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SEP/OCT 2021 • SELLINGTRAVEL.CO.UK

THUNDER ROAD

With a 'new' volcano, geothermal baths, whale watching and much more, Iceland is raw and spectacular

how to sell...

Multi-generational travel Celebrity cruise Mauritius Canada

STANDING BY TRAVEL AGENTS

Israel

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Contents /

3

All around the world

inside this issue Trend-watching

Canada

36

08 Multi-generational UK holidays: Why the Uk is the perfect place to reconnect 11 Travel Talk: ProColombia & Shearings Holidays 12 Foursight: Agents show their appreciation for tour operators

ICELAND

14

Globe-hopping

BRIGHT IDEAS

40

mauritius

21

leading locations

30

14 Iceland: Exciting, accessable and unique 17 How to sell: North Dakota 18 Top 10: Hong Kong neighbourhoods 21 Mauritius: This Indian Ocean gem is welcoming Brits back 26 Israel: Historic land with a modern twist 29 How to sell: Phuket, Thailand 30 Leading locations: Bucket-list cruises 32 My journey: Celebrity Cruises

Selling Canada multi-generational uk holidays

08

36 Canada: What's new as the country reopens to interntional travellers 40 Bright Ideas: Alternative winter sports 44 City profile: Montréal

Trade talk

phuket

29

50 The review: The latest news in travel

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4 / Welcome EDITORIAL EDITORIAL DIRECTOR Steve Hartridge

ASSISTANT EDITOR Jessica Pook

September /October

Get ready for Big Recovery

WRITERS Lauren Jarvis, Jane Archer, Laura Gelder, Stuart Forster, Mark Stratton

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 DESIGNER Caitlan Francis & Emma Norton

PRODUCTION & STUDIO MANAGER Clare Hunter

PRODUCTION ADMINISTRATOR Steve Hunter

COVER IMAGE

On the road to Vestrahorn mountain, Iceland istockphoto.com/ miroslav_1

W

elcome to this issue of Selling Travel. As always, our aim is to offer you features and stories that have a dual purpose in mind: to inspire you to read on about destinations, even if some are familiar to you, and to offer some fresh insights and tips to sell them. As summer turns to autumn, it is fair to say that travel's Big Recovery is more of a hesitant crawl than a positive march, but we trust the following pages will get you thinking, perhaps even dreaming, about shores both near and far. In this issue we take an extended look at Canada, a country Steve Hartridge EDITORIAL DIRECTOR that will - all things being equal - start to welcome Brits back from September 7. The impact on Canada's tourism suppliers - large and small - has, like with most other places, been devastating. But those suppliers will be hoping that the autumn and winter will provide some much needed relief in the shape of UK tourists heading to the country for its fall colours, national parks, dynamic cities, coastal villages, winter resorts and ski hills...and more. After losing almost two complete 'normal' tourism seasons, the Rocky Mountaineer will once again be operating its luxury sightseeing trips through the Rocky Mountains until October 7. It is not too late to book clients on to one of the world's most iconic and inspiring train trips. As Stuart Forster writes in his evocative opening to his feature, Canada is a country that inspires and provokes a sense of awe and wonderment. Read the latest news and updates from many of its provinces, on pages 36-49. Elsewhere, we bring you updates on destinations as diverse as Iceland, Israel, Mauritius, Phuket and North Dakota, USA. Finally, a big thank you to our four agent columnists who have continued to write for Selling Travel, each issue offering their own unique perspectives of the difficulties they face, along with their hopes, at a time when business has been worryingly minimal for them. Read their latest words on pages 12-14.

(PRINT) ISSN 2056-9319. © BMI PUBLISHING LTD 2021.

SELLING TRAVEL IS PUBLISHED BY BMI PUBLISHING LTD: 501 THE RESIDENCE, NO. 1 ALEXANDRA TERRACE, GUILDFORD, GU1 3DA, UK. T: 020 8649 7233 E: ENQUIRIES@BMIPUBLISHING.CO.UK BMIPUBLISHING.CO.UK • SELLINGTRAVEL.CO.UK WE ARE MEMBERS OF THE CARIBBEAN TOURISM ORGANIZATION, VISIT USA ASSOCIATION, LATA, PATA, MENATA, SATOA, THE FOREIGN AIRLINES ASSOCIATION AND THE INSTITUTE OF TRAVEL & TOURISM. WHILE EVERY EFFORT IS MADE TO ENSURE ACCURACY, BMI PUBLISHING LTD CANNOT BE HELD RESPONSIBLE FOR ANY ERRORS OR OMISSIONS. COVER IMAGE CREDIT: ISTOCK.COM/ JUERGEN SACK This publication is printed on Revivew 100 Media and Revive recycled coated, recycled paper grades that are FSC® Recycled certified and Carbon Balanced.

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

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Trend watching

6 // New New beginnings beginnings

Grenada

FOODIE EXCELLENCE Grenada – known as The Spice Isle – has been named the first Culinary Capital by the World Food Travel Association (WFTA). The Caribbean island impressed with its organic produce and spices, used to make local favourites such as nutmeg ice cream, cocoa tea and coo-coo pois – a Caribbean-style polenta. Clients can visit culinary attractions such as Belmont Estate, a 300-year-old working cocoa plantation; River Antoine Rum Distillery or join Grenada’s annual chocolate festival in May. puregrenada.com

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Trend watching New beginnings /

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Botswana

Great Plains has taken inspiration from traditional safari traditions for its new ‘Great Plains Expeditions – Botswana’. Guests will self-navigate along the western and central regions of the private Selinda Reserve during their mobile four-night cross-country safari. Each expedition will incorporate guided tracking walks and the chance to sleep under a blinding canopy of stars. greatplainsconservation.com

BEVERLY JOUBERT

ANIMAL INSTINCTS

Lapland

LAPPISH LUXURY Guests staying at the Apukka Resort in Rovaniemi, the capital of Finnish Lapland, can kick back and watch the Northern Lights from their own private suite this winter. Part of a seven-million pound investment project to support Lapland’s tourism recovery, the 35 ‘Kammi Suites’ and 15 family suites will feature panorama windows with spectacular views of the midnight sun, Arctic autumn and Northern Lights. The first 15–20 Kammi Suites and five family suites will be ready for winter 2021–2022. apukkaresort.fi

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Trend watching

8 / Multigenerational

It’s a

family affair As life slowly returns to normal across the UK, Brits are booking multi-generational staycations to reconnect with loved ones and avoid the complications of overseas travel, says Lauren Jarvis

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ith many international destinations sadly still off-limits to UK travellers, and the Government’s traffic light system causing ongoing confusion, many of us have resigned ourselves to staying close to home for another year. And domestic operators, resorts and destinations across the British Isles are upping their game to meet – and exceed – our expectations. The rediscovery of great British gems, a reconnection to nature across our isles, and the affirmation of just how much we need the company of family and friends are positive takeaways from a near two tumultuous years for travel. And with the country’s older generation now ‘double-jabbed’, spending quality time with loved ones is firmly on the agenda.

Self-catering in style “We’ve found that lots of families are looking for a UK holiday destination where they can all get together safely after spending so long apart due to various covid travel restrictions,” says Dan Hutchinson, who owns Wellstone Cottages in Llanfyrnach, Pembrokeshire. “Our four-star self-catering cottages and traditional Mongolian yurts in West Wales – including The Coach House which accommodates up to 12 – are perfect for groups of up to 30. “Summer has been busy, and we’re expecting healthy bookings for family gatherings over half-term and Christmas,

too: we welcome enquiries from UK agents.” Away Resorts have nine award-winning holiday parks in some of England’s most spectacular locations – including Sandy Balls in the beautiful New Forest – that tick plenty of multi-generational holiday boxes. With large, well-equipped selfcatering lodges, hot tubs, nightly music and events, a variety of on-site restaurants, indoor and outdoor pools, spas and play areas, there’s plenty to keep everyone in the holiday bubble entertained. “With the uncertainty of international travel, we are welcoming many new guests to the Away Resorts parks this year,” says Laura Miller, Head of Marketing at Away Resorts. “Families are preferring a staycation break where their bookings can feel more secure. Our parks range from coastal to county locations with enough activities to keep the whole family happy.“ Meanwhile Oliver’s Travels offer a selection of large luxury properties across the UK, which are also proving popular with mixed family groups. Co-founder Ravi Sabharwa says: “Properties with private, secluded grounds are proving to be a popular choice for our customers travelling on a multigenerational escape. Popular searches on our site also include pet-friendly cottages, while pools, hot tubs and games rooms also remain a firm favourite. Fridge-stocking and access to a private chef/catering are our most popular concierge requests, allowing adults to fully relax during their stay.” And high-end holiday provider

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Trend watching

10 / Multigenerational

Families are keen to reconnect

“Families are looking for a UK holiday where they can all get together safely after spending so long apart due to various covid travel restrictions” Dan Hutchinson, Wellstone Cottages

Luxury Lodges offer self-catering properties including Whitbarrow in the northern Lake District, with lodges sleeping up to eight, hot tubs, a heated pool, splash pool and play area.

Plain sailing Boating holidays are also a great option for a multi-generational escape, and are a popular choice for a ‘skip-gen’ trip, where active grandparents take a break with the grandkids, leaving the parents at home. Drifters Waterway Holidays represents nine self-drive canal boat hire operators, with 550 boats and 45 bases across England, Wales and Scotland. “Narrow boats come in a variety of sizes and offer accommodation for

Boating holidays are fun for the whole family

warwick castle has invested in new attractions

up to 12 people, so they make great multi-generational floating holiday cottages,” says Director, Nigel Stevens. “Everyone sets off together on an adventure afloat, working as a team to steer the boat, open and close locks and plan their stops. There’s also wildlife to look out for, canal-side pubs to enjoy and towpath walks. Many families rebook year after year, with the annual narrow boat holiday becoming a treasured opportunity to be together. And they’re pet-friendly, too.” Le Boat, a provider of inland water boating holidays, has a fleet of large self-drive cruisers, allowing entire families to stay onboard. With no previous experience required, the river holidays combine adventure with the chance to slow down and unwind on some of the UK’s most beautiful waterways.

Diverse attractions From city breaks boasting some of the world’s best museums and galleries to thrilling theme parks and British seaside destinations offering sun-kissed, sandy escapes, holidaying in the UK offers a flexibility that overseas escapes can’t beat. The UK’s relatively small size means you’re never far from an exciting attraction, but with so many of us now holidaying closer to home, booking in advance is the best way to keep kids, and the rest of the multi-gen group, happy. Tiqets is a mobile booking site and one-stop-shop for booking a broad range of UK experiences. “Families booking on Tiqets.com can enjoy hundreds of attractions including the British Music Experience in Liverpool or the new Terrible Thames in London,” says Alexis Peppis, the platform’s UK Regional Manager. “We work closely with the travel

Natural beauty spots are on our doorstep

trade and we’re currently sourcing new partners for the travel agency sector, so watch this space!” Private tours are also a fantastic way to experience new destinations and are ideal for extended families travelling with their bubble. ToursByLocals offers customised half-, full- and multi-day excursions, like their A Tale of Ms Potter Tour in the Lake District, with adventures to suit a variety of ages, hosted by local experts.

Great British hotspots Family favourites the UK include Warwick Castle, which regularly unveils new attractions. Warwick’s Knight’s Village, with its large lodges and glamping bell tents, offers a medieval-themed sleepover that kids and grandparents alike will love. Families are also looking to UK destinations rich in the natural wonders to satisfy younger cravings for fun and adventure, and older needs for beauty and tranquillity. Cornwall, Scotland, the Lake District, Scilly Isles, Channel Islands and Wales all have much to offer multi-generational groups. “Destinations surrounded by nature and space are massively appealing to travellers in our post-covid world,” says Dan Hutchinson, who also runs Wellstone Yurts & Camping. “Pembrokeshire offers broad, sandy beaches with safe swimming, beautiful coastal walks, adventure for younger members of the group like kayaking and rock climbing, and tranquil, pretty villages for the older generation.”

Where to book it Away resorts – 0330 127 9878 Escape to a two-bedroom Superior Lodge in the New Forest for the ultimate woodland getaway. Priced from £696 for dates in October. awayresorts.co.uk •

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“The big draw for the UK market is Colombia’s wildlife and nature experiences” Giberto Salcedo Ribero, Vice President of Tourism, ProColombia Although currently on the UK’s red list, Colombia has big plans for welcoming back the UK market. We are the second South American country, after Ecuador, to see a tourism recovery and are back to 50% of the tourism traffic we had before the pandemic. At the beginning of Covid Colombia launched a Biosecurity seal, in partnership with the private sector, and many airlines, tour operators and hotels use this seal of approval to demonstrate Covid-

safety. Unlike with some other countries, this certification is checked before it is awarded, meaning tourists can feel at ease about their trip. It is not mandatory to have a negative PCR test and visitors just need to fill in a form. We trust in people’s behaviour and self-control, like wearing masks.

