Selling Travel January/February 2022

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SELLING TRAVEL • JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2022

JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2022 • SELLINGTRAVEL.CO.UK

INSPIRING THOSE WHO LOVE TRAVEL

Australia • Dominica • Ocean cruising • Mauritius • Gran Canaria • River cruising • USA • Sustainable travel

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Contents /

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All around the world

inside this issue Trend-watching 08 Sustainable travel: Options for agents looking to sell greener travel 12 Four-sight: We ask how bookings are looking for 2022?

RIVER CRUISING

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AUSTRALIA

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Globe-hopping 14 Ocean cruising: Top suggestions for 2022 and beyond. 22 Australia: Gearing up for a surge of reunion travel 26 On location: Dominica 27 River cruising: Inspiring itineraries from the world's most scenic rivers 32 My journey: LUX* Grand Baie, Mauritius

REBORN IN USA

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OCEAN CRUISING

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Trade talk 36 The review: Industry update plus Port of Seattle virtual fam trip review

Be inspired USA MAURITIUS

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40 Reborn in the USA: Updates from across the country as travel resumes 45 Long weekend in: Florida's Key West 48 Trail of Tears: Discover the story of the Native American tribes expelled from their homelands

SUSTAINABLE TRAVEL

08

CHRISTMAS IN NEW YORK

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55 Six of the best: Michigan for foodies 58 Leading locations: Kentucky highlights 66 My journey: Christmas in New York 74 City profile: New Orleans

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4 / Welcome EDITORIAL EDITORIAL DIRECTOR Steve Hartridge

DEPUTY EDITOR Jessica Pook

WRITERS Lauren Jarvis, Jane Archer, Sara Macefield, Lynn Houghton, April Waterston, Julie Baxter, Charlotte Flach

PUBLISHING PUBLISHERS Steve Thompson steven.thompson@sellingtravel.co.uk Sally Parker sally.parker@sellingtravel.co.uk

ADVERTISING MANAGER Lisa Merrigan lisa.merrigan@sellingtravel.co.uk

CIRCULATION MANAGER Shani Kunar

MANAGING DIRECTOR Matt Bonner

CEO Martin Steady

DESIGN & PRODUCTION DESIGNERS Caitlan Francis & Emma Norton

PRODUCTION & STUDIO MANAGER Clare Hunter

PRODUCTION ADMINISTRATOR Steve Hunter

COVER IMAGE

A cowboy roping on his horse in Utah. istock.com/ ktmoffitt

(PRINT) ISSN 2056-9319. © BMI PUBLISHING LTD 2022.

SELLING TRAVEL IS PUBLISHED BY BMI PUBLISHING

January /February

Good times are already here

A

s we embrace the start of a new year things feel, on the one hand perhaps, depressingly similar to the same time in 2021, but reasons to be cheerful are more plentiful than last January. Most of us are double- if not triple- vaccinated (which allows us to travel to destinations near and far), there is no ban on international holidays (at least not at the time of writing), most countries are open and welcoming UK tourists, cruise ships are plying the world's oceans and rivers and there are no flight bans or mandatory expensive quarantines in UK airport hotels. Steve Hartridge EDITORIAL DIRECTOR Moreover, we are getting used to the now not-so-new requirements for travel. Whilst still onerous, all the form filling and testing procedures have become part and parcel of the 'travel experience'. In short, despite the challenges we are travelling again, albeit in different ways to previously. In this issue, two of our staff writers report on their own recent trips, to Mauritius and New York. The sheer joy of travelling again, and the refreshing balm offered by simply interacting with locals, trying different foods and signing up for new experiences, comes shining through in their words. Jessica Pook was one of the first to stay at the newly opened LUX* Grand Baie in Mauritius. Read about her trip, which included a snorkel trip in a glass-bottom boat and a visit to the southern hemisphere's oldest botanical gardens, on page 32. April Waterston's account of her festive break in the Big Apple features in our special extended section on the USA. Travelling Stateside will be on the wish list of many Brits in 2022, an aspiration that couldn't be realised for most of last year. It wasn't until early November that Brits were allowed back into the country, yet as our series of destination profiles show, regions across the country – from Maine to Washington State – are keen to get the word out about why they should be first on any USA itinerary. So, to wed a couple of popular idioms, keep the faith because better times are coming – and compared to the journey we have been on, in many ways they are already here.

LTD: 501 THE RESIDENCE, NO. 1 ALEXANDRA TERRACE, GUILDFORD, GU1 3DA, UK. T: 020 8649 7233 E: ENQUIRIES@BMIPUBLISHING.CO.UK BMIPUBLISHING.CO.UK • SELLINGTRAVEL.CO.UK 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. WHILE EVERY EFFORT IS MADE TO ENSURE ACCURACY, BMI PUBLISHING LTD CANNOT BE HELD RESPONSIBLE FOR ANY ERRORS OR OMISSIONS. COVER IMAGE CREDIT: ISTOCK.COM/ JUERGEN SACK This publication is printed on Revivew 100 Media and Revive recycled coated, recycled paper grades that are FSC® Recycled certified and Carbon Balanced.

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 sellingtravel.net

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One Destination

ENDLESS FUN This beachfront holiday destination is perfect for family holidays in Dubai and home to three hotels, JA Palm Tree Court, JA Beach Hotel and JA Lake View Hotel. With 7 swimming pools, an 800m private beach, 25 dining outlets and over 40 exciting activities to discover, JA The Resort guarantees endless fun for everyone.

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Trend watching

6 // New New beginnings beginnings

Sweden

SECLUDED SLUMBER The Pater Noster Lighthouse in Sweden takes sleeping under the stars to a new level. This remote guesthouse, which opened in 2021 following a stylish redevelopment, offers visitors the chance to fall asleep to a soundtrack of the sea. Experience this previously uninhabitable island on a fiveday break combined with Gothenburg with Regent Holidays. The trip includes ‘back to nature’ activities such as sea kayaking, fishing, and soaking in the seawater hot tub. regent-holidays.co.uk.com

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Trend watching New New beginnings beginnings //

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Croatia

A GOOD HARVEST Located on Dugi Otok, an island close to Zadar on the mainland of Croatia, is the newly-opened Villa Nai 3.3. Built from stone harvested from the surrounding 100-yearold organic olive grove, the hotel comprises eight deluxe accommodations, an olive-oil mill and a tasting room. On-site experiences include traditional olive harvests and processing in late September and October, while the turquoise waters nearby tempt sailors, kayakers and scuba divers. villanai.com

Ras Al Khaimah

GOING GREEN Ras Al Khaimah has set its sights on becoming the regional leader in environmentally conscious tourism by 2025, as announced at the Global Citizens Forum at the end of 2021. The emirate’s Sustainable Tourism Destination Strategy aims to protect and enhance cultural and natural heritage, embrace green construction, and deliver new sustainable tourism developments and experiences which are high quality, authentic and complement Ras Al Khaimah’s natural environments. visitrasalkhaimah.com SELLINGTRAVEL.CO.UK

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Trend watching

8 / Sustainability

Fresh

perspective Sustainability is more than just a buzzword, with clients increasingly concerned about the health of our planet. Charlotte Flach takes a look at bookable options for agents

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s COP26 came and went, and G20 reiterated its commitment to reversing climate change, the world turned its gaze towards the travel industry. With a global goal of halving emissions by 2030 and achieving net-zero by 2050, the travel and tourism sector is rallying around ways to operate in a more sustainable way. “The industry has started to shift from looking at minimising the impact that travel can have on the planet and its people to proactively looking at how it can have a positive impact instead, covering both environmental and social challenges,” says Brian Young, Managing Director at G Adventures. Alongside industry action, consumer behaviour is evolving too. “G20 and COP26 have shone an even brighter light on our plight,” says Hannah Methven, Sustainability Specialist at Explore. “This has made our customers more discerning about the type of holidays they are taking. This is a good thing.”

Agent action Sustainable travel encompasses many different subcategories, including ethical, green, eco and responsible tourism, focussing on both safeguarding the environment and indigenous communities. So why should agents be promoting these options?

“That’s a bit like asking why should dentists tell us how and why to clean our teeth!,” says Karen Simmonds, Founder of Travel Matters and the Make Travel Matter campaign. “If we don’t get into the habit of talking about sustainability in travel, our natural resources and beautiful world will be depleted and no longer be fit for purpose.” She continues: “It’s important to engage with travellers as well as our suppliers. We are all stewards of the planet and have our role to play, but travel agents play a pivotal role in helping customers decide how they travel, so increasing their knowledge of sustainable options and understanding how and what to sell is vital.”

Trending trips According to the recent ABTA Travel in 2022 report, sustainable accommodation has now become mainstream, and ‘nature positive’ holidays, which actively benefit local ecosystems and leave the lightest carbon footprint possible, are increasing in popularity. Recent research carried out by G Adventures has also shown that 68% said that ensuring their money was benefitting local people was important to them and 46% said protecting wildlife while they travelled was high on their list. The pandemic in particular has shifted client behaviour. “Covid has

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Trend watching Sustainability /

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Conservation is a priority in Costa Rica

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Trend watching

10 / Sustainability

Supporting local communities is vital post-covid

Khaolak Merlin Hotel in Thailand has an eco-friendly focus

minimised the carbon footprint, rather than clients seeking to minimise their carbon footprint,” says Simmonds. “The ‘Staycation’ revolution swarmed Britain and it made people question how they wanted to travel going forward.” Walking holidays have increased in popularity, as have trips by rail and avoiding unnecessary flights. “We’ve had customers book landonly packages with us and ask us to recommend how they can offset their own flights,” says Methven.

Operator support Many operators are trying to limit the effects of over-tourism and pollution through initiatives such as offering smaller group sizes or cutting down on harmful methods of travel within a destination. “Our itineraries can involve trains, public buses, metros and rickshaws, plus we minimise unnecessary domestic flights,” adds Methven. Smaller group sizes enable access to places bigger parties can’t go, as well as spots that are lesser-known or favourites with locals. And encouraging walking holidays cuts emissions, with an added physical and mental health boost.

Some are taking things a step further. Travel Matters’ campaign ‘Make Travel Matter’, which was originally established to encourage people to view travel as a privilege and inspire them to make more conscious decisions, aims to protect the environment and the communities travellers encounter. “All we ask is for future travellers to band together and follow criteria encompassing the durability of local economic growth and stability and the ethical and social equitability for local communities in a destination,” explains Simmonds. “After all, we are all global citizens and want to encourage best practice for the generations to come.”

Far-reaching benefits Working with local communities can have a positive effect on both people and the planet. “Educating local communities and offering them an alternative source of income is an important part of tackling negative environmental and wildlife practices,” explains Young. “A number of the communities we work with now offer positive environmental projects such as reef conservation and reforestation.” There is also a pay-off for

reduce the carbon footprnt with a walking holiday

human beings when money is pumped into local economies and jobs are created. Explaining the benefits of sustainable travel for everyone involved can also help. “Customers have a more varied experience when they stay in locallyowned accommodation, travel with locals and eat in local restaurants,” says Methven. “All of these experiences add to the authenticity of a customer’s trip, and will create lasting memories.”

Where to book it G Adventures – 020 7313 6938 A seven-day Hiking Northern Greece trip includes a two-day hike to a mountain refuge and dining in local tavernas. Priced from £934pp. gadventures.com

Rail holidays are a good alternative to flying

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Trend watching Sustainability /

A focus on being green Cruise: A-ROSA River Cruises’ new E-Motion ship A-ROSA SENA, which will make a splash in May 2022, will feature new onboard technology to reduce the line’s environmental footprint. The ship combines a diesel engine and a separate electric motor, which is powered by batteries, meaning it can switch to battery power when approaching a port, enabling it to arrive silently and emission-free, in addition to other emission-reducing features. A seven-night Rhine Discovery – Amsterdam, Floriade Expo 2022 and

Antwerp cruise departs June 11 2022 and September 17 2022 is priced from £2,499pp based on two sharing. newmarketholidays.co.uk Hotel: From encouraging biodiversity to sustainable practices, The Khaolak Merlin Hotel in Thailand has a green focus with its multifaceted eco-friendly approaches. Organically treated water is reused to nourish the gardens and fill the resort’s streams and the hotel is partnered with multiple organisations to preserve the trees and wildlife on its grounds. It also supports the local community, providing jobs; buying from local suppliers; organising beach and temple clean-ups, and making regular charitable donations. A seven night stay is priced from £799pp departing September 12 2022, staying in a Superior room, including flights and private return transfers. goldmedal.co.uk Destination: Churchill, Manitoba, in the heart of Canada,

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is considered a leading destination for ecotourism and sustainable initiatives. Rolling prairies and forests join 100,000 lakes stretching from Winnipeg in the south to Churchill in the north. Canadian Affair is offering a five night holiday to Manitoba for £5,213pp based on two adults sharing, with a departure date of July 29, 2022. Includes beluga whale Zodiac tour on the Churchill River, full-day adventure on the new zero emissions Electric Vehicle Tundra Buggy in the Churchill Wildlife Management Area, and a boat tour of the Churchill River and more. canadianaffair.com •

A Tundra buggy in Manitoba doesn’t disturb wildlife

KHAOLAK

M E RLI N R E S O R T

KHAOLAK MERLIN RESORT Where the Rainforest Meets the Sea Immerse yourself in a magical jungle at our eco resort. Khaolak Merlin Resort is set on the preserved tropical forest of Southern Thailand where you can discover ancient trees, 4 lagoon-like swimming pools, with direct access to 190 metres of Khao Lak Beach. We are committed to take care of the environment where we received Travelife Gold for our dedication to sustainability. We also have a partnership with Love Wildlife Foundation to protect the vulnerable slow loris population that live on the ancient trees within the resort.

www.merlinkhaolak.com

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sales@merlinphuket.com

khaolakmerlinresort

merlinkhaolak

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Trend watching

12 / Four-sight

Agents back to cancel culture Our agent columnists share their thoughts as the Omicron variant threatens to derail the travel industry once more

Agents are preparing for another staycation summer

Cornwall has new connections from Gatwick

Local experiences lead to wider human connections Up until December things were picking up and we were hoping for a last-minute winter sun surge to boost our cash flow until spring. However, the reintroduction of the red list, plus the constant changes to testing requirements, caused a huge dip in consumer confidence and many are looking to move trips back. Approximately 70% of our business is tailor-made round-the-world trips but with so much uncertainty we’re shifting our focus to more short-haul and UK holidays. Our customers are desperate for a change of scenery, but many find the testing requirements an obstacle. I would love to promote more sustainable travel options too. I remember meeting Bruce Poon Tip, who founded G Adventures, and was drawn to the way they focus on giving back to local communities. Personally, I think that could be the key to making consumers more aware of sustainability – not necessarily just staying in an eco-friendly hotel, but seeing the positive impact tourism can have, and a chance for human connection. It makes sustainable travel a more tangible concept, in my opinion anyway.

THE FAMILY BUSINESS

Anneka Desrosiers

Southern Cross Travel, East Sussex

The latest Omicron variant may well have been the last straw for many agents looking to get some much-needed positive cash flow during the winter months. The reintroduction of testing to get back into the UK and the need for a PCR within 48 hours of returning – plus the news of increased regulation and restrictions worldwide – is enough to produce another slew of cancellations and refunds. Like many, I have had enough and my patience is wearing thin with the lack of clear, positive and creditable leadership. The only ray of sunshine is a healthy forward booking situation for 2022 into 2023, but there are some doubts that

Clients are not deciding on an operator with the desire to be ‘green’ Covid could stretch long into the next year. With all such worries, it is easy to forget the bigger picture of sustainability and whether clients are actively looking for a green option. Frankly, I have no experience of this influencing their decision on what to book. They may well decide not to take a particular long haul trip but they are not deciding on an operator or a destination with the desire to be ‘green’. Now, back to sorting out PCRs for booked clients who will probably end up cancelling…

THE CRUISE SPECIALIST

James Hill

Go Cruise, Cruise specialist, Worcestershire

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Trend watching Four-sight /

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` New restrictions cause consumer confidence to dip ´ Over half of our winter bookings have moved to later in the year At the time I write this (mid-December) the good news is that the red list has been scrapped, a relief for those overseas and a move that will hopefully give others the confidence to book. The bad news is that France and Germany have banned UK visitors and the Netherlands is going into lockdown. I have some clients due to fly out to Canada and Antarctica via Amsterdam but thankfully restrictions allow them to change flights in Schipol. December was always a traditionally quiet time for travel agents, however these last few weeks we have managed to sell some gift vouchers and arranged a few holidays and short breaks as Christmas presents. We are also catching up on admin in the office. Confidence in imminent travel is still quite low and we have changed more than half of our Christmas and New Year bookings to later in the year. However, I am optimistic that if Omicron gets under control the demand for booking holidays will suddenly increase. I think we are all ready to get something exciting in our diaries to look forward to in 2022. I certainly am!

Just as we thought things might be improving they take a turn for the worse. As well as the endless form filling we have those numerous PCR-testing companies that are charging silly prices. Back to talking shop... I have been hearing all about the new Newquay to Gatwick service which started December 15 from Laura Jurgens, who is with Eastern Airways. It is the fastest capital connection to Cornwall with up to two daily flights each way, good timings, fares from just £34.99 one way and 15kg hold baggage included as standard with no hidden fees. I also bumped into Richard Hey, who told me about the new company he has joined – Adriatic Holidays. They have 15 years’ experience doing Gulet Cruises and know Montengro and Croatia better than most. They pride themselves on providing an authentic and seamless experience and have meet and greet and departure transfers included. Everything is ATOL protected and most importantly they offer price parity to the trade and have a dedicated Facebook ‘Adriatic Holidays Trade’ page. Email Richard@ adriaticholidays.com for more info.

It’s not right that some companies are charging silly prices

THE HIGH STREET AGENCY

Liz Beaty

THE HOME WORKER

Sandy Murray

The Travel Team Brampton, Cumbria

New Adriatic Holidays sells cruises and Croatia

Anneka is impressed with G Adventures’ local experiences Next issue: Have you been offered any fam trips this year? Tell us about the most memorable...

