interiors of gold. The capital, Tashkent, mixes slick modern architecture with Soviet-style buildings. It's also said to have the most elegant metro stations in the world. With chandeliers, mosaics and mirrors they put the London Underground to shame! UNESCO World Heritage-listed Khiva is a walled open-air city and a living museum of the Silk Road, where it seems time has stood still.

Ceramics, clay figures, silk rugs and scarves are among the many affordable, beautiful and unique crafts available to buy in the bazaars.

What's new Uzbekistan plans to increase the number of highspeed trains in all its 14 regions, so all provinces will be connected to the capital. Already running between Tashkent-Samarkand-Shahrisabz and Bukhara, in the near future Khiva will be connected by the fast-train too. 

Rural charms

THE DETAILS

Outside the cities are exciting options such as yurt camp stays with the chance to take a camel ride, visit the ancient ruins of the Ayaz-Kala fortresses and time at a local folklore concert. The mountainous Ferghana Valley is famed for its silk production while the region of Chimgan, known as Uzbek Switzerland, offers mountains, lakes and juniper forests with activities including skiing and swimming. Other hooks include cuisine and crafts. Don’t miss the national rice-based dish plov (traditionally cooked by men) or the many varieties of decorated loaves (cooked by women).

Time Zone: GMT +5 Curency: The Uzbekistani Som, £1= 5,365.74UZS Visas: Visas are required for all nationalities and vary in price depending on the length of stay Getting there: uzairways.com; lufthansa. com; aeroflot.com; turkishairlines.com

Capital: Tashkent

Language: Uzbek Cilmate: Extreme continental climate with hot summers and cold winters. Coldest in south. Book It: Steppes Travel (steppestravel.com) has an 11-day Highlights of Uzbekistan tour from £2,175pp. The tailormade holiday is ideal for lovers of ancient history.

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my experience in sri lanka

Touring like a local in

SRI LANKA

Andy Jordan navigates the highways and byways of Sri Lanka, taking in ancient civilisations, wildlife and nature

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f you are thinking of touring Sri Lanka, it’s worth remembering the one rule of the road – here, size definitely matters. The bigger the vehicle, the more right of way you have. Perhaps it’s no surprise that the country’s hotels and resorts pride themselves on relaxation, since getting to them can certainly be a white-knuckle adventure. Our journey begins with two nights at the beachfront Taj Samudra in Colombo – the perfect place to get suitably de-stressed in preparation for the road ahead. Settling gently in, my first excursion into the bustling heart of the capital includes major sights such as Independence Square, its delightfully faded Dutch colonial buildings and exotic temples. As a Brit abroad, it seems only right and proper to stop at the Dutch hospital for the ‘best tea in the world’.

A really sweet cuppa is also what’s needed after the four-hour journey inland to Cinnamon Wild in Yala National Park. It’s my first exposure to Sri Lanka’s roads, where trucks and buses confidently overtake in gaps that don’t really exist. Fearless locals in tuk tuks weave wildly and the air is filled with a constant yelp of horns warning vehicles ahead to yield. Seatbelts are a must! I break my journey in the beautiful port city of Galle. Famed for its abundance of colourful fishing boats, it is hard to imagine that the town was devastated by the 2004 tsunami. But that tragic event is now just history, and part of the fascinating walking tour that delves as far back as the country’s British and Dutch occupation. With traffic improving we make good time and arrive at Cinnamon Wild by dusk. The tranquil resort nestles next to a large lake

with jungle villas scattered amongst the trees. We are up before dawn in eager anticipation of our first safari and the wildlife that awaits. Unfortunately, the leopards and elephants stay hidden but there is an abundance of other wildlife on view. Later, our relaxing evening is interrupted by the arrival of an inquisitive family of wild boar outside our room and a meandering elephant that decides to wander through the grounds.

Tea time Our next home appears to be floating in the clouds. The beautiful Heritance Tea Factory Hotel has been lovingly converted into a topclass hotel, with immaculate grounds, stunning views and great food. The chance to dine in a vintage train carriage adds an extra touch of colonial chic.