Natural paradise As the second-most biodiverse country in the world, the big draw for UK travellers is Colombia’s wildlife and range of nature experiences. The country is the number one destination globally for bird-watching, and some readers might be surprised to learn

that safaris are also popular. Our UK visitors love nature, so Colombia is the perfect destination for adventure travel. There’s also an abundance of community related tourism, where travellers can meet and experience the everyday life of the country’s indigenous peoples. The capital, Bogota, also has one of the greatest collections of indigenous architecture. ProColombia is to launch a new initiative this month, with the aim of gathering UK agents in Spain to learn more about the destination, and is also looking to host FAM trips. It will also happily work with agents to organise itineraries . procolombia.co

“Ireland is a great recommendation for clients who are longing to go overseas” Ashley Dellow, Head of Retail Sales, Shearings We have seen continuing demand for the UK and more recently a surge in bookings for Ireland, which is now on the green list for fully vaccinated clients, with no testing or quarantine requirements. Ireland is a great recommendation for clients who are longing to go overseas but still a bit nervous post-Covid. Just crossing the Irish Sea really gets everyone in the holiday mood and Shearings’ escorted coach holidays make the experience

seamless, with close pick up points or even a door-to-door ‘Home Connect’ service.

Closer to home Our new Ireland product includes our sixday Wild Atlantic Way, Giant’s Causeway and Donegal tour and our Dublin & the Heart of Ireland tour for Solo Travellers. Agents can also choose from Kilarney and The Ring of Kerry, Westport and Wild Connermara, Belfast and Giant’s Causeway or Ireland’s South-East – Waterford and Wexford. Coastal resorts in Devon and Cornwall such as Torquay, Plymouth, St Ives, St Mawes, Ilfracombe and Newquay

are booking fast, as is Bournemouth, Eastbourne, Blackpool, Whitby and the Lake District. I strongly believe that the UK and Ireland will remain just as popular for 2022, and these destinations are already on sale for 2022 and beyond to 2023. Shearings has produced point of sale material for agents. We also have a great selection of assets for social media channels. Contact ashley.dellow@ legershearings.com or ‘Shearings Trade Team’ on Facebook for more details. We are also increasing our call centre staff to help answer agent queries and have a booking platform online. shearings.com •

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Trend watching

12 / Four-sight

Travel’s helping hands Our agent columnists tell us who in the travel industry has supported them most over the past 18 months, and what has been the biggest help

Anneka hopes to get to Canada

Liz will holiday in Jersey this year

We’ve decided not to use operators that didn’t offer extra help The early days of the pandemic certainly highlighted who the most trade-friendly operators were. I don’t think I’ll ever forget speaking to clients in Chile at midnight to ensure they got on the last flight out of Santiago! Latin Routes were amazing with that booking. They gave us an early heads up about the borders closing and worked tirelessly to get them home. Jetset excelled in changing flights quickly, calling us from personal mobiles when lines were busy, and swiftly issuing refunds. Anzcro also went to great lengths to help, with many a 6.00 email exchanged between Karen and I. The lovely Tours girls at Travel 2 worked tirelessly to help us make sense of the madness and both Classic Collection and Prestige Holidays have been fantastic in their willingness to amend bookings (often countless times). On the flip side, we’ve consciously decided not to use operators that didn’t offer extra help moving forward. While future travel still looks unsteady, it definitely feels more positive. Canada is due to open up in early September and my husband and I are talking about taking our little boy on his first plane journey to meet his Canadian family.

THE FAMILY BUSINESS

Anneka Desrosiers

Southern Cross Travel, East Sussex

Commenting on the traffic light system and which sectors or companies have given agents support over the past 18 months really brings home how fraught these times have and continue to be. The way the traffic light system has been implemented by the Government is enough to make anyone question travelling. The current scare that Spain will turn red is hopefully just a rumour – but that in itself is enough to stop people planning a holiday there. Cruise colleagues do report that many ocean lines have protected commission – either in full or to some degree – where clients have received full refunds for

Operators remain shortstaffed with two-hour holding times canceled cruises. This essential largesse did not extend to the river cruise sector. Some operators have protected commission for Future Cruise Credits but with steeply rising prices a refund is often the only option for clients. And agents need phones to be answered in order to deal with queries and to secure bookings. Sadly, many operators remain short-staffed, with holding times of over two hours not unheard of. Even many people in the travel industry have been put off holidaying abroad this year.

THE CRUISE SPECIALIST

James Hill

Go Cruise, Cruise specialist, Worcestershire

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Trend watching Four-sight /

13

` The support from tour operators has been invaluable´´ Only the truly dedicated and determined traveller will go abroad Looking back over the last 18 months I’d like to thank those tour operators that have helped us get through this travel nightmare so far – especially those that have arranged prompt refunds for clients, are easy to contact and that have clear and regular updates. I’d like to particularly thank Jet2holidays and Gold Medal for their help and support and The Travel Network Group for their regular updates via email and Zoom meetings. This has really helped to provide some much needed clarity and reassurance. I’m sure we all have lists of tour operators we won’t be using again due to their lack of support, but I won’t name names here. I was lucky to get to Portugal in May, and we have helped some clients get away over the last few weeks too, but with online forms and testing it’s only the truly dedicated and determined traveller that will go abroad if things don’t change. I’m excited to be visiting Jersey soon. I think the experience I have had completing the Covid tests and online forms has given me confidence to help customers and convince them that if I can do it anyone can!

It has become clear during the pandemic who in the indusry has been willing to support agents during our toughest time. Tony Mann at Idle Travel in Bradford told me how impressed he was with Jet2 and that they have given refunds quickly and kept agents updated. He also thought Julia Said from Advantage Travel has been very active on behalf of all travel agents in the press, and when talking to MPs. Helen North of High Ridings Travel in Birstall told me she was very impressed with Typically Holidays and their refund policies. Riviera was spoken highly of for changing all bookings with no stress, as were easyJet and Classic for their cancellation policies, whilst Inghams received praise for not taking balances until four weeks before travel. Jonathan Tighe from Oakwood Travel in Leeds said Beachcomber had been brilliant, returning his biggest refund of £21,000 within six days of the cancellation. We are down to the last few tables for the Yorkshire Travel Ball at Village Hotel in Leeds on September 23. I look forward to seeing everyone. Email s.murray922@ btinternet.com for more information.

Beachcomber returned a refund of £21,000 within six days

THE HIGH STREET AGENCY

Liz Beaty

THE HOME WORKER

Sandy Murray

The Travel Team Brampton, Cumbria

More needs to be done to protect commission for cruising agents

Agents have been impressed with Jet2 Next issue: After another summer lost, will the festive season give agents a much needed boost?

Sandy's Travel Escapes

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Globe hopping

14 / Iceland

Land of

extremes With natural wonders that range from geothermal waters to an erupting volcano, Iceland is a must for clients looking for a truly unique experience, says Mark Stratton

faGradalsfjall volcano is icelan’d’s latest natural spectacle

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henever iceland is in need of a dramatic reinvention this profoundly volcanic island is able to reach down into the bowels of the earth and conjure up something truly astonishing. Two months before Iceland made it onto our travel green list a new volcano, Fagraldsfjall, annonced itself by way of a spectacular eruption in a desolate valley on the seismic Reykjanes Peninsula. The volcano is growing explosively in size, day by day, yet remains an easy hour-long trek off road. As I follow a blackened rocky track towards it, Fagraldsfjall requires few signs to guide me because on the horizon is a billowing cloud of cinders and molten fragments belching skywards like the emissions from a dodgy carburettor. Although I’m compelled to venture forward, the sight before me lends a

nagging sensation: I’m heading through the gates of hell, a feeling scarcely allayed crossing a final bleak ridge to witness the most visceral force I have ever encountered. Amid a newly formed lava plateau of burning basalt, the coal-black fledgling cone is angry, erupting orange magma so intense it’s like staring at the sun. At first it gushes quickly through a breach in the crater, accompanied by a grinding roar. A lava cascade explodes upwards over 400 metres, driven by unimaginable force, before settling down again a minute or so later. The issuing molten lava scythes its way across the surrounding plateau. The whole cycle is deeply mesmerising. With every pulsating eruption I’m warmed by the searing heat and left feeling I am witnessing before me the very essence of our planet’s formation.

an explosive relaunch By constructing a nearby carpark and creating a trekking path to Fagraldsfjall – rendering this the most accessible erupting volcano on Earth - Icelandic tourism hasn’t hesitated in promoting it as a flagship attraction throughout this summer. It’s a spectacular statement of reopening that will likely override cautions travellers have about holidaying. Unlike the relative fiasco playing out with regards to travel by the UK Government, the Icelandic roadmap to reopening is mature and considered. Explaining to clients the paperwork and testing around Covid-19 can seem rather daunting, yet Iceland is refreshingly clear and efficient. The country currently accepts only fully-vaccinated travellers, or those with documentary proof they have had the virus. At the border, I present my nHS-app

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Globe hopping Iceland /

15

Steamy Sky Lagoon with ocean views

Glacier Hiking tour

as proof of vaccination and take a free PCR-test on arrival. I am told to wait in my accommodation for the result. It comes back negative in just four hours. Restrictions have since been relaxed so that those presenting a valid vaccination certification or prior Covid-19 infection (and therefore immune) no longer have to undergo a test at the border. This careful reopening is yielding early results. “In May there were 14,400 foreign arrivals which is 14 times more than in May 2020,” says Oddńy Arnarsdóttir, Project Manager with Visit Iceland. “Many are coming to see the volcano”. It’s worth emphasising Iceland’s outdoors space is the perfect antidote to Coronavirus fears. With the likes of glacial landscapes, great waterfalls, the bird-rich Lake Myvatn, and the geothermal Reykjanes Peninsula – where bathing in the silica-rich Blue Lagoon

Solheimajokull Waterfall

jacob Oslob

mark stratton

cotton flowers at Myvatn lake

remains a wellness classic – visitors will spend much of their time outdoors. It’s a destination for all age groups. Fabulous hiking will appeal to the fit and active, while the enduring appeal of driving Iceland’s Route 1 circular ring-road remains the most popular activity among travellers. Encourage clients to consider road trips between 10 to 14 days, so that they get the best out of Iceland’s stellar scenery. “We are certainly seeing a demand for our fly-drive programme in Iceland and summer and autumn is an amazing time to discover the whole of the country, with beautiful colours, warmer weather and longer hours of daylight for exploring and being outside,” says Andrea Godfrey, Product Manager at Regent Holidays. She says Iceland currently accounts for over a quarter of their business - and Regent programmes multiple destinations.

LAva still spills from the volcano today

“Icelandic tourism hasn’t hesitated in promoting its new erupting volcano, Fagraldsfjall, as a flagship attraction this summer”

What’s new? New products: The Sky Lagoon opened back in April 2021. This is a wellness facility, par excellence, located six kilometres outside of Reykjavik on the coast. It’s quite different to the Blue Lagoon experience. The geothermally heated waters are crystalline clear, and you

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n co

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Discover more iceland features at sellingtravel.co.uk/articles

Whale-watching wonders: From pods of streamlined orca hunting herring to the spectacle of breeching humpbacks whales, Icelandic whale-watching is thoroughly memorable. Half-day excursions are offered by small boats from Húsavík in the north. It’s an activity that should feature on most itineraries Sublime soak: Long before wellness became fashionable, taking geothermal baths in heated pools was enshrined in Icelandic culture. The most renowned thermal pool is the Blue Lagoon, south of Reykjavik. Now is a fantastic time to recommend its silky 37-40ºC pools while crowds – not least shoals of influencers and vloggers – are refreshingly absent. Self-isolating Snæfellsnes: The very definition of self-isolation, the remote sausage-shaped Snæfellsnes Peninsula, in the shadow of Snæfellsjökull glacier, is ideal for those seeking secluded remoteness in selfcatering cottages. The spellbinding lava-flow plains and craggy coast are magnificent for birdwatching and hiking. Northern lights: Iceland’s drive in recent years for all-year round appeal has fashioned winter packages to enjoy the spectacle of aurora borealis. Hotels, such as the Northern Lights Inn near Keflavik offer specialist viewing platforms. While sightings are never guaranteed, clients staying at least three nights have the best chance of spotting them.

mark stratton

Best of Iceland

Exploring Iceland’s volcanic terrain

wade out into an infinity pool, creating an illusion of open ocean. A two-hour ‘Pure-Pass’ starts around £13.50pp and bathers are invited onto a circuit of self-treatments called the ‘Seven Rituals’. Meanwhile, following the success of Iceland’s ring road #1, a new circular driving route to the remote Westfjords peninsula launched late in 2020. The 930km-long Westfjord Way guides drivers through dramatic scenery, via towering cliffs that are home to puffins, and epic fjords. New hotels: Icelandair will launch their new 163-room Parliament Hotel in the second quarter of this year, operated in a franchise agreement with Curio Collection by Hilton. The Marriott is on course for late 2021 or early 2022 opening of a new five-star property in the old harbour port area of downtown Reykjavik. New tours: Tour operator Intrepid has launched a new high-end ‘Premium Iceland’ package that adds luxury to adventure. Its nine-day trip includes a hike to Fagradalsfjall volcano and a boat cruise between the icebergs of Glacier Lagoon. It costs from £3595pp. Omega Breaks is promoting its fiveday Iceland and the Northern Lights trip this November with expert astronomer

Pete Lawrence. Priced from £699pp, the organised tour includes flights, accommodation, a full day Golden Circle tour and a South Iceland tour.