Sandy's Travel Escapes

SELLINGTRAVEL.CO.UK

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Globe hopping

14 / Ocean cruising

Window to

the world The popularity of the ‘seacation’ has inspired cruise novices to venture beyond home shores. Jane Archer looks at what will be tempting them in 2022

W

hat did the Knights of Rhodes ever do for Greece? It’s an easy answer, I realise, as I gaze around the splendid medieval old city of Rhodes. A maze of narrow alleys here, the magnificent Street of the Knights there, the gothic Palace of the Grand Master, all enclosed in stout walls that still inspire the awe that must have greeted travellers in the 1300s. No wonder the Ottomans wanted the city. They took it in 1522, booting the knights out in a one-sided fight: 100,000 Turks versus 7,000 knights. I’m discovering the Greek Isles with Azamara, on the line’s first sailing since Covid. Azamara reckons the destinations it goes to are at least as fabulous as its ships. I can’t argue. Every island we visit has a story to tell – the Minoans who vanished from Santorini; the mythical past of ancient Delos, a small isles off Mykonos; Ottomans again, this time laying siege to Heraklion. It took 21 years but they took it in the end. Modern cruise ships are spectacular but, like so many others, I love cruising for the ease with which you get to visit lots of places on one holiday. All that history, culture and food in just seven nights!

Sailing santotini and other Greek islands is a classic first-time cruise

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Globe hopping Ocean cruising /

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Expedition cruising is Hurtigruten’s speciality

Clean and green Feedback from cruise lines shows I’m not alone, with 2022 cruises reportedly being snapped up and months-long world cruises selling out in days. “It’s like a spring bouncing back,” says Eamonn Ferrin, Norwegian Cruise Line’s Vice-President International Business. The speed of the comeback is testimony to the way cruise lines worked as one to create robust health protocols – from mandating passengers and crew being fully vaccinated to enhanced cleaning and air filtration systems – that would ensure ships were safe and instil confidence in consumers. Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) estimates some 5.5 million people cruised by the end of 2021, which says it all. Many were first-timers, reassured by the safety protocols and attracted by fantastic deals. Free drinks, no single supplements and discounts were and are all in the mix. Royal Caribbean International launched its Wave campaign in November to ‘stimulate the market’. “[We are] reminding our guests that epic holidays await,” says Vice-president EMEA Ben Bouldin. Companies continue to invest millions to find ways the industry can achieve a 2050 deadline of net carbon neutral cruising set by CLIA.

Hurtigruten was ahead of the game by powering ships Roald Amundsen and Fridtjof Nansen by liquefied natural gas and batteries. Many of 2022’s almost 20 new ships will run on LNG. Silversea’s new Nova-class vessels will use LNG, fuell cells and batteries. “They support our mission to preserve the planet without compromising on comfort or luxury,” says Roberto Martinoli, Silversea President and CEO. By the end of 2021, almost 250 cruise ships were back in service, offering holidays to suit all ages and preferences, whether that be for big or small vessels, luxury or casual. Celebrity Cruises Vice-president and

“People are treating themselves after missing out for so long by booking top suites and ticking off bucket lists. Australia is selling well into 2023” Jo Rzymowska, Celebrity Cruises

Managing Director EMEA Jo Rzymowska says people are treating themselves after missing out for so long by booking top suites and ticking off bucket lists. Australia is selling well into 2023, she notes. Princess Cruises’ 2023-2024 Australia and New Zealand programme features the longest-ever World Cruise, stopping in 43 countries across Australia, New Zealand, South Pacific, Southeast Asia, Europe and South America.

What’s new

Product: There’s more on the allinclusive front, with Windstar adding drinks, Wi-Fi and tips into its fares as standard. Seabourn, which anyway included drinks and tips, now includes unlimited free Wi-Fi for all. Holland America Line’s optional Have it all upgrade covers drinks, Wi-Fi, shore excursions and speciality dining. A taste of the Caribbean awaits at P&O Cruises courtesy of Shivi Ramoutar, resident chef on ITV’s Martin & Roman’s Weekend Best. Her dishes will be served in Taste 360 and The Beach House on new ship Arvia launching December 2022. Michelin-starred chef Daniel Boulud is opening his first restaurant at sea. Le Voyage will be on Celebrity Beyond, a new ship launching in April 2022,

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A Hurtigruten Expedition is no ordinary cruise. It’s a spectacular journey into remote and inspiring landscapes. Our small ships give new perspectives on places, cultures and wildlife. See the world differently on a Hurtigruten Expedition cruise.

SEE THE WORLD DIFFERENTLY Antarctica

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Call 0203 553 1788 | Visit hurtigruten.co.uk Contact your preferred travel agent

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© DAN AVILA; TRAVELSTRATEGY; LFPUNTEL; ARCALU; AGURTXANE CONCELLON; HELEN HOTSON; TOR EVEN MATHISEN; KOTENKO OLEKSANDR; SIMON DANNHAUER

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Globe hopping

18 / Ocean cruising

Fred Olsen will sail Corinth Canal in 2023

Cruise The Galapagos for wildlife

Royal Caribbean is enticing cruisers with its wave campaign

and will serve dishes infused with flavours inspired by Boulud’s travels. It’s official! - Wellness can be enjoyable. Silver Dawn, a new Silversea ship, launches this spring featuring Otium, a wellness programme inspired by the Romans’ love of indulgence and pampering. A three-level go-kart track with a tunnel and a 10-storey plunge on a world-first freefall dry slide are among adrenalin hits on Norwegian Cruise Line’s Norwegian Prima. The ship makes its debut in Southampton in August 2022. Trade incentives: Carnival Cruise Line is giving agents £50 worth of points to exchange for treats with every booking made in January and February. LoyaltyRocksClub.com Virgin Voyages has increased agent commission from 16% to 22% until February 16 in a major Wave campaign to get consumers booking. Excursions: A Beatles walking tour in Liverpool and outing to the Giant’s Causeway from Belfast have joined Cruising Excursions’ collection of UK cruise tours following the success of 2021’s summer seacation voyages around the British Isles. New in the Med this summer, Scenic Eclipse passengers can spy the wreck of Britannic,

Colourful locals in Angola

the Titanic’s sister ship, which sank off the coast of the Greek Island of Kea in 1916, on a dive in the ship’s submarine. It’s offered on the 10-day Iconic Treasures of Italy and Greece and Mediterranean Odyssey cruises.

Top experiences Bucket list: Azamara’s five-month World Voyage in January 2024 will visit more than Seven Wonders of the World aboard Azamara Onward. Departing from Florida, the 155-night journey will reach over 40 countries. azamara.com Croatian royalty: Sail from Split to Dubrovnik with APT on the 36-passenger Princess Eleganza. The eight-day journey visits Korcula, Hvar, Split, Brac and Vis, and stays in port each night. aptouring.co.uk Skilled sailing: Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines is giving adventurers the chance to relive history in May 2023, by joining small ship Braemar for a repeat of its record-breaking transit of the Corinth Canal – just 24-metres wide at its narrowest point –in Greece. fredolsencruises.com Animal action : Hurtigruten has added three new Galapagos itineraries available for 2023 and 2024. Clients can choose from four different

silversea has a focus on sustainability

small-ship expedition cruises, ranging from four to eight nights. hurtigruten.co.uk Totally tropical: The Caribbean’s ABC Islands and the spice island of Grenada are among highlights on a series of new cruises round-trip from Bridgetown, Barbados, on Royal Caribbean’s Grandeur of the Seas. royalcaribbean.com Canada bound: In 1713, Louis XIV staked his claim on a corner of Cape Breton Island in Nova Scotia. The resulting town, Louisburg, is among highlights on Fred Olsen Cruise Lines’ voyage to Canada round-trip from Liverpool. It’s on Borealis and departs August 9. fredolsencruises.com Turning Japanese: Take tea in Shizuoka on this seven-day cruise round-trip from Tokyo on Princess Cruises’ Diamond Princess. Departure is October 4 2022 and there are maiden calls into Omaezaki in Japan and Jeju in South Korea. princess.com

Where to book it Hurtigruten - 0203 603 7112 Hurtigruten’s Roald Amundsen is exploring Alaska in 2022 on a debut season of cruises. A 14-day Alaska and British Columbia cruise from Seward to Vancouver departing May 31 costs from £4,056pp. hurtigruten.co.uk •

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Argostoli, Greece

Seize Your Chance to Save on a New Exploration! Here is a special offer to inspire your next adventure. Save up to 15%* and receive $500 Onboard Credit* on a wide variety of voyages sailing from 7th January 2022 to 5th May 2023. That’s of course on top of our inclusive amenities such as included gratuities, select beverages, exclusive cultural events and more. Glide along the deep turquoise waters of Melissani Lake inside the rocky caves of Argostoli, Greece. Wander through a secluded art gallery in Tallinn, Estonia, tucked into cellars below a medieval monastery. Or enjoy a round of drinks at the Swedish bar built from ice and kept at a bracing -7 degrees Celsius 365 days a year.

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a dv e r t or ia l

Walking holidays in

Gran Canaria It may be best known for its beaches, but Gran Canaria’s mountainous terrain is made for outdoor enthusiasts

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een walkers can follow well-signed trails through UNESCO biosphere reserves and past pre-Hispanic sacred rocks in Gran Canaria. After a day’s hiking, there’s the reward of breathtaking views and delicious gastronomy.

La Cumbre – “the Summit”

The island’s rugged interior has been crafted by volcanic eruptions. One particularly violent explosion caused the centre of the volcano to collapse, creating the Caldera de Tejeda, a crater 18km wide. The two distinctive pillars, Roque Nublo and Roque Bentayga crowning the crater, are the result of five million years of erosion. The region has maintained local traditions more than any other part of the island, including delicious local dishes. Try the salt-fish sweet-potato “sancocho”’ washed down with a shot of warming honey rum.

Rock dwellings of Artenara

The crossroads at Cruz de Tejeda marks the geographical centre of Gran Canaria,

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and makes a good start for two walks. The first 8km trail involves a gradual climb up through the pines before a gentle downhill ridge walk. Take time to enjoy the views across to the Caldera de Tejeda, with Roque Nublo and Roque Bentayga in the distance. The path passes the Cuevas de Caballero – caves with aboriginal rock engravings – before descending to the village of Artenara, at 1,270m it is the highest on Gran Canaria. Some of the houses are built into the rock and the chapel of the Virgen de la Cuevita, dating from the 18th century, has a cave to itself. One of these troglodyte dwellings has been turned into a museum.

Tempting treats in Teror

The second option is a 12km trail in the opposite direction, dropping down through dense forest and mixed farmland to Teror. The town is famous for being the site where the Virgin Mary revealed herself in a pine tree to a group of shepherds in 1481. The spot became a place of pilgrimage and the 18th century

Basílica de Nuestra Señora del Pino now stands imposingly in the Plaza del Pino. Walkers will enjoy typical colonial Canary houses with colourful wooden balconies. Go for the Sunday morning market and taste local cheese, olives and freshly baked breads. Finish by sampling the local wines.

Roque Nublo marks the top

In the centre of the island, the outline of the volcanic rock Roque Nublo stands stark at 1,813m above sea level. At 80m tall it is one of the world’s largest free-standing crags. The path up to the rock is relatively easy, starting at the car park at La Goleta. There are fine views of Pico de las Nieves, the highest peak of Gran Canaria, and the island’s other sacred rock, Roque Bentayga, as well as out towards the sea. It was an ancient place of worship for the Guanches, the island’s aboriginal inhabitants.

Sacred light of Roque Bentayga Bentayga is a natural fortress lined with inscriptions and wall paintings, marking a time when generations of

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a dv e r t or ia l

Guanches lived here, building community granaries and funerary caves. A short and precipitous path leads to their almogarén, a spiritual ceremonial space where the sun plays a game of light and shadow. At the solstice, a single solar ray strikes a circle engraved on the rock centuries ago by Guanche astronomers.

Chill out at Pico de Las Nieves

Translating as “peak of the snows”, Pico de Las Nieves was used in the 17th century to store snow for the summer. In June, blocks of ice were carried on horseback to the ice cream shops in the capital, the city of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, a journey of around five hours. They were also used at the hospital to control epidemics of yellow fever and cholera. The peak is the highest point on the island at 1,949m. From the car park, follow the signs to the mirador which overlooks the entire south of the island. Unlike other lookout points, Las Nieves has great views on misty days with Gran Canaria’s peaks seeming to float on a sea of clouds.

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History unfolds at La Fortaleza

Near Santa Lucia in the south east of the island are the castle-like La Fortaleza rock formations, rising in layers from the fissured valleys below. It was a fortified Guanche settlement and its eastern side has a large number of natural and artificial caves. These were used as dwellings, food storage and even as burial sites and are all linked by a network of paths and tunnels. It’s recognised as the site of the last stand of the indigenous people against the Castilian conquerors in 1483. The excellent interpretation centre details their tragic history.

Nature thrives at Tamadaba

Forming part of the UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, Tamadaba Natural Park in the west is the oldest and largest natural park on the island, covering an area of 7,500 hectares. The landscape was shaped by eruptions of the Tamadaba volcano over 14 million years ago, descending to the sea in a series of ravines and sheer cliffs. At the heart of the reserve is an enormous

forest of indigenous Canary pines containing the largest variety of endemic flora on the island. It’s also a bird watchers’ paradise with woodpecker, blue chaffinch, kestrels and hawks easily sighted.

Paddle at Puerto de Las Nieves

Starting at the Tamadaba campsite, this 11km walk is fairly level until the footpath, long used by locals collecting wood for fuel, leads down steeply, passing caves dug into the crags for storing grain. There are spectacular views of the coast and the Agaete Valley but even more unique is the sudden rise of temperature that walkers will experience at the valley floor, which has its own microclimate. It’s lush with fruit trees, coffee bushes and vines but a highlight is a stop at Bodega Los Berrazales to sample their excellent wines and coffee. Finally, you arrive at Puerto de Las Nieves where you can soak your aching feet in the saltwater pools by the sea. Don’t miss the excellent fish soup, “caldo de pescado” it’s a local specialty. grancanaria.com •

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Family

first As hopes rise of family reunions in 2022, Australia’s tourism sector is preparing its welcome with new hotels and visitor attractions, reports Julie Baxter

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ast week i received a letter from Australia. inside were photos – yes, old-school, traditional prints, sent by my relatives Down Under with news of newborns and new jobs, of family picnics and birthday celebrations, student successes and anniversaries marked. The letter told of toasts that had been raised in Sydney, Tasmania and Adelaide: “To absent friends,” they’d said, for me and my UK family, ruled out from any of their Australian gatherings for nearly two years now –not by the historic barriers of cost or distance, but by the travel rules of a pandemic. Among the photos was also one taken on our most recent visit, three years ago – to the Yarra Valley in Victoria for a wedding. It was a baking blue-sky summer’s day as we headed from our base in Healesville out to a beautifully old stone chapel, set within the stunning rolling fields of one of Victoria’s finest vineyards. The immaculately manicured vines stretched for miles beyond the bride and groom as they posed for sunset shots, and the scent of eucalyptus filled the air as we threw confetti and sipped our chilled Aussie drop. Inside the cool vineyard building, we were seated on long, sociable trestles as a seemingly u?nending array of spectacular Aussie food was laid before

us – succulent charcuterie and melt-in-themouth meats, flavourful cheeses, fabulous salads, dainty desserts and, of course, copious amounts of Australian wine. Our attendance, 12,000 miles from home, was mentioned in the speeches, but we were not the only ones who had made the effort. Others had come from far and wide and the roll-call of honoured international attendees simply served to confirm the multicultural make-up of many Australian families and the magnetic appeal of the destination for many. Another of the photos was of a small child – unbelievably the offspring of the bride and groom – shown now walking! A living embodiment of just how long families like mine have been held apart. The letter arrived just as news of the Omicron variant hit the headlines and that has triggered new internal border controls Down Under and a decision to delay the reopening of international borders to most leisure visitors (only some restricted categories including working holidaymakers can currently enter). No doubt a reopening roadmap will emerge early in 2022. The government already has its eye on tourism recovery with a THRIVE 2030 strategy, focused on ‘The Re-Imagined Visitor Economy’, and designed to drive long-term sustainable growth.

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tarraWarra estate vineyard in victoria

Better together

striking Lake Ballard, Western Australia

Once borders do open, the classic Visiting Friends and Relative (VFR) sector will surely be the first to reap the rewards. In 2019, 52% of the 715,000 arrivals from the UK to Australia were VFR travellers. Once a little derided as a market that didn’t spend much (staying with relatives rather than booking hotels and tours), today these are sophisticated travellers who combine time with the ‘reles’ with road trips and tours, and often encourage their extended Aussie family to travel with them. “When leisure travel from the UK returns, we expect VFR travellers will be among the first to make the journey in order to be reunited with their friends and family,” says Sally Cope, Regional General Manager, UK & Northern Europe for Tourism Australia. “What we at Tourism Australia want to do for this audience is to inspire them to use the opportunity to travel in and around Australia with their loved ones. After such a prolonged period of separation, it’s a time to really create memories together that will last a lifetime.” This sector is highly motivated to travel, loyal to the destination and in the habit of repeat booking. They are also likely to be reassured by the fact that Australia has one of the highest vaccination rates in the world. Boosters are being rolled out too.

The fact that domestic tourism has remained buoyant means there are plenty of new products and experiences for visitors to discover.

Iconic Favourites The holy hat-trick of the Great Barrier Reef, Uluru Red Centre Rock and Sydney Harbour have long been the iconic must-sees for travellers down under and even repeat travellers will likely want to include some old favourites in their itineraries. New at the reef is the Museum of Underwater Art (MOUA), the only underwater art museum in the Southern Hemisphere. And in Sydney there’s a new twist on the Harbour BridgeClimb with an indigenous storyteller now sharing tales from his heritage for the Burrawa Climb. For those willing to ring the changes, there is the alternative of Ningaloo Reef, the Pinnacles and Wave Rock in Western Australia, or perhaps the gorges and Aboriginal heritage beyond Uluru at Katherine Gorge; or The Flinders Ranges out of Adelaide.

Natural Assets Lockdown has had us all getting closer to nature and few destinations can beat the eco-credentials of wilderness Tasmania or the rainforest experiences

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Globe hopping

24 / Australia

Wave rock, Western Australia

Marramarra Lodge, New South wales

of Queensland. New to the mix is Australia’s only floating wood-fired sauna, Floating Sauna Lake Derby, where visitors combine a traditional sauna with a cold plunge into the freshwater of Briseis Hole. Or, focus on the river regions for retreats such as the exclusive Marramarra Lodge on the Hawkesbury River, offering a bush experience with accommodation in Peninsula Tents. The new Kalbarri Skywalk in Kalbarri National Park, Western Australia, is set likely to become a must-do with two cantilevered viewing platforms over the Murchison Gorge, river and surroundings. South Australia now has the largest safari park outside of Africa following the reopening of Monarto Zoo, 50 minutes from Adelaide, as a safari park complete with southern white rhino and Australia’s largest giraffe herd. Even most city stays are close enough to national parks to combine with hikes in the great outdoors, or perhaps some glamping as now offered at the elegant Australian eco-retreat nestled within Taronga Zoo, overlooking Sydney Harbour. Perth’s off-shore island destination, Rottnest, has a new resort too – Samphire Rottnest – set within the natural habitat of the A Class Reserve and designed to immerse its guests in the natural elements.

