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SELLING TRAVEL • M A R C H 2 0 2 0

march 2020 • sellingtravel.co.uk

California • Cycling Holidays • Cyprus • Escorted Touring • Family Holidays • Jamaica • Jersey • Las Vegas • Mumbai • Palm Springs • Themed River Cruises

family fortunes Fun for kids, a rest for parents and quality time for all - create unforgettable family holidays

how to sell...

Themed river cruises Escorted touring Seychelles and more...

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Britain’s leading independent cruise line

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FAVOURITE SPECIALIST CRUISE LINE

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contents /

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this issue ALL AROUND THE WORLD FEATURES 08 Seychelles: Choosing the right island

27 Escorted touring: Break the stigma and open up exciting options 65 River cruising: Indulge in hobbies onboard

87 24 45

84

44

42

QUICK READS 24 Six of the best: New 40 42 44 45 48 60 62 70 71

attractions in Las Vegas Travel Talk: Caribbean Tourism Organization My Journey: Jamaica Introducing: Beppu, Japan 48 hours in: Palm Springs How to sell: Cycling holidays California's 9: National parks Celebrity interview: Helen Skelton Travel talk: Abu Dhabi 48 hours in: Mumbai

08

ESCORTED TOURING

RIVER CRUISING

27

65

TALKING SHOP 15 Agent opinion,

CYCLING HOLIDAYS

48

incentives, trade news and more

FAMILY HOLIDAYS 76 What's trending 81 Alternative theme parks 83 Travel talk: Florida 84 Cyprus 87 Jersey 88 New products 90 Take 5 educational escapes

71

JAMAICA

42

INTERVIEW

MUMBAI

62

71

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

SELLINGTRAVEL.CO.UK

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10KG HAND LUGGAGE

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welcome /

EDITORIAL EDITOR Laura Gelder laura.gelder@sellingtravel.co.uk

JOURNALISTS Jessica Pook, Sasha Wood & April Waterston

CONTRIBUTING EDITORS Andy Hoskins & Julie Baxter

EDITORIAL DIRECTOR Steve Hartridge

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 SENIOR DESIGNER Louisa Horton

DESIGNERS Ross Clifford, Caitlan Francis & Zoe Tarrant

PRODUCTION & STUDIO MANAGER Clare Hunter

PRODUCTION ADMINISTRATOR

5

A slice of nostalgia

A

hh, the family holiday. When I sat down to think about this subject, immediately my mind was a speed reel of vivid memories that got faster and faster - much like that Greek song my mum, dad and I always ended up dancing to before the plate-smashing finale which was inevitable in every 90s Greek taverna. It’s a feature-length movie of warm and funny moments with a little sunburnt humiliation thrown in for good measure. Highlights include my sweet victory in a chocolate-eating competition in Yugoslavia, finding ancient pottery in an Laura Gelder EDITOR abandoned amphitheatre in Turkey, attracting alarmingly large colonies of friendly feral cats in every Greek taverna the Gelders ever visited and hunting for the Loch Ness Monster in a surprisingly sunny Scotland. There’s also my dad embarrassing me by beating David Beckham to wearing a sarong and my (still-smouldering, now I think of it) teenage rage at being denied the chance to go clubbing in Croatia. What famillies want for a holiday, according to the experts in our feature (page 76), varies a lot more in 2020. Families are more adventurous and words like 'education' and 'conservation' are becoming more key to the experience. But not everyone can afford an African safari with kids. The bucket and spade break might not be as universally popular but ABTA's research shows that Spain, Greece and France are still family favourites. Whatever your client wants, creating those vivid childhood holiday memories is a responsibility and a privilege - and even the embrassing ones can become precious over time (turns out, it's not so bad having a style icon dad). As I write this the travel industry is battling its latest storm and this one sounds like a futuristic video game. Covid-19 is not only affecting travel to the Far East but Italy and the Canary Islands too. As Chris Crampton, Chairman of the Pacific Asia Travel Association UK & Ireland, says on page 50, agents must not panic and only take travel advice from reliable and official sources. Of course, agents are a trusted source in themselves and it's challenging times like these when you can really show it.

Steve Hunter

(PRINT) ISSN 2056-9319. © BMI PUBLISHING LTD 2020.

SELLING TRAVEL IS PUBLISHED BY BMI PUBLISHING LTD: SUFFOLK HOUSE, GEORGE STREET, CROYDON, SURREY, CR9 1SR, 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: ISTOCKPHOTO.COM This publication is printed on Revivew 100 Media and Revive recycled coated, recycled paper grades that are FSC® Recycled certified and Carbon Balanced.

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the big picture /

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Pakistan The Karakoram Mountains

New frontiers Prime Minister Imran Khan says visitors to Pakistan doubled between 2018 and 2019 and Intrepid Travel is getting in on the trend with a new expedition beginning in Islamabad and ending in walled city Lahore. There’s a drive along the panoramic Karakoram Highway past glaciers, lakes and snow-capped peaks and visits to Khunjerab National Park to spot wolves and snow leopards, the ancient ruins of Taxila and a local women’s group. intrepid.com

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8 / seychelles

Islands

for all When a destination consists of a string of multiple islands, like the Seychelles, it’s not always easy to know which one to book. Kathryn Liston looks at the options

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seychelles /

T

he Seychelles is diversifying its marketing away from the beach and promoting activities, attractions and the direct twice-weekly British Airways flight to families. “We are focusing more on raising awareness of activities for families now that we have the direct flights which are really good for this market.” says Eloise Vidot, UK Marketing Executive at the Seychelles Tourist Office. She highlights the islands’ walking trails, historical plantation houses and cultural attractions such as the new museum in Victoria, Le Jardin Du Roi Spice Garden, tea

plantations and trails and the Takamaka Bay rum distillery. The direct flight has contributed to significant tourism growth from the UK. “Out of the UK, we have seen double figure growth year-on-year for the past three to four years,” says Vidot. Last year, the number of UK visitors rose 12%. Nikki Hain, Product Manager at Premier Holidays, says holidaymakers are more inclined to travel around once they arrive in the Seychelles because the journey from the UK is quicker. Previously visitors had to connect in places like Dubai. “More and more holidaymakers are

9

choosing to island hop once they arrive as they are spending less time travelling there,” she says. “Constance Ephélia on Mahé is a popular choice before taking a boat over to Denis Private Island or Cerf Island Resort. Island hopping really enhances a Seychelles holiday and allows travellers to see the best of the country.” Tailor-made tour operator Audley is expecting its clients to go even further afield to islands where conservation is key. It is focusing on ‘eco-luxe’ travel for 2020, particularly outside of the mainstream islands, and

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Discover why Seychelles

Photo: Torsten Dickmann

Beaches are Voted the World’s Finest.

Seychelles Tourist Office Ground Floor / 132 Buckingham Palace Road, London SW1W 9SA t: + 44 (0) 207 730 0700 | www.seychelles.travel

To become a Seychelles expert, visit www.seychellessuperstar.co.uk

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seychelles /

banyan tree seychelles, Mahé

“Mahé, the biggest of the islands, offers the widest variety of hotels, shops, markets and restaurants as well as the capital Victoria. It is often twinned with Praslin”

recommends Alphonse Island Lodge on Alphonse island, an hour from Mahé, and Six Senses on Félicité. “They both have elements based on luxury as well as marine and environmental conservation and activities,” says Sheena Gunnoo, a Travel Specialist at Audley and expert on hidden beaches.

Mahé, Praslin & La Digue With 115 islands, the Seychelles’ biodiversity is as huge as its resident giant tortoises. From lush mountains and deserted sandy beaches to tropical jungle and abundant plant and wildlife, the variety of product on offer is extensive. Its eco-credentials are first-rate too. Seychelles was the first country in the world to include conservation in its constitution and one of the first to tackle packaging, banning commercial use of plastic utensils in 2017. Mahé, the biggest of the islands, offers the widest variety of hotels, shops, markets and restaurants as well as the

Constance Ephelia, Mahé

capital city Victoria to explore. It is often twinned with Praslin - 15 minutes by air or an hour by high-speed catamaran. Here, visitors will find pristine beaches, turtle hatching sites (also on Mahé and Bird Island) and rare plants including the pelvis-shaped coco-de-mer, found only in the island’s Vallée de Mai and on Curieuse. The Indian Ocean’s warm, crystal-clear waters and abundant marine life are a draw for scuba divers and snorkellers. Sailing around the inner islands is also safe and easy, with less than 32 miles between mooring grounds. Bareboat, crewed boats and day charters on modern yachts and traditional sailing vessels are offered by charter companies on Mahé and Praslin. Active holidaymakers will find excellent walking on the Salazie nature trail, Mahé, home to the rare Seychelles scops-owl. Golfers will find a challenge on the 18-hole Constance Lemuria course in Praslin and the nine-hole Seychelles Golf Club, Mahé. Accommodation on the two islands

11

family nature tour, denis private island

ranges from luxury international brands such as Banyan Tree, Raffles and Hilton to four-star resorts and affordable family-run guesthouses. This year, Hilton’s Allamanda hotel is offering complimentary car hire to guests to encourage them to explore Mahé. Its Northolme hotel has upgraded its public areas and will add a rum shack. Club Med is scheduled to open a resort on the island of Sainte Anne, 4km from Mahe, later this year. Laid-back La Digue is a popular day trip from Praslin (15 minutes by ferry) but it’s worth encouraging clients to stay a few nights. Cycling is a great way to explore La Digue’s L’Union Estate and vanilla plantation or visitors can slow it down and plod along in an ox cart to Rene Payet Veuve Reserve, home to the endemic Seychelles Paradise Flycatcher. La Digue has one of the world’s most photographed beaches, the white-powder Anse Source d’Argent which has featured in many films and TV advertisements.

Four Seasons Desroches Island

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Crystal_

online

12 / seychelles

n co

tent

Want to read more Indian Ocean features? sellingtravel.co.uk

Outer private islands Privacy, exclusivity and the absence of footprints is a major appeal of the Seychelles - especially in the outer islands. Visitors to Fregate Island Private’s 16 luxury residences will find themselves in the company of hundreds of exotic birds and 3,500 free-roaming Giant Aldabra tortoises when not relaxing on the exquisite, deserted beaches of Anse Victorin and Anse Macquereau. Silhouette Island is home to one of the Seychelles’ two rainforests and a plethora of rare plants, incense trees, endemic animals and the five-star Hilton Seychelles Labriz Resort. The Grand Barbe trail, which runs from one side of Silhouette island to the other, offers a challenging hike when the beach palls. Just to the north of Silhouette is the exclusive 11-villa North Island, popular with celebrities - the Duke & Duchess of Cambridge spent their honeymoon there. Six Senses Zil Pasyon on Félicité, only accessible by helicopter or speedboat, offers 28 private pool villas, a spa, yoga pavilion and dining options inspired by the Seychellois spice route. On Desroches Island, a 35-minute flight from Mahé, the Four Seasons Resort Seychelles offers suites, villas and residences, water-sports, diving, a children’s programme and a tortoise sanctuary. Guests on Cousine Island can relax among endemic vegetation and one million nesting birds including the rare brush warbler and Seychelles toc-toc. Two conservation officers are on hand to organise guided walks, deep-sea fishing, scuba diving and snorkelling trips.

pool villa, Six Senses Zil Pasyon

hiking, north island

Marlin fishing is a draw on Denis Private Island, which is perched on the northern edge of the Seychelles bank. The 375-acre coral island offers 25 elegant villas and pristine beaches. An hour from Mahe, remote Alphonse offers excellent fly fishing, diving and snorkelling with manta rays and sailfish and turtle hatching monitoring. New for 2020 is a free diving experience and two Creole-style luxury beach villas which sleep up to eight adults and four children. Bird Island, the northernmost island in the Seychelles, is (unsurprisingly) home to millions of birds including sooty terns, fairy terns and common noddies, and is a nesting site for hawksbill and green turtles including Esmeralda, the world’s largest. It is also popular with divers, with the sea floor dropping to 5,000 feet. French luxury cruise line Ponant has a nine-day round-trip cruise from Mahé on Le Bougainville, departing November 18. The voyage visits eight islands including Aride, Curieuse, Praslin, Desroches and La Digue, from £3,780pp.

“Silhouette Island is home to one of the Seychelles’ two rainforests and a plethora of rare plants, incense trees, endemic animals and the five-star Hilton Seychelles Labriz Resort”

Where to book it Hayes & Jarvis - 01293 762 456 A nine-night holiday to Mahé, Praslin and La Digue starts from £3,099pp. It includes three nights half-board at the five-star Constance Ephélia Resort, Mahé, three nights B&B at the five-star Le Domaine De L’Orangerarie, La Digue, three nights B&B at the five-star Constance Lemuria Resort, Praslin, flights from London and transfers. hayesandjarvis.co.uk •

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Crystal_Yacht_SellingTravel_Ad_Feb20.qxp_Crystal_Yacht_SellingTravel_Ad_Feb20 17/02/2020 16:00 Page 1

CRYSTAL WHERE LUXURY IS PERSONAL

SEYCHELLES YACHTING SERENADE MAHÉ ROUNDTRIP | CRYSTAL ESPRIT 7 FEBRUARY 2021 | 7 NIGHTS | VOYAGE YES210207-07 Aride Island

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Jon Schofield Regional Sales Manager North & Scotland Tel: 07841 921533 jon@cruiseportfolio.co.uk

Nan Short Representative Northern Ireland & Eire Tel: 02890 642252 nanshort@btopenworld.com

Megan Saunders Trade Sales Support Executive Tel: 020 7399 7602 megan@cruiseportfolio.co.uk

Itinerary Highlights:

Mahé/Victoria Harbour, St. Anne Island (overnight), Cousin Island, Praslin (two overnights), La Passe, Laraie Bay (two overnights), Aride, Mahé/Victoria Harbor (overnight).

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Fares are per person, cruise only in UK sterling based on double occupancy in the specified stateroom grade for the first two full-fare guests and include port, security and handling charges, which vary by departure. All fares, offers and itineraries are subject to change and availability and can be withdrawn at any time. Fares may fluctuate and should be used as a guide only. Prices may go up or down. You should contact us on 0207 399 7603 before booking, or visit our website www.crystalcruises.co.uk. The fares are available to new bookings only and are only available to UK & Eire residents. Restrictions apply. See crystalcruises.co.uk for complete terms and conditions of all offers. © 2020 Crystal Cruises, Inc., Ships' registry: The Bahamas.

Seychelles3.indd 13 Untitled-4 1

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Talking Shop INSPIRED BY YOU Agent news & views

Raise a glass with If Only The first 20 agents to make a cruise-and-stay booking with If Only will have a bottle of prosecco delivered to them by their local BDM. The initiative marks the launch of If Only's new cruise minibrochure. It is designed to inspire agents with its ocean experiences and added extras such as complimentary shore excursions and up to $600 onboard credit. ifonly.net/agent-incentives

Don't let clienets24be put o by tthhe Cook hour ight to p22) Islands (

Win an Easter hamper Railtrail Tours is running an Easter Competition to win a Marks and Spencer Easter hamper. To win, agents must make a Railtrail tour booking before March 27, 2020 and quote their agency, branch and name in an email to enquiry@railtrail.co.uk railtrail.co.uk

Contents 19

IN THE OFFICE

16

Marketing must March 24, 25 & 26 Join the Destination New South Wales Roadshow for the latest news on New South Wales, including new product and a bush fire update. Events will take place in London on March 24, in Manchester on March 25 and in Glasgow on March 26. Sign up at: sellingtravel.co.uk/events

Global Travel Group is offering new marketing software to members at an exclusive rate following a partnership with Net Effect. The new tools will streamline marketing and drive sales. globaltravelgroup.com

FOURSIGHT

23

PEOPLE ON THE MOVE

SELLINGTRAVEL.CO.UK

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FOUR-SIGHT

16

Our columnists

You can't choose your family but you can choose your holiday. We ask our columnists how they go about finding the perfect family break and what's popular?

Unlimited ice cream helps, says Liz

Majorca is unbeatable, according to Sandy

The trend is moving towards multi-centre activityfocused trips FAMILY Holidays are complex. My first question is whether they want something in the school holidays and what their budget is, as expectations are often unrealistic. I like to know what has been booked the past too. The trend is moving away from a one-or two-week beachside stay to holidays ranging from multi-centre activity-focused trips to Slovenia (for teenage groups) or Lapland, land and water sports in the Caribbean or a safari in Africa. Many families ski together and the Mediterranean is still popular. For a classic family summer holiday the trend seems to be split between all-inclusive resorts and villa stays, which are more in demand than self-catering apartments. Croatia, Italy and Malta are popular. Clients are more specific, especially if they have a decent budget - "no more than four hours of flying, Gatwick departure, separate bedrooms, walking distance to restaurants, a range of activities (but not necessarily kids clubs)". We dissuade clients from all-inclusive unless it's a high-star-rated property - food and service can be disappointing. Another trend is multi-generational holidays. Hallmark Travel has a large clientele of retired couples, some travelling to visit children abroad, but many just enjoying big trips together with the time and funds they've acquired. I went to Destinations in London recently (a great event to get ideas for off-the-beatentrack trips) and the biggest trend was solo travel. But that is another subject entirely!

FOR an agent, families and cruising are the perfect match. Modern cruise ships have replaced many beach resorts as the ideal family holiday, with big ships offering outstanding entertainment to keep children occupied and parents (often grandparents too) sane. However, as a specialist cruise agent with a focus on small, expedition and river cruises, it is far less obvious how I can attract and offer a product suitable for families. River cruise operators have widely varying strategies and policies to attract the family market, making it increasingly easier for agents to match families to the right operator. At the top end, some American operators nominate certain weeks as multi-generational

Ships are tapping into the family market with adjoining cabins sailings. For example, Disney now charters many sailing dates on AmaWaterways' ships with adjoining, three and four-bedroom cabins and even have Disney monitors to run children's programmes. Whilst some operators have decided to be adult-only, with a minimum age of 18, others have set out to be family-friendly by offering free places for children and ships built with family cabins - look out for the new A-ROSA ship sailing the Rhine in 2021, it has family cabins with bunk beds. A river cruise is not the obvious first choice for those with kids – but more and more families are getting onboard!

THE INDEPENDENT AGENCY

THE CRUISE SPECIALIST

Hallmark Travel, West Sussex

Go Cruise, Cruise specialist, Worcestershire

Gabriele Scholes

James Hill

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FOUR-SIGHT

17

Our columnists

Most will agree, if the children are happy then the parents are happy too I'VE found that more families are looking for experiences on their holidays, whether that’s the thrills and spills of water and theme parks or a joint activity like learning to sail or joining a group on a cycling holiday. Don't get me wrong, there's still huge demand for the all-inclusive package holiday, but personally I've never been a big fan. When my children were young I used to enjoy hiring a villa with other families. This allowed us to enjoy our own pool, our own space and spend time exploring local villages, and it seemed to suit everyone. We would also take the kids skiing – although they soon became better than us! If I had to pick our top five family holidays it would include a Neilson activity holiday followed by California, Portugal, Sri Lanka and Bali – although a road trip to Northern Scotland with our labrador has very fond memories too. I think most families agree that if the children are happy then the parents are happy too. Popular requests include free wifi throughout the hotel and all children having proper beds – not camp beds – along with plenty of kids clubs and unlimited ice cream! I still think there are a lack of hotel rooms that accommodate large families, three bedroom apartments, in particular, are a rare find. I've noticed that Lapland has become so popular in the last five years, with extended family groups taking grandparents to join in the magic too. Although it's expensive, the family experience is priceless.

WHEN it comes to family-friendly holidays, you can't beat the Mediterranean in my opinion. According to the Telegraph, Majorca was voted best for families as it has loads of child-friendly beaches and plenty of activities both in and out of the water. Corfu comes a close second, with attractions ranging from water parks to horse riding. It also enjoyed a surge in popularity after The Durrells - an ITV drama which follows a lovely, eccentric family living there in the 1930s. Personally, I think good old Majorca is as perfect for kids now as it was when I was repping at the Magaluf Park for Thomson many moons ago. And I also have to commend Menorca for going out of its way to be child-friendly. Teenagers will be kept busy in Cyprus with cycling trails up in the Troodos Mountains and various other adventure activities. It helps that most of the islands I’ve mentioned have great family-focused hotels that offer lots of kids clubs and are all-inclusive, which can help if clients are on a budget. If the kids are kept entertained then it usually gives parents a chance to relax too. With all the torrential rain and gales we've been having recently, people are bound to want to get their summer holiday booked! My advice would be to keep an eye on the TV for travel programmes that feature a country in a positive light - then put some offers in your window for those places. These programmes tend to generate a surge in bookings and make for an easy sell as people have them on their mind already!

Majorca has child-friendly beaches and great activities

THE HIGH STREET AGENCY

THE HOME WORKER

The Travel Team Brampton, Cumbria

Sandy's Travel Escapes, Leeds

Sandy Murray

Liz Beaty

Slovenia is great for activity-focused family holidays, says Gabriele

Disney is stepping aboard AmaWaterways

Next month: How can agents allay fears and still sell holidays in the midst of a global incident like Covid-19?

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AGENTS TALK

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Selling Travel listens

This month #agentstalk about... Get social with us:

SellingTravel

SellingTravelmag

TRAVEL AGENT RANTS & RAVES This month's debate: "What advice are you giving clients that are worried about Coronavirus, is it affecting bookings and what do you think about it?" “Absolute carnage at Tenerife South Airport but I have to say Jet2 have been great in a very trying situation - taking things one plane at a time and supplying buses and accommodation."