Where to book it Regent Holidays: 01174 534 356 Regent’s most popular tour is its Iceland Full Circle Fly Drive, which follows the 1,300km ring road on a classic road-trip, taking in many natural geothermal wonders and national parks. The 14-day holiday is priced from £2070pp, with flights, hotels and car hire. Regent-holidays.co.uk •

Aurora borealis, Jokulsarlon glacial lagoon

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Unplug in

North Dakota Dominated by the Great Plains, North Dakota bridges the gap between the gentle Midwest and the rugged west and will appeal to those looking for a frontier feeling Why sell it With 70,000 square miles of mostly wideopen spaces, North Dakota is the perfect place to social distance and offers a smorgasbord of outdoor activities. It’s easy to get to, and is one of the most affordable USA road trips you can take.

Who to sell to This is a state for outdoor lovers and adventure seekers. Wildlife enthusiasts will find bison, bighorn sheep and elk, eagles and hawks circling overhead and prairie dogs scampering below. Travellers keen to soak up western and Native American culture will be spoilt for choice, with horse trails to ride, historic trading outposts and ancient Indian settlements to visit, ranches to stay at and authentic western dining to taste.

What to sell The rugged buttes of North Dakota’s Badlands provide the backdrop for Theodore Roosevelt National Park, where bison and mustang roam. Add to that 13 state parks and more wildlife refuges than any other state (63) . Devils Lake has some of the most abundant water recreational opportunities with watercraft rentals, watersport activities and fishing.

Wind Canyon in Theodore Roosevelt National Park

For hikers and bikers the 144-mile-long Maah Daah Hey Trail is the most famous and covers the Badlands, while golf enthusiasts will relish the Triple Golf Challenge with picturesque courses like Bully Pulpit in Medora, and the Links of North Dakota overlooking Lake Sakakawea.

When to sell North Dakota is traditionally a May to October destination. The state holds many

rodeos between May and September, including the oldest and largest, Mandan Rodeo Days. Rodeos are held nearly every weekend. Native American powwow’s also take place most summer weekends and finish with the United Tribes International Powwow in Bismarck, usually held over the second weekend in September.

How to sell Bordering Minnesota, Montana and South Dakota, North Dakota is usually combined with neighbouring states for a touring trip. For the ultimate RV trip tell clients to drive the Interstate 94 across North Dakota from the film-famous Fargo to wild west town Medora, with a night spent in Theodore Roosevelt National Park campground. • Book it with... America As You Like Ir A 12-night North Dakota Adventures trip with America As You Like It is priced from £1,309pp, combining a mixture of nature trails and Native

Kayaking at Sunset on the Red River

Bison call the Badlands home

American history. americaasyoulikeit.com

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Globe hopping

steven wei

neil potter

18 / Top ten...

Hong Kong

Kowloon City straddles old neighbourhoods, leafy suburban enclaves, historic sites and the former Kai Tak Airport, now being redeveloped into a recreational hub. Head to Little Thailand to feast on spicy food and exotic fruits. Kowloon City pre-dates modern Hong Kong by centuries, with landmarks from the 13th century, historic houses converted into coffee shops and former industrial facilities-turned creative hubs. Wong Tai Sin is Hong Kong’s only landlocked district and is home to an intriguing mix of temples and towers. You can find both colour and calm in this neighbourhood. Believers flock to Sik Sik Yuen Wong Tai Sin Temple to present offerings to the god Wong Tai Sin and ask for good fortune amongst plumes of incense smoke. Head to the tranquil Chi Lin Nunnery and Nan Lian Garden to escape

the city and learn about Chinese culture. Hong Kong has more than 250 islands in its Island District, many of them uninhabited but all offering a green and peaceful contrast to central Hong Kong. Most visited is probably Lantau Island with its famous Big Buddha reached by the scenic Ngong Ping 360 cable car. But Lantau also has deserted beaches, bar occasional water buffalo. Laid-back Lamma offers rolling, green hills and breezy alfresco restaurants while flat and car-free Cheung Chau is the perfect place to explore by bike: stop to see ancient rock carvings, beaches and a mini Great Wall of China. A working class community-turned hipster hub, Sham Shui Po once marked the boundary between the British Kowloon peninsula and China and its iconic architecture has featured in blockbuster films such as Rush Hour 2 and Transformers.

paulo evangelista

big dodzy

Hong Kong is made up of a host of islands and districts, offering relaxed beaches, traditional fishing villages, ancient temples and countryside

ken cheung

neighbourhoods

Hong Kong’s young street artists and trendsetters have put a fresh stamp on this neighbourhood and it now oozes fun and creativity. It’s a great place to experience Hong Kong’s communal dining – try San Lung cake shop for traditional Chinese sweets like mooncakes or Wai Kee café’s pig’s liver noodles – while the artisan stores of Tai Nan Street will satisfy shopaholics. Once a former fishing village, Causeway Bay is now a neon wonderland of gleaming skyscrapers housing designer brands and Hong Kong Island’s largest public park. Landmarks include the Noon Day Gun, a heavy artillery piece fired ceremoniously every day and a bronze statue of Queen Victoria. Night time shopping is de rigueur here and is often followed by a belated dinner and rooftop drinks somewhere like Skye, perched on top of The Park Lane Hong Kong with a

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melvina mak

paulo evangelista

emily liang

steven wei

joshua j cotten

ghis Gwo

mandy choi

Top ten... /

colour-changing illuminated bar to accompany the twinkling skyline. The West Kowloon area encompasses historic Jordan and Yau Ma Tei and the newly-developed West Kowloon Cultural District, set to be Hong Kong’s premier cultural hub when completed in 2023. For now culture vultures can Wander Shanghai Street to see beautifully preserved Chinese shop-houses and join fisher-folk to pray to the goddess of the sea at Tin Hau Temple. Must-sees include the panoramic view from Sky100’s Observation Deck and the bustling Temple Street Market. Old Town Central is where East meets West and past meets present. Here you can eat noodles at dai pai dongs (open air food stalls) or enjoy Michelinstarred dim sum amongst high-end art at Duddell’s. The area has buzzing nightlife ranging from the quirky speakeasy

Foxglove, hidden behind an umbrella shop, to penthouse Sevva with its vertical garden. Soak up arts and culture at the former Central Police Station Compound, Tai Kwun. Fancy shopping? PMQ, the old Police Married Quarters, is a series of studios and shops for creative start-ups while colourful Graham Street Market is bursting with fresh produce and atmosphere. The Western District has transformed itself from one of abattoirs and brothels to a magnet for hip restaurants and desirable property. Historic pockets remain, like the dried goods stores along Connaught Road West, along with seafood markets which draw chefs and food lovers. The further west you go, the quieter it gets, as residential buildings and greenery spill down to the sea at Kennedy Town and Sai Wan, and you’ll find old-timers taking a dip in the harbour.

Dubbed Hong Kong’s ‘back garden’, Sai Kung is known for its fishing villages, floating seafood market, hiking trails and beautiful scenery – and all less than an hour from the city. Sai Kung Town is as busy as it gets, with fishermen selling their catch. The area is home to the Hong Kong UNESCO Global Geopark, two country parks and a marine park. Hikes range from a gentle stroll around the High Island Reservoir to a hike up the steep Sharp Peak. Hop on the MTR South Island line in Central and you can be in the sandy Southern District in no time! From the surfer vibes of pretty Big Wave Bay to the prime real estate-backed sands of Repulse Bay, each beach has its own character. There’s plenty of contrast here, from contemporary arts hub Wong Chuk Hang to Aberdeen, where fishing boats moor in the typhoon shelters. Head to Skek O for holiday vibes. •

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Opening 1 November 2021

A NEW

STORY LUX* GRAND BAIE RESORT & RESIDENCES MAURITIUS

Located on the iconic beach north of Mauritius, the island’s fourth LUX* resort is a modernist marvel. Offering eclectic design by Kelly Hoppen, three stories dedicated to wellness, and the most creative culinary concepts, this flagship redefines the codes of luxury as we know it.

AS THE CURTAIN RISES, AVAIL OUR UNVEILING OFFER OF 30 PER CENT DEDUCTED FROM THE BEST AVAILABLE RATE FOR STAYS BETWEEN 01 NOVEMBER 2021 AND 31 JANUARY 2022. OR PLAN AHEAD AND BENEFIT FROM 22 PER CENT DISCOUNT ON STAYS BETWEEN 1 FEBRUARY AND 31 DECEMBER 2022.

Visit luxresorts.com to learn more

Fully vaccinated travellers visiting Mauritius are not required to quarantine as from 1 October 2021.

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Paradise

rediscovered After months of waiting for the long shadow of coronavirus to lift, Mauritius is open for business and ready to reclaim its rightful place in the sun, says lauren Jarvis

golden Hour at luX* le morne

forests and waterfalls by 4WD, sampling delicious rum, and zip lining over sand dunes, Mauritius offers no end of adventures to lure me away from my comfort zone. And at the end of each sundrenched day, I return relaxed and happy to enjoy all my spare-nothing resort has to offer, as the sun sets over the Indian Ocean. The best of both worlds? Mais, oui!

“Mauritius is ready and waiting: a sensational destination with a plethora of activities, outdoor life, nature and fantastic food,” says Shamira Kaumaya-Hatt, Commercial Director

Daydream believer It was daydreaming about dipping our toes into a turquoise ocean under a bright blue sky that kept many of us who work in travel motivated through the darkest days of the pandemic. Now, at last, the Indian Ocean’s grande dame of luxury travel is getting ready to draw back the drapes and welcome travellers into her dazzling, frangipani-fragranced boudoir once more.

couples can find a dinner spot Just for two

PETER JACKSON

I

’ve never been a one-resort kind of girl: tropical islands, for all their tempting hotels, are to be explored, their customs uncovered and their cultures absorbed. So I find myself in Mauritius with a dilemma of the best kind, as their dreamy resorts with luxe spas, worldclass dining and golf, exciting activity centres and, in some cases, entire nature reserves, pretty much cater for every fathomable holiday whim. The temptation to cocoon myself in such blissful surrounds with a lycheemartini in hand is strong, but venturing beyond my resort to discover the island’s lush landscapes and turquoise bays, and to mingle with the lovely locals, has some pretty heavenly rewards, too. From snorkelling the reefs, to exploring

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daniel malinowski

22 / Mauritius

giant lily ponds at Pamplemousses

“Situated on one of the most prestigious beaches on the island, LUX* Grand Baie will open later this year with villas and residences ideal for social distancing and privacy”

Rocky coastline makes for great snorkelling

at Sunset Faraway Holidays. At the time of writing, fully vaccinated travellers are currently allowed to enter Mauritius, but they must remain in their ‘resort bubble hotel’ for 14 days before being allowed to explore further afield. However, from October 1, the island will open up to fully vaccinated international visitors, who will be allowed entry subject, to a negative PCR test 72 hours prior to boarding, and who will then be free to roam to their heart’s content. “From October, fully vaccinated travellers will face no restrictions and will once again be able to enjoy all that our wonderful island has to offer,” enthuses Arvind Bundhun, Director, Mauritius Tourism Promotion Authority. “The UK is one of our most important and valued markets and we are greatly looking forward to working with the trade to invite holidaymakers back to our island and extend a warm welcome.” For now, Mauritius remains on the UK government’s amber list, so those

refreshing plunge at Rochester Falls

that are fully vaccinated do not need to quarantine on their return, but COVID-19 testing advice still applies. But if there’s one destination worth testing for, it’s Mauritius. “The island’s resorts offer excellent value for money, and they are developing fabulous concepts for wellness, family and nature escapes for 2022 and beyond,” says Sunset Faraway Holidays’ Shamira. “Mauritius will be welcoming a brandnew resort in the north, LUX* Grand Baie, situated on one of the most prestigious beaches on the island, where villas with pools and residences will offer travellers a great holiday while ticking the boxes of social distancing and privacy. The demand for pool villas post-COVID is high, and LUX* has a great selection of resorts catering towards these needs.” The island’s abundance of heavenly hotels with self-contained villas is also proving appealing to those answering the call for long-stay ‘digital nomads’ to work on the island via the new one-year Premium Visa scheme.

jean bernard

What’s new

palm-fringed Heritage Le Telfair Resort

Accommodation: LUX* Grand Baie Resort & Residences will open on November 1. The resort features 86 spacious Junior Suites, a range of Pool Residences and Villas, a beach club and spa. luxresorts.com LUX* Resorts & Hotels and SALT Resorts have launched a range of immersive Collectible Experiences, including Mindfulness the SALT Way at Salt of Palmar; Luxury Outback at Lux* Belle Mare Resort & Villas and The Spirit of Island Living at Lux* Le Morne Resort. luxresorts.com Four Seasons Resort Mauritius at Anahita

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will reopen on September 15 with 84 refurbished one-bedroom Pool Villas, each with a private pool, terrace and garden. Two- to five-bedroom Pool Villas are also available for larger groups. fourseasons.com Veranda Resorts has launched a programme of experiences to support local communities, ‘Deep into Mauritius’. veranda-resorts.com Flights: Air Mauritius is to once again offer direct flights from Heathrow to Mauritius, starting October 2 2021.