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We experience a real train the next day, with a three-hour ride that weaves its way steadily to Kandy. The third-class seated accommodation is charmingly authentic. Earls Regency Hotel welcomes us to this holy city. Perched high up on a hill it offers great views of the valley below. The Temple of the Tooth relic in Kandy is the destination for many pilgrims as they worship at the seat of the Buddhist faith. This bustling temple is devoted to Buddha and it feels a little intrusive to be a tourist, but in the true spirit of their faith we never once feel unwelcome.

Way up high Acclaimed Sri Lankan architect Geoffrey Bawa designed the Heritage Kandalama hotel, which is our home for three nights. Wrapped around a mountain, this amazing feat of engineering has been consumed by the jungle. Water is all around with a huge lake in front of the hotel and three pools including one fashioned out of the black natural rock.

Pictured: Meeting the locals and stopping to soak up amazing sights and scenery on our journey around Sri Lanka

The early morning climb to the top of Sigiriya features 1,000 perilous steps but once at the top a mini Machu Picchu is revealed, with evidence of highly sophisticated and ingenious buildings. Our descent, at around 08.30, is hampered by the ascent of crowds of Chinese tourists – I would recommend getting here early. The next day sees our second safari and Minneriya National Park doesn’t disappoint. There are super herds of elephant and far fewer jeeps, which makes the park a serene and unforgettable experience. En route to the coast and our final stop, we visit Polonnaruwa. Reminiscent of the ruins occupied by King Louie in Jungle Book, these wonders were rediscovered some 500 years ago and are perfectly preserved. Some much needed rest and relaxation comes at the Uga Bay Resort in Passekudah. The gates slowly open to reveal a beautiful view through the reception, past the infinity pool to the sparkling blue ocean beyond. Our evening meal is under the stars on the terrace and the food is incredible – sumptuous local curries, exceptional seafood and indulgent desserts. 

Top tips Flight of fancy Direct return flights to Colombo with Sri Lankan Airlines offer the shortest flight time and minimise jet lag. There is a 90-minute stopover in the Maldives on the outbound flight but the return 12-hour flight is direct. srilankan.com Cash is king Take sterling as it is far easier to change currency than to withdraw from ATMs. Day of rest Every month on a full moon there is no alcohol sold all day. Be prepared! Far from the madding crowd Often overlooked by regular travellers in favour of the west or southwest coast, Uga Bay has the huge benefit of a calm sea and a gentle sloping beach. It can be a base for the day trips to Sigiriya, Polonnaruwa and Minneriya.

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sandy escapes

Whether your client is looking for castaway cool or a chance for seaside adventure, Asia’s exotic beaches have it, says Clare Walsh

A

sia’s beaches range from exclusive stretches of sand fronted by fivestar hotels to hippie-at-heart enclaves with legendary beach bum-status. There are lively resorts with thumping night clubs and virtually deserted islands where diving and dining is the main event.

Thailand Phuket, on the Andaman Sea side of Thailand is home to some of the country’s most popular beaches and clients looking to sizzle in luxury will find many high end resorts, spas and restaurants, while partygoers should be pointed towards Patong, the island’s largest town and busiest beach. The province of Krabi is quieter but offers dramatic limestone karst scenery and a mix of luxury and budget resorts. Lying between the two are many more islands, and hopping between them is a great recommendation to explore rather than flop. Islands range from laid-back Koh Lanta, which has luxury resorts like Layana Resort and Spa and Pimalai, to untamed backpacker spot Koh Jum and the more remote Koh Lipe, which has some boutique options like Serendipity Resort. On the Gulf of Thailand side Koh Samui offers a great summer holidays weather for families as well as a huge range of accommodation and attractions. Koh Pha Ngan is a party mecca with

a chilled out north and Koh Tao is a favourite for divers. Mainland Hua Hin and Cha Am are quiet escapes and benefit from their close proximity to Bangkok, as does local’s favourite Koh Samet. Up and coming Koh Chang is closer to Cambodia for those doing a twin-centre. Sell it: Hayes and Jarvis (hayesandjarvis.co.uk) offer 12 nights from £2,099pp. Four nights for the price of three at the five-star Zeavola, in Phi Phi Don, half-board, followed by four nights at the five-star The Slate, in Phuket, B&B and four nights at the fou- star Santhiya Koh Yao Yai, half-board, including return flights from Gatwick.