Iconic Sydney, New South Wales

nine mile beach in western australia

Friendly Quokka on Rottnest Island

Road Trips

City stunners

The wide open roads of Australia are just made for driving holidays. Along the dramatic craggy coast of Victoria on the Great Ocean Road, Wildlife Wonders is a new protected habitat creating a good stop-off for guided walks among bushland wildlife, overlooking the ocean and the Otway Ranges. Or, for those joining the dots of the coastal resorts along the Pacific Coast route between Sydney and Queensland, flag up the Port Stephens Koala Sanctuary with a skywalk in the treetops to view koalas in their natural habitat. For those with a sense of adventure suggest trips into the Red Centre from Darwin or Adelaide, or out of Perth on the Gibb River Road for memorable 4WD adventures.

Australia’s cities deliver on style and entertainment and are small enough to be manageable but big enough to offer a huge diversity of activity. Sydney now has its first six-star hotel, Crown Sydney, housed in the city’s tallest building at the newly- developed Barangaroo waterfront precinct. It features a spa and Nobu restaurant (among 14 eateries), large outdoor pool and great harbour views. Melbourne too has new openings including the W Melbourne, with four restaurants and bars. On eco-trend, sustainably-led hospitality company, Crystalbrook Collection, has launched Crystalbrook Vincent in the heart of Brisbane’s Howard Smith Wharves, with a five-star property carved into a cliff face below the city’s historic Story Bridge. In Canberra a new chef-driven food hall, Verity Lane Market, will create a gastronomic ground zero.

“When leisure travel from the UK returns, we expect VFR travellers will be among the first to make the journey in order to be reunited with their friends and family” Sally Cope, Tourism Australia

Where to book it Scenic – 0808 231 4901 A 20-day Grand Australia land journey from Perth to Sydney takes in Rottnest Island, the Yarra Valley and the Great Barrier Reef. Departing October 12, 2022, prices start from £6,945pp. scenic.co.uk •

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Globe hopping Six of the best... /

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Cosy cabins in

Alberta Nothing beats returning to a warm cabin after a long day of winter wonderland exploration. These charming stays will be sure to rosy the cheeks

Mount Engadine Lodge Mount Engadine Lodge sits against a backdrop of staggering mountainscapes within the Spray Valley Provincial Park near Canmore. With its allinclusive offering of three meals a day plus afternoon tea it’s a perfect pit stop after a day of skiing, hiking, cycling or kayaking nearby. Hidden in the wilderness, passing coyotes, beavers, deer and elk are all commonplace from a window seat.

Baker Creek Baker Creek Mountain Resort sits on the Bow Valley Parkway at the confluence of Baker Creek and the Bow River. Its location offers ice walks in Johnston Canyon and hiking and wildlife spotting nearby at Lake Louise, by day. At night, guests can head for the onsite Baker Creek Bistro to throw back a local craft beer, or admire the sparkling stars as they retreat to the warmth and privacy of their log cabin.

Storm Mountain With views for days, these cabins invite panoramic vistas of Storm Mountain, Castle Mountain, the Sawback Range and the Bow Valley. The lodge also has a second trick up its sleeve: a menu using local ingredients, paired with fine regional wines. Originally built in 1922 by the Canadian Pacific Railway, the cabins have been restored with the addition of fireplaces or log-burning stoves for winter cosiness.

Bear Hill With cabins in the town of Jasper, Bear Hill is the perfect choice for clients that want rustic charm within walking distance of shops and bars. Despite its central location, the lodge is tucked in a peaceful corner and loses none of the quaint cabin aesthetic. Its smaller studio cottages are good for couples, while heritage log cabins are great for bigger groups or families. Bike rentals are available in the summer.

Pocahontas Lodge Taking its name from the famous native American Powhatan princess, Pocahontas Lodge is surrounded by the wild and untamed beauty of Jasper National Park. Follow in Pocahontas’s footsteps on a historic hike along the original mine site trail or bathe in the nearby Miette Hot Springs, the warmest in the Canadian Rockies. After a chilly day, guests can unwind and rest tired muscles in the outdoor hot tub.

Jasper Park Lodge Wrapped around the tranquil shores of Lac Beauvert, Jasper Park Lodge is ideal for any clients keen on sustainable stays with initiatives including reducing food waste and joining the Energy and Carbon Management Program. The 700 acres of mountain resort play host to a range of outdoor activities, plus abundant nature and wildlife. Afterwards, escape the cold with a rejuvenating visit to the Fairmont Spa.

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Dive into

Dominica Dominica in the Caribbean has plenty to offer clients that want a relaxing break with a sprinkling of adventure, says Samantha Gee, Regional Director at Red Savannah

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egend has it that when Christopher Columbus was asked to describe Dominica he was at a loss for words. And as our LIAT flight skims this lush, volcanic island that is riven with gorges, flowing waterfalls and dramatic peaks, I can see why. Having no idea what to expect, we are pleasantly surprised to see well-kept, colourful island homes as we traverse the winding mountain roads to our hotel. Our first stop is the Kempinski Cabrits Bay, with its impressive acreage of interconnected swimming pools making it an Instagrammer’s paradise. The following day we gather for a private audience with the island’s legendary Dr Lennox Honychurch, a leading authority on Dominican history and politics, and listen with rapt attention to tales of Dominica’s turbulent past (fought over by the French and British) and the challenges to its future. The planned new international airport will bring in much more tourism, but until then clients can

visit via easy and regular connections from Antigua and Barbados. The foundations of several new hotels (including a Marriott and a Kempinski) have already been laid and there is now a direct flight from Miami. We head to Secret Bay, Dominica’s premier boutique resort, set on a clifftop overlooking Prince Rupert Bay. It’s hard to tear ourselves away from our luxurious villas, with their private plunge pools and shaded decks, but we are keen to get on the water. A lazy boat ride up Indian River is the perfect way to enjoy the scenery. Needing a dip after lunch, a few of us decide to kayak and snorkel around Secret Bay’s headland to its ‘secret beach’ while others relax with a massage in the spa. At the end of the day a delicious, candlelit dinner is served by the new beachside pool. The food here surpasses all our

expectations of dining in the Caribbean. We drive south to where most of the adventurous activities take place. Fort Young Hotel and Dive Resort is ideally located to act as a base for all the excursions available and is undergoing a major refurbishment plan. The divers among us are delighted to find an underwater world teeming with life while three of us take on the challenge of hiking to the world’s second-largest hot spring, the Boiling Lake. You need a good level of fitness for the seven-hour round-trip hike. As we enter the Valley of Desolation, where we see (and smell) the first signs of geothermal activity, we are greeted by a sulfurous lake that is literally boiling. After just five-and-a-half hours we make it back and reward ourselves with a refreshing dip in Titou Gorge, floating through rocky caves. Dominica has so much to offer the adventurous traveller and can also deliver truly luxurious and once-in-a-lifetime experiences. A return trip is definitely in order.

DOMINICA

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Globe hopping River cruising /

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Worldwide

waterways From Holland’s tulip-covered banks to the holy waters of the Indian Ganges, river cruises are pulling out the stops to tempt clients back, says Sara Macefield

loCal fiSheRMan on the Mekong RiVeR

I

t’s an eye-opening few days as we cycle under the shadow of the Himalayas during a biking cruise along india’s mighty Brahmaputra River, which carves through the north-eastern state of assam. While afternoons and evenings are spent in the house-party surroundings of our rustic 20-passenger riverboat Charaidew, which carries our fleet of bikes, early morning starts see us pumping pedals along tarmac roads and bone-shakingly bumpy dirt tracks, dodging charging pigs and scampering monkeys that eye us inquisitively. Over five days of cycling, our group covers nearly 100 miles and each outing brings a rich profusion of local life as we ride across hilly tea plantations, where tea-pickers’ bright saris add splashes of colour to the

vivid emerald backdrop, and through paddy fields past farmers steering water buffalo as they plough the reddish soil. Every route uncovers another mesmerising scene, from the village school where we watch pupils completing their morning exercises in unison before singing the Indian national anthem, to women pounding rice flour in hulking stone cauldrons and weaving threads on rickety handlooms. Stopping in villages where locals have never clapped eyes on Western tourists, let alone a group of lycra-clad cyclists, is as much a novelty for them as it is for us!

Go with the flow Asia and other exotic hotspots finally look as though they are returning to the river cruising landscape in 2022.

Covid’s reluctant but gradual retreat is sparking more confidence, but the restart is expected to be cautious as countries gradually roll back restrictions. “There’s still much uncertainty over exactly when we can resume operations in South East Asia as current entry restrictions make planning extremely challenging,” explained Scenic & Emerald Cruises UK Trade Sales Director, Joseph Grimley. “However, once these are lifted and we get back to normal, I see the region regaining its growing popularity.” Europe’s continued recovery in 2022 is underpinned by two pivotal events intrinsically tied to river itineraries: the Oberammergau Passion Play in Bavaria, featured in Danube departures; and Dutch horticultural extravaganza Floriade, included in Dutch and Belgian waterways sailings.

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Rolling hills follow the mekong in Laos

“The reduced number of passengers on Shearings’ coaches and river craft has made it easy to stay socially distanced” Rob Carroll, Senior Product Manager, Shearings

Venturing into the Amazon jungle

Shearings reports strong interest in 2022 cruises with Rob Carroll, Senior Product Manager, adding: “There’s definitely pent-up demand.” He stressed that a reduced number of passengers on Shearings’ coaches and river craft helps to maintain strict health and safety protocols and makes social distancing easier, especially when you compare this to ocean cruising. Newmarket Holidays reports similar renewed interest in river cruises, with Richard Forde, Head of Trade Sales, saying: “In the post-pandemic world river cruise holidays offer an ideal option to rediscover Europe.”

Rhine & Moselle While the Rhine dominates European river cruising with highlights including the spectacular UNESCO-protected Rhine Gorge, Cologne and Strasbourg, its appeal is bolstered by the various tributaries that bring extra flavour. The Moselle, which joins the Rhine at Koblenz, opens up

Rheinstein Castle on the Rhine

Germany’s prime wine region around the historic town of Cochem and the city of Trier, acclaimed as the oldest in Germany. Nearly all the river cruise companies that offer European sailings feature the Rhine and a good number also include the Moselle. CroisiEurope, which operates 13 vessels on both rivers, is offering a new four-night Romantic German Sites and The Charming Neckar Valley cruise from Strasbourg to Stuttgart, which includes stops at Heidelberg and Eberbach. Floriade, the floral festival held once every decade in Holland, is the big crowdpuller this year after it was postponed from 2020. Several companies including Viking, AmaWaterways, Titan, Riviera Travel and Avalon Waterways are adding excursions to the event, which in some cases are complimentary, while Shearings has an extended Floriade & Dutch Waterways sailing. Shearings also includes the Gardens of Appeltern, described as Holland’s biggest garden-themed park with more than 200 model gardens; the cheesy town of Edam and Flemish cities of Antwerp and Ghent. Top Tip: The Dutch waterways come into their own during spring when the bulb fields are at their most colourful, with the Keukenhof Gardens having the biggest displays of tulips.

Scenic Taking in four countries along the Rhine and Moselle rivers, the new Charming Castles and Vineyards of the Rhine & Moselle river cruise will sail from Mainz to Basel, calling at Koblenz, Bernkastel, Cochem, Rudesheim, Rastatt and Breisach. Prices for the eightday river cruise start from £2,495pp. scenic.co.uk

Temple of Philae on the banks of the Nile, Egypt

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Nile Egypt’s evocative artery is enjoying a renaissance, helped by the enduring appeal of the ancient treasures, from Luxor’s Karnak Temple to the Valley of the Kings, along its banks and a string of new river craft. Companies are reporting booming sales, with AmaWaterways and Viking both debuting new vessels. “Nile cruises offer all the highlights and attractions of Egypt in a relaxed and comfortable way without the hassle of getting on and off coaches and travelling long distances,” said Stuart Milan, Channel Director at Riviera Travel. “It’s a much more laidback way to see the sights. Riviera Travel Riviera operates the 104-passenger Movenpick Darakum, claimed to be the only river vessel sailing from Cairo as others depart from Luxor. This gives passengers two days to explore the Egyptian capital before setting off. A 10-night Wonders of the Nile voyage from Cairo to Luxor starts at £3,099pp, including flights and tours. rivieratravel.co.uk

Amazon The Peruvian stretch of the Amazon River is narrower and quieter than the Brazilian section and takes passengers into the heart of the rainforest on small boats to spot exotic wildlife, tropical birds and the many tribal communities that live along its banks. Aqua Expeditions has two luxury vessels, including the 40-passenger Aqua Nera which launched in July offering three-, four- and seven-night sailings. Guests enjoy the contrast of luxurious surroundings onboard and adventures like piranha fishing, , dolphin-spotting, kayaking trips and treks that take them deep into the jungle and the Pacaya-Samiria National Reserve. Top Tip: Small-ship river expeditions are a great way to see the Amazon as they enable guests to really get under the skin of the destination and engage with local communities while also being looked after on-board from start to finish.

Gathering crops along the Ganges

villages that lie along its banks. Guests get to experience several destinations in one trip and explore highlights that include the impressive temples of Angkor in Cambodia and the country’s bloody history of the Killing Fields under murderous ruler Pol Pot. Visitors also get the chance to explore riverside villages on walking tours, where they often visit local schools, bustling markets and nearby temples. Emerald Cruises The line’s Emerald Harmony can sail into the heart of Ho Chi Minh City, saving guests a coach ride from further out. Its 15-day Wonders of Vietnam, Cambodia and the Mekong, departing August 30 2022, costs from £3,245pp, including flights. emeraldcruises.co.uk

Ganges and Brahmaputra Most Indian river cruises are centred around the Ganges, which flows through central India to the sea in the Bay of Bengal. Considered a holy river, its

Windmills of Kinderdijk in the Netherlands

common to pass Hindus bathing in the sacred waters. Many cruise itineraries include the ‘Golden Triangle’ of Delhi, Agra and Jaipur with a visit to the Taj Mahal, but a typical seven-night cruise will sail from Kolkata to Mushidabad and back, offering an insight into everyday life from local markets to historical buildings. Cruises along Brahmaputra, which flows through Assam in North East India, travel from high in the Himalayan mountains through Tibet. Due to its fast-flowing nature, the river is only available to cruise at certain times of the year. Cruisers can expect a wildlife-rich itinerary with sightings including rhinoceros, Bengal tigers, and vultures. Uniworld Uniworld offers a 13-day India’s Golden Triangle & The Sacred Ganges cruise. Travelling from New Delhi to Kolkata, it features a new wellness programme, centred around the practice of yoga. The cruise is priced at £4,999pp for October 2022 departures. uniworld.com •

Mekong Cruises along the southern stretch of this river between Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam and Cambodia’s Siem Reap offer an ideal way to explore the heady mix of colourful markets, ancient temples and atmospheric

Views across the misty ganges in India

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Save up to £200pp on river cruises for April 2022†

Book two 2022 holidays with Riviera and save up to 20% on your second trip* Travel. We’ve all missed it, the joy of discovery and exploring somewhere new. But 2022 is the year to catch up. The world is opening up again, and it’s waiting for you. We’ll look after you every step of the way – so all you have to worry about is your packing. With limited 2022 availability, make sure you book early to secure your preferred date, itinerary and cabin.

The Blue Danube river cruise

Douro, Porto & Salamanca river cruise

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8 days from £1,569pp

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8 days from £1,569pp

For more information and to book,

Call: 01283 744370 Visit: www.rivieratravel.co.uk/agents Price based on two people sharing a cabin subject to availability and correct at time of print. Single cabins available at a supplement. Additional entrance costs may apply. Riviera Travel booking terms and conditions apply. ABTA V4744 ATOL 3430 protected. Images used in conjunction with Riviera Travel. *For full terms visit rivieratravel.co.uk. †Valid on selected April 2022 departures of eight days or more.

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Be Inspired

32 / My journey

Island time on

Mauritius Jessica Pook embraces the VIP treatment as one of the first guests to stay at the new LUX* Grand Baie resort in Mauritius

M

y stomach is rumbling in protest, now used to a breakfast of acai bowls sprinkled with fresh pomegranate and coconut or French toast drizzled with honey straight from the cone, all washed down with a smoothie made from ingredients that I’ve hand-picked myself from the juice bar. But when the itinerary says ‘Tour with the Head Chef – arrive hungry’ I know better than to let my stomach fail me! And as I’m handed a heaped spoonful of caviar whilst browsing stations of cured meats and cheeses before heading downstairs to Ai Kisu for a Japanese feast of sushi, sticky mango rice and crab tempura, then back up to Beach Rouge for fresh pasta and pizza, I realise I was right to wait. I’m at the grand opening of the five-star plus LUX* Grand Baie, LUX*s flagship property in the north of Mauritius and after months of anticipation surrounding the debut of “the most exciting development on the island”, the doors are finally open to guests. “Purity, refinement, elegance and harmony” are the words chosen by the architect to describe his vision, and he ticks all of these boxes in the expansive grand entrance hall alone. Complete with high ceilings and spiral staircase, stylish cast iron finishings are softened with giant hanging wicker basket lights and soft furnishings – chosen by award-winning British designer Kelly Hoppen – features across the resort from the communal areas to the bedrooms.

These finishing touches are all in-keeping with the grandeur that guests have come to expect from a LUX* property, but what makes this resort so special are the locals that work here.

Local charm Beaming faces eagerly greet us with a welcome drink and it’s clear to see the excitement of having guests for the first time is creating quite a buzz, with everyone from gardeners to wait staff to sommeliers providing a warm Mauritian welcome and offering insider knowledge with great enthusiasm. At the far end of the entrance hall I spy the brilliantly bright turquoise Indian Ocean. I’m drawn towards it, having seen so many pictures of this winter sun hotspot pre-and post lockdowns. I’m met first by a palm tree heavy with coconuts and then a curving white sand beach which I have to myself. As the water laps my feet I take a moment to remember the stinging wind and mud-spattered boots that come with arduous dog walks during a British winter and exhale those thoughts across the sea.