Top Experiences Enjoy sweet treats in Pamplemousses Take a stroll around the lively Caudan Waterfront in the capital of Port Louis, before stepping back in time at the beautiful Château de Labourdonnais, a 19th-century mansion set amidst tropical orchards. At the nearby L’Aventure du Sucre museum, learn about Mauritius’ sugar-growing history and taste delicious sugars, honeys and rums, then drop in to the Pamplemousses

Clients looking for white sandy beaches will be spoilt in Mauritius

Botanical Garden for a meander through the giant lily ponds and greenery. Meet the marine life in the Indian Ocean You can’t visit Mauritius without seeing the beauty that lies beneath its turquoise lagoons. The Blue Bay Marine Park on the island’s south-east coast near Mahebourg is one of the best places to

snorkel, or take a glass-bottom boat tour to see tropical fish and 50 species of coral. Trou aux Biches, Isle aux Cerfs and Flic en Flac are magnets for snorkelers and divers, too. Check mauritiusnow.com for updates. Zip a valley and sip a rum at Chamarel Zipline over forest and waterfalls at La Vallée des Couleurs Nature Park, then

Discover our Exclusive Offers and do not miss the opportunity to get a quote with our partner Sunset Faraway Holidays on 0208 774 7100 or email reservations@sunset.co.uk.

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D M

T

Y Snset swims at, LUX* Le Morne

Beach bar at heritage awali resort

Airy entrance at LUX* Grand Gaube

t

P visit its famous ‘Seven Coloured Earths’ – multi-hued sand dunes – before a long, lazy lunch at the Rhumerie de Chamarel Restaurant & Rum Distillery. It would be rude to leave without a tasting, so take a tour of the distillery and sink some of its organically produced tipples. Explore and pamper at Heritage Le Telfair Resort Hit the lush, off-road trails of the UNESCO Biosphere Bel Ombre on a guided nature drive, stop for a champagne picnic by the river at the Heritage Nature Reserve, then head back to Heritage Le Telfair for a blissful chakrabalancing massage in the Honeymoon Suite of the Seven Colours Millesime Spa, or a yoga, tai-chi or forest bathing session. Take a historical hike in Le Morne For stunning views of Mauritius. Hike to the top of Le Morne Brabant, a spectacular mountain rising 556 metres above a peninsula at the southwestern tip of the island. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Le Morne has great historical, cultural and spiritual significance, serving as a sanctuary for escaped slaves – ‘or Maroons’ – in the 18th and early 19th centuries. Taste the sweet stuff at LUX* Grand Gaube Resort Home to over 240,000 honeybees, LUX* Grand Gaube Resort & Villas produces around 16 kilogrammes of honey annually. Guests of the Hug Me Honey experience will join the resort’s resident honey expert on a guided tour of the eight working hives, sharing details of the creation of honey.

at Heritage Le Telfair from £1,999pp. The deal includes return flights from the UK with Turkish Airlines. A ‘Gourmet Bliss’ supplement costs £145pp pn, with unlimited drinks and dining at any of the resort’s 12 restaurants, free green fees at Heritage Golf Club, and specified sport and a choice of wellness activities. premier holidays.co.uk Sunset Faraway Holidays – 020 8774 7100 A seven-night stay at LUX* Le Morne, located on the South West coast, in a Superior room is priced from £1419pp. The package includes half board, return flights with Air Mauritius, private transfers, free night offers and a honeymoon discount. Complimentary watersports and tennis is also included. sunset.co.uk •

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I

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“The island’s resorts offer excellent value for money, and they are developing fabulous concepts for wellness, family and nature escapes for 2022 and beyond”

I s t m

Where to book it Premier Holidays – 08444 937 444 Stay seven nights B&B in a Deluxe Suite

F

Y h t w a

Divers can spot Manta rays and tropical fish

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Fun fact: Did you know that in addition to mainland Mauritius, there are another 20 or so islets you can explore? Ile aux Aigrettes, Coin de Mire, Ilot Sanc ho, Île aux Flamants, Île Plate, Ile Ronde, Ile aux Serpents just to name a few!

Destination Mauritius

Size

Population

2,040 km2

1,300,000

There are few places on this planet that I love more than Mauritius. Yes, the palm-studded beaches mean you’ll leave with the loveliest tan but there’s more to it. There’s just so much to see, feel, and do. People to meet. Flavours to taste. Sunsets to catch. You’ll go home with a suitcase full of souvenirs and a head full of memories. I’m planning my 9th trip to Mauritius! It really gets under your skin.

Highest point above sea level

828m

Currency

Dialects spoken

Mauritian Rupee

8 Territory

Rodrigues Island, Saint Brandon, Agaléga, Tromelin, the Chagos Archipelago

Here are my favourite things to do, eat, and places to stay.

What to do

There are innumerable things to do, so here’s my top 4

4. What to eat

In a culture with so many flavours, these are the must-tries

Fresh-from-the-sea urchin

You’ve maybe had uni in sushi but have you ever tasted fresh-fromthe-sea urchin? It’s best served with a splash of lemon and chilli and a chilled glass of white wine.

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1. 2. 3.

Cocktail hour at the top of Le Morne mountain At sunset for ‘apéro’ or at sunrise for a hike, Mauritius’ UNESCO Heritage Site, Le Morne mountain, is a gem.

Learn to fish on a traditional pirogue Hop aboard a traditional wooden boat and set sail with a local fisherman to learn the ins and outs of fishing.

Visit a bustling, colored market The spicy pineapple, prickly litchis, pink alouda drink, fragrant encens and Indian sweets the colour of temples… The markets will tickle your senses!

Lagoons, Nature’s swimming pools Did you know we have 243 km2 of lagoon and 150 km of reef? That makes our seas some of the safest and most pleasant to swim in!

LUX* Grand Baie Opening November 2021 A new generation, boutique-style resort

Port Louis Capital City

Bredes, chouchou, giraumon… We have the most exotic veggies around. Eat them the typical Indian way in a Thali (a platter with a mix of curries) or go Keen on Green and order our plantbased dishes in all our restaurants.

West Coast Sunset

Tamarin Surf Spot

Raw, sugarcane stalks See those stretches of green sugarcane fields? If you peel the stalk, you can bite right into it or press it into juice. Or you can add a spoonful of sugar to a splash of rum and lemons and make a Ti Punch cocktail...

LUX* Le Morne A mindful and chic tropical resort

LUX* Grand Gaube A retro-chic retreat

LUX* Belle Mare The ultimate beach resort

Where to stay

East Coast Sunrise

Head north, northeast, east and west. Ile des Deux Cocos A private island

luxresorts.com

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Globe hopping

26 / Israel

Sacred

splendour From ancient history aplenty in Jerusalem to modern Tel Aviv, Israel offers a complete holiday experience. Open for business, it is more accessible than ever, says Stuart Forster

I

’m overcome by a deep-rooted sense of awe. Distant sounds of urban life swirl on a buffeting wind as I view Jerusalem’s rooftops from an observation platform high on Mount Olivet (or the Mount of Olives). A steady stream of traffic rumbles along the road below the ancient city’s straw-coloured walls. Gnarly olive trees sprout from arid terraces in the valley, the location of the Garden of Gethsemane. According to the gospels, it was here that Jesus Christ was apprehended nearly 2,000 years ago. On the way here I spotted traffic signs pointing to the City of David and Mount Zion: the close proximity of so many places with names familiar from the Bible and history books can’t fail to impress.

Earlier, I waited patiently to descend into the grotto within Bethlehem’s busy Church of the Nativity, where Jesus was reputedly born. My next stop will be the Church of the Sepulchre, in the heart of the Old City, built over the sites of Jesus’s crucifixion and the tomb where he was briefly buried. The Dome of the Rock’s golden roof draws my eye. I also look forward to exploring the lanes around the Islamic shrine when I reach Jerusalem’s Muslim Quarter. As a lover of history, Israel is proving a fascinating land to spend time in.

Post-lockdown israel Israel used the lockdown to improve its tourism infrastructure. Empty streets helped accelerate a project making

alleyways in Jerusalem’s Old City accessible to wheelchair users. Signage about archaeological finds, history and places of interest have also been improved. “Israel is a fascinating country to explore and perfect if you have clients looking to holiday somewhere a bit different or have a particular interest in religious history,” says Edwina Coppock, Head of Trade Sales for Titan Travel. “I recommend that clients book early for 2022,” she says. Prior to the pandemic, Israel’s appeal as a tourism destination was growing and 2019 was a record-breaking year as 4.6 million global tourists visited, including nearly 260,000 UK travellers. Israel, a global leader in vaccinating citizens against COVID-19, has remained on the UK’s travel green

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sun-soaked Dormition Abbey in Jerusalem’s Old City

list. However, the country’s planned reopening to international visitors received a setback in July due to rising numbers of Covid infections. The country welcomed a first group of UK travellers in June, as part of a pilot programme, and the plan was to fully re-open at the beginning of August. This has now been delayed to an unconfirmed date – with speculation that September will be the earliest the borders will reopen – and since August three individual visitors from the UK have not been able to travel to Israel. For now, only returning nationals, residents, and small groups of special tourists are allowed to enter. “In Israel, it’s business and leisure as usual…All tourist attractions, sites,

restaurants, cafes, cultural and sporting events are open. Israelis have not had to wear masks outdoors since April (although they are again mandatory indoors),” says Sharon Bershadsky, Director of the Israel Tourist Office UK. “We’re getting more phone calls from the public asking for more information and we’re also receiving enquiries from tour operators who previously haven’t featured us as a destination, but now want to start selling the country. “It’s the combination of sunshine, history and culture, delicious food and breathtaking scenery that makes Israel such a special destination.” In 2019 city breaks proved popular. The Israel Government Tourist Office’s (IGTO) Two Cities – One Break

Bedouind-style dining Israel’s Negev Desert

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Don’t miss

salt formations on the Dead Sea

Low down: Head to the Earth’s surface lowest point, 1,410 feet below sea-level, and float in the Dead Sea. Wellness hotels cater for guests who enjoy luxury and spa treatments. Night life: Famed DJs, booming clubs and rooftop bars have earned Tel Aviv a reputation as a 24-hour party city. Beach bars with live music also stay open until late. Wine tour: Israel’s terrain and weather help produce underrated quality wines. The Golan Heights and Galil Mountain wineries count among those offering tastings. Vegan flavours: Israel’s thriving culinary scene includes a wealth of vegan offerings. Walking tours introduce Tel Aviv’s vegan scene.

Tel Aviv is buzzing with bars and restaurants

campaign promoted twin-centre holidays in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, which are separated by just 40 miles. Coastal Tel Aviv has nearly nine miles of beaches and is renowned for restaurants and nightlife. Destinations nationwide will be promoted as Israel showcases open spaces and landscapes, year-round sunshine and cultural offerings.

