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SELLING TRAVEL • FEBRUARY 2018

FEBRUARY 2018 • SELLINGTRAVEL.CO.UK

TRAVEL TRADE PUBLICATION OF THE YEAR 2015 & 2016

Zagreb • Mediterranean Islands • Bermuda • Luxury African Lodges • Cook Islands • Florida • Abu Dhabi • Iceland • Tenerife • Norway • India

PASSION PLAYS

Suggest clients head to the Med to pursue interests as diverse as hiking, wine tasting, wellness and gastronomy

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how to sell...

Florida Bermuda Abu Dhabi Cook Islands Luxury African Lodges and more...

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this issue - we travel further to bring you more FEATURES 8 Luxury Abu Dhabi: 21 29 37 46 66

Rising above its UAE neighbours Florida: What's new in the Sunshine State Luxury African Lodges: Creature comforts Cruise Trends: How the cruise industry is embracing 2018 Cook Islands: The South Pacific's natural choice The Med: Options beyond beach breaks

63 52

13

50 21 60

8

44

64

29 46

EDMONTON

35

options in Tenerife

32 My journey: Seeing Norway by rail City profile: Edmonton How to sell: Jersey Introducing: St Helena Visit USA: Members' news Introducing: Minnesota How to sell: Bermuda Six of the best: Iceland Ten of the best: India Introducing: Kuala Lumpur

66

25

69

QUICK READS 13 48 hours in: Zagreb 14 Spotlight on: Travelpack 25 Six of the best: Luxury

35 36 44 50 52 60 63 64 69

32 36

L U X U RY A F R I CA N LO D G E S

29 N O R W AY B Y R A I L

F LO R I D A

32

21

THE REVIEW 53 Top news stories plus hotel reviews and Florida Huddle show report

TALKING SHOP 15 News, competitions, incentives & fams

INDIA

JERSEY

64

36

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

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Travel Trade Publication of the Year

Travel Trade Publication of the Year

welcome – dedicated to those who love selling travel –

Proudly published by BMI Publishing Ltd 2018 © 2018

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

SUBSCRIBE FOR FREE! sellingtravel.co.uk/subscribe

T

he great thing about being a travel agent at this time of year – it occurred to me the other day, during a damp, grey walk into the office spent musing all those places I could be – is that you don’t have time to feel New Year blues because you’re too darn busy! Indeed, we’ve been quite busy ourselves here at Selling Travel, fielding an avalanche of 'peak season' press releases and attending a flurry of events held by tourist boards, airlines, cruise lines and hotels. We even managed to fit in attending no less than three overseas trade shows: Florida Huddle, Go West (USA) and the ASEAN Tourism Forum. There's been little time to dwell on the travel trade news, although most of it to date in 2018 has been positive for the tourism industry. At the time of writing, the pound had hit a post-Brexit high against the dollar at 1.38, Laura Gelder meaning a Manhattan in Manhattan costs £13.76 instead of the £15.83 it DEPUTY EDITOR would have done in January last year (according to Virgin Atlantic). The Post Office’s annual Holiday Money Report also made positive reading for agents, showing big price falls of over 30% in the Caribbean and other long haul favourites like New Zealand, Vietnam, Dubai and Japan. And while Porec in Croatia’s Istrian Peninsula was the only European destination to register a drop in prices, Bulgaria’s Sunny Beach topped the global chart for value in everyday items. And what’s good for holiday consumers is usually good for agents… except perhaps for the recent scrapping of credit card fees, which has left many agencies looking for ways to recoup their costs. As ABTA was contacting the Treasury to commission a review into the UK card payments market, operators like Wendy Wu and Osprey Holidays moved to up their commission levels. Unfortunately though, it looks like holiday prices will rise. This issue is packed with selling ideas - find out what's new in Florida (p.21) and how to sell Bermuda (p.60), and enjoy a little escapism by reading Ben Lerwill's journey through Norway's lofty landscapes by train (p.32) or travel to the South Pacific by reading our editor's report on the Cook Islands (p.46). Enjoy the rest of the peak selling season - it'll be over before you know it!

INDUSTRY COMMENTS... “With a number of new hotel openings coming up and the launch of Warner Bros. World Abu Dhabi, there are plenty of reasons to visit in 2018. In the UK, DCT Abu Dhabi will further bolster trade support through a number of initiatives.”

“We underlined our ongoing commitment to the trade by undertaking a major fam trip last November, taking out 12 operators. We do one trip a year and in May it will be the turn of frontline travel agents,”

Detlef Haner, Section Manager, DCT Abu Dhabi

Ian Griffiths, UK Manager, Cook Islands Tourism

See feature, page 8

See feature, page 46

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Discover Thailand

Win a VIP FAM trip to Thailand with Gold Medal

Gold Medal, Tourism Thailand and Qatar Airways are giving you the chance to ‘Discover Thailand’ and experience the country like never before on an extraordinary new VIP FAM trip! Simply book Thailand packages flying with Qatar Airways between 01 January and 31 March 2018 and the top TEN sellers will win a place. Bookings will be automatically entered.

The winning agents of this VIP FAM trip will:

More chances

to win... Head to Facebook!

Celebrate in style in Thailand

Experience an animal encounter

Head to idyllic beach retreats

Embrace some of the best spas in Thailand

Fly with Qatar Airways

Indulge in local food and wine

Help the community

Enjoy the thrills of Muay Thai

See the floating markets

Check out the Gold Medal Facebook page @goldmedalagents between January and March for your chance to instantly win prizes, including Thai restaurant vouchers, spa days and Thai cooking classes!

Monthly giveaway! The top seller of Thailand and Qatar Airways packages for Gold Medal each month in 2018 will WIN £50 Farebank Rewards! Bookings will be automatically entered.

Terms and conditions: Thailand package bookings flying Qatar Airways made with Gold Medal during incentive period 01 Jan – 31 Mar 2018 will automatically qualify. The ten agents with the highest revenue sales during the incentive period will win a place on the Gold Medal VIP FAM trip. Winners will be announced at the end of the incentive. Exact dates and itinerary of the trip will be confirmed closer to the date of travel. Prize will be rewarded at an agency level, individual winning agent will be at the discretion of the agency manager. Experiences are illustrative only at this stage and will be confirmed closer to the time of travel. Gold Medal reserves the right to withdraw this incentive or change trip details at any time. Facebook competition will be live at random times throughout January and March – there are three prizes available. Monthly giveaway of £50 will be awarded to the top seller of Thailand and Qatar Airways holidays based on revenue, January through to December 2018. Love2shop vouchers will be awarded to agents who do not qualify for Farebank Rewards. Prizes are non-transferable and there is no cash alternative available. Holidays operated by Gold Medal Travel PLC, ATOL protected 2916, ABTA V6805.

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the big picture

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Terschelling Friesland, Netherlands

Cultural spotlight The Netherlands is hardly ‘off the beaten track’ but this year’s European Capital of Culture is something of an unknown – and it’s right on our doorstep! Leeuwarden, along with its province, Friesland, is set to tempt visitors with a wacky line-up of art, music and theatre. This quirky coastal region has its own language and philosophy: iepen mienskip, meaning ‘a sense of open community’. Put it on the your clients’ 2018 hit list! friesland.nl

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8

luxury abu dhabi

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luxury abu dhabi

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riser late

When it comes to high-class facilities and experiences, Abu Dhabi has plenty in the tourism pipeline and is no longer playing catch-up to its UAE neighbours, says Adam Coulter

A

bsolutely jaw-dropping” is how I’d describe Louvre Abu Dhabi. Ten years in the making, the Jean Nouvel-designed building finally opened last November and is the first ‘branch’ of the Louvre outside of France. Nouvel’s ‘rain of light’ design was inspired by the interlaced palm leaves traditionally used for roofing purposes. Its permanent collection comprises more than 600 pieces of art, displayed across 23 state-of-the-art galleries. Then there’s the 300 masterpieces on loan from key French institutions, including works by da Vinci, Monet, Van Gogh and Matisse. But what’s it even doing here, in this incongruous setting, on Saadiyat Island surrounded by turquoise-blue waters and glimmering under a fierce sun? However it got here, it works: the sea adds colour and warmth to the white walls and grey geometric lace dome, both inside and out. I step inside, on a journey through 23 galleries which chronologically unites different civilisations and distant cultures, acknowledging similarities and establishing

connections between them. The exhibition seems to transpose the greatest values of this nation – tolerance and spirit of unification. The Children’s Museum is a great attraction for families, inviting adults to play with little ones, using the language of art. “I am so proud of my country!”, I heard an Emirati lady exclaiming, while contemplating one of the pieces. I felt obliged to reply “and so you should be proud”. (by Madelena Carvalho, Abu Dhabi resident)

Capital progress Abu Dhabi is the capital and the largest of the seven states that make up the United Arab Emirates. The UAE lies on the Arabian Gulf, bordered by Oman and Saudi Arabia, and lies a little less than seven hours’ flight time from the UK. Enjoying year-round good weather, miles of undeveloped coastline, a rugged interior and a large choice of top-end hotels, Abu Dhabi has become increasingly popular with UK visitors – numbers hit almost 250,000 last year, up 12% on the year before. There are direct flights Etihad and

British Airways, adding up to a total of eight flights daily from Heathrow, Manchester, Edinburgh and Dublin. Once playing second fiddle to its brasher and more tourism-dedicated neighbour Dubai, Abu Dhabi has grown in stature, confidence and ambition and now offers a wealth of high-end hotels and luxury experiences for your clients to choose from – whether that’s dining on a luxury dhow in the Arabian Gulf, enjoying a pampering day at the Anantara Spa, taking a seaplane over the city, eating dinner at the seven-star Emirates Palace or heading to the desert for a high-end safari. As Rebecca Turner, Senior Product Manager, Pure Luxury by Gold Medal, explains: “Abu Dhabi really does have a great deal to see and do including theme parks, beautiful beaches, shopping and world-class hotels.” Abu Dhabi also boasts the breathtaking Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, which is open to non-Muslims and is worth a wander round to gawp at its sheer size. Then there’s the Abu Dhabi Formula One Grand Prix, a riotous annual event which attracts thousands of spectators and this

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luxury abu dhabi

Go private: Enjoy a personal tour of the impressive Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque to get the low down on the opulent details. Splash out: Book in a sumptuous meal at the imposing Emirates Palace Hotel. Top nosh: Take a long brunch at Nahaam, Jumeirah Etihad Towers. Tee off: There are three championship courses in Abu Dhabi: Yas Links, Abu Dhabi Golf Club and Saadiyat Beach Golf Club. Get on track: Visit Abu Dhabi’s Formula One Circuit on Yas Island. Hold on: Ride the Formula Rossa at Ferrari World – it’s the world’s fastest roller-coaster. Dive for it: Head to the water to find a real pearl – you’re allowed to keep it! Laid back: Spend a day relaxing at the exclusive Monte Carlo Beach Club.

What’s new

“Try a luxury experience like a Palace Cappuccino sprinkled with 24-carat gold at the Emirates Palace, a spin in a car at Yas Marina Circuit or a kayak through the mangroves” ZARINA HAFEZ, SALES SUPPORT ETIHAD HOLIDAYS

year takes place on November 25. Abu Dhabi makes up more than 80% of the land mass of the UAE, so look beyond the city itself if your clients are after some more cultural diversions. The most popular day trip is to Al Ain, the UAE’s only UNESCO World Heritage site. It is an oasis around 90 minutes’ drive from the capital, with various museums, a restored fort, a souk and Wadi Adventure – a white-water rafting, kayaking and surf facility in the foothills of the mountains. But if you really want to go off grid, try Al Dhafra, the emirate’s western region, which makes up two-thirds of Abu Dhabi and has some of the UAE’s most adventurous off-road driving and some of its most dramatic scenery, including the biggest dunes this side of the Sahara. It’s also home to Liwa, a historic oasis town at the entry to the Rub Al Khali (Empty Quarter), the world’s largest uninterrupted sand mass.

�Hotels: There are a number of luxury hotels set to open this year on Saadiyat Island. Saadiyat Rotana Resort (rotana.com) will feature 327 upscale rooms and suites, 13 beach villas and a private beach. Jumeirah Saadiyat Island (jumeirah.com) will have 293 rooms, including eight villas and 70 suites, VIP couples’ suites with private entrances, a spa with 14 treatment rooms and a Hammam. Rixos Saadiyat Island Hotel (rixos.com) will feature 373 rooms and four restaurants. The Abu Dhabi EDITION (editionhotels.com/abudhabi/) will open in the Marina area with 198 rooms and 57 serviced residences. Features will include two signature restaurants, a gourmet market, two pools, lobby bar, pool bar, a three-story nightclub and a spa. Luxury Shopping: Two ‘megamalls’ will open this year. Al Maryah Central (gulfrelated. com) on Al Maryah Island will have the first international Macy’s department store, Abu

Perfect ten City break: Head to Al Ain, a cultural oasis 45 minutes from Abu Dhabi City. Gentle stroll: Walk along the eightkilometre-long Corniche for city views.

Previous page: Saadiyat Beach Club. This page, clockwise from top left: The pristine Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque; thrills at Ferrari World; the Abu Dhabi Pearl Journey tour includes a ride in a jalboot; Louvre Abu Dhabi; a falcon – the star of the UAE’s national sport

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Clockwise from above: The Emirates Palace; walking the corniche; shopping in the World Trade Centre Mall

Dhabi’s first Bloomingdale’s, an open-air bolster its trade support through a number rooftop food hall, around 150 dining options, of initiatives. We will be reminding the trade a multi-screen cinema, health club, gourmet about our exciting and diverse events calendar food market and outdoor amphitheatre. and will be promoting regions outside Abu Reem Mall (reemmall.ae), a 2.8-million-squareDhabi City, such as Al Ain and Al Dhafra. foot retail, leisure, dining and entertainment Detlef Haner, Regional Promotion Europe & centre, will open at the entrance to Reem America Section Manager, DCT Abu Dhabi Island, a new residential and commercial zone. Where to book it It will be home to 450 stores, 85 restaurants  ETIHAD HOLIDAYS – 0345 600 8118 and the world’s largest indoor snow-play park. Attractions: The Louvre Abu Dhabi A luxury package of five nights at Emirates (louvreabudhabi.ae/) opened in November on Palace, based on two adults sharing a Coral Saadiyat Island and has quickly become the room and including return Economy flights number one must-see with Etihad Airways, sight in Abu Dhabi. is priced from “From October to April Saadiyat Island’s £1,225pp, with an first cultural hub, upgrade to business the weather is perfect. It is Manarat Al Saadiyat class available hotter between May and has reopened after a from £1,475pp. September but you can eyholidays4agents.co.uk refurbishment. Its has  TRAVEL 2 cultural initiatives, normally find a great deal Three nights of events and activities during these months” B&B at the five-star across the fields of ADAM COULTER, TRAVEL WRITER St Regis Saadiyat arts, design, music, Island starts cinema, education, from £789pp. The deal includes flights lifestyle and entertainment. with British Airways from Heathrow and Tourism talk is valid for travel from May 1-26, 2018. “The Department of Culture and www.travel2.com  IF ONLY… – 0141 955 4000 Tourism – Abu Dhabi is looking Five nights at the Eastern Mangroves Hotel forward to an exciting year in which & Spa by Anantara, an integrated hotel, we will build on the momentum gained from marina, retail and residential destination, last year’s successes. starts from £775pp, on a B&B basis, and is “With a number of new hotels opening valid for departures between May 1-July 14 coming up and the launch of Warner 2018. The deal includes flights from London, Bros. World Abu Dhabi, there are plenty airport taxes and private car transfers. of reasons to visit Abu Dhabi in 2018. ifonly.net  “In the UK, DCT Abu Dhabi will further

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48 hours in

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Zagreb Cobbled streets. Museums. Trams.

O

n the edge of the former Austro-Hungarian Empire, Croatia’s diminutive capital rivals other popular Hapsburg Cities like Prague and Budapest, with a similar mix of museums, imperial buildings, trams and cafes, says Rupert Parker

Morning: Start in Ban Jelacic Square, named after the statue of Croatian hero Josip Jelacic who defeated the Hungarians in an uprising in 1848. This is the heart of the nineteenth century lower town (Donji Grad) and is surrounded by imposing pastel-coloured Hapsburgian buildings. Have a coffee al fresco with the locals and order Strukli, the local delicacy, a sort of Croatian strudel served savoury or sweet. Just north of here is Dolac market, selling tasty local olive oils, honey and cheeses as well as fruit and veg. Afternoon: Zagreb’s prettiest single street is Tkalčićeva, which curls upwards to the upper town (Gornji Grad). It’s lined with attractive one- and two-storey, steep-roofed nineteenth century houses that are home to boutiques, galleries, bars and restaurants. Higher up, you pass though the thirteenth century stone gate, containing a simple sixteenth-century statue of the Virgin Mary, lit by pilgrims’ candles. At the old town’s centre is the distinctive St Mark’s Church, whose coloured tiled roof features the coat of arms of Croatia, Dalmatia and Slavonia. You’ll also find the Presidential Palace and the Croatian parliament here. Wander the narrow atmospheric cobbled streets, lit by gas lamps and take an aperitif in one of the bars on Bogoviceva. Later stroll down to the Melin Jazz Bar on Kožarska and groove into the small hours.

BOOK IT WITH... UNFORGETTABLE CROATIA The operator has three nights in Zagreb, in a four- or five-star hotel, on a B&B basis. Priced from £499pp, the deal includes regional flights from London, transfers and a day tour to Plitvice Lakes National Park. unforgettablecroatia.co.uk; 020 8004 2345

Day 2: Church and Museums Morning: Zagreb’s funicular is the shortest in the world – just 66 metres –but take it to the upper town and climb the 13th century Lotrščak Tower for a sweeping view 360-degree view of the city. Each day at noon, a cannon is fired. Croatia’s tallest building is the thirteenth century Zagreb Cathedral, whose twin neogothic towers rise up over 100 metres. If it’s Sunday, go in for the morning service and admire the tomb of Cardinal Stepinac with a sculpture by Croatia’s most celebrated sculptor, Ivan Mestrovic. Then wander round the green space of Park Ribnjak where you can still see fragments of the fifteenth century city wall. Afternoon/Evening: Zagreb has more museums per square metre than any other city in the world. The Nikola Tesla Technical Museum is ideal for kids with steam locomotives, scale models of satellites and space ships, and a replica of a coal mine. The quirkiest is the Museum of Broken Relationships, in the upper town, opened in 2010 after the founders’ romance went badly wrong. It contains mementos submitted from all over the world by those who’ve gone through a break-up or lost a loved one. For a burst of culture take a tram to Novi Zagreb and visit the striking glass and concrete Museum of Contemporary Art which showcases edgy works by Croatian and International artists. In the evening check out a show at the Croatian Musical Institute, a venue for chamber music, or see opera or ballet at the sumptuous neo-classical Croatian National Theatre. 

CONNIE/FLICKR

Day 1: Coffee and Cake

From the top: The striking Croatian National Theatre; a tram in Ban Jelacic Square, in the centre of Zagreb; The quirky Museum of Broken Relationships

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spotlight on

TALKING...

Travelpack We quiz Sharel D’sa, Assistant Marketing Manager at Travelpack, about travel trends and showing commitment to the trade in 2018 Give us a brief history of Travelpack Travelpack is a family-owned and run business, established since 1981 to help travel agents plan their clients’ perfect break. It’s one of the UK’s leading flight consolidators, offering worldwide flights with all major airlines and tour operators, with tours, tailor-made holidays, luxury stays, car hire, cruise, travel insurance and excursion options. Agents can book with us online or with our experienced experts.

