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TRUE COLOURS There's plenty more to Peru than Machu Picchu - think desert, mountains, jungle and beaches

how to sell...

Malta Mauritius Seychelles The Gambia Southern Florida and more...

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this issue - we travel further to bring you more FEATURES 8 Peru: From the Andes to the Amazon

15 Victoria: Touring one of 30 36 42 53 57 64 68 78


Aussie's smallest states Seychelles: Island life Gambia: West Africa's happiest nation? Malta: Mediterranean trio in focus South Pacific: Choosing the right island Southern Florida: The end of the line Mauritius: Visitor numbers are on the up QuĂŠbec: Skiing in Tremblant USA: Washington State: Coffee and coastal drives






36 30



8 64 15



QUICK READS 14 Talking Travel: Riviera Travel

40 Get away to: Phuket 52 Provincial Profile: 62 72 73 76



Alberta Visit USA: News Talking Travel: Papua New Guinea How to sell: South Korea My Journey: Iceland



THE REVIEW 45 Top news stories TALKING SHOP 19 News, competitions, incentives & fam







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

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Travel Trade Publication of the Year

Travel Trade Publication of the Year

Proudly published by BMI Publishing Ltd 2017


© 2017.

Suffolk House, George St, Croydon, Surrey, CR9 1SR, UK T 020 8649 7233 | F 020 8649 7234 Publishers: Steve Thompson & Sally Parker Commercial Director: David Clare Editorial Director: Steve Hartridge Deputy Editor: Laura Gelder Staff Journalists: Ben Coren Jessica Pook 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:


– dedicated to those who love selling travel –


rawling through various web-based travel sites this month I came across a piece that struck a chord. Its essential hypothesis was this: despite the huge growth of onsite booking sites, tools and apps the best option for booking a complicated travel itinerary remains a travel agent. As advanced and tech-savvy as they might be, the travel booking sites still, at their core, lack both the functionality and the flexibility to find the best deals out there – and offer the best alternatives – on trips that have a host of variables attached. For example - and stick with this – what if you have a client who wants to spend a week in a city in one of the Southern U.S. states but then wants to add on a second week in the Caribbean that takes in two islands, one that is English-speaking Steve Hartridge the other with Dutch cultural influences. EDITOR Let’s complicate it a bit more and say that the U.S. city must be within three hours’ driving time of one of the region’s gateway airports and that the Caribbean islands must offer five-star properties on the beach with an extensive programme of activities for kids. Finally – because I could spin this out for several more paragraphs! – what if that same client didn’t have a preference as to whether the U.S. city was first or second up in the fortnight’s itinerary? How many separate web searches would it take to come up with all the options for such a holiday? And would the client be really comfortable with a list produced from algorithms? Quite simply, fleshand-blood proactive and well-travelled travel agents will always hold an edge over a Silicon Valleyproduced 'tool'. Finally, the Selling Travel Agents Choice Awards 2017 are our biggest and best yet. If you haven't yet voted, please do! You could even win a trip to the Philippines. And don’t forget our two awards speed-networking events in London and Manchester next month. For all the details see pages 20-24.


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Creating memories across North America and beyond

The Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise, Canada

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the big picture

Nashville Tennessee, USA

Music City

It’s long been a place where country singers go to seek fame and fortune, with nothing but a guitar and a dream. Today Nashville, Tennessee, is a hotbed of music genres, from bluegrass to jazz, country to classical. Or catch some cowboy honky tonk tunes at one of more than 100 live venues. From May 2018, British Airways will y there direct from Heathrow.

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Main image: Inca face statue in Agua Calientes city, Peru

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Amazon Andes to

To say that there’s more to Peru than Machu Picchu and the Inca Trail is like pointing out that its famous fictional bear, Paddington, is partial to marmalade, says Ben Lerwill


ven if it weren’t for the dizzy altitude at which it sits, Cusco’s Mercado de San Pedro would still leave me feeling slightly giddy. The stalls here – heaped with oranges and orchids, ponchos, pineapples, incense and intestines – sit at some 3,400 metres above sea level. Combined with the piped music playing incessantly above shoppers’ heads, the market creates an archetypically Peruvian jumble of smells, sounds and colours – but reader sensitivity prevents me from describing the details of the guinea-pig stall. I walk the aisles in a daze, still acclimatising to arriving in the Andean highlands. The week ahead holds mountain hikes and lost cities, but for now I am wandering Cusco itself, the one-time Incan capital. Outside, women in vivid traditional dress lead llamas across the square, posing for photos for a few coins at a time. I find a restaurant that serves just one dish, but serves it exceptionally well – fried pork cuts with mint, lime juice and corn – and feel fortunate

to be here, passing the hours away in this rainbow-striped city in the mountains. In the afternoon I visit Coricancha, the temple complex that the Incas considered to be the heart of the world. There was a time, before the conquistadors arrived, when the walls and doors here were covered in pure gold. Its history means that even today the place somehow seems to shine.

Leading light International visitor numbers to Peru have more than tripled since the year 2000. The introduction of direct British Airways flights from Gatwick to Lima in 2016, meanwhile, helped annual arrivals from the UK climb almost 10% last year to 69,301. “Peru has gone from strength to strength and is leading the South American revival,” says Graeme Bull, Product Manager at Abercrombie & Kent. “Its gastronomy is making headlines on a global scale and it’s no longer the one-stop shop of people just wanting to tick Machu Picchu off their

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Latin America closer than ever.


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: or call: 08714230717

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bucket lists. It has desert, mountains, jungles and beaches, so it’s developed into a destination offering something for all tastes.” Mike Bride at Distinctive Americas, which does more than 90% of its Latin America business through the trade, agrees. “This year has been a fantastic year for Peru,” he says. “With new air links and fantastic new hotels and trains, there’s plenty to be excited about. Its diversity means it’s perfect for first-time visitors to Latin America – and Lima is becoming a real draw for foodies.” The destination continues to evolve. Recent attention has fallen on new regulations around visiting Machu Picchu and the inauguration of attractions such as the Kuélap cable car and the Belmond Andean Explorer train (see What’s New). On a less marketable note, a state of emergency was declared in Cusco and Puno in July after disturbances related to a teachers’ strike, although the tourist board says things have returned to normal. In the meantime, inbound visitors remain drawn by the country’s heady mix of Andes, Amazon and a rich cultural appeal. “Peru has been propelled to the top of desirable Latin American destinations,” says Megan Greaves, Executive Manager at LATA. “With British travellers now visiting more than ever, the tourism outlook for the remainder of 2017 and early 2018 looks positive.”

Perfect ten Holy water: Visit Lake Titicaca, the world’s highest navigable body of water and, according to Incan belief, the birthplace of the sun and the moon. See the floating reed islands. A different way: Walking to Machu Picchu doesn’t have to involve the often overcrowded Inca Trail. Spectacular alternatives exist, including the longer and far quieter Choquequirao Trail.

Clockwise from top left: Peruvian cuisine is world-renowned; Islas Ballestas near Pisco is a wildlife-rich group of islands; the colonial splendour of Lima’s main square; the walled settlement of Kuélap in Peru’s Amazonas region


Fine lines: View the incredible mystical Handicraft markets: As well as geometry of the Nazca Lines from above rainbow-coloured textiles you’ll find on a scenic desert flight. The lines are thought everything from lamas to lamps. Pisac in the to have been made around 1,500 years ago by a Sacred Valley holds an artisan market every pre-Incan civilisation. Sunday which draws hundreds of vendors. Wild wonders: Venture into the The big smoke: Lima’s eclectic Peruvian Amazon for the chance to spot neighbourhoods range from its colonial giant otter, caiman and heart, Lima Centro, to capybara in their modern Miraflores, “Lima continues to be a real where tourists shop by rainforest habitat. Dune day and party by night. magnet for foodies, with adventures: The capital is CENTRAL, Maido and Astrid developing quite a The lagoon of y Gastón all retaining their culinary scene and has Huacachina is a desert oasis that attracts status in this year’s World’s 50 plenty of ‘Cevicherias’ dune-buggy riders and to keep those taste Best Restaurants list” sandboarders. buds tingling. ELISABETH HAKIM, Eat ceviche: PROMPERÚ What’s new Peru’s most  Ticketing: Entry famous dish now conditions to Machu Picchu changed in winning over fans in the UK is refreshing, July. Visitors can now only enter with an delicious and healthy– try fresh fish soaked in official tour guide, with tickets granting chillies and lime juice. Cuzco and Sacred Valley: Incas called entry either for the morning (from 06.00 this spot the belly button of the world to noon) or the afternoon (from noon to and Cuzco today still holds the key to ancient 17.30pm). Group sizes are limited to 16. Andean culture. The countryside beyond ranges  Attractions: The Belmond Andean Explorer ( was inaugurated earlier this year from towering high peaks to orchid-rich cloud and is billed as South America’s first luxury forests. Highs and lows: Arequipa is a colonial sleeper train. It travels between Cusco and the city packed with museums and churches. UNESCO-listed city of Arequipa via Lake Titicaca The nearby Colca Canyon is one of the deepest and Colca Canyon, and features five-star cabins in the world, more than twice as deep as the and high-end dining. The journey, which can be Grand Canyon. done in either direction, takes two nights.

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Which is your top destination for wildlife & nature? Clockwise from above: Three condors at Colca Canyon; the upmarket Miraflores district of Lima; a young girl from the Bora Tribe near Iquitos; Machu Picchu

The new Kuélap Cable Car gives access to “With the travel agent in mind, we’ve created a an ancient site billed as ‘the second Machu tool called ‘Peru Agent’s Sales Companion’ which Picchu’, a settlement built by the Chachapoyas is a free app available to help travel professionals between the sixth and 16th centuries. generate demand and convert bookings for Peru. The cable car covers two and a half miles and “It works on both IOS and Android devices and is based in the Amazonas region in Peru’s north. the platform features new and shareable content Inkaterra ( opened its Amazonian as well as insider tips, videos, itineraries, and research centre to guests in June, letting brochures. It makes selling Peru much easier!” travellers explore the Tambopata National Elisabeth Hakim, Incoming Tourism Coordinator Reserve. Meanwhile, Peru’s spectacled bears UK & North America, PROMPERÚ will be in the spotlight again when Paddington Where to book it 2 is released in UK cinemas in November.  JOURNEY LATIN AMERICA – 020 8600 1881  Flights: British Airways ( The operator runs 21-day small-group tours has announced that its direct service from in Peru priced from £3,778pp. The deal Gatwick to Lima will be suspended over the includes all flights, transfers, accommodation coming winter season, and will commence and some meals. The again in March 2018. Condor: Peru In Depth As of July, LATAM (latam. com) started flying a itinerary focuses on “Small boutique hotels non-stop domestic exploring Peru’s natural popping up across Lima and landscapes and takes route between Cusco and Trujillo, making it guests to the desert, Cusco are fast adding to easier to combine the Andes and Amazon. Peru’s unrivalled mix of north and south of Peru. traditional properties, popular  TRAVEL 2 –  Cruising: Delfin Amazon Cruises for their traditional charm” 0800 0224 182 ( A seven-day Wonders MIKE BRIDE, DISTINCTIVE AMERICAS unveiled a new vessel of Peru independent in May. Delfin III holds tour from £2,149 per 43 passengers and person, including has begun cruising on the Peruvian Amazon. return flights, valid for travel from September to November 2017. It’s now also possible Tourism talk to add a two-day Nazca Lines extension “Peru has always from £540 per person.  DISTINCTIVE AMERICAS – 01242 890 555 been a popular The operator has a 16-day Classic Peru destination for UK travellers. However, over the last few itinerary priced from £4,195pp and including all flights, transfers, accommodation, years we have seen a move away from excursions and breakfasts. The itinerary Machu Picchu towards other lesser-known takes in Lima, Arequipa, the Colca Canyon, areas. Visitors are becoming more and Lake Titicaca, Cusco, the Sacred Valley and more interested in finding alternative and Machu Picchu.  authentic local experiences. We aim to increase consumer demand through advertising WHO FLIES THERE and will continue working closely with the travel;;;; trade, especially LATA, to educate agents on;;; destination news and tourism offerings in Peru.

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talking travel

WITH ...

Riviera Travel Riviera Travel’s Head of Agency Sales, Joseph Grimley, spends much of his time on the road across the UK meeting with agents. Laura Gelder pins him down for a chat about travel What do travel agents mean to Riviera and how do you work with them? Travel agents mean a great deal to us. We have been working with independent agents for a relatively short time (just over five years) and in that time we have forged some fantastic relationships. Our year-on-year growth continues on an upwards trajectory as more and more agents are recommending our products to their customers and enjoying the benefits of our exceptionally high repeat booking rate.

What sets Riviera apart from other escorted tour operators and why should agents choose you? In terms of escorted tours, more customers from the UK now choose Riviera Travel than any of our competitors. We offer unrivalled value for money when you look at what’s included and the standard of the accommodation and tour managers. We are a very profitable business so we don’t need to cut corners to save money.

Tell us about your most recent new products. We have recently launched a number of new products. I’m particularly excited about our dedicated Solo Traveller programme, which we have expanded considerably. We have

introduced a standalone brochure of 14 tours, ranging from short escorted breaks to worldwide adventures. Solo travellers holiday with likeminded people, in their own double/twin room, with excursions escorted by one of our exceptional tour managers include.

What do you forecast for the escorted touring market? I predict it will continue to grow. People are becoming more adventurous, but still like to travel in comfort in a safe group environment, and appreciate someone else doing the planning for them. Having a tour manager really makes a difference to their experience of the destination – a guidebook can give you the facts, but a tour manager will give you the story.

What’s your favourite Riviera tour and which one are you itching to try? My favourite tour has to be Classical Spain. I love to eat out in restaurants abroad and this tour is on a B&B basis. I particularly love the restaurants and tapas bars of Seville. For many the highlight is the Alhambra Palace, but for me this is trumped by the amazing Mezquita at Cordoba. The tour I’d most like to try is Peru. I have always had Machu Picchu on my bucket list. 

“I predict that escorted touring will continue to grow. People are becoming more adventurous, but like to travel in comfort in a safe group”

Company history

Riviera Travel started out in the 1980s by selling holidays through newspaper travel club offers. It began selling through the trade in 2012. It is currently the UK’s largest overseas escorted tour operator and river cruise provider, overtaking Viking this year.

USP/Specialist areas

Escorted tours and river cruising. Also dedicated brochures for solo travel, yacht cruising in Dalmatia (Croatia), tall ship cruising, small ship cruising in the Mediterranean and India by luxury train.

BOOK IT WITH RIVIERA TRAVEL The New York City for Solo Travellers trip is a fiveday trip priced from £1,599pp. It includes flights with Aer Lingus via Dublin (meaning you clear U.S. immigration in Ireland), accommodation in the heart of NYC, with views of the Empire State Building, the services of a local guide and highlights like Central Park, the Freedom Tower and Statue of Liberty. – 01283 888 500

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touring victoria


distraction driven to

With a magnificent coastline, rainforest, bush and mountains, plus plenty of fine wining and dining, Victoria is perfect for a touring holiday in Australia, says Jo Austin


ictoria is currently attracting record tourism numbers and the state is expecting a further surge with the fourth Test of the next Ashes cricket tour being held on Boxing Day at Melbourne Cricket Ground. Roughly the size of the British Isles, Victoria is astoundingly diverse and selfdrive holidays are hugely rewarding thanks to great views and wide-open roads. Within two hours of the state’s capital, Melbourne, visitors have access to many of the state’s – and Australia’s –, must-do experiences. Claire Golding, Visit Victoria Regional Manager, UK and Europe, cites the huge diversity of

experiences on offer within an easy drive from Melbourne. She recommends: “Start in Melbourne, a vibrant, cosmopolitan and cultural city that’s brimming with cool cafes and bars and a world-class dining scene. Drive one of the world’s most iconic routes – the Great Ocean Road – for outstanding wildlife, world-class surf beaches and, of course, the 12 Apostles. Head to the Grampians National Park for its wildlife and indigenous heritage, to the Mornington Peninsula and Yarra Valley for outstanding wine tasting and cellar door experiences, to Phillip Island for it’s famous penguin parade, or to Wilsons Promontory for it wildlife and beaches.” Within Victoria’s boundaries are 35 national


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touring victoria

which is fiercely proud of home-grown talent. Attica has just been ranked in the World’s Best 50 restaurants but the city is positively brimming with fantastic eateries, from cheap and cheerful to cordon bleu. Melbourne is also known as the coffee capital of Australia and takes its beans very seriously – you can’t just ask for a latte with out further questions. The city is walkable and cycle friendly, stretching around the Yarra River and encompassing some great parks. New product: QT Melbourne is the city’s newest designer hotel. The eclectic property offers 200 rooms, 24 lifestyle apartments, a signature grill and two on-site bars, one on the roof and one inspired by the city’s Laneway music festival.

Yarra Valley & the Dandenong Ranges

“New for 2017 from Travel 2 is the Melbourne by bike tour, which is a great way to get to know the city. Also, the Yarra Valley Wine Experience takes clients to some of the most spectacular wines” RACHEL MCMURDO, ASSISTANT PRODUCT MANAGER, OCEANIA, TRAVEL 2

parks, featuring every possible terrain, from rainforest and mountain ranges to outback desert and a coast, both of calm sandy beaches and rugged sandstone outcroppings pounded by waves. It is also home to the outstanding Great Ocean Road coastal drive. Victoria is the smallest state in mainland Australia but it is also the country’s largest food exporter. This status has spawned a huge foodie culture which seeps into cosmopolitan Melbourne and small rural towns alike. Victoria is a cycle-friendly state, with Melbourne leading the way as a cyclist’s city in Australia and well-worn cycle trails also criss-crossing across the state’s wine region. The Murray to Mountains Rail Trail in North East Victoria travels directly through the wine regions of the King Valley, Alpine Valley, Milawa and Rutherglen to form the basis for Tour de Vines cycling tours in Victoria (

The Yarra Valley is known as the home of the state’s great food and wine producers and is a ‘must-do’ drive itinerary, if only to visit some of the valley’s 160 vineyards. A popular way to see the area is by hot air balloon, with sunrise the optimum time to drift over the rolling landscape. The area is also home to many craft breweries and has a long history of producing cider – those who are interested can follow the Cider and Ale Trail. The Dandenong Ranges are much loved for their scenic winding roads, abundant artist studios, craft stores and gardens. Top tip: The Healesville Sanctuary in the Yarra Valley, just one hour from Melbourne, is home to free roaming koalas and platypus.

Mornington Peninsula A world away from Melbourne, although only a short drive, is Mornington Peninsula. Here, relaxed coastal living is at its best combined with excellent wineries, golf courses, hot springs and spas and endless opportunities for walking, biking and surfing. Local communities pride


Clockwise from top left: Stopping to see Mount Abrupt in the Grampians; a lavender farm in the Mornington Peninsula; the Yarra Ranges National Park; lunch in Gippsland; graffiti on a Melbourne street art tour

This vibrant, cosmopolitan, easy-going city bursts with eclectic energy, so no wonder then that it has been named the most liveable city in the world for six consecutive years. Distinct regions range from hippie beach enclave St Kilda to hipster Fitzroy with its bearded baristas. Independent boutiques, restaurants, cafes and bars abound in Melbourne,


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touring victoria

themselves in their local produce at the country markets including cherries, chocolates, cheeses, olive oil and lavender and there are over 50 vineyards spread throughout the region. The beaches are famous for their colourful bathing boxes. The Peninsula’s newest attraction is the Arthurs Seat Eagle gondola ( that takes visitors to the top of Arthur’s Seat giving spectacular views of the entire State Park. New product: Jackalope ( is a brand-new design hotel built within the vineyards of Mornington Peninsula, comprising 46 luxury rooms and a 30-metre infinity pool. Jackalope offers immersive wine and culinary experiences.