Good to be green I’m shown to my room, one of 86 Junior Suites, and enjoy the way the entire resort seems to blend in seamlessly with the natural surroundings, wooden beams and thatched roofs weaving around towering palms. As the key card registers my stay, the electric blinds lift (an initiative to keep the room cool without needing to use

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Globe Be hopping Inspired My My journey journey //

LUX*s ‘collectagbivleeguests experiences’ a taste of authentic Mauritius

aircon) to reveal a spanning view of the grounds and ocean. Along with the stylish aesthetics of the room, I’m pleased to note the lack of single-use plastics. My glass-bottled water (both still and sparkling) I’m told will be refilled everyday and the aircon cuts out as soon as the balcony door is opened. This green thinking is embedded into the LUX* brand, particularly when it comes to its ‘collectable experiences’ which give guests a taste of authentic Mauritius by pairing them with local businesses. Options include visiting a jewellery atelier and learning about ancient and modern jewellery making techniques to salt panning and touring a rum distillery. I opt for a locally-guided tour of the Pamplemousses Botanical Gardens, where my guide switches between French (the native language) and English effortlessly, enjoying double the laughs for her witty punchlines. I learn that this is the oldest botanical gardens in the Southern Hemisphere. At almost 300 years old it beats Kew Gardens, and many of its oldest residents are showing tell-tale signs of aging under the rays of the Indian Ocean sun, not least a family of giant tortoises. We are pointed in the direction of a colony of bats, which did not receive as much enthusiasm, admire some of the 30 mango species and rub together the leaves of a cinnamon plant, but it’s the giant lily pond that is the centrepiece of the gardens, which I'm told is an explosion

33 33

of colour when in full bloom in the height of summer.

The wow factor Back at the resort I sign up for a complementary snorkel trip on a glassbottom boat and am told I’m the first to use the goggles and snorkel assigned to me – which makes me think too much about all the other times I’ve used a snorkel! They work a treat and I spy tropical fish, coral and starfish. My remaining days are spent doing beach yoga in the mornings to a soundtrack of lapping waves and enjoying various water sports but it’s the grand revealing of the rooftop bar and restaurant Bisou that presents the ultimate wow moment. The self-proclaimed ‘jewel in the resort’s crown’, this expansive rooftop is home to a 30-metre infinity pool, complete with ‘Instagram moment’ swing. As night falls and the cabanas start to fill I feel very lucky to be among the first to experience such an impressive resort. Just as I think I’ve seen it all, they tell me that the private club, Club Ai KISU is now open, because of course there’s a club! Book it with... Exsus Travel Exsus Travel offers seven nights at LUX* Grand Baie from £2,355pp, with 22% off for a limited time. Staying in a LUX* Junior Suite on a b&b basis, the package includes return flights from Heathrow with Air Mauritius on December 2, 2022 and transfers. exsus.com

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traveluni.com

GDS | TRAINING | REWARDS

Training, competitions, events Jan/Feb 2022

THIS MONTH'S TOP STORIES

PARTNER LIST

Mauritius, all in

A-Z of available

TRIP

training

ATTITUDE resorts is offering a place on a 2022 fam trip to one of its three-tofour-star properties in Mauritius. To secure a place on the allexpenses-paid trip, log any bookings made on the online training platform. The more entries made, the higher the chance of being selected. The winner will be announced on February 1, 2022 with entries valid for bookings made up to January 21,2022, for any departure date. attitudehotelstraining.com

Fam trip

Qatar offers 10 fam trip places

Tawash Qatar

Train to try Abu Dhabi WIN PRIZES

COMPLETE the Abu Dhabi specialist programme to win a host of prizes, including Manchester City tickets and Love2shop vouchers. Running until February 21, 2022, the monthly draw will see some agents win £50 Love2shop vouchers or a pair of Manchester City tickets at the Etihad Stadium for the upcoming 2022 season. The training includes modules on the local culture, accommodation and adventure activities as well as top selling tips. abudhabispecialist.com

QATAR is offering the chance for agents to experience the destination in the Middle East first-hand on a 2022 fam trip. The winning agents will enjoy some of the country's highlights including its white sandy beaches, shopping, desert experiences and state-of-the-art museums. They will also learn how familyfriendly Qatar is with its array of facilities for children in hotels, supervised play zones at the malls and public parks. To be in with a chance of winning sign up to Tawash, the online learning experience and complete the three essential modules to earn the Qatar Expert certification. From there, agents can choose at least four of the six modules to become a certified Qatar Specialist. Winners will be drawn in January and February. tawashqatar.com

ABTA Abu Dhabi Alaska Anguilla Anchorage Wild Expert Aruba Australia Attitude Hotels Beaches Resorts Cayman Islands Celestyal Cruises Costa Rica Cruise Adviser Elegant Hotels Essential Detail Estonia Fiji Finland Flanders Florida Fort Myers & Sanibel Grenada Hawaii Heritage Resorts Italy Japan Jerusalem Journey Beyond Jumeirah Hotels & Resorts Lithuania Macao Melia Hotels & Resorts New York City New York State Newmarket Holidays Oman Ontario Outrigger Resorts PATA Qatar SAGA Saint Lucia Sandals Resorts Sani & Ikos Seychelles Singapore St Kitts Thailand TIPTO US Airtours Veranda Resorts Yas Island traveluni.com powered by

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Trade talk The review /

35

NEWS

Agents discover the Port of Seattle and beyond on a virtual fam trip by Charlotte Flach

Popularly known as the gateway to Alaska, the Port of Seattle is also the front door to a host of fantastic experiences in and around the city, a webinar hosted by the destination revealed. Agents gathered online to hear all about pre- and post-cruise experiences and the highlights of Seattle, Washington, and its surrounding areas from tourist boards, airlines, tour operators and attractions. A favourite with locals, Whidbey Camano Island is a secret escape just 50 kilometres from the city, its pristine beaches, forests and rural landscapes can be reached by ferry or Deception Pass Bridge by car. Seattle is also a top destination for food, said Liz Johnson, Director-International Tourism at Visit Seattle. “We have amazing seafood – salmon, halibut, mussels, oysters and more. Because we sit on the Pacific Ocean we have a lot of Asian influence toowe love dim sum and pho.” Highlighting other experiences across the state, Mike Moe, Director of Strategic Partnership and Tourism Development at the Washington Tourism Alliance, said: “We have Native American experiences all over Washington State, and many are starting to

embrace cultural exhibitions. They are such even easier from 2022, as Seattle Tacoma an important part of our story.” International Airport will open a new When asked about the best time to visit, international arrivals hall, with direct flights Moe answered: “Washington is beautiful from the UK. Agents also heard that clients year-round, but aim for spring or autumn can sail round-trip, which distinguishes as there are less people and easier access Seattle from other ports such as Vancouver. to many of the sites, and museums charge Seven-day cruises include stops in half-price entry fees in February.” Ketchikan, Juneau, Skagway, and Icy Strait. Keen oenophiles can visit the Asked about upcoming fam trips, small town of Walla Walla, Johnson said: “We are actively Clients part of Washington wine working with the UK travel can sail country, located just over trade to invite them to see a four-hour drive from round-trip from Seattle and the surrounding Seattle. “Our high street is areas, so get in touch and Seattle, unlike filled with boutiques, winewe’ll see what we can do.” Vancouver tasting shops and restaurants, There were plenty of all with tasting experiences. educational moments, with The surrounding vineyards are very agents hearing about how all the accessible, and only about 15 minutes new itineraries are packaged by ground apart,” said Guy Glaeser, founder of local handlers, making it easy to buy a pretour operator Inquisitours. packaged tour off-the-shelf to sell on. And, of course, the port’s cruise offering They also learned that all of the itineraries continues to be solid, hosting over 200 are available on the trade and media page departures each season, with numerous of Visit Seattle’s website as well as the ‘plan major cruise lines including Norwegian, your holiday’ page, videos and photos. Caribbean, Holland America, Carnival and A post-fam quiz saw Bon Voyage’s Princess sailing from its berths. Access Sarah Shepherd rewarded with a case of to the city and cruise terminals will be Washington State wine.

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Trade talk

36 / The review news

Maldives set for hotel boom

The Maldives is set to welcome 12 new properties in 2022, including adult-only OBLU SELECT Lobigili and the family-friendly OZO Maldives. Most new openings are located in the more remote atolls – Raa and Dhaalu, Noonu, Baa and Lhaviyani – whilst some are being built on artificial islands created by land reclamation, such as the Fari Islands in the North Malé Atoll. Highlights include the adult-only

OBLU SELECT Lobigili, which features an underwater restaurant and is within close proximity to neighbouring Ailafushi island. The Avani+ Fares Maldives Resort will be the first opening in the Maldives by the sister brand of Anantara, complete with a youthful vibe and a kids’ club. Address Madivaru Maldives Resort & Spa promises a dedicated spa-island plus a floating restaurant. A glamorous opening by the luxury Spanish brand Gran Meliá Huravee is set to include one private-island villa among its accommodation offerings. The Maniya Faru Resort is a new development by the company behind Reethi Faru Resort. It will feature a lagoon restaurant and an overwater spa. OZO Maldives will mark the second Maldives resort to be opened by the ONYX group, with a family focus, an enhanced sleep experience and curated destination and activity tips. Located in one of the best diving destinations in the archipelago, Tolarno Maldives Kunaavashi Resort La Vie Hotels & Resorts’ first Maldivian property has been inspired by arts and local culture.

Giving agents an Advantage The Advantage Travel Partnership has launched a three-year strategy plan that puts an emphasis on growth, collaboration and digital transformation. The blueprint is underpinned by four pillars designed to forge growth for the consortium and for members alike. Pillar 1: Footprint Expansion will ensure existing members receive greater support through consultancy products and marketing and technology solutions. Advantage also has ambitious targets to grow its network and attract new members. Pillar 2: Product and Portfolio Capitalisation promises to leverage more buying power on behalf of members. Pillar 3: Digital Transformation will further the organisation’s commitment to fully digitise all stakeholder touchpoints and

promote enhanced capabilities for data collection and analysis. Pillar 4: Operational Excellence involves a technology review and makeover of the Advantage digital platforms. Julia Lo Bue-Said, CEO, said: “We’ve learned some hard lessons during the pandemic, and had to identify areas in the business where we can fundamentally add more value to our members and support them through what will be a tough recovery. “This framework is ambitious and one I hope will further support Advantage as the consortium of choice for current members as well as future members. “Continuing to be the voice of the independent agent both for business and leisure travel is now part of our DNA.” advantagemembers.com

POSITIVE NEWS • JG goes to Disneyland New Disneyland Paris coach breaks for 2022 will be available through The JG Travel Group’s National Holidays brand. Ideal for families, packages are now on sale for selected dates during key school holidays periods from a wide range of pick-up points in the northeast, northwest and Yorkshire. Departure dates include May halfterm, the main school summer holidays and October half-term. nationalholidays.com/agents

Summer with seabourne

Seabourn has announced its line-up of voyages for summer 2023 aboard its two new purpose-built expedition ships, Seabourn Venture and Seabourn Pursuit. The programme includes the line’s first-ever voyages to the Northeast and Northwest Passages in the Arctic. seabourn.com

• New opening in Marbella METT Hotel & Beach Resort Marbella – Estepona, Spain, is due to open in July 2022 on the Marbella-Estepona shoreline. The five-star resort, surrounded by Andalusian landscape, will feature 253 rooms and suites. A third and fourth property on the Mediterranean riviera are planned to open in summer 2023. mettsocialliving.com

• Adriatic is trade-friendly Adriatic Holidays is to work with trade partners, including through its Gulet Cruises brand, which has been operating for over 15 years. The cruise operator offers a range of itineraries throughout Croatia and Montenegro, as well as a selection of villas in Kotor Bay, Montenegro. adriaticholidays.com

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37

news

Is 2022 the year of the catch-up consumer? This year will be the year of the ‘catch-up consumer’ with holidaymakers taking more extravagant trips and placing a higher premium on booking with a travel expert, ABTA’s Travel in 2022 report suggests. Released during the organisation’s Travel Trends Conference, the data reveals that 61% of people say they plan to go abroad within the next year, up 4% on 2020, and 49% say holidays will be more important than before the pandemic, specially for families with children over five. ABTA members report they are also taking bookings for 2023, as greater stability and certainty surrounding overseas travel is predicted to return. ABTA’s data shows that from February 2020 to July 2021 around 16% of people went on a foreign holiday, down from the 64% who travelled abroad in 2019. Booking trends from ABTA Members such as Jet2holidays, TUI, Travelbag and Barrhead Travel suggest clients want to make sure their next holiday is really special by upgrading: 46% claim they will spend more on the holiday they plan to take over the next 12 months, up from 29% in 2020, with many extending the length of their trip, moving from three- to four-star hotels and looking at more expensive destinations.

And wanderlust is returning too, with 37% saying they plan to visit a “bucket list” country they have not visited before, like Maldives or Caribbean, or take a “once-in-alifetime trip”to the Arctic or Galapagos. All of which is good news for travel agents, with ABTA predicting the dawning of a new “Age of the Expert” that sees more consumers valuing the importance of travel experts during what will remain an uncertain and unpredictable time for travel. Thirty per cent of respondents said they are “more likely” to book with a travel agent than before the pandemic, up from 20% last year, while nearly half (47%) cite the guidance agents offer on Coronavirus travel requirements as the main reason.

Hays Travel claim that since April last year more than half of its business has come from new customers, while more than 60% of Inghams’ customers are booking with the operator for the first time. Those in the age bracket 18-24 are increasingly turning towards travel agents, with two-thirds saying they are “more likely” to book with an expert than before the pandemic and 34% are of the view they will have a “better holiday” if they do. This is also the age of the package holiday, with 78% of people citing a regulated package holiday was either ”essential or important”, with 27% ”more likely” to book a package holiday than before the pandemic. abta.com

Exodus expeditions appeal to explorers Exodus Travels has a new collection of 22 small-group trips accompanied by naturalists, ornithologists, historians, marine biologists, award-winning photographers,

and veteran explorers. The line-up includes key experts from the Africa Wildlife Foundation and the Royal Canadian Geographic Society. From tracking snow leopards in the high Himalaya and photographing polar wildlife in Spitsbergen to sampling wine in Portugal and learning about conservation efforts in Zimbabwe, the experts will share their own insight and personal experiences to allow travellers to immerse themselves even further into some of the world’s most remarkable destinations. The following tours are examples of the Exodus Expeditions collection: A 14-day Search for Snow Leopards, led by specialist Himalayan trekking guide Valerie Parkinson.

Priced from £2,499pp but excluding flights, departures are on March 7, 2022 and February 19 and March 4, 2023. The 11-day Paul Goldstein Spitsbergen Photographic Charter, led by the awardwinning photographer, starts from £7,290pp excluding flights and departs June 24, 2022. All prices include accommodation with breakfast daily, other meals as specified online, tour leaders and specialist guides as specified, all transfers and other transport and activities. Sam Seward, Exodus Travels’ Managing Director said: “These tours allow clients to discover a destination with the perspective of an accomplished adventurer.” exodus.co.uk

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Be inspired by

Iconic America

Reborn in the USA • Heady heights in New York City • The Trail of Tears • 48 hours in LA • Travel South • Oklahoma • Michigan • Maine • Kentucky • Central Florida • Florida Keys • New Orleans • Seattle...and more

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Be Inspired

40 / USA

Reborn

in the UsA Brits are saddling up and riding back to the USA – and with new experiences on offer alongside timeless classic, there’s never been a more exciting time to visit, says Lauren Jarvis

S

oaring cacti spread shadows across the sandy trail, as I ride through the Sonoran Desert in Arizona, the Goldfield mountains shimmering in the late afternoon sun. One of the world’s hottest deserts, the Sonoran is also surprisingly one of its richest, home to thousands of species of flowering plants, hundreds of types of bird, and an array of desert critters, along with mountain lions, bobcats and coyotes. My home for the night, Saguaro Lake

Guest Ranch in Mesa, dates back to the 1920s, but humans have been living in the Tucson Basin for around 12,500 years, with some areas believed to be the oldest inhabited region of the USA. Less than an hour away, Arizona’s capital, Phoenix, pulses with hip hotels, urban patio bars and eateries, live music and dazzling street art, but here, on horseback, only the soft padding of hooves and the merest murmur of the wind disturb the sound of silence. We’ve missed you, America: the ancient and the new; the familiar and the unique; the legends of the past and the rich promise of tomorrow.

Welcome back

sEE thE usa by rV

After an 18-month hiatus, the USA threw open its doors to fully-vaccinated UK visitors on November 8, marking the moment with a historic dual take-off by Virgin Atlantic and British Airways, whisking the first Americabound passengers from London Heathrow to JFK in New York.

In 2019, prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, 22 million people travelled between the two countries and, after the reopening announcement, bookings rocketed by 83%, with Orlando leading the charge. “November 8 was the real turning point for U.S. recovery as we transitioned from a state of readiness to welcoming the world back,” says Chris Thompson, CEO of Brand USA. “Each and every state and territory has a unique breadth and depth of possibilities for travel that gives the USA a competitive advantage above other destinations...there’s a real sense of optimism, excitement and enthusiasm as we move into 2022.” While the industry waits on tenterhooks to see if the Covid-19 variant Omicron sparks further restrictions in the new year, consumers remain keen to escape the UK. ABTA’s Travel Trends findings reveal that 49% of respondents consider it more important than ever to take a holiday in 2022, while 46% expect to spend more money on their break.

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Be Inspired

tourists in charleston, south carolina

Iconic views of the Grand Canyon as the sun sets

For many of these ‘catch-up consumers’, the USA will be top of their wish list. “It’s fantastic to see UK-USA travel rebounding so strongly, as our 100plus members are seeing increased interest in the diversity of experiences on offer right across the USA,” says Tracey Spuyman, CEO at Visit USA. “The Visit USA Travel Planner has been updated for 2022, to support the travel trade in their mission to reinvigorate people about what makes the USA so special, and provide travellers with the motivation they need to book their next USA trip as soon as possible. “Produced in association with Selling Travel It’s an invaluable sales support tool that can be downloaded direct from the Visit USA website (visitusa.org.uk).” The timely European Brand USA Travel Week, which took place in London a fortnight before the U.S. reopened its borders, brought together exhibitors, buyers and an unprecedented 16 US tourist board chief executives, demonstrating the USA’s commitment to

intrepid travel

USA /

41

all that jazz in new orleans

buffalo in custer state park, in south dakota’s black hills

attracting UK visitors back and rebuilding consumer confidence in the destination. The event also revealed that while foreign tourists have been absent, the USA has been far from quiet: domestic tourism has been booming, meaning resorts, restaurants and attractions have wellpracticed Covid safety protocols in place.