Why should agents work with Travelpack? Whether providing a tailor-made service or dealing with obscure requests, our team go the extra mile to help agents secure bookings against direct sell operators. For all destinations we use exclusive flight, hotel and touring product from a large choice of suppliers to ensure we have competitive prices and a wide product range. Our specialists have travelled to the places they sell and we continually train them and send them on fams to refresh their knowledge.

What are your USPs? We also have an online booking tool for agents. It has full dynamic capability with access to consolidated flight rates from all major airlines, over 435,000 hotels worldwide, 30,000 car hire locations in 174 countries and 400,000 excursions and experiences, ranging from driving fast cars to theme park tickets, sporting

tickets and afternoon tea. Our supplier for India is our sister company, meaning we can offer an unrivalled personalised service across that country.

How do you help agents? As well as offering price parity and having our five regional sales managers on email, mobile or whatsapp seven days a week, we provide agents with personalised marketing materials such as social media banners, special offer posters and vouchers. We also boost sales by offering joint marketing campaigns and product or destination-focused training. Our experts can come to agent client events and shows and we take agents on regular fam trips to our core destinations – Canada, The USA, India, Africa and the Far East. Our agents’ Facebook group keeps the trade up to date with our exclusive competitions and incentives

“With great support from agents we are growing sales for all destinations. We are noticing higher average booking values, even for point-to-point destinations. It appears that many consumers are seeing the value of using a travel agent”

What does the future hold? We are taking on more staff in the UK and India to ensure speedier responses. We are investing in new travel management technologies which will facilitate our aftersales service and help us grow business. We’d like to expand more in the luxury sector, build on the Travelpack brand and drive more customers to travel agents to ask for us! 

SELL IT WITH... TRAVELPACK The seven-night Golden Triangle private tour in India starts from £1,465pp for travel in September, on a B&B basis with flights (must book by July 31). Calling at Delhi, Jaipur and Agra, it includes transfers, sightseeing and excursions. travelpack.com

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

Win days out worth £250

TRAVEL 2 is giving three agents the chance to win one of three 'days out' vouchers worth £250 each. Agents need to book a Canadian holiday by March 31 that includes flights with Air Canada and a minimum of three nights’ ground arrangements. The promotion is part of Travel 2's new 'Find Your Adventure in Canada' campaign. See travel2.com for full details.

Win one of 10 Oman fam trips

FOR every Avis car rental sold or Oman Air flight booked out of Heathrow or Manchester, agents could win a five-day driving tour of Oman. To win submit a reference number to avisgrandtour. com/oman along with a tagline as to why you should win. Or use #AvisOmanAirTour with the same tagline by February 28.

Contents 16

A g󰇶o󰇻󰇵 󰈣f t󰇬e ag󰇪󰇳󰇺s 󰈛󰇭ec󰈫 󰈢󰇼󰇺 a󰇳󰈨 l󰇯 t󰇿i󰈡 󰇮s󰇰󰈜󰈡d󰇷 o󰈆 B󰇧b󰈢󰇼󰇹 i󰇺 a Lom󰇨󰈢󰈬. Re󰇧d 󰈜󰇰󰇱 on 󰇴󰇧󰈪󰈥 17

BARBARA CHARLTON

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Holiday for two

Mar󰈛󰇭 20 - 22

SELLING TRAVEL DIALOGUE WITH BOTSWANA Selling Travel is planning three events – in Tunbridge Wells (March 20), Glasgow (March 21) and Leeds (March 22). Discover more about Botswana over nibbles and drinks. Some great prizes will be up for grabs over the nights too! sellingtravel.co.uk

Super Break is offering one agent a holiday for two to celebrate its new short break charter flights. To win agents need to promote and sell the new programme before February 28, 2018 and email references and photos to sales@superbreak.com

BEEN THERE DONE THAT

20

INCENTIVES

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FACE TO FACE

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

Out with lookers, in with the bookers We barely drew breath after New Year before we were caught up in a booking frenzy – in fact, we had smashed last year’s sales figures by January 17! I can’t see February slowing down, as it always brings the ‘lookers’ from January that had to wait for pay day before joining the ranks of the ‘bookers’. Canada has been the flavour of the month and, as always, the wonderful Carole Smith at Travelpack has been an endless source of knowledge. She must read emails in her sleep as I often got replies from her before 7.00 , although to be fair I was also emailing her back at that time! Credit card charges are now a thing of the past and, like most agencies, we're trying to get customers to make bank transfers instead. But it’s not always possible so we will all have to be more selective about where we put our business if we want to minimise losses. But thanks to those suppliers who are upping their commission!

Yucatan in Mexico. Then Craig Liddle from Funway popped in with a bag filled with Clearwater goodies. They say these things come in threes, so I await the final installment with baited breath. Not to be outdone, Justine won six nights in Saint Lucia at a Caribtours evening. I've long been a fan of Paul Cleary and his lovely team and I’m pleased they have evolved to offer destinations beyond the Caribbean. Tanya just took her son to the Hard Rock Hotel in Tenerife for a birthday treat and he was showered with multiple cakes! Since returning, Tanya has been telling everyone about it and I’m sure that if someone came in to book a National Express to Truro they could well end up in Tenerife!

Sum󰇲󰇪󰈦 p󰇰󰈜󰈡s

As for me, I'm off to Skopelos, Skiathos and Alonyssos again in June. But whilst I'm happy to share my knowledge on these very different islands with clients, I'd like to keep some of the laid-back lifestyle in Alonyssos just to myself. I really can’t bear the thought of it being so busy there that I can’t get into my favourite taverna. Happy selling!

Win󰇳󰇮󰈡g 󰇹󰈥a󰈩

This could be my lucky year! Firstly, I got a visit from the lovely Joanne Peters from The Palladium Hotel Group. She presented me with seven nights all-inclusive at the new Royal Suites

 Barbara@Thesussextravelcompany.co.uk  01403 276684

Bar󰇨󰇧󰈦󰈜 Cha󰇶󰇱t󰈢󰇳

LUX* GRAND GAUBE, MAURITIUS With innovation at its core, LUX* Resorts & Hotels has unveiled a fresh new perspective unlike anything else in Mauritius. This reimagined resort is a pioneering vision from designer Kelly Hoppen, delivering her signature timeless elegance in an eclectic series of spaces, all deliciously retro-chic. Retreat and relax in residential beach house comfort...

LUXRESORTS.COM

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ON LOCATION

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Fam t ri p, Bal i a nd L o m bo k , D e c e m be r 5-12 , 2 017

Indonensia's islands Garuda Indonesia and Four Corners Marketing hosted a twin-centre agent fam trip showcasing Bali and Lombok. The trip also took in a visit to the Gili Islands off the coast of Lombok. Agents from Hayes & Jarvis, Tropical Sky, Destinology, Dnata and Flight Centre dropped in at numerous properties including the new Legian Lombok, due to open this year. The group flew from Heathrow to Denpasar in Bali on Garuda Indonesia's non-stop service. This operates on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. Flights are available all other days of the week but via Amsterdam. The group experienced both the Business Class and Premium products. After landing in Denpasar, the group checked into the Legian Bali Seminyak, a base for site inspections at the Bvlgari Hotel Ullawatau and the Oberoi Seminyak. Highlights in Bali included exploring the nearby small town of Ubud, which is considered the island's cultural heart. It is a centre for traditional crafts and dance and is dotted with Hindu temples and shrines. The agents also visited nearby rice paddy fields and local villages close to The Chedi Club. Then it was on to Lombok, where the host hotel was The Oberoi Lombok. The hotel features its own jetty, from which the agents took a trip to the nearby Gili Islands. The three tiny islands are characterised by their sandy beaches, palm trees and coral reefs. The return flight

BALI

departed Lombok and arrived back at Heathrow via Jakarta. Susan Higgins, Personal Travel Consultant, Destinology, said: “I found the trip extremely beneficial and it is most definitely helping me to sell the airline and Indonesia as a destination. "It was great to learn about the different routes that Garuda do and the options of doing a twin-centre with Bali and Lombok is so beneficial. Amy Moyce, Travel Consultant, Hayes & Jarvis said: “The highlight of my trip was visiting Ubud. When people think of Bali they tend to picture beaches but Ubud up in the uplands, surrounded by rainforest and rice paddies, breaks things up and makes a beach stay that little bit more exciting, different and fascinating." Garuda-indonesia.com

LOMBOK

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BEEN THERE, DONE THAT

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

Out and about with UK agents and operators Freedom has peaks gifts for members FREEDOM Travel Consortium is running its biggest-ever peaks campaign for members. Continuing into February, all 150 members are being sent a ‘Peaks Survival Kit’ containing energy snacks and coffee. Kits are being hand-delivered by Freedom’s Manchester-based management team who are assisting in stores where required. Members will also receive customer flyers and window posters promoting key partners. Suzanne Brunt (right) from Freedom is pictured delivering a survival kit to Sandra Mutter (left) at Andara Travel in Solihull. freedomtravelgroup.co.uk

Premier prizes in February

Funway winners FUNWAY HOLIDAYS ran an incentive to give agents the opportunity to win a place on a trip to the Cayman Islands. All agents booking a holiday to the Caribbean destination were eligible to win a place on the trip. vaxvacationaccess.co.uk

Top Jamaica agents enjoy an All White Affair THE Jamaica Tourist Board rewarded its top-selling travel agents with an all-expenses paid trip to their annual end of year gala dinner, held at The Moon Palace, Ocho Rios. Named the 'All White Affair', the five-day event recognised the top 50 most prolific agents around the world. The UK attendees were Bill Munro, Barrhead Travel; Laraine Drage, Travel Counsellors; Elizabeth O’Neill, Tui Corby; Nathalie Trim, Tui Wood Green and Joanne Stewart, Blue Bay Travel. jamaicarewards.co.uk.

TM

Canada Western Journey

Have you enjoyed an interesting trade event or been on a trip or fam that you would like to see featured on this page? Email editorial@bmipublishing.co.uk

0208 585 4020

holidays@travelpack.com

Rockies Trail

7nts Escorted Tour

9nts Escorted Tour

Banff - Whistler - Calgary

Calgary - Banff - JasperWhistler & more

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AGENTS making a booking this month could nab themselves some great prizes in Premier Holidays' peaks campaign. These include a smart TV, an Apple Watch and fam trip places. Upon booking, agents will be automatically entered to win and they could even be a star prize winner. The giveaway runs alongside Premier’s ongoing incentive to earn up to £150 for every inclusive long-haul booking and £5 for all short haul bookings. premierholidays.co.uk

£1665

pp

fr

£2299

pp

1/24/18 11:40 AM


F O R A D U LT S O N LY

E S C A P E I N TO L U X U RY. Our Live It Up campaign to encourage early bookings into higher room categories for 2018 travel is back! Customers booking any Preferred Club room category* will receive an additional discount on top of all other offers and early booking discounts. *Valid for all bookings made by 28 February 2018, for travel 01 May 2018 to 21 December 2018. Live It Up is valid for all brands within The AMResorts Collection. For more information and to book please contact your preferred tour operator today!

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INCENTIVES AND COMPETITIONS

20

Reasons to start booking!

WI󰉆... ...wi󰇹󰇭 N󰇪v󰇯󰇷 To󰇻r󰇯󰇷󰈩 NEVIS Tourism Authority is offering agents the chance to win £50 worth of Love2Shop vouchers for bookings to the Caribbean island. Travel agents booking seven nights in any Nevis hotel for travel in 2018 will be in with a shout of winning. Agents should send the booking reference and the name of the operator to clearmarketing@nevisisland.com. But don't delay, the prizes are limited and vouchers will only be awarded to the first 20 bookings logged.

...wi󰇹󰇭 Af󰇶i󰈝󰇧 Col󰇰󰇪󰈝t󰇯o󰇳 AFRICA COLLECTION is offering agents the chance to secure a place on a fam Trip to South Africa in May, in association with South African Airways (SAA). Agencies booking two or more bookings that include SAA flights will be entered into the draw to win a place. Register your clients' bookings at res@africacollection.com or call 01403 256655. The more bookings made, the greater the chances to win. The draw will be made on March 5. Remember, it's a team effort!

TM

India Golden Triangle 7nts Private Tour

Delhi - Agra - Jaipur

fr

Incentives-v2.indd 20

£1465

pp

...wi󰇹󰇭 S󰇧r󰈧󰇯󰈡i󰇧n Pla󰈛󰇪󰈤 SARDINIAN Places is offering agents the chance to win a place on its first-ever fam trip. Taking place from May 17 -22, the Sardinian specialist operator has two spaces available and agents making a Sardinian Places booking before February 28 will be automatically entered into the draw. The trip includes five nights' accommodation, flights from Gatwick, car hire and breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. The winners will stay at the Relais Villa del Golfo & Spa, Hotel Su Gologne and Hotel and Residence Cormoran. "We're very excited to be offering our first fam to Sardinia. We wish all our agents the very best of luck", said Gill Synnuck, Trade Relations Manager. Winners will be announced on March 1.

0208 585 4020

holidays@travelpack.com

Call of the Wild 7nts Private Tour

Delhi - Bandhavgarh

fr

£1525

pp

1/24/18 04:28 PM


florida: what’s new

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leading

light

With a raft of new product set to tempt visitors, the ever-popular Sunshine State will be as in demand as ever in 2018, says Jeannine Williamson

F

abulous Florida is all set to welcome Brits to one of their favourite holiday destinations in 2018. Whether clients are looking for the thrill of the world-famous theme parks or downtime on white sugar beaches, the Sunshine State is unveiling a host of new hotels and attractions. From the new Toy Story Land at Disney’s Hollywood Studios to a year of special events marking the 250th anniversary of charming New Smyrna Beach – settled by Scottish physician Andrew Turnbull – and a three-storey retail extension at Miami’s Aventura Mall, there’s something on the agenda for every kind of tourist. And those arriving via Tampa International Airport will appreciate the investment straight off – a one-billion-dollar expansion includes a new rental car hub and tram system.

Despite Hurricane Irma last autumn, Florida is very much open for business and the tourism industry is upbeat. Reflecting the mood across the state, Jim De Keyrel, Sales Director for the Florida Keys Tourism Council, says: “All the Florida Keys’ major visitor attractions are open and nearly 75% of lodging units are back online, with more reopenings set throughout the first quarter of 2018.”

Hotels & resorts The eagerly-awaited 200-room beachfront Hard Rock Hotel Daytona Beach (hardrockhotels.com/daytonabeach) will open this year. Sarasota’s wave of 2018 openings include the contemporary artist-inspired Art Ovation (artovationhotel.com), which is a luxury Marriott Autograph property, the 180-room Embassy Suites (embassysuites3.hilton.com) and boutique

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florida: what’s new

IWAN BAAN

Resort Orlando (margaritavilleresortorlando. com) or sip a sundowner at the recently

reopened Amara Cay Resort (amaracayresort. com) in Islamorada on the Florida Keys. Sell it: North America Travel Service (northamericatravelservice.co.uk) was the first UK operator to sign a direct agreement with the Hard Rock Hotel Daytona Beach and offers rooms from £85pp per night.

Theme parks

This page, cockwise from top left: Infinity Falls, SeaWorld; the Institute of Contemporary Art Miami; Hilton Marco Island’s spa. Opposite: Siesta Key Beach; The Naples Beach Hotel & Golf Club; Marvel-themed dining at Universal

Sarasota Modern (thesarasotamodern.com). Exclusive 37-room Waterline Marina Resort & Beach Club (waterlineresort.com) is the first full-service resort on Anna Maria Island. The Island Inn (islandinnsanibel.com), the oldest accommodation on Sanibel Island, has undergone a multi-million-dollar refurbishment, adding 12 new suites overlooking the Gulf of Mexico. On the Paradise Coast, the 310-room Hilton Marco Island Beach Resort (hiltonmarcoisland. com) is reopening following a $40-million refurbishment which includes the al-fresco Deck restaurant and bar with an all-day happy hour. At Fort Myers the Pink Shell Beach Resort (pinkshell.com) has employed a naturalist to host morning wildlife walks and other activities. New Smyrna Beach welcomes its newest oceanfront hotel, the 114-room SpringHill Suites (marriott.com), occupying a prime position on the main road, Flagler Avenue. On the Treasure Coast the 178-room ocean-inspired Hutchinson Shores Resort (hutchinsonshores.com), is the first resort to open on Jensen Beach in almost two decades. Clients can enjoy a cheeseburger in paradise at the all-new laid-back 187-room Margaritaville

Toy Story Land comes to Disney’s Hollywood Studios (disneyworld.disney.go.com) this summer. The 11-acre site will transport visitors to lead character Andy’s backyard with rides including a roller coaster on the back of Slinky Dog. To mark the 20th anniversary of Disney’s Animal Kingdom is a new show with close-up bird encounters. SeaWorld (seaworldparks.com) has two new rides: Ray Rush is a family rafting adventure comprising three different waterslides, whilst Infinity Falls, opening in the summer, will be a rainforest experience – thrill seekers will plunge 40ft down the world’s tallest river rapid drop. Guests to Universal Studios (universalorlando. com) can now select a time slot in advance for the latest Fast & Furious - Supercharged film-themed ride. The park also has a new night-time lagoon show. This year Legoland Florida (legoland.com/florida) opens Ninjago: Master of the 4th Dimension, a 4D theatrical experience, plus the Great Lego Race, the first virtual reality roller coaster for kids. Sell it: Gold Medal (goldmedal.co.uk) offers seven nights B&B at the Ramada Plaza Resort and Suites International Drive Orlando. Prices start at £649pp, including flights.

Arts & culture The institute of Contemporary Art Miami (icamiami.org) has opened the doors to its new

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Mantara


permanent home in Miami’s Design District. In addition to showcasing established contemporary artists the gallery provides a platform for the work of local and emerging talent. A two-year expansion and renovation at Norton Museum of Art (norton.org) in West Palm Beach will be revealed in 2018, with more gallery space and a sculpture garden. In St Petersburg the Imagine Museum (imaginemuseum.com) opened in January. It displays 500 glittering works charting the growth of America’s studio glass movement from the 1960s to the present. Sell it: Carrier (carrier.co.uk) offers three nights at The Betsy, South Beach Miami, from £560pp room only.

Dining Dine with superheroes including SpiderMan, Captain America and Cyclops at the all-new Marvel Character Dinner buffet at Universal’s Islands of Adventure (universalorlando.com). Opening this year is the beachfront Crow’s Nest Bar & Grille in New Smyrna Beach, with an upstairs bar overlooking the Atlantic. Eight new dining experiences are debuting at Orlando’s Disney Springs (disneysprings. com), including Wine Bar George, Florida’s only master sommelier-led wine bar, and authentic Italian Pizza Pointe. January saw the opening of La Centrale (lacentralemiami.com), Miami’s first-ever Italian food hall with cafes, restaurants and food outlets. And Miami Beach will soon be home to the Time Out Market (timeoutmarket. com) with 17 kitchens, three bars and a demonstration kitchen under one roof. Sell it: Funway Holidays (funway4agents.co.uk) offers seven nights at Universal’s Aventura Hotel. Prices from from £829pp, including flights.

MANTA RAY INN

23

Golf There is plenty for golfers in Naples where LaPlaya Beach & Golf Resort (laplayaresort. com) has reopened after an eight-million-dollar renovation following a two-month closure due to Hurricane Irma. The resort offers golf packages for the 18-hole course which winds around lakes and water features. Meanwhile the Naples Beach Hotel & Golf Club (naplesbeachhotel.com) has completed a major redesign of its golf course, with input from Jack Nicklaus in collaboration with noted course architect John Sanford. The course is open for public play as well as for resort guests. Top tip: Florida is the golf capital of the USA, with around 1,100 courses. Tailor-make holidays to coincide with professional tours that take place each year, such as PGA Tour’s Players Championship (pgatour. com) at TPC Sawgrass from May 8 to 13, 2018.