Phillip Island Less than an easy two-hour drive from Melbourne, Phillip Island is known for its stunning coastlines, great beaches, friendly and accessible wildlife and its Grand Prix race track. The island has a fantastic range of accommodation, particularly suited to families and ranging from self-catering up to top-end luxury lodges. The biggest attraction on Phillip Island is the Penguin Parade. Experience the homecoming of Australia’s largest colony of Little Penguins, as they battle the elements to bring home the bacon (or fish) each night. The visitor centre has a huge viewing theatre facing the beach as well as walkways over the penguin burrows. The ocean is also home to huge colonies of fur seals and boasts whale-watching as an annual attraction. Sell it: Austravel’s four-day self-drive trip, Discover Victoria, takes in Melbourne, the Yarra Valley, Phillip Island and Mornington Peninsula. It is priced from £319pp for three-star accommodation.

The Great Ocean Road Australia’s greatest road trip, the Great Ocean Road, is as much about a spectacular journey as

it is the destination. It was built over 13 years by 3,000 Australian soldiers and sailors who had returned from fighting in the First World War and was constructed to commemorate their fallen comrades. Stretching 151 miles, this famous coastal drives starts one hour from Melbourne, before snaking westwards all the way to the spectacular rocky outcrops of the 12 Apostles, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and the South Australian border. Drivers need to make regular stops to take in the spectacular views of the Southern Ocean. Kangaroos, koalas, wombats, whales and even platypus can be spotted along the journey, which also takes in rainforests, pretty coastal towns, fabulous restaurants and numerous indigenous cultural sites. Top tip: Around 20 minutes’ drive from Lorne you will arrive at Kennett River. Stop here and follow the ‘koala walk’, which is one of top places to find wild koalas snoozing and eating high up in gum trees.


“While in Melbourne it is worth visiting the National Gallery,Federation Square and Old Melbourne Gaol. Get out with locals on the Hidden Secrets morning tour to find those gems that only the locals know about – like a tiny coffee shop with some of the best baristas in the city” REBECCA TURNER, SENIOR PRODUCT MANAGER ASIA AND AUSTRALIA, GOLD MEDAL

Melbourne to Sydney via Gippland

Working up the coast from Melbourne is an 857-mile-long route that takes in some of Australia’s very best and hidden beaches. Highlights in the Gippsland region include the Gippsland Lakes, with their lagoons and marshes packed with wildlife, scenic waterways, and Wilsons Promontory – otherwise known as ‘The Prom’ – at the southernmost tip of mainland Australia. Here, visitors can enjoy free rein amongst huge granite mountains, open forest, rainforest and sweeping beaches. Sell it: An exciting way to see The Prom is via a scenic helicopter flight. Promhelis ( au) offers five options, starting at $85pp for eight minutes over Shallow Inlet. For the ultimate ride, the 45-minute trip up to Wilsons Promontory and surrounding islands, comes in at $495. 

VOTE NOW! Where in the world is your favourite beach destination? From left: an old and battered building in the Goldfields region; hiking in the Yarra Ranges National Park; a vespa parked up in Fitzroy, Melbourne


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Award-winning holidays for solo travellers Travel with like-minded people

Sociable or independent

More than a fifth of Saga’s customers travel solo, so whether they’re travelling independently, with a friend but prefer their own room or want a sociable holiday with a group who share similar interests, we have the perfect holiday.

• Our solo hosts and tour managers are on hand to create a friendly and sociable atmosphere.

So much included in the price • We take care of all the details, from return travel to visas (if required). • VIP door-to-door travel service included on all worldwide holidays and selected European tours. • A range of excursions on selected holidays. • Optional travel insurance provided by Cigna Insurance Services (Europe) Limited and additional cancellation rights, unless your customer has their own in which case a reduction is available – cover is subject to medical questions.

Award-winning holidays • Voted best singles holiday company at the British Travel awards for the third year in a row!

Step aboard a cruise • Many single cabins at no extra cost on our river cruises, as well as departures exclusively for solo travellers. • Enjoy a special cocktail party and single mingle aboard our own ocean cruise ships, Saga Sapphire and Saga Pearl II. • Option to dine with other solo cruisegoers.

A world of destinations to discover • From Greece and China to Spain and Australia. • Thousands of single rooms available, many at no extra cost • Escorted tour departures exclusively for solo travellers

Call FREE on 0800 074 8021 or visit Become a Saga expert, visit Find us on social media Saga Trade Team Saga’s holidays and cruises are exclusively for the over 50s, but a travelling companion can be 40+. Terms and conditions apply. NHA-GH7416

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

Tra󰈇󰇧󰇱g󰈜󰇶 to󰈢󰈫 UK 󰈜󰈪en󰇹󰈤 t󰈢 󰈠 󰈣f 󰈞󰇪s󰇹 ex󰇴󰇪󰈦󰇯en󰈛󰇪 󰇺h󰈥 󰇲a o󰇶󰇪 󰈣󰈡 In󰈧i󰇧. Fin󰈧 󰈢󰇼󰇺 m pa󰇫󰇪 25

Shop on Amazon with Barbados bookings UNNA Luxury Resorts and Residences is giving agents a £30 Amazon voucher for every seven-night holiday booked at the company’s Saint Peter’s Bay and Port Ferdinand luxury resorts before October 31, 2017. Any agent who books three holidays at Port Ferdinand will receive a £50 voucher for each booking.

Win an Abu Dhabi themed evening TRAVEL 2 is offering agents the chance to win one of three Abu Dhabi 'themed evenings' worth £500 each. Agents must make a qualifying booking to Abu Dhabi, including return flights with Etihad Airways and a minimum of five nights' ground arrangement (between June 22 and September 30, 2017).

Contents 24



Niche cruising

Oc󰇹o󰇩󰇪r 2 & 5

SELLING TRAVEL AGENTS CHOICE AWARDS EVENTS Selling Travel is planning two BIG events to celebrate our Selling Travel Agents Choice Awards (STACA) finalists. Our networking event will be held in London (October 2) and Manchester (October 5). Register online at

THREE industry-leading cruise lines – Uniworld, Hurtigruten and Star Clippers – will jointly host a Scottish roadshow in October, with stops in Glasgow (3), Edinburgh (4) and Inverness (5). To book, RSVP to




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the finalists

The 2017 Selling Travel Agents Airlines & Airports Airline to the Far East: ANA, Cathay Pacific, Garuda International, Korean Air, Malaysia Airlines, Thai Airways. Airline to North America: Air Canada, Air Transat, British Airways, Delta Air Lines, Virgin Atlantic. Airline to Latin America & the Caribbean: Air Europa Lineas Aereas, Avianca, British Airways, LATAM Airlines, TAP Portugal, United Airlines. Airline to the Middle East: Emirates, Etihad Airways, Gulf Air, Oman Air, Qatar Airways, Virgin Atlantic. Airline to India & the Indian Ocean: Air Mauritius, Air Seychelles, Emirates, Etihad Airways, Jet Airways, Qatar Airways. Airline to Europe & North Africa: Brussels Airlines, easyjet, Jet2, Monarch Airlines, Norwegian Air Shuttle. Airline to Africa: Emirates, Ethiopian, Etihad Airways, Kenya Airways, South African Airways. Airline to Australasia & the Pacific: Air New Zealand, Emirates, Fiji Airways, Philippine Airlines, Qantas. Overseas Regional Airline: Bangkok Airways, Copa, Gol, Liat, Virgin Australia. Overseas Airport: Abu Dhabi, Amsterdam Schiphol, Bangkok Suvarnabhumi, Dubai International, Singapore Changi. UK Airport: East Midlands, Edinburgh, London City, London Gatwick, Manchester. Favourite Fam Trip: Abu Dhabi/Etihad Airways, Jet 2, Philippine Airlines, Westjet, Thai Airways.

Cruising Ocean Cruising: Celebrity Cruises, Cruise & Maritime, Crystal Cruises, Fred Olsen, Hurtigruten, Royal Caribbean. River Cruising: AMA Waterways, Avalon, Riviera Travel, Tauck World Discovery, Uniworld, Viking.

Tour Operators Tour Operator to Africa: African Pride, The Gambia Experience, Kuoni, Somak Holidays, Visions of Africa. Tour Operator to Australasia & the Far East: AAT Kings, APT, Cosmos, Jetset Holidays, Premier Holidays, Travel 2. Tour Operator to Europe & North Africa: Jet2 Holidays, Monarch Holidays, Prestige Holidays, Titan Travel, Thomson. Tour Operator to India & the Indian Ocean: If Only..., Kuoni, Osborne & Ebel, Sunset Faraway Holidays, Travelpack. Tour Operator to Latin America & the Caribbean: Caribtours, Cox & Kings, Journey Latin America, Latin Routes, Travel 2. Tour Operator to the Middle East: Emirates Tours, Gold Medal, If Only..., Sunspot Tours, Travel 2. Tour Operator to North America: Cosmos, Funway Holidays, North America Travel Services, Insight Vacations, Trek America. For Escorted Tours: Newmarket Holidays, Riviera Travel, Saga Holidays, Titan Travel, Wendy Wu Tours. For Solo Travellers: Contiki, G Adventures, Just You, Riviera Travel, Saga Holidays.

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the finalists

Choice Awards (STACA) finalists list Destinations


City Break: Abu Dhabi, Amsterdam, Hong Kong, New York, Singapore, Tel Aviv Destination for Beach: Greece, Jersey, Mauritius, Philippines, St Kitts, Thailand. Destination for Wildlife & Nature: Botswana, Costa Rica, Malaysia, South Africa, Trinidad & Tobago. Destination for Soft Adventure: Australia, Dubai, New Zealand, Peru, South Africa. Destination for Spa & Wellness: Bali, Maldives, Oman, Saint Lucia, Thailand. Destination for Weddings & Honeymoons: Barbados, Cyprus, Mauritius, Mexico, Seychelles. Destination for Winter Sports: Austria, Canada, Italy, France, Switzerland. Agent-Friendly Tourist Office: Barbados, Cook Islands, Fiji, Malta, New South Wales. Favourite Fam Trip: Brand USA, Canada, California, Kenya, Philippines. Favourite Training Event/Roadshow: Canada, Caribbean Tourism Organization, Visit USA, Thailand, New South Wales.

Hotel/Group in Africa: One & Only, Sun International, Taj Cape Town, Tsogo Sun Hotels, Thanda Private Game Reserve. Hotel/Group in Australasia & Far East: Anantara, Dusit, Centara, Meritus, Shangri La. Hotel/Group in Europe & North Africa: Hyatt, Iberostar, Melia, Maritim, nh Hotels. Hotel/Group in North America: Fairmont, Loews, Hyatt, Kimpton, Marriott. Hotel/Group in Latin America & the Caribbean: AM Resorts, Barcelรณ, Belmond, Elegant Hotels, Elite Island Resorts, Iberostar. Hotel/Group in India & the Indian Ocean: Crown & Champa, Beachcomber, Four Seasons, JA Resorts & Hotels, Lux Hotels. Hotel/Group in the Middle East: Anantara, Atlantis, Dusit, JA Jebel Ali Beach Hotel, Ritz Carlton. Hotel/Group AllInclusive: AM Resorts, Club Med, Hard Rock Hotels, bodyholiday Saint Lucia, Sandals.

Best of the Rest Bed Bank: Bedsonline, Bookabed, Getabed, Medhotels, roomsXML Ticket Provider: Attraction World, Do Something Different, Holiday Extras, Superbreak Mini Holidays. Rail: Belmond, Blue Train, Eurostar, Great Rail Journeys, Rocky Mountaineer. Ferries: Brittany, DFDS, Irish Ferries, P&O, Stena Line. Car Hire: Avis Budget Group, Affordable Car Hire, Alamo, Flexible Autos, Hertz, Your Car Hire. UK Holidays: Bourne Leisure, Hoseasons, Shearings, Superbreak Mini Holidays. Theme Parks: LEGOLAND, Dubai Parks & Resorts, IMG Worlds of Adventure, Walt DisneyWorld Resort Florida, Universal Parks and Resorts.

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the prizes

Vote to win these amazing prizes... DEADLINE FOR VOTING OCTOBER 15 For your chance to win one of our great prizes just cast your vote. You don't need to tick every category juys those that are relevant to you awards

Fly to the fabulous Philippines!

Our star prize is a pair of return Economy class tickets to Manila with Philippine Airlines! It's the only airline that flies non-stop daily from London-Heathrow to the Filipino capital, connecting to 30 points in the Philippines and onwards to 44 international cities. Onboard the airline's brand-new Boeing 777, you can lose yourself in hours of entertainment: choose from over 300 hours of movies, TV shows and music whilst you fly with the new myPAL eSuite. Enjoy a vibrant mix of Asian, Spanish and American dishes offering a mosaic of flavours – and all passionately prepared. You will arrive refreshed in Manila to explore the city's rich cultural heritage before relaxing on the tropical warmth of the country's white-sand beaches.


Silent Pool Gin

“It was great to meet and talk to so many different travel professionals in one evening and to have a chance to win so many amazing prizes!” LENKA LAUROVA, NEW STATEMAN TRAVELS


Spa Retreat products from Temple Spa

Travel therapy products

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the prizes

Join us at our two party nights LONDON OCTOBER 2 The Banking Hall, 14 Cornhill, London, EC3v 3ND

MANCHESTER OCTOBER 5 The Mcdonald Manchester, London Road, M1 2PG

Two events – tonnes of prizes

Our two 'speed-dating' events this year will give agents both north and south the chance to meet with many of our 2017 Selling Travel Agents Choice Awards finalists. They will network and enjoy a fun night filled with food and drink and the chance to win loads of great prizes! There will be at least one prize from each finalist at each event – that's a LOT of treats up for grabs! The standout prize to date comes courtesy of Cathay Pacific: a pair of Economy Class tickets to Hong Kong. Also, win a bottle of Barcelo Rum and chocolates from Barceló Hotels, a fantastic selection of room nights at Fairmont Hotels & Resorts iconic Canadian hotels, or a meal out for two from Titan Travel. So don't miss out, make sure you RSVP to book your place today! Sign up at:

“The Selling Travel Agents Choice Awards are the only industry accolades nominated and voted for by travel agents alone - get involved and make your voice heard!” STEVE HARTRIDGE, EDITOR, SELLING TRAVEL

PARTY ! & WIN A Cook Islands Black Pearl


A £25 Hotel Chocolat voucher

A Case of South American wine

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

Farwell late-bookers, hello planners It feels like summer is over before it ever really started, but knowing my luck it will come back when I’m on my holiday in rural Mallorca! I do feel for those who thought a staycation this year would be a good idea (thanks to the Euro). However, all those people returning from a soggy UK break could be potential early bookers for an overseas holiday in 2018! Here in the office, Tanya is back from a family holiday in Indonesia, where she stayed at The Bali Mandira (arranged by Marcus Leach at Select Representation) and experienced excellent service and amazing staff. The kids had a great time visiting Universal Studios during a Singapore stopover and Garuda Indonesia provided a pleasurable flight experience.

Victoria of JG Collection introduced me to its collection of deluxe properties including castles!

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We now have a fourth member of staff after Justine joined us from a long haul tour operator. She brings with her some welcome knowledge of places we have yet to visit ourselves. She has settled in very quickly and our customers are very happy to have another well-travelled consultant helping them – that is the advantage and edge we can provide that the internet can't. Having first-hand experience to pass is really priceless.

Out & ab󰈢󰇼󰇹

We have had a couple of lovely local events recently – like the Titan Agents Day where we visited the company offices and met people from all the various departments before being treated to an afternoon tea at the lovely Langshott Manor hotel. And thanks to Canopy Marketing, who hosted us and eight other independents at The Mannings Heath Golf Club. We learnt about fabulous hotels such as The Armani in Dubai and Kata Rocks in Phuket, to mention just two. As ever, we’ve had a multitude of reps through our doors. It is wonderful to know that after only

18 months trading so many lovely niche and small operators want to add us to their list of ‘ones to support’.

Pro󰇨󰇱󰇪m 󰇷󰈣󰇱ve󰇶

Special thanks to Hurtigruten, who helped with a booking that had to be cut short due to a delayed flight and a missed connection. All this occurred on a Saturday night but Maria and her team worked hard to get our clients back home and rebooked the whole trip for a few weeks later. Sometimes these things happen and what we remember is not the problem itself but how it was handled.

Loc󰇧󰇰 󰈬n󰈣󰇿󰇱ed󰇫󰇪

Thanks also to David Holland from African Pride, who popped in recently and helped me with some local restaurant recommendations for a client heading to South Africa. Whilst I could suggest a few from the places I had personally visited, I was stuck in areas that I had not been to. David Cha󰇳󰈪󰇪 󰈣f 󰇷e󰇧󰈤󰈣n: was straight on the phone to The kids are back to school so Katherine in their office. it’s farewell to the 'late bookers' and hello to the She lived in South Africa more welcome tailor-made long haul itineraries for 20 years and I soon had an email Sel󰇰󰇮󰈡g 󰇿󰈥󰇱l: Quieter parts of Greece and the everwith local first-hand popular Canada and the USA. Thanks to Carole, Julie and recommendations Caroline at Travelpack for their help on Nova Scotia – just one example of how two-way Can󰇹 󰈟󰇧󰇯t 󰈇o󰈦: The summer event hiatus is support works. officially over and we’re looking forward to a BBQ This is why agents Boma with Africa Collection! should always welcome reps, even The 󰈉 󰇿󰈢󰈦d: It’s autumn training time when we're busy and and we have conference season to look stressed! Let them be forward to, but it’s never too early for a a source of support when Crimbophile like me! you need it and in return we can support them by putting business their way. It's all about mutual cooperation! 


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 01403 276684

Bar󰇨󰇧󰈦󰈜 Cha󰇶󰇱t󰈢󰇳

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Tra f a l g a r I n d i a Fa m Tr i p , A u g u s t 5 - 1 2 , 2 0 1 7

Insider experiences bring India closer to home Trafalgar escorted a group of UK travel agents on a trip to India to experience its Leisurely Rajasthan with Mumbai guided holiday itinerary, which is new for 2017. The agents spent eight days experiencing the sights, smells, sounds and colours of India through its history, architecture and culinary range. The tour took in some of India’s most colourful cities, including Delhi, Agra and Jaipur. Highlights included visits to two UNESCO World Heritage sites – Humayun’s Tomb Fort and Qutub Minar – as well as one of the Seven Wonders of the World: the Taj Mahal. In Jaipur, known as the ‘Pink City’ for its trademark-building colour, the group viewed The Palace of the Winds, a spectacular five-storey wonder. The trip included a ‘Be My Guest’ dinner with a local family in their home – a new addition this year to Trafalgar’s tour offerings. There was also a number of 'insider experiences' with local ground handlers, such as a rickshaw ride around Old Delhi, learning about the lives of street children cared for by the Salaam Baalak Trust, turban tying, kite flying and discovering

hand-block printing. Myah Doddington of Central Co-op Travel Beccles, said: “Probably my favourite part of the trip was when we stopped off at a local village on our way to Jaipur, from Agra. The families were so welcoming and excited to see us, and were just as interested in my culture as I was about theirs. It was a truly unforgettable experience, which I never could have set up if I were travelling by myself. ” Aaron Candler, Trafalgar Sales Manager said: "Our agents had a blast! It was such a fun and memorable trip; from the incredible Taj Mahal to being welcomed into local's homes, and learning about life and culture in India - for those who were with us, it was a dream come true."