What’s new

Tower of David: A multi-million renovation project of the Tower of David, an ancient citadel, started last October. The historic site and visitor attraction will remain open as ramps and lifts are installed, improving accessibility. Stateof-the-art, interactive elements are transforming the permanent exhibition on Jerusalem’s history while new galleries utilise contemporary art and design. Hotel openings: The recently-opened

Plough through Acre: Touring Acre’s walls introduces the history of a beautiful seafront city with crusading and Ottoman heritage. Simply spectacular: Erosion sculpted the Negev Desert’s Ramon Crater. Cycling is a way of exploring the remarkable landscape, and the clifftop visitor centre explains the area’s geology and wildlife.

Six Senses Shaharut features 60 luxury suites and spas. Designed for sustainability in the Negev Desert’s Arava Valley, the property has a spa, camel stables for treks and an activity centre whose Earth Lab introduces sustainable initiatives. Guests can participate in outdoor activities, including a Bedouin dining experience. The boutique Brown Hotels chain plans three 2021 openings in Israel. Brown Machne Yehuda, a 115-room design hotel with a rooftop terrace and hot tubs, will open by Jerusalem’s Machne Yehuda market, a district brimming with hospitality venues. Following last year’s Debrah Brown opening at Gordon Beach, two more Tel Aviv properties will open. The 184-room Brut House Tel Aviv design hotel presents sea views. Near Frishman Beach, the 30-room Villa Brown Tel Aviv features a rooftop sundeck, treatment spa, living room and bar. Tel Aviv will also see openings of a Soho House, Nobu Hotel and the 154-room Port Tower Hotel.

Where to book it

Olives and pickles are a market staple

TITAN TRAVEL 0808 239 1194 The eight-day Israel – Discover the Promised Land escorted tour introduces the highlights of Tel Aviv before heading to Jerusalem, Bethlehem and Nazareth. Priced from £1,849pp, it includes flights, accommodation, 13 meals and excursions, including a Sea of Galilee boat trip. titanagents.co.uk •

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Relax into

Phuket Thailand’s biggest island was the first to welcome back international visitors as part of the country’s reopening strategy, and it’s got room for everyone, says Laura Gelder Why sell it If your clients are focused on getting to the beach (as trends predict they will be), Phuket is one of Thailand’s iconic beach destinations and fully vaccinated travellers can now stay quarantine free as part of the ‘Phuket Sandbox’ model. Clients can avoid busy Bangkok entirely as TUI flies direct, as does Emirates and Etihad but with a short stop in their respective hubs (Dubai and Abu Dhabi). Before departure, travellers must complete the online Certificate of Entry, download and complete the Thailand Plus track and trace app and have travel insurance covering Covid-19. On arrival they must present a negative PCR test within 72 hours of departure.

Who to sell to Phuket’s size means its appeal is wide ranging. Couples will find dreamy beaches, sunset viewpoints and romantic resorts while families have great value familyfocused resorts, cheap eats and activities galore, including shows and theme parks. Travellers who get bored easily can find distraction in watersports – like kayaking and diving – and boat trips. Inland, the mountainous island has elephant sanctuaries and offers jungle trekking on foot, quad-bikes and ziplining. There are

Most resorts offer relaxing spa packages

plenty of sightseeing spots including the Big Buddha, various temples and markets. Foodies will also be in their element.

What to sell Phuket’s most famous resort is the lively Patong with its cheap and cheerful bars and restaurants (some very lively) and activities aplenty. More upmarket and low-key nightlife beckons in resorts including Kamala Beach, which has a Café del Mar and The

Hyatt Regency Phuket. Swanky Surin Beach is home to luxury resorts and millionaire’s villas. Resorts like Kata, Karon and Kamala offer a good balance between fun and quiet for families and couples alike. For off-the-beaten-track vibes, head to jungle-hugged Freedom Beach for the day. Cosmopolitan capital Phuket Town, with its brightly-coloured Sino-Portuguese shop fronts, European mansions and vibrant markets is fun to explore.

When to sell Phuket has a dry and a wet season but temperatures hover around 30C all year. The high season is late November to late March. April and May are hot and sticky before regular rains make an appearance from July to early November. • Book it with... TUI Seven nights at the Avista Hideaway between Tri Trang Beach and Freedom Beach, on a B&B basis is priced from Swap the beach for a jungle trek

Hyatt Regency Phuket’s endless infinity pool

£987pp, flying from Gatwick. tui.co.uk

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Cruising’s comeback After a year of ‘seacations’ cruise lines are enticing passengers to venture beyond the horizon with some bucket-list sailings for 2022 and beyond

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GALAPAGOS

QUENTIN BACON

ANTARCTICA

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Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines will introduce a new South American and Antarctica Grand Voyage in 2023. The 78-night South American exploration onboard Balmoral will sail the Chilean fjords and the Antarctic Peninsula’s icy coastline, with highlights including learning to dance in Buenos Aires, climbing Machu Picchu in Peru and spotting rockhopper penguins in the Falkland Islands. The cruise will depart from Southampton on January 5, 2023 and will mark the first Antarctic itinerary for the company. Guests can also enjoy up to £400pp to spend onboard. fredolsencruises.

SOUTHEAST ASIA New for the 2022-2023 season, MedallionClass Diamond Princess will sail a Southeast Asia with Malaysian Peninsula itinerary that includes the cruise line’s first call to Melaka in more than a decade. This seven-day roundtrip from Singapore will stop at Melaka, Kuala Lumpur, Langkawi and Penang in Malaysia and Phuket in Thailand before sailing back to Singapore. princess.com

In 2023, luxury mega-yacht Celebrity Flora will offer two sailings around the Galapagos, one circling the Outer Loop and one exploring the Inner Loop. Guests on either itinerary will spot exotic wildlife, walk on volcanic islands and blacksand beaches, and snorkel alongside sea turtles in their natural habitat. Certified naturalists from the Galápagos National Park will also be onboard the 100-passenger yacht, built specifically to navigate the waters of this natural paradise and blend into its surroundings. celebritycruises.com

NORWAY

FAR EAST

Ambassador, the first British cruise line to launch in a decade, will sail from London Tilbury on a no-fly range of adult-focussed voyages, primarily aimed at the 50-plus market. A highlight of its 2022 cruises is A Taste of Fjordland, sailing the Norwegian fjords onboard Ambience. The six-night cruise will stop in Haugesund, formerly the royal seat of the Viking kings, passing the charming village of Flam and ending in Bergen, a city surrounded by seven hills and seven fjords. ambassadorcruiseline.com

Royal Caribbean’s Wonder of the Seas will set sail from China in 2022 on four- to nine-night adventures through the Far East. Between March and November, guests can sail round-trip from Shanghai to Japan, trying culinary delights in Osaka, exploring the nation’s oldest official residence in Fukuoka and enjoying the natural scenery of the islands of Okinawa. Ports of call will also include Tokyo, Mount Fuji, Kumamoto, Kagoshima, Ishigaki and Miyazaki. royalcaribbean.com

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32 / My journey

VISIT BRITAIN

Just add

water Jane Archer discovers that a UK cruise with Celebrity is a stylish, cost-effective and Covid-safe way to see some of the best of Britain entering the terminal, I am onboard. Life onboard is different too. Passengers must wear masks when moving around indoors (crew have to wear them all the time), food in the buffet is served and various seats are off limits to allow for physical distancing. In ports, we can only go ashore on a Celebrity tour. It’s a pain but it’s to keep us in a ‘bubble’ and – in theory – ensure we mix only with guides and coach drivers who have been equally vigorously tested. Judging by the air of normality onboard, I am not the only passenger feeling totally Covid-safe.

Food, glorious food Dinner tonight is in Tuscan Grille, an Italianstyle diner that serves huge steaks cooked to order, as well as fish, pasta, salads and soups. It’s so good I head back there on the last evening. In between I’ve dined on everything from a delicious Muscovy duck creation in French Murano to Colorado lamb in the main dining room and steak in the Lawn Club Grill – a restaurant that’s part al-fresco on the ship’s real grass lawn. I decide to skip the excursions in Dover and instead grab a perch in the solarium, one of my favourite places. It’s quiet, the sun is shining, there’s a view of the white cliffs, a pool if I need to cool off and a café serving healthy foods for lunch. I know, I know, I should eat there but the Oceanview Café is calling. Indian dishes, pasta, pizza, Mexican fare, grilled meats; you name it, it’s here. Having the food served works surprisingly well and there’s less wastage, but it is slower as we’re not

VISIT BRITAIN

T

he crew are laughing and clapping as I board Celebrity Silhouette. It’s her first sailing in 15 months and we are all super excited and just a little emotional. Me because I can finally get back to having the holiday I love; the crew because they are finally back after the long Covid-enforced hiatus. I’m sailing from Southampton to ports in England and Ireland on an itinerary that Celebrity introduced after the Government gave the nod for domestic cruises to restart (a port in Scotland had to be dropped after the Scottish government banned cruise ships– a diktat since rescinded). Specifically, we’re sailing to Dover, Belfast and Liverpool, with two sea days to enjoy onboard Celebrity Silhouette, which is back in the UK for her third season but her first since a major makeover. In the good old pre-Covid days, to cruise with Celebrity you just needed to check-in (preferably on the app), have an (optional) picture taken with a cheesy backdrop and bingo, you were on. Not any more. I need to be fully vaccinated, with the last jab at least 14 days before the cruise. Tick. Then I need a PCR test (paid for by Celebrity) – and negative result – within 72 hours of departure. Tick. Finally, within 24 hours of embarkation, I complete a health questionnaire on the app to confirm I am hale and hearty. Tick. Only then do I get my online boarding pass. I print out my health certificates to show at the port rather than relying on having them on my phone – a good move as it makes check-in very speedy. Within 30 minutes of

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VISIT BRITAIN

VISIT BRITAIN

My journey /

Beverages are now included on all Celebrity cruises along with tips and Wi-Fi

even allowed to pick up our own plates. Next morning, I wake to a view of the Cornish coast. We’re about to sail around Land’s End – very clear on our starboard side. It’s our first day at sea and an ideal opportunity to see what’s new on Celebrity Silhouette. The answer is a lot. Cellar Masters, once a gentleman’s club-style wine bar, has gone; now it is Craft Social, a lighter, brighter venue with cool beer pumps that fill glasses from the bottom. I love this room and pop back each evening for pre-dinner drinks (beverages are now included in the price on all Celebrity cruises – a great move – along with tips and Wi-Fi). In the new Le Petit Chef restaurant, the fun antics of said chef are projected onto dinner plates before the dish is served. It’s as much theatre as dining, with the bonus that the food is tasty too. But the piece de resistance has to be the new Retreat sundeck exclusively for suite passengers, of which more later.

Whiskey and giants I wake on day three in Belfast, where I’m going whiskey tasting on the Giant’s Causeway, a path into the North Sea built by Irish giant Finn MacCool so he could go and beat up Scottish big man Benandonner. At least that’s what our guide Keith tells us and after a couple of glasses of whiskey on the rocks (something to do with volcanoes and basalt) I’m going with that. The next day in Liverpool I join a walking

tour of the city that starts with the Liver building by the port, which shows off the city’s fine architecture and dips into the history of the Fab Four at The Beatles Story museum. Guide Debbie is so enthusiastic that by the time we’re back at the ship I am already planning a return visit to see more. On a cruise, naturally. It’s the last day, we are cruising back to Southampton and I have hit the jackpot. The sun is shining, the sea is calm and I’ve got a pass for the aforementioned Retreat, a chic spot created by British designer Kelly Hoppen where suite passengers can lounge in the sun on cushioned sofas, beds and beach huts - all very millennial. The pass also gets me into the Retreat Lounge, a stylish hangout, also just for suite passengers, and also designed by Hoppen in her signature black, white, grey and cream hues. Making the most of my pass, I pop down for afternoon tea and return later for pre-dinner drinks, wishing I had been in a suite the rest of the trip! Celebrity was forced by circumstances to offer domestic cruises, but it’s been a fabulous way to see the UK without compromising on food or service or paying sky-high prices. If this is the Celebrity lifestyle, bring it on! •

Book it with... Celebrity Cruises Celebrity will be cruising the UK until midSeptember before heading to international waters. A 10-night Spain and Portugal cruise including meals, drinks, tips and Wi-Fi is priced from £1,419pp. celebritycruises.com

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traveluni.com

Training, competitions, events September/October 2021

TOP STORIES

Agents get all the Essentials

PARTNER LIST A-Z of available training

TRAINING

ESSENTIAL Detail has updated its training site to include rewards for agents that complete the programme and make bookings. Agents that pass Essential Detail’s Travel Uni course have access to: a complimentary personalised welcome note and bottle of wine in every client’s room upon arrival; Amazon vouchers in return for every booking made; two free nights at an Essential Detail hotel as part of the ‘Come & Stay’ programme and fam trip invitations. caribbeanboutiquehotels.co.uk

FAM TRIP

Lithuania Expert training launches

Lithuania Expert

Qatar updates TRAINING

QATAR Tourism has revamped and updated its training programme. Offering an immersive online learning experience, the programme equips agents with the knowledge and skills they need to promote and sell the Middle Eastern country as a tourist destination. There are nine modules with three essential modules and six optional courses, allowing agents to specialise in different product whilst training at their own pace. The portal also gives access to resources such as news, image gallery and downloadable PDF’s. tawashqatar.com

TO CELEBRATE the launch of the Lithuania Expert training and engagement portal on Travel Uni, Lithuania Travel is offering five places on a FAM trip to the Baltic state. The successful agents will have the opportunity to see first hand the country's enchanting woodland, extensive beaches and the capital Vilnius, with its cobblestoned charm. To be in with a chance of winning a place, agents must complete the training programme before September 30. The fam trip is scheduled for mid/late November 2021. In addition to the training programme, the portal contains all essential resources to assist you when selling Lithuania, with new features such as webinars and agent offers coming soon. LTexpert.co.uk.