New tours

Cosmos (cosmos.co.uk) has introduced two new tours for 2018: the 13-night New Orleans, the Old South and Florida itinerary, from £2,133pp, and the 11-night Florida Discovery tour, from £1,899pp, which

UNIVERSALORLANDO.COM

18 08:37

florida: what’s new

The MANTA RAY INN is a home away from home! With one- and two-bedroom oceanfront apartments, this charming inn offers panoramic views of South Florida's best sandy beach Recommended by Fodor’s - winner of the acclaimed White Glove Award and Number one on TripAdvisor

www.mantarayinn.com 1715 S. SURF RD, HOLLYWOOD, FL 33019 T: 001 954 921 9666 | F: 001 954 929 8220 | E: INFO@MANTARAYINN.COM

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florida: what’s new

takes in the Everglades, Kennedy Space Centre, Fort Myers and Florida Keys. Both include VIP home pick-up, accommodation with some meals, flights and transfers. Three new hotels on Miami’s iconic Art Deco strip – SLS Hotel South Beach, Mondrian South Beach and Shelborne South Beach – are being featured by North American Travel Service (northamericatravelservice. co.uk). Rates start from £102pp, per night. Funway Holidays (funway4agents.co.uk) launches its Florida Beaches brochure in early February, valid for travel until February 2019.

& Universal Combo, Freedom and Freedom Plus tickets. Agents should email their DSD order number to win@dosomethingdifferent. com by March 5, 2018. The offer is valid on bookings made before February 28, 2018. Agents can win £1,000 towards a holiday at Universal Orlando resorts with Travel 2 (travel2.com) by making a qualifying booking to Florida between February 1 and 28, 2018, with return flights and minimum five-night stay at any Universal Orlando Resort property. 

Sell it: Recommend clients pick up the Tampa CityPASS (citypass.com/tampa) which is newly available for

smartphones. It provides free and discounted admission to top attractions including Busch Gardens and Lowry Park Zoo.

Incentives Do Something Different (dosomethingdifferent.com) is running a ‘Book

Above: The Drift Bar at The Hutchinson, Jenson Beach; Right: Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort

NO 30

and Bank’ incentive, offering agents £5 for every SeaWorld ticket sold, £10 for every Universal two- or three-park Explorer ticket, and £15 for every Disney Ultimate, Disney

Not all treasure is found on a map.

BOCA GRANDE, FL

Islandology is our way of life. It’s getting closer to each other by getting away together. It’s finding something new in every adventure. It’s knowing that some treasures fit in your hand while others fill your heart. Let Islandology satisfy all your clients’ vacation needs.

Register for our new online training course at Island-Findings.com

Learn more about Southwest Florida at FortMyers-Sanibel.com

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six of the best

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Luxury Tenerife 6

With high-end resorts, Michelin-star restaurants and luxury spas there’s always an excuse to indulge in Tenerife, says Jessica Pook

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1

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Unwind

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TENERIFE

Tempting treats

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Sail away

A good spa is 2 never hard to find 3 in Tenerife and with a range of treatments and therapies 5 designed to detoxify, relax and revitalise there’s every reason to indulge. Adult-only spas are available, with most offering private treatments for couples. BOOK IT: Hotel Botanico, with its adult-only Oriental Spa Garden, features a Thai massage, aromatherapy and ice temple, from £849pp for five nights. classic-collection.co.uk

Tenerife is the only island in the Canaries to offer Michelin-star dining – and there are five restaurants to choose from. Two-starred M.B. and one-starred Kabuki can both be found at Hotel The Ritz-Carlton, Abama. Kazan in Santa Cruz has one Michelin-star as does the Rincón de Juan Carlos in Los Gigantes and newest addition Nub in La Laguna has just been given a coveted star. BOOK IT: A tasting menu at Japanese inspired Kabuk (one Michelin-star) is priced at £95pp (the restaurant is closed from September 1, until October 3, 2018). ritzcarlton.com

Enjoy five-star comfort at sea, setting sail aboard a luxurious yacht. With a capacity of up to 12 people, these vessels are available for private hire or offered on themed excursions such as whale watching, sunset and dinner packages or island hopping trips. DreamCharter offers La Favorita, a 21-metre luxury yacht for seven days for a real get-away-from-itall experience. BOOK IT: Big Smile Luxury Charters offers a two-hour sunset trip on a private charter along the Costa Adeje with dinner from £250. bigsmilecharters.com

2

4

6

Starry nights

Watch the sunset from the highest mountain in Spain, Mount Teide, and experience the volcano’s impressive shadow. Travel up the peak via a private cable car and enjoy a cocktail dinner designed by Michelin-star chef Erlantz Gorostiza while the sun goes down. Then observe the celestial scene by telescope - it’s one of the best places on the planet to stargaze. BOOK IT: A Sunset and Stars Volcano Teide experience is an excursion lasting approximately four hours, from £107pp. volcanoteide.com

Stay in style

Tenerife has an abundance of luxury five-star resorts, some of which have private golf courses and sea views. Iberostar has five five-star resorts on the island including the adult-only Grand Hotel Salome and Grand Hotel El Mirador, both with spas . Other five-star resorts include The Ritz-Carlton, with its two Michelin-starred restaurants on-site. TOP TIP: Save 15% on hotel prices for holidays between May 1 and October 31, if booked by March 31 2018. sovereign.com

Drink it in

The dry climate and volcanic soils on the island present the perfect conditions for wine production. Tenerife has five wine-making regions and produces some internationally award-winning bottles. Tasting tours are a great way to sample some of the best and learn about the process from the experts. TOP TIP: Visit Bodega Comarcal Valle de Güímar for breathtaking views of the Güímar Valley. Book in advance for a guided tour followed by tastings. bodegavalledeguimar.com

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traveluni.com

GDS | TRAINING | REWARDS

Training, competitions, events February 2018

THIS MONTH'S TOP STORIES

Anguilla on track NEWS

Quick Quiz Are you a Kenya Expert?

1. Giraffes are listed as one of the 'Big Five' game animals TRUE / FALSE

Hot News

The best way to sell the Thai life

2. Shillings are Kenya's primary currency TRUE / FALSE

NEWS

abtaknowledgezone.co.uk jambokenya.co.uk

Answers: 1: False 2: True

sellingtravel.co.uk/sell-thethai-life

ABTA's campaign ABTA launched its 2018 Travel With Confidence campaign to coincide with the 'peaks season'. The campaign aims to raise awareness of the ABTA brand and encourage people to book with an ABTA member. It taps into the social media trend of 'feet selfies' by using pictures of people's feet in different destinations around the world – with the tagline 'We're with you every step of the way'. Agents can find out more on the All About ABTA training programme:

Amazing Thailand I Modules: 7 SELLING Travel has teamed up with the Tourism Authority of Thailand to give agents a handy online resource. Sell the Thai Life is a trade-only hub featuring news, competitions, product brochures, useful information and contacts along with links to training resources and details of the latest Thai events, like the Amazing Thailand Road Show, touring the UK in 2018. Content is regularly updated to provide the latest product news and incentives. Agents can currently win a ÂŁ50 Love2Shop voucher by completing the Amazing Thailand Online Training Programme. Find out more:

ANGUILLA has announced several developments for the island, post-Hurricane Irma, including new hotels, restaurants and flight routes. The luxury boutique hotel Quintessence opened last month. It is home to a top-rated French bistro, Julian's. Connectivity has improved with a new service between Antigua and Anguilla now operating four days a week. Visitors connect with Anguilla via British Airways and Virgin Atlantic services from London. aguillaexpert.com

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Training courses to help travel agents and advisers sell more!

Travel 2's Caribbean

COURSE LIST

NEWS

TRAVEL 2 has added 26 new properties and 12 new tours to its 2018 Mexico, Latin America and Caribbean brochure, and has reported that bookings to the region are up 18% this year. New touring experiences range from a 12-day Landscapes of Northern Argentina trip to the seven-day Essential Uruguay to the nine-day Natural Wonders of Costa Rica option. A number of the new hotels included in the guide are aimed at those seeking a 'healthy holiday'. These include the Unico 20° 87° Hotel Riviera Maya and Hotel Xcaret Mexico. travel2academy.co.uk

Hot News

New openings in Las Vegas

Las Vegas Virtuoso I Modules: 7

Newmarket tours NEWS

NEWMARKET Holidays has added eight new escorted tours to its Worldwide Collection for this year. The additions are part of an expansion to its long haul programme, with new tours to Japan, India, Kenya, South Africa, Canada, Egypt, the Seychelles and Borneo. Newmarket's 'Pack Your Bags' early-booking discount of £100pp on a range of holidays, alongside its low deposits of £79pp, runs until February 14. Find out more about the operator's products and increase your knowledge via the online training programme at: training.newmarketholidays.co.uk.

Working in partnership

LAS VEGAS is looking forward to a string of new openings in 2018 which will offer visitors even more cultural, dining and entertainment options. In April, The Mob Museum will debut its new permanent exhibition, The Underground. Guests will learn about prohibition-era bootlegging and rum running. The museum will also house a real working distillery and speakeasy. On The Strip, Alexxa's Bar is now open inside Paris Hotel and Casino, bringing a mix of small dishes and live music. The bar is connected to the Hexx restaurant and opens out onto Las Vegas Boulevard. Entertainer Matt Goss is returning to The Mirage and the Las Rageous music festival returns for a second year this April. lasvegasvirtuoso.com

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

powered by

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N WI

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!

ENJOY TWO FREE NIGHTS IN THE INDIAN OCEAN WITH LUX* LUX* GRAND GAUBE

JUNIOR SUITE, LUX* GRAND GAUBE

L

UX* is giving each agent two complimentary nights in any of its Indian Ocean resorts as well as the chance to win a fam trip as part of its latest incentive scheme.

LUXURY AT ITS BEST

LUX* Grand Gaube, Mauritius, has unveiled a resort unlike anywhere else on the island. A pioneering vision from designer Kelly Hoppen delivers a lifestyle that is effortlessly sophisticated, yet blissfully informal. Amidst lush tropical gardens, LUX* Grand Gaube is enveloped by undulating coves, the calmest of lagoons and is blessed with two tranquil beaches along with two swimming pools.

NEW FOR 2018

April 2018 will see the transformation of the six-hectare picnic island of Olhahali. LUX* North Male Atoll, Maldives is the destination’s most innovative resort, with each of the 60 double-storey

SUPERIOR VILLA, LUX* NORTH MALE ATOLL

residences situated either on the beach or over-water. Guests will beneft from a minimum living area of 255m2. For the frst time in the Maldives, each residence is crowned with a 120m2 reef terrace from which guests will be have a unique perspective on the planet’s fattest country.

WIN WITH LUX*

With every booking made in LUX* Grand Gaube or LUX* North Male Atoll from January 1, to February 28, 2018, LUX* Resorts & Hotels is offering a £20 Love2Shop voucher along with the chance to win a place on the LUX* Fam Trip in 2018! Each agent can be a LUX* Expert with the online training course. After successful completion, a LUX* expert certificate will be sent to you, and with it an invitation to enjoy two complimentary nights on a Bed & Breakfast basis in any one of the LUX* Resorts & Hotels. Don’t miss out, contact sarah.mcglynn@Luxresorts.com now! Good luck!

MIXE RESTAURANT, LUX* NORTH MALE ATOLL

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luxury african lodges

29

comforts creature

For clients looking for an inthe-lap-of-luxury experience, suggest a five-star African lodge, suggests Jo Austin

T

of elephants and I have to sit it out in my thatched lodge while they munch on the trees right outside my window. My overnight stays at Chiawa and Sausage Tree Camp are in super-luxury private lodges, with great views across to Mana Pools in Zimbabwe, where more elephants are wallowing. I can also see enormous crocs along the sun-splashed bank but decide that this time I’ll stay on dry land for a 4WD safari.

Pushing the bar Luxury lodges throughout Africa are pushing the luxury bar ever higher, with conservation and responsible tourism projects now integral to this development. Beyond the exceptional comfort and attention to detail offered by these lodges – these decadent homes in the bush provide

JACI’S LODGES, MADIKWE GAME RESERVE, SOUTH AFRICA

he Zambezi never disappoints and this trip to the Lower Zambezi (on the Zambian side) is evoking plenty of excitement as I discover a host of wildlife, both along the banks of the river and in the water itself as it wends its way through Zambia and Zimbabwe towards Mozambique and out to the Indian Ocean. Wide and slow-flowing at this point, the Lower Zambezi is a haven for hippos, crocs and elephants, which are mingling comfortably together. But my canoe trip with a guide from Old Mondoro quickly reveals a hippo’s unpredictable temperament as it angrily rears up from a hidden lagoon, creating big waves across our bow. With my heart racing, the encounter is not one that I want to repeat! Old Mondoro also attracts big herds

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luxury african lodges

Previous page: The Starbed Suite, Jaci’s Safari Lodge. This page, from top: A bull elephant takes a close up look at Sanctuary Stanley’s Camp, Okavango Delta, Botswana; the sundowner deck at Sanctuary Sussi & Chuma, Zambia

features like four-poster beds, outdoor rain showers, private plunge pools, in-room massages and much more – it is the knowledgeable guides and trackers who complete the luxury experience. The variety of luxury lodges out there is enormous: there may seem few similarities between Kaya Mawa on Lake Malawi, Ant’s Nest in South Africa and Tongabezi in Zambia but all three are family-owned and, in their own unique ways, offer a very personal service with a strong emphasis on conservation and the community. Of course, wildlife remains the main draw for the majority of visitors – and not just the Big Five mammals. For example, mountain gorillas are also on many bucket lists as a ‘must-see experience’. There are thought to be under 800 mountain gorillas remaining, with Uganda and Rwanda the places to see them. They have survived in Uganda largely due to conservation efforts, which first started in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in 1993. Refurbished Sanctuary Gorilla Forest Camp is a favourite with primate and nature enthusiasts. The eight-tented camp in the rainforest has experienced guides who trek with a maximum

of eight visitors to each gorilla family group. To boost visitor numbers, gorilla-watching permits in Uganda have been frozen at $600 in 2018. However, last year the Rwanda Development Board (RDB) doubled the gorilla permit cost from $750 to $1500pp – for just one hour of watching the primates in Volcanoes National Park. One&Only’s luxury Nyungwe House in Rwanda is set in an unrivalled location on the edge of Africa’s largest mountain rainforest and is a haven for primates. Singita is synonymous with luxury but also sees itself as a guardian of a million acres of pristine land and has a 100-year vision to build sustainable revenue streams to fund the preservation of Africa’s wilderness. Operating 12 award-winning lodges, Singita is extending its conservation footprint to Rwanda where it will open Kwitonda Lodge in late 2019 on the edge of Volcanoes National Park.

Six of the best A guided walking adventure: A three-night safari in Namibia with Huab Under Canvas/Ultimate Safaris includes rhino tracking and campfire dinners. Twenty years at the top: Victoria Falls Safari Lodge has been a leading icon of Zimbabwe’s tourism industry for over 20 years. It’s the perfect base for visiting the falls, which are just four kilometres down the road. Junior rangers: Take the kids on safari at Governors’ Camp in Kenya’s Masai Mara National Reserve and make the most of Early Bird rates on bookings made before June 30 2018. For the family: Machaba Safaris will open the family-friendly Verney’s Camp in May, on a 10,000-hectares private concession in Hwange Game Park, Zimbabwe. Eco-friendly: Belmond’s Savute Elephant Lodge in Northern Botswana promises to use the best sustainable building

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Visit Southern Africa A clearly different experience

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luxury african lodges

What’s new  Lodges: Sanctuary Retreats’ (sanctuaryretreats. com) new luxury Kichakani Serengeti Camp

is a collection of 10 portable tents. Guests follow the migrations of wildebeest and zebra across the Serengeti plains of Tanzania. Tent butlers and bucket showers are included. In Botswana, Sanctuary Stanley’s Camp is set in a private concession in the Okavango Delta of Botswana shared only with Sanctuary Baines’ Camp. Due to relaunch in April this year, the reimagined Stanley’s will feature 10 brand-new luxury canvas tents – each of which has been significantly enlarged with its own deck, with views over the dramatic floodplains. The luxury extras will include a compact gym box with yoga equipment. In Zambia, another Sanctuary camp, the 12-lodge Sussi & Chuma, set on a bend of the Zambezi river twelve kilometres from Victoria Falls, will relaunch in April. The lodge’s 12 Sussi treehouses, linked by elevated wooden walkways, are all being remodelled, with more emphasis on privacy. The luxurious touches include freestanding baths, a fully-stocked minibar and gym boxes for in-room workouts. Chitabe Camp (wilderness-safaris.com) in the Okavango Delta, Botswan, is to be rebuilt in the first five months of 2018. The luxury Mombo experience in the Delta reopens in February following a rebuild of both Mombo and Little Mombo camps. In the Qorokwe Concession in the south east of the Delta, Wilderness will open an eight-tented camp designed to create as little eco-footprint as possible.

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JACI’S LODGES, MADIKWE GAME RESERVE, SOUTH AFRICA

practices during its redesign. The new lodge will open on July 1, with its very own luxury spa. Going upmarket: Zimbabwe’s Zambezi National Park is the chosen location for the development of Great Plains Conservation’s first high-end camps to be built in the country.

Singita’s Pamushana Lodge (singita.com) in Zimbabwe is undergoing a transformation to be able to offer eight suites with private pool and a private-use five- bedroom villa overlooking the Malilangwe Dam. It should be open by June. Malawi was been named Number three in Rough Guides’ list of top countries to visit in 2018. A new Robin Pope Safaris (robinpopesafaris. net) property, Kuthengo Camp in Liwonde National Park, is set to open in April 2018. Bumi Hills in Zimbabwe has reopened under the African Bush Camps (africanbushcamps.com) banner. With panoramic views of Lake Kariba, the lodge promises to offer a luxury safari experience. Trade news: A new dedicated Africa Travel Trade show is planned for the summer. Experience Africa (experienceafrica.travel) by ATTA will run over three days from June 25 to June 27, at London’s Canary Wharf CCT.

Tourism talk

Clockwise from above: Service with a smile with Sanctuary Retreats; giraffes on a walking safari; dining in Madikwe Game Reserve; rhino spotting in South Africa

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“Botswana is developing further as a luxury destination. Many camps and lodges have or are in the process of upgrading their properties, with the goal of providing the most luxurious surroundings in some of the most game-rich areas in Africa. “With a developing trend towards family safari holidays in Botswana, many upgrades have also included room arrangements which allow for

families to be accommodated together mindful of ensuring the safety of children while still providing parents with luxury and personal space.” Dawn Wilson, Botswana Tourism Organisation

Where to book it  EXPERT AFRICA – 0203 405 6666 The Bustard Guided Safari, a top-end 11-night trip to northern Tanzania, visits the Serengeti, Tarangire National Park and Ngorongoro Crater, accompanied by professional guides. Prices start from £9,077pp including flights and land arrangements. expertafrica.com

 PREMIER HOLIDAYS – 08444 937 444 A nine-night luxury Africa holiday starts from £2,299pp. The deal includes flights with South African Airways, three nights at Amakhosi Safari Lodge in KwaZulu-Natal, three nights at the Oyster Box hotel in Umhlanga and three nights at the Twelve Apostles hotel, Cape Town. It is based on two adults sharing and is valid for travel from May 1-June 30 2018 trade.premierholidays.co.uk

 ABERCROMBIE AND KENT – 01242 547701 A tailor-made eleven-night Classic Botswana itinerary starts at Victoria Falls and explores Chobe National Park and the Okavango, priced from £5,695pp, including flights. abercrombiekent.co.uk.com 

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my experience in southern norway

Forging through the fjords

NORWAY

Norway’s fjords, mountains and ravines are best seen by rail, discovers Ben Lerwill during a five-day trip from Bergen to Oslo that was overflowing with natural drama

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aid out beneath me is a vast sunsoaked spread of hills, islands, pine woods and sea inlets, in the middle of which sits Bergen itself. In Norway, the scenery comes in generous helpings. The view across Bergen from the summit of Mount Fløyen must surely be one of the greatest city panoramas in Europe. I’ve come on this five-day rail trip of southern Norway hoping for great things. It’s only day two, but I’m already satisfied my hope wasn’t in vain. Bergen has always been defined by its remote location. In the late Middle Ages it was a powerhouse, drawing seafaring medieval traders in their thousands. The city had one key commodity: namely cod, sourced from the rich waters further north. High demand for the dried fish elsewhere in the continent ensured that wealth poured into this far-flung corner of Scandinavia.