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

Out and about with Eva Air, BRIGHT, Gold EVA take agents to Thailand

EVA Air, in association with the Tourism Authority of Thailand and Bangkok Airways, hosted seven UK agents on a fam trip to Bangkok and Pattaya in Thailand and Da Nang and Hoi An in Vietnam. As part of the ‘Destination Asia’ trip itinerary, agents visited Vietnam’s Non Nuoc Sculptures Village, embarked on a city tour of Denangand and indulged in local cuisine in Hoi An. EVA Air operates a daily flight between Heathrow and Bangkok. Pictured from left: Vicki Kennedy, Jean-Sebastian Saleem, Harriet Spencer, Chhaya Shahm, Cara Barratt, Sutanita Thavornchak, Serena Irving, a Vietnamese local, Gil Rodriguez, Jessica Voak and Vishal Chandnani.

Trip to falls

BRIGHT Norwich

TWENTY nine Independent travel agents and Home Workers attended BRIGHT’s, (Bringing Real Information & Guaranteed High Quality Training), workshop at Dunston Hall near Norwich. Visit for more information and bookings.

Dinner winner

GOLD Medal Travel Group invited eight travel agents to experience Canada's Ontario province on a fivenight FAM trip. Whilst in Ontario the group explored Toronto, took to new hairraising heights on the Niagara Falls zipline and enjoyed a little time out wine-tasting.

GRAEME Sharpe from Hank Sharpe Travel won lunch or dinner for two at a Relais & Châteaux property as Silversea’s Advocate of the Month. He is pictured with Julie Nunes, Silversea Regional Sales Manager for the North East. Silversea's Advocates programme rewards agents each month.

Zip to Costa Rica

TRAFALGAR hosted a group of 20 agents from across the UK and Ireland on an eight-day adventure in Costa Rica. The group are pictured here before zip-lining. The agents travelled through Costa Rica on the family Monkeys, Jungles and Volcanoes itinerary.

Operators make a difference

OSPREY Holidays and Ski Independence raised £18,446 for the Edinburgh Children’s Hospital Charity. The tour operators joined forces on the 'Rhea’s Munro Challenge' fund-raising project, in memory of Rhea, whose mum Lisa Brown works at Osprey Holidays. Rhea lost her fight to cancer last year aged just four. The main challenge saw 40 employees, their friends and family head up to Glenshee to climb the Five Munros in the Highlands.

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

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

Medal, Trafalgar, Osprey and Silversea TIPTO agents beat charity cord TIPTO broke its previous fund-raising record for its charity partner, Reuben's Retreat. The organisation has raised £2,900 across 32 roadshow events this year, an increase on last year's £2,395. Tipto Chairman Jane Atkins said: "Agents have played an integral part in our fund-raising process by buying raffle tickets for our charity prize draw held at each of our events. Our suppliers also always give generously, with inspiring prizes. I'm excited that in our 19th year we raised the bar even higher once again." Additionally, the TIPTO team and the agents that attended the Super Show in Newcastle raised over £245 for the Together Forever Big Prize Draw...

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VOTE NOW! Tell us which cruise lines really float your boat

15/08/2017 14:48 8/24/17 01:56 PM


SELLING TRAVEL DIALOGUE G ra n g e C i t y Ho t e l , L o n d o n

Agents get a taste of Thai BY BENJAMIN COREN

Over 50 travel industry professionals came together at the most recent Selling Travel Dialogue at the Grange City Hotel, London, to find out more about Thai Airways (TG) , its routes, services and products. Sunanata Trai-Ukos, Sales Manager, UK and Ireland for Thai Airways, was joined by the Thai Airways sales team during an informal event which featured plenty of networking, Thai tapas, drinks and some great prizes. Thai’s Senior Sales Executive, Tim Beek, delivered the main product presentation, covering key points which agents were quizzed on later in the evening for the chance to win the prizes. FCm’s David Samuels said: “It’s brilliant to be able to sit down, relax after work and talk all things Thai Airways. It was interactive and a good tutorial. We really appreciate these kind of events.” Meanwhile, Paul Smith from WOT Travel, said: “I think learning more about Thai and Thailand is great; the information they provided (tonight) is very good. It’s brilliant to speak to friends in the travel industry. The interaction you get is so worthwhile – you can never stop learning.”

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Thai flies to Bangkok twice daily from London Heathrow’s Terminal Two, and passengers can choose an overnight or day flight. Agents discovered how premium passengers also have access to four partner lounges: the United Club Lounge, SIA Lounge, Air Canada and Lufthansa lounges. Bangkok Airport has six business lounges and a First Class lounge with its own spa. The TG team also showcased its A380 aircraft, which features 12 Royal First Mini Suites and Thai’s Royal Silk Class with flatbed seats. Some of the prizes agents were lucky enough to take home on the night included cases of Chang Beer, John Lewis Vouchers, an A380 model aircraft and bottles of Prosecco. The grand prize of a fam trip to Thailand was won by Makiko Toyohara from Euro Japan Holidays. Sunanta Trai-Ukos, said: “Thai was able to showcase its product and have the full attention of travel agents. We enjoyed face-to-face dialogue and had some good Q&A moments. My team and I felt very connected with the agents and I would highly recommend this evening format to anyone.”

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 Dont miss our next event! Find out more at

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If you like us, please vote for us! To vote, please visit Untitled-8 1

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formed perfectly

The Seychelles’ unique coastline, nature and culture offer visitors plenty of reason to return. Jo Austin heads back to an ocean of opportunities


y very first visit to the Seychelles coincided with that of David Bellamy, or Botanic Man, as he was then known due to his popular natural history TV series. Although he did not discover a new species during this visit he did manage to get across the important message of marine conservation and I was proud to be part of his diving team for a short time. My island-hopping visit revealed a series of unforgettable ‘firsts’ – seeing a hawksbill turtle when diving off the tiny island of L’Ilot; finding a Coco de Mer fruit on the beach on Praslin Island; feeding a Aldabra giant tortoise beneath the shady palms of La Digue; sighting a Great Frigate on Bird Island; and breathing in the scent of a cinnamon tree on the main island of Mahé.

Island hopping For a complete sense of wellbeing, the Seychelles must surely tick all the boxes. This string of 115 islands scattered across the Indian Ocean, 1,000 miles off the coast of Africa,

have beach-friendly temperatures that rarely drop below 24C or rise above 32C across the year. Sea temperatures can reach 29C during April and May or October and November when underwater visibility can get up to 30 metres.

“Sales are strong to the Seychelles and we have noticed a 29% year-on-year increase in room nights, with the Constance Ephelia on Male our top-selling hotel” TRICIA BIRMINGHAM, SENIOR PRODUCT MANAGER, MIDDLE EAST AND INDIAN OCEAN, GOLD MEDAL

Each of the islands has its own style and visitors are strongly advised to stay on more than one during their holiday. With the planet's largest fish, smallest frog and heaviest tortoise here its no surprise many island’s

have their own environmental programmes. The lushly forested granite inner-islands cluster around Mahé to form the cultural and economic hub as well as the centre of its tourism industry, while the lower-lying outer islands are formed entirely of coral, creating natural marine reserves. Most islands are uninhabited with more than 50% of the total land area under natural conservation. According to Kuoni, favourite island combinations are Mahé and Praslin (with a day trip to La Digue from Praslin), Praslin and La Digue and Mahe and Silhouette. Says Sheena Paton, Kuoni Seychelles expert: “It’s easy to get around by boat, with a great schedule of connections, so you don’t waste your holiday with lots of travelling back and forth. Alternatively, you can choose to travel by seaplane and view the different islands from the air, which is pretty spectacular. “Take a trip to Silhouette Island for a stay at Hilton Seychelles Labriz Resort and you can really arrive in style – by helicopter!” Air Seychelles and Helicopters

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Untitled HM UK

Explore Seychelles.

Islands of adventures

The Seychelles islands are the perfect getaway for relaxing family vacations. From heart pounding zip-line adventures, bird watching while hiking or exploring the clear Indian Ocean by kayak or snorkeling. Air Seychelles offers daily flights to Seychelles from London with our codeshare partners, Etihad Airways via Abu Dhabi or three weekly flights to the Seychelles with Air France via Paris.

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Seychelles provide good, reliable inter-island connections.




VOTE NOW! Choose your favourite training event or roadshow From top: Feeding the resident giant tortoises; a beach wedding on a deserted stretch of sand

parks feature forest trails suited to walking and mountain biking while a steep climb to the summit of Morne Blanc on Mahé is rewarded with fabulous views of the other islands. Says Deborah Wadhams of Travel 2: “My top tip is to visit Mahé to make the most of the resort activity, and hiking, especially across the Morne Seychelles National Park. Don’t leave without making a visit to the Takamaka Rum distillery where you can learn about how the island’s rum is made. There is also an excellent restaurant located in the old Estate House, where the finest and freshest ingredients are picked from the gardens of local suppliers and turned into both traditional and contemporary regional food. When in Praslin you have to visit the Vallee De Mai nature reserve, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site”. For a gentle ride, bikes can be rented on La Digue or Praslin. Most hotels and guesthouses will supply or rent bikes and guests on the exclusive Alphonse Island receive their own bicycle for the duration of their stay. For golfers, the Hotel Constance Lemuria on Praslin Island features an award-winning 18-hole course with a jaw-dropping 15th.

The Seychelles features some of the planet’s Weddings and Honeymoons most photographed beaches and La Digue’s The Seychelles weddings and honeymoon Anse Source d’Argent (of Tom Hanks’ Castaway market has always fame), with its granite been strong and the boulders is leader islands come ninth in of the pack. This is “There is an excellent world for weddings closely followed by restaurant located in the old the and 11th in the world Anse Lazio on Praslin Estate House, where the finest for honeymoons in and world-famous Beau Vallon Bay on and freshest ingredients are Kuoni’s Top Destinations list for 2017. The Mahé. Many hotels picked from the gardens of minimum age to marry have private coves local suppliers” is 18, with a minimum and secluded beaches. DEBORAH WADHAMS, PRODUCT MANAGER MIDDLE stay in the resort of Anse Lascars is a EAST AND INDIAN OCEAN, TRAVEL 2 three days prior to stunning, wild beach the wedding. Four on Silhouette Island, the third largest of the Seychelles islands. Seasons Resort features a range of wedding packages including a tropical bouquet and Diving dinner under the stars with a creole menu. Sadly, there has been significant coral bleaching in the Seychelles but hotels and resorts are What’s new  Cruising: Crystal Yacht Cruises’ ( working hard on a number of new ship, Esprit began its maiden voyage in the reef rescue projects. That said, Seychelles last December and will be wintering anyone with just a snorkel can enjoy an underwater paradise and in the region between January and March 2018. scuba divers are assured the ultimate This luxurious yacht can dock in shallow waters, reward between September and November allowing visits to some of the islands’ most when the world’s biggest fish, the whale secretive spots. Esprit caters for just 62 guests shark, makes its annual pilgrimage. with personal butler service. A 20-minute helicopter journey (or 30 miles by sea) from Beyond the beaches Seychelles International Airport, Six Senses Zil While a holiday in the Seychelles Pasyon ( luxury resort on the private is essentially beach-centric there are an island of Felicite is offering a special offer of increasing number of activities that add to the five nights for the price of four. The special rate experience. The islands’ rainforests and nature is valid on bookings under October 31, 2017.

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Image: © Serge Marizy

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

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Festival Kreol in Victoria, Mahé from October 23-29. The biggest and most important event to occur in the Seychelles, it is an opportunity to celebrate the food, music and culture of this corner of the Creole world by enjoying a range of free and paid events.



Tourism talk “The Seychelles Tourist office in London has been focusing primarily for the last few years on the travel trade whilst not neglecting consumer-oriented activities. This is being done through various training events in a variety of formats. The daytime workshops and evenings dining presentations have proved to be a very popular. “We have also been busy organising a number of educational visits for agents to help put them at ease when selling the Seychelles, especially when it comes to the varied island hopping experiences. Christine Vel, Director, Seychelles Tourist Office – UK and Ireland


 Hotels: Wilderness Safaris’ ( luxury North Island resort is offering

Clockwise from left: A hiker admires Port Glaud Waterfall; the Savoy Resort and Spa; the romantic setting of Vallee de Mai

a tailor-made ‘Beach Buddy’ programme for families. Combined with generous family rates, where children under the age of 17 stay for free, and the provision of a full childcare service, the programme is designed to give parents a break whlle their children a fully entertained. Beachcombers Sainte Anne Resort and Spa (beachcombertours. uk) is currently closed for refurbishment.  Festivals: Don’t miss the week-long


Where to book it � KUONI – 0800 044 8661 The operator is offering savings of up to £1,040 on a seven-night holiday at the five-star Constance Ephelia, a 40-minute drive from Mahé Airport. Overlooking the national marine park of Port Launay, activities on offer include all water sports, a zipwire and kayaking. Children are welcome and the first child aged three-11 stays free when sharing with two adults.

� ABERCROMBIE AND KENT 01242 386 482 The operator features the award-winning luxury resort and spa Maia on Anse Louis. Seven nights, on a full-board basis with a private butler, and economy flights from London, cost a hefty £13,687 (in November). 

SALES SALESCHALLENGE CHALLENGEFOR FORTRAVEL TRAVELAGENTS AGENTS Book The HH Resort Beau Vallon Beach Seychelles and Book The Resort Beau Vallon Beach Seychelles and earn gift vouchers from H&M! earn gift vouchers from H&M!

Conditions: ForFor bookings made between 20/08/17 & 31/10/17 and valid forfor stays Conditions: bookings made between 20/08/17 & 31/10/17 and valid stays between the 20/08/17 & 31/03/18. between the 20/08/17 & 31/03/18.

Contact: Contact: T: T: (+248) 4 387 000 (+248) 4 387 000 Seychelles.indd 34 Untitled-4 1



4 to 6 nights: £15 perper booking 4 to 6 nights: £15 booking 7 nights +: £ 30 per booking 7 nights +: £ 30 per booking

2 to 3 nights: £ 20 perper booking 2 to 3 nights: £ 20 booking 4 to 6 nights: £ 50 perper booking 4 to 6 nights: £ 50 booking 7 nights +:+: £ 80 perper booking 7 nights £ 80 booking

Kindly send us us a copy of the invoice of the TourTour Operator by by 15th November 2017. Kindly send a copy of the invoice of the Operator 15th November 2017. GiftGift vouchers willwill be be sentsent to you by by 10th December 2017. (Maximum 500 pounds perper person). vouchers to you 10th December 2017. (Maximum 500 pounds person). Vouchers areare valid perper reservation andand cannot be be exchanged, redeemed for for cash. Vouchers valid reservation cannot exchanged, redeemed cash. If the booking is cancelled, thethe value of the voucher willwill have to be refunded to the hotel. If the booking is cancelled, value of the voucher have to be refunded to the hotel. 8/24/17 11:48 AM 23/08/2017 14:40




Innsbruck how to sell

in winter

"Find a cosy family retreat where you can retire with a hot chocolate or enjoy some of the Alps' best après-ski – like the Nordkette igloo, the biggest in the Alps, which has a party every Friday night until midnight"



nnsbruck, the Capital of the Alps, is a magical place to be in winter, whether you’re a semi-pro skier or you just fancy browsing the markets and enjoying a glühwein. It’s easy to reach from the UK, with links from airports including Heathrow, Gatwick, Manchester, Birmingham, Bristol, and others. From midDecember until mid-April you can enjoy the snow while the Christmas markets run from November 15 until January 6. Accommodation suits all ages and tastes. At Park Igls health retreat in Tyrol you can enjoy healthy eating and exercise; The aDLERS design hotel is a modern hotspot with views over the city and mountains and cosy, classic rooms; and the Alpine-style Hotel Mooshaus has direct access to the slopes of the Kühtai ski area.

Olympia Ski World This incredible ski area incorporates nine resorts (Nordkette-Seegrube, Patscherkofel, Axamer Lizum, Muttereralm, Rangger Köpfl, Glungezer, Schlick 2000, the Stubai Glacier and Kühtai, Austria’s highest) and 300km of pistes, which will delight skiers of all abilities. Hassle-free transport: Free ski bus service All for one: Access all resorts on one pass Best ski-in ski-out area: Kühtai

Best Olympic area: Axamer Lizum and Patscherkofel will make you go for gold. Best family area: Muttereralm and Rangger Köpfl have gentle slopes and kids' facilities. Best for locals: Schlick2000 and Glungezer Best views onto the city: Nordkette Biggest glacier area: Stubai Glacier

Festive shopping ideas Old Town Christmas Market: This traditional market is surrounded by medieval façades and has a ‘Fairytale Alley’ and life-size giants! Market Square Christmas Market: Families will love this fun market with its carousel, petting zoo and Punch and Judy show. Maria-Theresien-Street Christmas Market: Modern and spacious with lots of sparkling illuminated trees. Hungerburg christmas market: Located just above the town with panoramic vistas, it's easily accessible via the Nordkettenbahnen cable cars. Wiltener Platzl Christmas Market: Five minutes away from the bustling Old Town with lots of creative and arty craftsman stalls. St. Nikolaus Christmas Market: A smaller, contemplative and intimate setting on the north bank of the river. 



For more information:;

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home cooking

For silky Atlantic beaches and subtropical temperatures, suggest West Africa’s only English-speaking country, says Mark Stratton


da Cham-Nije escorts me to Tanji beach market, where there isn’t another ‘toubab’ (Westerner) in sight. Instead of tourists, the hot sands throng with vegetable and fish traders and I’m greeted with smiles as arched as the bows of the brightly painted wooden fishing pirogues. Some of the these bob on the Atlantic swell and a woman wades ashore with a bowl of silvery mackerel on her head. Choosing red snapper we return to Ida’s compound where her cookery school focuses on mouthwatering West African cuisine. She demonstrates how to make spicy domoda sauce by grinding

peanuts and chilies in a large mortar-andpestle. The fish grills on a coal-fired brazier. Dining al-fresco under her mango tree every spicy mouthful is a salivating reminder of a culture too often missed by beach-bound visitors.