"I think people are more concerned about quarantine time interfering with their commitments. And those that are healthy are concerned they

Agents overheard "Client refused to stay in a hotel because it's called Corona and she's worried she may catch coronavirus"

“Today’s first enquiry... do you do holidays in a submarine?”

“It seems to me that no lessons have been learned from the Diamond Princess saga. Keep 1,000 people together and the virus is guaranteed to spread. Surely it's easier to repatriate and isolate them here in UK?" "I had a client who made herself ill with worry about her trip to Thailand. She is having a great time but is still convinced she will catch it"

@sellingtravmag

could pass it on to someone more vulnerable." "We've had two Asia-bound clients pay extra to change their departure dates. Legally operators dont have to allow date changes but they have been really helpful" "I was on a Malaysia fam trip at the height of SARS. We were

well looked after and Kuoni gave us the choice to cancel. I chose not to - we cannot let these things rule our lives." "I have a client going to South Africa whose parents were due to fly from China but are in lock-down as their town has confirmed cases. The operator says normal booking conditions apply though."

"Client asked if they could take 20 tubes of toothpaste to Vietnam. They were worried that the airline would think they were explosives" "Customer enquired about a trip for two adults and four kids aged 18,18,17 and five. She couldn't understand why I changed it to five adults and one child..."

Your monthly dose of Insta envy

@freebirdtravelagency shared this snap of a blue footed booby

Selling Travel's @jessicapook discovers New Smyrna's charm

@fanclubthailand gave us a glimpse of remote Khao Sok

Before there was Tel Aviv, there was Jaffa, says @visit_israel

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IN THE OFFICE

19

w i t h Ho l i d a y E l i t e

TIPTO's new agent Ambassador Karen Hopkins, a homeworker for Holiday Elite, tells Jessica Pook what prompted her to apply for TIPTO's Agent Ambassador Programme and what she hopes to achieve in her new role. "Gaining an understanding of the different tour operators out there and what they do can be overwhelming when you’re starting out as a homeworker, especially when you've had no previous retail experience. Without store visits from suppliers you're often left to your own devices and that's why events like TIPTO's roadshows are crucial in my opinion.

What is TIPTO? "TIPTO is a membership group of leading tour operators supporting independent UK travel agents. As a homeworker you’ve got to go out and make those connections. What's great about TIPTO's Face 2 Face events is that you have access to a range of suppliers, from worldwide touring to attraction tickets, all under one roof. The speed-dating sessions offer the opportunity to network and build contacts. I always come away with a better understanding of the supplier and the range of product they offer. For example, I didn’t know that Shearings had their own hotels, I’ve always associated them with coaching

these three-day-long celebrations. As you can imagine, this is not something many other agents specialise in as they require a lot of time and patience. I organise everything from start to finish including the legal side, finding priests, advising on travel prior to the wedding, researching hotels that provide the right ceremony and suggesting destinations that people wouldn’t ordinarily think of. "I really enjoy these projects as it's a big part of my culture and I'm proud to be able to represent my heritage within the travel industry. holidays. I was also surprised to learn that Trafalgar Travel has three levels of touring depending on the client's budget. "Agents also have access to various offers and incentives on the TIPTO Facebook page, which we can use on our own social media. Without this option I’d have to 'like' so many supplier Facebook pages in order to keep up to date with event information, offers and incentives - but this is a onestop-shop for members. "I'm hoping that by becoming a TIPTO Ambassador I can act as a voice for homeworkers and share product knowledge with those who are unable to attend the events. I'll also be attending TIPTO’s general meetings and play a part in influencing everything from the set up and delivery of roadshow events and training sessions, through to the incentives offered by members."

What's your career highlight so far? "For me, it's all worth while when we get some recognition. Since we don’t often get that face-to-face communication with suppliers, it's lovely when we get a message of thanks or a token of gratitude.

I hope I can be a voice for homeworkers

Carving a niche "I'm finding touring especially popular this year and have had a few enquiries for escorted tours in India and the Canadian Rockies. Also, people are looking for multicentres and cruise-and-stays are proving popular, with combinations including Iceland and New York or Miami and Barbados. "I'm hoping to expand my Sikh wedding portfolio. Thanks to my Indian heritage I've been able to tap into this niche and have an advantage in that I'm already well versed in the traditions and customs associated with

"The highlight of my career has to be when I won a Sandals Star Award for Top Destination Wedding Travel Agency nationally a few years ago. I was also shortlisted in the Jamaica Travel Specialist Rewards as one of the Top 10 Jamaica Agents in 2015. It was amazing to get that personal recognition and gave me such a sense of achievement. "I sell a lot of holidays to Jamaica so will be reaping the rewards with my own trip to Sandal's Montego Bay resort this month, using some free nights that I've acquired. "I'm also planning a big bucket-list tour of India for my 50th birthday this year. A big birthday deserves a big trip!" holidayelite.com; tipto.co.uk

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20

BEEN THERE, DONE THAT Training, events and fam trips

What’s new at Newport Beach Wellness treatments, craft cocktails and Californian cuisine gave attendees a taste of what Newport Beach has to offer at its annual sales and media mission last month. A Retreat with Visit Newport Beach gave media and trade partners a chance to network with reps from the destination and get an update on what’s new for 2020. The following day, delegates met with famous faces at the Newport Beach Film Festival UK Honours, where awards were co-presented by Gary Sherwin, President and CEO of Visit Newport Beach, pictured here with actress Gugu Mbatha-Raw. visitnewportbeach.com

Agents back New South Wales

Jamaica fam hits Jerky Jo’s

A group of dnata agents, including six from Travelbag, one from Gold Medal and one from Netflights, are determined to help boost bookings to New South Wales following a fam trip to the region. The group visited Sydney's new Wildlife Retreat at Taronga and Bondi Beach, zipped around the Hunter Valley on a Segway tour and took in views of the Blue Mountains and Port Stephens. visitnsw.com

Nine agents took part in a week-long trip to Jamaica as part of an AMResorts and Funway fam. The group stayed at Secrets St. James Montego Bay and visited all AMResorts properties on the island, rum punch in hand. They also had the chance to feast on some Jamaican jerk chicken at Jerky Jo’s and enjoy paddle boarding, kayaking and river tubing. amresorts.com

Not Just Travel hosts trade partner day Building a stronger and mutually beneficial relationship was the focus of Not Just Travel’s trade partners day, its biggest event to date. Partners from tour operators, tourist boards, airlines and hoteliers learnt how the typical Not Just Travel consultant ticks and agents learnt how to make the most of the various business opportunities available through the consortia. The event will be hosted annually. notjusttravel.com

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

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talking shop /

21

Accommodation

Meet... RACQUEL BROWN

Chief Executive Officer, St. Kitts Tourism Authority

ROOM WITH A VIEW

Newmarket hits the road Gemma at Newmarket Holidays provided a service with a smile as she hand delivered Newmarket’s new solo travel brochure to agencies across the country. Spending a week on the road, Gemma met with the team at Holidays by Design in Cleethorpes and Getaway Travel in Whitby before travelling to Colne to pop into Althams Travel and to Chester (pictured) to visit Hays Travel where she met with the assistant manager, Lucy, and the branch’s new travel consultant, Beth. newmarketholidays.co.uk

Queensland on Tour hits the UK Kicking off in London at Australia House, delegates from Queensland met with 24 product managers from boutique, high-end and mainstream travel companies in a series of ten-minute one-to-one sessions. Then it was on to The Forge venue for an evening of presentations, followed by entertainment in the form of Aussie-themed bingo. One lucky agent ended the night by winning return flights to Brisbane with Qantas. teq.queensland.com

A heartfelt thanks to all of our trade partners who, over the past 12 months, have been sharing in this column their favourite St. Kitts experience. We appreciate your continued support for our island and we look forward to welcoming more of your clients in 2020, whether they plan to visit during one of our annual events - Music Festival, Restaurant Week, CPL T20 Cricket - or simply to lime with us. Here are some of our top recommendations on where they can stay…

Stay a while • Koi Resort - part of Curio Collection by Hilton, this newly-opened resort in Basseterre offers views of both the mountain range and ocean • Belle Mont Farm - looking for luxurious yet eco-friendly? Offer an organic farm in the hills of northern St. Kitts • St. Kitts Marriott Resort - the island’s largest resort in North Frigate Bay is geared up for families with three pools and beach access • Park Hyatt St. Kitts - a super suave resort in Banana Bay boasts rooms with roof-top pools for those who like the wow factor • Ocean Terrace Inn - close to Basseterre and with views overlooking the harbour, this four-star boutique hotel is a people pleaser • Royal St. Kitts Hotel - this family-run resort in North Frigate Bay has its own hidden gem in the form of a private lagoon • Sugar Bay Club - guests can enjoy this five-acre oceanside site in North Frigate Bay from the comfort of their own studio or cottage • Timothy Beach Resort - perfect for those who are looking for a livelier scene in South Frigate Bay and an affordable price tag.

g u book St. Kitts. Lo Earn £50 when yo ewards.co.uk details at: stkittsr SELLINGTRAVEL.CO.UK

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ON LOCATION

22

Cook Islands

The lure of the lagoon BY ALLYSON SHARPE – FIRST CLASS HOLIDAYS After spending nearly 24 hours flying, we finally get our first glimpse of the Cook Islands, its turquoise waters and bright beaches seemingly in touching distance. After being greeted with a fresh flower necklace at Rarotonga Airport, the Cook Islands' main international gateway, the tourist board escorts us to our accommodation to unpack our swimmers before heading off on a Koka Lagoon Cruise. The glass-bottom boat sails through Muri Lagoon to a marine reserve site with coral heads sprouting everywhere. We stop to refuel with a delicious fish BBQ feast and our crew demonstrates coconut husking before serenading us with ukuleles. Our long flight seems a distant memory. The following day, we stretch our legs with an eco cycle tour around Rarotonga. We cycle around 12km at a relaxed pace through the quiet back roads, learning about the local culture, history, plant life and environment and stopping regularly to listen to our guide's stories of the islands. After the cycle we enjoy a delicious local lunch of fresh salad and fruits, including star fruit, passionfruit, mango, pawpaw and coconut, as well as slow cooked lamb and rukau - a dish of baby taro leaves cooked

with onion and coconut cream. No trip to the Cook Islands would be complete without visiting Aitutaki, a small island north of Rarotonga with a population of 2,000. The 45-minute flight gives us just enough time to enjoy the breath-taking views from the air. Once on the island we embark on a sixhour Vaku cruise, visiting sun-soaked motus (tiny islands) and snorkelling in sunny spots teeming with tropical fish including the majestic, silvery giant trevally. We dock at Tapuaetai (One Foot Island), one of 22 islands in the Aitutaki atoll, which, despite its tiny size, contains a post office where you can get your passport stamped - a must! The trip ends with an Island Night – Aitutaki Village Experience, where locals share their history and traditions through music, song, dance and food. It's highly entertaining, especially when the crowd are asked to mirror the traditional dances. So... was it worth the 24-hour journey? Most definitely!

COOK ISLANDS

From top, clockwise: The Vaka cruise docking at One Foot Island; agents enjoying the view with a fresh coconut; beach hammock at Aitutaki Lagoon Private Island Resort; sunglasses at the ready for a selfie at Muri Lagoon

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TRAVEL PEOPLE

23

on the move

R I C H AR D H E Y

EMMA VICKERS

TO: Agency Sales Manager for the north, Abercrombie & Kent

TO: Trade Sales Manager, Greatdays

Richard will help to drive the agent engagement programme for Abercrombie & Kent. His focus will be to provide specialist knowledge of A&K's luxury products with both existing and new trade partners.

Emma previously worked for Magic Breaks and brings a wealth of travel experience and knowledge of the retail travel industry to the role. She will help Greatdays continue to grow its presence in this important sector of the market.

MEET... ‘LarrylikeLincoln’ Elliott Abraham Lincoln impersonator

Kentucky means...

History

Tell us about Kentucky’s history

K AR E N H O P K I N S

T O R E Y K I N G S-H O D K I N

TO: Agent Ambassador, TIPTO

Karen is the latest addition to TIPTO's Agent Ambassador Programme. Karen will utilise her knowledge of frontline sales from a homeworking perspective to help TIPTO to inform and support agents from all areas of the industry. (More on page 19).

TO: Head of Key Accounts, Royal Caribbean International

Torey joins the newly-bolstered twenty-strong Royal Caribbean sales team and will manage a team of six key account managers. She has lots of experience in cruise, having sat on CLIA's travel agents forum.

Kentucky played a major part in the American Civil War, as the site of the decisive Battle of Richmond, the bloody Battle of Perryville and the childhood home of President Abraham Lincoln. Today, many of these places are commemorated with monuments and museums that capture Kentucky’s compelling history and tell our story to the world.

What would surprise readers? The majority of people believe America’s 16th president, Abraham Lincoln, was born in Illinois. He was actually born from very humble beginnings right here in Kentucky in 1809. Considered one of America’s most celebrated presidents, Abe was influential in abolishing slavery and led his country into Civil War to do so. A proud Kentuckian until the end, he once said: “I hope to have God on my side but I must have Kentucky.”

How can visitors learn more?

KERRI THORPE

TOM DUMBRELL

TO: Senior Partnership Manager, Advantage

TO: UK National Account Manager, Tauck

This appointment will allow Advantage to concentrate on maximising benefits for existing members, whilst being better placed to service the increase in membership enquiries. Kerri was previously Commercial Account Manager at Advantage.

Tom will be focused on representing Tauck to the company’s key agent partners in the UK market, building awareness of the American escorted touring and river cruise brand and driving new and repeat business.

Visitors can get a glimpse into the early life of Abe at the Abraham Lincoln Birthplace National Historical Park in Hodgenville, which features replicas of the one-room log cabin where Lincoln was born. Or, venture back in time with a self-guided tour with me, ‘LarrylikeLincoln’ and my wife ‘Mary Todd Lincoln’, as we explore the life of America’s former president from childhood to White House - perfect for those budding historians.

WIN A BOTTLE OF BOURBON! Answer one question to be in with a chance of winning. sellingtravel.co.uk/partner-updates

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online

24 / six of the best

n co

tent

Could you pass a test on Las Vegas? sellingtravel.co.uk/ e-learning

New attractions in

Las Vegas

There’s always something new and happening in Las Vegas! Laura Gelder has six attractions which agents could be using to lure clients to the desert city in 2020 Magic Mike Live

Based on the film about the exploits of an all-male stripper troupe, this isn’t strictly ‘new’ to Vegas. In fact, Magic Mike Live celebrated its 1,000th performance at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in November; but it’s set to re-open at SAHARA Las Vegas this spring. The energetic adult show has continued to receive rave reviews from fans and critics alike since opening in April 2017.

Park MGM food tour

Lip Smacking Foodie Tours has a new partnership with Park MGM Las Vegas, which the tour company’s founder says has become ‘the latest hotspot for some of Las Vegas’ most exciting restaurants’. Stops include Italian marketplace Eataly’s Manzo for golden arancini funghi dusted with 18-month-aged parmigiano reggiano and The NoMad for a dessert of milk and honey ice cream sandwiches.

Rod Stewart

Legendary rockstar Rod Stewart will return to Las Vegas in 2020 for 16 shows of his acclaimed residency ‘Rod Stewart: The Hits’, presented by Caesars Entertainment and Live Nation Las Vegas at The Colosseum at Caesars Palace. The 75-year-old will strut his stuff and sing big hits like Maggie May, Da Ya Think I’m Sexy and You’re in My Heart during his 90-minute show which runs on selected dates from March 6 to October 3.

Allegiant Stadium

It will hold up to 72,000 and is set to be completed in 2020. It will be the home of the NFL Oakland Raiders and University of Nevada football teams and the site of the Las Vegas Bowl (local college football game) from 2020, as well as the 2020 and 2021 Pac-12 Football Championship Game. The venue is also sure to host big-name music acts and give the city’s T-Mobile Arena a run for its money.

True Food Kitchen

This award-winning, seasonally-inspired restaurant and bar first opened in Arizona and has pioneered health-driven dining in the southwest. It opened on the Las Vegas Strip in February at The Forum Shops at Caesars Palace with industrial décor and Las Vegasinspired artwork. This branch also debuted the True Bar, featuring freshly-pressed juices, organic teas and natural refreshers, such as Kale Aid - plus booze, of course.

The Mayfair

This supper club opened at Bellagio on New Year’s Eve and aims to satisfy guests’ appetite for the extraordinary through a culinary programme that transports guests to a glamorous era when music and cuisine intertwined for an unforgettable, all-night experience. Vanillasmoked chocolate cigars, towering seafood displays and the world’s finest cuts of meat will greet guests dining fountain-side at this opulent venue.

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“Norquay is perfect for beginners and 80% of its skiers are local so you get a healthy dose of local culture” Gord Fielding, Snow School Director at Mt. Norquay Ski Resort, tells Jessica Pook about life on the slopes

F

or six months of the year Norquay Ski Resort in Alberta, Canada, is covered in a blanket of snow. For locals living here, a love for winter is not only inevitable - it’s paramount. Luckily I’m passionate about two things: winter and skiing, and I spend my days on the slopes running ski schools and training a team of 130 instructors daily. Considering its heavy snowfall, (Norquay can have up to 15 feet a year), skiing is still a relatively new activity here and in the wider Banff area, even amongst locals. It only started becoming known to visitors 35 years ago. Today, 80% of Norquay skiers are local, so tourists are guaranteed a healthy dose of authentic local culture along with great skiing.

The best for beginners I learnt to ski when I was 14 and have been a ski instructor at Norquay for 25 years. In my opinion there’s no better place to learn. The smallest of Banff’s Big 3 ski resorts (Banff Sunshine and Lake Louise are the other two), the ski season in Norquay starts at the

YEARS IN THE INDUSTRY: 25 years FavouriTe destination: Norquay of course, but I have a soft spot for Ontario, where I was born. Favourite pastime: Canada has been a hockey country since the 1860s, so that is my second passion.

beginning of November and closes after Easter, when the slopes quieten down. Norquay has the lowest elevation of the three resorts meaning it’s perfect for beginners finding their feet and getting used to the altitude before tackling the other resorts. We’ve made significant changes to our beginner terrain and now have fantastic facilities for people that want to learn how to ski. Our 11 green runs are not as long as those at Sunshine or Lake Louise so make for a great warm up. Once you build up confidence here then you’re ready to take on the other two.

No crowds The other benefit of skiing at Norquay is that the slopes are quiet, especially in comparison to most European resorts. With just 5,000 beds during the winter season, clients may find that they have the slopes to themselves on those early morning runs. Generations of Banffites ski here. We have one guy who’s 96 years old and this is the only place he’s skied. People like that the slopes aren’t overcrowded and that they can enjoy the 360 degree scenery across four mountain ranges. But Norquay is not to be underestimated. It also has more black runs than both Lake Louise and Sunshine, so is more than capable of providing intermediate and advanced skiers with challenging terrain. For non-skiers there’s also a diverse range of activities. They can try tubing (sliding on an inflatable donut) on the largest tubing run in Canada, or snowshoe on one of the many trails. And as Norquay is only 10 km from downtown, there’s also the option to ice skate on the Bow River, the closest natural ice surface to the town of Banff. I’m so lucky that my passion is my profession - I have to pinch myself every day, especially when I see deer or elk and the most amazing sunrises when I’m out skiing. It’s peaceful and majestic. •

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escorted touring /

27

Breaking

barriers

If agents can persuade their clients that escorted tours are about breaking rather than creating barriers, they’ll see a wealth of exciting options open up, says Chloe Govan

F

rom my car seat, I watch with amusement as the traffic politely zig-zags around a cow - a revered animal in Hindu culture - dozing audaciously in the middle of the road. Just seconds later the same drivers beep furiously at a fellow human making a minor driving faux pas. As we slow down near a tourist attraction, locals leap into the road, hammering on the windows to offer postcards for sale. Young boys honk on

trumpets, men brandish performing monkeys who extend their paws into the car, and elderly beggars run towards us, palms outstretched. That’s all before we’ve left the vehicle and for many the culture shock can be a little overwhelming. However, I am experiencing this from the comfort of an air-conditioned van and any questions I might have are answered by our English-speaking guide who is there to guide me through the melee – that’s the beauty of an escorted tour.

camel train in the sahara

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Themed tours Trekking in Costa Rica: Titan offers a 15-day tour of the Costa Rican wilderness from £3,199pp. Including a door-todoor pick-up service, flights, 32 meals, and 19 excursions, the tour takes in cloud forests, butterfly gardens and pineapple plantations with wildlife walks and cruises, hiking around a national park and a crocodile safari. Accommodation is in high-quality hotels and lodges. Wildlife adventures in Mongolia: Saga’s actionpacked 15-night Land of the Blue Sky tour of Mongolia is from £4,199pp. It includes visits to nomadic yak and camel-breeding families, optional horse riding excursions and visits to Buddhist monasteries and nature hotspots where wild horses, sheep and eagles roam. Also included is a visit to the Flaming Cliffs in the Gobi Desert, where the world’s first ever dinosaur egg nest was discovered. Accommodation is a mixture of traditional ‘ger’ camps with wild views and conventional hotels. North Japan for Instagrammers: Riviera’s 14-day Scenic Wonders of Hokkaido trip starts at £4,599pp. The tour, billed as a ‘photographer’s dream’, opens visitors’ lenses to volcanic lakes, mountain peaks, waterfalls, ancient forests containing foxes, bears and deer, and the colourful flower fields of Furano. Also included are tasting sessions at a sake brewery, ceremonial dances and travel on the bullet train.