On a guided tour we’re led around the colourful wharf-side houses of the UNESCOlisted Old Town, an area known as Bryggen. It was in these buildings that resident traders once made their fortunes. Wonky, wooden and still thick with character, they’re fascinating places to explore.

Something fishy Seafood is the underlying theme at lunch, too. We eat at the city’s modern indoor Fisketorget, or fish market, a lively centre filled with cases of scallops, shrimp, salmon and king crab – not to mention tanks full of live lobsters. For those with the stomach for it, there’s even whale meat. Elsewhere in the city, there’s time to wander parts of the excellent KODE art gallery complex. It’s split across four different locations, with KODE 3 a highlight thanks to its

collection of emotive paintings by Edvard Munch, of Scream fame. For me, however, it’s the trip up the funicular to the 320m-high Mount Fløyen that shows Bergen at its best. As well as the views, it also acts as a hub for a network of easy walking trails that head off into the hills. I follow a winding path to Fjellhytten, an old hikers’ lodge from where, if anything, the views across the rumpled watery landscape are even more spectacular. The following morning, the real business begins. We board a train for the two-hour journey inland to Myrdal. In Norway, of course, the term ‘inland’ is relative – the track still runs close to high-sided sea channels for much of its route, a sight made all the

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my experience in southern norway

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Top tips Summer activities For those who don’t want the train to take all the strain, Southern Norway is a dream destination. Its rugged terrain and long hours of daylight in the summer make hiking a popular pursuit and there is a marked network of hiking trails which stretches to 1,000km, with cabins in the mountain regions. The summits in Sirdal, Åmli and Hovden provide a variety of difficult levels. Cylists can bike the Norwegian Riviera between Risør and Lillesand, passing small towns with white wooden houses and narrow streets.

more charming by the blaze of autumn reds in the trees. And when we reach the lofty hamlet of Myrdal we find ourselves within reach of the famous southeastern fjords.

Sheer beauty The next few hours of the itinerary are arguably the high-point of the entire trip. Firstly, we descend more than 800 metres on the extraordinary Flåmsbana, the steepest railway of its kind in the world which has been operating for 76 years. The 50-minute ride sees the vintage train twist and turn along hillsides and ravines, passing through open-sided tunnels as it skirts past waterfalls and sheer cliffs. The deep views across the valley genuinely catch the breath. They call it the ‘Twenty Line’ as it covers 20

kilometres, passes through 20 tunnels and, perhaps most tellingly of all, took 20 years to build. And in a world where rail travel is sometimes a rush from A to B, its measured pace makes it all the more appealing. As something of a train geek, I’m bowled over by Flåmsbana, but after arriving into the waterside village of Flåm for lunch we board the new Vision of the Fjords for a cruise along two of the region’s fjords, and unexpectedly Flåmsbana has some competition! It’s hard to convey quite how beautiful the setting is. Mountains soar up on both sides of the water, creating mighty walls of rock and making our lone vessel seem preposterously tiny. The boat is equipped with electric motors, so the sense of serenity is profound.

Let it go! Clockwise: Bergen’s colourful waterfront houses; looking down over Bergen from Mount Fløyen; the Flamsbana mountain railway train; Flåm village; fjord backdrop

When Disney producers were sourcing inspiration for the film Frozen, they allegedly

Book a tour The ski season in Southern Norway normally starts in late November and lasts until late April. There are four main ski destinations: Hovden (the largest), Brokke, Sirdal and Åseral.

Where to book it Great Rail Journeys’ seven-day Fjords Cruise & Historic Cities of Norway is from £1,395pp, including a Bergen sightseeing tour, the Flåm Railway, the Bergen Railway, a Nærøyfjord Cruise, an Aurlandsfjord cruise, a sightseeing tour of Oslo, flights, rail and coach transport, four-star hotels, breakfast, and selected evening meals and excursions. Departures available June-September 2018. GRJ can also tailor-make Norway holidays. greatrail.com; 01904 527 180

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my experience in southern norway

modelled the fictional town of Arendelle on a small village right here on the Aurlandsfjord. It’s not hard to see why it made an impression. When we sail past the village in question, the scale and silence of the landscape feels almost fantastical. It’s a cruise for standing on the top deck, manfully attempting photos, realising they’ll never do the place justice and instead just gawping at the backdrop. Back in Flåm we’re staying at the historical Fretheim Hotel. Here since the mid-1800s it was once a favourite with travelling English lords. As well as giving fjord views, it’s also big on Norwegian hospitality – warm fireplaces, heavy rugs and breakfast buffets of berries and brown cheese – so our spirits are high when the Flåmsbana snakes back up the valley the following morning. Next stop - Oslo.

Creative construction

Walking across the roof of the Oslo Opera House

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We pass the plains that once stood in as the ice planet of Hoth in The Empire Strikes Back, before rolling into the city in late afternoon. For some reason I had

developed an impression of Oslo as rather dull, but that opinion soon changes. I head first to the city opera house, which turns out to be one of the most remarkable public buildings I’ve ever come across. Less than ten years old, it’s been constructed on the water’s edge with a multi-level sloping roof that leads right down to ground level. The design creates a kind of sloping pedestrian plaza, leaving it open for anyone who fancies strolling right up the outside of the building, day or night. The city holds plenty of other rewards, as we discover the following day. Chief among them is the Vigeland Sculpture Park, a large swathe of parkland studded with an array of delicately carved human statues by sculptor Gustav Vigeland. There’s a cultural legacy of another kind at The Viking Ship Museum, where a trio of hulking Viking vessels have been preserved, complete with attendant treasures. It’s a grand way for the trip to end. Indeed, if there’s an over-riding theme to southern Norway, it can be conveyed in one word: drama. 

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city profile

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Edmonton Alberta’s festival city

TRAVEL ALBERTA

Elk Island NP This wooded area of lakes and wetlands is home to all kinds of wildlife, including moose, elk, deer, and beaver. But the main attraction is large herds of grazing and breeding buffalo (bison).

TRAVEL ALBERTA

Heritage village The Ukrainian Cultural Heritage Village is an open-air museum which preserves the heritage of the many immigrants from Bukovina and the Ukraine, who settled in Alberta in the 1890s.

WEST EDMONTON MALL

West Edmonton Mall A mix of shops, restaurants and visitor attractions, this mall includes a hotel, cinemas, a huge water park and ice rink alongside designer brands and independent boutiques.

TRAVEL ALBERTA

Fort Edmonton Park Here the past has been faithfully reconstructed in buildings which include a 1846 fort belonging to the Hudson’s Bay Company, a pioneer town street scene of 1885 and buildings from the 1920s.

“Edmonton is an easy city to explore at a relaxed pace – whether visitors get to know it by joining a food tour and take in the culinary highlights or hop on a Segway for a trip along the river valley”

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nown as the festival city thanks to its vibrant annual events calendar, Edmonton has attractions aplenty year-round, says Julie Baxter

With no less than 55 festivals and events dotted through its annual calendar, Alberta’s capital city, Edmonton, is a happening kind of place. Set along the curving North Saskatchewan River, it attracts big-hitting international performers to its annual Fringe Festival, its jazz and folk Festivals (to name but a few). Other colourful events include the K Days festival, running for 10 days each July and bringing the wild days of the 1890 Klondike gold rush to life with street-parties, parades, live entertainment and opportunities to pan for gold.

SKY HIGH ATTRACTIONS As Canada’s northernmost metropolis, Edmonton is also a great place for stars of a different kind. Thanks to the clear winter skies here, it offers incredible views for stargazers and those hoping to glimpse the northern lights. The RASC Observatory at the TELUS World of Science is a great place to explore the night sky within the city limits, or head 40 minutes east of the city to Elk Island National Park where the Beaver Hills Dark Sky Preserve is completely free of light pollution for optimal conditions for those looking to spot star clusters, nebulae, galaxies and the aurora borealis.

DOWNTOWN HIGHLIGHTS Edmonton is an easy city to explore at a relaxed pace, whether visitors get to know it by joining a food tour and taking in some of its culinary TRAVEL ALBERTA/CURTIS COMEAU

CANADIAN TOURISM COMMISSION

Royal Alberta Museum A mix of permanent cultural and natural history exhibits including impressive dinosaur fossils from the ice age and a wide range of indigenous artefacts.

LOOKING UP IN DARK SKIES ALBERTA

FEEL THE FESTIVAL VIBE

delights or hop on a Segway to join a riverside tour through the scenic River Valley Park. The impressive 1912 Legislature Building is the spot for beautiful views across the North Saskatchewan River, while on the south bank of the river the four distinctive pyramid shapes of the Muttart Conservatory hothouses dot the horizon. Each is home to rare species of plants from different biomes. A twisting modernist building houses the Art Gallery of Alberta ,which is dedicated to the visual arts. The gallery has an extensive collection of more than 6,000 pieces, with an emphasis on Western Canada, plus regularly changing travelling exhibitions.

FAMILY FRIENDLY For a wealth of entertainment options, Rogers Place is home to a multi-use indoor sports and concerts arena. It sits alongside the new Ice District where a landmark tower, a JW Marriott and additional bars and restaurants are being developed. The TELUS World of Science in Edmonton is also a must, packed with educational insights and experiences. Here, interactive science and technology exhibits cover topics like space, robots, forensics, and the environment. Next door is an excellent planetarium, called the Margaret Zeidler Star Theatre, and an IMAX theatre that shows films from all over the world. 

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how to sell

Jersey by Lucy Grewcock

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ocated between England and France, Jersey lures visitors with its beaches, countryside and an intriguing blend of the familiar and foreign. Rugged cliffs, gourmet cuisine and fascinating history add to the appeal while the one-hour flight time makes it perfect for a short break.

ST BRELADE'S BEACH

Why sell it Nine miles long and five miles wide, visitors can enjoy the island's city, coast and countryside all on the same trip. Ancient castles and historic fortifications pepper the island, and the sea is never more than ten minutes away. Sandy bays lick along the south coast, with St Brelade’s beach a top choice for families. Nearby, surfers ride Atlantic waves onto the five-mile beach at St Ouen's Bay. In contrast, the north coast has towering cliffs, secret coves and tiny fishing harbours, like Bonne Nuit Bay. Cycle paths and hiking trails weave inland past fragrant meadows and doe-eyed cows.

SURFING AT ST OUEN'S BAY

MONT ORGUEIL CASTLE

Jersey Zoo (established by the naturalist and author Gerald Durrell) is home to orang-utans, aye-ayes (a type of lemur) and gorillas. French street names and Jersey pound notes remind that this independent island is not part of the UK. A dependency of the British Crown, it’s ruled by its own assembly with a handful of locals speaking the island’s own language, Jèrriais. In the cosmopolitan capital St Helier designer shops reveal the island’s wealth, and busy markets brim with local produce – Grouville oysters, local lobster and Jersey Royals are not to be missed.

Who to sell to

JERSEY COW

Jersey has traditionally appealed to coach tour operators and the summer family market. Yet, its outdoor activities, great food and rich history gives it wider, year-round appeal. Easy access from the UK makes it

Jersey essentials: TIME: GMT FLIGHT TIME: One hour (direct) VISAS: Nationals of EU member countries do not require visas. CURRENCY: Sterling and the Jersey pound LANGUAGE: English CONTACT: jersey.com

GETTING THERE: Daily flights operate between Jersey and several UK airports with easyJet (easyjet.com), British Airways (batraveltrade.com) and Flybe (flybe. com). Condor Ferries (condorferries. co.uk) operate sea crossings from Poole and Portsmouth.

BOOK IT: Prestige Holidays has a threenight stay at the family-owned St Brelade's Bay Hotel, priced from £466pp, with flights from Southampton. The hotel is set on one of the island's best beaches, within five acres of gardens. (prestigeholidays.co.uk)

increasingly popular with the growing shortbreak market, while the better-than-average weather entices longer stays in summer. Outdoor enthusiasts are drawn by watersports, cycle tracks and rambling routes for all ages and abilities. The island is well-equipped with hire centres and schools, like Bouley Bay Dive Centre and the long-running Jersey Surf School, one of the UK’s oldest. History fans are spoilt for choice, with medieval castles like Mont Orgueil and Grosnez, as well as Neolithic sites and WWII relics like the much-visited Jersey War Tunnels. Foodies can choose from simple seafood shacks and rustic pubs to Michelin-star restaurants like Ormer and Bohemia. Many restaurants offer cut-price menus during the annual autumn food festival, Tennerfest (October 1-November 11 2018).

When to sell Milder on average than the UK, summer is the obvious time for beach holidays. The warm weather can last from April through October, when Jersey sees most of its visitors. While some heritage sites close over winter, this is a great time to experience crowd-free beaches, bracing cliff-top walks and cosy pubs. Autumn brings golden light, rich harvests and Tennerfest, while spring sees stunning wildflowers, pods of dolphins and the start of alfresco dining. 

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luxury cruise trends

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power purchasing

The spending patterns and expectations of luxury consumers are changing but the cruise industry is poised to meet demand, says Maria Harding

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ver the last few years there has been a significant increase in the number of new luxury ships being launched. “These new additions have raised the profile of the luxury cruise sector, and of the vast array of innovative enhancements available onboard, meaning there has never been more choice for agents selling luxury cruises,” says Andy Harmer of CLIA UK and Ireland. The thirst for luxury ‘experiences’ is now outpacing demand for high-end goods, and the cruise sector is well-geared to meet the changed trend, according to Carolyn Childs, co-founder of travel and tourism research consultancy MyTravelResearch.com. While many High Net Worth Individuals (HNWIs) still prefer the privacy offered by taking holidays on their own mega-yachts or private islands, others are engaging with more socially-responsible holiday options like eco-friendly, sustainable resorts and helping local communities through `voluntourism’.

“People, the planet and self-improvement are now as important to upscale travellers as indulgence and conspicuous consumption,” says Childs, who says increasingly savvy luxury travellers are also signing up for more ‘wellbeing’ and ‘learning’ experiences – which the cruise industry is able to deliver in spades. Childs divides HNWIs into a range of luxury travel `types’ with different aspirations. At one end of the scale, ‘Hedonists’ and ‘Lotus Eaters’ want fun, pampering, bling and non-stop indulgence, while at the other end ‘Replenishers’, ‘Dynasts’, ‘Enrichment Seekers’ and ‘Philanthropists’ with established wealth are starting to focus more on personal growth and connection with the world about them. Somewhere in the middle come ‘Pioneers’ and ‘Jet Setters’, who want to be the first to try new and offbeat experiences. “Pioneers want to test themselves, even on holiday, so they’ll be the ones to pilot their own balloon or join a space mission.”

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SELLING SILVERSEA

LUXURY CRUISES

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Chances are, potential Silversea guests already exist in your database. You have booked them on a spa or golf holiday, for a much needed break at a full-service resort, or in a luxury suite aboard one of the larger contemporary or premium cruise lines. It is premium clients such as these that would appreciate a luxurious, floating boutique hotel experience, and above all, the exclusivity and lifestyle of Silversea.

SILVERSEA DISTINCTIONS • Owned and operated by one family • Sail to over 900 destinations on all seven continents – more than any other cruise line • Nine intimate ships for just 100 – 608 guests • Butler service in every suite • Silversea’s all-inclusive lifestyle - beverages, fine dining, room service, WiFi* and onboard gratuities

900+ DESTINATIONS

SPACIOUS

SUITES

9 INTIMATE SHIPS

FOR JUST 100 – 608 GUESTS

• Low single supplements starting at 25%

OCEAN-VIEW

FINE DINING

F V O O

* One hour free WiFi per day for all guests. Unlimited free WiFi for guests sailing in select suite categories.

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WORKING WITH SILVERSEA

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• Dedicated trade support team

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• UK-based reservation team • High earning potential • Online and in-agency training: silverseaacademy.com • Brochure supply through trade-gate.co.uk • Marketing collateral and support • Groups Programme • Silversea Advocates – our agent recognition and reward programme • Online booking tool – 24/7 access to live availability and bookings

WHO IS SAILING SILVERSEA CRUISES?

THE AFFLUENT TRAVELLER

TRIP OF A LIFETIMERS

GUEST PROFILE

FIRST-TIMERS

RIVER CRUISERS

SINGLE GUEST

AFFLUENT, WELL EDUCATED PROFESSIONALS

• Most represented age group: 55-75 years old • Both singles & married couples • Business owners and professionals, still professionally active or retired • Living in highly desirable areas with a high disposable income • Affluent, well educated • Well-travelled • Interested in Gourmet foods and Fine wines, Opera, Theatre and Art.

For more information or for reservations please call 0207 340 0700 Visit: Silversea.com | Email: salesuk@silversea.com Online training: silverseaacademy.com Order your brochures through trade-gate.co.uk

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Hedonists, meanwhile, seek style and exclusivity. “They’ll want personal tours of haute couture shops or a private box at top sporting events, with access to the contestants,” Childs says. Voluntourism programmes appeal to Philanthropists and Dynasts keen to `put something back’, while health retreats and luxury ships’ spas attract Replenishers keen on holistic wellbeing, and Enrichment Seekers who want to learn new skills and will sign up for cookery schools and other special interest programmes – provided they’re sufficiently exclusive. The cruise industry already does well out of Dynasts, who are key instigators of multigenerational travel and its latest manifestation, skip-gen travel, which sees grandparents taking the grandkids on holiday without their parents.

The ‘right’ cruise in 2018 As 2018 gets underway and the luxury travel market sets out its stall for another year, what’s new and which categories of luxury travellers will be best served? There are goodies in store for Hedonists and Lotus Eaters, in the shape of the new, 600-passenger Seabourn Ovation, which launches this spring. Sister to Seabourn’s 2017 launch Seabourn Encore, the new ship will also please Replenishers as it comes with a ‘Mindful Living’ programme designed by U.S. wellness guru Dr Andrew Weil. The programme – being rolled out fleet-wide – will offer ‘holistic experiences integrating physical, social, environmental and spiritual well-being’, including free Yoga and Mindful Meditation sessions led by ‘Wellness Guides’. Also doffing its cap at Replenishers is river cruise company AmaWaterways, (amawaterways. co.uk) which has the new 152-passenger AmaLea launching this spring and is

Previous page: Pandaw’s Andaman Explorer in Myanmar. This page, clockwise from top left: Scenic Eclipse’s submarine; Crystal Debussy debuts this year; high-end food and service on Pandaw; Scenic Eclipse will visit the Amalfi Coast

extending its wellness-themed cruises from one to six vessels this year. Wellness sailings will offer healthy food options, active excursions and onboard fitness classes. More outward-looking Enrichment Seekers, meanwhile, should enjoy two new sister ships being introduced by Ponant Cruises (ponant. com) this year. The 184-passenger Le Lapérouse (out in June) – and Le Champlain (September) will each have a ‘Blue Eye’ underwater lounge with whale’s eye-shaped portholes and digital screens on which guests can watch – and hear - live footage of the underwater world in many different seascapes as Le Lapérouse spends winter 2018/19 in Asia and the Pacific while Le Champlain explores South America, the Caribbean, Greenland and Canada. Crystal River Cruises (crystalcruises.com/river) completes its five-ship fleet this spring when the 106-passenger Crystal Debussy and Crystal Ravel enter service on the Rhine, Main and Danube rivers. Also new from Crystal’s river programme – and ideal for Hedonists – are shore tours limited to 15 participants, and an exclusive ‘Signature Event’ on each cruise. While Crystal adapts its brand of luxury to river cruising, river specialist Scenic Cruises (scenic.co.uk) is going the other way by launching the first of five new ocean-going ships, the 228-passenger Scenic Eclipse, in August. With 10 dining areas, a lavish spa and each of its 114 suites boasting a veranda, lounge area and butler service, Eclipse looks set to

be a big hit with Hedonists, and should be equally popular with Pioneers and Jet Setters as it will carry a ‘discovery fleet’ of Zodiacs, kayaks and e-bikes as well as a helicopter and a submarine! And its small size - 16,500 tons – will allow it to dock in more remote ports, locking into a trend for more ‘expedition’style cruises to the world’s wilder shores.