Coastal strip Wedged like a thorn in the rump of surrounding Senegal, The Gambia’s thin slither of land flows alongside the River Gambia’s banks. Tourism to West Africa’s only English-speaking country is built on an intoxicating brew of subtropical temperatures

averaging 32ºC and silky Atlantic beaches. Reached by a six-hour charter flight from the UK via carriers such as Titan Airways, the trademarked ‘Smiling Coast’ is an established low-cost resort holiday destination with a loyal core of repeat visitors coming for the winter sun of its dry season, November-May. But guess what? The Gambia is growing up and broadening its appeal. “The standard of hotels has improved and there are more high quality hotels such as the luxurious Coco Ocean Resort and its worldclass spa,” says Louise Thomas, Marketing

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UntitledSelling T

MORE THAN JUST A BEACH HOLIDAY Suggest something different this winter

VOTE FOR US! We have been nominated for the best ‘Tour Operator to Africa’ award in the 2017 Choice Awards. We would love it if you could take the time to vote for us!

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

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Clockwise from above: a vervet monkey; Coco Ocean Resort & Spa; a baobab tree outside Lamin Lodge; birdwatching from Tendaba Safari Camp; a local woman embodies The Gambia’s nickname - The Smiling Coast

Executive at The Gambia Experience. In recent years neighbouring Senegal has been Beach holidays remain The Gambia’s core drawn into this heady casserole with enticing business, although holidaymakers have long products such as the luxury-tented camp at been tempted to abandon their sun-loungers Fathala Wildlife Reserve, where guests spend for a day’s excursion to visit a craft market or several nights enjoying game drives featuring drop into a school, rhino and giraffe. with the expectation The Gambia does of putting something however remain “For clients, its worth back into the local highly seasonal with emphasising the benefits of community. But a most visitors concenvisiting in the quieter green trated during the dry greater diversification summer season when prices are winter sun season. of product in recent years has added luxury, Yet the wetter months lower but a great holiday can wildlife, and even of June-October still be had” visits to neighbouring are ideal for clients SAMUEL HANCOCK Senegal, into the mix. wishing to escape GAMBIA TOURISM BOARD “We have seen a big the crowds and many increase in the number fine properties,such of customers looking for multi-centre luxury as the boutique Ngala Lodge with its 24 suites, holidays, combining two or three properties in remain open. The rain typically arrives in The Gambia or going to Senegal (only a two and predictable short warm bursts and my advice a half to three-hour journey),” says Thomas. for any clients is to tell them to take shelter, “Both The Gambia’s luxurious Mandina order a cocktail and marvel at how this hot Lodges and Fathala Wildlife Reserve little nation’s landscapes turn emerald-green. in Senegal are increasingly popular Perfect ten add-ons to the beach resorts”. Cookery classes: Rustle up a chicken Upriver yassa or benachin with larger-than-life Upriver, The Gambia is a safe and enticing first local cook, Ida Cham-Nije ( Feathered friends: Egyptian plovers and step to experience ‘real Africa’. Adventurous carmine bee-eaters headline an enormous travellers will find traditional mud hut villages 540 bird species, positioning The Gambia as West with thatched roofs, giant baobab trees and Africa’s premier birding destination. stone circles pertaining to old African beliefs. Wide Open Walls: The vibrant graffiti of Exotic wildlife such as hippopotami Galloya Village supports an inspiring congregate around the river habitats and at tourism project in a low-income community. River Gambia National Park nature lovers Chimpanzee Island: The long-running can overnight at an eco-camp and enjoy Chimpanzee Rehabilitation Project has close encounters with chimpanzees. rescued chimps readjusting to life in the wild. This natural extravaganza is spearheaded Crocodile tears: Fancy caressing a croc? by a burgeoning reputation as a worldMaybe not, but crocodile pools such as class birding destination. At the upriver Katchikally provide an insight into Gambian Tendaba Camp, guests are paddled into nature-worship. bird-rich mangrove creeks, rippling with Grappling Gambians: Some shows for birdsong, to spot darter birds, abundant visitors are rather theatrical but wrestling pied kingfishers, and African-grey parrots.

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is long established in Gambian village life. Up the creek: Harmonious birdsong amid the mangrove creeks accompanies the luxurious isolation of Mandina’s floating lodges. ( Senegalese combo: The Gambia is a springboard for big game safaris in North Senegal and birdwatching excursions around its pretty Casamance region. Pure escapism: South Gambia’s pearly-white beaches at Kartong are far from the madding crowds. ( Tanji Market: Immerse yourself among brightly painted fishing pirogues and markets flavoured by the aroma of smoking bongo fish.

What’s new  Tour operators: The Gambia Experience ( has added two new Senegalese properties in Casamance Region to its 2017-18 brochure: Esperanto Lodge and La Paillote Hotel. The Gambia Experience is also offering agent holiday concessions, from £399pp. There’s also a week’s free holiday for two up for grabs for any agent booking a Gambian packaged holiday before October 31. The winner will be chosen via a lucky prize draw Recent additions to The Gambia Experience’s private tailor-made mini-tours include the overnight ‘Hippo Tour’, an upriver excursion to the new Kauren River Camp, and ‘Fort & Ferry’, a day trip to explore Fort Bullen’s slave history. Saga Holidays ( has returned to the Smiling Coast by offering two brand new hotels: the Kombo Beach Hotel Kotu and The Kairaba Beach Hotel Kololi.  Events: The Gambia’s second-annual Bird Fare is confirmed for October 25-29 2017.  Tourism board: The GTB has also updated its online training platform (

VOTE NOW! Pick the best hotels/hotel groups from all over the world Clockwise from top left: meeting local villagers; an oyster harvester at Mandina Balong; Tanji Fish Market

Tourism talk

Where to book it

“The beach is what The Gambia is  SAGA HOLIDAYS – 0800 056 0464 Seven nights at Kombo Beach Hotel start famous for yet there is so much else on from £949pp, departing Gatwick on December offer for those who wish to delve inland. 12 2017, Birmingham The GTB is putting an International on emphasis on incorporating tours “Actively encourage customers December 12 or International within an itinerary and to get out and about and offer Manchester on December 16. encouraging visitors to a wide variety of excursions Departures are also venture out of their resort for a day or two. and tours with overland trips available between November and April “Last year was very into the bush and to local 2018. The price includes successful for The villages and schools” a VIP door-to-door Gambia, with an LOUISE THOMAS travel service, flights increase in visitors THE GAMBIA EXPERIENCE and transfers, full by 8,000 arrivals board and five drinks on the year before. a day, a Saga representative, a welcome drink The 2016 total of 41,532 is almost back to reception and two excursions, the pre-2013 levels, before the Ebola scare.  THE GAMBIA EXPERIENCE – 01489 866 939 “The seasonal nature of Gambian A seven-night ‘economy’ B&B package, based tourism means that for half of the on two sharing at the African Village Hotel, year the resorts are quiet, which has a dramatic effect on the economy. starts from £599pp with flights included. Our main focus is to lengthen the winter season by extending the flight timetable into  NATURETREK – 01962 733051 the shoulder months, increasing capacity The operator has a 12-day birdwatching from regional UK airports and encourag-ing tour around the River Gambia’s most prolific more tour operators to sell the product. ornithological sites. The lead-in price is “We regularly do agent training £2095pp, based on a October 27 2017 departure. The deal features accommodation and position The Gambia as an in riverside camps, most meals, professional all-year-round holiday destination”. birding guides, and return flights. Samuel Hancock, Sales & Marketing Director  UK, Gambia Tourism Board (GTB)

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Get away to: Phuket, Thailand

Phuket Queen of the Andaman Big Buddha This 45-metre tall, white marble figure of The Enlightened One, on top of Mount Nagakerd, is free to visit and offers the added bonus of outstanding views over the surrounding region. Pack in pachyderms Phuket Elephant Sanctuary, located next to Khao Pra Thaeo National Park, is a refuge for rescued and retired animals. It promotes the ethical treatment of elephants. Golden sunset Snap sundown photos at Promthep Cape, perhaps the island’s best-known location. Popular for its spectacular views. There’s also a lighthouse, with views of the Phi Phi Islands and Koh Racha Noi. Starlight egress Operator John Gray’s Sea Canoe runs a 10-hour ‘Hong Island by Starlight’ ecotourism excursion. Aimed at travellers aged over 30 it features guided paddling in Phang Nga Bay. Veggies galore The 10-day Phuket Vegetarian Festival starts October 19. More than an ode to meat-free cuisine, this religious event has noisy processions, extreme facial piercings and fire walking.


hailand’s largest island has always attracted large numbers and, bolstered by more direct flights and a growing range of quality accommodation, will continue to impress, says Stuart Forster One-and-a-half times the size of the Isle of Wight, Phuket lies in the Andaman Sea, around 420 miles – or 80 minutes’ flying time – south-west of Bangkok. Pockets of heavy development mean, unfairly, some people regard Phuket purely as a mass tourism destination, but there’s much more to multifaceted Phuket, which is also dotted with quiet bays and pronounced ‘poo-ket’ locally. Nai Harn Beach, on the south of Phuket, Thailand’s largest island, was recently voted Thailand’s best beach in the 2017 TripAdvisor Travellers’ Choice Awards. Kata Noi Beach at Karon, Freedom Beach at Patong, and Kata Beach also made the top 10. Densely forested, the undulating island is home to the Khao Phra Thaeo and Sirinath National Parks. Phuket International Airport is well-placed for reaching nearby mainland attractions such as Khao Sok and Khao Lak-Lam Ru National Park. Nature and geology are key draws at Phang Nga Bay, whose pillar-like limestone islet is widely known as James Bond Island thanks to its appearance in The Man with the Golden Gun.

LAP OF LUXURY Luxury resorts with chic designs abound, making Phuket a destination for high-end retreats. They include Kata Rocks (katarocks. com), whose Oceanfront Restaurant won

“Phuket is a great base for visiting the Phi Phi Islands, Krabi, Similan Islands, Racha Islands, Phang Nga Bay and James Bond Island – but don’t miss Old Phuket Town” HSRIRAM KAILASAM, SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT AND GENERAL MANAGER, BANYAN TREE PHUKET


best Luxury Scenic Setting in Asia at the 2017 World Luxury Restaurant Awards and hosts the Superyacht Rendezvous ( in December. Kamala Beach Resort ( is one of several properties on the island catering exclusively for adults. The Paresa Resort Phuket (, on the west coast, is one of the boutique resorts that appeal to honeymooners and couples seeking romantic getaways or wellness holidays. Thai cookery classes attract culinary enthusiasts while the surrounding waters are popular for scuba and snorkelling. Speedboats provide access to the nearby Phi Phi Islands and Krabi, 45 minutes away. The Similian Islands and Tachai sit in Similian Marine National Park, north-west of Phuket. Phuket is busiest during the dry period from November to April. May until October, traditionally the low season, is a good time to find great deals on accommodation.



In the six months leading up to October, 143 new scheduled flights will have been added into Phuket International Airport, to which flight arrivals in the first half of the year rose nine per cent year-on-year. In July it became the 300th destination for

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Get away to: Phuket, Thailand

Turkish Airlines ( A crackdown on unlicensed accommodation on Phuket has prompted more than 1,000 hotel license applications but new properties continue to spring up. The 124-rom SIS Resort Kata (thesiskata. com) opened in July 1. The hillside property features two free-form pools, a spa, and an all-day, multi-cuisine restaurant. The Beyond Hotel at Patong (beyondpatong.

com), a 161-room member of the Kata Group, is scheduled to open on November 1 with a rooftop pool and lounge bar. Other scheduled 2017 openings include the 225-room Mai Khao Palm Beach Resort (, the 78-room Hermitage Beach Resort ( at Kata, the six-room Anayara Retreat Panwa (anayaravilla. com/the-retreat-index) and the Rosewood Phuket at Tri Trang ( The Akyra Beach Club Phuket ( Phuket), with 42 rooms and suites plus 16 villas, opened in January at Natai Beach. Agents booking with Small Luxury Hotels of the World ( receive commissions of between ten per cent and 20%.



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Travel2 ( sales to Phuket saw a 26% year-on-year rise. Its Asia 2017/18 brochure introduces new hotels, extended tours, multicentre holidays and a community support programme, highlighting properties where holidaymakers can support initiatives. 


“The north is more tranquil than the south. It still retains its local Thai feel, with beautiful villages, hidden temples, lots of monks and endless markets for the freshest fruit and vegetables” KATIE HOLLAMBY, CLUSTER DIRECTOR OF PUBLIC RELATIONS, ANANTARA

BOOK IT WITH CHIC LOCATIONS The 14-night Andaman Explorer holiday includes four nights at Keemala Resort, priced from £1788pp, including spa use, breakfast, private transfers by speedboat and return UK flights, plus an optional Bangkok stopover. A short drive from Patong Beach, Keemala features a holistic philosophy and unusual architecture, including villas based on birds’ nests. – 020 8944 1973

19/04/2017 11:35 19/07/2017 12:25 8/24/17 01:58 PM



heart young at

This little strip of islands in the middle Mediterranean has steadily reinvented itself and is now reaping the rewards with a younger fan base. Ben Lerwill finds out more


can’t help feeling mainland Europe went wrong somewhere. It’s just before sunset, and I’m looking south across Malta’s Grand Harbour from the walls of Valletta. The harbour’s wraparound panorama of cream battlements and iridescent waters is so elegant, so timelessly easy on the eye, that the rest of the continent, invisible over the sea somewhere, seems almost overbearing by comparison. Malta, though, has always felt like a place apart. Not many countries have handsome capital cities that can be walked end to end in under 20 minutes, nor blend their key cultural influences, in this case Italian, Arabic and British, in such a unique way.

Now trending There was a time when Malta had a reputation as a rather staid sun-and-sea destination, appealing largely to elderly holidaymakers. This cliché has, to put it mildly, had its day. Made up of three inhabited islands – Gozo, Comino and Malta itself – the country has had a major image overhaul in recent years. Hard Rock has a new hotel in the pipeline, MTV and DJ Annie Mac both now have longstanding festivals in the country and the destination was recently ranked in first place in the LGBTQ-friendly Europe Rainbow Index 2017. Moreover, a recent World Economic Forum study named Malta as the world leader in terms of the level of priority that its government gives to tourism. To add to this, Malta’s capital, Valletta, will be European Capital of Culture in 2018 and has announced a schedule fitting in everything from fashion weeks and regatta pageants to music workshops and film festivals. Perhaps it is little wonder then that visitor numbers from the UK have increased by 45% since 2009, and up six per cent year-on-year, to around 560,000. Peter Vella, Director UK & Ireland, Malta Tourism Authority, knows why. “City breaks to Malta are on the increase, particularly in winter. Three-night breaks are the biggest growth area for us and lots of people are visiting outside the main summer period. Arrivals in the November to April window are up 22% year on year.”

Perfect ten Under the sea: The scuba diving is excellent. Sport Diver Magazine recently named it the third best diving destination in the world, behind only the Maldives and Egypt. Peace and quiet: The tiny island of Comino spans less than 1.5 square miles and has no cars or built-up areas, making it a haven for snorkelers, walkers and photographers. Megalithic temples: The amazing prehistoric temple complex of Ggantija on Gozo is older than the Pyramids of Giza.

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Nightlife hub: The Paceville district close to St Julian’s is Malta’s undisputed party central. Expect everything from techno clubs to upmarket cocktail joints. Good food: Seasonal ingredients are key and traditional dishes include everything from rabbit stew and fish pie to beef olives and ricotta-filled pastries. Cultural celebrations: Malta has a busy annual calendar of events, with individual village festas alongside highlights such as the Malta International Arts Festival (June/July) and the Malta Jazz Festival (July). Coastal colour: Marsaxlokk is an old fishing village with a harbour full of brightly painted boats. Visit on a Sunday to see the fish and souvenir market in full flow. Festival frenzy: The country has become a magnet for electronic music festivals, hosting the likes of Annie Mac’s Lost & Found (April), Isle of MTV (June/July) and Glitch Festival (September). Explore the capital: Valletta is one of Europe’s most unique capital cities, with world-class historical attractions and a number of palazzos reopened as boutique hotels. Al fresco activities: Malta and Gozo both offer numerous options for outdoor activities, from flyboarding and jeep tours to quad biking and pleasure cruises.

What’s new  Accommodation: The country’s best known hotel, the luxury Phoenicia Malta (, reopened earlier this year following a multi-million pound refurbishment. Elsewhere, a 370-room Hard Rock Hotel ( is due to open in 2020 and will have a 16,000 sq ft spa, while next year will see the existing Le Meridien hotel in St Julian’s rebranded as the Malta Marriott Hotel and Spa ( Also of note is that one of the landmarks of the Grand Harbour – the waterside Macina Bastion – is to become an all-suite Cugó Gran

hotel (, opening later this year.  Transport: UNESCO has approved the construction of a new seven-metre-wide underground ‘ferry tunnel’ connecting Sliema with The Three Cities. Due to open in summer 2018, it should cut the journey time between the two to 20 minutes.  Tours: The Corinthia Hotel in St George’s Bay ( launched a new ‘Villages Experience’ excursion in March, allowing visitors to meet local artisans.  Flights: From May 1, 2018, Air Malta will reintroduce flights from Manchester to Malta on a weekly basis, until October 16.

“In spring and summer, keen walkers should visit Gozo, which has a number of cycling and walking trails” LAUREN ROSS, PRODUCT AND COMMERCIAL MANAGER, EUROPE, TRAVEL 2

Where to book it  MERCURY HOLIDAYS – 0800 781 4893 A nine-day escorted tour of Malta and Gozo costs from £595pp, with scheduled return flights, all dinners and most breakfasts. The tour takes in all the key sights, including the capital of Valletta and medieval Mdina.

 COX & KINGS – 020 3811 0885 A five-day, four-night Temples, Knights & Caravaggio group tour costs from £1,195pp. It takes in both Malta and Gozo and includes a private dinner and exclusive visits. 

VOTE NOW! Tell us which is your favourite car hire company Opposite page: The Isle of MTV festival draws big-name pop acts and youthful crowds. This page, clockwise from top left: walking the streets of Valletta; the 18th century Guarena Palace, Malta; Hondoq Bay, Gozo; crispy calamari rings

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the review












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Tourism Update

Trafalgar’s Latin guest trips

CAROL HAY UK Manager, Caribbean Tourism Organization

T H RO U G H O U T September the CTO and its partners will be celebrating Caribbean Month. Through our partnerships with national tourist offices, travel agents, tour operators, airlines, cruise lines, hoteliers and other trade partners with an affiliation with the Caribbean, we aim to increase winter sales and generate early bookings for 2018. Caribbean Month events include two agent training roadshows, in Manchester (September 13) and Peterborough (September 14.) Register to attend at

or RSVP at

Win a great prize! Agents can win some great prizes, just by completing the Caribbean Travel Guru online training programme – caribbeantravelguru. com – and by logging their Caribbean bookings on Agents who become a ‘Caribbean Travel Guru’ during September could win a £50 Love2Shop voucher and a bottle of Caribbean rum – and if they make and log their Caribbean bookings they could also win an additional £100 Love2Shop vouchers. Our August winners were Flloyd Walcott from Sackville and Mandy Bull from Best at Travel. For queries regarding Caribbean Travel Guru online training email

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


GUIDED holidays specialist Trafalgar’s online 2018 South America programme is now live and features 16 trips designed “to connect travellers with the destination’s sights, sounds and flavours”. Trafalgar reports a 15% growth in its South America product sales over the past year and has responded with revamped itineraries, new ‘Be My Guest’ experiences and enhanced accommodation options. Ruth Hilton, Sales and Business Development Director, Trafalgar UK, said: “Central and South America has been a huge success story for Trafalgar and continues to be a big sales driver for agents.” The 11-day Wonders of Patagonia tour has been expanded by including an extended

stay in Buenos Aires. The ‘Authentic Accommodation’ experience at Remota Patagonia Lodge is also a new addition to the itinerary. The package is priced from £4,234pp. Hilton added: “Throughout this collection of holidays we took special care to select experiences that would enable guests to be part of the energy and vibrancy of South America, rather than just spectators”. Trafalgar’s ‘Be My Guest’ experiences invite clients to see a working farm in action, learn about Cusco’s ‘Giant White Corn’ and watch a Marinera performance. “These experiences provide a fantastic selling point for agents,” said Hilton.