U

A D T e Meteroa, greece is one of olympic’s holidays’ new escorted tours

Cultural ice breaker An escorted tour doesn’t have to be a bubble-wrapped barrier, it can be a way to build a bridge between two cultures. Although some people get an adrenaline boost from eating something unidentifiable or getting lost in a new city, others can feel stressed or upset in strange places without a guide to support, translate or just instil a feeling of safety. An escorted tour can leave travellers to focus on enjoying and understanding a destination without worrying about being over charged, eating meat by mistake, getting on the wrong train or engaging in something culturally insensitive without knowing it.

Costa rica is popular with multi-generational families

Mark Henderson, Commercial Manager at Travel 2, recommends discussing negative connotations and sweeping stereotypes that customers may have and dispelling them. One perception is that tours can lead to a loss of freedom but actually many tours are flexible and travellers can often enjoy perks that would never be enjoyed if travelling independently. Henderson says: “For example, one of our partners offers customers the chance to enter Rome’s Sistine Chapel for a private tour with a local expert before it opens to the public, another lets guests visit Egypt’s temple of Luxor after it has been closed.” Talking about a recent cycling trip

T i d r o

exploring tokyo’s back streets

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Untitled S2990 T


The Most Luxurious Escorted Touring Holidays

Free One-Way Business Class Flight Upgrade† Plus

2-night stopover in Dubai for £199¥ Plus

Free Private Door-to-Door Chauffeur Transfers^

Earn £15 for EVERY booking you make www.riverrewards.cruises

Unrivalled Luxury and Experiences At Scenic, we’re passionate about what we do, that’s why our 5-star itineraries are handcrafted by our expert Journey Designers to take your customers on an unforgettable journey. To make this happen, the Scenic Difference is key. That means we include what the others don’t, including return flights and transfers, tips, all activities and dining and extra-special exclusive Scenic events that promise to create memories that will last a lifetime. With scenic, once-in-a-lifetime experiences are included in the price, from dinner in the Field of Lights at Uluru, to a magnificent helicopter ride over the Great Barrier Reef or even visiting a traditional Mãori village.

20-Day Grand Australia

27-Day Very Best of Australia & New Zealand

It’s all included with Scenic Return flights from a choice of UK airports All internal flights throughout Australia & New Zealand Scenic Enrich – unforgettable and exclusive once-in-a-lifetime experiences Scenic Freechoice – a choice of wonderful activities throughout the journey Scenic Freechoice Dining – a choice of dining options Scenic Sundowners – exclusive hosted evening drinks in memorable locations Scenic Special Stays – iconic hotels remarkable for their location, character and heritage Milford Sound overnight cruise Welcome and farewell receptions

Perth > Sydney Departing October 2020 - March 2021

Melbourne > Auckland Departing November 2020 - January 2021

From £6,845 per person

From £8,445 per person

Fully escorted touring Expert Tour Directors and local guides Personal airport transfers throughout Australia and New Zealand Complimentary Wi-Fi at selected hotels And of course, all tipping and gratuities

Get in touch with your local Sales Manager agencysales@scenic.co.uk or call 0161 288 1970 | Order your brochures with Tradegate Terms and conditions: †Free Business Class Flight Upgrade is limited and is valid one way only on selected 2020/21 Australia & New Zealand itineraries. Offer is available on qualifying flights and upgrades are subject to availability. Supplements may apply if travelling on non-specified routes and from regional departure points. Upgrades are non-transferable and no cash or credit alternative will be offered. ¥2-night stopover in DXB depends on airline availability and routing. ^Private door-to-door chauffeur transfers are complimentary within 75 miles of an airport where flights are available from. For guests who live outside of 75 miles, an additional supplement of £2.00 per mile will be charged.

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he joined in Cuba, Henderson gives another example of the beauty of escorted tours: “There were a few days when I reached my limit and could not continue on the bike – if I had been travelling alone I would have had no option but to walk or get public transport back to my accommodation, but we had a support bus which allowed me to rest and then catch up with the rest of the group so I could complete the day with them.” Trek America has a new halloween tour of the deep south

Generation game According to Edwina Coppock of Titan Travel, intergenerational travel is one of the hottest new trends in escorted touring. “Many bookings on our new Wild Costa Rica tour are parents in their 60s and 70s travelling with their children,” she says. “Tours like this are a great way for family members to spend quality time together, while enjoying an active, adventurous holiday that’s suitable for all ages.” Clients needn’t be confined to a rigid

schedule dependent on the needs of a large group either. For Riviera Travel, tailor-made escorted tours are on the up. “We have seen a real trend towards flexibility and personalisation,” explains Joanne Lynn, Head of Riviera’s Short Haul Product. “Our customers tell us that they enjoy all the benefits of travelling as part of a group, but value the opportunity to tailor the itinerary to their own interests.

Iguazu falls

As a result, we have incorporated points into our tours where clients can make choices about what to do, where to stay and how to get there to create a genuinely personalised holiday.” As statistics suggest that concerns about flexibility are often the main reason for shunning organised tours, this could be an ideal time to direct clients towards more favourable options.

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Due to the nature of our tours they are generally unsuitable for those with restricted mobility. If you’d like to discuss any particular holiday with us in this respect, then please don’t hesitate to call us. Book with 100% confidence, flight-inclusive holidays are ATOL or ABTOT protected. Dates and prices are subject to availability. Prices shown are per person, based on 2 people sharing. Prices may change prior to and after publication.†Book on or before 31st May 2020 and save up to £200 per person on selected 2021 worldwide holidays. Prices do not include the discount. 2 FOR 1 London Flight Upgrades available on selected departures when booked on or before 31st May 2020, subject to availability. Terms and conditions apply. Please call for further details. Calls will be recorded.

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Celebrating 40 years of travel WITH JOURNEY LATIN AMERICA IT’S ALL ABOUT THE EXPERIENCE

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Sacred Valley of the Incas, Peru As the UK’s No1 specialist in travel to Latin America, we’ve been

pioneering small escorted group tours to Central and South America since 1980. From cultural holidays exploring the region’s highlights in complete comfort to off the beaten track overland adventures, the knowledge, passion and enthusiasm of our award-winning tour leaders will ensure ever-lasting memories.

To speak with an expert please call 020 3553 9647 or email agents@journeylatinamerica.co.uk JOURNEYLATINAMERICA.CO.UK Untitled-2 Touring.indd 1 Escourted 31

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LATIN AMERICA


LOW DEPOSITS

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Why Newmarket Holidays?

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Flexible flight arrangements from local airports with upgrades available Quality hotels and itineraries all with Tour managers Market leading value with price parity Optional and Included excursions to choose from Tour only options, build your own client’s holiday! Single traveller? We’ve got your clients cared for More commission for you– earn on the total sales price! Fully bookable agent website, with online brochure, posters and videos Free your inner selves – complete our online training and get 15% off your own holiday! Large nationwide field sales team to help with training, events and queries!

Order your brochures at www.tradegate.co.uk Visit www.newmarketholidays.co.uk/agents-login or call us on 0330 160 7999

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Going solo Solo travellers once struggled to get the same value for money as couples or groups on escorted tours, thanks to single supplements which upped the price considerably, but many tour operators now actively court solo travellers with holidays specially designed for them. Riviera Travel now includes hotel porterage on all its solo traveller tours, which range from a four-day Paris trip with guided tours of L’Arc de Triomphe, the Eiffel Tower, Champs Élysées, River Seine, the Louvre and Monmartre to a 16-day journey around Cambodia and Vietnam including a visit to the Angkor Wat temple complex, cycle rickshaw tour of Hanoi and cruise around Halong Bay. For Leger Holidays, new solo tours in its portfolio for 2020 cover destinations like Krakow, the Italian lakes and Amalfi Coast, Spain’s Andalucia, Majorca and the Roses Coast between France and Barcelona. Solo escorted tours once covered the classics but they are getting more varied, including more adventurous activities as well as destinations. According to Coppock, the most popular places for single travellers on Titan’s escorted tours include Jordan, Peru and Uzbekistan.

speed boat on the river, borneo

palermo, sicily features on one of kirker’s new wine tours

sustainable ways

“solo escorted tours once covered the classics but they are getting more varied, including more adventurous activities as well as destinations”

Unsurprisingly, the issue of sustainability is affecting escorted tours too, and ethical and low-impact tourism is predicted to rise in popularity. Riviera Travel plants a tree in the Austrian deforestation zone for each customer who joins its Tyrol walking tour, while Saga’s new Borneo tour visits ethical wildlife conservation projects and in South Africa Titan works with Mala Mala, a safari camp owned by the local community.

Cultural focus Adante Travels has a new 10-day tour of Jordan which is in the company of

holi festival, india

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‘Enjoying these tours alongside a group of people also travelling independently offers a comforting environment, especially for those holidaying alone for the first time. Your customers will be welcomed into the Leger family and will have many memorable experiences along the way’

Single Traveller Collection Leger Holidays Increase Single Traveller Collection for 2020/21 Leger Holidays are making solo travel even more accessible with an ever-expanding selection of Single Traveller tours. Dedicated to the independent passenger, Leger’s Single Traveller holidays offer customers incredible experiences whilst travelling with a group of like-minded individuals. They also benefit from door-to-door travel, sole use of their own room and no single supplements.

Out NOW!

Now with 40 tours to choose from, Leger has bolstered their exciting range of holidays with a selection of brand new experiences, including a 9-day tour taking in the splendours of Italy’s Lake Maggiore, and festive escapes to Aachen, Koblenz and Bonn Christmas Markets.

Call our Retail Sales team today on: 01709

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a dv e r t or ia l

big, brash &

beautiful F

rom the mountain tops to the shores of lakes and oceans, the great continent of North America has jaw-dropping scenery from sea to sky and we have ten fantastic tours for your customers to choose from in Canada and the USA.

The Rockies

Get a taste of the great outdoors in Canada’s Rocky Mountains. Spectacular landscapes of peaks, lakes and forests have something to offer in every season, plus incredible wildlife. The 15-night Rocky Mountains and Alaskan Adventure includes a once-in-a-lifetime journey on the Rocky Mountaineer train, leading to an overnight stay in Vancouver and then a seven-night cruise along the Alaskan coastline.

New Orleans

The Big Easy has a distinctive character. From the diverse flavours and vibrant music of the French Quarter and Bourbon Street, your clients can hop on a streetcar or amble the Garden District. The 13-night Taste of the Deep South tour from Nashville to New Orleans will give your customers a real flavour of the musical heritage of the American Deep South.

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Visit Elvis Presley’s Graceland, explore Nashville, New Orleans and Memphis, plus the famous Jack Daniel’s distillery.

Grand Canyon

Gradually carved by the Colorado River between five and six million years ago, this steep-sided canyon stretches 277 miles and exposes nearly two billion years of the Earth’s geological history - a breath-taking spectacle ideal for photographers! The 14-night National Parks Discovery takes in this iconic sight as well as Mount Rushmore, the roaring geysers of Yellowstone National Park and the glitz and glamour of Las Vegas.

Our tours include so much more…

Expect visa assistance on the majority of tours, optional insurance with cover for over 400 pre-existing conditions and a VIP door-todoor travel service. There are guaranteed departures on all dates, departures from regional airports on many tours and dedicated departures dates for solo travellers. A Saga Tour Manager is on hand throughout your clients’ trip, excursions are included on many tours and multiple meals on all - there are also all-inclusive options. sagaagents.co.uk •

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EPIC tours Best of Australia and New Zealand: Scenic’s 27-day epic from Melbourne to Auckland also includes Alice Springs and Uluru; Cairns and the Great Barrier Reef with relaxation time in Port Douglas; Brisbane plus Australia Zoo; Sydney; adventure capital Queenstown with a cruise around Fiordand National Park; the Franz Josef Glacier; punting in Christchuch; and geothermal Rotorua. From £8,445pp. A Trans-America Rail Tour: This 19-day trip from Great Rail Journeys travels from San Francisco to Yosemite National Park, onto Las Vegas plus the Grand Canyon and Hoover Dam, through Death Valley, on the Durango and Silverton Railroad through the Rockies and Colorado wine region to Denver, onwards to Chicago and finally ends in New York via Niagara Falls. It also includes rides on the Grand Canyon Railway and several Amtrak routes, like the San Joaquin route through California’s Central Valley. From £4,695pp. The Ultimate Journey to Latin America: This trip marks specialist operator Journey Latin America’s 40th birthday. The 40-day trip is from £21,200pp and begins in Rio de Janeiro before travellings to the Pantanal, Iguazú Falls, Buenos Aires, El Calafate, Torres del Paine, Santiago, the Atacama Desert, Uyuni salt flats, Lake Titicaca, Cusco, Machu Picchu, Lima, Mexico City, Oaxaca and finally finishes with some down time on the beach in Huatulco on Mexico’s Pacific coast - phew! It departs September 28.

whale watching is a popular tour addition

an expert archaeologist and visits the Roman town of Jerash and a crusader castle at Kerak, as well as Petra of course. New culture-focused tours from Kirker include Wines of Sicily, a Wine Tour of Georgia and Armenia, the Gardens of Wicklow and a tour that combines Albania and the Island of Corfu. Hayes and Jarvis has a new tour to Jordan which explores its biblical history, Highlights of Biblical Journey Through Jordan include the Nabatean Red Rose city of Petra, the biblical sites of Mukawir, Bethany and Mount Nebo and the preserved baths, fountains, theatres and colonnaded streets in Roman city, Jerash. Olympic Holidays have launched

Sarajevo is on Trafalgar’s new balkan adventure

escorted tours for the first time this year. Celebration of Ancient Greece is a sevennight tour of Athens, Olympia and Delphi, with highlights including the Acropolis and a Saronic Gulf Islands cruise. There is also a four-night Athens and Delphi tour. Adagio, which specialises in slow travel focused on culture and cuisine, has some new additions to its portfolio like the seven-night Medieval Portugal historyfocused tour or the seven-night Catalan Explorer which visits painter Salvador Dali’s home in Cadaques and the Dali Museum in Figueres. Several companies, including Titan, will be updating their Egypt tours with the addition of Giza’s new Grand Egyptian Museum and a film remake of the Agatha Christie classic Death on The Nile will launch in October, giving the country a further boost. New tours for Trafalgar include Georgia and Armenia uncovered, recommended for foodies, and Balkan Adventure which starts in Bucharest and ends in Belgrade, covering heritage and history. Riviera Travel is capitalising on the ‘digital detox’ trend with its new tour Himalayan Kingdoms: Nepal and Bhutan. The company invites travellers to ‘step back in time to a world largely untouched by

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a self-guided city tour

italy’s amalfi coast is great for walkers and foodies

crowds and combustion engines, to a pocket of peace and verdant tranquillity where national happiness is valued more than financial wealth’.

the Simien Mountains, a 15 or 16 night holiday; the 14-night St Paul’s Trail and the Taurus Mountains trip in Turkey; and a one-week staycation, The Cumbria Way.

Walk on the wild side

Sell around events

Wildlife Worldwide has a new celebritylead trip - Madagascar with Mike Dilger. The BBC naturalist takes travellers to the Analamazaotra Reserve, one of the finest primate watching locations in the world and to Ranomafana National Park to spot its 30 endemic birds. Dive Worldwide has a new trip for those who can’t dive. The Coral Triangle Snorkelling Adventure visits Indonesia’s Raja Ampat archipelago, the most biodiverse marine area on the planet. The trip includes two nights in Jakarta and 11 nights on the boat. Titan’s latest Worldwide brochure has a new trip, Kenya Tracks and Trails. The nine-day safari trip visiting the Maasai Mara, Tsavo and Amboseli wildlife reserves an travelling on Kenya’s new express train, the Madaraka Express. It’s also added the eight-day Sicilian Escape.

Trek America’s new seven-night Trek or Treat Plus tour starts in Houston, Texas and ends in Atlanta, Georgia. It celebrates Halloween with visits to America’s Voodoo capital New Orleans, a driving tour of where Stranger Things was filmed in Georgia, a pumpkin patch in Alabama and a tour of a supposedly haunted plantation house in Mississippi. The operator also has a new ten-day tour of Hawaii. Newmarket Holidays offers a new tour this year around a once-every-ten-years event - the staging of the world-renowned Passion Play at Oberammergau, Germany. As well as the religous play, tt features two nights in the Austrian Tyrol and a visit to Lake Achensee.•

Active breaks Ramblers Walking Holidays has a raft of new active breaks including Ethiopia and

T

he

W riter

safari on the chobe river, botswana

“One perception is that escorted tours can lead to a loss of freedom but actually many are flexible and travellers can often enjoy perks that would never be enjoyed if travelling independently”

Chloe Govan Chloe is an award-winning writer and Francophile. With degrees in psychology and magazine journalism she has worked as a travel editor and columnist and authored 12 books.

sellingtravel.co.uk

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Win a cruise for 2 on MS River Discovery II Every booking you make between 1 March-31 May 2020 will automatically be entered into the prize draw

£25 lifestyle voucher for Titan River Cruise bookings

PLUS

£10 lifestyle voucher for all other bookings For every booking in March-May you can claim a voucher!

River Cruise 2021 Titan’s exclusive river ships MS Serenade 1, MS River Discovery II & MS Bellejour

NEW river cruise 2021 brochure out now!

For more details visit www.titanagents.co.uk

• Titan’s Early Bird Price Promise

• Fly from an airport near you

• VIP door-to-door on every holiday

Terms and conditions apply. All bookings made from 1 March-31 May 2020 will be automatically entered and the winner will be picked at random and notified by Friday 5 June 2020. Winner must be a UK travel agent plus one companion. Prize will need to be taken in 2021. No cash alternatives and no refunds. To claim email agentincentives@titantravel.co.uk within seven days of confirming the booking. Agents responsible for their own tax implications.

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40 / travel talk

“Agents that engage with us through our social media will discover a more dynamic Caribbean” Carol Hay, CEO & Founder, McKenzie Gayle As the main representation company for the Caribbean Tourism Organization’s UK Chapter, Mckenzie Gayle - a company run by former CTO members - will continue to work closely with the trade through our social media channels, UK roadshows and webinars. The UK continues to be one of the largest markets for the Caribbean so it is important that agents have the resources available to keep them selling the region. One of our main initiatives at McKenzie Gayle is to utilise our social media

platforms to expand the engagement we have with the trade. Agents will be able to access tools and dynamic content such as training webinars and the most up to date information on the region when they follow us on social channels Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Caribbean-centric We want to expose more of the Caribbean’s tourism product and delve into niche markets such as gastronomy, weddings and honeymoons and ecotourism, as well as the lesser-known French- and Dutch-Caribbean islands. Agents can still recieve our quarterly newsletters which will include information

on how they can participate in fam trips as well as key dates for our UK roadshows and the latest member news and activity. Starting this month we will also be launching our training webinars, available to watch any time on our social media channels. Agents can brush up on a different theme each month, from luxury to adventure or romance and will be rewarded for their loyalty with Caribbean Specialist certification. Meanwhile, we are busy confirming the dates for our UK roadshows and putting together our programme of events for September, which continues to be our dedicated Caribbean month. Make sure you follow us for updates!

“We are the main voice for the Caribbean in the UK, with over 60 members” Florian Valmy-Devillers, Business Development Management, McKenzie Gayle We will once again be touring the country with our members for the annual UK Caribbean Roadshow in 2020, and this year we are targeting cities with airports that serve the Caribbean. Agents can register now for our roadshows. These offer the chance to network with over 60 representatives from the Caribbean including tourist boards, hoteliers, tour operators and more. This year it will be more interactive

than any other year with a focus on new travel trends in the Caribbean and more prizes to be won on the night. This year’s roadshow will be visiting Dublin on May 11, Belfast on May 12, Birmingham on June 29, Manchester on June 30, Plymouth on September 14, Bristol on September 15 and Oxford on September 16. Agents are advised to sign up before March 11 as availability is on a first-come-first-served basis and it tends to book up very fast!

Looking forward We’ve also just launched our European Major Market initiative which will connect

our members to the top-selling European markets for the Caribbean. The first of these new roadshow will debut in London on October 5, 2020 before heading on to Paris, Munich, Milan and finishing in Madrid. I’ve also started a new Future Leaders Advisory Council initiative and I’m on the lookout for 10 keen Caribbean experts under 30 to join our mentorship programme. These industry leaders will act as the voice of the Caribbean and be influencial in helping us to promote the region. If you’re interested get in contact at florian@mckenziegayle.com

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CONTEMPORARY ROOMS AND SUITES One of the few hotels in the Dominican Republic to offer two-bedroom swim out villas, the majority of the ground floor accommodations are swim-out suites with access to a pool directly from the terrace. All rooms equipped with tablet, coffee machine, Smart TV with complimentary streaming access and a wealth of amenities.

Dreams ARE MADE OF THIS. AMID THE BEAUTY OF PLAYA MACAO, THE NEWEST DREAMS MACAO BEACH PUNTA CANA SITS AS AN IDYLLIC HAVEN WHERE FAMILIES AND COUPLES CAN EXPERIENCE UNLIMITED-LUXURY®. AS THE ONLY PROPERTY LOCATED ON THE PICTURESQUE MACAO BEACH, LABELLED ONE OF THE CARIBBEAN’S TOP BEACHES BY UNESCO THIS RESORT OFFERS A HIGH LEVEL OF LUXURY, AMENITIES AND COMFORT, LIMITLESS GOURMET DINING OPTIONS BEAUTIFUL SCENERY AND IMPRESSIVE VIEWS, FREE WI-FI, A

ACTIVITIES FOR ALL AGES

DAILY REFRESHED MINI-BAR AND 24-HOUR ROOM SERVICE.