Ethical travel “All of the US destinations that we work with have been very proactive in making sure that international visitors have the information they need to remain safe and healthy whilst travelling,” says Maggi Smit, Managing Director of America As You Like It. “This includes information on enhanced cleaning protocols at hotels and attractions, advice on how best to enjoy the great outdoors, and highlighting lowcontact travel options, such as self-catering accommodation, airstream campers and RVs. As a tour operator specialising in travel to the USA, we feel very confident about sending people to America.”

“We are developing new tools for the trade, such as the revamped Orlando Travel Academy, coming early 2022, and launched a UK marketing campaign which will continue next year, to raise awareness of Orlando and drive business to our trade partners” Casandra Matej, CEO & President, Visit Orlando

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Be Inspired

intrepid travel

42 / USA

Agents on an Intrepid fam trip to the Grand Canyon

U.S. destinations have also been using the time to renovate, reinvent and build new and improved tourism facilities, from hotels to restaurants, attractions and airports. So while America’s classic, bucketlist experiences remain a big draw, they’re joined by a host of exciting new offerings to tempt travellers to stay longer and explore more. “The U.S. booking trends favour prepandemic favourites like Orlando, Las Vegas and New York,” says Nick Hughes, Sales Director at worldwide tour operator, Gold Medal. “But we’re expecting the demand to extend beyond those cities in the months to come as customers get more adventurous, confidence in travel grows, and news about new attractions, hotels and experiences spreads.” In our post-pandemic world much has changed, and U.S. destinations along with UK operators and agents are also evolving to meet new consumer demands for slower, ethical and more sustainable travel, unique accommodation,

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Crater Lake, Oregon

outdoor adventures, RV trips and experiences that celebrate America’s cultural diversity and rich heritage. “Covid-19 has definitely amplified some of the trends that were in their infancy before the pandemic, including slower, regenerative and cultural travel,” agrees Neil Jones, UK & Ireland Account Director for the Louisiana Office of Tourism. “Enquiries about U.S. national and state parks, and off-the-beaten-track forests, camping and glamping have increased. But bucket list experiences like Mardi Gras, and old favourites including city breaks, cruises and theme parks all seem to be returning to popularity, too.” Tour operators have responded by introducing new programmes, such as Capital Region USA which has joined forces with Vacations to America to create a new 14-day Great American Road Trip, visiting Washington DC, Maryland and Virginia. Similarly, small-group adventure travel company G Adventures has expanded its U.S. collection by adding 13 new tours including several Indigenous-led activities. As the world reopens and other exciting

fly fishing with Blackfoot River Outfitters, Missoula, montana

destinations vie for UK travellers’ attention once more, the U.S. looks set to ride with its faithful partners into a bright, bold future. After all, in the words of Brand USA CEO, Chris Thompson: “You can only have a U.S .experience in the U.S.”

What’s new

Airlines and Flights: • British Airways will launch its first year-round, non-stop flight from Heathrow to Portland, Oregon, on June 3. The new service will run five days a week. • British Airways will also reinstate its Gatwick-New York route this summer. The daily service will resume on May 28, and its service from Heathrow to Pittsburgh, a four-times-weekly service. • New York’s JetBlue entered the GatwickNew York market last August, flying daily. Attractions: • Visit Orlando’s new trade initiatives in early 2022 will include the revamped Orlando Travel Academy. • The South Terminal Complex, the largest construction project in airport history is underway at Orlando International Airport. • Orlando’s Walt Disney World Resort is

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80 miles

Coconino National San Francisco Peak Sunset Crater Nati Wupatki National M Walnut Canyon Nat Oak Creek Canyon

Flagstaf f Phoenix edmund pettus bridge, selma, alabama

Grand Canyon National Park

80 MILES

Los Angeles Dallas

ARIZO

Denver

NA

Grand Canyon

hiking the sherwin lakes trail, california

celebrating 50 years with an 18-month anniversary celebration and new attractions including Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure. • Universal Orlando Resort has two new attractions: Jurassic World VelociCoaster and The Bourne Stuntacular. • The world’s first Peppa Pig Theme Park will open in February at Legoland Florida Resort. • Visit California’s online Responsible Travel Code and toolkit is an industry resource to help promote safe and respectful travel to the state. • California’s new theme park attractions include the Avengers Campus at Disney California Adventure Park, The Lego Movie World at Legoland, and The Secret Life of Pets and Jurassic World – The Ride at Universal Studios Hollywood. • Academy Museum of Motion Pictures opened in Los Angeles last September, dedicated to the vcfv bart and science of the movies. • Los Angeles SoFi Stadium Tours offer a behind-thescenes tour of the largest stadium in the NFL. • San Juan in Puerto Rico will celebrate its 500th anniversary with events until June. • An Amtrak passenger service along the Gulf Coast will begin in January 2022, connecting New Orleans in Louisiana to Mobile in Alabama. • Rocky Mountaineer’s new ‘Rockies to the Red Rocks’ route runs from Denver to Moab in Utah via Glenwood Springs. • Presidio Tunnel Tops is a new outdoor attraction for San Francisco, opening in Marc2. • The world’s first mermaid museum has opened in Berlin, Maryland.

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44 / USA

paradise coast, florida

walking the line in nashville

• Washington DC’s newest museum, Planet Word – an immersive language experience – is now open. • In 2022, Alabama will host The World Games; California will host the Super Bowl LVI and the inaugural Formula One Grand Prix Miami will take place in Florida. • The National Museum of African American Music is new in Nashville. Accommodation: • Fifty new hotels have opened in California since the pandemic began, with more to come. • Florida’s Walt Disney World opens its Star Wars-themed hotel, Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser, this year, along with Reflections, a new nature-inspired resort on Bay Lake. • Previously Barbary Beach House, the new Margaritaville Beach House has opened near Smathers Beach in Key West. • Courtyard by Marriott Titusville Kennedy Space Center is set to open in March. • The Ritz-Carlton Paradise Valley will open in Scottsdale, Arizona, in late 2022. • The St. Regis Chicago is scheduled to open next spring. • Hard Rock Hotel New York will also be opening early in the year. • CitizenM will open a second Seattle location in Pioneer Square this year.

• Montana’s new luxury resort, Montage Big Sky, opened in December 2021, 45 minutes from Yellowstone National Park. • Under Canvas Bryce Canyon opens in June 2022 in Utah, completing the Grand Circle of Under Canvas locations. • The Chloe is a lively 14-room hotel, restaurant, bar and pool housed in a 19th century Uptown mansion in New Orleans. • Also in New Orleans, the five-star Four Seasons Hotel and Private Residences opened last August. • Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, is home to the new Camp Margaritaville RV Resort (now open) and Lodge (opening in April). • The new Cambria Hotel Louisville Downtown-Whiskey Row, a Choice hotel, has opened in Kentucky. • Glamping resort Under Canvas and woodland lodge Terra Vi will open just

e Th

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Catalina State Park, Arizona

outside of Yosemite National Park in Tuolumne County in 2022. • Accommodation provider Welcome Beyond has acquired U.S.-based Stays, expanding its collection of holiday house rentals, B&Bs and boutique hotels in North America. • The restoration of the AG Gaston Motel in Birmingham, Alabama, is scheduled for completion this year.

Where to book it North America Travel Service A 16-day Rockies, Rail and Red Rocks itinerary starts in Denver, Colorado and ends in Las Vegas, Nevada. The trip includes the new Rocky Mountaineer train journey between Colorado and Utah. Prices start at £3289pp. northamericatravelservice.co.uk •

Lauren Jarvis Lauren is a travel writer and editor who has worked on assignment across seven continents for a broad range of national publications and websites, covering everything from adventure, wildlife and conservation to city guides, luxury spas and hotel reviews. Follow her on Instagram @laurenjarvistravels .

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Florida’s

Key West Located at the Florida Keys’ southern tip, Key West offers a rich history and access to stunning eco-systems. Inspire clients to complete their Florida Keys journey with a long weekend in the island city Day 1-2: Island city adventures

rob o'neal

Day 1: Start the weekend by taking a tour of the island city to get your bearings. Catch a ride on an Old Town Trolley Tour, narrated by local guides with unlimited hop-on and hop-off opportunities, to explore at your own pace. Or use pedal power to discover Key West with Key Lime Bike Tours, with a complimentary slice of the eponymous pie at the end of the tour. Make sure to explore the colourful architecture of Old Town and Bahama Village and stop by the Southernmost Point of the continental USA to snap a selfie, then head to Mallory Square for sundown street performers, local artisan stands and street food at the nightly Sunset Celebration.

Day 2: Now that you’ve scratched the surface, it’s time to brush up on local history and culture, of which there is plenty. For literature buffs, the Hemingway Home & Museum, former home of author Ernest Hemingway, is a must. Keep an eye out for the resident six-toed cats, some of which are descendants of Hemingway’s own pet Snow White. Artisan shops abound at the Historic Seaport, perfect for a pre-dinner browse. At night, drama performances, musicals and comedies keep audiences entertained, while sidewalk cafes and bars offer great live music. Embrace the nightlife on Duval Street and drop into Sloppy Joe’s Bar to channel your inner Hemingway.

hemingway home & Museum

Book it with... Abercrombie & Kent Their eight-night Carry On Down The Keys itinerary includes four days in Key West The Miami round-trip is priced from £1,635pp. fla-keys.co.uk Historic Fort Jefferson

rob o'neal

exploring historic highlights and marine life.

Day 3-4: Get on the water Mark the stay with a selfie

Get close to marine life on an eco tour

Day 3: Live life the Key West way by taking to the stunning waters around the island city. Head out fishing with a Blue Star charter boat captain, all of whom are committed to sustainable fishing and resource protection in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. Tuna, grouper and yellowtail snapper are among the plentiful local species. Dive the Florida Reef or one of the many shipwreck sites around Key West with the help of professional charter services. Or combine sailing, kayaking, snorkelling and dolphin watching on a full day tour focusing on conservation, the eco-system and ethical wildlife viewing.

Day 4: Take a day trip to the secluded Dry Tortugas National Park on the charmingly-named Yankee Freedom ferry. Encompassing seven small islands 70 miles west of Key West, the park is one of the world’s most unique eco-attractions, offering some of the best snorkelling in North America. Sandy beaches, shoals and ocean waters span 100 square miles, with the depths providing sanctuary for coral and seagrass, as well as shipwrecks. More than 16 million bricks were used to build the park’s crowning jewel, Fort Jefferson – a giant 19th century military fort once used as a Civil War prison that stands alone surrounded by the ocean. •

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46 / Introducing...

Historic highlights in

Oklahoma America’s energetic growth created the heart of Oklahoma, past and present. This is the year to slow down and experience more of the historic gems of the USA

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best place for... Native American history: First Americans Museum, Oklahoma City Cowboy culture: Stockyard City rodeo Route 66: Oklahoma Route 66 Museum, Clinton Music: Bob Dylan Center, Tulsa

East Meets West, Route 66 Midpoint in Tulsa

Smokin Joes Rib Ranch in Davis

Reba McEntire, American country music singer

Buck Atom Space Cowboy in Tulsa

TRAVELOK.com

s America grew it seemed every restless settler, cowboy, oil tycoon and budding entrepreneur paused or settled in what is now Oklahoma. Most notable are the 39 Native American tribes now headquartered in the ‘Sooner State’ as a result of having been resettled – willingly or forcibly – in the 1800s. Oklahoma is a richly-storied state: diverse, beautiful, welcoming and ready; willing and able to share these significant historic events with visitors. It’s at America’s crossroads, where ranchers raised cattle (and still do) and cowboys hit the famous Chisholm Trail, used in the post-Civil War era to drive cattle overland from ranches. Where Native American nations have rebuilt communities and prospered, and now proudly share their stories at tribal cultural centes such as the First Americans Museum in Oklahoma City and the Choctaw Cultural Center near Durant. And where, in 1926, Tulsa businessman Cyrus Avery envisioned a highway connecting east and west and the iconic Route 66 was born. Oklahomans come from many backgrounds and many nations. This diversity is perfectly reflected in cuisine across this state. Traditionally it’s about hearty Western fare – BBQ ribs and steak; fried chicken; biscuits and gravy; Indian tacos; pie and ice cream. Today, local ‘farm-to-fork’ sourcing is a big deal, and ‘Okies’ with roots all over the world – from Ireland to Italy and Sweden to Southeast Asia – offer an eclectic culinary experience in flourishing restaurant, craftbrewery, and winery scenes. Music to the ears: Oklahoma’s music pedigree is strong and vibrant, a rich mix of country and blues; folk and bluegrass, and more recently R&R and Oklahoma’s


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Cowboy at the Oklahoma National Stockyards

National Route 66 Museum, Elk City

own ‘red-dirt’ fusion - a mixture of Rock, Blues and Country. Live music is everywhere, from huge arenas to ‘front-room’ bars. Home-grown artists such as Vince Gill, Reba McEntire, Carrie Underwood and Blake Shelton (to name a few) have become mega-stars. Meanwhile, 2022 will see the addition of exciting new music attractions in Oklahoma, not least the Bob Dylan ‘living archive’ at its own purposebuilt Bob Dylan Center in Tulsa.

‘Cowboys’: Then and Now Cattle ranching is a way of life in rural Oklahoma. County fairs and rodeos are held May through October. Stockyard City, a district of Oklahoma City, hosts the U.S.’s biggest livestock auction every week – and spectators are welcome! Main Street is home to the famous Cattlemen’s restaurant. Known for its aged steaks, Cattlemen’s is believed to be the oldest restaurant in Oklahoma.

First American Stories Oklahoma is home to 39 tribal headquarters. Each having a unique history, from following the Great American bison across endless prairies

First Nation Powwow in Ponca City

to being force-marched along the Trail of Tears into ‘Oklahoma Territory’. These First American Nations have prospered and today their tribal Cultural Centers are fascinating and inspirational places to visit and to learn about their traditions and culture.

The Mother Road There’s no richer section of Route 66 than the 400-plus drivable miles that travel through Oklahoma. Passing through Oklahoma City and Tulsa, the famous highway brings together a memorable patchwork of historic, quirky and fun attractions. Set aside five to seven days for exploring the ‘must do’ attractions, such as Oklahoma Route 66 Museum.

“Oklahoma’s music pedigree is strong and vibrant – a rich mix of country and blues, folk and bluegrass and, more recently, R&R and OK’s own ‘red-dirt’ fusion”

Gorgeous State Parks Thirty-five state parks adorn Oklahoma in 12 eco-regions, ranging from desert to cypress swamp, salt flats to Tallgrass prairies, and hardwood forests to pinecovered mountains. All are graced with breathtaking beauty and countless watersports and land-based outdoor activities. Accommodation includes log cabins, lodges, campgrounds for full service RV and primitive camping. •

TRAVELOK.com

Hiking Robbers Cave State Park in Wilburton


Be Inspired

48 / Native America

Trail of

tears The Indian Removal Act saw many Native People ‘moved on’ from their homelands. The ‘Trail of Tears’ now offers visitors an understanding of this period, explains Lynn Houghton

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n a leafy wooded part of Tuscumbia in northeast Alabama, a mile-long unmortared stone wall stands in honour of a Yuchi local woman named Te-Lah-Nay. It lies just off the Natchez Trace Parkway and is known as the Florence Wichahpi Memorial Wall. Assembly began in about 1983 with her great, great, grandson Tom Hendrix building it by hand. Created in memory of his ancestor’s heroic journey, Te-Lah-Nay’s story begins when her and her people are forcibly removed to the western frontier by the U.S. Federal Government. This came to be known by native people as The Trail of Tears. After arriving, Te-Lah-Nay realised the rivers in Oklahoma didn’t sing and she yearned to return to her home – to the Tennessee River which in myth, folklore and legend is known as the ‘Singing River’. Her arduous journey back took five years.

An Unjust Act This is just one tale among many thousands as 60,000 people from the Choctaw, Chickasaw, Seminole,

Wichahpi Commemorative Stone Wall

Cherokee and Creek tribes of the Southeast were forced to leave. It was part of legislation known as the Indian Removal Act enacted by President Andrew Jackson in the 1830s. Native people were moved on with little notice, taking few possessions with them. The military operation was reported to be ill-advised, ill-planned and badly managed. Many thousands perished on route particularly those on the overland trails who walked hundreds of miles. The Trail of Tears is actually many different routes all through the Southeast, with the network being recognised by the Federal Government as a National Historic Trail in 1987. The U.S. National Park Service is working on putting up more signposts to show designated Trail of Tears landmarks. There is also an important new National Park starting to be developed at Tuscumbia Landing on the Tennessee River, which operated as a staging post for the removal. It was connected to Sheffield via a railway line that is now defunct. About every two miles along the Natchez Trace Parkway there are references to historical and natural landmarks, including the place where the Choctaw seceded their land. This was known as the Treaty of Doak’s Landing (milepost 128.4). Jane Marie Allen Farmer, Park Ranger, Natchez Trace Parkway NPS Headquarters, Tupelo, Mississippi says: “The Chickasaw camped at Pontotoc, near the Old Trace (west of milepost 255). The tribe was moved to Memphis, and on July 4, 1838, they headed across the Mississippi River, westward to Oklahoma. Many travelled south along the water route, to the Arkansas River. Although many

Ross’s Landing in Chattanooga, Tennessee

Signpost detailing Chattanooga tribe’s ordeal

“The Trail of Tears is of particular interest as it takes in so many different southern states, crosses the Old Trace in several places and includes markers along the Natchez Trace Parkway, highlighting historical and natural landmarks associated with the route” Maggi Smit, Managing Director, America As You Like It

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people brought their family dogs, the river boat captains would not allow pets on the steamers. The dogs swam, trying to follow their people. “The Indian Removal Act of 1830 extinguished Indian land titles, forcing tribes to move to the west. If they chose to stay, they were assimilated into the new culture and were required to give up their homes and traditions. Many who stayed were ostracized.”