Inghams set for vine time in Italy INGHAMS has a new package that takes in the 88th staging of the Bardolino Wine Festival, which takes place on the shores of Lake Garda from September 28 to October 2 2017. During the annual festival locals and visitors celebrate the new harvest of grapes and sample Bardolino wines alfresco and with typical local cuisine. The famous food stalls, which line the picturesque lakefront promenade of Bardolino village, offer risotto, pasta and sauces, grilled meats, vegetables and antipasti produced by local farms. Entertainment includes music, dancing and a firework display on the lake, whilst expert sommeliers teach visitors all about the best Italian wines, such as the award-winning Bardolino Superiore. Seven nights on a B&B basis at the three-star Bologna Hotel in Bardolino, Lake Garda, start from £604pp, departing on September 27. The deal includes flights and airport transfers. Ten-, 11- and 14-night holidays are also available.

Super Break’s winter charters open up Iceland’s northern extremes SUPER Break is to operate its first-ever airline charter to Iceland this winter. The short-break specialist will tie a series of exclusive flights to Akureryi, northern Iceland, to three- and four-night trips offered between January 12 and February 19, 2018. Charters will depart Monday and Friday, with one flight each from Exeter, Bournemouth, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Stansted, Newcastle, East Midlands, Liverpool, Leeds, Bradford, Norwich and two from Humberside airport. Located 62km from

the Arctic Circle, Akureryi is the starting point for Nordic exploration. Super Break tours will include flights, accommodation, transfers, a Northern Lights tour and a Lake Myvatn Adventure, which includes a visit to the Goddafoss Waterfall (pictured), the mud pools of Namafjall and a stop at a working farm, Vogafjos. Prices lead in at £699pp, including three nights’ accommodation at three-star Hotel Nordurland by Kea Hotels, with breakfast.

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CAG6070_CACTUS_Selling Travel Size: (W)210mm x (H)297mm_ISO39L

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the review


the review

Cosmos goes Platinum

COSMOS has introduced its premium tour brand ‘Platinum’ to Europe for the first time. The range of new tours, designed to capture the luxury touring market in Europe during the less popular seasons of autumn and winter, are operated by sister company Globus. The nine tours, featuring centrally located first-class hotels, take advantage of lower off-peak rates. Available from November 2017 to March 2018, the range features

Touch stones in Jerusalem that have witnessed 3,000 years of history, experience 24 hours in Tel Aviv that will go down in history. Separated by millennia, but just 45 minutes apart, never have two cities offered so much by travelling just 4.5 hours from home.

holidays from seven to nine days, with tours of Ireland, Italy, Germany, Greece, Portugal and Spain, as well as multicountry options. The seven-day Greek Escape is priced from £979pp. Highlights include the Acropolis and Olympia, the ruins of Mycenae and the 2,300-year-old openair theatre in Epidaurus. Solo travellers can take advantage of a no-single-supplement offer on all new tour departures, subject to availability.

Premier’s ready to fly and flop on beaches PREMIER Holidays’ new 68-page Beaches brochure for 2018 is dedicated to fly-and-flop beach breaks. Single-centre holidays are featured in destinations that include the Maldives, Seychelles, Mauritius, Caribbean and Mexico. The new brochure is designed to complement its Faraway brochure, which features tailor-made multi-centre itineraries. Beach packages include seven nights at the five-star premium deluxe Ozen by Atmosphere at Maadhoo in South Male Atoll, Maldives, priced from £3,265pp, and a seven-night holiday in Barbados at the three-star Time Out, priced from £835pp. An all-inclusive break at the five-star Oleo Cancun Playa in Mexico leads in at £999pp. Travel agents earn up to £150 for every inclusive Beaches holiday, depending on the value of the booking.

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the review

SA Airlink close to providing first air service to St Helena



SA AIRLINK says it has signed an agreement with the St Helena Government to provide the first scheduled commercial flights to St Helena Island as well as a monthly charter service between St Helena and Ascension Island. Following the necessary statutory approvals, a date will be announced for the commencement of a service between the South Atlantic Ocean island and OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg, South Africa. The monthly Ascension Island service is expected to start soon afterwards and operate on the second Saturday of each month. St Helena’s Governor, Lisa Phillips, said: “Very soon a trip from South Africa to St Helena will take a matter of hours rather than days (currently the destination is accessible only by sea) and we will be able to welcome tourists here in larger numbers and improve the economy of the island”. The initial weekly service, on a Saturday, will be operated using an Embraer E190-100IGW aircraft, with a flight time from Johannesburg taking approximately six hours and 15 minutes, including a half-hour stop in Windhoek, Namibia. Passengers will also be able to connect with services to/from Cape Town in Windhoek.

WILDERNESS Safaris is to open the new Qorokwe luxury tented camp in Botswana’s Okavango Delta in December. The camp will feature nine tented suites in a private concession adjacent to the game-rich Moremi Game Reserve. INSIGHT Vacations’ new Luxury Gold brand has released its first standalone U.S., Canada and South America brochure. It includes a seven-night Costa Rica tour, staying at an eco-lodge in the rainforest and taking in the famous Arenal Volcano. SHANGRI - LA Al Husn in Oman will re-launch as a standalone resort in October, promising an ‘enhanced guest experience’. The property was previously part of the adjacent Shangri-La Al Jissah Resort & Spa.





 Book online 24-hours a day  Price parity between agents and customers  Earn commission on total holiday cost

 Earn up to £50 Per Booking until 30 September  Fully inclusive prices  A range of touring styles to suit your customers


988 4888

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the review


Stay three nights, pay two with Dusit DUSIT International, which offers a range of hotel, resort, spa and educational experiences, is running a bonus night promotion offering guests a third night free when they book to stay at least three consecutive nights at participating Dusit Hotels and Resorts worldwide. Running until October 31, the promotion is available at participating properties which include Egypt, Kenya, Maldives, Philippines, Thailand and UAE. The offer includes popular properties such as Dusit Thani Abu Dhabi, Dusit Thani Bangkok, Dusit Thani Krabi Beach Resort, Dusit Thani Maldives, dusitD2 Nairobi, Dusit Thani LakeView Cairo and Dusit Thani Laguna Phuket. Guests who sign up to Dusit’s free guest loyalty programme, Dusit Gold, will also receive 20% discount on dining and other ‘instant rewards’.

Neilson’s winter warmers

Adam’s capital bike ride DESTINATION CANADA’S trade manager Adam Hanmer got on his bike to raise more than £4,000 for multiple sclerosis charities. MS sufferer Adam (centre) completed the Prudential RideLondon event with two pals, negotiating the 100-mile course in a riding time of six hours and 50 minutes. “MS is also really unpredictable and I wanted do the ride while I still could,” he said. “This was a great way to help fund research that’s trying to find treatments for progressive MS.” To donate go to:

NEILSON’S new 2017/18 winter programme inclues three new properties in Italy, France and Andorra. Neilson Hotel Dolomites Inn in Penia di Canazei is the first Neilson Mountain Collection property in the Dolomites region. Situated in a 1220km ski area, highlights include the nearby Marmolada Glacier, a new gondola in neighbouring Alba and the 40km Sella Ronda circuit. Hotel facilities include a hot tub and sauna and Tyrolean bar with wood-burning fire. Prices start from £655pp for seven nights, departing on January 6 2018, based on two adults sharing a club twin room,

half-board, with flights from Manchester, transfers and free ski guiding and coaching. Also new, Hotel Bruxelles, in Soldeu, Andorra, a family-run hotel with 19 bedrooms, is a good suggestion or families or groups of friends. Located in the centre of Soldeu, it’s just a couple of minutes’ walk from the gondola which accesses the 210km Grandvalira ski area. It’s priced from £545pp for seven nights half-board, departing January 14 and based on two adults sharing a twin room. Flights are from Stansted, and transfers and free ski guiding and coaching are included.

Families get the best on a summer 2018 MSC cruise MSC Cruises’ ‘Get the Best’ campaign sees children aged from two to 17 cruising for £99 while families can upgrade to a balcony cabin for the price of an inside cabin. The family-friendly offer is available on 23 sailings between March and October 2018 on MSC Magnifica, departing direct from Southampton. The cruises will range from five to 14 nights and explore destinations from the Mediterranean to the fjords of Northern Europes. Prices for kids are the same for five nights or 14 and the offer applies to all MSC Magnifica Summer 2018 cruises booked before October 31. The ship has five restaurants serving cuisine from around the world, 12 bars, five kids and teens clubs and the MSC Aurea Spa, offering Balinese treatments, a sauna, Turkish bath, fitness centre, thalassotherapy room and relaxation area.

Cayman Islands guide THE new Guide to Selling the Cayman Islands was distributed with this issue of Selling Travel. The eight-page guide, produced by the Cayman Islands Department of Tourism (CIDT), has sections such as ‘Who to sell the Cayman Islands to’ and ‘Which island for which customer?’ The guide also includes information on twin-centre holidays with Cuba, Jamaica and the U.S. Don McDougall, the CIDT’s Regional Manager for Europe said: “This selling guide signals our intent to maintain the travel trade as a top priority. It ensures that agents and operators are clued up on what makes the Cayman Islands unique.”' Extra copies are available by emailing

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provincial profile

Alberta A seller for all seasons Wintersports Some of the world’s best powder, Olympicstandard facilities and lots of family-friendly activities, suitable for non-skiiers too, Alberta is a cool prospect for lovers of wintersports. Stampede Dubbed the Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth, this annual event is a rodeo, festival and agricultural exhibition rolled into one – a cowboy conference not to be missed! Rockies Lofty snow-capped peaks, lush green alpine meadows, icy blue glaciers, peaceful forests and vivid turquoise lakes which you can hike, bike, horse ride, skate or paddle through there are endless options. Park life Alberta is home to five national parks, each bursting with their own unique wildlife: bison, elk, moose, black bear, Canadian lynx, coyote, bighorn sheep, whooping crane, wolf and more. Urban scenes Calgary boasts a hip dining and bar scene, including farm-to-fork restaurants, breweries and distilleries, while Edmonton draws crowds for its 30 annual festivals plus great shopping and culture.

“As the snow melts away; the meadows are filled with wildflowers, the rivers rush and waterfalls thunder spring is a great time to get out on the water”


hile summer may draw the biggest crowds, Alberta really is a province for all seasons. Whether its snow or sun, cities, wilderness or the Rockies, you can find options to sell whatever the departure date, says Laura Gelder This vast province covers a plethora of landscapes each offering different experiences across the seasons: the maroon-striped canyons of the mysterious Canadian Badlands, where dinosaurs once roamed; the jagged peaks and sweeping passes of the Rockies; the remote lakes and forest lodges of the north and the endless prairies and open skies of the west. Savvy agents who want to upsell or offer tempting return trips to would-be repeat visitors would do well to remind their clients of Canada’s incredible seasonal variation and wise up to its fulsome calendar of seasonal events. CHILLED SUMMERS

WINTER Alberta is famed for its world-class wintersports resorts – Banff, Jasper and Lake Louise – open until May. But even those on a city stay in Edmonton can access smaller resorts within an hour’s drive. The city’s annual Ice on Whyte Festival is typical of the snow culture that takes over the province, and sees artists carve up 70,307kg of ice into quirky art, the centrepiece for a week-long party. And it’s not just about skiers and boarders– across Alberta you can sell dog sledding, snowmobiling, bobsleighing, tobogganing, snow tubing or ice climbing too. And for those looking for a slower snow experience, mention snowshoeing through the forest, cross-country skiing in the prairies, ice

walking along a glittering frozen canyon, romantic sleigh rides or ice skating on one of Alberta’s frozen lakes. Then there’s the amazing clear night skies for star-gazing.

SPRING & SUMMER As the snows melt, meadows are filled with wild flowers, the rivers rush and waterfalls thunder – so a great time for white-water rafts, canoes and kayaks. There’s also the chance to spot young wildlife such as baby bison and bears. Summer sees the Rockies reinvent themselves and the peaks become more accessible. Visitors can take gondolas up to photograph grizzly bears. The trails are sliced by mountain bikers and hikers, while climbers tackle rock faces via Via Ferrata, ropes or bare hands. Events range from the Waterton Wildflower Festival to Edmonton International Street Performers Festival.

AUTUMN The outdoor adventures continue in autumn but with a cooler climate, fewer crowds and the added bonus of spectacular golden hues as the trees put on displays which easily rival those of New England. The Jasper’s Dark Sky Festival is a top pick for star-gazers while Bon Appetit Banff offers 10 days of culinary exploration at low prices. 


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south pacific


pearls of the Pacific

Jewel-like islands are strewn across this region as if a pirate’s treasure chest has been upended. The trick, says Anna Selby, is picking the right ones


aptain Tama has been under the water some time, without a snorkel, but somehow we aren’t worried. The lagoons of the South Pacific are things of wonder, with warm shallow waters so clear you’d be forgiven for thinking you’re in an aquarium. So it’s a bit of a shock when he emerges, wrestling an octopus which he flings unceremoniously on to the deck, to the openmouthed amazement of my son, aged three. This is not bound for our scheduled BBQ on a motu (a tiny island in the lagoon) but for his own supper. It doesn’t matter to my son, who is suitably impressed and stores the tentacled tale up for a rainy day back in dull England.

The rest of the day is spent snorkelling, swimming, exploring the uninhabited motu, singing and learning to dance Polynesian-style – it’s desert island discs, but live. And if there’s one thing the people of the South Pacific know, it’s how to throw a party. These islands offer the friendliest of cultures and a way of life where you can barely remember what stress means.

Finding the right one “Landing in the South Pacific,” says Tui Davenport of Anzcro, “really does feel like you’ve landed on a tropical island paradise. You are made to feel welcome as soon as you step off the plane and instantly relax into ‘island time’. It’s a unique blend of the


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natural warmth of the local people and the with its high peaks, rainforest interior and islands’ pristine natural beauty and culture.” turquoise lagoon; geological wonder Aitu, Barefoot luxury abounds and you can with a population of less than 1000 and find an over-water bungalow in truly enough beaches to average out at one per magnificent settings in French Polynesian visitor; and Aitutaki, with its stunning lagoon. islands such as Bora Bora and Moorea, Perfect ten and enjoy local delicacies cooked and Island combos: Fiji is very affordable if served with Parisian panache. you want to visit several islands on one Fiji has its share of beautiful resorts, too, trip. Most travellers go for three. but also caters for those on lower budgets Always summer: The islands of the and adventure-seekers. You can try diving and South Pacific bask in warm temperatures snorkelling, trekking through the rainforest all year round. April to October are cooler and to pristine waterfalls, go white-water rafting, drier than November to March when it’s warmer. caving by boat or swimming with sharks. Island culture: Visit the cultural Samoa offers the same mix of budget and centres of the Cook luxury resorts as Islands either on well as plenty of adventure. Highlights “In November we will host a Rarotonga or Aitutaki for an authentic insight into include surfing and fam trip with Air New a culture of canoes and diving with some extraordinary natural Zealand for frontline travel cannibals, tattoos and sites to explore agents. And this summer we taboos. Extreme such as the To Sua launched our online training adventure: Fiji Ocean Trench. specifically for the UK market” hosts extreme endurance These are events throughout the islands full of IAN GRIFFITHS, COOK ISLANDS TOURISM year including ocean natural wonders, swimming, championship from lava fields surfing and Ultra Running (the Lost Island Ultra to blowholes; black sands to rainforest run takes place in April 2018). canopies. Samoa is considered the birthplace Literary giant: Treasure Island lovers of Polynesia and the local way of life can visit Robert Louis Stevenson’s (fa’a Samoa) still follows 3,000-year-old Samoan home, Vailima (and sample the island traditions with village life at their heart. beer of the same name). Tonga, too, is a very traditional island nation Island hopping: Tahiti and the Society and offers village and family stays as well Islands are ideal for island hopping as as simple hotel accommodation. Sailing the islands are so close. Moorea is a ferry ride to Tonga through one of the world’s most away and Bora Bora is a very short flight away. beautiful archipelagos is becoming a favourite Happy talk: In world surveys Fiji usually with cruise lines. The capital Nuku’Alofa can comes top for the planet’s happiest be roughly translated as ‘Abode of Love’. people. Those who visit know why. Weddings and Honeymoons are a growing Learn some new moves: Dancing is sector for the Cook Islands. Why? “Great the South Pacific’s favourite pastime and boutique hotels, breathtaking beaches, visitors are very much encouraged to join in. friendly locals and an authentic Polynesian Ladies should shake those hips! But for men, it’s experience,” says Ian Griffiths of Cook Islands really all about the knees. Tourism. Top islands include Rarotonga,


Opening page: To Sua Ocean Trench, a famous swimming hole in Upolu, Samoa. This page, clockwise from top left: Te Manava Luxury Villas & Spa, Cook Islands; Kokomo Island Fiji; exploring Tahitian culture; snorkelling off Pacific Resort Rarotonga, Cook Islands; smiling Samoan children


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Sustainable Samoa: This year marks the 55th anniversary of its independence and celebrating the International Year of Sustainable Tourism as designated by the United Nations. Go to church: Even if you’re not a regular churchgoer you’ll love the unaccompanied four-part harmonies, with everyone dressed in their Sunday best.

What’s new  Airlines: Air Tahiti Nui ( plans to unveil two brand-new 787-9 Dreamliners late next year. Talofa Airways ( launched last year and flies between Western and American Samoa. Fiji Airways ( has started a twice-weekly direct services to Nadi from Adelaide – a new gateway to the United States (Los Angeles and San Francisco) via Nadi.  Resorts: Fiji has four new resorts:; momi bay hotels; private island resort kokomoislandfiji. com; and opening early 2018. Moana Sands Lagoon Resort ( is due

VOTE NOW! We want to know which is your preferred bed bank Above, from left: A Tahitian atoll from the air; a Polynesian cultural performance in Samoa

“Our Bula Bid initiative allows Economy customers to bid for an upgrade to Business on international flights and enjoy, three-course meals designed by celebrity chefs and lie-flat beds” MAGDALENA VAN KUILENBURG, SALES AND BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT EXECUTIVE, FIJI AIRWAYS

to open in Rarotonga in the Cooks later this year. Taumeasina Island Resort ( is now open on its own exclusive island just outside of Samoa’s capital, Apia. The iconic Aggie Grey’s ( in Apia has re-opened after major refurbishment.  Attractions: UNESCO World Heritage status has been granted to the marae temple of Taputapuatea on the French Polynesian island of Raiatea.