Dreams Macao Beach Punta Cana provides activities and entertainment for guests of all ages, including kids and teens with the supervised Explorer’s Club for Kids and Core Zone Teens Club. The ultimate aqua-fun experience can be found at the water park which includes slides, a lazy river and more. Once night falls at Dreams Macao Beach, magical moments are created with music, theme parties and live shows.

PREFERRED CLUB Book a Preferred Club suite to gain access to a private lounge with top-shelf liquor and hors d’oeuvres, an adults-only private pool, Preferred Club only restaurant for breakfast and lunch, and Preferred Club bars. Receive a variety of upgrades such as: premium bath amenities, pillow menu, upgraded mini-bar and room service menu, plus pool concierge and bar service.

CONTACT YOUR PREFERRED TOUR OPERATOR FOR MORE INFORMATION AND TO BOOK.

EXPERIENCE ENDLESS PRIVILEGES®, UNLIMITED-LUXURY® AND UNLIMITED-FUN® IN: COSTA RICA | CURAÇAO | DOMINICAN REPUBLIC: CAP CANA LA ROMANA • PUERTO PLATA • PUNTA CANA | JAMAICA: MONTEGO BAY | MEXICO: ACAPULCO • AKUMAL • CANCUN • COZUMEL • HUATULCO ISLA MUJERES • IXTAPA • LOS CABOS • NUEVO VALLARTA • PLAYA MUJERES • PUERTO AVENTURAS • PUERTO VALLARTA • RIVIERA CANCUN • RIVIERA MAYA TULUM | PANAMA | SPAIN: FUERTEVENTURA • IBIZA • LANZAROTE • MALLORCA • TENERIFE | ST. MARTIN (2020)

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42 / my journey

Discovering the other...

Jamaica Sasha Wood savours the sights without the crowds on an alternative journey around the Caribbean’s third largest island

“T

ake your time,” says local fisherman, Boxer, as I scramble back into his red fishing boat after diving into the opal water to spy sea turtles off Dragon Bay. It’s a common refrain in Jamaica, where stopping to smell the roses is part of the national character. A day previous, amid the clamour of Kingston, I did just that – taking my time to admire the rose-beds of Emancipation Park and the bronze figures of the Redemption Song memorial, named after the famous Bob Marley song and dedicated to the slaves of Jamaica’s past. Bounded by the cloud-skimming Blue Mountains to the north and the Caribbean Sea to the south, the Jamaican capital was my launch point for an alternative island experience far from the swanky beach resorts of Montego Bay and Negril. Few people realise Jamaica is the Caribbean’s third largest island, and between its waterfall-haunted valleys, emerald mountains, platinum coasts, and the UNESCO Creative City of Kingston, its cultural and natural bounty is immense.

Bounty hunters “You know Pirates of the Caribbean? It all started here,” says my guide Cheree as we drive along the Palisadoes causeway from Kingston to the sleepy peninsula fishing village of Port Royal. It used to be a pirate’s haven, known as the wickedest and richest place on earth, before a major earthquake swallowed most of the land and booty beneath the waves in 1692.

But we are hunting for a different kind of bounty, the freshest tastiest catch of the day at Gloria’s Seafood. The renowned restaurant has views across the harbour to the twinkling lights of Kingston, and I’m told the area is at its liveliest on Fridays when it hosts the weekly Fish Fry. The next day my Kingston history lesson continues at antique-stuffed Georgian mansion Devon House, built by Jamaica’s first black millionaire George Stiebel. Aside from the tropical foliage, the heritage site has a definite Devonshire feel, with brick cottages and stables turned into an inviting bakery, and the iScream ice cream parlour, where I choose a classic clotted cream vanilla cone that melts faster than I can eat in the tropical heat.

Cool climes Known as ‘the other Jamaica’, the northeastern parish of Portland has long been feted for its natural beauty but its relative inaccessibility has left it blissfully undisturbed. It was once a hideaway for the Hollywood elite. Errol Flynn had a house in Port Antonio and frequented Frenchman’s Cove with the likes of Liz Taylor and Sophia Loren. Heading north from Kingston, we take the scenic route along the helter-skelter switchbacks of the rainforest-draped Blue Mountains. Boulder-strewn rivers carve through deep ravines, bright blue and yellow shacks cling to the hillside, and steam hanging in the canopy turns the slopes into a temporary cloud forest. sellingtravel.co.uk


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The northeastern parish of Portland has long been feted for its natural beauty I succumb to motion sickness, but the folks at Craighton Blue Mountain Coffee know what to do, reviving me with a fragrant lemongrass tea on the cool verandah. The organic coffee plantation’s setting is stirringly beautiful and its handsorted beans have the highest possible classification for quality. Emerging from the mountains at Buff Bay, the road hugs the coast east all the way to Port Antonio and the hidden bays beyond. There are no official boat tours here, but fisherman are happy to ferry tourists to local beauty spots.

The 'other' Jamaica Meeting Boxer at the Blue Lagoon jetty, I hop into his fishing boat for a tour and quickly realize he knows these waters like the back of his hand. He shows me the freshwater spring and rope swing at the edge of the lagoon, where the water is noticeably cooler, and takes me to turtle and stingray-inhabited Dragon Bay where we see at least half a dozen turtles. After enjoying the castaway delights of Monkey Island, we round the aptlynamed Alligator’s Head and watch as champion freediver David Lee prepares to kite surf from the dock. Finally we pull up on a quintessential Jamaican beach with the Rasta colours of the One Love shack peeping through the seagrapes and arching palms. Thank goodness local legal action saved Winnifred Beach from private development. I’ve seen some stunning Caribbean coastlines, but Portland is something really special. sellingtravel.co.uk

Driving to Ocho Rios the next day, we follow an old A-road to a flatbed bridge across the deceptively-calm Rio Cobre that locals believe is cursed. There are stories of the serpent river swallowing vehicles whole within seconds, and the gates to the gorge are closed in heavy rain. Cheree spots some roadside fruit sellers and seizes the chance to share some local produce with me: the strange orange jackfruit that grows on the tree-trunk and tastes better than it smells; and the Jamaican apple, like a plum but less sweet. We cruise down the sloping lanes of St Mary parish, lined with tall bamboos, red flowering flamboyant and fragrant pimento trees, before it turns into a dry river bed at the ancient glen of Fern Gully, home to more than 300 types of fern. Dunn’s River Falls is my last stop, an enchanting natural wonder that’s not surprisingly become a premier tourist attraction. This part of the island is much more touristy than Portland, with a cruise ship terminal bringing in extra visitors. As I climb the cascading tiers I'm reminded I have a plane to catch later that day, but as soon as I speed up, I slip and scrape my shin. I should have learnt my lesson – take your time. •

Book it with... Explore Explore (explore.co.uk) offers a trip that includes Port Royal, Kingston, Port Antonio, Frenchman’s Cove and a Rastafarian village with activities such as hiking nature trails and visiting the Bob Marley Museum.


44 / introducing

The hot springs of

Beppu, Japan One of Japan's most famous onsen resorts, Beppu's culture is rooted in its volcanic activity. Rupert Parker gets to the bottom of an ancient ritual

V

olcanic Kyushu, Japan’s most south westerly island, has had eruptions as recently as 2018. The up side of this is its numerous hot springs and their medicinal properties. Both Kumamoto and Oita Prefectures have hot springs, but Beppu is the centre of onsen culture, with eight springs serving hundreds of baths. Every day millions of litres of hot water gush from the ground creating dense plumes of steam and making the town look like it's on fire. The suburb of Kannawa is where the onsens are clustered, ranging from basic public spaces to luxury pools in boutique hotels. The springs contain various minerals turing the water red, yellow, blue, green, white, brown and even black. There’s a strict protocol: once you’ve removed your clothes you have to rub yourself down with soap and a flannel, before immersing your body. There are springs where the temperature is too high to bathe - known as Jigoku or 'Hells': like the steaming bright blue Umi Jigoku (Sea Hell) or Tatsumaki Jigoku (Waterspout Hell), where a geyser performs.

Time zone: GMT +9 climate: Subtropical, warm and temperate, with some rain. Kyushu's capital: Fukuoka getting there: ANA flies from Heathrow via Tokyo to Oita, 8 miles away More info: welcomekyushu.com

Local ways

Best of all are the hidden onsen in the hills above, which are not much more than holes in the ground, although some charge for their facilities. Tsukahara Onsen is near Mount Garan where a two hour circular hike passes bubbling mud and a smoking crater. A local delicacy is eggs steamed for 20 hours, which emerge blackened but with a distinctive smoky flavour. The steam is also used to cook vegetables like sweet potato and pumpkin, plus pork belly and chicken. Complete the experience with a sand bath. You lie buried in a pit of sand warmed by the springs for 15 minutes, enjoying the sea view until staff dig you out and you shower off. It beats a bucket and spade break! • Book it with... Wendy Wu The 13-day Japan & the Scenic South is from £5,490pp. wendywutours.co.uk

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Retro-styled

Palm Springs

This stylish oasis in California’s Coachella Valley offers yearround sunshine, hip hotels and exciting desert adventures just two hours from Downtown Los Angeles, says Lauren Jarvis Day 1: Art & Architecture Morning: Palm Springs has been the go-to escape for Hollywood’s brightest stars since the 1920s, and the P.S. Walk With Me tour of Las Palmas with local guide, Jade Nelson, offers an intriguing glimpse into the luxury lifestyles of the city’s famous residents, from the golden era to now. From Elizabeth Taylor’s lavish fourbedroomed estate, Casa Elizabeth, to Leonardo di Caprio’s discreet Hermosa Place home, Jade’s tour is a great introduction to the 1950s and ’60s midcentury modern architecture that gives Palm Springs its iconic, cool vibe. Afternoon: Head to East Palm Canyon Drive’s culinary gem, 533 Viet Fusion for delicious Asian curry, pho

noodle soup, fresh salad or crepes. Jump on The Palm Springs Aerial Tramway – the world’s largest rotating tram car – for an exciting journey through the Chino Canyon. The hiking trails of the Mt. San Jacinto State Park await, with breathtaking views of the Coachella Valley, over 8,500 feet below. Evening: Join the locals for Palm Springs’ weekly street party, VillageFest, which runs three blocks along Palm Canyon Drive every Thursday evening until 10pm. With entertainment and 180 vendors showcasing art, design, fashion and food – including Destination PSP with its unique range of Palm Springs branded gifts – it’s a fun, laid-back way to shop in style.

palm canyon drive

Book it with... America As You Like It The eight-day Coast to Mountains, Santa Monica and Palm Springs trip encompasses beach and desert from £1,280pp with flights and car hire. americaasyoulikeit.com

patio, the weekend hotel

Day 2: Deserts & dining

Desert adventures' big red jeep

The Ace hotel and swim club

Morning: Leave the city behind and head into the desert on a Big Red Jeep with Desert Adventures. The Indian Canyons Jeep and Hiking Tour explores the ancestral lands of the Cahuilla Indians, while the San Andreas Fault Tour takes visitors safely through the famous earthquake zone, and the Joshua Tree National Park Tour reveals the stunning landscapes of the Mojave Desert. Afternoon: 360 days of sunshine a year offer plenty of opportunity for al-fresco fun. Lunch at the family-run Las Casuelas Terraza, which serves authentic Mexican cuisine, then indulge in Palm Springs’ favourite activity – lounging around the pool. The Ace Hotel & Swim Club is a hip spot for a cocktail as the sun

drops behind the San Jacinto Mountains, or The Saguaro has one of Palm Springs largest pools, surrounded by multicoloured buildings in candy shades. Evening: You’ll find plenty of fabulous places to dine in Palm Springs, from glitzy eateries in the Uptown Design District like Eight4Nine Restaurant & Lounge to relaxed, Downtown patios like Zin American Bistro. To sleep, choose one of the city’s luxe resorts, or a stylish boutique property like The Weekend. This tranquil, retro escape in a beautifully refurbished midcentury modern motel, offers one- and two-bedroom villas set around a sunny courtyard with a turquoise pool, made for sipping martinis. Chin, chin! •

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Visit USA News T H IS M ON T H ' S TO P S TOR I ES FROM V I SI T U SA MEMBERS • V I SI T U SA. O RG. UK

Mrs Maisel goes On Location

Hawaii upgrade

One of Hawaii's best-known hotels is undergoing a huge

upgrade to 'further strengthen Hawaiian culture' at the property. The 432-room Kấ'anapali Beach Hotel on

HYATT'S NEW HEADSPACE

Maui will unveil the first of the changes this spring. These will include a redesign of the 180-room

Hyatt Hotels has a new initiative that offers ‘mindfulness and meditation’ to its guests. A partnership with Headspace, a leader in mental relaxation techniques, builds on Hyatt’s holistic wellbeing strategy and its own three markers of wellbeing: how guests feel, fuel and function. Guests enjoy mindfulness exercises, guided meditations and 'sleep content'. hyatt.com

Kaua'i Wing and a new oceanfront restaurant. gohawaii.com

Vegas in lights

The Las Vegas skyline is shining brighter on the south

end of The Strip with Luxor Hotel and Casino’s unveiling of a new lighting feature on its iconic Pyramid. Now, 276 new LED vertex tube lights illuminate the four corners of the Pyramid from

Mrs. Maisel’s Marvelous Tour of New York City is a new offering from On Location Tours. The two-and-a-half-hour guided bus tour takes in some historic New York City landmarks that feature in all three seasons of the Emmy Award winning series that is currently being shown on Amazon Prime. The tour kicks off near the famous B. Altman’s– a luxury department store and chain, founded in 1865 – on Fifth Avenue, where Midge Maisel (Rachel Brosnahan) goes to work in Season One. Other famous NYC stops featured on the tour include The National Arts Club, Old Town Bar, The Gaslight Café, Café Reggio and The Village Vanguard. The tour ends on Eighth Avenue at the diner La Bonbonniere – ‘The City Spoon’ – where Midge has a flashback to her wedding night. All tours are led by local actresses depicting Midge’s 1950s style. Tickets cost $52 and must be purchased in advance. onlocationtours.com

dusk to dawn, with more than 16 million colour combinations. visitlasvegas.co.uk

Delta flight boost

Transatlantic partners Delta and Virgin Atlantic now offer

up to 18 flights a day to Boston and New York from the UK. Delta will launch two new international routes, non-stop service from Gatwick to Boston's Logan International Airport and New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport this summer. delta.com; virgin-atlantic.com

BLOG Explore the sets where familiar

movies were shot. Some of the prettiest countryside in Massachusetts stole scenes in Little Women, while Montana's wilderness provided the setting for Leonardo DiCaprio in The Revenant and locations across Los Angeles starred in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. More Blog content at visitusa.org.uk/Blog Look out for our Visit USA (UK) online Travel Update for the pick of members' news

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SPOTLIGHT ON... American Airlines CEADON WILLIAMS ACCOUNT MANAGER

LAS VEGAS HAS A NEW MARKETING CAMPAIGN THAT INCLUDES AN UPDATE ON THE CITY’S FAMOUS CATCHPHRASE 'WHAT HAPPENS IN VEGAS, STAYS IN VEGAS'. INSTEAD VISITORS ARE BEING TEMPTED BY 'WHAT HAPPENS HERE ONLY HAPPENS HERE' AMERICA'S OPEN ROADS AND ICONIC TRIPS AWAIT!

Check out our Visit USA UK members • Apollo Motorhome Holidays • Cruise America and Canada RV Rentals Inc • EagleRider • El Monte RV • Road Bear RV •The Motorhome Experts

Florida huddles together Florida was the only U.S. state to record year-on-year visitor growth in 2019, delegates to Florida’s annual trade show in Jacksonville were told. Speaking at Florida Huddle, Visit Florida CEO Dana Young said that international visitors to the Sunshine State grew by 2.3% compared to 2018. Millennial travel saw the largest growth, with a 53% increase, while family travel reached an all-time high in 2018 with bookings up 24%. For 2020 the tourist board is encouraging visitors to travel beyond gateways, such as Orlando and Miami, with its latest ‘Beyond’ campaign. “We know that UK visitors tend not to spend their entire trip in the theme parks,” said Visit Florida's Brianna Barnebee. “Adventure travel is a big trend and we’re seeing families spending more time in Florida’s state parks and searching out natural attractions." The Beyond campaign showcases how easy it is to explore the entire state, with visitors encouraged to visit beaches or explore waterways that are home to a range of marine wildlife. visitflorida.com

LEISURE SALES (UK) When did American Airlines join Visit USA UK? We have been a member for more than 10 years. It gives us a platform to market our updates, keep up to date with new trends and enjoy networking opportunities. Tell us about American's UK-U.S. route network American is the secondlargest airline at Heathrow, with up to 22 daily flights. This year we will launch a new year-round service from Heathrow to Boston Logan International Airport. What are the main features of the onboard experience? Those in Main Cabin receive complimentary meals and drinks, and a signature ice cream mid-flight. Main Cabin Premium Economy features wider seats with extra recline, connectivity, amenity kits, upgraded pillows and blankets and Priority privileges like check-in, luggage, security and boarding. Business features fully lie-flat seats, bedding by Casper and fine dining with celebrity chefinspired menus. Anything new for 2020? In February we announced a West Coast International Alliance with Alaska Airlines, which brings more international routes to Seattle and more choice for West Coast travellers. aa.com

Subscribe to the Visit USA (UK) online Travel Update at visitusa.org.uk

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Cycling holidays It’s one of the UK’s fastest growing sports but how can agents turn the nation’s passion for two wheels into some tempting holiday deals? Debbie Ward finds out Why sell it Active travel is in demand, as people take more care of their wellbeing. Two-wheeled touring enables clients to get off the beaten track and interact with locals and, in hot countries, sightseeing by bike is cooler than on foot. “Cycling holidays are not only a great way to get under the skin of a destination and see more of what a country has to offer, they’re also one of the healthiest ways to travel,” says Explore Product Manager for cycling James Adkin. “Now is a good time to sell cycling trips to tie in with customers’ aspirations to get fit for summer.” Technical advances are meanwhile helping widen the market. “2020 could be the year of the electric bike”, says Inntravel’s Head of Product Development, Alison Hall. “While our cycling holidays in general are showing strong growth, the big news is the e-bike which now accounts for 40% of these sales, compared to around a quarter last year.” GPS has also made self-guided tours more viable. Cruise line Uniworld’s bikes, for instance, include Samsung Galaxy tablets with pre-loaded routes.

Who to sell to Don't just think of fitness freaks! Most operators featuring cycling holidays label them with the fitness and experience

H & I adventures in Namibia

levels required, from flat and easy to very challenging, and offer a choice of self-guided and guided tours, the latter including support vehicles. The boom in e-biking has widened the client demographic further. Being able to book bikes with battery boosts means fit older people and the less experienced partners of keen cyclists can now feel confident tackling two-wheeled tours. As biking is low impact it can be also be a good sell to the eco-conscious.

What to sell The terrain covered by tours will vary but tracks and quiet roads in scenic areas are typical. Hilly options like Inntravel’s Villages & Valleys of Provence are popular by e-bike. For clients wanting to dabble, look out for sightseeing day trips in cities and at attractions like Cambodia’s Angkor Wat. While e-bikes are now common, Headwater is unusual in that it offers tandem cycles. ‘Fat biking’ with wide tyres suited to soft sand and snow is a new trend and has opened up interesting routes in destinations like Norway and Namibia. Uniworld offers European cycle and cruise holidays in partnership with Butterfield & Robinson and AmaWaterways has tied up with Backroads to do the same. Scenic has e-bikes with GPS and several other cruise lines offer regular cycles.

Where to sell wilderness scotland's north coast 500

exodus offers cycling trips in Puglia, italy

Europe and Southeast Asia are particularly popular for two-wheeled adventures but

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for two-wheeled adventure, H+I has a Namibian safari on wheels, Exodus offers Bhutan, G Adventures features Cuba and Intrepid and Imaginative Travel have circuits in Colombia.

How to sell it Many small group adventure operators offer cycling holidays, among them Exodus, Explore, Intrepid and Headwater. H+I Adventures is a trade-friendly mountain biking specialist. Cycling clubs are the logical place to market tours. Offer an illustrated talk on new and enticing destinations or, with supplier support, invite members to a specialist evening. Fitness clubs and gyms are other good places to approach. Push e-bikes to cycling enthusiasts with less experienced partners and to fit clients who’ve not attempted a full cycling tour before. Remember, they can be left in nonassisted mode on easier terrain. Use your database to target solo travellers looking for group adventures and families with teens who may welcome active holiday suggestions.