Exotic itineraries Scenic is not the only river operator following the lead of Viking Cruises (vikingcruises.co.uk) and developing ocean-going vessels alongside river cruise fleets. Asia river cruise specialist Pandaw (pandaw.com) is on a similar tack with its 10-cabin motor yacht Andaman Explorer, which will offer new itineraries this year exploring the Mergui island archipelago which lies off the south coast of Myanmar. And CroisiEurope (croisieurope.co.uk), though staying with rivers rather than venturing into ocean cruising, is expanding its exotic itineraries this year by introducing a second boat – the

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luxury cruise trends

new 16-passenger African Dream II - onto its Africa programme cruising the Zambezi and Chobe rivers, and launching 10-day cruises along the St Lawrence River, from Quebec to Toronto. Eight sailings – aboard the MS Jacques Cartier – will depart between August and October. Riviera Travel (rivieratravel.co.uk) is one of several cruise lines showing its confidence in Egypt again with its new 2018 tour Wonders of the Nile, from Cairo to Luxor, incorporating 10 nights aboard MS Darakum.

Adventure cruising Growing demand for upmarket adventure cruising is also being met with new launches from Hapag-Lloyd Cruises (hl-cruises.com), Lindblad Expeditions (expeditions.com), linked with National Geographic, and Quark Expeditions (quarkexpeditions. com), while Hurtigruten is launching the new 530-passenger Roal Amundsen this year to offer more ‘affordable’ Antarctica cruises). Lindblad-National Geographic last year launched the first of two 100-passenger expedition ships, National Geographic Quest; a second – NG Venture – enters service in Alaska this year. The first new builds in Lindblad’s 37-year history, the ships carry kayaks, paddle boards, Zodiacs and – more unusually - remotely operated vehicles, hydrophones and bow-cams designed to get close up to the wildlife. Also setting its cap at high-end Pioneers and Jet Setters is Quark Expeditions, which introduces the all-balconied 176-passenger polar expedition ship World Explorer in October. Highlights will include a glass-domed observation lounge and opportunities to camp onshore. But as World Explorer gets underway, new rivals will already be en-route, in the shape of two new 230-passenger expedition ships from Hapag-Lloyd Cruises. Hanseatic Inspiration offers Anglo-German cruises from October (the other ship is German-speaking only).

Clockwise from top left: Seabourn customers take in the view; the Nile is making a come-back in 2018; AmaWaterways’ AmaLea; CroisiEurope’s African Dream II

Tourism talk Hapag-Lloyd Cruises’ CEO Karl Pojer predicts a “Key trends at the top end of the cruise boom in luxury expedition ships and believes market include huge growth in the the potential demand for such vessels is luxury expedition sector, driven by lines “more than three times higher than supply”. such as Ponant and Silversea, plus new ships built But traditional luxury ships will not be left for cruising the Galapagos. This has been driven behind in the race to offer amazing experiences. by demand for cruise holidays which take guests Silversea Cruises (silversea.com), which is stretching Silver Spirit and to destinations for refurbishing Silver Wind authentic, in-depth and Silver Whisper, “There has been an increasing experiences – that is introduces a new ‘sight-do’ rather than cross-over from ocean to river ‘sight-see’. It illustrates ‘Couture Collection’ cruising. Lines such as Crystal how the luxury of nine pre- and postcruise luxury land and Scenic have launched into customer is looking for programmes for 2018, that they the river market, which adds a experiences offering “authentic, wouldn’t ordinarily be new dimension to the luxury able to enjoy. immersive travel experiences in the most “This growth is driving market” remote and untouched interest in unusual ANDY HARMER, CLIA UK AND IRELAND regions of the earth”. destinations such as The five- to 11- day Asian and African river tours – which cost an average £27,500, and cruising and trips to the Arctic and Antarctica. £62,000pp for an 11-day South Pole adventure “Luxury is opening up to new customers and –include offbeat options like private helicopters new generations. The changing on-board product, in Mongolia, vintage train journeys in India new destinations, lifestyle, dining, itineraries and Gulfstream jet flights in Antarctica, as and ship designs are making luxury cruising well as luxury accommodation in renowned appealing to a whole new generation of first-time boutique hotels, lodges or private tents – some cruisers. Developments such as partnerships with of which will be specifically built for Silversea. celebrity chefs, chic and sleek ship design and All these bespoke experiences will be fully small boutique hotel-esque river ships are coupled escorted with numbers strictly limited for a with the very best in amenities and service. really exclusive experience. Hedonists and Andy Harmer, Senior Vice-President of Membership Lotus Eaters should be in seventh heaven! and Director, CLIA UK and Ireland  sellingtravel.co.uk

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introducing

St Helena Remote South Atlantic charm

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oosted by a new air service, the South Atlantic island of St Helena is hoping for an influx of intrepid travellers, says Benjamin Coren Located around 1,210 miles off the coast of West Africa, remote St Helena was previously accessible only by Royal Mail ship. However, since the introduction of a new commercial flight and the opening of its troubled airport, the destination is now within easier reach. Best known as the place of Napoleon Bonaparte’s exile and death, the destination is interesting UK operators, which have introduced packages utilising the island’s first-ever commercial air service, offered by SA Airlink. Rainbow Tours and Discover the World will quote flight prices to agents booking one of their packages: Discover the World offers a seven-night St Helena deal while Rainbow Tours will tailor-make tours. Other operators featuring St Helena include Halcyon Travel Collections, Explore and Wexas. The SA Airlink service runs on Saturdays, to and from South Africa to St Helena. The flight departs Johannesburg each Saturday morning and flies to Windhoek, Namibia, before flying on to St Helena. The return flight departs Saturday afternoon, costing from £804pp.

Why sell it With getting to St Helena a simpler process than previously, holidays can, within reason, be planned around seasonal events and natural phenomenon. Early each year, whale sharks visit James Bay and local boat operators offer trips to see the giant sharks – and visitors can even dive with them. The waters clear in the summer months, when keen divers can explore the marine protected area around the island. There are numerous wreck dives and the waters are home to many endemic species of fish. In August and September, humpback whales pass the island with their calves, making St Helena an excellent whale-watching destination. To discover the island's past, visit the Napoleonic properties of Longwood House, Briars Pavilion and Napoleon's tomb. Tours are available of Plantation House, where guests can meet Jonathan, the resident tortoise, who is thought to be the oldest living reptile on earth.

Where to stay From left: Sandy Bay as seen from the peaks of St Helena; Jamestown, the capital; Sandy Bay showcases the island's volcanic heritage; meet Jonathan the tortoise, thought to be around 180 years old, at the Plantation House

Hotel operator the Mantis Collection has opened the island’s first four-star hotel, on Main Street in Jamestown. The 30-bedroom building

is occupies the space occupied by three renovated Georgian properties. Other accommodation options include Bertrand’s Cottage, located next to the Napoleonic residence of Longwood House. The extensively renovated property was home to one of Napoleon’s most famous officers, Grand Marshall Bertrand. Guests can also stay at Farm Lodge Country House Hotel while there are plenty of self-catering options. 

THE DETAILS Time zone: GMT Currency: St Helena pound. British sterling is also accepted Capital: Jamestown Languages: English Climate: Tropical, marine and mild. Temperatures hover between 20C–27C Useful info:

flyairlink.com

sthelenatourism.com;

Book it: Discover the World has a week-long fly-drive tour. Prices start from £2,450pp for a week, based on two sharing on a B&B basis and including return flights with Emirates and SA Airlink, car hire, 4WD excursion and a wildlife cruise.

Getting there:

discover-the-world.co.uk

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Experience the jewel of the South Atlantic, where you can embark on diverse walks and trails, where the islands landscapes offers everything from gentle ambles to challenging hikes, with natural beauty at every turn. Uncover the history of St Helena, and visit rich cultural attractions. Take a marine tour in our waters, and tick snorkelling with whale sharks and sightseeing for dolphins and birdlife of your bucket list. Experience St Helena, the perfect location for active exploration and discovery.

www.sthelenatourism.com @visit.sthelena

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cook islands

paradise love a little

©KIRKLANDPHOTOS

A popular stopover on the way out to or back from New Zealand, the Cook Islands offer plenty to attract longer-stay visitors, says Steve Hartridge

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t is day three in the Cook Islands and I have already ticked off most of the anticipated attributes of a tropical island. I have learnt a native greeting: ‘Kia Ora Ana’ (meaning ‘have life, be well/healthy’), walked barefoot on a white-sand beach, drank straight from a coconut and swam in a Byzantine-blue lagoon – but what I was not expecting was to be offered the very elixir of life itself. But here I am, just off the main road that rings walnut-shaped Rarotonga, the main island in the Cook Islands chain, taking sips of a maroon-coloured juice. Freshly squeezed from the tropical fruit Morinda Citrifolia, which looks like a retarded custard apple, this is a pinched-nose experience. It smells and tastes like rancid

strong cheese but any fleeting discomfort will be worth the price if even half the health benefits claimed of noni juice are realised. Noni has long been used as a natural remedy in the Pacific Islands. It is said to promote overall health and aid the body’s own healing process for a whole range of conditions that include mild depression, high blood pressure, migraines and diabetes. It also lessens your chances of getting cancer and heart disease and boosts one’s sexual performance. Here, in a factory owned by Australian expat Brad Stafford, who is planting 12,000 trees on the island – that’s 30 tonnes of juice a month – the noni fruit is big business. With my health hopefully in the early stages of repair, and two large bottles of NZ$15

juice in my rucksack, I am back on my bike, zipping past fields rich with pineapples, trees slumping under the weight of breadfruit and shrubs heaving with bananas. Avoiding the chickens running freely on the road ahead of me, there is a definite spring in my pedal and my thighs have stopped burning. Perhaps the noni juice is already working.

Islands in the sun For those flying directly from the UK, getting to the Cook Islands is undeniably an undertaking. But the moment you enter the immigration area, to be greeted by the gentle ukulele chords played by islander ‘Papa’ Jake Numanga, who for the past 30 years has been welcoming every international flight

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iF yoU HiT TraFFic, Take oUr oTHer road Contact us at ukmanager@cookislands.travel or call us at 01983 56 32 61

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cook islands

to Rarotonga, the discomfort of those 24 hours getting there quickly melts away. This South Pacific destination, north of New Zealand and directly down from Hawaii, is made up of 15 islands spread over a vast area. Visitors will likely spend most of their time on Rarotonga, perhaps taking a day trip or overnight to one of the other islands such as Aitutaki, Atiu or Mauke. Rarotanga is small, just 32 kilometres of road rings the island, there’s not a single traffic light and barely a building taller than a palm tree. And whether you discover its many charms on bike, taxi or take one of the two island buses that tour on a loop – one clockwise, the other anticlockwise – you can’t get lost. A secondary road takes visitors inland. Cross-island walks are available – weather Clockwise from top: UK tour operators and Selling Travel Editor, Steve Hartridge (far right) at Avana Harbour, Rarotonga; there’s no shortage of activities in the Cook islands; Brad Stafford, noni juice entrepreneur

permitting – but the closest most get to we saw the cultural side of the destination, the island’s verdant mountainous spine we learnt all about the medicinal values of is visiting the pretty Papua Waterfall. the herbs and spices, enjoyed shopping and Away from the coast you discover what you discovered Rarotonga by electric bike.” imagine is a fair take on the Garden of Eden: Of the outer islands, Aitutaki is the most there are pineapples, star fruit, watermelons, popular and has enough accommodation to avocados, mandarins, papayas, chillies, taro make it a viable single-centre in its own right. (like a carrot) and fields of broccoli, cabbages, The island – location for the TV show Shipwrecked – has a vast lagoon encircled by spinach (which you will likely get to taste coral reefs and small, dressed up in coconut sandy islets. A popular cream) and many others. In fact, there’s so “We are probably the most afternoon option is much fruit and veg in cultural of all the Polynesian taking a cruise out on the lagoon, where you the Cook Islands that destinations but our get to snorkel – keep everyone just helps an eye out for the themselves. Breakfasts branding tagline ‘Love a are a particular treat, Little Paradise’ captures the giant trevally fish - and stroll among hermit with the freshest, vibrancy, fun and enjoyment crabs on the sands of juiciest selection of fruit of life in the Cook Islands” One Foot Island. One you will ever taste. of the novelties of the Rarotonga has its IAN GRIFFITHS, OCEAN MARKETING island is that it has its share of attractions own passport stamp. away from the beach: Many hotels on Rarotonga offer day tours to there are evening cultural shows, sunset Aitutaki. Priced from around NZ$450, it includes cruises, a golf course and two breweries a flight (around 45 minutes) with Air Rarotonga. where you can sample island beers. Once seen mainly as a stopover on the For shoppers, the tiny waterfront capital of way to or back from New Zealand, the Avarua has perfume shops, factory outlets Cook Islands are beginning to attract more selling the islands’ famous black pearls, gift travellers adding on a longer stay. And shops aplenty, overflowing with sarongs and for British travellers, a once-a-week direct shelves of coconut oil and Punanga Nui Market, London-Los Angeles-Los Angeles-Rarotonga which comes into its own on a Saturday. flight, which operates on a Saturday, means The variety of activity options impressed they don’t have to visit New Zealand at all. Discover the World’s Naomi Cole, who was Most of the islands’ diverse range of on a recent fam trip to the islands. accommodation is set on or close to the beach. “There is a bit of a misconception that the These range from large resorts to smaller Cook Islands are all about beaches, but there chalet-style self-catering options, apartments is plenty more to do. We went to church,

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cook islands

and backpacker-style rooms. And whether your clients are honeymooners, families with kids looking for their own activities and a dedicated ‘club’ or just romantics in search of a genuine tropical escape, the Cook Islands can deliver.

Perfect ten

fish sandwich to beat all fish sandwiches suggest lunch at The Mooring Café near Muri Lagoon. Top nosh: Try to book clients in for a special dinner at Plantation House. It’s essentially a private house, but Louise and Minar Enoka serve up home-made island food at its very best. You work up an appetite doing a pre-dinner tour of the property’s fabulous organic plantation. Praise be: Clients travelling on Air New Zealand’s Saturday night service from Los Angeles can start their Cook Islands experience with a colourful and soul-rousing Sunday church service. Strike a deal: Prices are lower during the UK winter (November-May). For example, at Sunset Villas on Rarotonga, 20% discounts are available, with prices around NZ$340 per Cook Islands room, per night, including breakfast.

Whales: Between July and October humpbacks come so close to shore they can be viewed from the beach. Party bus: Join the al fresco ‘party bus’ and dance/bop as you tour Rarotonga. The bus makes several bar break stops. On your bike: See Rarotonga by pedal power. A complete loop of the island will take around three hours. There are plenty of bars, churches, markets and other places of interest to stop for. Going down: Snorkel in the “I assumed the lagoon with the aid of would be similar to Mauritius, a ‘scuba scooter’. Island Maldives and Seychelles, Tourism talk company Ariki “We Adventures offers that is, largely more resort underlined lessons and tours out based... but it is not like that at our ongoing to the edge of a reef all. You can really get out commitment to the trade inhabited by schools of by undertaking a major colourful fish, manta and about here and getting fam trip last November, rays and green and around is very easy” taking out 12 operators hawksbill turtles. KATHRYN REARDON, FIRST CLASS HOLIDAYS Under canvas: on a trip to Rarotonga For green and and Aitutaki. environmentally-minded clients suggest the “We do one trade trip a year and in May it upmarket African safari-style tents on offer at will be the turn of frontline travel agents. Ikutangi Eco Resort. It’s not on the beach, but “Agents are our current focus because the mountain views are spectacular. we think we are already there with those Sea views: For that archetypal beach bar tour operators that are selling us. with dreamy views of the Pacific, drop into “We also organise our own dinners throughout Wilson’s at Castaway on Rarotonga. It has a rustic the UK and participate in events like the Selling theme inspired by the Tom Hanks movie. Travel Agents Choice Awards evenings. Get it fresh: You’ll see ‘FOB’ (Fresh off “ We are now starting to see the same agents the Boat) a lot in the Cook Islands. For a time and time again, and they are getting to know what the Cook Islands are all about. “Although we are still seen mainly as a stopover Clockwise from top: Sunset Resort, Rarotonga; Andrea Ellis of Cox and Kings arrives in Aitutaki; at times it seems to New Zealand, we are starting to be considered Rarotonga is one big fruit and veg garden; picture-perfect One Foot Island, Aitutaki as a destination in our own right. For clients who

can’t afford Tahiti, we are a very decent option. “Visitor growth for us is measured by a slight shift of the dial. We ended the last financial year – July 2016 to June 2017 – 7% down (from the UK), but that was better than our neighbours who were running more like 20% to 25% down. From July on we saw an impressive 50% growth a month, year-on-year. We had a boost from those on the British Lions tour of New Zealand, who stopped in the Cook Islands.” Ian Griffiths, UK Manager, Cook Islands Tourism Board

Where to book it  GOLD MEDAL – 0800 014 7777 Ten nights at the three-and-a-half-star Moana Sands Beachfront Hotel and Villas on Rarotonga, staying in a beachfront studio on a B&B basis, starts from £2,029pp. The deal, valid for travel between November 1-30 2018, includes flights with Air New Zealand and return transfers. goldmedal.co.uk 

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FEBRUARY 2018

VISIT USA NEWS 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 STATES

"The Civil Rights Trail is an essential step in telling the important stories of this pivotal time in both our state's and nation's history" Kevin Triplett Tennessee Office of Tourism

Attraction

Trail puts visitors on rights path

THE U.S. Civil Rights Trail, which connects 14 states and the District of Columbia, launched on January 15. The trail is a collection of more than 100 churches, courthouses, schools, museums and other landmarks that played a pivotal role in advancing social justice in the 1950s and 1960s. The sites include the Martin Luther King Jr. Birth Home in Georgia, the Tuskegee Airmen National Historic Site in Alabama and even the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington D.C., to name but three. "The civil rights movement encompassed the entire South, and this trail gives visitors one source for all the sites that tell that story," says Wit Tuttell, Director of Visit North Carolina. "The civil rights movement changed the South, the United States and the world," he added. civilrightstrail.com; deep-south-usa.com

North Carolina top for golf NORTH Carolina is the International Association of Golf Tour Operators (IAGTO) 2018 Golf Destination of the Year for North America. Top golf resorts include Pinehurst, Omni Grove Park Inn in Asheville and Bald Head Island. visitnc.com HOTEL

New Hilton for Arlington THE 168 all-suite Homewood Suites by Hilton Arlington/Rosslyn/Key Bridgewill opens this spring. Aimed at long-stay guests, the property will be an option for those looking to stay in the D.C. area but not wanting to pay D.C. prices. stayarlington.com AIRLINES

Delta ready for Portland DELTA is launching the only direct flight between the UK and Portland, Oregon, in May. The service will operate four times a week. The flying time from London to Portland is approximately 11 hours. delta.com

THE USA in brief... OPERATOR PURELY America has a seven-night deal to the Florida Keys priced from £1,449pp. Valid for travel in June this year, the price includes four nights in Key Largo and three nights in Key West, return British Airways flights from Heathrow to Miami and car hire. It is based on two adults travelling and sharing room-only accommodation. purelyamerica.co.uk; fla-keys.co.uk

EVENT LADY Gaga will bring her one-ofa-kind act to the 5,300-seat Park Theater at Park MGM, Las Vegas, from December, as she launches a two-year residency. The singer said: “It has been a life-long dream of mine to play Las Vegas. I will create a new show unlike anything Vegas has ever seen before. I’ll leave my heart on the stage every single night.” visitlasvegas.co.uk

ATTRACTION LIFE-SIZED versions of some favourite toys will be the stars at Disney’s Hollywood Studios’ Toy Story Land when it opens this summer. The attraction will take guests into Andy’s backyard and imagination. The Slinky Dog Dash is a family-style coaster inspired by the toy. Then guests will experience a Toy Story scene in Alien Swirling Saucers. disneytravelagents.co.uk

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MEMBERS SPOTLIGHT introducing...