Cambodia Cambodia is a great option for clients looking to combine a cultural break with some post-temple beach flopping. Sihanoukville was Cambodia’s first beach resort and tour operators have recently reported an upsurge in bookings here. The Serendipity Beach area is still a favourite of partying backpackers, but the far south end of the town at Otres Beach boasts more of a mellow vibe with luxurious boutique resorts tempting those in search of five-star luxury. Sihanoukville is also the gateway to Cambodia’s enchanting islands such as Koh Rong and Koh Rong Samloem, both offering powder sand beaches and lush tropical forests.

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Development is underway which will offer an alternative to the private high-end resort of Song Saa, just off Koh Rong. 2018 will see the opening of Alila Villas Koh Russey which will feature 50 Pavilions and 13 villas with butler service. Also set to open in April 2018 is Six Senses Spa Krabey Island. Featuring 40 private pool villas, wellness will be a key feature offering ancient Cambodian healing traditions and a meditation cave. There will also be an outdoor cinema and observatory offering stargazing sessions. Sell it: Western and Oriental (westernoriental.com) offers seven nights at Song Saa from £3,459pp based on two adults sharing a Jungle One Bedroom Villa including return international flights and transfers.

Bali The beach offerings of this Indonesian paradise island are vast, from white sand coasts in the south to the cliff-guarded shores of Uluwata, to the black sand beaches of the north and west. Often with local villages nearby, many beaches offer a look into Balinese life. Surfers initially discovered many of the island’s beaches, like Black-sand Balian Beach, which boasts pounding surf, rolling dunes and exquisite sunsets and remains one of the quieter beaches in Bali with no tourist shops. Sophisticated Seminyak Beach at the southern end of the island features wide open stretches and beachside resorts, boutiques, slick bars and top dining spots; Kuta Beach is the most popular of Bali’s beaches and a party hot spot; while those in search of a romantic sandy spot should head to Amed on the southeastern coast of Bali, or black sand Lovina. Sell it: Travel 2 (travel2.com) has eight nights at the five-star Alila Seminyak Bali B&B from £1,299pp. Includes return flights and resort transfers.

VOTE NOW! Choose your favourite training event or roadshow sellingtravel.co.uk/awards Clockwise from top left: Camodia’s most exclusive resort, Song Saa; Bali’s Monkey Forest; longtail boats are the main transport in the Thai islands; a fruit seller in Bali

Vietnam With over 2,000 miles of coastline, Vietnam overwhelms with its choice of beaches. Bursting with luxury resorts, budget bungalows and everything in between, it has had a surge in popularity in recent years. Nha Trang City is Vietnam’s iconic beach destination. Six kilometers of sand offer plenty of opportunity for flopping, while its cafes and restaurants offer numerous options for refreshment. Also boasting some of the best diving in the South China Sea, it features hard and soft coral reefs, caves and tropical fish. Photogenic Phu Quoc stuns with island charm. Surrounded by wild thick jungle and impossibly white sand, clients looking for real escapism should head here. Sprawled across the west coast of Phu Quoc Island, it offers postcard perfection with swaying coconut palms and epic sunsets. Danang is known for its surfing and scuba diving, while Doc Let is largely undeveloped offering a real escape from the crowds. Con Dao is a collection of islands set in a protected marine park known for sweeping beaches and iridescent waters.

“Photogenic Phu Quoc stuns with island charm. Surrounded by wild thick jungle and impossibly white sand, clients looking for real escapism should head here”

Sell it: Oxford Private Travel (oxfordprivatetravel.com) offers seven nights in a Garden View Villa on a bed and breakfast basis at The Anam, including return flights and transfers costs from £1,650 per person, based on two people sharing. The Anam opened in April 2017 and is Vietnam’s first five-star colonial beach resort.