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Rovinj - the croatian town's tourist board is promoting cycling tours

off-road cycling

explore best-sellers are croatia and spain

there are many other options. Intrepid’s top three cycling destinations are Vietnam, Sri Lanka and Morocco. Explore’s 2020 best sellers are Dubrovnik to Split on the Dalmatian Coast and Southern Spain, taking in Murcia’s whitewashed villages. Exodus' guided tours covering Porto to Lisbon, Ho Chi Minh City to Hanoi, Sri Lanka’s back roads, Croatia’s Dalmatian Coast, Italy’s Puglia and Matera and the Baltics, are its most popular. The Rovinj Tourist Board in Croatia organises a guided weekend bike and gourmet tour of the Istrian peninsula each October and April. For those who want to really challenge themselves, Intrepid offers part of the Tour de France route in the Alps while Wilderness Scotland is offering the Highland’s North Coast 500 cycling challenge for 2020 alongside endurance athlete Mark Beaumont. Billed as Scotland’s iconic cycling challenge, it's a 500 mile loop of the Highlands beginning and ending in Inverness. With at least eight hours in the saddle each day, this is endurance cycling for experts. The route passes through remote and mountainous country, including Bealach na Ba pass, the UK’s highest and toughest road climb. Among more unusual destinations

What's new An escorted Pisa to Florence trip is among Exodus’s new product. It’s also debuting fat biking in Finland’s Oulanka National Park for winter. New 2020 cycling tours from Headwater include a self-guided Cotswolds circuit, a section of Spain’s Camino de Santiago pilgrim route and day trips around Bavaria’s Lake Chiemsee. Andalucia, from Cadiz to Herez and, more unusually, Lebanon, are new destinations for Explore this year. Intrepid has new tours of Central Europe and the Danube, Prague to Vienna and road cycling in Italy's Dolomites. H+I Adventures has added five new e-bike destinations this year including Switzerland, Spain’s Sierra Nevada and Namibia, the latter with opportunities to spot giraffe, zebra and elephants. Aleenta Phuket Resort & Spa and Aleenta Hua Hin Resort & Spa in Thailand have guided and self-guided cycling tours. • Book it with... G Adventures The eight-day Biking Cuba tour is a Havana round-trip taking in the Ancón peninsula coastline and the Garden Province of Pinar del Río from £899pp. gadventures.com

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50 / the review NEWS

Travel industry fights Covid-19

Princess repositions due to Coronavirus

Laura Gelder, Editor

At the time of going to press with this issue, the FCO had just updated its advice on travel to Italy - advising against all but essential travel to 10 small towns in Lombardy (as well as mainland China and Daegu and Cheongdo in South Korea) because of the latest outbeak of Covid-19. It’s impossible to predict exactly what the situation will be, even by the time this issue lands on desks, but one thing is certain - it’s a practical and economic challenge for the whole travel industry. In the last week of February the BBC was reporting that Coronavirus was spreading faster outside of China than in the country where it started. Several European countries (Austria, Croatia, Greece, Spain and Switzerland included) announced their first coronavirus cases, all apparently linked to the outbreak in Italy. One of the most significant outbreaks for the UK industry is in the Canary Islands where around 1,000 guests have been quarantined at the H10 Costa Adeje Palace hotel in Tenerife. The International Air Transport Association (IATA) says its initial assessment of the impact of the latest coronavirus outbreak shows a potential 13% full-year loss of passenger demand for carriers in the Asia-Pacific region. For agents, the job is deceptively simple: help customers to make rational decisions based on the FCO’s advice.

Chris Crampton, Chairman of the Pacific Asia Travel Association UK & Ireland, said that its operator partners had reported few cancellations, with most travellers requesting to change their travel dates to later in the year instead. He said: “New bookings have been slower than expected during peaks, however, bookings are still coming through and largely for later in the year.” Crampton said agent members had also given positive feedback, reporting that customers are still interested in booking holidays to New Zealand, Australia, Bali, Thailand and the Philippines. He added: “Travellers to Asia are not encouraged or advised to cancel their travel plans as the situation is under control, with excellent screening and preventative measures in place.” Speaking directly to agents he said: “We recommend following the FCO travel advice closely for the relevant country you’re selling. We will continue to carefully monitor the situation and provide ongoing updates and we advise you to take advice from factual, reliable and official sources such as PATA and our members.” Europe’s biggest travel trade show, ITB in Berlin, is still scheduled to go ahead on March 4-8, with delegates encouraged to “wash hands frequently and thoroughly, and avoid shaking hands”.

The 2,670-guest Sapphire Princess, which was previously scheduled to sail in Asia from May to October 2020, will now arrive in Australia for a 12-month programme. Now, following a multi-million dollar refurbishment, Sapphire Princess will arrive into Perth (Fremantle) for a season comprising 171 port calls. Sailings include a 10-night Coral Coast voyage leaving from Fremantle on May 4 and visiting Western Australia’s coastal destinations such as Broome, Geraldton and Exmouth, and a 17-night Northern Explorer between Sydney and Perth. Leaving Perth on June 8 and visiting destinations such as Geraldton and Cairns. princess.com

“Based on past experiences, like SARS, the industry began to show signs of recovery very quickly and we are anticipating a swift return to normal booking patterns in the months ahead” Chris Crampton, Chairman, Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) UK & Ireland

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First details of ‘Project 100’ G Adventures has announced its first five tours as part of an initiative to help improve the environment and the lives of local people in the destinations it operates in. The new tours have been created together with non-profit partner, Planeterra, as part of the ‘Project 100’ community tourism initiative which aims to offer 100 projects by the end of 2020. Included in the portfolio is the Dgae Qare San Lodge project in Botswana on the Delta and Falls: Westbound trip. It’s priced from £849pp and travels from Victoria Falls to Windhoek, Namibia. The scheme will connect the lodge with a steady stream of travellers from G Adventures, ensuring regular revenue for the lodge and its employees, as well as funding for community projects. The Reef Ecologic project in Whitsundays Australia will help to integrate reef restoration programmes into tourism experiences and sponsor the development of a new coral garden where travellers can snorkel. The Queensland: Sand & Sailing trip is priced from £1,549pp and travels from Brisbane to Cairns. Also included is The Highlights of Madagascar trip which will see visitors plant trees during their visit to the ‘green corridor’ next to Isalo National Park and

learn about the reforestation project. The 14-day trip will also support a water conservation programme and is priced from £1,699pp. Clients can also support Libaran Island off Borneo, Malaysia via the development of a new community micro-enterprise tour, or culturally immerse themselves in a Mesilou Home Stay in Borneo. Bruce Poon Tip, Founder of G Adventures said: “It’s our goal for 90% of G Adventures’ small-group trips to visit a community tourism project that supports women, children and indigenous culture. We’re also looking at projects that empower local communities to protect their local environment.” gadventures.com

Arena River Cruises is born

Titan unveils Ms River Discovery II

The River Cruise Line has become Arena River Cruises, three years after the specialist was acquired by Arena Travel, and re-joined CLIA. A new website links Arena River Cruises to the wider portfolio of Arena Travel brands, which include escorted holidays by rail, craft and bridgeplaying holidays, art history tours and other special interest breaks. The website is more responsive, with improved search and booking functionality and more content and live chat. A dedicated booking portal for agents is coming soon. The MS Arena, a four-star premium ship which has undergone a refurbishment will launch March 31. arenatravel.com/river-cruises

Agents can book 2021 sailings for Titan’s latest ship, the MS River Discovery II, which will operate along the River Danube next year. The ship will become Titan’s largest river cruise vessel. Its three decks measure 135 metres long and can accommodate 176 passengers across six cabin grades. There are 59 Double Cabins with French balconies, 12 Double Cabins with upper windows, 12 Deluxe Suites measuring 23 square metres and one 30-square-metre Owners Suite. The ship also has eight Single Cabins. Facilities include two lounges, a sun deck, Panorama Lounge with a retractable roof and panoramic windows, library and gym. An eight-day Danube cruise is from £1,599pp. titanagents.co.uk

EL AL update “We were delighted to be highly commended in the Sellling Travel Agents Choice Awards Economy Airline category. Thanks to all who voted! “2019 was an exciting year for EL AL, with many new routes announced or launched: Tokyo, Chicago, Orlando, Las Vegas, Lisbon, Nice, San Francisco, Dusseldorf and Australia. “Last May we began flying from Manchester to Tel Aviv three times a week. This year we have two more non-stop flights from Manchester and Dublin, the latter launching in May three-times-weekly. This is in addition to the 10-16 weekly (summer/peak season) flights from Luton and 11 weekly flights from Heathrow. “We offer Economy, Premium and Business class on our Dreamliners from Heathrow. Our 739 and renewed 738 aircrafts boast fresh décor and will serve on our Manchester, Luton and Dublin routes, offering passengers new business and economy seats with blue LED lighting, larger overhead cabins, wifi, charging outlets and tablet holders. “We have a very competitive fares to the Far East and South Africa, with free stopovers in Israel, and our UK tour arm, Superstar Holidays offers great commission to agents. “Call us on 020 7624 9708 or email sales@elal.co.uk.” Malu Montenegro Sales and Marketing Manager, El AL UK & Ireland

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Virgin’s scarlet Lady impresses agents at UK debut Lynn Houghton, Travel writer The much-anticipated arrival of Scarlet Lady, the first ship in Virgin Voyages’ fleet of three adult-only ships, took place on February 21 at the Port of Dover to much fanfare and a firework display. Over 1,000 travel agents were invited to come aboard. First impressions of the steel grey mega ship, accessorised with a red funnel and red hammocks on its balconies, is that it’s reminiscent of a battleship. But, inside, the sleek spaces (by Tom Dixon and Roman and Williams) are anything but traditional. Richard Branson welcomed UK travel agents, journalists and influencers, obviously

SPONSORED CONTENT OSBORNE & EBEL MARCH AGENT VOUCHERS Make five bookings and receive £50 in Love2Shop Vouchers. Make 10 bookings to receive five FREE NIGHTS in the Maldives. Make 15 bookings for 10 FREE NIGHTS. Book by 31 Mar 20 for travel between May and October 2020. Free nights based on four-star hotel for two. T&Cs apply. Contact: sales@osborneandebel.com

proud of this product which is meant to be a game changer. The vocabulary used reflects a young vibe a sailing is a ‘voyage’, passengers are ‘sailors’; agents are ‘first mates’. Music is a strong focus, with renowned DJ Mark Ronson curating the tunes for Scarlet Lady, including its Manor nightclub. Vinyl can be purchased at the Voyage Vinyl Record Store and other retail experiences include a tattoo and body piercing parlour. Eating choices include the Razzle Dazzle Restaurant, which is vegetarian; a Korean barbeque eaterie named Gunbae; the Test Kitchen which serves experimental dishes; and Pink Agave, an upmarket, gourmet Mexican restaurant. The 20-plus dining experiences are included in the base cruise fare, regardless of room category, as well as group workout classes, basic beverages (soft drinks, coffee, etc), gratuities and wifi. Virgin’s ‘Vitamin Sea’ ideology incorporates wellbeing activated through a mix of high-energy moments and relaxation and rejuvenation and is centred in B-Complex

(the ship’s gym) which has two zones - one for cardio workouts and one for for strength and yoga training. Lower room grades have an interesting set up with an L-shaped sofa which is turned into a bed at night and then reverted to a seat in the morning. The 110,000-tonne Scarlet Lady holds 2,770 passengers and 1,160 crew and has 1,408 cabins and suites across 13 decks. The Scarlet Lady will be deployed from Miami for four- and five-night cruises around the Caribbean starting in April. virginvoyages.com

new Latin America product Journey Latin America has released a Specialist’s Guide to Latin America 2020 in celebration of its 40th anniversary. Over 100 new itineraries will be included in the guide, including top immersive experiences in Central and South America, Cuba and Antarctica. Itinerary highlights include rail travel, by luxury train across Peru’s high altitude plains in Belmond’s luxury Andean Explorer sleeper train and a self-drive which takes in Patagonia’s volcanoes, lakes, glaciers and peaks on the famous Carretera Austral route. There’s also a hot air balloon ride over the pre-Columbian city of Teotihuacán in Mexico, gliding over its ancient palaces, pyramids and ball courts. Themed trips include Big Cats, searching for pumas on the Patagonian steppe or

jaguar in the Pantanal; Natural Wows, visiting the sand dunes and lagoons of Brazil’s northeast; Party Time, taking in Rio’s riotous carnival followed by beach time in fashionable Buzios; and Total immersion, which involves exploring the Antarctic with kayaking, camping on the ice and snow-shoeing. Stuart Whittington, Head of Product comments: “Our customers continue to seek out new opportunities and authentic experiences that take them beyond their usual boundaries: from savouring sizzling street food, to working alongside scientists protecting the endangered blue macaw or learning how to tango or salsa, the ‘Specialist’s Guide to Latin America’ should be your go to guide for a holiday to Latin America”. journeylatinamerica.co.uk

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news

Details of LATA EXPO announced Jessica Pook, Journalist

AMARI HAVODDA MALDIVES LAST MINUTE WINTER RUSH OFFER Book by 15 March 2020 and receive: 15% Discount on Room Rates Special Release for Last Minute Bookings Valid for stays between now – 31 Mar 20

MEDHUFUSHI MALDIVES The Latin American Travel Association (LATA) has relaunched its flagship event as LATA Expo and it will take place in London from June 8-10, 2020. Formerly known as Experience Latin America (ELA), the rebrand aims to position LATA Expo as Europe’s number one B2B trade show focused on Latin America. Located at Magazine London, a new event space located in the heart of Greenwich Peninsula, the event will feature more exhibitors than ever before with new additions including Relais & Chateaux properties. Exhibitors and buyers will be joined in one-on-one meetings over the three days. New to the format will be a Ministerial Summit that will take place on June 10, 2020. The ministerial programme will focus on marketing Latin American destinations to the UK, understanding the UK consumer and generating positive return on investment, among other topics. The summit will provide UK consumer, commercial and travel trade insights that seek to inform those in attendance to better understand the UK market and encourage consumer demand. Colin Stewart, Chairman of LATA, says: “We have been working hard to meet our objective of growing the organisation and so are delighted to launch our first edition of LATA EXPO that perfectly aligns our flagship event with the wider LATA brand. The new venue, new format and new international one-day events are all examples of how we are expanding LATA and working closer with media and the travel trade internationally to encourage growth in Latin American tourism.” Agents can register at lataexpo.travel

SUMMER LONG STAY DISCOUNTS Book for a minimum of 7 nights by 30 Apr 20 To receive 40% Discount on Room Rates! Based on meal plan booked Valid for stays between 01 May – 31 Oct 20

KUDAFUSHI ISLAND RESORT MALDIVES WATER VILLA SPECTACULAR – EARLY SUMMER Book Water Villa or Water Villa with Pool and receive: Up to 40% OFF Room Rates! Valid for stays between 07 May – 31 Jul 20 ALSO FIND EXCLUSIVE DEALS FOR TRAVEL TRADE PERSONNEL ONLY ON OUR WEBSITE OVER 200 HOTELS AND A SELECTION OF TOURS AVAILABLE ON OUR WEBSITE MALDIVES • SRI LANKA • MAURITIUS • SEYCHELLES • INDIA • UAE • CARIBBEAN • GREECE • NEW CRUISING AND SAILING. INCLUDING EXCLUSIVE OFFERS FOR WINTER 2019/20 SUMMER 2020 AND WINTER 2020/21 RATES ARE NOW ONLINE

osborneandebel.com All above offers are subject to availability | Terms & Conditions Apply

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NEWS IN BRIEF • AM Resorts expands Caribbean-centric hotelier AM Resorts has debuted two new beach resorts in the region – the luxury adults-only Secrets St. Martin Resort and Spa and family-friendly Dreams Macao Beach Punta Cana. The new Secrets-branded resort is set beside Anse Marcel beach and takes over the plot from Riu Palace St Martin, which closed following Hurricane Irma in 2017. AM Resort’s other new addition is the sole property on the Dominican Republic’s Macao Beach. amresorts.com

• Great Little Breaks seeks agents UK short breaks specialist Great Little Breaks is the 23rd supplier to join travel trade association TIPTO, in a bid to boost its profile with UK agents. Growing quickly and with further product expansion planned, the operator is soon to provide rail-inclusive breaks to key cities like Edinburgh, York and London as well as a range of theatre and attractions options. tipto.co.uk

• New Virgin flights to Delhi Virgin Atlantic will fly from Manchester to India for the first time from October 26, 2020. This new three-times-a-week service will fly on a Monday, Thursday and Saturday with flights on sale from March 3 2020. This is coupled with the airline’s double-daily service from Heathrow to Delhi and daily service from Heathrow to Mumbai. virginatlantic.com

• Win a Great Rail Journey cruise Great Rail Journeys is highlighting its rail and river cruise combinations by offering one agent the chance to win a seven-night stay on the MS Amadeus Silver III, sailing the Rhine. To win, agents must secure a booking on any of its escorted rail and river cruises departing in 2020 or 2021 before March 31 and email the booking reference to agency@greatrail.com

New women-only expeditions from Intrepid Intrepid Travel has launched two new womens-only expeditions to Pakistan and Israel and the Palestinian Territories. The two new expeditions add to the existing portfolio of Iran, Jordan, Nepal, Kenya, Morocco, Turkey and India, with the number of bookings for the women’s only range increasing by 116% in 2019. Pakistan: Women’s Expedition marks the first of the two tours. Consisting of a 15-day expedition to Pakistan’s remote northern mountains, it travels with a local female leader to the Hunza and Yasim valleys. Travellers will meet the local women working on empowerment projects such as cooking schools, carpet weaving and cafes throughout the region. They will also trek to alpine lakes, ancient glaciers and the remnants of ruined empires, then witness the march of modern Pakistan in the country’s capital of Islamabad. An eight-day women’s expedition to Israel and the Palestinian Territories is the second addition to Intrepid’s portfolio. This trip will immerse clients in the different cultures of the region through the eyes of some important women. They will meet Palestinian peace activists, break bread with Bedouin women and learn about the Israeli women working to secure the right to pray at the Western Wall. Historical sites of Jerusalem will also be explored with both Israeli and Palestinian guides. “This is Intrepid’s fastest growing range to date and we have seen women connect with women in powerful and moving

ways,” Intrepid Travel Senior Product Manager Jenny Gray said. “Now in its third year, local female leaders offer insight and a unique understanding of women in these regions with respect to their cultural and religious values. We have found experiences that share stories of female empowerment and directly benefit local women by seeking out female-owned accommodation, restaurants, suppliers, and businesses in Pakistan, Israel and the Palestinian territories,” Gray added. In 2020, Intrepid is aiming to further increase employment opportunities for women in the travel industry by doubling the number of female porters who assist travellers on mountain hikes in Tanzania, Peru and Nepal, to name a few. intrepidtravel.com

PATA to focus on agent engagement Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) UK & Ireland will host 16 events for travel agents this year, visiting 15 cities across the UK and Ireland. The events are part of the organisation’s mission to increase agent engagement and encourage agents to use PATA as a resource for information, sales support and training. From quiz nights to roadshows, all of the events aim to provide a fun and relaxing environment where members can network

and train agents on everything from destinations to airlines and hotels in the Pacific Asia region. The first quiz night of 2020 kicks off in Birmingham on March 24. Dinner and drinks are included and there will be prizes up for grabs. Other events throughout the year will include flagship trade show PATA Exchange, and the experiential Taste of PATA. To register, visit: pata.org.uk/pata-events

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not Just Travel offers choice Not Just Travel has released new ‘Build your own’ homeworking packages for a new division of experienced travel consultants who can choose how they want to progress within the company. News of the new packages was announced at the franchise’s ‘Big Event’ in February where finer details of the packages were outlined – including a bonus scheme, free overseas trips, high commission, lead-generation programmes and extra incentives. “We recognise that what suits one consultant may not suit another,” said Not Just Travel Co-Founder Steve Witt. “People are motivated by different things – be it money, free travel, bonuses, technology… everyone’s different. That’s why we’re allowing these new experienced travel consultants to build their own packages! They choose from a menu of options; some agents may prefer working on a commission-only basis, some may prefer working to targets and on a bonus structure, some may want more free travel and free technology and some may prefer a mixture of them all. The agents pick and choose what appeals to them personally and what motivates them to sell.” Setting out to recruit the first experienced travel homeworkers to be

part of the company’s new division, The Big Event invited 100 people to London to share its plans to revolutionise the travel homeworking sector. “We believe we already have the best commercial terms in the business. Now, in a first for this sector, we are letting consultants call the shots – after all, they’re the ones with the experience and we respect that. We’re not followers – we’re leaders,” Witt said. Attendees learnt that once they’d joined the company, they would benefit from a programme of on-going support that has been devised to ‘fine-tune and ignite their entrepreneurial spirit’. info.the-travel-franchise.com

Jet2holidays indulges Jet2holiday has expanded its Indulgent Escapes luxury offering for Summer 2020 with new destinations and hotels. Zadar in Croatia, Corfu and Kos in Greece and Tivat, Montenegro have been added to the company’s luxury portfolio. Plus, a number of five-star hotels in Spain, Turkey, Greece, Cyprus, Tenerife and Croatia, including the Anantara Villa Padierna Palace in Marbella, and Regnum Carya in the Antalya Area of Turkey. As a result of the expansion, the package holiday specialist will have over 30 destinations and more than 110 hotels. Indulgent Escapes customers receive 25kg baggage allowance per person on both their inbound and outbound flight,

two complimentary drinks per person to enjoy during their flight, a complimentary luxury gift, private transfers to and from their hotel, and a priority lane security pass at their UK airport. Steve Heapy, CEO of Jet2.com and Jet2holidays, said: “Since launching the brand in 2011 we have carried over 200,000 customers on an Indulgent Escape. We are delighted to have expanded our portfolio of luxury breaks to include an even greater selection of destinations and hotels, so whether it is a five-star serene retreat, a cultural gem or a grand residence, we can offer holidaymakers an indulgent escape that is richly distinctive.” jet2holidays.com

CLIA column “Our news often seems to be dominated by stories about health, political unrest and natural disasters, and this may cause some concern. “The cruise industry is one of the most well-equipped and experienced in providing for the care and safety of passengers and crew. Cruise lines maintain high public health standards that help prevent large numbers of people getting sick. When it comes to managing and monitoring the health of guests and crew, cruise lines take precautions to conduct passive as well as active screening for illness prior to boarding when circumstances demand. “CLIA ocean-going members implement outbreak prevention and response measures and ships are fitted with medical facilities and have medical professionals available 24/7 to provide care in the event of illness and to help prevent disease transmission. “Cruise holidays are the safest form of leisure travel, and despite its size, our industry is agile and responsive. Lines can change their itineraries on a moment’s notice in the interest of health and safety. Being able to highlight some of this great work done by cruise lines can help reassure your customers, answer questions they may have and ensure they travel with confidence.” Andy Harmer CLIA IK & Ireland Director

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56 / the review SHOW REPORT

Jessica Pook reporting from...