THE breathtaking Ice Castles of Midway are attracting visitors to Midway, Utah, this winter. The stunning fully-frosted structures are an annual addition to the mountain town. The Ice Castles fill an entire acre with their glittering turrets, frozen archways, ice slides and glacial waterfalls. This epic winter wonderland is a 45minute drive southeast of Salt Lake, close to several ski resorts such as Deer Valley Resort and Park City. visitutah.com

UNITED Airlines and North America Travel Service have joined forces to offer a special tour to Virginia. Called ‘Governor’s Choice', it is based on the favourite experiences of Terry McAuliffe, the current Governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia. It is priced from £1,899pp for adults sharing and travel in April 2018. The tour begins at Dulles International Airport and takes in wineries, historic properties, Richmond, the state capital and Williamsburg. united.com; northamericatravel service.com

Classic Harbor Line MEGAN HART, Director of Marketing

OPERATOR

Agents boost U.S. Vacations

VACATIONS to America says it has experienced a surge in sales following a six-month agent engagement campaign that kicked off last spring. The operator made over 1,000 visits to selected independent agents, providing product collateral, destination guides and key sales messages highlighting tours in its current 260-page USA brochure. “We are one of the UK’s top U.S. specialists but it’s fair to say that many agents had not heard of us – until now,” commented Richard Wimms, Vacations to America’s MD. “From the agents visited, sales increased by 23% compared with the same booking period last year – which confirms what we always thought: agents will respond positively once they are equipped with destination knowledge and product confidence. “We will continue to engage agents this year with visits and destination- themed events. We are also increasing brochure production by 50% to 30,000 copies”. Pictured are Emma Stewart (Senior Travel Consultant), Lynn Redshaw (Product Manager), Richard Wimms (Managing Director), Nan Wimms (Reservations Director) and Julie Lovell (Reservations Manager). vacationstoamerica.com

ART ON DISPLAY AT LAX VISITORS to Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) can enjoy a series of

four new artworks curated for their unique airport spaces. Pictured is a

Terminal Six (Departures) piece called

AIRLINE

Norwegian to Chicago NORWEGIAN Airlines will start flying from Gatwick to Chicago O’Hare airport in March. The four-times-aweek service will be served by a Boeing 787 Dreamliner. Illinois is marking its 200th birthday in 2018 with a series of events featuring music, sports, agriculture, literature, commerce, history, art and architecture and technology. norwegian.com; enjoyillinois.co.uk

Shelf Life, a 62-foot photographic

mural that “features a bookshelf of

books and belongings that reflect the

artist’s concerns about current events.” The installation will remain until the spring. discoverlosangeles.com

When did Classic Harbor Line become a Visit USA member? We became members about a year ago. What do you gain from being a member? Tons of added exposure to a demographic that is planning their trip and booking things before they show up.

Do you participate in Visit USA’s trade and consumer events? Absolutely! They are key for our business. Tell us about your range of sightseeing tours? We offer a wide variety of sightseeing tours, from Architecture Tours to Sunset Sailing. We give our guests a unique way of seeing the city, viewing New York, Boston, Newport and Key West from the water. Do you work with UK travel agents? Yes, but not enough of them! We have a variety of ways for travel agents to work with us, and we work together to find the most efficient way for each of us.

Finally, tell us one of your favourite Classic Harbor Line trip memories. What we find to be the most special thing is being a part of someones vacation and becoming a lasting lifelong memory for them. classicharborline.com

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introducing

Minnesota Northern star is a land of 10,000 lakes

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EXPLORE MINNESOTA

ave for Minneapolis and St Paul, and Bloomington’s Mall of America, the largest in the U.S., Minneapolis is relatively unknown but its state motto is L’Etoile du Nord – meaning Star of the North. Peter Ellegard explains why.

Twin set

GARY HAMER

Minneapolis, Minnesota’s largest city, and the state capital St Paul offers visitors plenty to do for a few days’ stay. Once major flour-milling centres on the Mississippi, they are now cultural hubs with museums and art institutions, a great

©PETER ELLEGARD

Minnesota is also nicknamed the Land of 10,000 Lakes, although it actually has almost 12,000 lakes measuring more than 10 acres. Part of the Great Lakes Region, it has 189 miles of shoreline on Lake Superior, stretching from Duluth at the lake’s far south-western tip up to Canadian province Ontario. The mighty Mississippi rises in Itasca State Park in northern Minnesota, continuing for 650 miles through the state and flowing through Minneapolis and St Paul before forming the border with Wisconsin along the cliff-lined Upper Mississippi Valley and ending its 2,320mile journey in the Gulf of Mexico. foodie scene and the 193-acre Minnehaha Falls Park which has walking and biking trails and a cascading waterfall perfectly positioned halfway between the two downtowns. More than just a retail hub, the vast Mall of America is a shopping, dining and entertainment complex adjacent to Minneapolis-St Paul Airport. Besides its 520 stores (with no sales tax on clothing or shoes), there are 50 restaurants, the Sea Life Minnesota Aquarium and Nickelodeon Universe theme park with its FlyOver America ride, five roller coasters and Hard Rock Café. There's also Radisson Blu and JW Marriott hotels.

Head upsate

Clockwise from top left: The Mall of America; Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness; the new U.S. Bank Stadium will host the Super Bowl on February 4; paddling on the Kawishiwi River in Superior National Forest

Nature abounds in Minnesota. There are 76 six national parks, monuments and recreation areas like the Voyageurs National Park, which is accessible only by boat, as well as a further 70 state and local parks and recreation areas and 1,400 wildlife areas. Central Minnesota’s popular vacation area, Brainerd Lakes, has 500 lakes and waterways. It is also home to the Midwest’s largest racetrack, Brainerd International Raceway, featuring track and drag racing.

Itinerary ideas The North Shore All-American Scenic Drive spans 150 miles of Lake Superior’s shoreline and takes in seven state parks, the 1910 Split Rock Lighthouse, small shoreline towns and the Grand Portage National Monument fur-trading post. Nature lovers can see timber wolves in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness or Superior National Forest. Sports fans can visit the 66,000-capacity U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, the new home to the Vikings NFL team, or tee off on one of the state's 500 golf courses, 90% of which are open to the public. Private club Hazeltine (hazeltinenational. com), has a memorabilia room (visits by appointment) filled with historic golf artefacts. 

BOOK IT WITH.... AMERICA AS YOU LIKE IT A seven-night fly-drive is from £1,330pp, including return flights from Heathrow to Minneapolis St Paul, car hire and stays at the Radisson Blu Mall of America, Grand View Lodge, Brainerd Lakes, Best Western Plus Superior Inn Grand Marais and Holiday Inn Downtown Duluth. americaasyoulikeit.com

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the review

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

H A PA G L LO Y D : NEW ARCTIC CRUISES ON HANSEATIC INSPIRATION

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ESTONIA

100 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

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SHOW REPORT FLORIDA HUDDLE

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CHECKING OUT THE DURHAM HOTEL

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

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the review

Tourism Update

Agents can access new Shearings’ online toolkit

CAROL HAY UK Manager, Caribbean Tourism Organization

THE Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) has some exciting events planned for the UK and Irish Travel trades in 2018. We kick things off in May. From Tuesday 8 to Thursday 10 the CTO, along with some of its members, will be hosting a Caribbean Roadshow – we will be visiting Dublin, Galway and Cork. So join us to find out all the latest news and information from our key Caribbean trade partners, whilst networking and enjoying a wonderful evening. Following these events the CTO’s next stop will be Scotland, where we will be hosting events in Aberdeen and Glasgow on Monday 21 and Tuesday May 22 respectively. Our events will continue in June, on Wednesday 13 and Thursday 14, in London and Brighton. Then it will be on to Guernsey and Jersey on Wednesday 20 and Thursday 21 before wrapping up in September in Newcastle (12) and Liverpool (13). Any readers interested in attending any of these events should contact Florian Devillers on 020 8948 0057 or email her at devillersf@ caribtourism.com. If you haven’t yet done so, please register to join the CTO’s awardwinning online training programme, Caribbean Travel Guru. See: caribbeantravelguru.com.

If you have any questions or queries regarding the programme, contact Ann-Marie Brooks on 020 8948 0057 or email abrooks@caribtourism.com

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

BY LAURA GELDER

SHEARINGS HOLIDAYS has created a Travel Agent Toolkit, with downloadable brochures and promotional materials designed to help agents share holiday ideas with their customers in an easy and engaging way. Timed to coincide with the peak booking period and themed around the operator’s turn-of-year marketing campaign This is Shearings, the toolkit includes banners for online use, posters and window displays plus access to visuals and video content. The toolkit, which can be downloaded online, is broken down into key sections. A mini-brochure, This is 2018’, features hand-picked holidays from around the world and has been white-labelled for agent use. It

can be downloaded as a PDF for customer communications and engagement or shared via an online link. Agents can also download six different digital banners, to use online or via Facebook and Twitter. There is also a range of sample tweets and Facebook posts available for agents to cut, amend and paste. A selection of posters and window displays can be printed in A4 or A3. Shearings has also collated photographs and videos for agents to share and use. A new closed-user Facebook group is available for agents to join and will share new products and exclusive competitions with the trade.

Sunvil’s new Greece and Cyprus product BY BENJAMIN COREN

GREECE and Cyprus specialist Sunvil’s new 2018 brochure features an expanded range of holidays to lesser-seen areas of both countries. Additions include the island of Kimolos in the western Cyclades and the relatively unknown Macedonian region of Pieria, home to Mount Olympus. Dudley der Parthog, Greece Director, Sunvil, says: “Every year we seek out more lesser-known, authentic spots and new ways to travel to destinations. “Our new additions in 2018 mean that holidaymakers can explore unspoilt beaches, mix with the locals, relax in luxurious boutique hotels, enjoy time with the children in safe, family-friendly resorts and see a more authentic side to the most popular destinations.” Sunvil offers seven nights’ B&B at the Cavo Olympo Luxury Hotel, Pieria, priced from £835pp (two sharing) with flights and transfers. sunvil.co.uk

Deep South in focus for new Premier Holidays campaign PREMIER HOLIDAYS has a selection of offers to America’s Deep South as part of its multi-state destination campaign promoting Alabama, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi and Tennessee. Agents can win a place on a fam to the region in November as well as earning up to £150 for every inclusive Deep South booking, depending on the value. There are tactical deals, promotional materials and videos available to help agents promote the region. Offers include a 12-night Southern States self-drive from

£1,799pp, which includes stops in New Orleans, Lafayette, Natchez, Memphis and Louisville. The deal represents a saving of up to £366 per couple. The tactical offers include return flights from Heathrow, car hire with insurance and accommodation and is based on two adults sharing, valid for bookings until February 28. The Deep South USA offers run alongside the operator’s other peaks promotions to Thailand, South Africa, Caribbean and the Channel Islands. trade.premierholidays.co.uk

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Malaysia’s new five-star property THE KASTURI, a new five-star luxury boutique resort, has opened on Chendor Beach in Cherating on Malaysia’s east coast. Independently owned and with 19 rooms, suites and pool villas, a rainforest behind the resort and 800 metres of beach fronting it, the property is billing itself as a place to get back to nature. Each villa features a large living area, outdoor shower and private deck area with a garden and lotus ponds and a large plunge pool. There is a bar, restaurant and gift shop on site as well as babysitting services. The Kasturi is located an hour from Kuantan Airport or a three-hour drive from Kuala Lumpur. Agents can contact The MC Collection’s Matthew Clift on: 0739 885 2094. themccollection.co.uk

Hapag Lloyd breaks the ice

BY JO AUSTIN

INTEREST in expedition cruising is booming with 20 new specialist ships expected to launch over the course of the next three years, including one from German line Hapag Lloyd. Hanseatic Inspiration is scheduled to launch in October 2019 and Hapag Lloyd says that it is already receiving bookings for its exclusive routes planned for 2019/2020. These will include cruises to the Arctic during the European summer and expeditions to the Antarctic in the European winter. A 17-day Amazon expedition will sail from Belem in Brazil, through the dense

jungle and up to Iquitos in Peru, while a 14-day Great Lakes cruises will navigate from Chicago to Toronto through eight locks and across Lake Ontario. Hanseatic Inspiration will accommodate up to 230 guests in a choice of six outside cabin types. Ship facilities include an Ocean Academy where guests can research all things scientific, a choice of specialty restaurants, a spa area with a Finnish sauna offering cosmetic treatments and hairdressing, and a fitness centre. Speciality restaurants will serve Peruvian and Japanese cuisine.

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Something new from Inghams INGHAMS Lakes & Mountains is offering the opportunity to try something new this year, as part of its expanded Summer 2018 programme. Featured for the first time are Portugal and Madeira, while there are new programmes in Italy and Austria and a range of new multicentre holidays in Norway, Slovenia and Switzerland. A survey by the operator last year found that nearly two-thirds (over 59%) of travellers try something new on holiday. On Inghams’ new programmes guests will have the opportunity to go glacier hiking in Chamonix, e-biking in Kitzbühel or ‘Levada’ walking in Madeira. Seven nights at Inghams’ Chalet Hotel Sapinière in Chamonix start from £513pp. agents.inghams.co.uk

hl-cruises.com

New tour operator has options to excite unique adults NEW independent tour operator Uniquely Adult is enticing agents to sell its holidays for grown-ups with a 10% commission. The operator specialises in all-inclusive holidays to Antigua, Jamaica and Cancun and has plans to extend to other destinations later this year. John Lombari, Managing Director, says: “We cater for adults looking for a more grown-up ambience on holiday; those seeking all-round good fun with fellow-minded free-spirited adults.” To assist agents in finding the right adult-centric holiday - from topless optional hotels to resorts catering for swingers - Uniquely Adult provides a ‘heat-rating system’ for its hotels. Categories include ‘entry level’, ‘party’, ‘wild at heart’ and ‘no limits’. A launch offer of £899pp for seven nights’ all-inclusive at Temptation Resort, Cancun, includes flights from Gatwick, based on departures on April 24, May 1 and May 8. Agents can register for 10% commission on the online portal. uniquelyadult.com

Plan a U.S. trip with a Capital guide LOOK out for the 2018/19 Holiday Guide to Capital Region USA, which was distributed with this issue. The pocket-sized publication is the definitive guide to Washington D.C., Maryland and Virginia and covers subjects such as favourite things to do in the region, culinary experiences, shopping, nightspots, reasons to visit in all four seasons, scenic byways and small towns and villages, and many others. Agents wanting to request more copies should email tmp.uk@ btinternet.com capitalregionusa. co.uk

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Funway goes large on Florida FUNWAY HOLIDAYS’ 2018 100page Orlando brochure, which was launched ahead of the operator’s 25th anniversary this month, features its largest ever-range of properties. Included for the first time are the family-focused Lake Buena Vista Resort Village & Spa, near International Drive in Orlando, and Holiday Inn Club Vacations at Orange Lake Resort, featuring a 1200ft lazy river and a 80-acre lake and located next to Disney’s Animal Kingdom Resort. Prices start from £579pp (for six adults sharing) for seven nights, staying in a Disney area threebedroom standard villa and including flights from London with Virgin Atlantic. Travel is in February 2018. A 10-day fly-drive option that combines four nights in Orlando and three nights both in Daytona Beach and Miami starts from £1,169pp. funway4agents.co.uk

Scenic escorts the trade

NEWS TO USE IN BRIEF PA S S E N G E R S aboard the Sapphire Princess will be able to watch the summer’s big sporting events. Princess Cruises says it will beam the 2018 FIFA World Cup, Wimbledon and international rugby matches from the ship’s top deck. The 2,670-guest vessel will sail to the Mediterranean and northern Europe between May and October. princess.com

ESTONIA will be marking its 100th year of independence in 2018 with a year-long programme of art, music and history-themed events. Starting February 24, some events will also take place in the UK to “raise the profile of the destination from a cultural perspective”. visitestonia.com/events

BY LAURA GELDER

RIVER CRUISE specialist Scenic is currently promoting its entire stable of escorted touring products to the trade, including holidays to Australia, New Zealand and the Americas. The move is in response to positive trade sales for Scenic’s river cruising products, particularly to Southeast Asia and Europe, as well as Scenic Eclipse ocean cruising , which sets sail this August, and Egypt and Jordan touring itineraries, which proved popular when they were introduced late last year (60% of sales have since have been through the trade). There are six itineraries in the Americas, with journeys across Canada and Alaska including trips on the Rocky Mountaineer and cruises with Holland America Line; the

Historic Trails of the East tour between New York and Atlanta; a 10-day Peru journey; and the 18-day Icons of South America taking in Peru, Argentina and Brazil. Tours Down Under include the 19-day Ultimate Tasmania; 17-day Tastes of South Australia; 21-day Royal New Zealand, touring between Christchurch and Auckland; and the 31-day Very Best of Australia and New Zealand. All Scenic tours include Scenic Enrich cultural experiences, ranging from learning about diverse wildlife to feasting on local cuisine. Examples include getting involved in a Rocky Mountain round-up or gathering under the Tane Mahuta kauri tree to listen to Mãori stories in New Zealand. scenic.co.uk

Year-long deal at Hard Rock sees Thomas Cook kids go free

N E L S O N M A N D E LA’S final residence in Johannesburg, South Africa, is being redeveloped into a five-star, nine-bedroom boutique hotel that is due to open in 2019. The Mandela Presidential Boutique Hotel will offer a luxury retreat inspired by Mandela’s life. thebetourism.co.za/Mandela-atlanticpresidential-retreat

NEWMARKET HOLIDAYS has added eight new escorted tours, including departures to India and Africa, to its ‘Worldwide’ collection for 2018/19. The additions are part of an expansion of its long haul programme. The operator is marking 35 years in business this year. newmarketholidays.co.uk

HARD ROCK HOTELS All Inclusive and Thomas Cook have a year-long deal for children to stay and eat for free. Thomas Cook offers seven nights at the five-star Hard Rock Riviera Maya Hacienda, Mexico, priced from £4,236 for a family of two adults and two children up to 12 years of age for £1,059pp. Children stay and eat free on an all-inclusive basis when sharing a room with two adults. The price includes return flights from Gatwick and a $1,800 resort credit to spend on activities, spa, excursions or golf. Agents can book the deal for selected dates in May, June and October 2018.