Which Tribes were affected? The Cherokee of North Carolina, the eastern part of Tennessee and northern part of Georgia in the Hiwassee River Valley once had significant amounts of land throughout these regions. With incoming white settlers absconding much of the territory, their holdings were reduced to a tiny fraction. Cherokee tribal leaders often held their council meetings at Ela-wodi-yi – translated means red earth place – and is now Red Clay State Park. A reproduction of one of the meeting buildings has been built here and an eternal flame burns in honour of the Cherokee people. At the Cherokee Memorial Park, about one hour drive north and located on the Tennessee River, is a granite monument with the name of every single person evicted. Fifty miles west of Chattanooga in Bridgeport, Alabama, in a secret place in the hillside is the Russell Cave National Park. The enormous cave, with a river running through one end of it, has had people visiting and living here for at least 10,000 years. Extensive archaeological excavation here uncovered a huge number of artefacts from the Paleo, Mississippian and Woodland period. In the 18th century, the cave and surrounding land were gifted to Colonel Thomas Russell, a veteran of the American Revolutionary War. It was likely given to him by his father-in-law, a Cherokee, to keep it in the family and in exchange for living a secluded life here and avoiding the mass removal. Few know that Elvis Presley was part Choctaw. He was born in Tupelo in the north of Mississippi on land formerly belonging to the Choctaw nation. Rich, alluvial soil from the river meant in its recent history the area was covered in a tangle of forest made up of cottonwood, loblolly pine, black willow, tupelo trees as well as shrubs such as red maple and

Statue commemorating native American Indian tribes

sweet acacia. Even before the native American evacuation, massive tracts of land were already being deforested to turn into cotton plantations. To see an authentic representation of the Chickasaw and Natchez way of life, visit the Grand Village of the Natchez Indians. On the grounds is a reconstruction of a Mississippian period burial mound. All along the Natchez Parkway are burial mounds and other important remains, all to be discovered as the Trace carves its way through what had once been a mysterious land belonging to the indigenous tribes. Maggi Smit, Managing Director of America As You Like It, commented: “The Deep South sells extremely well for us and particularly our stalwart itineraries such as The Rhythms of the South, Journey to Freedom, Authentic Alabama and the Civil Rights Trail. Most people do a variation of our holidays. The Trail of Tears is of particular interest as it takes in so many different southern states, crosses the Old Trace in several places and includes markers along the Natchez Trace Parkway highlighting historical and natural landmarks associated with the route.” Visit: mdah.ms.gov/explore-mississippi/ grand-village-natchez-indians

Where to book it AMERICA AS YOU LIKE IT – 020 8742 8299 The operator has 10 nights on the Natchez Trace Parkway, priced from £2,918pp and including direct flights from London Heathrow to Nashville and return flights from New Orleans on BA, 10 nights’ stay in three-star hotels and a Harley-Davidson Road Glide motorbike hire for eight days. americaasyoulikeit.com •

Russell Cave National Monument

pic caption Trail of Tears Memorial and Museum in Pulaksi

Discover more... Also commemorating the Native American removal to the frontier is the 200 mile Trail of Tears Commemoration and Motorcycle Ride which takes place every third weekend in September. Initiated by two friends, Jerry Davis from Scottsboro, Alabama and Bill Cason from Whitwell, Tennessee in 1994, it is officially recognised and signposted and follows the Drane Water Route (a section of which is now Hwy 72) from Ross’ Landing in Chattanooga, Tennessee across the north of Alabama and ending in Waterloo.

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Be Inspired

50 / Top experiences

Oklahoma City

The Modern Frontier With its brand-new First Americans Museum, host of cultural attractions and ingrained ‘cowboy culture’, ‘OKC’ has a unique appeal for visitors

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rom its vast open skies to its topclass cultural venues Oklahoma City is a state capital that is overflowing with potential and energy. Every destination has a story to tell and Oklahoma City’s began with the several tribal nations who inhabited the area long before it was officially designated a ‘city’. This First Nations heritage not only lives on in Oklahoma City (or OKC) today but is one that the city ’celebrates and honours’. Visitors can learn about the collective histories of the 39 distinctive First American Nations residing in Oklahoma at the brand-new First Americans Museum. Through art, interactive media, and film, the museum’s main hall, OKLA HOMMA, engages visitors of all ages through sight, sound and touch as they are immersed in the tribal, historic and personal stories of generations of First Americans.

Culture and heritage Oklahoma City embodies the ‘Modern Frontier’, its Western culture and heritage woven across everything from the city’s much-acclaimed public art programme to its first-class collection of museums - such as the impressive Oklahoma City Museum of Art, with highlights from North America, Europe, and Asia but with particular strengths in American art and post-war abstraction – and several cultural venues. Its cowboy culture lives on in America’s premier institution of Western history, art and culture at the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum. The museum’s exhibition wing houses a turn-of-the-century town and interactive history galleries that focus on the American cowboy, rodeo and Native American culture.

There are also less-traditional, quirky hidden gems, such as the American Banjo Museum, a world-class facility dedicated to preserving and promoting the music and heritage of ‘America’s instrument.’ A must-stop for anyone interested in military history is the 45th Infantry Division Museum with its tanks, planes, helicopters, trucks and other army vehicles. Exhibits start with WWI and continue through to the modern day and tell the story of a division that is most famous for liberating Dachau and taking over Hitler’s bunker.

Neighbourhoods Getting around is easy: the city’s modern streetcars connect six miles of the urban core, making it easy for locals and visitors alike to access a wide range of dining, retail and entertainment options.

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The streetcars are an ideal way to experience its many distinct neighborhoods and districts, with their unique personalities, local restaurants and craft breweries, such as Bricktown, an entertainment district with a canal area that features a water taxi. This former warehouse district is filled with restaurants, nightlife and family-friendly entertainment options, with several hotels within easy walking distance of many fun activities. Or take a cruise on the Oklahoma River for more ‘hidden treasures’ such as access to Historic Stockyards City, the bustling Meridian Corridor and the lush Regatta Park/Boathouse District. Outside of the city visitors can drive down the longest stretch of Route 66. Find itineraries and trip planning resources at VisitOKC.com

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“Oklahoma City embodies the ‘Modern Frontier’, its Western culture and heritage woven across everything from the city’s muchacclaimed public art programme to its first-class collection of museums”

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EXCEPTIONAL BEGINS WITH DELTA. DELTA IS PROUD TO OFFER A VARIETY OF SIGNATURE PRODUCTS AND EXPERIENCES UNLIKE ANYTHING ELSE IN THE SKY.

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DELTA PREMIUM SELECT: A SUPERIOR CABIN • Separate cabin featuring wider seats with additional legroom and recline, adjustable leg and footrests • High-resolution, larger seat-back screen with noise-reducing headset and TUMI amenity kit • SkyPriority check-in, security and expedited baggage handling

DELTA COMFORT+®: IT’S SIMPLE, PLUS MEANS MORE • More legroom and recline2, seat at the front of Main Cabin • Dedicated overhead storage for carry-on items • Complimentary headset and amenity kit with eyeshade, ear plugs, toothpaste and toothbrush2 • Freshly prepared and locally inspired cuisine, snacks and complimentary alcoholic3 and soft beverages

DELTA MAIN CABIN: A HIGHER STANDARD • Greater flexibility, seat selection in advance or upgrades to a premium cabin • Individual entertainment screen, in-seat power, free mobile messaging4 and complimentary sleep kit • Complimentary meals, snacks and alcoholic3 and non-alcoholic hot and cold beverages

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1 Sky Priority services include: dedicated check in, expedited security and baggage handling. Delta Sky Club or partner’s lounges: all Delta Sky Club rules apply to Delta Sky Club. To review the rules, please visit delta.com/skyclub. 2 On long-haul international flights. 3 Alcoholic beverages 21+ old, drink responsibly. 4 Available via iMessage, WhatsApp & Facebook Messenger; text and emojis only. 5 Wi-Fi is available at a fee. All information correct at the time of publishing/printing. © 2021 Delta Air Lines, Inc. EMEAI/SC 11/21.

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a dv e r t or ia l

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n a world that thrives on connections, no one better connects the world than Delta. Powered by its people worldwide, Delta endeavours to be the U.S. global airline leader in safety, innovation, reliability and offering first-class customer experience. In the U.K. Delta partners with Virgin Atlantic to offer customers an extensive network. Not only do we fly to over 200 U.S. destinations* but we’re the most connected transatlantic partnership with Wi-Fi on all flights. We’re co-located at key international airports with convenient schedules and have rewarding mutual loyalty programmes.

* 2022 Summer schedule, subject to change

Delta’s Signature Products Customers in every cabin on transatlantic flights enjoy in-seat entertainment, complimentary meals and beverages, free mobile messaging and high-speed Wi-Fi available to purchase. Delta One® – Luxury at a higher altitude One of the most exclusive cabins in the sky, Delta One® offers luxurious details such as lie-flat seats and a premium food and beverage service that truly make a difference to the customer experience. Delta Premium Select – A superior cabin Customers enjoy more space to stretch out and relax, with a wider seat, adjustable leg and footrests and additional recline on select international routes*. * Seat configurations may vary depending on aircraft type and size.

Delta Comfort+ – Plus means more Delta Comfort+® offers added amenities such as dedicated overhead bin space, extra legroom and early boarding so customers can stretch out, settle in and enjoy the flight. Main Cabin – A higher standard The features customers need for an

excellent flight, with the attentive service, complimentary entertainment and snacks and little extras they only find with Delta. Basic Economy – Great value at low prices Basic Economy offers great value for solo travellers and light-packers who don’t anticipate any changes to their travel plans (refunds, upgrades and changes are not allowed). Fly Carbon Neutral Delta doesn’t believe customers should have to choose between seeing the world and saving it. That’s why we will offset the carbon emitted on their flight every time they travel with Delta. Delta is proud to be the first carbon neutral airline on a global basis, achieving this by focusing on carbon reductions and removals, stakeholder engagement and coalition building. Delta’s long-term vision is zero-impact aviation: air travel that does not damage the environment directly or indirectly via greenhouse gas emissions, noise, waste generation or other environmental impacts. We are committed to these values, while leading the way in ensuring safe, reliable and comfortable travel. Learn more at delta.com/sustainability •

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54 / 48 hours in...

Los Angeles

City of Angels It may have been out of bounds for a while, but California’s Tinseltown is back with a larger than ever line-up of heavenly pleasures, says Lauren Jarvis Day 1: Culture, sport and movie magic Morning: Los Angeles has more museums, galleries and performing arts venues than any other U.S. city, so dive into the California African American Museum, LACMA (Los Angeles County Museum of Art), or Grammy Museum to soak up some Americana culture. Strike a pose at the new Academy Museum of Motion Pictures, with six floors dedicated to the art and science of films. Afternoon: Immerse yourself in more movie magic at the Warner Bros. Studio Tour Hollywood in Burbank, where you’ll find a brand-new welcome centre, Storytelling Showcase and grand finale featuring the DC Universe, along with

the chance to visit the famous Friends TV show set and have lunch in Central Perk. Or head to Universal Studios Hollywood to explore The Wizarding World of Harry Potter and jump on Jurassic World – The Ride, before stopping off at Griffith Park for a selfie with the infamous Hollywood sign. Evening: With seven major sports venues, LA offers the opportunity to watch world-class baseball, basketball and American football at iconic venues. Go for a pre- or post- game supper in one of the market hall eateries at the Citizen Public Market in Downtown Culver City, or try seasonal Japanese sensations at the chic Imari in Brentwood.

Head to Universal Studios for movie magic

Book it with... USAirtours Stay three nights at the 1 Hotel West Hollywood in LA, two nights at the Kimpton Hotel Canary in Santa Barbara and two nights at Inn At The Pier in Pismo Beach from £2,599pp. The deal includes return flights and Hertz car hire. For travel on May 15, 2022. usairtours.co.uk

morning workouts are a common sight in LA

Day 2: Go green out west

matthew-lejune

West Hollywood has instagrammable eateries

take in the waves from Santa Monica pier

Morning: West Hollywood – or ‘WeHo’ – is California’s most walkable city. Its car-free commercial district, ROW DTLA, combines creative workspaces with hip boutiques and restaurants on the repurposed historic complex of Alameda Square. Grab a coffee with the Angelenos and make like a local with a righteous fitness or wellness session. If upmarket stores are your bag, visit the Design District for luxury brands and art galleries. Afternoon: What could be more ‘LA than sipping an al fresco margarita or fresh juice while dining on zingy traditional Mexican cuisine – plant based, of course? Gracias Madre on Melrose Avenue is one of

West Hollywood’s new breed of conscious and cool eateries, where dining in style won’t (literally) cost the Earth. Evening: Join the locals watching the sunset over the ocean at Santa Monica Pier and ride the world’s only solar-powered ferris wheel at Pacific Park. Back in West Hollywood, try the EP Restaurant for American dishes that showcase the freshest of Californian produce cooked with European flair, before continuing up to the LP Rooftop for late-night drinks with some of the best views of the Hollywood Hills, and sliding into bed at the sustainability-focused 1 Hotel West Hollywood on Sunset Strip. •

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Michigan

for foodies From refreshing brews to homemade cherry pie, Michigan makes the most of its local produce. Here’s some of the best ways to get a taste of the state, says Jessica Pook

Brews paired Michigan ranks fifth in the U.S. when it comes to breweries, microbreweries and brewpubs open to the public – and beer is just the start with several breweries also offering food pairings. Visit the Tap Room at Short’s Brewing in Elk Rapids to try one of its eclectic beers, like a liquorice lager, and build your own pizza with beer-infused dough. Or pair a beer with a burger and bourbon-baked beans at Mackinaw Brewing Company in Traverse City.

Cherry on top Cherries are a Michigan staple with the state growing 70% of the U.S’s supply of tart cherries. Dubbed ‘America’s superfruit’ due to its high levels of antioxidants, the cherry even has its own annual festival: The National Cherry Festival features pie-eating contests and a Very Cherry Porch Parade. From late June to August families can pick their own cherries at one of the many U-Pick Cherry farms in or near Traverse City.

Detroit delicacies Detroit’s restaurants are famously good, from Greek Town specialities to sushi and steaks. Try a Detroit-style square pizza, which first appeared at Buddy’s Rendezvous Pizzeria in 1946, baked in steel pans borrowed from local automotive plants. Another lauded local recipe is The American Coney Island diner’s hotdogs, served with a secret-recipe chilli sauce, mustard and fresh, chopped sweet onions in a warm, steamed bun.

A vine time There are more than 140 wineries in Michigan. Follow one of the wine trails, like the Petoskey Wine Region’s 14 wineries along the Lake Michigan shoreline. The southwestern part of the state around the Lake Michigan Shore AVA (American Viticultural Areas), produces reds such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot while the Leelanau Peninsula in northwest Lower Peninsula bottles whites like Pinot Blanc, Pinot Grigio and Riesling.

Beer City USA Grand Rapids (or ‘Beer City USA’) has 80-plus breweries. Tick them off on a guided tour on a party bike, trolley or tuk, or use the Beer City Ale Trail map to visit craft breweries like Founders Brewing Co., rated one of the top breweries in the world by Ratebeer and among the largest craft breweries in the country. Use the Beer City Brewsader app to check in to any of the eight breweries in or close to Grand Rapids and pick up a Brewsader t-shirt.

Homegrown treats Agriculture is one of Michigan’s leading industries, so visitors can expect fresh produce and farm-to table dining. Farm families take pride in growing high-quality foods and products year-round. Apples are one of the largest fruit crops in Michigan with many used in pies or to make apple sauce, apple cider and apple juice. Peaches, pears and plums are also favourites and asparagus is grown near the Lake Michigan shoreline.

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A DV E R T OR IA L

Look Up. F

rom the dawn of space exploration to the current and ongoing missions, you can get an up-close, hands-on feel for the story of humans in space at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex.

The now and next of space travel Opening March 2022 is the all-new Gateway: The Deep Space Launch Complex, coming soon to Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex. This immersive will allowing guests to become immersed in the future of space exploration and experience the interstellar travel of tomorrow while celebrating what is

happening within our space programme right now. Discover the current innovations by getting up close to actual spacecraft and see visionary designs that will propel the pathway of human deep space travel. Then, enter the spaceport of the future by preparing to launch on one of four spectacular deep space journeys. The thrill is within reach.

Up close and personal with space shuttle Atlantis A ship like no other, the space shuttle launched like a rocket and landed like a glider while transporting astronauts to space and back for 30 years. Stand in awe of this American icon: space shuttle Atlantis. Explore key missions, learn how to dock and land the orbiter with training simulators and discover the legacy of NASA’s Space Shuttle Program.

Witness liftoff Witnessing a live rocket launch is a jawdropping, bucket-list experience. Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex provides the closest public viewing of rocket launches

with live launch commentary from space experts. Viewing locations are within a few miles/kilometers from the launch pads, so you can see and feel the liftoff of spacecraft leaving Earth under the full power of mighty rocket engines.

Play on the planets A new, fully-immersive multiple-story play experience is open with Planet Play. Designed for a younger generation of space explorers from ages two-12, Planet Play is an indoor interactive area where children can explore a whole new world of space play.

One small step to the Apollo/ Saturn V Center The Apollo/Saturn V Center pays homage to the people and machines that made the improbable possible and the future seem bigger than we ever dared to dream. Stand in amazement under the gigantic Saturn V, the largest rocket ever flown. This oneof-a-kind attraction celebrates the feat of putting humans on the moon, and the awe felt in that moment by all humankind.•

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58 / Leading locations

Kentucky highlights Sitting at the crossroads of several regions of the U.S., Kentucky offers a unique mix of the South and the Midwest that sets it apart from any other state

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HEART OF HORSE COUNTRY

TASTE THE STATE’S FAVOURITE TIPPLE

The sound of thundering hooves is common in Kentucky, whether from a horseback riding adventure or a live thoroughbred derby race. Lexington is known as the ‘Horse Capital of the World’ due to its rolling hills and farms where stallions gallop and breeders raise the next champions. In nearby Louisville, the state’s largest city, the iconic Kentucky Derby is staged on the first Saturday in May before a colossal crowd at Churchill Downs. kentuckytourism.com/horses

Those with a taste for bourbon can sip their way around countless distilleries state-wide. Kentucky is the prime producer of this corn-based whiskey, making 95% of the world’s supply. Famous bourbon makers craft their own particular blends in idyllic rural distilleries, where guests are invited to walk the grounds and see the process in action. Restaurants and bars also celebrate this signature spirit through inventive dishes and specialty cocktails. kentuckytourism.com/bourbon-country

LOCALLY SOURCED WITH SIGNATURE FLAVOURS

BIRTHPLACE OF BLUEGRASS

SCENERY AND NATURAL WONDERS Kentucky is home to some spectacular outdoor areas, such as Mammoth Cave National Park, the longest cave system in the world with over 400 miles of underground passages. Kentucky Lake and Lake Barkley in the southwestern region are great places to kayak, sail and swim, while Lake Cumberland in south-central Kentucky is the ‘Houseboat Capital of the World.’ Cumberland Falls, dubbed ‘the Niagara of the South’ in the southeast, is a magnificent natural wonder while nearby Red River Gorge offers endless outdoor fun such as hiking and biking. kentuckytourism.com/ky-outdoors

In a state with so much farmland, locallysourced produce is on most menus. Louisville serves up talented chefs and bourbon-inspired hotspots; Lexington offers Southern fare ranging from casual to refined dining, and a host of smaller towns celebrate the flavours of the Bluegrass. Food events include Newport’s Great Inland Seafood Festival, the International Bar-B-Que Festival in Owensboro and the World Chicken Festival in London. kentuckytourism.com/culinary

The folk-tinged take on country music known as bluegrass is forever linked to Kentucky – and music-lovers from across the world catch live acts everywhere from intimate front porches and tiny local bars to major events. Performances also accompany exhibits, oral histories, memorabilia and more at Owensboro’s newly renovated Bluegrass Hall of Fame and Museum, which also offers visitors the chance to form their own band. kentuckytourism.com/music

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60 / The review show report

Travel goes south to New Orleans The Travel South International Showcase, the annual trade convention that shows off the tourism offerings of 12 U.S. states, has been hailed as one of the most successful in the event’s history. Held in New Orleans, Louisiana, the ninth running of the show was a ‘live’ event that attracted 113 tour operators and journalists from 17 countries, with 6982 business meetings. Tourism to a region that covers Arkansas, Missouri, Louisiana, Kentucky, Mississippi, Tennessee, Georgia, Alabama, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia and West Virginia has been badly hit by the pandemic: from 2007 to 2019 tourism to the South rose 61%, but 2020 and the global pandemic brought an 81% drop. “This was an $8.8 billion industry in 2019 but since March 2020 job and revenue losses have been staggering and the South needs international travel back to replenish these losses and to grow again,” said Liz Bittner, President & CEO of Travel South. “The travel economy cannot recover without international visitors,” she said. “It was critical to kick-start recovery with a global welcome (in New Orleans); partnerships

Jill Kelly

Travel South International Showcase, one of the few ‘live’ trade shows in 2021, took place in the ‘Big Easy’ late last year. Here’s a round-up of news from the show

IN BRIEF • Georgia island retreat’s dual hotels

are crucial and the travel trade is vital. “Travel South is inviting visitors to slow down, to go down a path less travelled. Together we can recover and rebuild. It’s time to make plans.” Travis Napper, Tourism Director for Arkansas Department of Parks, Heritage and Tourism, said: “It was my first Travel South International Showcase and I was impressed with the turnout and the enthusiasm to get back to traveling, especially in the South. “It was fun getting to represent Arkansas and build on the connections to bring new and returning travellers to Arkansas in the future.”