Florida Huddle Venturing beyond the gateways was the key message at Florida Huddle, which saw buyers and suppliers gather in Jacksonville. JANUARY 29-31 2020

Visit Florida is encouraging tourists to travel beyond the state's gateways with its latest ‘Beyond’ campaign. The new initiative highlights why visitors should venture outside of Orlando and Miami if they want to experience Florida’s diverse culture, natural attractions and authentic experiences. “We know that UK visitors tend not to spend their entire trip in the theme parks,” said Visit Florida's Senior PR Account Executive Brianna Barnebee. “Adventure travel is a big trend and we’re seeing families spending more time in Florida’s state parks and searching out natural attractions. “Our latest campaign showcases how easy it is to venture outside of our gateways. Visitors are encouraged to see some of our world-class beaches or explore the many waterways, home to our diverse marine wildlife beyond Orlando and Miami,” added Barnebee. It was also revealed that Florida was the only U.S. state to benefit from year-onyear visitor growth in 2018, with continued growth expected into 2020. Speaking to delegates, Visit Florida's

Adventure travel is up 27% CEO Dana Young said that international visitors to the Sunshine State amounted to 24.4%, an increase of 2.3% year-on-year. Market research unveiled at the show indicated that millennial travel (those aged from 21 to 37) saw the largest growth, with a 53% increase. This is a sector that Visit Florida has targeted through dedicated marketing campaigns. Family travel reached an all-time high in 2018 with bookings up 24% as a result of a social media initiative which received 1.8 billion impressions. Before the campaign family travel had experienced no significant growth. visitflorida.com

GOOD FOR GROWN UPS “The culinary scene in Florida has really developed in recent years. It’s ditched its stereotypical fast food and chain restaurant tag and become adult-friendly with a host of fine dining options, independent restaurants and craft breweries. “Home to Columbia, thought to be Florida’s oldest restaurant, Tampa Bay now has one of the best restaurant scenes in Florida thanks to its Spanish influence and Cuban culture. Visitors now have an abundant choice of eateries thanks to the pedestrianfriendly Water Street – a five-year development project that has transformed Tampa’s Downtown area. “There is also a higher standard of accommodation being introduced to Tampa, which will appeal to couples. A 700-room JW Marriott is due to open in September, complete with four bars and restaurants, a full-service spa, a fitness centre and two rooftop pools. Hotel Haya, a 200-room boutique property, is also due to open later this year in Downtown Tampa and is in keeping with the area’s Spanish feel.” Rob Price Director of Tourism Development, Visit Tampa Bay

New Pirate Island Hotel Legoland’s Florida Resort is to open a Pirate-themed hotel in April 2020. Located next to the Legoland Park, each of the 150 rooms will feature in-room Lego treasure hunts, piratethemed décor and nightly shows and entertainment. Families can dine in the onsite Shipwreck Restaurant and Smuggler’s Bar and can enjoy a free family-style breakfast throughout their stay. legoland.com

INTERVIEW

One third of inbound visitors are families

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Hotel reviews

Checking out...

The Andrew Pinckney Inn, Charleston, USA

By Richard Williams The Background: The Andrew Pinckney is a boutique hotel housed in two separate historic buildings. There are 32 rooms in the Church Street building and nine across the road in Pinckney St, where the main reception is located. The Location: In the heart of downtown Charleston, handy for the Charleston City Market and horse-drawn carriage tours. Just down the road is the restaurant area of East Bay Street. The Room: The Cotswold Suite is on the fourth floor with two sash windows looking over Pinckney Street. It is a large room with a colour scheme of soft blues, cream and chocolate, with traditional Charleston trellis and damask patterns. There is a large bathroom with a walk-in shower, wooden floor and wood-framed mirror. Key Facilities: Coffee and tea-making facilities in the room, plus a fridge, safe, iron, and huge TV. The hotel has a business centre, valet parking, free wifi and access to the Eco fitness club. Restaurants & Bars: As a boutique hotel with only 41 rooms, The Andrew Pinckney has no restaurant. However, breakfast is complimentary, which is unusual in the U.S., and it is ‘artisanal’, which means hearty, with eggs, shrimp, grits, bacon and various local cakes and pastries. There is also a complimentary wine and cheese reception held at 4pm daily in the fourth floor solarium at the Church Street building. This enclosed roof terrace has great views over the Charleston City Market.

The verdict A lovely, characterful boutique hotel offering a classy city centre location. It is expensive and therefore has an exclusive feel. Rates: A standard room starts at $350 per night, breakfast included, but seasonal and group discounts are available.

The verdict Most cafes in Helsinki are styled in an effortlessly cool way with a cosy décor which will have your nose pressed against the window longingly - the St. George is no exception. With its Finnish art, zero-waste cocktails and stylish Nordic décor, it’s trendy without being trite. If you don’t stay, go for a drink or a cinnamon bun. Rates: From €280

Hotel St. George, Helsinki, Finland By Laura Gelder The Background: This 148-room boutique hotel opened in May in a grand 19th century building designed by the same architect as the Finnish National Theatre The Location: Opposite Old Church Park, just off the city’s main shopping drag. The Room: Lights, temperature and ambiance are controlled digitally in the Serenity Studio. The décor is simple but stylish, with parquet floors and warm tones of beige, pale pink and grey. The TV and mini bar are hidden in a rattan panelled cupboard and there’s a desk, king-size bed, Nordic designer chairs and soft lighting from angle poise lamps. The marble bathroom with rain shower has amenities from organic Swedish skincare brand L:a Bruket. Key Facilities: St. George Care has a fitness room and a beautiful spa, a light but calm space with natural wood accents and a serene pool, steam room, sauna, cold plunge pool and relaxation area with cane loungers. Massages and treatments use nature-focused beauty brands. Restaurants & Bars: The Wintergarden lounge sits under a vaulted glass ceiling with a huge brass bird sculpture suspended beneath it. Blue and orange velvet and leather sofas, brightlypainted murals on the walls and atmospheric lighting complete the scene. Restaurant Andrea offers Anatolian and Nordic flavours and there’s also a bakery/Café wafting out coffee and pastry aromas. The breakfast included omelettes cooked to order and a health-focused continental buffet.

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Steve Thompson reporting from...

ASEAN Tourism Forum This January over 800 delegates and 161 buyers attend the 39th ATF. Selling Travel was the only UK trade magazine to attend JANUARY 12-16, 2020

Eco and community tourism was high on the agenda amongst the destinations exhibiting at ATF, not least the host country Brunei. The Borneo nation is looking to build on its 7.4% year-on-year increase in visitor numbers by pushing nature and eco tourism this year. The Brunei Tourism and Development Department has developed numerous tours and excursions fitting with this theme, ranging from river cruises looking out for the proboscis monkeys, to walking trails and cottage industry tours. Brunei is home to over 673 species of birds, 53 of them endemic to Borneo, and is pitching itself as

the next destination for birdwatchers. Also currently proving popular with international crowds is diving around Brunei’s numerous shipwrecks. As diving is relatively new in Brunei, it doesn’t get the crowds found in more established locations around the region. This year will see the opening of the country’s first ever luxury eco resort in Temburong. It will encompass 30 chaletstyle villa units built over a 20,000 squaremetre area and will feature a fine dining restaurant and spa, swimming pool and outdoor recreational facilities including zip-lining. Community Tourism is the big trend in neighbouring Sabah, a Malaysian state also part of Borneo Zarinah HJ Amiludin, Marketing Manager for its tourism board said home stays, in particular, are proving popular with international guests and can easily be booked by UK agents: “They are becoming so popular that we put on a communitybased tourism fair every summer.” For agents wanting to learn more, there is a live chat on Twitter (@sabahtourism, #sabahchats.) every Friday. bruneitourism.com; sabahtourism.com

The UK is Brunei’s 6th biggest market

INTERVIEW

A BOUTIQUE AIRLINE “Royal Brunei Airlines (RB) launched its new brand campaign in 2019 which helped position us as a world-class boutique airline. “RB was awarded Skytrax’s four-star rating following a detailed audit of its overall quality of products and service and was awarded a five-star rating by the Airline Passenger Experience Association, which is based solely on certified passenger feedback. “RB has one of the youngest fleets in the world and flys daily non-stop from Heathrow Terminal 4 to Brunei with onward connections to over 28 destinations including daily services to Melbourne, Kuala Lumpur and Singapore. “We recently added services to Brisbane (four times a week) and daily flights to Beijing and have introduced RB Link flights connecting Brunei to cities in Borneo, including Sandakan and Tawau in Sabah and Bintulu and Sibu in Sarawak via a partnership with Malindo Air. “We offer agents incentives like shopping vouchers and fam trip places via Online Travel Training and have a dedicated trade team.” Adiel Mambara Country Manager UK & Ireland, Royal Brunei Airlines

Myanmar’s hotel boom

28,072 UK travellers visited Myanmar in 2019

Myanmar has seen a number of hotel openings in recent months, including the five-star Zwekapin Valley Resort and Spa. The resort is near the town of Hpa An, a five hour drive from Yangon and set within a rubber forest in the foothills of Mount Zwekapin - an up-and-coming spot in the region of Kayin. It has luxury rooms and villas, fine dining, a spa and a pool. zwekapinvalley.com

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DISCOVER Ancient history, style and sophistication on the Nile

Gliding down the world’s longest waterway there is an ancient past still alive in majestic monuments and relics, threaded along the river banks of the Nile. This captivating backdrop is mirrored in Sanctuary Retreats’ four ultra-luxurious river cruise boats, each elegantly designed to ensure a distinct sense of being in storied Egypt. Your river cruise adventure awaits.

CHINA

EGYPT

MYANMAR

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60 / california’s nine

National parks of

California

Beyond the Golden State’s exciting cities, stunning natural wonders abound. Lauren Jarvis reveals all nine of California’s national parks Yosemite

This spectacular wilderness three hours east of San Francisco has sweeping mountain vistas, valleys and waterfalls, transporting visitors to a time before humans made their mark. Some of the oldest trees on earth soar skywards in ancient sequoia groves and wildlife lovers can spot bears, cougars and coyotes. Summer is busy, spring and autumn bring cooler temperatures and winter offers cross-country skiing,

Joshua Tree

Taking its name from the fantastical yucca trees that grow in this unique landscape, Joshua Tree is just three hours from Los Angeles, but a world away from the City of Angels. Here, where the Mojave and Colorado deserts meet, the stars really are of the celestial kind. Outdoor types will enjoy hiking, biking and rock climbing, and hotels in nearby cosmopolitan oasis, Palm Springs, provide a stylish base for a desert adventure.

Death Valley

Despite its foreboding name, Death Valley is full of life, blanketed by wildflowers in spring, and wandered by big horn sheep, mule deer and more. Stretching along the border with Nevada, the park is blessed with landscapes from Mars and scorching summer temperatures to match, meaning visitors need to be prepared. A road trip from L.A is an exciting way to explore, while the park’s resorts and ranches offer cool comforts.

Lassen

Around four hours north of San Francisco, California’s own Yellowstone is a hotbed of volcanic action, with steaming sulphur pools, spluttering mud pots and boiling springs. Lassen Peak last erupted in 1914 and is now a magnet for hikers, while the park’s crystal-clear lakes can be explored by kayak, canoe or stand-up paddle board. Guests can book cabins or camping spots in the park, or hotels in Redding or Mount Shasta.

Redwood

Home to the tallest trees on earth, this stunning network of parks stretches along 40 miles of California’s rugged Pacific coastline, six hours north of San Francisco. Standing over 360 feet tall, coast redwoods are the main attraction, but there are also prairies where Roosevelt elk roam and wild beaches where seals, whales and dolphins splash offshore. Nearby Crescent City and Trinidad offer hotels, with lodges and campgrounds inside the parks.

Channel Islands

Dubbed ‘the Galapagos of North America’ thanks to its endemic plants and plentiful wildlife, these five islands off the Southern California coast are reached by boat from Ventura or Oxnard. It’s the state’s most undeveloped, with no lodgings, stores or restaurants. Action centres around hiking cliff paths, camping, watching sea lions and snorkelling among sea kelp to spy orange garibaldi fish. There’s also a 1932 lighthouse.

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Pinnacles

The cliffs, craggy spires and caves of this starkly beautiful park were formed by a volcano that erupted 23 million years ago about 200 miles away, before being shifted by the San Andreas Fault. The east entrance is 30 miles south of Hollister and the more remote west one is accessed near the town of Soledad. The park attracts hikers, rock climbers and cavers. Other activities include watching soaring condors, star-gazing and admiring wildflowers.

Sequoia & Kings Canyon

The majestic granite peaks of the High Sierra, giant sequoia groves, glacial valleys and plunging waterfalls make these two adjoining parks a playground for nature lovers. Made for hiking, biking and horse riding, they also boast an impressive cave system to explore and skiing and snowshoeing trails in winter. Four hours from L.A, visitors can stay in one of the parks’ lodges or cabins, or the resorts and inns of Fresno and Visalia.

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Fort Reyes

Jutting out into the Pacific from the Northern California coast, just 30 miles north of San Francisco, this reserve protects more than 1,500 animal and plant species and 80 miles of shoreline. Here, breakers pound remote beaches, wisps of fog wash over coastal hills, and tule elk roam in wild meadows. Visitors can go whale watching (January to mid-April) and more than 45% of North America’s bird species have been spotted at Point Reyes.

MEETINGS HERE HARDLY FEEL LIKE WORK

The success of a corporate retreat often comes down to its location, and you won’t find a better one than at Tenaya Lodge at Yosemite. Tenaya Lodge is ideally located in central California’s pristine Sierra National Forest, just minutes away from the south entrance to Yosemite National Park. With newly renovated guest rooms, a 10,000-square-foot ballroom and 13 additional flexible meeting rooms, we can accommodate meetings from 10 to 500. Tenaya Lodge is known for its unique team bonding experiences, delicious food and passionate planning team who will customize a meeting experience to suit your exact needs.

Call our sales team at 877-635-5807 or visit TenayaLodge.com

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62 / celebrity interview

Helen Skelton: “People couldn’t get over how pale I was. It made me realise how varied the world is” The globe-trotting TV presenter tells Angela Sara West about her record-breaking charity challenges and adventures around the world with friends and family

H

elen Skelton is as well known for her adventurous exploits as she is for her TV career, with roles presenting Blue Peter and Countryfile opening doors and feeding a taste for adrenaline-fuelled activities and philanthropic wanderlust. Children's TV was a gateway to action and adventure, leading vivacious Skelton to undertake incredible challenges for charity. She’s not only famously kayaked the length of the Amazon solo (breaking two Guinness World Records), but tackled the treacherous 500-mile icy Antarctica terrain, enduring extreme temperatures of -48C to reach the South Pole by ski, kite and bike. Helen’s Polar Challenge for Sports Relief pushed her limits, gaining her yet more world records. “On Blue Peter, I had colleagues who didn’t think I was mad for wanting to take on crazy adventures, so I ran with it! You get out of life what you put in, and I get a buzz from pushing myself,” says Skelton. Other notable accomplishments include becoming only the second woman to have completed the gruelling 78-mile Namibian Ultra Marathon, and her ‘Magnificent 7’ which saw her fly with the Red Arrows and face a daring rope bridge trial. Her most hair-raising moments? “Highwire walking between the towers of Battersea Power Station was nail biting. I was so scared I could barely breathe!” She says living on a boat in the Amazon, not knowing where or when she would

eat or sleep, was “an adventure in every sense of the word”, while driving a camper van across Turkey and travelling in India top her most memorable and exhilarating experiences. “They were trips that challenged me every single day. Turkey was scary at times… I got grief for travelling as a solo woman. I was swarmed at times in India and, in Bangladesh, people couldn’t get over how pale and blonde I was. Seeing people so shocked by me made me realise how different and varied the world is.” Returning to her rural roots as a presenter on Countryfile, Skelton’s UK-wide adventures and travels for the show have taken her all around the UK, seeing her mud wrestling, capsized in a canoe in a raging torrent, and stuck in a dry suit after helping fish in a canal while heavily pregnant. As an ambassador for Sports Relief and Comic Relief, Skelton’s also journeyed overseas, to Sierra Leone, Uganda and India, where she supported Operation Smile. “I helped charities perform facial surgery on children living with cleft lips and palettes. In Bangladesh, I met children struggling with malnutrition and physical disability, while in Peru I spent time with children living on rubbish dumps and making a living there.” She says her travels have taught her “empathy” and has top tips aplenty for staying safe abroad. “Research, research, research… Don’t travel alone. Don’t get too drunk, and keep valuables out of sight. I got mugged once for wearing earrings.”

The waterbaby was in her element living by the sea, having relocated to Canet-Plage with a toddler in tow, when her rugby league player husband, Richie Myler, signed with the Catalan Dragons in 2015. “We loved the weather, importance of life and amazing food. We never had a bad or expensive meal in Perpignan. The local market is so cheap, and we could get five litres of wine for €5 from the vineyard next door!” The slow pace was another bonus during their two-year French stint. “We couldn’t get over how relaxed everything was, taking two hours for lunch. We’d spend summers outdoors, on the beach, people watching.” Now back in Blighty, the future holds further epic challenges. “I’m attempting an ultramarathon relay in a couple of months, running 10km chunks with six girlfriends from Los Angeles to Las Vegas.” Born and raised on a dairy farm, farming's in the family blood, but does her rural upbringing influence her travel choices? “Yes and no. I’m happier amongst greenery and I like fresh air. A perfect holiday to me is swimming in natural water. That said, we’ve always lived so far from cities that going to the city is always a treat.” Summer is for switching off. “I live in my campervan. I love the Yorkshire coast, and I want to take the van to Switzerland,” while recent family winter travels took in Cyprus. “We found fantastic hidden beaches and quirky places, ate unrecognisable food and watched sunsets every day… it was perfect.”

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PROFILE Helen Skelton is an ambassador for Sports Relief and Comic Relief. Her new book, Wild Girl... How to Have Incredible Outdoor Adventures, is an inspirational guide to getting outdoors. Aimed at children aged 10 and over, it is published by Walker Books.

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UNWIND AS YO U W I N D A L O N G THE RHINE Let us transport your customers to a place like no other. Our Fred. Olsen River Cruise ship is one of few which can take guests along the Rhine and Moselle all the way to Luxembourg. Stopping off right in the heart of bustling Cologne and meandering along to the tranquil riverside towns and rolling vineyards of the Moselle Valley. Fred. Olsen, small ships for a big world.

The Fred. Olsen 2021 River Cruise itineraries are now here. To discover more, call Trade Support on 01473 746164, or visit your dedicated agent website at fredolsencruises.com/agent

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Take an

interest Special interest river cruises span a wide variety of pastimes and are perfect for both new-to-cruise clients and seasoned river travellers, says Jeannine Williamson

viking on the rhine

A

rt, music, gardening, cycling, history, wellness and wine appreciation can all be enjoyed via themed itineraries on European river cruises and are now being introduced on long-haul sailings. Providing clients with the opportunity to indulge in a hobby or interest, these special itineraries have the added bonus of being set against an ever-changing panorama of sights, cities and scenery. “Themed river cruises have grown considerably in popularity over recent years, with nearly every line offering one of some description,” says Andy Harmer, Director CLIA UK & Ireland. “These cruises are great for clients looking to indulge in a special interest, as guests can explore multiple destinations whilst enjoying a hobby or interest with like-minded people. “Each river has its own unique selling

point. For example, the Douro can be the perfect river for wine connoisseurs, as wine-themed cruises take guests through miles of picturesque vineyards, and for those looking for mindfulness and tranquillity, wellness cruises on the Ganges offer the chance to do yoga at sunrise and embrace the essence of Indian culture.” Elaine Gillard, UK Marketing Director, Crystal Cruises, says: “Crystal River Cruises is the perfect choice for those with special interests as our curated destination programme features over 200 shore excursions and offers more intimate, immersive experiences based on travellers’ individual interests. “The programme comprises five categories of experiences including Tantalizing Gastronomy, designed to showcase signature culinary styles and specialties of the destination; Cultural

Discoveries with expertly guided tours to historical landmarks, museums, iconic sites and architectural points of interest; and Exhilarating Adventures, designed for active passengers. The Rhine is perfect for wine lovers - more than 60% of Germany’s wine is produced along it.”

moZart’s statue in vienna - a danube port for music lovers

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For bookings, brochures, personalised posters & more, visit www.newmarketholidays.co.uk/agents-login or email us at travelagents@newmarketholidays.co.uk

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the douro offers port & architecture

Best for art & music lovers This year marks the 250th anniversary of the birth of Ludwig van Beethoven, one of the world’s most famous composers. Born in Bonn, he went on to spend the rest of his life in Vienna and his legacy can be explored on Rhine and Danube cruises. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was born in Salzburg, beside the Danube, and this city also featured in the classic film The Sound of Music. The ‘Blue Danube’ is forever associated with the world-famous waltz by Johann Strass and in Vienna passengers can go to concerts and dance classes. For art lovers, sailings on the Seine provides the opportunity to visit The Louvre to see the enigmatic Mona Lisa,

gastronomy onboard crystal cruises

and cruises on the Dutch waterways take passengers to Amsterdam where the 8,000-plus exhibits at the Rijksmuseum include works by Rembrandt, Vermeer, and Van Gogh - there is also a dedicated

the lower danube - great for nature enthusiasts

museum devoted to Van Gogh. Further afield, a Russian river cruise will include time in St Petersburg with a guided tour of the breath-taking Hermitage, one of the world’s largest museums. Book it with... Amadeus River Cruises Amadeus River Cruises’ seven-night Beethoven

“This year marks the 250th anniversary of the birth of Ludwig van Beethoven and his legacy can be explored on both Rhine and Danube river cruises”

ancient history buffs will love the nile

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Cruise on the Rhine is from £2,209pp. agentfred.co.uk

Best for history lovers History can be found everywhere on the banks of European rivers, and the most popular waterways are the castle-lined Rhine and the Danube, which runs through capital cities Vienna, Budapest and Bratislava, filled with palaces, churches and museums. A less-explored river is the Elbe, where cruises are book-ended by the culture-rich cities of Prague and Berlin - and Dresden, where the restored cathedral is a poignant symbol of Second World War bombing. More wartime history can be discovered on a Seine itinerary from Paris to Normandy, with excursions to the British D Day landing beaches and commemorative monuments. The Nile is now firmly back on the river cruising radar and vessels transport passengers between Luxor and Aswan with excursions including the Valley of the Kings where pharaohs including Tutankhamun were buried. Some itineraries are twinned with a stay in Cairo to see the pyramids. Long-haul options include the Mekong where Cambodia’s Angkor temples make up the world’s largest religious complex.