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

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your guide to

selling Canada

Contents • Canada to reopen to Brits • Atlantic Canada • Bright Ideas • Sun Peaks, BC • Ontario • Montréal • Saskatchewan • Alberta • News

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36 Six / Canada of the best... back to business

Open

door policy Canada reopens its borders to UK travellers on September 7, with a raft of new attractions, experiences and hotels waiting to welcome visitors, says Stuart Forster

M

eltwater glistens far below us on the valley floor. Momentarily reflecting the sun as our light aircraft banks right, the sediment-laden water of the Alsek River flashes gold. During the Klondike Gold Rush, which began in 1896, as many as 100,000 prospectors dreamt of seeing that same colour here in the Yukon. This Icefield Discovery sightseeing

flight over Kluane National Park and Reserve is an opportunity to view the St Elias Icefields. Through headsets dampening noise from the throbbing engine, our pilot informs us that what we can see is the world’s largest nonpolar icefield. It’s a kilometre deep and a legacy of the last Ice Age. I peer down and spot a sapphire ice pool amid scar-like crevasses. Up ahead, the icefield curves gently into the distance like a motorway. It heads into a mountainous wilderness that’s home to creatures including Dall sheep, mountain goats and grizzly bears. We follow the sweep

of the valley then gain altitude. Ahead, virgin snow quilts a plateau beneath a row of jagged peaks. Several of the mountains in this national park rise well above 5,000 metres (16,400 ft). The pilot points right towards Mount Logan, Canada’s highest mountain, then over to Mount Elias, which straddles the country’s border with the USA. I sigh at the beauty of this remote landscape – the Yukon is a wondrous place to explore.

Canada ready for UK travellers After more than a year of being ‘out of bounds’ to UK travellers, Canada has said it will relax its entry restrictions for international travellers from September 7.

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Those who have been double vaccinated at least 14 days before entering the country will no longer need to quarantine upon arrival. Travellers must take a PCR test within 72 hours of their scheduled departure and a small number of arrivals may also be randomly selected to complete a PCR test on arrival. It will be mandatory for passengers to provide information before and after arrival into Canada via the ArriveCAN app or web-based platform (canada.ca/ ArriveCAN). The app simplifies the process of providing information and is available via the Apple Store and Google Play. For the most up-to-date information visit travel.gc.ca/travel-covid.

Bucket list destination

That’s a view reiterated by Denise Hunn, Director of Canada Operations at Prestige Holidays,who notes that Knight Inlet Lodge, which offers exceptional grizzly bear viewing, is among the attractions already partially sold out for 2022. Early booking offers and competitive air fares mean holidaymakers will be able to book 2022 holidays at prices similar to 2019, making Canada one of next year’s leading long-haul destinations, she adds. “Traditionally more of a destination for couples, Canada offers some of the best activity holidays available, so think

Trade insights “Canada has wide-open spaces and has been very careful in the reopening of the borders and facilities so that travel will be safe. There will definitely be a demand for ‘big ticket’ items such as bear watching, so it’s worth emphasising that booking early for the bear viewing seasons will be very important,” says Julie Thompson, Product and Marketing Manager at Frontier Travel. She anticipates that pent-up demand for travel will result in clients spending more on 2022 holidays, bringing travel agents opportunities to make higher commissions. “Canada will be in demand. Key dates and activities will book up, so booking early will be paramount,” she adds.

ISTOCK/COM/ ROCKSTERWHO

“Canada is on many Brits’ bucket list of destinations, with dream experiences such as bear and whale watching, world-class train trips, and iconic spots such as the Rockies and Niagara Falls on most lists. Combine all this with a good healthcare and transport infrastructure and agents can be confident that their clients’ holiday aspirations will be well met on a trip to Canada,” says Adam Hanmer, Destination Canada’s Trade Manager. “As the world’s second-largest country we can also guarantee space on an epic scale. Holidaymakers can connect with

their more spiritual side by learning more about indigenous culture and calming their minds amid nature in its most majestic forms,” says Hanmer. Destination Canada is planning to launch a new travel agent training programme this autumn (destinationcanada.com). “It will educate and inform agents on the why, where and how of Canada in a fresh and engaging way. Selling Travel readers are able to sign up to a dedicated travel agents’ online training event in November to capitalise on and improve their Canada knowledge as we head into 2022,” adds Hanmer.

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“Canada is on many Brits’ bucket list of destinations, with dream experiences such as bear and whale watching, world-class train trips and iconic spots such as the Rockies and Niagara Falls”

gETTIng hIgh In ThE CanadIan roCKIEs

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parcs canada

38 Six / Canada of the best... back to business

Thousand Islands, Ontario

of it for family holidays. Zip lining, wildlife viewing, canoeing or kayaking, hiking and mountain biking are just a few of the activities readily available. “Agents should also think of Canada for winter sports. Skiers and snowboarders are desperate to get some action too. Canada has no lift lines, good value accommodation and guaranteed snow.” Skating, snowshoeing and sleigh rides, available in every province and territory, count among alternative winter activities suitable for families.

What’s New The Malahat SkyWalk opened on Vancouver Island in July. A 35-minute drive from Victoria, the attraction spirals above fir trees for a length of 600 metres. Its lookout, 250 metres above sea-level, offers views of the Coast Mountain Range, Saanich Peninsula and nearby islands. Visitors can experience indigenous stories and learn about the region’s nature. Descending by a spiral slide offers an alternative to walking back down. Also in British Columbia, the Golden

ELK ISLAND national park, alberta

Skybridge (in the Rocky Mountain Adventure Park, opened in May as Canada’s highest suspension bridge. Pedestrians can peer into the Columbia Valley. Over 450 metres long, a zipline with waterfall views and a giant swing were added above the canyon in mid-August. Launching in September, Indigenous Niagara Living Museum Tours see artists, historians and performers conveying aspects of the culture and history of the Niagara Falls region. Tours provide insights into the famous waterfall’s influence on Anishaabee and Haudenosaunee identities.

New hotels in Canada This year has seen several notable hotel openings across Canada. The Muir, an Autograph Collection Hotel in Halifax’s new waterfront Queen’s Marque district, features a speakeasy-style bar, a wellness centre plus a terrace with city views. The 109-room, five-star property displays original artworks and serves cuisine from Atlantic Canada at Drift restaurant.

Journey behind the falls, niagara falls, ontario

Part of the Tapestry Collection by Hilton, the Westley Calgary Downtown has reshaped 1970s office space. With 104 guestrooms, the hotel displays contemporary art and has a highly rated Mexican restaurant. The chic 112-room 1 Hotel Toronto has strong eco-credentials, including a zero-waste kitchen serving locally sourced ingredients, organic linens and stylish wooden furniture. The hotel also has a rooftop bar and pool. Many more properties accelerated renovations over the past 18 months.

Where to book it CANADA AS YOU LIKE IT – 020 8742 8299 The operator’s nine-night Husky Adventures in the Yukon holiday is available from December to March. Priced from £2,789pp, the package includes international return flights, transfers to and from Whitehorse, accommodation including most meals, a sled (pulled by between three and six huskies) plus use of winter boots. canadaasyoulikeit.com •

Experience the WOW Factor! 905.357.5672 | niagarahelicopters.com

Safety on the Ground and in the Air is our #1 Priority.

Tours Are Available Now Untitled-2 1

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Spotlight on /

39

Luxury stays in

Atlantic Canada A room with a view is easy to come by in Atlantic Canada, but these iconic stays offer luxury-loving guests something truly unique

F

rom lighthouses dotted along iceberg alley, iconic hotels with healing saltwater baths, luxurious domes under starlit skies and grand holiday homes of oil tycoons, Atlantic Canada has an abundance of luxurious properties all designed with nature in mind.

IE L

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LAM

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MARITIME, NE W

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Nestled in the forests of New Brunswick, Cielo glamping domes are the perfect suggestion for nature lovers and couples looking for a romantic retreat. Open all seasons, guests can enjoy the long evenings of summer and the starry skies of the colder months. Situated in the Acadian Peninsula, the property offers fresh oysters to guests upon check in with the opportunity to do a “SUP and shuck” adventure out in the picturesque bay – a must visit for those that love to eat fresh. glampingcielo.com

C

New Brunswick

FOGO ISLAND INN, NEWFOUNDLAND & LABRADOR

Newfoundland and Labrador Fogo Island Inn off the northeastern coast of the province is a futuristic interpretation of traditional fishing architecture. Loved by celebrities looking for a discreet escape, the luxury property is located on ‘one of the four corners of the earth’ with 29 contemporary suites overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. The interior is intrinsically linked with the Fogo community, with handmade patchwork quilts and local woodwork and art offering remote luxury with a heart-warming community story. fogoislandinn.ca/b/suites-rates

Nova Scotia

HA

AX, LIF

NOVA SCOTI

A

Set to open this year is the Muir Hotel, a boutique property in the new Queen’s Marque district on the Halifax waterfront. The hotel’s contemporary design will honour traditional material and craftsmanship and the 110 rooms will have a modern east coast aesthetic. Guests can enjoy regional dining, a wellness centre with hydrotherapy pools, an art gallery and even a private speakeasy. muirhotel.com

Prince Edward Island

When to go Summer is a wonderful time in Atlantic Canada, with warmer days and longer nights. Visit in September/ October for lively autumn colours and harvest festivals. INN AT BAY FORTUNE, PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND

The Inn at Bay Fortune sits within a 48-acre country estate in Bay Fortune on Prince Edward Island. The recently-renovated hotel offers 15 guestrooms complete with carefully selected antiques. Guests can enjoy produce from the Inn’s organic farm and local culinary artisans. Meals are prepared over live fires and shared family-style overlooking the bay. Chef Michael Smith’s Fireworks Feast is not to be missed. innatbayfortune.com

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40 / Bright ideas

snoeshoeing in Montréal Snoeshoeing is a great way to soak up Montréal’s scenery and gets non-skiers in on the winter action. The city is equipped with a number of parks and trails mapped out for snowshoers and cross-country skiers, including Mount Royal, Maisonneuve Park and JeanDrapeau Park, with its views of the St. Lawrence River and downtown skyline. Mtl.org

heli-skiing in BC It’s claimed that 95% of all heli-skiing takes place in British Columbia, making the western province a hotspot for adrenaline seekers. Skiers can access untouched powder snow that can only be reached via a helicopter and over 20 heli- and lower altitude cat-ski operators now cater to varying budgets. hellobc.com

Snow tubing IN Québec Arguably the most fun you can have on the white stuff, snow tubing requires no skill: just slide down the slopes in an inflatable ring. Village Vacances Valcartier, just 20 minutes from Québec City, has 35 runs with the option of sliding on an individual inner tube or jumping in the Tornado – a huge tube that can cram in up to eight people. Quebecoriginal.com

fat biking in Alberta Fat biking is the latest extreme sport on snow, with trails popping up all over Canada. The oversized tires on these off-road bicycles allow riders to negotiate the snow with ease, meaning the trails in Banff and Lake Louise are now accessible year-round. Bikers can explore miles of groomed trails or experience a backcountry adventure with an overnight stay as part of a longer tour. travelalberta.com

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dog sledding in Yukon What could be more exhilarating than racing through the snowy mountainside on a sled pulled by a pack of huskies? Get your own personal musher or take the reigns and learn everything about this time-honoured tradition. Tour operators offer a half-day excursion but other options include overnight stays that come with the possibility of seeing the Northern Lights. Travelyukon.com

ice walking in alberta Walk on top of Alberta’s frozen Maligne River and into the deepest canyon in Jasper National Park on a Maligne Canyon ice walk. Equipped with special non-slip shoes, walkers will pass through ice caves filled with eerie frozen sculptures. There’s also the chance to scale pale-blue frozen waterfalls on an ice climbing course. travelalberta.com

snowmobiling in Québec It’s said that snowmobiling was invented in Québec. With 20,500 miles of marked, interconnected and groomed trails the province is certainly well equipped for clients seeking an adventure. Mid-December to mid-March is the typical snowmobiling season, with visitors able to glide over frozen lakes, explore the boreal forests or zip off to magical spots inaccessible by car. Quebecoriginal.com

ice skating in Ottawa Home to the world’s largest skating rink, Canada’s capital has huge credentials when it comes to ice skating. Each winter, from January to early March, The Rideau Canal, Ontario’s only UNESCO World Heritage Site, transforms into an epic urban skating rink. Skaters can enjoy 4.8 miles of icy terrain in the heart of the buzzing capital. ottawatourism.ca

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42 / Six of the best...