DOMINICA has launched a social media and digital awareness campaign targeted at the Caribbean island’s key markets, including the UK. Highlighting the Nature Island’s attributes, it is aimed at niche travellers such as adventurers, health and wellness fanatics, divers and wildlife enthusiasts. Dominica was hit by Hurricane Maria last year and work to restore key tourist sites including the Emerald Pool and Trafalgar Falls is ongoing.

thomascook.com

dominicaupdate.com

BY BENJAMIN COREN

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Game of Thrones suites to chill Magnetic clients EXCLUSIVE OFFERS ATMOSPHERE KANIFUSHI

MEGA SALE OFFER Book by 28 Feb 18 in Sunset Beach Villa and receive: 20% Discount on Rates AND Upgrade to Sunset Beach Suite! All Combinable with EBO + Free Nights! Valid for stays between now – 31 Oct 18

BAREFOOT ECO HOTEL

Fantastic property in far north Maldives Immerse in Maldivian Culture! PLUS book by 15th Feb 18 and receive: Extra 10 % OFF the room rates Valid for stays between 01 Apr – 31 Oct 18

BY BENJAMIN COREN

MAGNETIC NORTH TRAVEL is selling UK packages to the new Game of Thrones suites in Finnish Lapland’s Snow Village resort. Fans of the multi-series show can help fill the gap before the final season in 2019 by staying in the hotel that has its own life-sized Iron Throne with swords, a White Walker with glowing blue eyes, an icy map of Westeros and a Braavosi Hall of Faces as well as rooms and suites themed around the show. There is also a bar and restaurant and an ice chapel. The seasonal resort is built from more than 20 million kilos of snow and

350,000 kilos of ice and will stay entirely Game of Thrones-themed throughout the 2017-18 season. Guest can look forward to sleeping in fleece-lined sleeping bags in the icy rooms, where temperatures can drop as low as minus five. Three nights’ B&B, including one night in a Game of Thrones suite at Snow Village, two nights in a four-star hotel in nearby Levi and one dinner in the ice restaurant is priced from £985pp. The deal includes flights from Heathrow and transfers.

CONSTANCE HALAVELI MALDIVES

Book a Water Villa by 16 Feb 18 and receive: Up to 45% Discount on Rates! PLUS One Child under 13 stays FREE Valid for selected stays 09 Apr – 30 Sept 18

magneticnorthtravel.com

CONSTANCE MOOFUSHI MALDIVES

LAST MINUTE WINTER SALE!

Paradise for less with Osborne & Ebel

Book for a min 5 nights and receive: 20 % OFF Room Rates

For stays between now – 08 Apr 18

TRADE - FRIENDLY wholesaler Osborne & Ebel has a deal for Paradise Island Resort, Maldives. Five nights start from £259 on a full-board basis, including return speedboat transfers for travel between May 1 and July 31 2018. The resort is set in North Male Atoll with a fantastic beach and vast selection of water and land activities. For details contact: sales@osborneandebel.com

ALSO FIND EXCLUSIVE DEALS FOR TRAVEL TRADE PERSONNEL ONLY ON OUR WEBSITE

OVER 200 HOTELS AND A SELECTION OF TOURS AVAILABLE ON OUR WEBSITE MALDIVES – SRI LANKA – MAURITIUS – SEYCHELLES INDIA – UAE – CARIBBEAN – GREECE – NEW CRUISING AND SAILING. INCLUDING EXCLUSIVE OFFERS FOR WINTER 2017 SUMMER 2018 AND WINTER 2018/19 RATES ARE NOW ONLINE

osborneandebel.com

osborneandebel.com All above offers are subject to availability.

Terms & Conditions Apply

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 FLORIDA – JANUARY 9-11, 2018

Weathering a storm Post-Irma the future looks bright for Florida, reports Sally Parker

Paradise shaping up PARADISE Coast, which includes the resort cities of Naples and Marco Island, says 95% of its hotel product is back up and running. Naples Grande Beach Resort and La Playa Beach and Golf Resort have both re-opened while The Hilton Marco Island Resort is currently under renovation and will reopen in May. A $320-million renovation has seen Marco Island Marriott Beach Resort re-branded to the more luxurious JW Marriott Marco Island Beach Resort, the U.S’s only. An estimated 80% of Florida’s Paradise Coast is parks and nature preserves, with much of the area covered by the Everglades ecosystem, with inhabitants that include alligators, bob cats, black bears and the rare Florida panther. paradisecoast.com

New town takes shape BABCOCK Ranch in Punta Gorda has its grand opening on March 10. Located between Sarasota and Fort Myers, Punta Gorda is the first solarpowered ‘town’ in the U.S. Visitors will be able to dine on farmto-table cuisine and enjoy activities such as kayaking and stand-up paddleboarding and rent bicycles. The area has miles of protected wildlife preserves, scenic fishing villages and art-focused communities. A member of the Society for Ethical Eco-Tourism, all its developments are sustainable and low-rise with two new hotels opening in the first half of the year: Holiday Inn Express and SpringHill Suites by Marriott.

Florida ‘resilient’ for Brits

S HOW SH ORT S CLEARWATER Marine Aquarium is to undergo a massive expansion over the next couple of years. The facility is home to the dolphin Winter, star and inspiration for the Dolphin Tale movies and famous for her prosthetic tail. Visitors can meet sea turtles, otters, stingrays and pelicans at the working hospital. seewinter.com

THE James Museum of Western & Wildlife Art will open in St. Petersburg in April. It will be home to more than 500 works of art. thejamesmuseum.org

ENCOURAGING more visitors to travel beyond Orlando is a key focus for Visit Florida in 2018, Florida Huddle delegates were told. Gill Standeven, Senior Account Director Travel Trade for the tourism board said: “Though our theme parks are obviously a huge draw, there’s so much more on offer throughout the state: like beaches, nature, state parks and hundreds of golf courses. “For example, St. Petes is great for a beach holiday but visitors should also consider Sarasota, Anna Maria Island and Daytona, which has benefited from massive investment in its beachfront and is now a great option for families.”

Any concerns over Brexit and the U.S. exchange rate did not deter British travellers in 2017, added Standeven, with numbers “staying level year-on-year”. “The UK market is defined by its resilience,” she added. “An increase in package, family and beach holidays is good news for the destination. Visitors are spending more on ‘experiences’. Six airlines – Virgin Atlantic, British Airways, Thomas Cook Airlines, Thomson, Aer Lingus and Norwegian – offer 1.74 million seats on scheduled direct flights to Florida between them until November 2018. Indirect lift has also increased with Icelandair’s services via Reykjavik.

Panama City Beach visitors set for bird’s-eye view

BUNGALOWS KEY LARGO, which claims to be the first allinclusive in Florida, opens in Key Largo in April. An adult-only resort, it will have 135 units and five restaurants. bungalowskeylargo.com

A 1920S - STYLE icon of the jazz age, the 83-room Fenway Hotel will open in St. Petersburg in September as part of the Marriott International Autograph collection. marriott.com

B O U T I Q U E Circ Hotel at Hollywood Circle, comprising 111 rooms and suites, will open in Fort Lauderdale this March. It will be located in the ‘mural’ district, close to the beach, Aventura Mall and the new Hard Rock Hotel and Casino. circhotel.com

babcockranch.com

SKYWHEEL in Pier Park in Panama City Beach will open in the spring. The observation wheel will rise more than 200 feet and give 360-degree panoramic views of the Gulf of Mexico. At the bottom of the structure there will also be a ropes course, a three-storey zipline and a miniature golf course.

TRAFFIC to Tampa International Airport has grown so dramatically over the last five years that the airport is in the middle of a huge expansion. A new retail and restaurant space plus a rental car facility should be open by March.

pureflorida.com

visitpanamacitybeach.com

visittampabay.com

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Checking out...

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HOTELS / RESORTS / TRAIN JOURNEYS / CRUISES / AIRPORT REVIEWS

T H E DU R H AM HO T E L – Durham, North Carolina, USA BY STEVE HARTRIDGE

THE BACKGROUND: This stylish and funky six-storey, 53-room downtown hotel opened last summer. It occupies a building used by a former bank. THE LOCATION: It’s a short stroll away from shops and restaurants. On local tourist maps, downtown Durham is divided into seven districts, but all are an easy walk or a short Uber ride away. These include the Warehouse District, with its fine restaurants, and the Brightleaf area, where old red-brick tobacco warehouses have been converted into shops, eateries, bars and cool clubs. THE ROOM: I stayed in a deluxe king room. Splashed with bright reds and mustard yellows, it was bright and exceptionally clean (the deep-pile blue carpet smelt brand new). The king-sized bed was very comfortable; there was a large flat-screen TV, a work table and two large windows offering expansive views of the city. The bathroom featured a walk-in shower with a Japanese hinoki stool and oversized bottles of toiletries.

T H E V E R D I CT From checking me in to arranging my taxi to the airport, the staff were exemplary. They also provided local insights into what to see and where to eat in Durham. I loved the little touches: the morning pot of freshly brewed ground coffee left outside my room, the Free Burt's Bees lip balm

RESTAURANTS: The rooftop restaurant and bar offers great views of the town and a kitchen overseen by top chef Andrea Reusing. She prides herself on using ingredients produced by local farmers and other suppliers. Guests are offered a continentalstyle breakfast in a corner of the large and bright and breezy reception area (pictured). Items include boiled eggs, homemade granola and buckwheat sugar cake.

OTHER FACILITIES: There’s a 24-hour fitness studio – complimentary yoga classes (to guests) take place on the rooftop (heated in winter) on Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. There’s free WiFi throughout. The lobby has a bar and plenty of couches, tables and chairs for working or relaxing.

in the room and the homely

315 East Chapel Hill Street, Durham, North

$250 a night for a weekend

Carolina, 27701, USA;  thedurham.com;

stay in May 2018.

breakfast items. It’s not the only place to stay in Durham, but it is hard to imagine anywhere more enjoyable. RATES: A deluxe king Room starts from around

 00 1 919 768 8830

BANG SAK M E R L I N R E S ORT P H U K E T – Phuket, Thailand BY HELEN JENKINS

THE BACKGROUND: Part of the Merlin group, this brand-new resort on Bangsak Beach opened its doors to guests in February 2017. THE LOCATION: The hotel is set on a beachfront in Phang Nga in north Khao Lak, about an hour’s drive from Phuket International Airport.

THE ROOM: There are eight different room categories. I stayed in a Deluxe room which had a pool view, balcony and king-size bed. The spacious bathroom had a walk-in rain shower and huge bath. The mini-bar was well stocked and water bottles were resupplied. Wifi was readily available and efficient. The ground-floor rooms have direct pool access.

KEY FACILITIES: The hotel’s most impressive facility is its three beautiful swimming pools, with water features, little bridges and a swim-up bar. There is also a fitness room, a lounge room, and a Thai Sukko Spa. Several activities are offered, such as poolside yoga, Thai cooking and a kids’ club. A car or motorbike can be rented – at a very reasonable price. A wide variety of bookable excursions include a visit to a local waterfall and a wildlife-themed expedition. RESTAURANTS/BARS: The resort’s two restaurants offer a well-rounded variety of options that are designed to cater to all nationalities. The Nest is open all day, and has an indoor air-conditioned area. There are buffet nights and entertainment nights, and you can request private dining on the beach. At Sea, on the seafront, offers seafood, pizzas, salads and light bites.

T H E V E R D I CT Luxurious yet unpretentious the hotel will appeal to a wide range of guests. Children can be kept entertained while couples enjoy a romantic dinner. Those escaping to recharge their batteries can, if they choose, do little beyond relaxing by the stunning pools with a book and a drink. The staff go out of their way to ensure your stay is everything you expect. RATES: For the current nightly rates and any seasonal offers or special

31 Moo 7, Bangmoung, Takuapa District, Phang

deals, see the hotel’s

Nga 82110 Thailand;  merlinbangsak.com;

website opposite.

 +66 76 429000

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Bermuda by Lauren Jarvis

O

ften mistaken for 'the Caribbean', Bermuda actually lies 1,000 miles north of the West Indies, in the North Atlantic, 600 miles off the coast of North Carolina, USA. Just 24 miles long and averaging less than a mile wide, Bermuda is made up of seven islands joined by bridges, plus 170 islets and rocks. Pretty pastel houses and vibrant tropical blooms splash the islands with colour, and its British colonial history gives Bermuda a familiar feel: residents drive on the left and the Queen’s birthday is marked with a military parade in Hamilton, the elegant harbourside capital. “Bermuda offers a fascinating mix of American, Caribbean and African influences, with a quintessentially British flavour,” says Heidi Blades, Head of Travel Services at Premier Holidays, which offers tailor-made trips to Bermuda. She adds: “I love spotting the traditional red post boxes and English-style pubs around the island, and I’m always impressed by the locals' love of cricket and afternoon tea. The island's

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cuisine is as diverse as its history and heritage.” Two things Bermuda doesn’t share with the UK is its year-round warm climate and powdersoft pink beaches, which makes it a magnet for sun lovers and water-sport enthusiasts, while divers enjoy exploring wrecks and reefs in turquoise seas.

Why sell now “With some holidaymakers avoiding places like Egypt, Tunisia and Turkey, there’s a definite trend towards ‘safe’ destinations, and super-safe Bermuda is benefiting from this,” says Nicky Shafe, Marketing Manager at Prestige Holidays. “The flight time of just under seven hours, and the fact that British Airways flies direct also makes it ideal for a mini-break.”

Sell to who THE BERMUDAN DARK 'N' STORMY

With so many pristine stretches of sand, it would be tempting to while away each day

Bermuda Essentials TIME: -4 GMT. FLIGHT TIME: Seven hours VISAS: None required CURRENCY: Bermuda dollar U.S. dollars are also accepted LANGUAGE: English CAPITAL: Hamilton POPULATION : 61, 662

BOOK IT A week at Hamilton Princess and Beach Club is from £1,869pp, including return midweek flights with British Airways from Gatwick, seven nights (room only) in a deluxe garden room and private transfers. Prestige

Holidays is also offering two nights free, a saving of £612 per couple, on selected stays prestigeholidays.co.uk

GETTING THERE British Airways flies direct to Bermuda from Gatwick. Clients can also fly via the USA.

horizontal, with one of Bermuda’s famous Rum Swizzle cocktails to hand. But that would mean missing out on so many of the revitalising outdoor pursuits have been attracting an increasingly younger crowd to the archipelago. A hotspot for international sporting events, Bermuda hosted the prestigious America’s Cup in 2017 but non-professionals can also indulge in some sailing fun with RYA-approved courses at the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club in Hamilton. In 2018, it’s the turn of triathlon, with the first of three International Triathlon Union World Series events taking place in Bermuda in April. With its warm waters, and stunning, uncrowded cycling and running routes along the coast, this is also the perfect place to train for your own challenge. Every December Bermuda hosts the Goodwill Golf Tournament, the oldest pro-am golfing competition. Visitors will have no trouble finding their own picturesque place to tee off on one of the islands’ six award-winning courses - that is more courses per capita than any other place on the planet.

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What to sell Set sail: Calm seas and a balmy climate makes Bermuda the perfect place to sail. Learn the ropes with a 16-hour beginner’s programme at the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club. rbyc.bm Go on a spooky stroll: The UNESCO World Heritage Site of St George, founded in 1612, was the first English settlement in Bermuda.

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FAIRMONT SOUTHAMPTON, BERMUDA EXCELLENT FACILITIES FOR ALL THE FAMILY

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Fairmont Southampton has so much to offer: • • • • •

A stunning Pink Sandy Beach Kids Club, eighteen hole Turtle Hill Golf Course, Tennis Courts, Watersports, the beautiful Willow Stream Spa with indoor pool An excellent selection of rooms all with balconies Fairmont Gold Floor including exclusive lounge and services Up to 10 restaurants to tempt including the new Mediterra & Boundary Sports Bar & Grille

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BIKING THE INTERIOR

THE ROSEDON HOTEL

BOARD GAMES ON THE SEA

PINK SKIES OVER PINK SANDS

Opening at the former Surf Side in Warwick Visitors can join a ghost tour. hauntedhistorybda.com this year is boutique property The Azura Make a splash: Watch migrating humpback (azurabermuda.com), with 48 rooms and suites, all whales breaching offshore throughout March with private balconies, terraces or gardens, plus and April from the cliffs at West Whale Beach, a bar, bistro and spa. or take a whale-watching tour from Hamilton or Fairmont’s Hamilton Princess & Beach Club's the Royal Naval Dockyard. fantasea.bm Take a ride: Hire a bicycle and pedal the (fairmont.com) Exhale Day Spa features a fitness historic Bermuda Railway Trail, which runs for studio, gym and poolside yoga pavilion. 18 miles and offers up  Restaurants: lush landscapes, coastal Refurbished last year, views and the 19th"Bermudian cuisine includes the Roseden Hotel (rosedon.com) has the new century Fort Scaur to fish chowder served with Huckleberry restaurant, explore. islandtourcentre.com sherry pepper sauce and Paddle the seas: What serving Bermudian, rum, along with codfish. Or Southern and could be better than kayaking in Bermuda’s Mediterranean cuisine. try a traditional Sunday crystal-clear waters? Village Pantry has roast or English breakfast" opened in Flatts Village, How about paddling in KAREN RONDAN, BERMUDA SPECIALIST SALES a clear-bottomed boat? offering breakfast, EXECUTIVE, CLASSIC COLLECTION HOLIDAYS Set off from Daniel’s brunch, lunch, afternoon Head Beach to see teas, dinner and turtles, shipwrecks, tropical fish, coral and caves. cocktails (villagepantry.bm). crystalclearkayaksbda.com  Activities: The first-ever hire cars for tourists on the island come in the form of the What’s new Renault Twizy (Twin + Easy) – a two-person,  Hotels: The Loren at Pink Beach (thelorenhotel. eco-friendly electric vehicle – for around £75 com) opened last spring, with stylish oceanfront a day (currentvehicles.com). Blue Hole Water Sports (blueholebermuda.com) at the Grotto Bay Beach Hotel villas and suites offering sweeping views of the now has stand-up paddle boards for hire. Atlantic ocean. The Take a Bite Out of Bermuda Food Tour The Ritz-Carlton Reserve Resort (ritzcarlton.com) will open in 2020 on the peninsula at Caroline visits foodie hotspots in the west, leaving from Bay, with 79 rooms and suites, a spa and marina. the Royal Naval Dockyard (toursbermuda.com). Bermudian-inspired menus feature at top Gates Bay in historic St George will see a new eateries during the annual 'Restaurant Weeks' 122-room St. Regis Resort (starwoodhotels.com) open in 2020 with a casino and 18-hole golf course. which takes place January/February each year. 

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Hit the slopes Superbreak (superbreak. com/agents) is offering

ski packages next winter, backed by its direct charters to Akureyri. The town makes an ideal base for snow fans: it is a stone’s throw from the mountainous Troll Peninsular, home to ski resorts such as Hlidarfjall and Siglufjordur and known for its heli-skiing. SELL IT: Ski Iceland offers a four-night Skiing and Northern Lights break, from £1,160pp. ski-iceland.co.uk

Take a hike Iceland’s rugged, grizzled interior is catnip for hikers . For a multi-day option look no further than the 55km Laugavegur trail, stretching from Landmannalaugar to Thorsmork in the southern central highlands. Most take four to five days to complete the trek, overnighting in cabins along the way. SELL IT: Regent Holidays offers a six-day Iceland Landmannalaugar Trek, from £1,995pp. regent-holidays.co.uk

Iceland Whether you’re an active type, a petrolhead or a camera-happy wildlife enthusiast you’ll be spoilt for choice in Iceland, says Karl Cushing Offroading

Clients can enjoy their own Top Gear moment by learning how to tackle Iceland’s wintry offroad conditions in a modified 4X4 truck. They will take on epic landscapes such as Landmannalaugar and Eyjafjallajökull. Experiences along the way include bathing in a natural hot river and the Northern Lights. SELL IT: Nordic Experience’s four-night Long Weekend Arctic Truck Experience costs from £2,555pp, departing October-April. nordicexperience.co.uk

Horse around Famed for having an extra gait, Icelandic horses offer an excellent way of tackling the rugged terrain and horse rides feature on many clients’ wish lists. For the more adventurous clients suggest tackling part of the historic Kjölur Trail in the highlands. TOP TIP: For a more in-depth ride consider Unicorn Trails’ six-night Glacier Trail, from £1,859. unicorntrails.com

SUPERBREAKS

ICELAND

Whale of a time

With more than 20 kinds of whale in its waters it’s small wonder whale watchers flock to Iceland. While you can catch excursions in various places, including Reykjavik harbour, the best sightings are off the northern coast from either Eyjafjordur or Husavik, both accessible from Akureyri. TOP TIP: While April to September is prime viewing time, whale sightings are year-round. Watch orcas feeding in mass off Snaefellsnes Peninsula in January and March.