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Book it with... Andante Travels Andante Travels’ seven-night Cruising the Danube: Romans, Amber & Habsburg Splendour cruise is from £2,499pp, departing October 18. andantetravels.com

Best for food & wine lovers France is a number one choice for gourmands. The Rhone joins the Saone at the French foodie capital of Lyon and cruises feature excursions to the vineyards of Burgundy. For a really intimate experience suggest a barge cruise, where passengers have a personal chef and meals showcase regional food and classic wines. The inland waterways run through famous wine-growing regions including Burgundy, Bordeaux, Champagne and the Loire. Flowing from the Atlantic city of Porto to the Spanish border, the Douro provides a fascinating insight into Portugal’s fortified wine. Sailings include tours and tastings at vineyards hugging the rugged banks and a visit to one of the port cellars in Porto. Spain’s little-known Guadalquivir offers an insight into the country’s sherry industry and the chance to sample tapas in the colourful city of Seville. Another option is the River Po and Italian waterways, where some lines offer pasta or pizza-making workshops. Book it with... Fred Olsen Fred Olsen’s Valleys & Vineyards of the Rhine & Moselle travels from Cologne to Basel through wine regions like Ayr and Rhine Rhessen.

the dutch waterways are great for keen gardeners

Best for nature & scenery

in the Nature Reserve of the Ardèche Gorges.

The lesser-known and quieter Lower Danube flows east beyond Budapest to the mouth of the river and the Black Sea in Romania. It takes in the dramatic sight of the narrow Iron Gates gorge and culminates in the natural wilderness of the UNESCO-listed Danube Delta Biosphere Reserve, which is explored on a thrilling safari boat excursion. The area is home to the largest flock of white pelicans in Europe, wild horses and more than 325 species of birds, including eagles. In the South of France, the dazzling lavender fields of Provence bloom from June to August and other natural highlights include the Camargue Regional Nature Park which is part of western Europe’s largest river delta. It’s famous for its semi-wild white horses, which share the plains with pink flamingos and black bulls. Some lines let passengers enjoy the surroundings by walking or biking before re-joining the ship further down the river. Book it with... CroisiEurope

croisieurope.co.uk

CroisiEurope has a six-day cruise and hike

Oberammergau, The Passion Play cruise is from

itinerary round-trip from Lyon through the

£3,895pp, departing July 30.

Rhone Valley from £1,170pp. It includes hiking

vikingrivercruises.co.uk •

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W riter

Best for special events Annual events are an excellent way to attract repeaters and often feature shorter itineraries ideal for new-to-cruise clients. The Rhine comes into its own during the Christmas market season in cities such as Cologne, Koblenz and Strasbourg. In springtime the attention turns to the Dutch waterways where passengers can marvel at the riot of colour created by the tulip bulb fields and an excursion to Keukenhof, the world’s largest garden. Other spectacles include Rhine in Flames, held over five weekends in the summer when the river, churches and historic buildings are lit up by pyrotechnics. This year provides the chance to see the Oberammergau Passion Play, staged in the namesake Bavarian town once a decade. Book it with... Viking River Cruise Viking River Cruise’s nine-night

Jeannine Williamson An award-winning travel writer specialising in cruising, Jeannine is known as ‘the river cruise queen’. From paddling along part of the Mississippi in a wooden dug-out canoe to sailing on an ice-breaker in the Arctic, her travels have taken her to well-known and remote destinations around the globe.

fredolsencruises.com

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Crystal_RIVER_SellingTravel_Ad_Feb20.qxp_Crystal_RIVER_SellingTravel_Ad_Feb20 17/02/2020 15:54 Page 1

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“We offer year-round sunshine, natural beaches & enchanting desert landscapes with authentic Arabian culture” Jane Dawkins, UK & Ireland Country Manager, DCT Abu Dhabi

W

hat makes Abu Dhabi stand out is our culture and historical offering. Abu Dhabi has a plethora of world-class attractions, from beautiful beaches to theme parks, wildlife and of course the desert experience, but we are also home to Louvre Abu Dhabi, featuring temporary and permanent exhibits with artwork from all the greats. Then there is the array of forts and palaces in the ancient oasis city of Al Ain to explore, and even in Abu Dhabi City we have Qasr Al Hosn, the city’s oldest building where visitors can learn about the emirate’s history.

Pitch perfect Agents should tell their clients that Abu Dhabi offers year-round sunshine, natural beaches and enchanting desert landscapes with authentic Arabian culture. It’s also a modern city, with stunning architecture, recordbreaking theme parks and attractions and even green spaces to relax in. An incredibly safe destination, the emirate offers affordable luxury to suit all budgets, with familiar

YEARS IN THE INDUSTRY: 28 Best Holiday: Skiing in the mountains or relaxing on the beach. Favourite holiday food: Arabic coffee with pistachio-stuffed dates, but I’m partial to a tartiflette too!

international hotel brands and restaurants. A sevenhour direct flight and minimal jet lag helps too! Abu Dhabi appeals to such a wide audience, whether clients are sun and beach lovers or a family who will make the most of the three theme parks on Yas Island. Culture vultures will find plenty to keep them occupied and likewise active adventurers can enjoy a whole host of experiences, from golf to mangrove kayaking, hiking in the mountains to snorkelling in the warm Gulf. Agents should also consider selling to Dubai regulars who may appreciate Abu Dhabi’s more laid-back vibe, competitive pricing and natural beauty.

Looking ahead It’s set to be an exciting year! For agents, we’re launching an online e-learning platfrom with Travel Uni - Abu Dhabi Specialist. Out in April, the five modules will cover geography, how to sell Abu Dhabi, what to see and when to sell it. It also explores themes like beach, culture, soft adventure, theme parks, food and Ramadam. It’s really succinct and a great way for agents to improve their Abu Dhabi sales. Ferrari World Abu Dhabi will celebrate their 10th anniversary with the launch of a new rollercoaster and a family zone, among other new experiences. Yas Island, where it’s located, recently opened CLYMB, an attraction that includes the world’s tallest indoor climbing wall. We are also looking forward to Abu Dhabi’s first aquarium and a new Hilton hotel in the new Yas Bay development on Yas Island. In 2021 we will welcome the world’s first Warner Bros.themed hotel. The emirate understands the importance of sustainability. Masdar City relies on renewable energy sources and is a hub for cleantech companies, while the Jumeirah at Saadiyat Island hotel is minimising its impact on the dune ecosystem by eliminating singleuse plastic water bottles and plastic straws. •

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Mumbai

A melting pot of movie moguls and slum-dwelling wannabe millionaires, Mumbai is an energetic city mixing colonial architecture with hipster hangouts, says Tamara Hinson Day 1: Movies & museums Morning: The National Museum of Indian Cinema at Pedder Road’s Films Division Complex has a huge collection of memorabilia, ranging from hand-painted movie posters to film props. Getting here from the city centre will become much easier when a new metro line is completed in 2021, connecting Colaba (home to the Gateway of India) to the SEEPZ industrial zone via the trendy, beachfront Bandra neighbourhood. Afternoon: The Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya (try saying that after a mouthful of masala chai) is Mumbai’s largest musuem, with galleries dedicated to everything from Indian armour to Himalayan Art including a diamond-filled jewellery gallery. The

building was designed by Scottish architect George Wittet and comprises Indian, Islamic and Western elements. Evening: Take an Ola (India’s super-cheap version of Uber) to the Gateway of India. This ornate monument was completed 24 years after its foundation stone was laid in 1911, at the spot where King George V first set foot on Indian soil. The design was inspired by Paris’ Arc de Triomphe and the Islamic architecture of Gujarat. It's a spectacular spot which has unbeatable views of the Arabian Sea and is the departure point for shuttle boats to Elephanta Island, a UNESCO World Heritage site filled with temples built between 450 and 750AD.

the gateway of india

Book it with... G Adventures A 33-day Kolkata to Kochi by Rail package includes two nights in Mumbai. From £2,532pp, including accommodation but excluding flights. gadventures.co.uk

grab a curry at Leopold cafe

Day 2: Food & flower power

Dadar flower market

The Taj Mahal palace hotel

Morning: Start with a caffeine fix at Kyani & Co, Mumbai’s oldest Iranian café. There were once hundreds in the city, founded by Parsi settlers (Zoroastrians) fleeing religious persecution in Iran in the nineteenth century. The famous dish is brun maska – soft buns covered in butter and designed to be dipped in hot chai. Explore the nearby Dadar Flower Market, beneath the Dadar flyover. This sprawling maze of colourful stalls has everything from lotuses (India’s national flower) to bunches of fragrant basil, planted outside homes to banish negativity. Afternoon: Head to Leopold Café in the Colaba Causeway area. This cosy restaurant, with its clattering ceiling fans, was famously targeted by terrorists in

2008 and starred in Gregory David Roberts’ novel Shantaram. Fill up on butter chicken and oven-fresh garlic naans, washed down with Kingfisher beer. Walk off lunch with a wander around the Fort area, which has the highest number of art deco buildings after Miami. Evening: Dinner at the Taj Mahal Palace hotel is a great way to soak up the grandeur of this iconic hotel without splashing out on a room. Masala Kraft has sumptuous décor and authentic dishes like chakki ki Sabzi (Rajasthani dumplings). Afterwards, head to Lower Parel, Mumbai’s nightlife hub. The liveliest spots include the Kamala Mills complex, with its cocktail bars, and AER, the rooftop bar atop the Four Seasons Mumbai. •

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traveluni.com

GDS | TRAINING | REWARDS

Training, competitions, events March 2020

THIS MONTH'S TOP STORIES

Holiday with Haven OFFER

Quick Quiz Are you a Flanders Expert?

FAMILIES can enjoy school holiday breaks from £149 per family when booked with Haven. A three-night Easter break between April 6-17, 2020 starts from £149, based on a family of up to four sharing a standard two-bedroom caravan at Berwick, Northumberland. A three-night

1. The longest tram line in the world is located in Flanders

May half term break running May 22-28,

TRUE / FALSE

departing July 20, 2020 starts from £549

2020, starts from £249 at Seaview, Dorset. And a seven-night summer holiday break at The Orchards, Essex, for a family of four. bourneexpert.co.uk

News

Packages hold firm, says ABTA

2. Flanders is known for its fine dining. It offers 93 Michelin-star restaurants TRUE / FALSE

Luxury Qatar deal OFFER

IF ONLY is offering a threenight luxury package holiday to Qatar from £929, when booked by

ABTA specialist I Modules: 9

March 30, 2020. The package will see guests staying at W Hotel & Residences

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in Doha where they will enjoy views of the Arabian Gulf. Located in the city's West Bay area, the resort offers guests access to shopping, nightlife and a buzzing culinary scene. The price includes three nights with breakfast and return flights with Qatar Airways from Heathrow, private transfers and airport taxes and is valid only for departures on October 1, 2020. tawashqatar.com flandersmaster.com

Answers: 1: True 2: True

OVER HALF of holidays taken are package deals, with the Canary Islands the top destination for British tourists, according to ABTA Members. Dubai and Egypt are proving popular midhaul choices, and Southern Turkey is opening up with more flights to Antalya and Dalaman throughout the winter season. Orlando, Cape Town, Mexico and the Caribbean – whether it be for a cruise or visiting a specific destination – are the pick of the long-haul destinations. Whilst winter sun is the most preferred option (25%), the second most popular trip is a city break (21%), with 25-34 year olds being the most likely to take one (28%).

traveluni.com

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KAANAPALI BEACH HOTEL in Hawaii will undergo a $65 million redesign with Hawaiian culture at the focus. Launching in spring 2020, the enhancement project will see the 180room Kaua 'i Wing redesigned, as well as a new oceanfront restaurant, Huihui. Each room will have a 'modern but earthy feel' to it and will feature an employee-made Makaae shadow box with traditional Hawaiian trinkets inside. Huihui, the hotel’s new signature restaurant, will serve as a relaxing dining experience with ocean views. There will also be an extension of the property's canoeing programme and eventually the addition of a sailing academy. gohawaiiagents.com

THE ARUBA Tourism Authority (ATA) has announced it will offset the CO2 emissions on flights for hosted guests, including trade, in the latest of its environmental initiatives. The scheme will cover European agents heading to the island for fam trip on KLM Royal Dutch Airlines and will make use of KLM’s CO2ZERO compensation service, under which the financial contributions go towards the CO2OL Tropical Mix reforestation initiative. Aruba has already banned single-use plastic bags and now prohibits the use of any disposable plastic in the consumption of food and drink. Sunscreens containing oxybenzone, which are known to damage coral reefs, will also be banned later this year.

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the light side of travel Grin and bare it

Naturist holidays will be the next travel trend, according to Garden Furniture website FarawayFurniture.com, which found one in four Brits would strip off to go on a nudist holiday. Of those surveyed, 68% said it would be a small price to pay for an even tan, while others felt it was a good excuse to connect with nature and try something new. For those that had already been on a nudist holiday, 88% were sold on the basis that they 'barely' had to do any packing and 48% said they felt less body conscious after stripping off. Those looking for love should note that one in five people admitted to meeting their partner during their naturist holiday. Well, you know what they say... less is more.

From close-up to close call We are five times more likely to die from a selfie than a shark attack according to a survey by phone case retailer Case24.com. While most of us feel pressure to get that perfect holiday snap, 41% admitted they had taken this to the extreme while abroad - 50% had stood on the edge of a cliff, walked on a train track or climbed a landmark to get a memorable snap.

Top eight - most instagrammed villages of the world Based purely on the sheer amount of hashtags each has generated on 'the gram', here are the world's most picture-perfect villages... 1 2 3 4 5 6

Raise your palms

7

Virgin Holidays (virginholidays.co.uk) has found that millennials are the pickiest when it comes to holiday 'musts'. Three in 10 surveyed felt a holiday wasn’t worth going on unless they could upload artistically shot pictures of palm trees and 33% would be deeply disappointed if there wasn’t a perfect sunset every night. So Bognor Regis is probably off the menu.

8

Cinque Terre. Italy Reine, Norway Oia, Santorini, Greece Burano, Venice, Italy Colmar, France Halstatt, Austria Alberobello, Puglia, Italy Hobbiton, New Zealand

The April 2020 issue oF SELLING TRAVEL WILL featurE: Korea • Malta • Maldives • Multi-generational cruises Thailand • Qatar • South Pacific • Florida • All-inclusive holidays • Cruising Chile & Argentina • Responsible travel, including Helsinki & Nepal contact us sales@bmipublishing.co.uk; editorial@bmipublishing.co.uk plus online: more features, reviews and blogs

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Be inspired by...

FAMILY HOLIDAYS

Trends in family holidays • Jersey • Alternative theme parks • Travel Talk: Visit Florida • Cyprus • New product for families • Take five: educational escapes

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Happy families As families grow, so do their holiday needs. Jo Gardner looks at the current trends in the family travel market and asks what agents can do to capitalise on this lucrative sector in 2020

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ast August I dragged my seven-yearold daughter on a 10-hour flight and across several time zones to discover the delights of Seattle. While this might seem like an odd choice for a family holiday – Italy, France and Spain are all arguably nearer and cheaper - new research from ABTA suggests families are looking to broaden their horizons in pursuit of added adventure. Having done my fair share of package holidays to European beaches, I couldn’t agree more. But you don’t have to break the bank, or any carbon resolutions to discover something different – just look beyond the basic fly and flop. “Family travel is moving beyond the traditional sun and beach getaway to the creation of lasting memories,” says GlobalData’s Head of Travel and Tourism Sara Grady. “From cultural trips to activityfilled adventure, it’s essential to offer travellers something beyond the norm.” Agreeing with this is adventure specialist Explore which has noticed an increase in families willing to invest in more immersive experiences. Demand for its Botswana and

Zambia safari trip is on the up. “We wild camp in Moremi, stay on a houseboat in Okavango and visit Chobe National Park, famous for elephant, lion and cheetah sightings,” says Family Programme Manager Antony Barton. “Vietnam, Turkey and Costa Rica are also proving popular, with each destination offering a range of exciting adventures for families to experience together.” ABTA’s latest family market report shows classic beach and city holidays in Spain, Greece and France are still in greatest demand but members report that families are responsible for driving longer haul bookings, particularly for destinations such as Orlando, Dubai, Cancun and Barbados. Looking for new experiences, family visits to Africa and South America are on the rise Kenya and Botswana, in particular, are popular amongst older families while Peru and Brazil are attracting younger families. But Barton also warns families wishing to try new foods or do something out of their comfort zone to wait until their children are a little older. “Safaris are better suited to older families when kids are able sit still

and appreciate the experience,” he says. “The same can be said for trips with longer travelling days and trekking.”

From babes to teens Of course not all families are looking for adventure - Travel 2 has reported an increase in parents of younger children booking holidays based on what the hotel can offer them as a family rather than the destination itself. “Families with babies and toddlers don’t just look for value-for-money but ways to make the experience easier,” says Product & Commercial Manager for Europe Lauren Ross. “We see a number of repeat guests to hotels like the Sani or properties like Ikos which offer a wide range of activities and dining options as well as going beyond kids’ clubs and babysitting to provide buggies, bottle sterilisers and changing mats. This makes it easier for families to travel light.” Age can be important and Barton suggests agents look at earlier departure dates for families with teenagers doing their GCSEs, who often finish the school year earlier. “We are offering more June and early July

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Clockwise from top left: Learning to ski, Serbia; kids' club Verdura Resort, Sicily; Flat landscapes make the Netherlands perfect for family cycling trips; family safari, Africa

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Learning about the Leaning Tower of Pisa, Italy

dates this year and take up is good,” he adds. “Avoiding peak season not only saves on airfares but avoids the crowds, too.” Teenagers aren’t just influencing when families go away, but where. Research by Globetrender has spotted a spike in families with hard-to-please teenagers being swayed to book holidays with more of a theme, where children can learn a skill, give a possible dream job a go or prepare themselves for exams. Budding biologists can head to Gili Lankanfushin in The Maldives for a fivenight summer Educational Escape, assisting marine biologists with coral reef recovery and sea grass monitoring. Later in the year wannabe David Attenboroughs will be able to learn about the importance of rhino conservation at Kenya’s Arijiju safari lodge.

Jet2holiday’s General Manager of Trade Sales Craig Davidson citing increased childcare and children entertaining one another as reasons for extended families holidaying together. He adds: “As well as looking for more choice and flexibility outside the traditional seven-, 10- or 14-night stay, multigenerational groups are opting for all-inclusive resorts so that budgets are set, and entertainment and facilities included."

“We also find that families are more discerning on room types, with family suites and interconnecting rooms proving popular. Decent wifi is also a must.” For families who don’t like the allinclusive model, Jet2Villas offers families a home-from-home experience with package benefits. Properties include individual villas offering total independence with selfcatering facilities and private pools; villas in a complex with a neighbourhood-style

Mekong river trip, Vietnam

Taking advantage of all-inclusive life

A grand old time Multi-generational trips - where children travel with both their parents and their grandparents – are also on the rise, with

sellingtravel.co.uk

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JOIN US FOR

WELLFIT FAMILIES 2020 5TH JULY - 30TH AUGUST

GIVE US YOUR BODY FOR A WEEK AND WE’LL GIVE YOU BACK YOUR MIND. BodyHoliday’s Wellfit Families theme month makes family wellness holidays a reality. This is an experience that motivates teenagers and their parents towards family bonding, through well-being and fitness. This month combines a fusion of adventures, sports experiences and activities. Abseiling, bike rides along coastal trails and beach fit classes all combine to make some wonderful memories. Did we mention all the fun?

®

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Please contact your preferred tour operator to book, or call 0203 096 1629 www.bodyholiday.com

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atmosphere; or hotel resort villas with access to hotel facilities and amenities.