Tourism talk “There’s been real growth in the adventure and marine sector – including domestic cruising, crewed yachting, diving and river safaris. We are developing our online training for the autumn when we’ll also be launching a FAM incentive for agents.” Jane West, Director, Tourism Fiji

“The Islands of Tahiti roadshow will be visiting Manchester on September 21 for our agent evening, with opportunities to meet the tourist board and partners, plus an exciting prize, Tahitianinspired cocktails and dinner. On September 22 our Product Managers lunch takes place in London. Next year we relaunch our online Tahiti Specialist Programme, with agent incentives and prizes.” Juno Thompson, Tahiti Tourisme

Where to book it  TURQUOISE HOLIDAYS – 01494 678 400 Combine Bora Bora with two Cook Islands: five nights at Bora Bora Pearl Beach Resort, five at Crown Beach Resort, Rarotonga and four at Pacific Resort Aitutaki. Prices from £4,795 including all transfers, international flights and breakfasts.  AUSTRAVEL – 0808274 2374 Five nights at Pacific Resort in the Cooks’ Aitutaki and five at Pacific Resort in Rarotonga, including a Lagoon Cruise in Aitutaki and a tour of Rarotonga, transfers and international flights. Prices from £3,549.

 ANZCRO – 01872 266 899 Four nights at the Sofitel Fiji Resort plus a four-day, three-day Fiji Princess Cruise is from £1,414pp. 


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southern florida


warmth feel the

Parts of southern Florida are closer to Cuba than they are to Orlando, offering visitors an ‘alternative’ Sunshine State experience, says Jeannine Williamson


s the glowing pink-and-red sun begins to sink over the Gulf of Mexico, the square is suddenly illuminated by a closer light source. A fire juggler begins his routine and is throwing three flaming clubs above his head, behind his back and under his legs. To make things even more difficult he’s riding a giant unicycle and is towering above the surrounding cheering crowd. Live music fills the sultry air and in another corner a preacher raises his already sonorous voice to make his point. Children are sitting patiently, with painted faces, as their parents head to one of the many food stands selling hot dogs, conch fritters and the ubiquitous Key Lime pie. A grizzled biker, with two dogs in his sidecar, cruises past and another old-timer is pushing a decorated bike with a ghetto blaster strapped to the back.

Welcome to the daily Sunset Celebration in Key West’s Mallory Square, a world away from the ordered and fluffy themepark style entertainment you might normally associate with Florida. Situated at the tip of the Florida Keys – the 125-mile island chain linked by the Overseas Highway - Key West is America’s southernmost city and has a unique atmosphere. Travelling down the highway from Miami, the large number of drive-in fortune tellers and spiritual art galleries indicate that the Keys has its own take on things. Writer Ernest Hemingway contracted the infectious ‘Keys disease’ when he first visited in 1928, and lived in Key West from 1931 to 1940, writing a novel for every year he was there. Land-based stays can be combined with cruises and in November 2018 Miami will welcome the world’s newest and largest ship, Royal Caribbean’s 5,494-passenger Symphony of the Seas, which will coincide

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with the opening of a new state-ofthe-art mega-cruise terminal. Miami saw a 3.9% increase in UK visitors in 2015/16. William D. Talbert, President and CEO of Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau, said: “Greater Miami and the Beaches continue to be a popular destination for British tourists. Our year-round sunshine, tropical climate and palm-fringed pristine beaches with crystalclear turquoise waters offer constant appeal. In addition, there’s a dynamic and vibrant arts and culture scene that’s enriched by Miami’s diverse heritage, arguably the most diverse in the US.” Ruby Briggs, Managing Director of North America Travel Service, said: “Southern Florida is a region that continues to grow for us as families returning to the state look to spread their wings beyond Central Florida in search of some idyllic beach resorts and water based activities.” While Florida is traditionally considered a family destination, it’s home to more RitzCarlton hotels than any other state and the south has seen considerable investment in luxury properties. High-end beach resorts that will appeal to couples include the Palm Beaches, Naples and Marco Island. For golfers the championship course Sizzling South Beach: No visit to at Naples Beach Hotel and Golf Club, Miami would be complete without which is open to the public as well taking in the iconic beachfront lined with Art as resort guests, has undergone a $9 Deco buildings, cool restaurants and beautiful million redesign in collaboration with people out to see and be seen. course designer, Jack Nicklaus. Shop ‘til you drop: With more than 350 With extra airlift there’s never been a better shops Sawgrass Mills, 15 minutes from time for clients to experience this diverse Fort Lauderdale and 35 region with its scenic minutes from Miami island chains, beautiful and Palm Beach, is the beaches, cultural “Between Miami and Palm largest outlet mall in attractions and the U.S. natural wonders such Beach, Butterfly World in Catch a game: as the Everglades. Coconut Creek has 80 species Get tickets to of butterfly and hummingbird see one of the region’s Perfect ten Hit the road: and lorikeet aviaries. It is a professional sporting Hire a teams including the great family attraction” convertible for the Miami Dolphins NFL STEVE HARTRIDGE ultimate drive down the (American football) EDITOR, SELLING TRAVEL Overseas Highway and side, Miami Heat its 43 bridges – one (basketball) and Miami almost seven miles long – to the Florida Keys. Marlins (baseball). Get snappy: Take a thrilling airboat ride Hit the high notes: Fort Lauderdale’s Riverwalk Arts and Entertainment District to explore the two-million-acre wetlands of the Everglades to is packed with culture-rich attractions including spot alligators, manatees, Florida Grand Opera & the Broward Center for turtles and birds. the Performing Arts.

From left: Floating around a sand bar in the Keys; Jungle Island interactive zoo; the Art Deco vibes of South Beach, Miami; an historic lighthouse and the white-sands of Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park

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See the light: Climb to the top of the 1860 tower at recently restored Jupiter Inlet, one of Florida’s famous chain of lighthouses. Collect seashells: The unspoilt white beaches of Marco Island, southwestern Florida’s largest barrier island, are among the top shores in the world to collect seashells. Head for Hollywood: No, not Los Angeles but its namesake vintage east coast beach town famous for its two-and-ahalfmile Broadwalk promenade. Curious cats: Meet six-toed cats descended from Snowball, Ernest Hemingway’s first puss, at the writer’s former house in Key West. “Brightline,

What’s new  Attractions: Do Something Different (dosomethingdifferent. com) is offering two

Above: Dolphin spotting in Naples; still waters for kayaking in Big Pine Key. Opposite page: Sunset at Las Olas Beach in Fort Lauderdale

clouded leopards which are part of an endangered species breeding programme.  Tour operators: Funway Holidays ( has expanded its South Florida programme with the addition of Hollywood’s Diplomat Beach Resort from Hilton’s Curio Collection, which has reopened after a $100-million top-to-toe renovation. Travel 2 ( has added the Reach, A Waldorf Astoria Resort in Key West to its portfolio. Newly featured in Gold Medal’s ( 2018 Florida preview brochure is the Ritz Carlton in Sarasota, which recently underwent a multi-million dollar refurbishment.  Accommodation: The Hyatt Regency Coconut Point Resort & Spa a brand-new

high-speed rail service connecting Miami and West Palm Beach (one hour), with a stop in Fort Lauderdale (30 minutes), is scheduled to start operations before the close of summer 2017”

new sailing trips in Key West. The Wine and Wind Sunset Sail on a schooner includes drinks and hors d’oeuvres, priced from £62pp, and the daytime Dolphin Watch Eco Tour, from £66pp, with snorkelling and drinks, goes in search of bottle nose dolphins in their natural habitat. Miami’s Spanish colonial-style Espanola Way reopened in June following a $2.5 million restoration. The pedestrian street is lined with locally-owned restaurants, bars, boutique hotels and shops. The 170-acre Naples Botanical Garden ( has a new visitor centre and three new gardens, including an orchid area, and the latest additions at Naples Zoo ( include two rare


com) in Bonita Springs

has opened a $7 million waterpark with three slides and a 1,100ft heated lazy river. By adding one acre to the hotel’s existing two-acre pool area, it’s now one of the largest in Florida. AccorHotels has transformed the former Sofitel Miami into the Pullman Miami Hotel (, the first upmarket Pullman address in North America. Opened last summer, The Playa Largo Resort & Spa ( was Key Largo’s first new hotel in 21 years. It has since been joined by Largo (, an eco-friendly lodge-style hideaway with one of the Florida Keys’ only private piers, and this summer the intimate Dolphin Point Villas (dolphinpointvillas. com), accommodating up to 100 guests, opened. The Marco Island Marriott Beach Resort has reopened as the 716-room JW Marriott

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Marco Island Beach Resort ( after a $320-million renovation that will continue through early 2018.  Airlines: British Airways (batraveltrade. com) recently launched a Gatwick to Fort Lauderdale route, with four flights weekly in peak season and three the rest of the year. On September, 1 Aer Lingus (aerlingus. com) launches its first Dublin to Miami route, with three flights weekly. Norwegian ( has scaled up its Gatwick-Fort Lauderdale service from one to three times a week.  Transport: A free 16-stop hopon hop-off bus ( launched in Key West this summer.

Tourism talk “In 2016 UK visitor numbers to the Florida Keys grew by 6.9% and by 19.7% from Ireland. There has been a huge increase in accommodation choices with 15 new properties introduced in the last two years, and a considerable growth in air capacity from the UK and Ireland into the gateway airports of Miami and Fort Lauderdale. “More holidaymakers are looking to explore further afield in Florida and the Keys offers a taste of genuine and natural Florida. Uncomplicated, laidback and distinctive, classic experiences include snorkelling and diving above a portion of continental USA’s only living coral barrier reef, and ‘catch and cook’ fishing trips. “Must-see attractions include Marathon’s Turtle Hospital while two water-based national parks await in the Dry Tortugas and Everglades.” Stacey Mitchell, Director of Sales, Florida Keys and Key West

Where to book it  TRAVEL 2 – 0800 0224 182 A seven-night room-only stay at the Reach,


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A Waldorf Astoria Resort, a Caribbean-style hotel set on Key West’s only private natural beach, is priced from £1,259pp for travel this autumn, including flights and car hire.


The 10-night Miami & The Keys touring fly-drive itinerary, with accommodation at the Hyatt Centric South Beach Miami, Cheeca Lodge & Spa Islamorada, Ocean Key Resort & Spa Key West and Hilton Key Largo Resort, is priced from £1,645, including flights and car hire. 

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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 AIRLINES

BA hits notes in Nashville "Our forthcoming roadshows in October offer a great opportunity for members and agents to meet face to face" Tracey Spuyman CEO, VISIT USA


BRITISH Airways is to launch a new service to Nashville next spring. The airline plans to operate a fivetimes-a-week flight – on a Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday – between Heathrow and ‘America’s Music City’, from May. ATTRACTION

Spud you like it THE world's largest potato chip, a 25-inch Pringle, is among the exhibits on display at the Idaho Potato Museum in Blackfoot. The museum charts the history of the potato, shows videos and sell spudthemed items like potato chapstick.

Agents wanted on road VISIT USA is encouraging agents to sign up for this autumn’s series of UK roadshows. The popular events, designed to mix knowledgegaining, networking and some after-work fun, are scheduled for Edinburgh (October 3), Liverpool (October 4) and Reading (October 5). All three roadshows will be held in premium hotels – The Principal (Edinburgh), Crowne Plaza (Liverpool) and Pentahotel (Reading) – and will feature over 30 Visit USA members who will discuss destination and product information with agents. The format of each evening, which will feature food and drink, will see the agents visiting all of the exhibitors. Each agent will have a chance of winning a goody bag and a fabulous USA holiday at EACH of the three roadshow stops. Agents interested in being part of the Edinburgh, Liverpool or Reading events can sign up at:


United heads to Denver UNITED Airlines is to launch a non-stop service between Heathrow and Denver next summer, a route it last flew in 2010. The seasonal service to United's Colorado hub will commence on March 25 and cease on October 27.

THE USA in brief... ATTRACTION THE Maid of the Mist is operating for a 132nd consecutive season this year, making it one of North America’s longest-running attractions. Departing daily from Niagara Falls State Park in New York State, it takes passengers to the base of the Horseshoe Falls. Passengers don ponchos for the 30-minute boat ride.

HOTELS MARRIOTT Hotels W brand has opened its first new U.S. hotel in seven years. The W Bellevue, across Lake Washington from Seattle, has 220 guest rooms and 25 suites built in a lakeside cabin style. The hotel has the finedining Lakehouse restaurant and a speakeasy-style bar called Civility & Unrest.

NEW TRAIL TENNESSEEE Tourism is promoting its new Tennessee Whiskey Trail. The 25-stop whiskey tour takes fans of the spirit across the state, visiting both boutiquesized operations and large internationallyrecognized companies. Along the Trail, visitors get a taste of the history, tradition, and novelty of Tennessee whiskey and moonshine.

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MEMBERS SPOTLIGHT introducing...

MISSOURI hosted a celebration of Jazz and Blues for the travel trade during its recent UK Sales Mission. Delegates from St Louis and Kansas City were present at a reception in the Theatre Royal Drury Lane, London, which featured a BBQ using some of the state's popular sauces. Donna Cordle-Gray, of the Missouri Tourism Office, said: “The U.K. is a critical market for Missouri... we are here to strengthen existing relationships and forge new ones."

'MINI' three- and four-night wilderness adventure tours are selling strongly, says specialist USA small group operator Grand American Adventures. Selling fast is the Los Angeles to Grand Canyon Mini, with bookings up 94%. Led by expert guides and aimed at couples, families and singles, the four ‘Mini Adventure’ tours start in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Las Vegas and New York City, and lead in at £299pp. Grand American Adventures is the sister company to TrekAmerica. grandamericanadventures. com

Singapore Airlines LOUISE PETTER Market Development Manager


Comic stars in New York ON Location Tours has a new bus tour, The Super Tour of New York City, on which guests get to ‘discover’ some of their favourite comic book heroes. The Avengers, Spider-Man, Batman, Superman and Jessica Jones are just some of the stars of the three-and-a-half-hour experience led by actors. The tour, which sets out from Midtown Comics, takes in the building used as The Daily Planet in Superman: The Movie; the New York Stock Exchange where Batman battled Bane in The Dark Knight Rises; the Hogarth’s office featured in Netflix’s Jessica Jones and Iron Fist; the New York Public Library, where Uncle Ben gave his famous catchphrase to Peter Parker in Spider-Man....and many others. Tickets cost $49 and must be purchased in advance. Other Big Apple tours offered by On Location Tours include NYC TV & Movie Tour, Sex and the City Hotspots Tour, Sopranos Sites Tour, The Real Housewives of New York City Tour and When Harry Met Seinfeld Tour.



On the Mississippi THE American Queen Steamboat Company’s (AQSC) new American Duchess is now sailing on the Mississippi. The luxurious paddlewheeler joins American Queen and American Empress as the third vessel operated by the riverboat company. The ship offers round-trip itineraries from Nashville and New Orleans.

THE first museum in the U.S. dedicated to the story of Prohibition has opened in Savannah, Georgia. The American Prohibition Museum tells the story how, during the 1920s and 1930s, alcohol and ‘liquor’ was banned and driven into underground secret drinking clubs. A highlight of the museum is the authentic 'speakeasy', where bartenders teach visitors how to make classic Prohibition cocktails.

When did Singapore Airlines join Visit USA? We joined in March 2017. What do you hope to gain from membership? A key reason for joining was to introduce our new long-haul service from Manchester to Houston. Our membership will help us interact, support and build partnerships with those in the trade selling the USA. It will also allow us to engage potential customers interested in visiting the country. Tell us more about SIA’s UK-US services? Launched last October, our non-stop Manchester-Houston flight operates five times a week. The outbound flight departs Manchester at 10.10 and arrives in Houston at 15.30. The return flight departs Houston at 20.15, arriving in Manchester at 10.05. Why should agents recommend the airline to U.S-bound clients? What better than to fly on the world’s most awarded airline? The route is operated by SIA's new A350, the world's most fuel-efficient aircraft. Its higher ceiling gives a sense of space and its smart lighting subtly eases passengers into their new time zone. Whether in Economy, Premium Economy, or Business Class, clients can expect exceptional seats, food, drink and entertainment. How can agents learn more? They can visit our dedicated travel agent website, call 020 8563 6722 or email uk_

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heaven made in

With its white sands, tropical climate, wide range of resorts and excellent airlift, Mauritius is proving increasingly popular with UK travellers, says Steve Hartridge


hether it is a drop-andstay- put beach holiday, a family adventure or a faraway setting to tie the knot, Mauritius has a location and resort that can fit the bill. UK visitor numbers are surging, with 2016 seeing a nine per cent increase year on year, something the Mauritius Tourism Promotion Authority (MTPA) puts down to targeting low season visitation via its added-value Mauritius 365 campaign and the refurbishment of many of the island’s products and services. With its alluring climate and scenery, it has

long been an established favourite among Brits looking to get married and/or honeymoon and this is a sector that the MTPA is pushing in 2017 and beyond. The tourism board has signed up for a number of wedding shows this year and is looking to plan a wedding coordinator fam trip. It will also be adding new training modules to its website. Kevin Ramkaloan, the MTPA’s Director of Tourism, said: “Mauritius is not only a beautiful destination to visit but also offers wedding co-ordinators and packages to ensure a smooth an affordable celebration. More

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people are looking for value and many of the hotels on the island offer affordable wedding packages. As well as standard packages, hotels are continuing to introduce new concepts to attract this particular market.” For example, Shangri-La Le Touessrok has launched an exclusive new package for weddings on the private island Ilot Mangénie. Guests are offered a dedicated wedding coordinator, a bridal bouquet, wedding cake, hair and make-up for the bride and a facial on the eve of the wedding for the groom. At Maritim Resort and Spa, the wedding ceremony can take place on the beach or at the exclusive site, ‘Historical Ruins of Balaclava’. Guests are assisted by a specialist and dedicated team who will organise everything on-site, including the local formalities, the ceremony, reception and dinner. The Four Seasons Anahita has a new wedding venue on the islet of Quiet Beach. Set against the backdrop of Bambou Mountain and facing out to the open lagoon and Indian Ocean boat to view the sea life below, kayaking, beyond, the setting is unique and intimate. Wedding packages at the hotel include wedding wind surfing, pedal boating and more. Tricia Birmingham, Senior Product specialists to offer expert assistance, a private Manager: Middle East and Indian wedding dinner on the beach for two, flower Ocean, Gold Medal suggests the Coin decoration for the ceremony table and more. De Mire Attitude hotel for families. From January 2018, Beachcomber Hotels “The property has deluxe family rooms & Resorts, the luxury hotel group with eight which can sleep two adults and two children. properties in Mauritius, is set to open a new Families have it from accommodation the moment they check concept, Victoria for Two, at the Victoria “Book a holiday in low season in to when they leave, meaning if their flight Beachcomber Resort (from May to the end of is not until late in the & Spa. Designed September) to get the best evening they can still exclusively for couples, this new adults-only value on packages. Look for use the all-inclusive facilities. There are wing will consist of 40 hotels which offer free nights, also lots of things for two-person terraced such as a stay for seven nights children, including a rooms, each opening playground, treasure onto a private beach and pay for five deal” hunts in the garden, and the marine park. TRICIA BIRMINGHAM, SENIOR PRODUCT MANAGER: a swimming pool, MIDDLE EAST AND INDIAN OCEAN, GOLD MEDAL Family time shows and Mauritian Mauritius is an games. And children can eat meals in their own mini-club.” island that is also gearing up for families. Many of its hotels offer extensive kids club Premier Holidays has added facilities, where the little ones can have villa accommodation in a beach party, learn to make homemade Mauritius for the first time, ice-cream or hunt for crabs at sunset. with three different estates Also perfect for a family day out is in the Grand Baie area, which are close to shops, bars and restaurants. Casela Nature Park, where children can see giant tortoises, zebras and lions or Nikki Hain, Indian Ocean Product take a zipline through the forest. Manager, says: “These villas are ideal for clients who are holidaying Other activities on the island include horse riding along the coastline to view exotic wildlife with children or a group of people at La Vanille Crocodile Park, home to crocodiles, due to their offerings of up to giant turtles, monkeys, stags and more. four bedrooms… we are also offering car At The St. Regis Mauritius Watersports hire for these clients to give them the Centre, options range from snorkelling and flexibility to drive around the island.” water-skiing to taking a trip in a glass-bottom Across the island a host of popular hotels


VOTE NOW! We need to know your top fam trip in 2017 Opposite page: Stand-up paddle boarding. This page, from top: Walking with lions in Casela Nature and Leisure Park; the conditions for kite surfing are often perfect in Mauritius

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and resorts have been buy modernising and upgrading. Said Deborah Wadhams, Product Manager: Middle East & Indian Ocean, Travel 2: “All eyes are on the One & Only Le Saint Geran that is undergoing a complete renovation and is set to reopen in December. We can’t wait to see the end result and I am quietly confident that it will push this hotel to the top of many honeymooners ‘must visit’ lists,” she said.