‘Live’ show offers heart and soul

Jill Kelly

UK tour operators in New Orleans were delighted to be back in a region that has a host of product to offer visitors looking for a well-rounded line-up of Americana experiences. Owen Walker, North America Product Manager for Cox & Kings, said clients are interested in the

Travel South region from a cultural perspective. “We have just launched Southern product for the first time and we are expecting clients to want to spend longer experiencing the region. “This show has been good for us in terms of size and the variety of suppliers I met with; It’s such a good resource for picking up new ideas. “I was surprised by the French Quarter in New Orleans; it has a real heart and soul. Our clients will love the cultural, food and music experiences, especially those that are hands on.” Alain Kasteleyn. Co-Owner of Discover North America, said: “ Its nice to be back, to see people in person and to reconnect. This was my first international show since the pandemic and it was good to see that it is very safe here and that the USA travel experience is still pretty easy and safe.”

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A new dual-branded Marriott is welcoming guests to Jekyll Island, Georgia. What was a vacant lot for more than 15 years is now occupied by the 209-room Marriott beach resort, featuring the 120-room Courtyard by Marriott and the 89-room Residence Inn by Marriott. Amenities include the largest pool on Jekyll, a splash pad for children, fire pits, a Bistro restaurant and an indoor/outdoor bar. exploregeorgia.org

• Graceland marks

Elvis 45 years on

Graceland in Memphis, Tennessee, is running a year-long celebration to mark the 45th anniversary of Elvis Presley’s’ passing. Events will include concerts and exclusive offers like the ELVIS 45: The Sapphire Collection, featuring a 2022 Graceland Annual Pass, limited-edition Elvis 45 records (which includes Jailhouse Rock and Suspicious Minds), a collectibles case and other exclusive items. graceland.com/elvis45


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show report

Louisiana trails tell real stories Louisiana is developing a series of ‘tourism trails’ that will enable visitors to delve into many of the iconic experiences associated with the state, such as music, civil rights and food. New for 2022 is The Louisiana Music Trail, a suggested music-themed route that “will link key sites associated with the state’s musical history and musicians, live music venues, music festivals as well as select locations that enhance the Louisiana music story”. Lieutenant Governor Billy Nungesser said he will be working with the Louisiana Office of Tourism on the trail, adding: “The Louisiana Music Trail will highlight our cultures and music genres that have influenced music around the world.” Opened in Summer 2021, the Louisiana Civil Rights Trail tells the unique stories of the Civil Rights Movement, including a variety of ‘firsts’ that happened in Louisiana, such as the Baton Rouge Bus Boycott that inspired the famous Rosa Parks Montgomery boycott. All the stories can be

• Major museum

in Charleston

found online at LouisianaCivilRightsTrail.com and markers are being installed across the state to commemorate these significant stories. And the Andouille (an•dou•ille) Trail is a culinary byway that extols the smoked sausage’s contribution to Louisiana cuisine, one that was born in the River Parishes with French and German culinary heritages. Because of the coarseness of the ground pork, Andouille is not considered a ‘sausage’ by locals. andouilletrail.

Getting high in North Carolina One of North Carolina’s top attractions is to expand its visitor facilities in 2022. Grandfather Mountain, close to the Blue Ridge Parkway, will open the Wilson Center for Nature Discovery in June. The centre will be the focal point of a new Conservation Campus at the UNESCO International Biosphere Reserve and will double the size of the Grandfather Mountain Nature Museum which features gems,

IN BRIEF

minerals, Native American artifacts and interactive exhibits and experiences that connect to the mountain’s 16 ecological communities. Grandfather Mountain, a 5,946-foot/1,812-metre peak, is known for its walking trails, wildlife habitats and the Mile High Swinging Bridge. The 11 trails on the mountain vary in difficulty, from strolls through gentle forests and woods to those across rugged

peaks. The Grandfather Trail is one of the most rugged and technical hikes in the Eastern U.S. On the road to the summit are wildlife exhibits and picnic areas. Wildlife in the area includes black bear, river otters, cougars, bald eagle, and elk. Grandfather Mountain is the highest peak on the eastern escarpment of the Blue Ridge Mountains, part the Appalachian Mountain chain. visitnc.com

Kansas City’s tasty BBQ app Kansas City, Missouri, is the self-billed Barbecue (or BBQ) Capital of the USA and to help visitors experience some of the best eateries the city has launched The KC BBQ Experience app. It features 100+ regional restaurants and suggested ‘BBQ trails’. A traditional Kansas City sauce is a thick, molasses-based concoction of spicy and sweet flavors – and at many places diners may find pork, beef, chicken, salmon, lamb or even vegetarian options, such as jackfruit. visitKC.com/BBQ.

The International African American Museum is scheduled to open in Charleston, South Carolina in early 2022. The $92 million museum, genealogical center and memorial garden will explore and honor the history of African Americans on the very site where many can trace their family lineage. Nearly 50% of all the African slaves that came into the U.S. came through Charleston. iaamuseum.org

• New in New

Orleans

One11 Hotel is t he first new hotel in New Orleans’ French Quarter in five decades. Located inside an ex-sugar factory in the 85-block area of the Vieux Carré, as the French Quarter is also known, One11 Hotel has 83 guest rooms and “sweets” that “pay homage to the building’s history”. one11hotel.com

• Louisville, 2022 Formed in 1965, Travel South is America’s oldest regional travel promotion organization. Travel South International Showcase will be held in Louisville, Kentucky, November 27-30. industry.travelsouthusa. com

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62 / Destination update

Washington State

True to nature Washington is an ideal escape for clients who like to combine natural beauty and urban escapes in one trip, says Jessica Pook

pike place farmers market, seattle

HURRICANE RIDGE, OLYMPIC NATIONAL PARK

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hether your clients want to work up a sweat hiking through one of Washington State’s national parks, such as North Cascades National Park and Olympic National Park, or their preference for enjoying the natural world involves a trip to a rural vineyard to sample some of the state’s crispest wine, there’s something for every pace.

Rejuvenating Nature Here, visitors can explore rainforest and desert terrain, ski down the slopes of volcanic peaks or over one of the deepest lakes in the USA or spend their day bobbing in a kayak off the coast or drifting down a lazy river. Each season has plenty to offer, with sunsoaked summers, picturesque autumnal colours, snow-covered peaks in the colder months and wildflower hikes in the spring. For example, the most easily accessed mountain area within Olympic National Park is Hurricane Ridge, which at a mile

There are more than 100 wineries in wAshingTon state

high, offers unbeatable views of the surrounding park in clear weather. The Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center is a great place to start: stop here for brochures, maps, snacks, and touring tips.

Guests can look forward to culinary excellence at restaurants throughout the state’s cities or sipping world-class wine from Washington’s wine country.

Tasty Travels

While they are in Washington visitors should not miss discovering what really makes the state memorable – and that’s the people who live and work there yearround. Whether striking up a conversation with a fourth-generation farmer, watching the creative flare of an artist or musician who recently relocated to the state, or visiting one of the many cultural centres maintained by the Native Tribal Nations, it’s easy to see why people want to pass on their passion. In short, people in Washington State care about the quality in what they do and are committed to preserving the natural wonder that surrounds them – and they want to share this appreciation with everyone they meet. •

After working up an appetite, visitors won’t have to look too far for something to soothe their hunger. Considering the state made coffee its official beverage in 2016, it’s recommended that visitors start the day with a steaming cup at one of Seattle’s many renowned coffee roasters. Then, for lunch head to the source and let “farmer chefs” cook up their seasonal bounty fresh from the fields. The rich and natural variety of the state feeds creative chefs and hungry travellers alike. Options include shucking oysters whilst riding the waves or sampling apples freshly plucked from an orchard full of different varietals.

Authentic Connections

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Homegrown in

Washington State Surrounded by natural beauty and the great outdoors, this northwest state offers a line-up of adventures, wineries, coastal areas, quirky towns and villages and more, says Jessica Pook

Bellingham This coastal city near the Canadian border is surrounded by natural beauty, from the Salish Sea to Mt. Baker, a snowcapped volcano with ski runs. It is an area for outdoor adventures, with hiking and biking trails, while Bellingham Bay has several beaches. Head to the four-millionvolt Tesla coil at the Spark Museum of Electrical Invention or enjoy a farm-to-tableinspired meal with a craft brew. bellingham.org

Walla Walla In the state’s southeastern region this is wine country, with more than 120 wineries in the area. The town’s historic downtown offers award-winning farm-totable restaurants and boutique shopping, while the Walla Walla Valley, with its mild and dry climate, is home to some of Washington’s best golf courses: the Wine Valley Golf Club has been named among the top public courses in the country. wallawalla.org

Long Beach Peninsula In the very southwest corner of Washington state, the peninsula features a 28-milelong silver-sand beach, state parks, a national historic park, a national wildlife refuge, rain forests, and a birding destination of international importance. Visitors can discover authentic villages with ultra-fresh seafood, craft beverages, art and music and unique places to stay. visitlongbeachpeninsula.com

Yakima Valley Craft Beer Trail The Yakima Valley is at the heart of the craft beverage scene in the state’s northwest. Its hop growers, who fuel the world’s craft beer industry, produce a range of exciting, experimental hop varieties. There are more than 16 breweries and tap houses, while the annual Fresh Hop Ale Festival provides visitors the chance to raise a glass in the home of the hops. visityakima.com

Olympic Peninsula This large arm of land in western Washington lies across Puget Sound from Seattle, which is an easy ferry ride away. Explore the UNESCO World Heritage Olympic National Park, with its rugged mountains, mystical rainforests and wild Pacific Ocean beaches with their tidepools and sea stacks, then stop in a charming nearby small town to enjoy fresh Olympic Coast cuisine. olympicpeninsula.org

Tri-Cities For sun, fun and wine Washington’s Tri-Cities – Kennewick, Pasco, and Richland – have long been popular. Located in the Heart of Washington Wine Country®, the region is blessed by vineyards and over 200 wineries. The area’s waterways are a magnet for water lovers to enjoy sailing, power and pleasure boating, waterskiing, swimming, fishing, windsurfing, paddleboarding, kayaking and much more. visittri-cities.com

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64 / City profile

Por t of Seattle

cruise and stay With unique attractions for pre- or post-cruise visits, there’s no shortage of fun and exciting family activities in Seattle, says Steve Hartridge

A

cruise to Alaska’s scenic splendors from its number one gateway, Seattle, has become a bucket list holiday in its own right. In 2022 – from April to October – seven major cruise lines will operate 200-plus seven-day round-trip sailings from their Seattle homeport. For cruisers extending their time, exploring walkable Seattle is something of a must-do. Soar to the top of the city’s most famous landmark, the Space Needle, or explore beneath the streets in Pioneer Square to step back more than 100 years on an Underground Tour of original Seattle.

Pike Place Market

This 114-year-old farmers' market is known for locally-grown produce, handmade artisan crafts and speciality food shops. See flying fish tossed between fishmongers or check out the Gum Wall – a local landmark, the wall is covered in chewing gum – and Rachel the Pig, a bronze sculpture. Then grab a coffee at the city’s oldest Starbucks, which opened in 1971.

Waterfront Park

Seattle’s waterfront is transforming into an attractive expanse of tree-lined pedestrian walkways and cycle lanes with the removal of a viaduct that separated downtown from the harbour. Enjoy public art, entertainment

Chilhuly GARDEN AND GLASS

BOOKEND A STAY IN SEATTLE BEFORE OR AFTER A CRUISE TO ALASKA

and views of the bay and urban skyline. A new International Arrivals Facility will greet visitors upon their arrival in Seattle via British Airways, American, Virgin, Aer Lingus or Icelandair.

Top Experiences

Space Needle: This iconic landmark offers superb vistas of the Cascade and Olympic Mountains, Elliott Bay and a 360-degree view of Seattle, with tilting glass benches leaning out over the city. spaceneedle.com Chilhuly Garden and Glass: Be inspired by glass artist Dale Chihuly’s innovation that comes to life. Immerse yourself in a world of curiosity, creativity and vibrant colour. chihulygardenandglass.com Museum of Pop Culture (MoPOP): Celebrate pop culture and its rock ‘n roll roots. Delve into hands-on experiences in the worlds of sci-fi, fantasy and music. Current exhibitions include Contact High: A Visual History of Hip-Hop. mopop.org

Seattle Aquarium: Located along the waterfront, a 120,000-gallon (454,249 liters) exhibit of hundreds of types of Pacific Northwest sea life greets you, including otters, seals and octopus. seattleaquarium.org Sky View Observatory: Climb 73 stories in a matter of seconds to enjoy 360-degree views of Mt. Rainier, the Cascade and Olympic Mountains and Seattle in the tallest public viewing area in the Pacific Northwest. skyviewobservatory.com

“Soar to the top of the city’s most famous landmark, the Space Needle, or explore beneath the streets in Pioneer Square to step back more than 100 years on an Underground Tour of original Seattle”

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a dv e r t or ia l

New York City

Empire State Building T

ravel to the top of NYC’s most iconic marvel for exciting exhibits and breathtaking views any time of day. First, immerse yourself in our fascinating history with a walk through of our second-floor gallery. Explore interactive displays and join a self-guided tour to learn about our record-breaking construction, aweinspiring innovation and so much more (you might just come face to face with King Kong himself!)

Open-air observatory Then, get some fresh air on our world-famous 86th floor open-air observatory, complete with sweeping 360° views of the Brooklyn Bridge, Central Park, and other can’t-miss sights. Want to take it even higher? Head to the 102nd floor for scenery that stretches for 80 miles on a clear day.

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For early birds or night owls, family fun or romantic dates, there’s a perfect experience for everyone at the Empire State Building.

Empire State Building Observatory experience The new and exciting Empire State Building Observatory experience is located on the second floor of the international icon, and the 10,000 sq. ft galleries invite guests on a journey from the building’s construction to its current place in pop culture. Named the most Instagrammed U.S. landmark in a study by Sony Mobile, the new galleries feature immersive and interactive exhibits that fulfill the desire of today’s modern traveler to share authentic experiences – all as they make their way to the one-of-a-kind views from the 86th Floor Observatory. Get your tickets today! Contact sales@esbonyc.com to book your group visit today. For more information, visit esbnyc.com

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66 / My journey

Fairytale of

New York April Waterston soaks up the Christmas vibe during a December city break to a Big Apple festooned with trees, lights and carol singers galore

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ot chocolate and fresh bagel in hand, I lean against the wall overlooking the Rockefeller Ice Rink and breathe in the atmosphere. The sheer joy of watching scarf-clad skaters glide around to classic festive tunes in the shadow one of New York's biggest Christmas trees feels a whole world away from the lockdown of December 2020. My child-like love for Christmas has been well and truly reignited, and with it my adoration of New York. If I didn't have the grace of a three-legged turtle perhaps I would have stepped onto the rink myself. Instead, I save myself from certain embarrassment, finish my breakfast on the go and head off. A day of Yuletide festive hunting awaits!

'Tis the season The Rockefeller Centre itself boasts not only the iconic tree and ice rink, but also a twee row of fairy light-adorned angels framing the view up to Saks on Fifth Avenue. The luxury department store is worth a visit, not just to peruse its posh products but also for its impressive window displays and light show that takes place every 10 minutes from about 16.30 to 23.30 during the festive season. It's also right next to the strikingly Gothic St Patrick's Cathedral, and a short walk away from the equally affluent Bergdorf Goodman department store. For those of us who aren't in the market for the latest Gucci bag or an addition to our Rolex collection, a quick subway ride away is Bryant Park. Located next to

the grand façade of the New York Public Library, what serves as a quaint tree-lined coffee spot in warmer months turns into a bustling Christmas market throughout December. A small village of compact wooden cabins sell a wide variety of locally-produced home wares, gifts and consumables, all surrounding yet another ice rink and Christmas tree. I quickly learn that Christmas trees can be found in abundance in the city during the festive period, but that just adds to the magic of Christmas in New York.