Advice for agents Families of school-aged children will always be at the mercy of high prices and busy travel periods but agents can still help. Travel 2’s Ross suggests booking seats as soon as flights are released to save money on airfares. Jet2holidays has gone one step further and put its summer 2021 programme on sale now to give customers and travel agents the chance to book early. “Agents should use their marketing budget to promote family packages more,” adds Ross. “Look at hosting themed events.” Explore’s Barton suggests agents frame the conversation around the value of experiences. “Things that bring children out of their shell and push the boundaries are priceless.” ABTA members have witnessed a four-fold increase in families using social media to determine holiday choices in the last five years – showing that if agents want to get more families on board, Facebook and Instagram could be key.

Exploring an oasis, Al Ain, Abu Dhabi

ALL I INCR N ONE E LOCA DIBLE TION

MOTIONGATE™ Dubai

BOLLYWOOD PARKS™ Dubai

LEGOLAND® Dubai

LEGOLAND® Water Park

Book your tickets now Please check with your preferred UK partners to access some great deals when booked in advance. dubaiparksandresorts.com LEGO, the LEGO logo, the Brick and Knob configurations, DUPLO and LEGOLAND are trademarks of the LEGO Group. ©2020 The LEGO Group. LEGOLAND is a Merlin Entertainments brand.

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Alternative THEME PARKS Think theme park holiday and most British families will think Orlando or Paris, but there are many other options which could make for a fun add-on or weekend away, says Stuart Forster

Parc Astérix France

Efteling Netherlands

Legoland florida

This family-friendly theme park, named after the comic book Gaul who resists the Roman Army, is under an hour’s drive from Disneyland Paris. The four-star Les Quais de Lutèce hotel, a 150-room property whose theme is Paris in Roman times, is set to open this spring and adds to accommodation including treehouses. Parc Astérix has rides suitable for youngsters plus thrill rides like the Oziris roller coaster. parcasterix.fr/en

Open year-round, fairy tale-themed Efteling is near a national park 90 minutes’ drive from Amsterdam. A new Max and Moritz-themed roller coaster is set to launch this year, adding to rides like Baron 1898, which features a scream-inducing freefall. There's lots for little ones, like an enchanted forest, steam carousel, maze, and miniature world. Stay at Efteling for free access to live shows like Aquanura, Europe’s biggest water show. efteling.com/en

Have clients who’ve already visited Walt Disney World Resort? The vast Legoland Florida Resort is at Winter Haven, less than an hour’s drive from Tampa and Orlando. Designed for youngsters aged from two to 12, it features more than 50 rides, including the Flying School suspended roller coaster. Kids can make a splash in the Legoland Water Park before heading to bed in a Legothemed bungalow or bedroom. legoland.com/florida

Europapark Germany Europapark is a great alternative to Disneyland Paris. It has 15 themed areas and entertainment includes live shows and 4D movies. Among the 13 roller coasters is the corkscrewing blue fire Megacoaster powered by Gazprom which accelerates to 62mph in 2.5 seconds. Rulantica, an indoor waterpark with 17 slides and a wave pool, was added in November. And forget fast food, its Ammolite restaurant has two Michelin stars. europapark.de/en

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Roller coaster aficionados who’ve spent time at parks in California such as Six Flags Magic Mountain may enjoy visiting at Cedar Point at Sandusky, Ohio, on the edge of the Great Lakes region. The long-established theme park has a waterpark and in 2020 celebrates 150 years since opening. Steel Vengeance — the world’s tallest, fastest and longest wood and steel hybrid — and the 120mph Top Thrill Dragster count among its 18 coasters. cedarpoint.com

The Great Escape Upstate new York

Why settle for a trip to Coney Island? This upstate theme park and outdoor waterpark is a 3.5-hour drive from New York City and accessible from across New England. Its Comet rates among the world’s best wooden roller coasters, with rides lasting 135 seconds. The Adirondack Outlaw is set to flip riders at more than 50mph when introduced this year, adding to other thrill rides like the freefalling Sasquatch. sixflags.com/greatescape

Ferrari World Abu Dhabi, UAE

Thrill seekers who purr about rides at Dubai’s IMG Worlds of Adventure are likely to love the acceleration of Formula Rossa at Ferrari World Abu Dhabi. The world’s fastest roller coaster tops 149mph, thrusting riders into their seats with 4.8Gs — the force felt by accelerating Formula 1 drivers. The climate-controlled indoor theme park on Yas Island has 37 rides and attractions, many with driving-related themes. ferrariworldabudhabi.com

Selling Travel - Disneyland Paris - HP March 2020_Layout 1 24/02/2020 16:33 Page 1

Disneyland® Paris For Groups Greatdays Holidays are proud to be the Top Performing Leisure Groups Operator for Disneyland® Paris for the 5th year running!

© Disney

Our dedicated Disney team is here to help ensure that the booking of your group’s trip to the place where dreams come true is as easy as possible. Group rates are available for groups with a minimum of 12 passengers, whether it be family celebrations, school groups, performing arts groups, incentive travel and more! We offer tailor-made packages including Disney Hotel and Park Tickets, plus extras such as Meal Plans and Character Dining to make your group’s trip even more magical. We will be on hand throughout the booking process to help you every step of the way. With two parks to explore there is something for everyone at Disneyland® Paris from big thrills to family fun, and after a busy day the group won’t have far to go with a choice of six onsite Disney® Hotels each with magical Disney touches and prices to suit all budgets. Booking a group trip to Disneyland® Paris is easier than you may think with the award winning Disney team at Greatdays here to help you make magical memories that will last a lifetime. FOR MORE INFORMATION PLEASE CONTACT US

T: 0161 928 3242 | E: sales@greatdays.co.uk www.greatdays.co.uk/disneyland-paris-for-groups

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“We’re noticing a trend in educational travel. Parents want their children to have a meaningful experience” Staci Mellman, SVP, Marketing, Visit Florida Historically, Florida has always been a destination for families. But what’s unique is that it appeals as much to parents as it does to kids. “The close proximity to attractions means that one day can be spent thrill seeking at the theme parks and the next bike riding in a state park, just 40 minutes away, or sunning yourself on one of the many soft sand beaches. “The family-friendly appeal extends to Florida’s resorts too, with most offering an amazing kids club experience. Our research shows that UK visitors tend not to spend their entire holiday in the theme parks, so it’s important that hotels have the facilities to keep children stimulated whilst their parents can enjoy some well earned down-time.

YEARS IN THE INDUSTRY: 9 BEST HOLIDAY: A three-week trip along the western coast of Australia in a campervan.

Family time

TRAVEL DISASTER:

“We're seeing a huge increase in educational travel. Nowadays parents want children to gain something from the holiday experience. There’s less focus on queuing for rides and more on learning about the environment around them or simply gaining a new skill.

Being stuck on a dingy boat off an island in Fiji at the start of a category 4 cyclone.

“Children are much more aware of the world around them so for many parents, incorporating an element of sustainable tourism is important. Visit Florida has created a web page highlighting eco-friendly ideas, from attractions, activities, dining, transportation and lodging, to how to practice voluntourism while you’re here, available at visitflorida.com. “Florida also offers a wealth of children’s programmes with an underlining focus on the natural environment and how to be more environmentally friendly. One initiative is Turtle Talks and Walks at MacArthur Beach, which offers a glimpse into the life of a nesting loggerhead sea turtle and teaches visitors about the conservation of marine life. “There’s also a great marine programme at the Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium in Sarasota, where kids can go out with marine scientists for the day on boats and see dolphins in their natural habitat. "Kennedy Space Centre in Merritt Island is another popular attraction with families and is both engaging and informative, with space travel simulators and live rocket launches. “Multi generational travel is also a top trend. We often find three generations of family members travelling together or grandparents taking the grandchildren away on what’s known as ‘skip gen’ holiday.

Better together “Visit Florida is launching a new campaign aimed at the family market, with the theme of ‘togetherness’. We all lead busy lives and quality family time can be hard to come by. We want to remind people that above all, Florida is a place where families can reconnect and create memories that will last a lifetime. While the family holiday may be Florida's mainstay, it's still developing new product to cater to this evolving market.” Family bonding time on Clearwater Beach in Florida

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Exploring Cypriot streets

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Natural playground Safe, sunny Cyprus is a family favourite thanks to kid-friendly resorts, blue-flag beaches and fun diversions away from the sea, says Kathryn Liston

W

ith family at the heart of Cypriot values, it’s unsurprising that the destination is popular with British families – ‘safe, friendly and never too far from the beach’, is how Ricky Watson, Head of Product and Purchasing at Olympic Holidays, describes it. He adds: “The locals really enjoy seeing families out and about exploring their beautiful island and even in the local restaurants they take special care ensuring the children have everything they need to enjoy their holiday on Cyprus.” Add to this a wide variety of family hotels - many with kids clubs and all-inclusive options - villas and apartments, Blue Flag beaches and historical sights, water parks, cycling trails, jeep safaris and boat trips and it’s easy to see why Cyprus appeals to families. And because motorists drive on the left and the signposts are in English, it’s easy for families to explore. Elena Ahmadian, PR & Marketing Executive at Cyplon Holidays, says: “Cyprus always sells, it’s a year-round destination. Families tend to stick to the hotels that are really popular and it’s a great alternative to Greece which is mostly B&B. Plus it is only a short (four-hour) flight away, easily accessible from the UK, everyone speaks English and it offers a great selection of luxury and good-value hotels for families.” She recommends the five-star Olympic Lagoon Resort, Ayia Napa, a short walk from the beach and Waterworld theme park, for its children’s playground and clubs, soccer

academy, and adult-only section for parents wanting kids-free downtime. The luxury Parklane, which opened last year, is a children’s paradise, its Park Kidz club offering educational activities ranging from drama to flying a kite, a themed castle, multi-activity pool with pirate’s ship and water slide. Plus there’s the Football Escapes academy, where aspiring youngsters (5-15 years) are coached by exprofessional soccer stars such as Michael Owen. It costs £450 per child per week. Football Escapes has an Easter holiday package to Parklane Limassol from 4 -12 April with Jermaine Jenas (ex Tottenham Hotspur) from £3,900 per family. Olympic’s Watson recommends Aphrodite Hills Resort for a villa holiday, Paphos Gardens Holiday Resort for a self-catering break and the Amathus Beach Hotel, St Raphael Resort (Limassol) and Louis Ivi Mare, Paphos. The luxury Anassa and Almyra are favourites with Kuoni, which launched its first Family Holidays brochure last year. Both hotels offer the Baby Go Lightly service, where parents can pre-order essentials such as bottle warmers. The Almyra, which reopened this month after refurbishment, has a kiddie concierge that will arrange trips in Paphos like the toucanfilled zoo or even a Segway tour. “The team at Almyra pride themselves on tailoring every experience for each guest, whatever their age or needs,” says Natalie Eves, Family Expert at Kuoni Nottingham. Villas with a private pool are popular

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Family time in Paphos

Little explorers head to the beach

with families for the flexibility they offer. Sunvil recommends the Stella Maris and Buffavento villas, located in Pomos, for families travelling with friends.

opening this year - the Radisson Beach Resort in Larnaca, which opens in April and adults-only Amarande in Ayia Napa, opening June. Other hotels new to its programme include the St Elias Resort in

What’s New

Protaras, family-friendly Thalassines Beach Villas in Ayia Thekla, Amavi in Paphos and Amara in Limassol. Tours: Specialist Journeys’ Cyprus tour includes an introduction to Cypriot archaeology by Dr Paul Croft, who has excavated widely on the island. The eight-day tour departing September 3 2020 costs from £2,695pp including flights, meals and site entries. Cruise: Celestyal Cruises has launched a seven-night all-inclusive Three Continents round-trip cruise from Athens that visits Cyprus (Limassol) as well as Alexandria, Ashdod (Israel) and Kusadasi, Greece.

Tourism board: The Cyprus Tourist Office is rebranding and focusing on special interest holidays such as wellness and rural tourism. The UK is the island’s biggest market representing 30.5% of tourists. Last year 1.3 million UK tourists visited Cyprus - up 2% on 2018. Attractions: Families should make a beeline to the Rural Larnaka Honey Villages, where children can become a beekeeper for a day at Ecophysis in Vavla and visit the Bee Museum in Kato Drys and Bee Park in Melini. There’s also a honey festival for children in September and honey & beekeeping festival in June. Accomodation: The Almyra Hotel, Paphos reopens this month (March) following a €4 million refurbishment of its rooms, Aeras Restaurant and public areas. All rooms have Smart TV and bathrooms have Carrara marble walk-in showers. Planet Holidays is featuring two hotels

Cyprus leads the way with family resort facilities

Top family experiences Climb a mountain: The Troodos region offers a wealth of outdoor activities for young ones to let off steam skiing in winter, mountain biking (cycle hire available) and hiking. The Artemis trail is an easy 7km stroll around Mount Olympus, the

highest on the island, with great views. Troodos rocks: Stimulate young minds with a trip to the Geopark visitor centre in Troodos, located in an old asbestos mine, where they can learn about local rocks and enjoy demonstrations. Roaming ruins: Kids will love clambering underground into rock burial chambers at the Tombs of the Kings north of Paphos and even very young ones will love the magnificent 2,000 seat Greco-Roman amphitheatre at Kourion, hearing their voices amplified throughout the stadium - no speakers required! Theme park fun: One of Europe’s biggest theme parks, Waterworld in Ayia Napa offers 35 adrenaline-fuelling rides and attractions, all with a Greek mythological theme. There’s also Luna Park, where a 45-metre-high fluorescent Ferris wheel is the centrepiece of a host of rides. Off-road adventure: Hold on tight for a bumpy ride in the Akamas National Park, stopping off at the turtle conservation station, Lara Bay, to see baby turtles before they are released. Animal antics: The Camel Park, Larnaka, offers play areas, games and a 5D cinema and experts are on hand to talk about its camels, ostriches, goats, wallabies, llamas and turtles. Kids can see donkeys being milked and fed at Golden Donkeys Farm in Skarinou village - where there's also a wax museum, traditional Cypriot house and ancient olive press. Aqua antics: Snorkellers can enjoy the LEF1 wreck (13 metres deep) while divers can explore the Elpida (30 metres). Or there's the Thalassa Museum in Ayia Napa if you want to stay dry.

Kids pool, Olympic Lagoon Resort, Ayia Napa

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Jersey - the cream of the crop for kids? Jersey is ideal for families, says Jo Gardner. This rugged but reliable destination is on our doorstep and offers a mix of natural and cultural diversions

natural playground If there’s one thing that an island just five miles long by nine miles wide can offer it’s coastline: deserted stretches of silky caramel sand and peppermint seas make Jersey a match for families with young children. Consider the rugged and beautiful north coast with its sheltered bays and cooling breezes - or the south with its sun-soaked picture-postcard beaches. Kayaking, surfing, snorkelling or sailing will keep the ‘can’t keep still’ brigade happy. A fastidious attitude to recycling gives wildlife more than a fighting chance on Jersey, too, with a mild climate enabling Green Lizards, Agile Frogs, puffins, red squirrels and Marsh Harriers to thrive. For guaranteed sightings of orang-utans, gorillas and lemurs, look no further than Durrell Wildlife Park - 32 acres of landscaped grounds where mammals, reptiles and birds live in harmony. Or spot native birds through large binoculars at the Wetlands Centre. Rock pooling by Seymour Tower, La Rocque Harbour

cultural classroom Appearances are deceptive - with its art galleries and Michelin-star restaurants, Jersey is no cut off isle. The island’s somewhat volatile history has paved the way for some incredible buildings, including historic forts and five exciting castles, all with secret passages, bunkers, turrets and gardens to explore. Many have imaginative activities for kids involving living history actors, dressing up, crafts and story telling. There are also myriad museums bringing the island’s past to life, whether that be the hardships and heroism of locals during the German occupation at Jersey War Tunnels, or fishy tales at the Maritime Museum. Tax-free shopping attracts shoppers, with St Helier’s high street brands vying St Aubin’s quirky finds for attention. Pit stops between spends can include cream teas, ice-cream overlooking a sparkling harbour or fish and chips from beachside shacks. There’s a celebration for every season and every local delicacy on Jersey, including the International Film & Music Festival (May) and the Battle of the Flowers Carnival (August). Play time, Mont Orgueil Castle

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new ideas for child-friendly escapes Exclusive Asia

Movie magic

Indus Experiences is launching five private family tours to Sri Lanka, Kerala, Borneo, Thailand and Vietnam in response to demand from the trade. indusexperiences.co.uk

New ride, The Secret Life of Pets: Off the Leash, opens at Universal Studios Hollywood this March. Guests 'transform' into stray puppies and journey towards adoption past 64 technologicallyadvanced animated figures. universalstudioshollywood.com

Dreams Macao beach AM Resorts is opening this new five-star family property in March on one of the Dominican Republic's most stunning beaches, Playa Macao. The Punta Cana resort's facilities include 500 suites, three pools, a water park, six restaurants and seven bars. dreamsresorts.com

join the Club New Maldives resort Heritance Aarah has the Koka Kids Club, offering activities such as coconut painting, introductory yoga and lessons on playing Maldivian drums. There's also an Activity Room with PlayStations and a computer library. heritancehotels.com/aarah

Tots TV stars Butlin’s will introduce CBeebies stars Mister Maker and Rebecca Keatley, plus cartoon favourites PJ Masks to its Just for Tots entertainment line up this year. They join headliners Justin Fletcher and the cast of Milkshake! Live on selected dates between March and October. bourneleisuresales.co.uk

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Rangers rule At Arijiju in Kenya's Borana Conservancy, teenagers learn how to track animals via droppings and tracks, practice an anti-poaching exercise and learn bush craft like lighting a fire from the rangers. arijiju.com

Simpson Travel has a new range of family-friendly holidays at its villas and hotels across Europe for 2020, under the umbrella collection ‘Simpson Kids’. Also new for 2020 is its Beach Life programme - complimentary supervised children’s activities at GK Beach Hotel, Crete and Bella Mare Hotel, Corfu. simpsontravel.com

Dook

Simpson, especially for kids

Learn together G Adventures' new collection of family tours with National Geographic are focused around storytelling, history, culture, conservation and exploring including going to gladiator school in Italy. gadventures.co.uk

A spectacular performance This award-winning theme park in eastern France is two and a half hours from Paris and offers educational period villages and family-focused shows. New night-time spectacular, Les Noces de Feu, presents a fairy-tale wedding with dazzling displays of fire, water and special effects, set against a backdrop of a lake. puydufou.com

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5 EDUCATIONAL ESCAPES BE A MARINE BIOLOGIST IN THE MALDIVES. Gili Lankanfushi's five-night educational escape lets teens dive into Maldivian marine wonders this summer with three days’ work experience on the Coral Lines Project, assisting marine biologists on coral reef recovery, seagrass monitoring and fish ID excursions, and reporting their findings on a blog. gili-lankanfushi.com GET ARTY OR SPORTY IN ITALY. This Easter, Verdura Resort in Sicily is introducing new creative activities for children alongside its golf and football academies. There's a Graffiti Academy for teenagers to express their creative side and little ones can craft their own Easter baskets, bunnies, flowers and eggs. roccofortehotels.com

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JOIN THE CLUB IN DUBAI. Children receive a welcome gift when they check into JA Beach Hotel and can take advantage of extensive facilities to learn things like horse riding, kayaking, sailing and tennis. There's also a games room, CoolZone Kids Club and ChillZone Teens Club. jaresortshotels.com BOOST CONFIDENCE IN SRI LANKA. Education consultants Oppidan Education will run camps for kids aged eight to 16 at luxury resort Cape Weligama from May 23-31 (spring half term), encouraging personal development and teaching skills ranging from how to do a Dragon's Den-style pitch to creative writing. resplendentceylon.com BE A RANGER IN ECUADOR. Mashpi Lodge's team of local naturalist guides can teach teens techniques for safely navigating the forest by foot or they can observe the Lodge’s resident scientists at work in the laboratory. On leaving, they can spread the word on conservation by becoming a Young Mashpi Ranger. mashpilodge.com

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JAMAICA SAINT LUCIA

GRENADA BARBADOS TURKS & CAICOS

LUXURY

CARIBBEAN H O L I D AY S

We are delighted to announce the launch of our brand-new, 180-page Luxury Caribbean Holidays brochure – the third since becoming a Tour Operator in 2017. Within this brochure you will find an array of information to help you sell more. Not only do we provide information on getting to the Caribbean, we also provide an overview of our Luxury Included® concept, as well as full details on each of our resorts.

New features within our 2020-2022 brochure include: •

Updated imagery

Updated “Resort Highlights”

New wedding concept – Inspired by love, Created by you

A resort map for our newest property, Sandals Royal Barbados

A more in-depth overview of our “Stay At One, Play At All” exchange programme

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Copies are currently on their way to you and should arrive by week commencing 2nd March. In the meantime, take a sneak peek by visiting sellingsandals.co.uk. At this time we’d like to thank you for your ongoing support. We recognise that it takes the best to sell the best and, like any good friendship, we strive to provide you with all the support that you need.

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TO BOOK THE WORLD’S LEADING ALL-INCLUSIVE RESORTS CALL 0808 164 3459 VISIT SANDALS.CO.UK/AGENTS OR BEACHES.CO.UK/AGENTS

2019

22 Years Running

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Profile for BMI Publishing Ltd

Selling Travel Magazine March 2020  

The world in one magazine Cover Story: Family Holidays, plus how to sell... Themed river cruises • Escorted touring • Seychelles and more...

Selling Travel Magazine March 2020  

The world in one magazine Cover Story: Family Holidays, plus how to sell... Themed river cruises • Escorted touring • Seychelles and more...