What’s new  Hotels: Heritage Le Telfair (heritageresorts. mu) reopens on September 1 after a summer makeover. The refurb includes a new kids’ club, wellness pavilion and an open-air cinema. Four Seasons Resort Mauritius at Anahita ( has a new look for a selection of its luxury Residence Villas, following the refurbishment of the Royal Residence Villa and two Grand Residence Villas. Set in a secluded location along the shores of the Indian Ocean lagoon, the five-bedroom Residence Villas accommodate up to 10 adults and two children. LUX* Grande Gaube Mauritius ( is closed and will reopen on December 1 as a ‘reimagined resort’. The property is working with Kelly Hoppen on the design and interiors which will include a new spa, a reduction in rooms, 100 more staff and completely new concepts for the resort’s bars and restaurants.  Tour Operators: Premier Holidays has added the new all-adult Veranda Paul & Virginie to its Beaches brochure. It is due to open next month (October) as a four-star boutique resort in Grand Gaube. Travel agents can earn up to £150 for every inclusive Mauritius booking, depending on booking value.  Events: Plans are underway regarding the island’s 50th anniversary celebrations. Hotels are keen to showcase the history and culture of the island, so watch this space for further announcements.

Where to book it  TRAVEL 2 – 0800 0224 182 Seven nights at the five-star One & Only Le Saint Geran, on a B&B basis, staying in a Lagoon Room, start from £2,599pp. Including return flights and transfers the deal is valid for travel from December 1 to December 13 2017.

 PREMIER HOLIDAYS – 08444 937 444 Seven nights all-inclusive at the four-star adults-only Veranda Paul and Virginie start from £1,149pp, with flights and transfers. Alternatively, a seven-night villa stay, with breakfast, at Athena Villas, including flights, is priced from £1,055pp. 

GETTING THERE British Airways ( will operate five flights a week from next month (October). Other airlines flying to the destination are: Air Mauritius (, Emirates (emirates. com) and Thomson (, which operates a weekly service from Gatwick on a Dreamliner and a fortnightly flight out of Manchester.

Clockwise from left: Happy customers with their babysitter at The Residence Mauritius; beachside romance; the Seven Coloured Earths, a geological formation and tourist attraction in the Rivière Noire District

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?


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quebec: ski tremblant

mountain the little big

Mont Tremblant, the closest major Canadian ski resort to the UK, combines great skiing with plenty of French joie de vivre


remblant is the second-oldest ski resort in North America, lying 80 miles north of Montreal in the French province of Québec. This means it’s a whole lot closer than Canada’s better-known resorts – a flight time of six and a half hours to be precise – so why don’t more Brits ski there? Adam Hanmer and seven ski specialist agents explored the peak, known by the ancient Algonquin First Nation tribe as “the mountain

of the spirits”. Tremblant sits at 875 metres and offers a breathtaking view over the Laurentians. Its ski area covers 269 hectares and includes 96 ski trails (80km of trails) on four pleasantly wooded slopes, from easy greens to some double-black diamond runs, catering for skiers and snowboarders of all levels. James Williamson, Reservations Consultant at Inghams, was pleasantly surprised by how much terrain is available: “Looking at

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quebec: ski tremblant

piste maps beforehand I thought it might feel a little small for advanced skiers but I was surprised by how large it felt. I loved the different routes you could take down and how the same run could feel completely different depending on how you skied it.”

Access all areas Physically challenged or disabled skiers aren’t deterred from enjoying the pistes of Tremblant thanks to sit ski. Adam Hanmer gave it a go and quickly progressed to a black run after a couples of days’ practice. Sit ski is a small cockpit on two skis and the user has two smaller skis on poles to help balance and steer and, at first anyway, an instructor behind with reigns keeping them on track. “As you are close to the ground you get a real sense of speed,” says Adam. “They are not the easiest things to get off and on the chair lifts so you would have to be seriously proficient to hire one and head up the mountain on your own but having Dave and Patrick with me made it a great experience.”

Beyond the piste Tremblant may not keep hardcore skiers busy for as long as some of Canada’s west coast resorts but one of its main selling points is its range of activities outside skiing and boarding. “The diversity of activities was really appealing,” says Boyd Duczynski, Ski Sales Manager, iglu. com. The rest of my family aren’t necessarily happy to ski all day every day, so to have other things like dog sledding and tubing means that everyone in a family group is going to have

fantastic memories of a really unique holiday.” Family-friendly is a phrase that all the agents used to describe Tremblant, thanks to its small town feel, easy accessibility – both from the UK and hotel to slope – and variety of activities makes it an easier choice for those with children. In Tremblant you are straight out on the mountain, says Dave Smith, Area Manager – North Ski, Lakes and Mountains, TUI Group. “It is one of the easiest resorts I have

“Known as the ‘little big mountain’, there is a big choice of runs and styles that converge back to the summit, so perfect for groups and families who ski at different levels but want to regroup over a long lunch” TOMOS CROSS, WORLDWIDE SALES CONSULTANT, TRAILFINDERS

experienced for getting the family out on the slopes with as little stress as possible.” The resort itself has a very French feel to it which makes a change from the Rockies. Buildings in vibrant colours line narrow, cobbled, traffic-free streets and squares. Cuisine is, of course, top-notch. “I had always been told it was a great resort for Brits and it certainly delivered, says Karen


Moodie, Ski Specialist, Ski Independence. “Once you’re in the resort everything is very accessible. From every property we feature you can get to the slopes, restaurants, shops and bars within a couple of minutes.”

Perfect ten Sweet treat: Visit a sugar shack to see how maple syrup can be used every which way and taste traditional taffy on snow. Walk on by: Head to Kanatha-Aki Nature Center for snow shoeing through a magical forest setting and some bison spotting. Dog’s life: Get away from the crowds and enjoy a spot of dog-sledding. Slip slide away: Be a kid again at Saint Saveur’s two tube parks. Chill out: Ease aching limbs in the therapeutic waters of Scandinave Spa. Local brew: Visit the La Diable micro brewery for Québec’s finest craft beer. Snow cycle: Take a spin on the snow with d tour’s Fat Tyre Ebikes. Romantic ride: Take a horse-drawn sleigh ride through the white stuff. Eat local: Come in from the cold and tuck into a Québec classic: poutine (chips, gravy and cheese to the Brits). Explore Montréal: Possibly the best city to visit in Winter since much of it can be traversed snugly underground.  From left: Checking out Tremblant’s après-ski; snowshoeing at the Kanatha-Aki Nature Center; fat tyre e-biking; Adam Hanmer trying out sit skiing; toboggan posing; ski lift selfie

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Working in partnership


Training, competitions, events September 2017


Exclusive GDS training discount Quick Quiz Are you a Thailand Pro?

1. Songkran Festival takes place in April. TRUE / FALSE

Hot News

Summer gathering looks to the future

2. Myanmar borders Thailand to the South TRUE / FALSE

Jamaican me hungry PRIZE

Answers: 1: True 2: False

AS any good travel professional knows, having GDS skills will not only improve their skills but also enhance their career potential in the industry. Trave lUni and Selling Travel are offering 25% off any GDS refresher or full course until September 30, 2017. So brush up on your GDS knowledge from £37. No restrictions, no catches and no 'from' prices. Enter your unique code traveluni25 on your booking at

AGENTS can win a place on a Caribbean cooking class with celebrity chef Richard Hughes under an incentive by Sandals Resorts and the Jamaican Tourist Board. To enter, agents need to confirm two bookings to any Sandals Resort in Jamaica before September 11, 2017. Sixteen winners will enjoy a 90-minute cookery session at the Assembly House in Norwich on September 19. Send booking details to

A-Z Antigua and Barbuda / Modules: 2 MEMBERS of the UK travel trade gathered at the Antigua and Barbuda Beach Shack to discuss all things tourism to Antigua and Barbuda. Industry experts joined the tourism authority for a summer gathering at London’s Archer Street, a Soho cocktail bar, to bring a slice of Caribbean beachlife to the heart of London’s West End. Jean-Marc Flambert, Vice President of Sales and Marketing, UK and Europe for the Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority, described 2017 as a 'positive year for Antigua and Barbuda'. “A successful advertising campaign in partnership with tour operators and increased PR has seen an increase in bookings for travel in 2017 and 2018. With several hotels investing in upgrades and improvements in 2017, we expect 2018 to be a strong year," he said.


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Training courses to help travel agents and advisers sell more!


Train and win with Thailand INCENTIVE

DISCOVER more about Thailand by visiting the Amazing Thailand Online Training Programme – and also be in with a chance of winning some fantastic prizes each month. In September, programme participants could win seven nights of hotel accommodation in Thailand. The accommodation prize does not include meals, flights, activities or transfers and is subject to some date restrictions. The training programme gives agents the knowledge to become a Thailand 'expert'.

Destination News

New attractions coming to Miami

Miami Uncovered / Modules: 4

Fill your fridge INCENTIVE

TOUR operator Serenity Holidays is offering agents the chance to stock their fridges for Christmas as part of its latest booking incentive. Agents have between September 1 and November 30 to make as many bookings as possible across all of Serenity's six destinations. Agents who acheive £15k worth of revenue will win a host of festive goodies with £50 gift voucers on offer for those achieving £10k of revenue. Serenity's brands include The Gambia Experience, Cape Verde, Goa, Corsican Places, Sardinian Places and Sicilian Places.

MIAMI continues to invest in cruise lines, airlines, hotels, restaurants, clubs and tourism attractions. PortMiami welcomes MSC Cruises’ Seaside, Royal Caribbean’s new 5,494 passenger ship Symphony of the Seas and 5,400-passenger Allure of the Seas, Carnival Cruise Lines’ Carnival Horizon and Norwegian’s Norwegian Bliss. New attractions include the city's $2.5million investment to upgrade Española Way, now lined with more than 15 restaurants, bars, hotels and shops. Additionally, CHAT Miami is providing authentic cultural and heritage tour experiences of Miami’s multicultural communities. CHAT Miami offers bus and walking tours to immerse locals and tourists in the city's local culture and history.

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 powered by

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in person

Papua New Guinea Visit the world's second-largest island when heading down under


Where in the world is Papua New Guinea (PNG)?


How do you get there?


From bird-watching to trekking, Papua New Guinea can satisfy most niche interests, says the tourism board's Robin Russell-Pavier.

A: PNG occupies the eastern portion of the island of New Guinea, the second-largest island in the world. Situated directly north of Australia, it consists of a mainland with some 600 islands, of which New Britain, New Ireland and Bougainville are the largest.

A: Travelling via Asia (Singapore and Manila) are the most straightforward options. Air Niugini has regular flights from Singapore as well as Hong Kong, Bali, Tokyo and Manila. Philippine Airlines also flies three times a week to Port Moresby, from its hub in Manila. You can also travel via Australia with regular services from Sydney Brisbane and Cairns, making a visit to PNG an option when you are down under.


PNG is known as one of the world’s top dive spots. Tell us more

A: It is! PNG is amazing for diving! It is located in the coral triangle of marine biodiversity with the highest diversity of tropical fish and coral in the world. It has twice as many marine species as the waters of the Red Sea and up to 10 times as many as the Caribbean. Some of our underwater

experiences are unique. You can dive aircraft such as Spitfires from the Second World War. The divers we send on press trips are invariably blown away by how fantastic it is. A Daily Telegraph journalist told me: “My jaw hit the floor – it was the best diving I have ever experienced.


Is it true it is also one of the world’s top bird-watching destinations?

A: PNG is a bird watchers’ paradise! From coastal and island locations up to the rugged peaks of the highlands, there are a multitude of locations where you can see beautiful species of birds. These include the famous Birds of Paradise, found only in PNG. Other endemic species much prized by ‘birders’ include the Raggiana, the Fire-maned Bowerbird, the rare Beck's Petrel and the Victoria Crowned Pigeon.


And it’s a great place to take a hike?

A: PNG’s location, isolation and dramatic landscape all lead to the perfect setting for trekking – and there are hundreds of tracks to choose from. PNG has long been a popular destination for trekking, mountain climbing and bushwalking, and is home to the world-

famous Kokoda Track, one of the world’s most spectacular and challenging treks at 96km long. The country trails are suitable for both trekking enthusiasts and the weekend bushwalkers.


Are there any other draw cards?


Tell us one experience that might help agents clinch a sale.

A: PNG is relatively new to surf enthusiasts, but the ‘breaks’ are quickly becoming known for the challenges they present – and there’s thousands of miles of coastline to choose from. There is unlimited surfing year-round, but the waves are particularly impressive during monsoon season, from October to April. The same winds that surfers enjoy also make for perfect kite surfing.

A: Taking a Papua New Guinea tour and staying in a village is a wonderful way to learn more about the local culture and lifestyle. But clients need to remember to be respectful of local customs and religious beliefs, and should never wander off alone. They should always take a local guide with them.  020 7260 2993;  

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how to sell


South Korea by Anna Maria Espsäter


outh Korea is steadily drawing increasing numbers of British visitors, attracted by this relatively small nation’s culture, history and cuisine. Why sell it

South Korea’s strategic location as a key northeast Asian hub makes it ideal as a stopover point for travellers heading further afield, such as to Australia or New Zealand. It’s also easy to combine the capital Seoul (or other parts of the country) with cities in neighbouring Japan or China, creating two- or three-centre packages. The sheer variety of landscapes and experiences that can be experienced is what makes South Korea such a unique and interesting destination. Its 22 national parks are dotted around the country and there are 12 UNESCO World Heritage Sites to choose from – 11 cultural and one natural. The healthy, tasty and diverse cuisine is another major draw, as are numerous cultural or sporting experiences, including spending a night in a Buddhist temple or learning the national sport, taekwondo.



Current trends The Korean Tourism Organisation (english. is currently working on a joint initiative with the respective tourist boards of China and Japan – designed to make travel between the three countries easier and more accessible. South Korea has excelled at hosting largescale sporting events over the last few decades and next year it will stage the Winter Olympics for the first time. The games will be held in Pyeongchang, from February 9-25, 2018, and should further enhance the country’s reputation as a first-class winter sports destination. The little-known sights of Gangwon-do Province, where Pyeongchang is situated, will soon be reachable by a high-speed rail link from Incheon airport and several stations in Seoul, planned to be completed this year.

South Korea Essentials TIME: +9 GMT FLIGHT TIME: 11-13 hours (direct or indirect flights) VISAS: 90 day visa-free stay CURRENCY: Won LANGUAGE: Korean CONTACT:

GETTING THERE: Korean Air (, British Airways (batraveltrade. com) and Asiana Airlines ( all fly direct. Numerous airlines, including Finnair ( fly via a hub.



Who to sell to South Korea tends to appeal to the more adventurous traveller who is looking for something a little bit different. As a rule, usually visitors who stop off in Korea are not first-time travellers to Asia but have invariably explored several of the more popular destinations, such as Thailand or India, and are looking for new and interesting experiences further afield. Many younger travellers, including backpackers, are drawn to South Korea as a stopover on their way down under. Also luring the younger market is the recent rise of hallyu (also known as the Korean Wave), the Korean popular culture phenomenon that includes K-pop music, Korean TV series, films and more. South Korea is also a haven for culture vultures and history buffs – its 5,000-yearhistory is well-preserved and told throughout the nation. Royal palaces, fortresses and temples are open to the public and can be visited year-round. Korea is compact and easy to get around, which means the great outdoors is never far away. Many of the national parks can be explored on foot or by bike and for the sports enthusiast, South Korea has much to offer any time of year, including winter.

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how to sell





When to visit South Korea is increasingly turning into a year-round destination, although spring and autumn have the most pleasant climates. Just like neighbouring Japan, the country offers excellent opportunities for springtime cherry blossom viewing while the autumn colours are also spectacular. Summers can be very hot and humid, while snowfall is common in the mountainous regions in winter. As well as Pyeongchang, there are several other ski resorts in the northern part of the country. South Korea is also well-known for an abundance of weird and wonderful festivals and many are worth suggesting to clients looking to plot their journey to coincide with one or more of these. For example, how about a kimchi festival, celebrating one of South Korea’s most traditional dishes? Or perhaps suggest the world-famous mud festival at Boryeong? There’s even a music festival at the Demilitarised Zone (DMZ) marking the border between the two Koreas, (North and South), a festival celebrating sunflowers and a water gun fight festival. It is safe to say, Korea has plenty of surprises in store for adventurous clients.

VOTE NOW! Which is your top destination for spa and wellness?



Top Sellers The two main cities, Seoul and Busan, are replete with sights, both modern and ancient. Seoul has several UNESCO sites within the city limits while Busan, an active port city, is home to the country’s largest fish market and a bustling waterfront. The DMZ remains of great interest to foreign visitors. A visit brings greater insights into the complex history of the war that divided the nation over 60 years ago and this can easily be arranged as a day trip from Seoul. Another day trip that’s well worth it is a visit to the city of Suwon, some 20 miles south of the capital and home to the impressive Hwaseong Fortress, a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1997. The fortress is dominated by four main gates and has 48 original structures in total, encircling the town. South of the mainland is Jeju island, the largest island off the Korean coast, home to the country’s only natural UNESCO World Heritage Site. This volcanic island, famed for its central dormant cone and extensive system of lava tubes, is fast becoming a key attraction for visitors. South Korea is nothing if not well-rounded: Where else can you find superb beaches, spicy cuisine, snowy mountains, volcanic craters and a theme park dedicated to sex? 