SUPERBREAKS

4

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Snap it up

From capturing the Northern Lights to snapping landscapes as they change with the seasons Iceland is a year-round photographer’s paradise. Dedicated trips that enable enthusiasts to bag the perfect shot are becoming increasingly popular. TOP TIP: Wild Photography Holidays’ has a new 10-night Midsummer Birds & Landscapes Workshop, leaving June 9 2018, from £3,250pp. wildphotographyholidays.com

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LOUISA HORTON

ten of the best

LOUISA HORTON

LOUISA HORTON

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a golden

India A search for family ties takes Louisa Horton on an Indian odyssey. Here are her highlights

Jaipur treasures: Known as the ‘Pink City’ Jaipur is home to a treasure trove of colourful historical sites. Start with the Amber Fort, its imposing Rajput architecture looking out over a beautiful lake from the hillside. Head back into town and wander past Hawa Mahal (Palace of Winds), with its mesmerising blush facade of countless windows and then drop into the City Palace which has an extensive collection of art and old weapons. Finish at the fascinating UNESCO World Heritage Jantar Mantar – its collection of huge astronomical instruments casts shadows over the lawns in the afternoon light. Romantic Agra: This typically chaotic Indian city is dominated by the world’s most majestic tribute to love: the Taj Mahal. Mughal emperor Shah Jahan constructed this ethereal ivory marble building to stand as a symbol of his devotion to his wife, who died in childbirth. Just west of Agra, Fatehpur Sikri is a deserted ancient city, its palaces and temples built from striking red sandstone.

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LOUISA HORTON

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Bag a bargain: If you love to shop, don’t resist India’s bustling flea markets with their wide selection of traditional clothes, shoes, handicrafts, jewellery, home décor, bedspreads, sculptures and rugs, spices and local street food. Be ready to bargain and head there at night when live music and entertainment adds a buzz and the streets are cooler. Ride by rickshaw: It’s the best way to experience the contrast of urban India. Zip between grand colonial architecture and down narrow and bustling modern streets as colorful bazaars pass in a blur, cows squeeze by and fried street food wafts temptingly. Get crafty: Tour a rug-, textile- or jewellery-maker’s shop to hear them share their passion for their craft. There’s no pressure to purchase, but after seeing the time and attention given to each unique item you may want to. Visit former gem capital Jaipur for jewellery. Indian legends: India and its once colonial master collide in Kolkata, where

visitors can move from admiring colonial architectural wonders like the stately Victoria Memorial to distinctly Indian buildings such as the multi-coloured Jain Temple, one of the city’s most-visited. Step inside to see the intricate décor including stained-glass windows and pillars inlaid with glittering mirrors. A must-visit is Mother House, headquarters of the Missionaries of Charity, founded by Mother Teresa. Her tomb is on-site. Goa’s earthly paradise: The swaying palms and golden sand that stretch along the Arabian Sea is a relaxed retreat from what can feel like a hectic country. Goa’s far north and south consists of deserted beaches and laid-back fishing villages, with the busier tourist areas in between for those who want to party. Old and New Delhi: The capital of modern India is packed with culture and history. Feel small next to the vast, fiery sandstone walls of the Red Fort and the towering minarets of Jama Masjid, India’s largest mosque.

Visit Raj Ghat, the cremation site of Mahatma Gandhi, and admire the perfect symmetry of Humayun’s Tomb, one of the world’s best-kept Mughal monuments, set within beautiful gardens. To avoid the crowds, drive past India Gate, a huge archway honouring fallen soldiers. Eye of the tiger: India’s national parks, wildlife sanctuaries and game reserves offer wildlife lovers a glimpse into the real Jungle Book. Ranthambore National Park in the Golden Triangle is the most accessible tiger reserve. Its 300,000-plus acres of dry bush land are stalked by a healthy population of the elusive orange cat (game drives never guarantee sightings). Spice up your life: Eat like a local and look out for restaurants crowded with locals. There’s no such thing as ‘typical Indian food’ so dive into a diverse fusion of flavours and try out the myriad veggie options. Those all curried out or looking to satisfy a sweet tooth should try amsat, layers of candied, dried mango, pressed into a brownie-like square. 

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mediterranean: special interests

pursuits hot

A holiday to the Med doesn’t have to mean settling for just sand and sea. Clare Walsh looks beyond the beach to some special interest options

T

he sky shimmers pink as we glide soundlessly across the water towards a dazzling Palma Cathedral, silhouetted against the clouds like a painting from a Gothic fairy tale. We slip into the harbour as our sunset cruise draws to a close and head into the heart of the city. The streets of the Majorcan capital’s Old Town pulsate with life and a palpable energy. A destination that oozes style, the city succeeds in fusing old world charm with contemporary chic. Baroque churches and ancient streets mingle seamlessly with hip rooftop bars, galleries and studios. Palma boasts a rich array of restaurants, presenting some tantalising culinary options. Tonight our choice is the tiny Bunkers restaurant in the trendy barrio of Santa Catalina, a cosy bar that comes highly recommended for its delicious local dishes and welcoming service. A holiday that embraces both stylish city life and coastal cool is perfect for me, and that’s what is so appealing about the Mediterranean. Whether your client is a foodie seeking an epicurean adventure or a hiker looking for their next conquest, there are numerous ways to package a trip to this region.

Gastronomy Following the retention of an impressive ten Michelin Stars at the recent Michelin Star awards, the focus of the Mallorca Tourist Board for 2018 is to establish Palma as a leading gastro- destination. Several new openings have propelled the city to the top of the list of desirable foodie spots. The recently-opened Buy and Cook restaurant invites customers to buy their own fresh ingredients for the chef to prepare, while food market Mercat 1930 and fine dining restaurant Vandal are other notable openings on the gastro scene. There are, of course, several other destinations across the Med that will appeal to food-lovers. Culinary capital San Sebastian is famous for its pintxos, the Basque version of tapas, and it also

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mediterranean: special interests

happens to boast one of the highest numbers of Michelin stars per square foot in the world. Sell it: For a unique foodie trip, tour operator Peter Sommer Travels (petersommer.com) has introduced a Gastronomic Gullet trip cruise in Croatia for 2018. Clients will visit local producers, participate in cooking classes and eat at konobas (traditional restaurants).

Wine tours

67

This spring will also sees the opening of the five-star Canaves Oia Epitome in Santorini, with its 24 luxurious villas, daily yoga sessions and indulgent treatment rooms. New product: Cutting-edge spa treatments can be experienced at Daios Cove Luxury Resort & Villas in Crete which has announced a new spa partnership with Harley Street Skin Clinic 111SKIN. On offer is a variety of surgically inspired spa treatments.

Italy is one of the oldest wine-producing Hiking regions in the world and Tuscany is an ideal With stunning coastal paths, alpine suggestion for clients looking to couple scenery peaks and dramatic coves, the Balearic and award-winning wine. Many of the region’s Islands are a prime hiking destination. varieties are recognised as ‘DOC’ and ‘DOCG,’ and For the experienced walker, the Ruta de Pedra vineyard tours can be arranged locally in Tuscan Sac in the dramatic towns such as San Serra Tramuntana Gimignano and Sienna. “Shore excursions for cruise mountain range is A stay on a Sardinian vineyard is a new passengers are becoming ever- a six-day hike that takes in 162km of option in 2018 from more immersive – from a coastline. The trail will tour operator Sicilian pasta-making class in take clients through Places. La Foreseteria Sorrento to exploring the most spectacular Planeta Estate, located on the Menfi vineyard, Dubrovnik’s old city walls or part of the mountain range, offering a great has an infinity pool picturesque vineyards” variety of landscapes. overlooking the ANDY HARMER, CLIA UK & IRELAND An easier option can sprawling vineyard be found on the east and features daily coast of Menorca which features a myriad of cooking classes and a wine tasting room. stunning hidden footpaths and clifftop tracks. The Cami de Cavalls to the Virgin Beaches Sell it: SeaDream Yacht Club’s (seadream.com) wine voyages from Nice to Civitavecchia or Athens to Stromboli walk starts in Cala Galdana and continues allows clients to enhance their culinary and yachting along an ancient trail that circles the island. experience while exploring flavours from wineries. New product: Nordic Walking is tipped to be one of Spa & wellness the fastest growing fitness trends this year. Miraggio Pampering options already abound in the Thermal Spa Resort in Halkidiki has launched 30 Med but the Greek Islands are welcoming new routes for 2018, offering clients the chance to a number of new openings this year. explore the towering peaks of Mount Olympus. Ikos Resorts is adding a third property Coastal action with the launch of Ikos Sassia Corfu, set The Mediterranean’s spectacular coastline is to open on May 3. Frazzled clients can a primary draw for many clients. Corsica, or get pampered at the Ikos Spa where ‘the island of beauty’, boasts a wild and rugged Anne Semonin therapists offer treatments coastline and a cycling holiday is one using essential oils and trace minerals.

Opposite page: Palma Cathedral, Majorca. This page, clockwise from top left: a sommelier pours wine in Tuscany; an Ikos Resorts spa; hiking in the Balearic Islands; one of Sicily’s many churches; Gozo’s Blue Hole

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suggestion for clients keen to explore this untamed playground. Tour operator Corsican Places has an eight-day cycling tour around Cap Corse that is perfect for beginners. The Maltese islands offer a dramatic backdrop for a variety of outdoor activities. Over 1300 climbing routes can be experienced on the dramatic Dingli Cliffs, while the multiple shipwreck sites and rich marine life has earned the destination the accolade of ‘Best Diving Destination in the Mediterranean’. Aspiring athletes can indulge their passion at Chia Laguna hotel in the picturesque landscape of Sardinia. The hotel is hosting its second halftriathlon on April 28 and annual half-marathon on April 29. The triathlon will comprise of swimming in the waters of Chia Bay, cycling on the scenic road of the southern coast and a running route on Chia’s magnificent beach. Sell it: Aphrodite Hills in Cyprus recently won Golf Resort of the Year at the IAGTO Awards. It relaunched on January 19 following a 2.3million euro investment. There was a reconstruction of the greens and bunkers and it features a retreat spa, fitness centre and tennis academy.

History & culture Throughout the Mediterranean region are the relics of ancient civilisations, from the Venetians in Croatia to the Romans in Italy. With an intriguing history and tumultuous past, history buffs travelling to Cyprus can expect to discover the remains of powerful kingdoms, Bronze Age tombs and Neolithic dwellings. Malta is home to some of the oldest free-standing structures on earth, from the Neolithic period, and a history of being ruled by Phoenicians, Romans, Moors, Normans, Sicilians, Spanish, French and the British has left a rich legacy of architecture and art. A recent discovery was made at Kokkinokremas archaeological site in Pyla village, when the Mediterranean’s Oldest

Organised Library was found. Hailed as the most significant discovery on the island in the last 50 years, the library reveals much about the evolution of civilizations on the island. Sell it: KE Adventure Travel (keadventure.com) has launched a new-for-2018 active discovery tour to Sicily and its archipelago. Highlights include walking on the UNESCO World Heritage islands of Vulcano and Salina, a picnic dinner on fiery Stromboli, hiking the slopes of Mount Etna and visiting a caper farm.

Tourism talk

Clockwise from top left: The bright colours of Burano, Venice; relaxing in Santorini; Pescherie Vecchie street near Bologna’s famous food markets; the old Venetian town of Trogir, Croatia

de Tramuntana mountain range in Mallorca and the ancient ‘Cami de Cavalls’ footpath in Menorca.” Jaume Alzamora, Director, Balearic Islands Tourism Board

Where to book it

 CORSICA PLACES – 01489 866 931 The seven-night Coastal Cycling around Cap Corse costs from £1299pp, based on two sharing. Included are flights from Gatwick on April 29 2018, all accommodation, “You don’t have to be a breakfast, bike rental, luggage transfers, lycra-clad pro to enjoy map and route cycling holidays in Corsica! notes and airport Tours offer shorter and transfers corsica.co.uk easier routes on any given day  PETER SOMMER

”Recognised for its outstanding cuisine, the Balearic Islands is an ideal TRAVELS holiday destination for (up to 30km shorter) so 01600 888 220 food-lovers. In 2017, the cyclists can keep to their pace” The cultural tour islands welcomed some exciting gastronomic JON TAYLOR, PRODUCT MANAGER, SERENITY HOLIDAYS specialist’s Walking and cruising the developments which Dodecanese departs have firmly cemented its September 22 and costs from £2,775pp. position as a leading destination for foodies. The seven-night Greek trip is based on :Our promotional activities look at generating two sharing and includes full-board visitation outside of the main summer season accommodation, all crew services, expertand promoting the more authentic and cultural led excursions, entrance fees and transfers. aspects of the islands. We continue to work on a The price is flight-only. petersommer.com  series of initiatives such as promoting the Serra

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Kuala Lumpur Malaysia’s towering giant

A

regional hub and popular stopover, Malaysia's capital also serves up an invigorating break, says Karl Cushing Kuala Lumpur (or KL to its friends) has risen to become the World’s 10th most-visited city, according to the latest stats from analyst Euromonitor, a popularity fuelled by its affordability, excellent airlinks and diverse visitor attractions. Its iconic Petronas Towers are set to be dwarfed by the 630-metre-high Merdeka PNB 118 tower, coming in 2020, but both sit easily next to the city's historic gems. Highlights include Old Market Square (Medan Pasar), known for its photogenic ‘shophouses’, and Independence Square (Dataran Merdeka), home to local institutions such as the Royal Selangor Club (which wouldn’t look out of place in the Home Counties), and that Moorish marvel, the Sultan Abdul Samad Building. From St Mary’s Cathedral and the King's House (Carcosa Seri Negara) to the old Railway Station and ornate Central Market, intriguing glimpses of the past are never far away. My highlight is seeking out new local dishes and gorging on the excellent street food sold from hawker stalls. From tasty seafood bites and hearty stuffed murtabak to wholesome curries with roti canai, a culinary odyssey awaits. On a healthier note, the first and third Sunday of each month sees major streets closed to cars and given over to cyclists, joggers and walkers (klcarfreemorning.com). Annual events worth a look include MyBalloonFiesta (March 9-11); August’s

TASTY STREET FOOD

THE PETRONUS TOWERS

KUALA LUMPUR TOWER

CHINA TOWN SHOPPING

Good Vibes music festival (goodvibesfestival.com), just north of KL, and September’s International Towerthon Challenge (menarakl.com.my), which sees participants run up the KL Tower’s 2058 steps.

Head for... Having grabbed a KL TravelPass (kliaekspres.com/ kl-travelpass/) and got your bearings at KL Tower’s Sky Deck (menarakl.com.my) it’s time to taste the hawker stall treats along Jalan Alor. KL is awash with malls like the Pavilion (pavilion-kl.com) and the vast 1Utama (1utama.com. my). For a mix of shopping and munching try the old Central Market or the wonderful Petaling Street nightmarket in China Town - a good bet for affordable souvenirs. Come the evening you’ll find the local bar scene in rude health. From new cocktail bars such as Jack Rose to shishi scenic rooftop bars like Marini’s on 57 (marinis57.com), the Sky Bar at Traders Hotel (shangri-la.com) and the new Mantra Bar (mantrabarkl.com), you won’t want for a refreshing libation. Nearby attractions include the Genting Highlands and Batu Caves. For family-friendly wildlife experiences consider KL’s Aquaria KLCC oceanarium (aquariaklcc.com), head to the

Elephant Sanctuary at Kuala Gandah or visit Kuala Selangor, to feed monkeys and admire the fireflies on a river cruise.

What’s new Pocket-friendly options include The Bed KLCC’s (thebedklcc.com) excellent new capsule hotel concept in KL’s Bukit Bintang district, with prices from just RM69 per pod, per night. Set for completion in 2018, the new Four Seasons Place development near the Petronas Towers includes a 209-room Four Seasons Hotel (fourseasons.com), with a 198-room CitizenM Kuala Lumpur (citizenm.com) opening in Bukit Bintang in Q2. Accor’s So Sofitel Kuala Lumpur (accorhotels.com), is set to open in 2020. 

BOOK IT WITH... PREMIER HOLIDAYS The operator has four nights in Kuala Lumpur, priced from £869pp for travel between April 3 and July 6 2018. The deal includes B&B at the historic five-star Majestic Hotel, flights from Heathrow with Malaysia Airlines and private transfers. 08444 937 444; trade.premierholidays.co.uk

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the final word

the quirky side of travel – Valentine's lift, floating hotels, furry flyers – Valentine's for one V-Day will soon be upon us but singles need not get melancholic as online travel advisor network Virtuoso forsees a growth in solo travel this year and has some suggestions as to where to 'go to love yourself'. First up on its list of 'unforgettable solo adventures' is a stop in Italy to enjoy a romantic dinner at the world’s smallest restaurant, sporting just the one solitary table. Australia is another suggestion because “Valentine’s Day is the perfect time to contemplate the theory of evolution” (it's clearly not, but it wants to promote a Blue Mountains tour with Charles Darwin’s greatgreat-grandson, Chris). Failing that, there’s usually a BOGOF on wine in Tesco. virtuoso.com

IT'S ALL ABOUT… Bringing home the bacon A real floater Forget gravity-defying tree-top accommodation, 2018 is all about the floating hotel. The new Arctic Bath Hotel and Spa in Sweden freezes into the ice of the Lule River in the winter and floats on top of the water in the summer. The sixroom hotel features an ice bathing pool (for those brave enough to try the Arctic tradition of a cold-water plunge) and is situated in a prime location to experience the Northern Lights. arcticbath.se

Quokka recognised at last

Holiday Inn Express looked at Brits’ brekkie choices and found that veganuary isn't such a popular deal after all. ihg.com/holidayinnexpress

75 %

Would never give up bacon as a New Year’s Resolution

47 % Move over avocado, 47% (versus 2%) prefer bacon with their eggs

Western Australia’s native quokka is finally getting some long overdue recognition – Oz is more than roos, wallabies and koalas – after winning a poll to have the new Qantas’ Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner named after it. Quokka was among the most popular suggestions in a national survey to find a name for the airline. Direct flights on the Quokka between London and Perth in Western Australia start in March. qantas.com

25 % Agree that the smell of bacon alone is enough to get them out of bed

THE MARCH 2018 ISSUE OF SELLING TRAVEL WILL FEATURE: • Flights to Northeast Asia • Tennessee • Las Vegas • Spanish Cities • Namibia • Seychelles • Malta • Aboriginal Australia • Oslo • Bahrain • Serbia • Go West and AFT show reports • CONTACT US sales@bmipublishing.co.uk; editorial@ bmipublishing.co.uk PLUS ONLINE Daily Selling Tips • Destination Guides • Photo Galleries • Travel Uni

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Selling Travel February 2018  

The world in one magazine Cover Story: Mediterranean, plus how to sell... Florida • Bermuda • Abu Dhabi • Cook Islands • Luxury African Lodg...

Selling Travel February 2018  

The world in one magazine Cover Story: Mediterranean, plus how to sell... Florida • Bermuda • Abu Dhabi • Cook Islands • Luxury African Lodg...