Reasons to visit

Sun Peaks in summer It is a Canadian favourite among British skiers but Sun Peaks in British Columbia really blooms in the summer and autumn when the mountains are ablaze with flora and adventure activities beckon

It’s perfectly placed If you’re planning a Canada road trip then you should arrange a few nights in centrally-located Sun Peaks. It’s just over a four-hour drive from both Vancouver and Whistler and five hours from Jasper in Alberta, via the stunning Wells Gray Provincial Park. But Sun Peaks has more than enough to keep visitors’ attention, including a cute village with al fresco games, great dining and an impressive events calendar.

Beautiful blooms Sun Peaks receives over 2,000 hours of sunshine a year so travellers can plan for plenty of time exploring the outdoors. Wildflowers dot the alpine landscape all summer long, but typically explode in late July and early August. Deep purple Larkspur and white anemone come first, followed by red alpine paintbrushes and blue lupins, before the season finishes with pink fire weed and orange tiger lilies.

It’s hiking heaven Walkers can begin their hiking adventure right from the village, or enjoy a relaxing ride with breathtaking views on the Sunburst chairlift, and start from 6,000 feet above the Shuswap Highlands below. There are 18 hiking trails, ranging from relaxing strolls to exhilarating summits. Take in 360-degree views from the Top of the World on Trail Five or gaze over glassy Tod Lake from the summit of Mount Tod on Trail 11.

It’s the best for bikes Sun Peaks is the perfect place to try mountain biking, with riders of all levels finding their pace on its peaks. Keen bikers can test their limits in the world-class bike park, with its steep and technical trails, whilst beginners and kids can find their wheels on gentler forest tracks in the Progression Park. There are also numerous cross-country trails, some suitable for a gentle family jaunt through alpine meadows.

You can get high on golf Surrounded by natural foliage and panoramic mountain views, the challenging 18-hole par 72 course is centred along the valley floor, surrounded by the three mountains of Tod, Sundance and Morrisey. With the greens located at 1,200 metres above sea level, Sun Peaks weighs in as BC’s highest course and is pleasantly cool in the summer months. And, thanks to that thin mountain air, balls fly further!

And relax by the lake Located 6 km from Sun Peaks village, the pristine McGillivray Lake is the perfect place to get back in touch with nature. Rent a canoe, kayak or stand-up paddleboard for the day and get out on the water. As you paddle silently watch for ospreys, hawks, loons and eagles overhead, whilst deer, beaver, moose and bears are just some of the wildlife that can be spotted on the shoreline. sunpeaksresort.com

sunpeaksresort.com

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Two sides to

Ontario One of Ontario’s wonders is the quintessential Canadian wilderness on the doorstep of its cosmopolitan cities, Toronto and Ottawa. Give clients the best of both worlds by incorporating city attractions and natural gems Day 1-2: Toronto city highlights Day 1: Start your visit with a trip to the top of the iconic CN Tower for a dazzling view of Canada’s largest city before heading to an interactive attraction like the Royal Ontario Museum, Ontario Science Centre or Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada. Catch perfect views of the skyline from a harbour cruise or ride the short ferry to car-free Toronto Islands, a chain of 15 small islands in Lake Ontario. Spend the afternoon exploring by bike. Immerse yourself in Toronto’s multicultural mix by strolling around Greektown or Chinatown, grabbing dinner from one of the restaurants, bistros and pubs - or choose a culinary tour in

Kensington Market neighbourhood. Day 2: Shopaholics should head to the landmark Toronto Eaton Centre, and the stylish Yorkdale Shopping Centre. Couture reigns in Yorkville, while unique boutiques and galleries can be found in the Victorian-era Distillery Historic District. Spend the evening enjoying the bright lights of ballet, opera, theatre and live music performances or get in the game at a professional sporting event. Time a visit around a year-round lineup of festivals, including the star-studded Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) or Luminato, a 10-day arts celebration, to experience the city at its best.

Enjoy Toronto’s impressive skyline from the water

Book it with... Audley Travel Audley Travel offers a 15-day Glorious Ontario self-drive tour priced from £2,985pp, including car hire, all accommodation and international flights. Clients will visit bustling Toronto and the beaches of Lake Huron. audleytravel.com

Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto

Day 3-4: Outdoor adventure Algonquin Provincial Park

Riding the ottawa river rapids

Day 3: Drive two and a half hours out of Toronto to discover the sparkling lakes, granite shores and charming towns of picturesque Cottage Country, Muskoka. Highlights include a cruise in a vintage steam-driven vessel, a dip or paddle into blue waters or simply relax by the lake. The nearby world-famous Algonquin Provincial Park is a must. With hundreds of lakes, the park is ideal for beginner or expert canoeists. There’s also an abundance of hiking trails, with the chance to spot wildlife that ranges from hawks and great blue herons to moose, beaver and deer. Visit in the fall to see the forest ablaze with colour. Thanks to limited light pollution, Alonquin

Provincial Park is the perfect place for a spot of stargazing. Once the sun goes down, visitors get a clear view of the stars and planets in the Ontario sky. Day 4: South of Algonquin, discover the sustainable experiences offered at Haliburton Forest and Wildlife Reserve, from an evening wolf howl experience to an astronomy tour to ‘bikejoring’ - the act of being pulled by a Siberian husky through the forest, whilst riding a bike! Finish on a high by heading to OWL Rafting to try white-water rafting along the Ottawa River. The rapids are great fun for all levels of experience and make for a great family bonding exercise. •

destinationontario.com/en-ca

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44 / How to sell...

Montréal

French bred Multicultural and multifaceted, chic and sophisticated, Montréal has plenty to offer visitors taking a chance on one of Canada’s lesser-known cities, says Stuart Forster

Montréal is Canada’s second most populous city and one of the hubs by which air travellers from the UK can enter the country, making it ideal for a city break or as a destination to explore at the beginning or end of a Canada-wide holiday. First-time visitors will enjoy the architecture and cultural attractions of the Downtown and Old Port districts. Highlights include the Neo-Gothic interior of NotreDame Basilica, Bonsecours Market’s shining dome and Montréal’s Second Empire style City Hall. The five themed pavilions and sculpture garden of Montréal Museum of Fine Arts offer plenty for art aficionados. Cycle along the Lachine Canal and pause at the Art Deco Atwater Market. Walls decorated with murals and the Bradley Ertaskiran Gallery house contemporary artworks. The MAC contemporary art museum, which will reopen late in 2021, and Place des Arts performance venue count among attractions connected by the Underground City’s 20.5 miles of shop-lined walkways. Guided walking and cycling tours offer insights into Montréal’s neighbourhoods. Head up to Kondiaronk Belvedere on Mount Royal, Montréal’s largest green space and home to St Joseph’s Oratory, Canada’s largest church.

stuart forster

Reasons to visit

Montréal’s Autumn coloUrs

What’s new Oasis immersion is a new no-contact experience at the Paleis des congrès de Montréal, with more than 100 laser projectors and surround-sound speakers. Featuring a spa, rooftop pool and bar plus the chic h3 restaurant, the 193room Humaniti Hotel is a new boutique Autograph Collection property. Also new in the city is the 157-room Hilton Garden Inn and 133-studio Homewood Suites, which share premises in the Westbury district. The Griffintown Hotel, with 114 stylish apartments, also opened this summer.

Road trips Toronto is 335 miles southwest of Montréal. Road trips along the Saint Lawrence River bring opportunities to explore the Thousand Islands region and Rideau Canal UNESCO World Heritage Site. Ottawa is a two-hour drive away. From there it’s a further six-hour drive to Ontario’s Algonquin Provincial Park. Historic Québec City is a 155-mile drive northeast of Montréal. Walkers and nature lovers should continue to the national parks and coastline of the Gaspé Peninsula.

Getting there Air Canada and British Airways operate direct flights between Heathrow and Montréal-Trudeau International Airport. The 747 express bus service runs between the airport and downtown Montréal 24 hours a day, a journey of about an hour. • Book it with... Canadian Affair A five-night Montréal city break is priced from

A city mural

stuart forster

£601pp, based on two adults sharing, the package includes economy return flights and five nights in a Montreal hotel. the St. Lawrence and Ottawa Rivers MEET IN Montréal

canadianaffair.com

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Six of the best... /

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Autumn hikes in

Saskatchewan Whether you head to the thick boreal forest and clear lakes in the north or the rolling grasslands in the south, autumn is a beautiful time to go hiking in Saskatchewan

Petrofka Orchard This 46-acre fruit farm hugs the North Saskatchewan River and grows apples, plums, sour cherries and haskaps, a ‘super berry’ that has three times the anti-oxidants of a blueberry. As well as wandering the trails and admiring the changing leaves, visitors can relax on the riverfront beach, pick apples (in September) or shop for cider in the country store. The Prairie Sensation Café offers sandwiches and desserts with a view.

Wanuskewin Active archaeological dig sites unveil the past at Wanuskewin, a national historic site that echoes the stories of Indigenous peoples who gathered, hunted and worshipped here as long as 6,400 years ago. Set amidst the beautiful and unspoiled natural prairie landscape, the park offers scenic walking trails, interpretive sites, dance performances, galleries and a restaurant serving traditional cuisine with a modern twist.

Saskatchewan Landing The rolling sagehued prairie of this provincial park blushes bronze in autumn. The short Prairie Vista Trail is a one and a half hour hike which passes a babbling stream and climbs a hill for breathtaking views of the South Saskatchewan River Valley and Lake Diefenbaker. Hikers often see deer and antelope while twitchers can spot rare birds including prairie falcons, burrowing owls and golden eagles.

Duck Mountain Situated on the provincial border with Manitoba, this park is the southern limit of Saskatchewan’s boreal forest and comprises a small pocket of hills towering over the surrounding prairies. The 4.4 km Pelly Point Nature Trail follows a long, narrow peninsula across Madge Lake and passes a patch of Manitoba maples which turn blazing red in autumn. Here you can kayak, hike, bike or just relax with a picnic.

Prince Albert National Park Fall comes in September for this wild million-acre park, where vast prairie meets endless boreal forest and free-roaming bison live with timber wolves. The Narrows Peninsula Trail is a 3 km loop around Waskesiu Lake. It moves past beach, over fern beds and weaves through forests of balsam fir and jack pine, leading to a look out for views across the lake to the burnished tree line on the other side.

Lac La Ronge This year-round provincial park sits in the heart of the Churchill River System, a series of rivers and lakes that form a chain of waterways. Some of these waterways are smooth flowing and some come with rapids, while the park’s must see Nistowiak Falls is the highest waterfall in the province. The Nut Point Trail follows a long peninsula through dense forest, rocky outcrops and bogs typical of the Canadian Shield.

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Luxury

Alberta With bucket list experiences, world-class accommodation and spectacular scenery, Alberta is the perfect place for clients looking to indulge Why sell it Alberta’s breathtaking scenery and natural beauty lends itself to some unique and exclusive experiences. Active clients can canoe across pristine lakes or hike in the Rockies, whilst those looking to indulge can take advantage of luxurious accommodation with spas surrounded by mountains. Add the fact that Alberta’s wide-open spaces are made for a post-pandemic break and you have the perfect trip for clients wanting something special after a holiday hiatus.

What to sell Give clients the wow factor by booking a private helicopter experience that will take them high above the peaks for a privileged view. Opt for a guided alpine hike in summer, for summit views without the climb, or untouched powder snow in winter. Only accessible by boat, Spirit Island in Jasper National Park is one of the most photographed places in the world. Suggest clients take to the water on a Maligne Lake Premium Cruise for a more intimate experience that includes a private interpretive walk and a personal Island Host. Don’t miss the opportunity to impress with a stay at an iconic luxury hotel, set in or near Alberta’s national and provincial parks. The historic Fairmont Banff Springs

Alberta’s natural beauty is best appreciated from above

has world-class dining, bubbling mineral pools and a golf course renowned for its panoramic views. Alternatively, the Pomeroy Kananaskis Mountain Lodge and neighbouring Kananaskis Nordic Spa are luxury oases nestled in the mountains. Other luxury hotels include the Rimrock in Banff, the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise, the Post Hotel in Lake Louise and the Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge – its plush private cabins have housed celebrities and royalty.