BOOK IT WITH REGENT HOLIDAYS The eight-day Highlights of South Korea tour is priced from £2,045pp. The deal is based on two people sharing and includes direct British Airways flights, B&B accommodation, local transport, an English-speaking guide, entrance fees and tours. 020 7666 1258;

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my journey

.. . A jo u r n e y t o

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her side of pital, there’s anot ca y el liv d an ks kend brea estfjords Known for its wee Karl Cushing in W ys sa , ld co e th om ming in fr Iceland that is co


s the winched-up basket of sea-grabbed goodies breaks the surface the crew members flash their shucking knives and our careful queueing quickly descends into hungry jostling. The brackish bounty of scallops, clams and urchins proves a tasty finale to my island hopping Viking Sushi boat tour from West Iceland’s Stykkisholmur (, but it’s merely an appetiser for the main course ahead — a tour of the truly spectacular Westfjords. An intriguing, inlet-carved landmass jutting out of the northwest of Iceland, the barely-inhabited Westfjords remains refreshingly free of man’s touch. Its wild, elementsbashed landscape - from dark volcanic mountains and tufty-grassed valleys to dramatic coastal fjords - is raw and powerful; positively primeval. Ultimately, it’s one big outdoor playground that cries out to be explored. From summer camping, biking and hiking to winter snowsports and Drangajokull glacier tours, active options abound year-round – with September to March offering the added lure of potential sightings of the soight-after Northern Lights.

cross on journeys such as Suoureyri to Dynjandi, where the short climb to the base of the waterfall yields sweeping fjordland views, followed by a dreamy drive around the fjords of Dyrafjordur and Onundarfjordur. And oh, the wind! I quickly learn the lesson of donning my coat before I leave the minivan. Of the cosy guesthouses and homesteads that dot the region my personal favourite is Heydalur (, a pleasantly remote farmstead between Holmavik and Isafjordur. Flanked by snow-capped mountains I enjoy a bracing horse ride down to the nearby fjord on Mozart, my wonderfully shaggy Icelandic horse, having earlier vacated a tasty trout breakfast to spy on two young arctic foxes who’d swung by outside for a bite of their own. Local hot tubs or ‘hotpots’ offer a different kind of relaxing break, my favourites latching onto the coastline at Drangsnes where the sun suddenly burst out to better illuminate the mountains across the water. Other pleasing pit stops include visiting the Arctic Fox Centre in Sudavik, which offers some in-sight

Isa󰈇󰈞󰈢r󰈧󰇼󰈦, ed󰇫󰇪󰈨 b󰈂 󰈜 󰈪en󰇹󰇱y la󰇴󰇵󰇮n󰇫 󰈆j󰈣󰇶󰈨, is 󰇧 󰇨󰇼󰈤y po󰇶󰇺 󰈢f 󰈛󰈜󰇱l 󰈇o󰈦 c󰇶u󰇮󰈤󰈥 s󰇬i󰇵s

Col󰈢󰇼󰇶󰈆ul 󰈢󰇰󰈨 ho󰇻󰇷󰈥󰈤 in Isa󰈇󰈞󰈢r󰈧󰇼󰈦

M󰈘 󰉃AG 󰈎󰈉󰈷󰉂 MO 󰉄󰈺

󰉅T󰉍 Wal󰇰󰈢󰈟󰇯n󰇫 i󰈡 󰇧 c󰈣a󰇷󰇺 󰇧l 󰇬󰈣󰇺 tu󰇨 in D󰇶󰇧󰈡g󰇷 mo󰇻󰇳󰇺󰈜in 󰈡󰈥s...Gal󰇰󰈢󰇵󰇯n󰇫 󰇵as 󰇷 󰈢󰈡 󰇹 se󰇪󰇯󰇳󰈪 puffi 󰈜 ho󰇶󰈤󰇪 󰈜t He󰈂󰈨󰇧l󰇼 󰇶... 󰇳󰈤 ta󰇰󰇪󰈤 󰈣ff W 󰇧n󰈧 󰇭󰈥ar󰇮󰇳󰈪 f󰈣󰇰󰈬lo󰇶 󰇮󰈝 es󰇹 I vi󰇪󰇿󰈤 f󰇶󰈣󰈩 󰈝󰇪l󰈜󰇳󰈨...f󰈅o󰈦d󰇰󰇧󰈡d at󰈢󰇴 󰈤n󰈣󰇿 mo󰇻󰇳󰇺󰈜in to󰇴󰇵󰇪d 󰇷

Go󰇮n󰇫 󰈆j󰈣󰇶󰈨 Exiting the Route 1 ring road into Westfjords, along Routes 54 and 56, in the hands of ground handler Grayline, my late April visit finds the region clinging to the last vestiges of winter. The expansive, ever-changing skies veer from vibrant blue to soupy white or glowering, further elevating the impressiveness of the landscape. Deep snow lines the mountain passes we

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my journey


Kar󰇰 󰈬󰇮c󰈫󰈤 b󰈜󰈛󰈬 in 󰇧 co󰇧󰇷󰇺󰈜l ‘ho󰇹󰇵󰈢t’ ho󰇹 tu󰇨 󰇮󰈡 Dr󰈜󰇳󰈪s󰇳e󰈤

t󰇬e n󰈧󰇮, mo󰇷󰇺 a 󰈞 󰇳 Dy 󰈆󰈢r󰈧󰈤’ 󰈥󰈦fa󰇰󰇱 󰇹 󰇧󰇹 Wes 󰇷󰇯󰇾e w s 󰇪 󰈦 im󰇴

into that morning’s breakfast companions, and photogenic towns such as Holmavik where I take in the quirky Icelandic Sorcery and Witchcraft Museum.

Cru󰇮󰇷󰇯󰈡g a󰇬󰇪󰈜󰈨 Westfjords’ coastal communities are quickly ramping up to address the growing tourism trade and none more so than Isafjordur. Nestled beneath mountains and edged by a gently lapping fjord it’s a handy base and an increasingly busy port of call for cruise ships. It’s also a lovely place to explore on foot, taking pictures of the old buildings. This I do after filling up on pastries from its excellent bakery. Local operators such as West Tours ( and Borea ( now offer everything from diving and kayaking to boat and ski trips across the fjord to Hornstrandir nature reserve. I opt for a guided pedal with West Tours, from Isafjordur to Bolungarvík, along an abandoned coastal road, thankfully no longer worthy of the moniker ‘most dangerous road in Iceland’. Occasional strong sideways gusts require mastering the tricky art of cycling at a 45-degree angle and I more than earn my seafood dinner and beers at Bolungarvik’s delightful Einarshusid guest-house where the owner’s family serenade us with some local songs. Like many of my fellow diners I am in town for the annual Fossavatn Nordic skiing competition taking place the following day – and the place is jumping. Once my ski-watching day in the mountains is done it is back down to Isafjordur where Air Iceland’s handy service to central Reykjavik helps me avoid the seven-hour return drive to my base, the Radisson Blu Saga hotel. As Iceland is braced to welcome two million visitors this year — six times its population — there’s a clear need to encourage visitation outside popular tourism routes such as the Golden Circle and I can heartily recommend selling clients the Westfjords. Indeed, I’d say its days as ‘the most famous unknown place in Iceland’ are numbered. See:;;

En󰈅o󰈠󰇮n󰇫 󰇺h󰈥 f󰇶u󰇮󰇺s 󰈣󰈇 a V󰇮󰈬󰇯n 󰇫 su󰇷󰇭󰇮 t󰈣u󰇶 Ice󰇰󰇧󰈡d 󰇯󰇷 󰇭om 󰇪 to 󰈢󰇳󰈥 o󰈆 t󰇬󰇪 wo󰇶󰇱d’s 󰇰a󰈦g󰇪󰇷󰇺 co󰇰󰈢󰈡󰇯es 󰈢󰈇 󰇵󰇼ffi n󰇷

The 󰇧󰇳󰈡󰇼al Fos󰇷󰇧󰇾󰈜t󰇳 No󰈦 d󰇮󰈛 s󰈫i󰇮󰈡g 󰇶󰈜󰈝e 󰇧t Isa󰈇󰈞󰈢r󰈧󰇼󰈦

󰈷I󰉁󰉌 T󰈍E 󰈰󰈺T 󰇬i󰈝h 󰇰a󰈡d󰇧󰇯󰇶, w

Ic󰈥 Kar󰇰 fl󰇪󰈟 󰇷󰇪󰇾󰈥n UK m o 󰈦 󰈇 󰇯k 󰇾 󰈅󰇧 󰈠k fli󰇪s 󰇹󰈣 Re 󰇱󰇻d󰇯󰇳󰈪 co󰈧󰇪󰈤h󰈜󰇶e󰈤 in󰈛 e󰇪 a󰇮r󰇴󰈣󰈦t󰇷, 󰈢󰈡n󰈥󰈛󰇺. Fr C 󰈧 n 󰇱a 󰈥 󰈛 wi󰇹󰇭 A󰇮r 󰈎 󰇻󰇴 󰇺󰈣 a w󰇪󰈥󰈫) ar󰇪 (of d󰇷 s󰇹o󰇵󰈢v󰈥󰇶󰈤 18 on󰇿󰇧󰈦 . s i󰇺 󰇳 󰈣 l󰇪 .S av󰇧󰇯󰇰a󰇩 󰇧󰈡d 󰇹󰇭󰈥 U a 󰈧 󰈜 n 󰇧 C o se󰇶󰇾󰇮c󰈥󰇷 󰇺 da󰇮󰇶 (ic󰇪󰇰󰈜󰈡

Hol󰇲󰇧󰇾󰇯k, ho󰇲󰇪 to 󰇹󰇭󰇪 Ic󰈥󰇰a󰈡d󰇮󰈛 Sor󰈛󰇪󰈦y M󰇼󰇷e󰇻󰈩

My Journey Iceland.indd 77

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USA: Washington State

along coasting

Take a drive from Seattle along the coastal Olympic Peninsula for a trip that shows off Washington State’s natural side, says Lisa Young


uelled with plenty of caffeine, my journey starts in Seattle, a city famous for its abundant coffee shops. I head out on a self-drive adventure to the Olympic Peninsula, home to Olympic National Park and a UNESCO World Biosphere site. It is really three parks in one – wild coast, ancient rainforest and snowy mountains – with nearly a million acres of wilderness, 900 miles of hiking trails – and 5000 elk.

On the road Olympia, an hour’s drive south from Seattle, is known for its colourful farmers’ market, the Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge, marina and brewery scene. My next stop, at the southern end of the Olympic Peninsula, is Aberdeen, famously the birthplace of Kurt Cobain.

Heading west from here, the clockwise journey around the peninsula is mostly on Route 101, taking in stunning beaches, rainforests and incredible natural beauty. The Olympic Peninsula has several great lodges: Kalaloch Lodge and Quinault Lodge are around an hour- and-a-half from Aberdeen. Both offer views of the Pacific coast and are ideal for exploring the peninsula. The highlights of this amazing national park include Ruby Beach, where harbour seals, porpoises, orcas and humpback whales are a common sight. Huge sea stacks and surf-tossed logs along the shore make for a spectacular setting. Hoh Rainforest is 32 miles inland from Ruby Beach. Trailheads lead through one of the largest temperate rainforests in the U.S. Hike the beautiful Hall of Mosses

loop trail near the visitor centre – it is less than a mile long, but look out for those elk! Another 31 miles north and I arrive at Forks, where the Twilight series was filmed, and then on to Cape Flattery Head, the northwestern-most tip of the Continental U.S. I spot eagles overhead. At Port Angeles you can take the ferry across to Vancouver Island, crossing the border into Canada. From Port Angeles, I head to the Victorian seaport of Port Townsend, with its Victorian buildings, unique boutiques, galleries and restaurants. Its vibrant working waterfront is also the starting out point for whale-watching tours. A fun and unusual place to stay is Fort Worden, where An Officer and a Gentleman was filmed.

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USA: Washington State





Finally, my Olympic Peninsula trip concludes at Bainbridge Island, a 90-minute drive from Port Townsend. The ferry here goes right to the heart of Seattle and provides unbeatable views of the city, mountains and the iconic Space Needle.

Seattle Washington State’s capital is known for its coffee culture, markets, tech headquarters and musical legends. It is also one of the most popular places to live in the U.S. with its urban-to -wilderness proximity and variety of adventure activities and beautiful scenery. Iconic city attractions include Chihuly Garden and Glass and the MoPOP Museum (formerly the EMP). Check out Jimi Hendrix, Nirvana, Pearl Jam and Soundgarten’s history in the museum – all were born out of the Seattle music scene. The Seattle CityPASS is a good way to see more of Seattle for less. It includes entry for around a 50% discount at the Space Needle, Seattle Aquarium, Argosy Cruises Harbour Tour, MoPOP Museum or Woodland Park Zoo, Chihuly Garden and Glass or Pacific Science Centre. A visit to Pike Place Market is a must and offers great views over the Puget Sound. This year over 200 cruises will head out of the city to Alaska. But increasingly cruisers are staying on in the city for a day or two or bolting on a tour of the Pacific Northwest.

Out and about Three national parks are each within a two- to two-and-a-half hour’s drive of the city and there are many state parks and national monuments. One of the most famous national monuments is the still-active volcano, Mount St Helens, a great stop off when driving to the winelands or south to Oregon. Near Mount St Helens, Mount Rainier National Park has over 120 glaciers and reaches 4,393 metres at its summit. Visitors can join hiking paths that take them through the extensive mountain range and foothills. To the northeast of Seattle North Cascades National Park is an outdoors adventurer’s

playground. Drive the scenic North Cascade Loop – 440 miles through jagged alpine peaks with 300 glaciers, aquamarine lakes, deep forests and pretty villages – then stop off at the Sun Mountain resort (sunmountainlodge. com) and Leavenworth, a Bavarian-style town straight out of the Sound of Music.

Farm to table The Pacific Northwest culinary scene is built around the region’s seafood and creative chefs, yet Washington State is also the second- largest wine producer in the U.S. Wine lovers should head south to ‘Wine Country’, where around 900 of the state’s wineries are found, to combine some Viognier and Merlot with a fine-dining experience.

Perfect ten A cruise to Alaska:: Seven major cruise lines offer cruises to Alaska from Seattle. Suggest clients make time to see the city and Washington State. Olympic Peninsula: Drive through Olympic National Park, with its wilderness, rainforests, beaches and trails. It’s a stroll: Walk through Mount Rainier National Park or drive to Sunrise Point for stunning views across Puget Sound. A walk on the wild side: Walk, ride a horse, raft or kayak through the impressive North Cascades National Park. Whale-watching tour: Take a trip along Puget Sound and spot whales, seals and dolphins in abundance.

VOTE NOW! Tell us which are your favourite airlines and airports Clockwise from left: Hoh Rainforest on Olympic Peninsula; The Space Needle in Seattle; Cape Flattery in Neah Bay; Victorian buildings in Port Townsend, Olympic Peninsula

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USA: Washington State



Pike Place Market: Browse the stalls, watch a fish-tossing ritual, or buy a coffee from the original Starbucks (opened 1971). Museum of Flight: ( One of the largest air and space museums in the world has 160 historically significant planes and spacecraft. Or visit the Future of Flight (, the world’s largest factory, to see Boeing aircraft being built. Chihuly Garden and Glass: See works by famous glass artist Dale Chihuly. Vast glass sculptures stand 30.5-metres tall. Chill out in the Wine Country: World-class wineries and artisan microbreweries can be found here - and sampled. Eye of the needle: Built in 1962 for the World’s Fair, the Space Needle is the symbol of Seattle. It offers stunning views and a revolving restaurant.

What’s new  Flights: Virgin Atlantic ( now has a non-stop flight into Seattle-Tacoma from Heathrow, on a Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner aircraft. In September 2017 Norwegian Airlines ( will start direct flights between Gatwick and Seattle. Four flights will operate a week on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays.  Attractions: Pike Place Market (pikeplacemarket. org) in Seattle has a new ‘MarketFront’ extension that includes 47 new stalls and a public terrace and plaza with views of Puget Sound and Olympic Mountain. The 55-year-old Space Needle ( is to undergo a facelift this year, updating the structure’s physical systems and offering a heightened Observation Deck experience with floor-to-ceiling glass on the interior and exterior.  Hotels: More than 3,000 more beds will be added in downtown and greater Seattle by 2019. The new downtown Hyatt Regency Hotel (seattle. will be Seattle’s largest hotel with 1,260-guest rooms when it opens in late 2018. Marriott International is to unveil a new hotel

concept in Seattle. Moxy Seattle ( is due to open before the end of 2017.  Cruise Ships: The Norwegian Bliss (, a new cruise ship that will accommodate 4,000 guests, will sail to Alaska from Seattle in 2018.

Tourism talk “Seattle is flourishing, with new hotels, new flights, more Alaska cruise options and other exciting developments. For 2018, we will have some 70,000 more aircraft seats with British Airways, Virgin Atlantic and Norwegian offering flights daily into Seattle. “To support this anticipated growth, from May 2018 Thomas Cook will offer direct non stop flights between Manchester and Seattle. There is a significant hotel expansion programme in the city, with over 3,000 more hotel beds due to come online by the end of 2018. And our attractions are keeping pace. A Pike Place Market extension and Space Needle renovation add to the picture of an expanding and increasingly exciting destination for UK travellers. “So see our UK website – – for itinerary suggestions, news and a list of tour operators. Introduce your clients to the best of the Pacific Northwest, Seattle and Washington State!” Patti Denny, International Tourism Development Manager, Port of Seattle

“Easily accessible from Seattle, the circular Cascade Loop drives through the rugged North Cascades National Park. Stops include Winthrop and the Bavarian-style Leavenworth. Summer offers hiking, biking and fishing” CARL SMITH, USA SENIOR SPECIALIST AUDLEY TRAVEL

Where to book it  AMERICA AS YOU LIKE IT – 020 8742 8299 A 10-night fly-drive to Washington State that takes in the Cascade Highway starts from £1494pp, in a twin room. The deal includes flights, hotel and car hire.  AUDLEY TRAVEL – 01993 838775. A tailor-made 21-day Canada & USA Pacific Northwest self-drive itinerary costs from £3,390pp, based on two sharing. The deal includes flights, transfers, car hire and accommodation. The itinerary has two nights in Winthrop, ideal for exploring the North Cascades National Park. 

Clockwise from top left: There are 900 vineyards in the state; Port Townsend whale spotting trip - sea lion at harbour entrance; Neah Bay eagle taking flight in Washington State; scenic lake and mountian mirror image

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the final word

the quirky side of travel – high-flying children, the U.S. eclipse, boozy Brits – Kids these days... Here's another tale of high-achieving youth which might make you question your own life, what you've done with it to date and why, at 35, you still forget to turn off the oven. At just 14, Sam Pointon has been appointed Director Of Fun & Families by The Grand Hotel & Spa in York, where he will be consulting on everything from menus to inroom entertainment. And it's not even his first job! In 2009, aged six, Sam 'worked' for York's National Railway Museum. Said Sam: “I’ve started with some vlogs this summer I’ll be sharing a new video with stuff I think will be good for children to do and see in York.” How about a paper round next, Sam?

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Booze Britain A BBC Panorama programme revealed there's been a 50% increase in arrests due to drunken behaviour on planes – and that it all starts to go Aspall's pear-shaped before passengers even board. Cheapflights found that 62% of British travellers hit the bar as soon as they pass security and have an average three drinks before boarding. But is that such a surprise with those air-side Wetherspoons so refreshingly priced!

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