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Philippines

Malaysia

This archipelago has myriad beach options but its most well-established is Boracay, thanks to its incredibly white sand and large choice of top resorts including ShangriLa. Offering a less bustling but no less stunning alternative is the island of Palawan, which rivals Thailand’s Andaman Islands for its limestone karsts scenery and offers divers reefs and wrecks in abundance. Off the island of Cebu are smaller islands offering great sand and sun escapes: Bohol with its Tellytubbyland-like Chocolate Hills inland, Malapascua with its impressive diving sites and Bantayan’s talcum powder beaches. Surfers head to Siargao which has pristine beaches and breaks for beginners up to pros looking for three-metres-high waves. Up-and-coming Negros has a rugged mountain interior and unspoiled beaches.

Bordering Thailand, Langkawi is synonymous with luxury and has a large range of resorts including five-star options like Four Seasons Resort Langkawi. If Langkawi is for travellers who want to flop then Penang, further south on Malyasia’s west coast is great for those who want some cultural interest. The island’s capital Georgetown has striking colonial buildings and influences from India, China and beyond which make for a great street food scene. Even further south and much closer to Kuala Lumpur is Pangkor and Pangkor Laut, the latter of which has an eponymous five-star resort. Lesser-known, the beautiful white sand beaches of the Perhentian Islands off the northeast coast of Malyasia are still a backpacker haven but have a rising stock of great four-star options. A little further south and catering for a more up-market crowd is the Rendang Peninsula and its nine islands set in a marine park.

Sell it: Intrepid (intrepidtravel.com) offers the nine-day Philippines Palawan Island Getaway from £1,195. The trip takes in Manila before moving to Palwan’a Puerto Princesa, San Rafael Beach and the limestone kingdom of El Nido.

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Sell it: Premier Holidays (premierholidays.co.uk) offers the four-star Berjaya Langkawi Resort which has four restaurants and four bars, for seven nights from £859pp, with flights.  Above: Mövenpick Hotel Mactan Island Cebu

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the quirky side of travel – airline rage, Japan japes and airport hell – Rage over space invaders Over a third of Brits admit that fellow airline passengers who recline their seats too far back are the most likely to cause annoyance, according to a survey by HolidayExtras.com. The second biggest bugbear was travellers who kick the back of the seat, but patience varies. Over a fifth of people declared that 15 minutes of seat kicking would be their limit before they made a complaint and just over a quarter admitted that it would only take a couple of minutes before they let rip. Twenty-nine per cent of people would take matters into their own hands by complaining to the individual rather than to cabin crew, but if a child was the culprit the number fell to 6% - wimps!

TOP 6… Turkey's best bits

holidayextras.com

Jessica heads to Japan As North Korea's despotic leader threatened peace in the Pacific, Selling Travel's intrepid new Editorial Assistant, Jessica Pook, headed to Tokyo for the Visit Japan Travel & MICE Mart (VJTM) on her first long haul assignment. She then headed to Hokkaido to enjoy stunning autumn colours and a clear night sky from a traditional onsen bath with a strict noclothes policy - eek! Look out for her report in the next issue. vjtm.jp; seejapan.co.uk

Turkish expert Spot Blue (spotblue.com) shared a few things Turkey Is famous for:

1

Shisha

2

Cats

3

Hazelnuts

4

Carpets

5

Devil eyes

6

Coffee

HELLsinki hype Ever felt trapped in an airport? Chinese influencer Ryan Zhu will be living that hell for 30 days (starting October 10) as he moves to a cabin in Helsinki Airport. Just like Tom Hanks in The Terminal, he will be trying to make a home in a place visited by thousands of people every day, with his experience broadcast on social media in an attempt to prove Helsinki as the world's best airport. If you're feeling creepy, watch him here: ifeinhel.tv

THE NOVEMBER 2017 ISSUE OF SELLING TRAVEL WILL FEATURE: • World Travel Market preview • Middle East adventures & excursions • Mediterranean summer sun • Japan • New Hampshire • Costa Rica • Introducing: Kiev • Philippines • New England • Caribbean update • Indian Ocean romance • Special luxury Canada section • 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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Selling Travel October 2017  

The World in one Magazine Cover Story: Philadelphia Read more on Oman, Tahiti, New Zealand, Asian beaches, Southern Africa, Christmas market...