How to sell Bookend an outdoor adventure with some urban experiences in the gateway cities of Calgary and Edmonton. The modern JW Marriott Edmonton ICE District has a deluxe spa and exquisite dining and is minutes from attractions like the Art Gallery of Alberta. In Calgary, check your clients into the boldly designed Hotel Le Germain, close to the renowned shopping of Stephen Avenue. Just outside Calgary, Azuridge Estate Hotel is a former private estate situated across 13 rolling acres, known for its artisan dishes.

When to sell

Picture-perfect Spirit Island

Take a tour with these furry friends

Alberta is an all-season province but winter is an enchanting time that offers the chance to enjoy some quintessentially Canadian experiences. Try a horse-drawn sleigh ride around Lake Louise and walk amongst the ice sculptures, or take a private tour with Snowy Owl Sled Dog Tours in Canmore – their dogs have starred in Hollywood films! •

travelalberta.com/uk

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48 / Canada news news

Brits on track with RM offer Luxury train operator Rocky Mountaineer is running a promotion to celebrate the Canadian border opening to fully-vaccinated British travellers this autumn. The Final Call 2021 offer gives clients up to two free hotel nights per booking on qualifying 2021 Rocky Mountaineer bookings of eight days or more. Those looking at shorter trips can add up to one free hotel night per booking on qualifying packages that are five to seven days long. The offer applies to SilverLeaf and GoldLeaf service and is available for the rest of the Canadian season, which operates until October 7. The Canadian government says it will accept Brits from September 7. Canada is currently on the UK government’s amber

• Air Canada to Montréal Air Canada has resumed flights between Heathrow and Montréal. The non-stop service will increase to four-times weekly from September 8. Passengers can connect via Montréal to 20 onward destinations across North America. The airline also operates daily non-stop services from Heathrow to Toronto and Vancouver. aircanada.com list. Guests can book with a 20% deposit that is fully refundable until 30 days prior to travel, when the final payment is due. The free hotel nights special cannot be applied in conjunction with any other offer. rockymountaineer.com

Riviera back in Maritimes Riviera Travel is bringing back its ‘Maritime Canada’ tour in 2022. The 11-day trip takes in the Atlantic coastline provinces of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island, with six tours available between May and September. It will accommodate up to 49 guests per tour, who will stay for at least two days in each province. The itinerary includes a journey along the Cabot Trail in Nova Scotia; a visit to the Cape Breton Highlands National Park, which is host to wildlife including moose, black bears, beavers, red foxes and raccoons; an excursion to Halifax, the gateway to cultural

attractions including the Citadel National Historic Site; Fundy National Park, which has the world’s highest tides; and outings to the much-photographed Peggy’s Point Lighthouse and the Anne of Green Gables and Alexander Graham Bell museums. Prices start from £2,399pp, including direct return flights from Heathrow, hotels, transfers and a tour manager. Riviera Travel’s Katja Hildebrandt said: “From the beautiful scenery to the coastal cliffs to lush highlands and forested valleys to quaint fishing towns and the world’s highest tides, this will be an unforgettable journey.” rivieratravel.co.uk

Scenic’s two new Canada tours New to Scenic’s 2022/23 programme is the 23-day Majestic Rockies & the Colours of Eastern Canada cruise-tour. Clients will get to meet with a retired member of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, delve into the French-inspired culture of Montréal and Québec City on guided city tours and witness a Broadway show in New York City.

NEWS IN BRIEF

Prices start from £14,245pp, departing April 28, 2022. Also new is the 23-day America’s National Parks and Rockies to the Red Rocks land tour, from Calgary to Denver. It features a seven-day Alaska cruise, Monument Valley, Yellowstone National Park and a trip on the Rocky Mountaineer train. Departing April 28 2022, prices start from £14,245pp. scenic.co.uk

• Air Transat back in UK Air Transat will resume services between Canada and the UK on September 15, operating first to London and then reintroducing its Manchester and Glasgow routes later in the year. The airline is also bringing back its Star Rewards incentives programme. airtransat.com

• New lodge for Jasper Pursuit is to open a new wilderness-inspired hotel in Jasper, Alberta, in summer 2022. It will feature wood and stone accents. Pursuit operates several attractions in the province including the Columbia Icefield Skywalk, Glacier View Lodge and boat tours on Maligne Lake. banffjaspercollection.com 

• Versante new in BC Versante Hotel, a new luxury boutique hotel, has opened in Richmond, Greater Vancouver. The 100-room property is located 20 minutes by vehicle from Downtown Vancouver and minutes from Vancouver International Airport. The hotel offers a complimentary airport transfer. versantehotel.com

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PRESENTING

UNRIVALLED CA NA DA

Moraine Lake, Banff, Alberta

25 OVER

YEARS OF EXPERTISE FOUNDED 1995

Rockies & Alaska Cruise Extravaganza Holiday

7 nights full board on the Holland America Line cruise, 2 days Rocky Mountaineer Train ■ International Flights from the UK ■ 10 nights accommodation

£3,107

17 night holiday Per person from

Heritage Trail Holiday

13 days intermediate car hire with fully inclusive insurance ■ International Flights from the UK ■ 12 nights accommodation ■ Rockport 1000 Islands Cruise 12 night holiday Per person from

£1,713

Roaming the Rockies

13 days Motorhome hire, 2000km package plus personal and vehicle provisioning kits included ■ International Flights from the UK ■ 1 night in Calgary Airport Hotel 13 night motorhome hire Per person from

£1,352

Rail • Cruise • Motorhome • Self-Drive • City Break • Escorted Tours Talk to our experts today

020 3424 6944

canadianaffair.com Prices are correct at the time of going to print, are subject to availability and can change at any time. Package prices do not include the cost of flights.. See full terms and conditions on our website. Call centre opening hours Mon – Fri 10.00 – 16.00.

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Trade talk

50 / The review news

Central Florida debuts new family attractions Central Florida hopes to target multigenerational travellers with a host of new openings at some of its most popular family attractions. Visitors can expect new experiences and shows at LEGOLAND® Florida Resort, which is marking its 10th Anniversary in 2021 with a year-long celebration. As well as building a giant LEGO cake, new attractions include a Watersports Stunt Show with Brickbeard’s buccaneer recruits, a 4-D Movie adventure, a master builder experience, new miniland shade structures and LEGO City Models. The LEGO experience continues at the new LEGOLAND® Pirate Island Hotel located onsite. Every stay at Pirate Island Hotel includes a free family-style breakfast, nightly pirate fun and in-room treasure hunts. Those looking for an equally unique stay can try out a new Luxe Conestoga Wagon or a Luxury Glamping Tent at Westgate River Ranch Resort & Rodeo. Located along the Kissimmee River, this 1,700-acre ranch features Luxe Teepees, Glamping, Saddle Club Rail Cars (think tiny-house), cabins, standard suites and RV camping with activities onsite including horseback riding, airboat rides, archery, a bungee jumper, fishing, a petting farm, pony

rides, swamp buggy rides and more. Each Luxe Conestoga Wagon sleeps up to six guests and includes a king bed, twin bunk beds, a Queen sleeper sofa, private ensuite bathroom, a microwave, kitchenette sink, mini-refrigerator, electrical outlets, heating and air conditioning, plus a private porch with patio furnishings. A stay in a wagon includes a complimentary six-person golf cart, plus private VIP concierge services and unlimited activities on the ranch. The new Luxury Glamping Tents have a full ensuite bathroom with walk-in shower along with a double-sink vanity, King bed, Queen sleeper sofa, microwave, minirefrigerator, electrical outlets and heating and air conditioning. All Luxury Glamping

Tents also feature a complimentary golf cart for use while on property and feature personal Glamping Concierge services. Every Saturday guests can immerse themselves in the ultimate ‘dude ranch’ experience, with a family-style cookout followed by the championship Rodeo and a night street party at the River Ranch Saloon. To learn more about Polk County in Central Florida, agents are invited to sign up to the new Visit Central Florida Travel Specialist Academy. Once completed, agents will receive a certificate, exclusive discounts and benefits within the destination. The first 25 agents to complete the training will also be sent a £10 Amazon voucher. visitcentralflorida.org

Commonwealth draw for West Midlands The West Midlands Growth Company is highlighting the region as a leading UK tourism destination ahead of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.

Alongside a number of initiatives and a packed events calendar, a new Business and Tourism Programme for Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games has been created to help target potential visitors and the travel trade. Activities will include familiarisation trips, educational training and attendance at travel trade events. Becky Frall, Head of Visitor Attraction at West Midlands Growth Company, said: “We are so looking forward to hosting the Commonwealth Games next year, starting July 28. If you think back to the excitement of the Olympics in Japan, we’re going to be mirroring that in Birmingham.” Maria Sykes from Visit Britain added that the upcoming Games will drive visitors to

sellingtravel.co.uk

explore more of the country, and shine a spotlight on the West Midlands “as well as demonstrating the UK’s ability to host events of the highest calibre.” The West Midlands Growth Company will be assisting the trade by providing some ‘exciting hooks’ to entice travellers next year. “Beyond the sporting theme there’s so much on offer to visitors, from 10 Michelin Star restaurants through to brilliant family attractions such as the Sealife Centre, The Bear Grylls Adventure and LEGOLAND Discovery Centre,” added Frall. “There are also independent attractions like the Black Country Living Museum, which is the backdrop to the filming of the Peaky Blinders series.” wmgrowth.com


news

Regent’s world class

MEET... Dave Wyrick Mammoth Cave National Park

Regent Seven Seas Cruises’ 2023-2024 programme features 139 new voyages, with itineraries across Africa, Arabia, Alaska, Asia, Australia, New Zealand, the South Pacific, Canada, the Caribbean, the Mediterranean, Europe and South America. Sailings will range from seven nights up to the new 132-night 2024 World Cruise and feature nine overnight calls in destinations such as Saint Petersburg, Lisbon, Bordeaux Kyoto (Japan) and Singapore. Among those ports of call new for Regent will be Mystery Island (Vanuatu), Syros (Greece), the Loosen Islands (Norway) and Puerto Banus (Spain). Four ‘Grand Voyages’ will see Regent sailing on a Grand Arctic Adventure, a 78-night cruise from New York to Barcelona; the Grand European Sojourn, a 62-night journey from Stockholm to Athens; Circle South America, a 67-night round-trip commencing in Miami and the Grand Asia-Pacific Journey, a 59-night sailing from Sydney to Tokyo. The sailings are available to book now. rsc.com

Emirates’ UK push Emirates is to restart flights to Newcastle Airport from October 15 in response to the relaxation of international entry protocols and an upsurge in passenger demand. The four-times-weekly service will be operated by B777 aircraft, across two classes. The airline is also scaling up its operations to and from Heathrow, in a phased manner that will see it offering a six-times-daily operation – with five A380 services – by October 31. By the end of October, Emirates plans to operate 77 weekly flights to and from the UK, with the other routes being Manchester (double-daily), Birmingham (ten flights a week) and Glasgow (daily). emirates.com

Natural Kentucky What are the top natural attractions? From the cascading Cumberland Falls to the rugged cliffs of Red River Gorge, Kentucky’s natural attractions are awe-inspiring, but our most unique has to be Mammoth Cave. Located in South Central Kentucky near Bowling Green, Mammoth Cave National Park is home to the longest known cave system in the world, with over 400 miles of chambers and tunnels dating back 200 years.

Exploring the caves and beyond Venture below ground to experience the cave system in all its glory. We have tours for all abilities, from 30-minute accessible tours by elevator to four-hour Wild Cave tours. Above ground, visitors can enjoy 80 miles of hiking trails, 19 miles of biking trails, canoeing/ kayaking on the Green and Nolin rivers, horseback riding, camping, fishing, stargazing and bird watching. The park is also easy to visit with an RV, with plenty of parking at the visitor centre and further camping facilities at the onsite campground.

Describe a visit post-covid We are currently running at 70% capacity and masks are required in the visitor centre for unvaccinated visitors. In a positive spin, nature has been able to thrive during lockdown and visitors can enjoy a kaleidoscope of biodiversity including spotting some rare and endangered species such as eyeless fish and crayfish. Tours exploring new sections of the caves will be added in the coming years.

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