A view from above No trip to New York is complete without a view of its iconic city skyline from up high. We head up the Empire State Building for our first glimpse of the view, stopping to enjoy its new interactive exhibits en route. With its highest viewpoint standing at 1,250 feet tall, its 360-degree observatory on the 102nd floor offers unrivalled panoramic views of the city. We time our visit with the chance to catch the sunset, and watch on in awe as vivid hues of red and orange envelop Manhattan, slowly fading away to reveal a vast landscape of twinkling lights by night. From the Empire State Building, look west and you’ll see the new Hudson Yards development, home to the world’s highest open-air viewing platform, The Edge. The observation deck consists of an outdoor terrace protruding 24 metres outward on the south of the building, overlooking lower Manhattan and the Hudson River. With an early-morning chill whistling

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No trip to ete New York is compe liconic without a view of throm up city skyline f high

through the air, I brace myself as I lean forward onto the angled glass walls, revealing an uninterrupted drop of 1,100 feet to the streets below. Adrenaline junkies can ascend even higher on the side of the building with 'The Climb' experience, but for me simply walking across a section of glass floor was terrifying enough. Our final viewpoint is The SUMMIT, a new interactive experience based at One Vanderbilt, next to Grand Central Station. Art, adrenaline and animation combine to create one of the most unique ways to experience the city from up high. A highlight is 'Transcendence', a multistory mirrored viewing atrium standing at just over 1,000 feet tall. The whole space is lined with mirrors, creating a boundless view of the city and the sky above. Unfortunately our visit is poorly timed, with little to see outside apart from a blanket of fog. However, interactive installations from renowned artists Yayoi Kasuma and Kenzo Digital mean there is still plenty to enjoy.

A feast for all To recover from the thrill of being up in clouds, I make my way to Chelsea Market, a cool indoor market hall with an eclectic mix of shops, bars and foodie hotspots. As I am only in town for a few days, I leave the pre-Christmas health kick at home and head to Creamline for a serving of comforting soft pretzel bites, served with pretzel chips, honey mustard and

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warm 'beer cheese'. Carbs fuel my days – be it a serving of tangy Frickles at Wogies Bar & Grill, humongous pancakes at Junior's or bagels and crispy corn polenta at The Brooklyn Diner – I am grateful for walks on the High Line and strolls around Central Park to burn off the energy accrued.

Christmas extravaganza After four days enjoying all the festivities the city has to offer, the sadness of a COVID Christmas in 2020 is long forgotten. But before I head to the airport, I squeeze in one last burst of merriness with a visit to the Radio City Music Hall, home to the Rockette's Christmas Extravaganza. The show has everything one could possibly need to get in the festive spirit, from traditional carols to holiday hits, and dance numbers featuring reindeer, toy soldiers, and not just one but hundreds of Santas prancing around the hall. The show is wholesomely cheesy from start to finish, with intricate choreography and visually stunning effects projected across the ceiling. The show is on up to three times a day throughout the holiday season and embodies the joy a visit New York City at Christmas can bring to all. •

Book it with...North America Travel Service: A four-day New York City Break costs from £780pp. The package includes flights with Virgin, three nights at New York Hilton Midtown, a sightseeing tour and a Liberty cruise. northamericatravelservice.co.uk

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68 / Destination profile

Visit Maine

It’s a New Day... ...And Maine is ready to welcome visitors back. It’s time to recharge and rediscover your sense of adventure and wonder

seafood is a menu staple

dramatic coastline frames Maine

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isitors to the U.S.’s easternmost state, Maine, are among the first to greet the sunrise each day. This distinctive four-season destination is rich in unspoiled natural beauty, with miles of white sand beach, pristine lakes and rivers, and mountain trails. Visit Maine’s vibrant small towns, with their characteristic New England architecture and working waterfronts, enjoy the natural harvest from land and sea at celebrated eateries and breweries. From the mountains to the coast, Maine is a destination that should be on every New England itinerary.

Fresh air Nature’s unfiltered beauty surrounds visitors in Maine, with mountain vistas, wild, untamed ocean views, marshes and woodlands common sights, while at night, Maine’s star-spangled skies seem to open a door to the universe. Enjoy the outdoors at one of Maine’s

Autumnal acadia sunset

32 state parks, or Acadia National Park on Mount Desert Island, one of the most popular national parks in the USA. Moose are plentiful in Baxter State Park, home to Mt. Katahdin, which marks the endpoint of the Appalachian Trail. The Pine Tree State is also known for its outdoor recreation opportunities, from hiking, biking, golf and paddling to fishing and wildlife watching. Or head to the water for a sailing adventure on a Maine windjammer. In winter, strap on some skis or snowshoes and explore a snowy wonderland.

Fresh perspective There’s an easy pace to life in Maine, so take time to live like a local and explore its small towns and villages. Browse shops for handcrafted items, dine on locallysourced food and drink, enjoy the arts at a museum or concert, visit a farmers’ market, stroll the waterfront, or take a historic architecture or lighthouse tour.

Fresh Catch Lobster is both a favorite dish and a way of life in Maine. The sound of fishing boats motoring out of the harbour cuts through the early morning mist with a promise of delicious meals to come; whether you dine dockside or in a fine restaurant, you can be sure the catch is fresh. For an immersive experience, take a Lobster Boat Tour and learn how to pull traps and harvest like a true Mainer. •

“The sound of fishing boats motoring out of the harbor rises through the early morning mist with a promise of delicious meals to come”

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Local highlights in

Maine

From restaurants offering farm-to-table inspired menus to quirky villages to natural wonders and the darkest of dark skies, Maine is full of surprises, says Steve Hartridge

Portland Portland is wellknown as a “foodie” destination with award-winning chefs and more restaurants per capita than most other U.S. cities. A focus on local, sustainable produce and simple techniques has laid the groundwork for an excellent and energetic dining scene. Craft beer is a big part of the scene – to sample, take a harbor cruise or walking tour or use the Maine Beer Trail app. brewscruise.com/maine

Bethel Village Bethel is a one-of-akind four-season destination: in summer activities include hiking, canoeing, kayaking, and golf while its winter playground offers skiing, snowshoeing and fat biking. It is also a draw for ‘rockhounds’: the Maine Mineral and Gem Museum has one of the world’s foremost collections of extraterrestrial rocks from Mars, the Moon and the Asteroid Belt. mainemineralmuseum.org

Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens Set along a tidal river in Boothbay, the gardens and natural wooded areas feature native plants, a Garden of the Five Senses, a Children’s Garden, a Butterfly House, and the Guardians of the Seeds, an installation of giant trolls hidden along woodland paths. Danish artist Thomas Dambo’s recycled-wood troll sculptures are magical, mysterious – and mammoth. mainegardens.org

The Forks and Moxie Falls The Kennebec and Dead Rivers converge at The Forks, a white-water rafting Mecca. Outfitters also offer trips like moose watching or waterfall hikes. Nearby, Moxie Falls is one of Maine’s highest and one of the tallest waterfalls in New England, with a vertical drop of nearly 90 feet. The trail is less than a mile long, but is wide and easy to follow – a perfect hike for kids. forksarea.com/maine-whitewater-rafting

Ogunquit Museum of American Art Ogunquit is one of New England’s prettiest beach towns, with the nearby Perkin’s Cove a historic fishing village and inspiration for artists since the 1890s. OMAA, a seaside museum, showcases modern and contemporary art and has a sculpture garden. It has rotating exhibitions and a permanent collection of more than 3,000 works. ogunquitmuseum.org

Katahdin Woods & Waters Katahdin Woods & Waters National Monument marked its fifth anniversary in 2021. The area covers 48km of a wild landscape, with woods, flora, fauna, pristine rivers and streams and spectacular views of Mount Katahdin. It has been designated an International Dark Sky Sanctuary for the quality of its night skies. Activities include hiking, bird watching and camping. friendsofkww.org/visit

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Be Inspired

70 / Top experiences

Visit Central Florida

Sweet spot for fun and sun Central Florida is the epicentre of Florida family fun. Experience adventure around every corner

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hen it comes to holiday destinations, it doesn’t get any sweeter than Central Florida. Home to more than 550 freshwater lakes, historic landmarks and theme parks, this bucket-list location has a little bit of everything under the Florida sun. If clients are looking to get outside for family adventure, ‘Florida’s Sweetest Spot’ has anything from water skiing and air boating to hiking, biking and kayaking – but that’s just the start.

Go for the golf For the serious golfer, playing a round at Streamsong Resort is a must. This awardwinning destination, which is in harmony with its natural surroundings, is renowned for its three Top 100 U.S. courses and is the highest-rated golf collection in Florida.

Streamsong Black will push your game to its limit, while Streamsong Blue and Red’s Mach 1 turf, with their fast greens, will challenge your putter. Here, it’s just you, your friends and the game you love – the way golf was meant to be played.

away from the entrance to the park. This five-story hotel also houses the renowned Shipwreck Restaurant, Smuggler’s Bar for adult swashbucklers, an entertainment area with kid-friendly nightly programming as well as LEGO® play areas.

LEGOLAND® Florida Resort

Peppa Pig Theme Park

Made just for families (with kids age two to 12), LEGOLAND® Florida is home to 150 acres of interactive, child-friendly fun built around the historic Cypress Gardens. This must-visit family attraction offers more than 50 rides, a water park and a 4-D movie theatre. Some highlights including The LEGO® MOVIE Masters of Flight, The Great LEGO Race, LEGO NINJAGO® The Ride and Unikitty’s Disco Drop. Its most recent addition, Pirate Island Hotel, is the first LEGO® pirate-themed hotel in North America and is located just steps

Located steps from LEGOLAND® Florida Resort’s front gate, Peppa Pig Theme Park is perfect for kids and adults who are kids at heart. Opening to the public on February 24, 2022, this one-of-a-kind attraction places guests right in the world of Peppa Pig and her friends. Guests will be able to enjoy six new rides – designed specifically for pre-schoolers – character meet and greets and a familyfriendly adventure that lets mummy pigs and daddy pigs ride along with their little ones on almost every ride.

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Be Inspired Top experiences /

Westgate River Ranch The largest dude ranch east of the Mississippi River, Westgate River Ranch resort & rodeo is an all-inclusive resort featuring glamping tents, RV campsites, luxe teepees and new Luxe Conestoga Wagons. Visitors to this untouched area will enjoy airboat tours, golf, archery and a chance to experience a piece of Florida’s history – where the American cowboy tradition began. Every Saturday guests can relive the days of the Old West with horseback riding, rodeos and singing cowboys at the River Ranch Saloon.

Bok Tower Gardens Add a little ‘wow’ to your holiday with a trip to Bok Tower Gardens. A National Historic Landmark and bird sanctuary, this beautiful location features 50 acres of gardens, a 20-room Pinewood Estate

and a 205-foot art deco and neo-Gothic Singing Tower carillon. Visitors can observe bell concerts at the tower each day at 1:00pm and 3:00pm. A recent addition is Hammock Hollow, 2.7 acres of childhood delight featuring water areas, bridges, tunnels and an indigo snake sculptured sand box.

U-Pick season At Ridge Island Groves, a family run farm in Haines City, visitors can tour the citrus groves and pick their own oranges, peaches or blueberries whilst learning about the farm-to-shop process. The fruit is sorted by size and all the ‘ugly’ ones find their way to the juicer. visitors can buy the freshest OJ and ice cream. We can’t wait to see you and your family soon. Explore everything we have to offer at VisitCentralFlorida.com •

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“If you’re looking to get outside for some family adventure, Florida’s Sweetest Spot has anything from water skiing and air boating to hiking, biking and kayaking”

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Trade talk

72 / The review USA news

Intrepid gets real in USA

NEWS IN BRIEF dennis guten

Intrepid Travel will introduce 38 itineraries to the U.S. next year, the operator’s biggest-ever programme featuring the country. Intrepid says its 2022 collection “offers plenty of opportunities for clients to forge meaningful connections with locals and different cultures”. Itineraries incorporate familiar ‘mustsee attractions’ while also offering more curated, in-depth offerings – from sampling local delicacies and taking active adventures to spending time with First Nations tribes. Highlights include a six-day South Dakota to Montana Parks Explorer, visiting Mount Rushmore, Badlands National Park and Yellowstone, and including a visit to Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument and joining a Crow Nation guide for a tour, which provides an Apsaalooke perspective on the conflict. Prices start from $2,130pp. A six-day Tennessee Music Trail to New Orleans will offer visitors the chance to take part in a recording session at the iconic Studio B in Nashville, walking in the famous footsteps of BB King and Johnny Cash at the Sun Studio in Memphis, visiting Elvis Presley’s home at Graceland, and doing a jazz-inspired walking tour in New Orleans. Groups will also visit the Whitney Plantation

to learn what life was like for those enslaved on a Louisiana sugarcane plantation. The trip is priced from $2,540pp. Intrepid says it is planning other trips that will feature First Nations outfitters, plus a Premium tour range which will provide a sustainable travel option for the higher-end adventure traveller. “We created these itineraries to showcase the U.S. through a more authentic and diverse lens... to allow travellers to understand what America is – not just at its surface, but rather at its core,” commented James Thornton, Intrepid’s CEO. The U.S. programme includes 57 tours covering 28 states and Washington D.C. intrepidtravel.com

Fred.Holidays’ coast to coast Fred. Holidays has two new USA trips for 2022: a coast-to-coast rail journey from San Francisco to New York and a complete Mississippi cruise from Louisiana to Minnesota. The 15-day rail journey onboard Amtrak travels via San Francisco, Los Angeles, Flagstaff, Chicago and New York, with visits to Alcatraz and the Grand Canyon. Prices start from £3,429pp, with a November 3 2022 departure. Included are return economy flights from London, 10 nights’ room only hotel accommodation, day rail from San Francisco to Los Angeles, three nights’ sleeper class accommodation with meals and selected drinks, a half-day tour of San Francisco including ferry and

entrance to Alcatraz and a trip out to the Grand Canyon. The 22-day Mississippi river cruise with American Cruise Lines travels from Louisiana to Minnesota, with 22 ports of call in 10 U.S. states. Stops include the Civil War battlefields of the Lower Mississippi; Memphis, the birthplace of Jazz, Blues, and Rock–n-Roll; a trolley ride through Hannibal, home town of Mark Twain; and the wildlife of Minnesota and Wisconsin. There are four departures – on June 10, July 20 and September 10 2022 and June 9 2023 – with prices starting from £8,106pp with all meals, shore excursions and gratuities included. fredholidays.co.uk

• Arkansas As You Like It America As You Like It’s new 14-night ‘Ozarks, Americana & Country’ tour features stops in Arkansas, Nashville, Memphis, and Dallas.‘Native Culture, Heritage, Tastes & Sounds also takes in ‘The Natural State’ along with Dallas, Oklahoma, Memphis, and Nashville. Trips booked before January 15 2022 receive 10% off. americaasyoulikeit.com

• Riviera heads south Riviera Travel’s Americas 2023 tour programme includes a 14-day Deep South USA plus Texas tour, with three nights in New Orleans, a trip to Graceland in Memphis, a stay in Nashville and a guided tour of Houston’s NASA Johnson Space Centre. Eleven departures are available, with prices from £2,749. rivieratravel.co.uk.co.uk

• Aer Lingus adds two Aer Lingus began operating two new U.S. routes from Manchester in December: daily to New York ( JFK) and four-times-weekly to Orlando. Aer Lingus has partnered with VeriFLY, which allows customers to ensure their Covid-19 related documentation is verified. aerlingus.com

• Finnair adds Seattle Finnair will expand its U.S. route network by launching flights from Helsinki to Seattle on June 1 2022. UK travellers will be able to benefit from fast connections to Helsinki before flying on to Seattle. Finnair will also connect Helsinki with Dallas, New York, Los Angeles and Chicago next summer classic-collection.co.uk

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FLY DRIVES - pre-planned and tailormade itineraries across the whole of the USA with lexible durations and hotel options.

ESCORTED TOURS - a wide range of guided motorcoach and small group tours including adventure, family and special interest itineraries. MOTORHOMES - lexible routes, suggested campgrounds and a selection of vehicle types/sizes to accommodate all needs. MOTORBIKES - guided group tours and independent routes. RANCHING - Resort, Dude and Working Ranch holidays.

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74 / City profile

Visit New Orleans

Join the parade! Experience more than 300 years of stories, celebrations and one-of-a-kind culture in New Orleans, Louisiana

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verywhere you go in New Orleans you will notice enthusiasm for food, music, and life itself. Uniquely American, distinctly Southern, the city is the birthplace of jazz, the cocktail and Cajun and Creole cooking. With a unique combination of city life, historical landmarks, outdoor activities and festival fun, New Orleans has a recipe to captivate everyone who visits.

Cuisine and cocktails

Its ordinate number of restaurants offer a culinary adventure that spans a wide array of cuisines, atmospheres and price-points. From powdered beignets to fresh seafood to Crawfish Etouffee and Jambalaya, award-winning chefs create food for both the taste buds and the soul. Visitors can also take their turn with a spatula and spices at a cooking school or explore the cocktail scene by enjoying a mixology class or cocktail tour.

Live music

A melting pot of musical inspirations and innovations, New Orleans embraces music as an indelible part of its history – something that remains a major facet of the city's identity. From street performers

Music is found on every street corner in new orleans

move to new orleans' unique rhythm

to intimate venues to world-renowned festivals, music continues to permeate and enrich everyday life.

Top Experiences

French Quarter: Considered the heart of New Orleans, the French Quarter, also known as the Vieux Carré, is the city's oldest neighborhood, with its colorful buildings and cast-iron balconies. It also features beautiful European architecture, centuries-old restaurants and a vibrant nightlife scene. Explore antique shops on Royal Street. Mardi Gras and Festivals: Carnival season is a must, especially the week leading up to Mardi Gras Day. Catch throws from colorful parade floats, dress in costume, and eat King Cake. Continue celebrations year-round with dozens of culinary, music and cultural festivals. Unique Attractions: Tour inspiring museums with subjects ranging from Mardi Gras to World War II. Travel by streetcar, riverboat or horse-drawn carriage to see the city from

all angles. Venture beyond New Orleans to see historical estates and swamplands. Shopping & Art: New Orleans is an attractive draw for shoppers and holds an irresistible pull for creative types. Stroll down Julia Street to browse art galleries and pick up one-of-akind souvenirs at local art markets. Look out for the many creative murals, sculptures and various forms of public art that add a splash of colour to the city walls. •

“A melting pot of musical inspirations and innovations, New Orleans has embraced music as an indelible part of its history and an important facet of its identity”

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THE CULTURAL CAPITAL OF THE SOUTHERN UNITED STATES!

NewOrleans.com

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For more than 300 years, New Orleans has been inspiring stories. Our Spanish, French, African and Caribbean influences create a cultural gumbo of distinctive architecture, cool jazz and celebrated cuisine that only New Orleans knows how to dish out. From award-winning attractions to immersive experiences, this timeless city offers something amazing around every cobblestone corner. Start creating your New Orleans story today!

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Increase sales with live rate offers Carousel, our most recent innovation is combining real time rateboard with queue management in a revolving display offering additional features like video advertising, destination weather reports and other travel themes.

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