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What's hot 2018 • Thailand • Nevada • Escorted Oz • Egypt • Azores • Vienna • Philippines • Selling Travel Agents Choice Awards winners


Thailand broadens its appeal with product developments and new promotional campaigns

how to sell...

What's hot 2018 Nevada Escorted Oz Egypt Philippines and more...

Congratulations: Your favourite suppliers featured in our Selling Travel Agents Choice Awards section Cover-December_finalv2.indd 1

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this issue - we travel further to bring you more FEATURES 8 What's hot: In 2018 43 Northern Thailand: Rural charms


53 Escorted tours of Oz:


Why it's easier to follow the leader Down Under 72 Philippines: Scenic islands and stunning spas


64 50



52 58





AWARDS 25 2017 Winners 26 Gallery: Photos from the


Selling Travel Agents Choice Awards event 40 2017 Commended

QUICK READS 13 Spotlight on: Dubai's 14 46 48 50 52 58 62 63 64 71 74

Versace hotel Six of the Best: Dutchess County, New York Fam trip: Kentucky Introducing: Nevada Visit USA: News How to sell: Azores My journey: Egypt Alberta: For millennials Introducing: West Hollywood 48 hours in: Vienna How to sell: Mexico City Final word




CLIA show report and hotels in Val d'Isere and Thailand

our Costa Rica event 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



THE REVIEW 65 Top news stories plus

TALKING SHOP 15 News, competitions &


W H A T ' S H O T 2018





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Travel Trade Publication of the Year

Travel Trade Publication of the Year

– dedicated to those who love selling travel –

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



hen it comes to tourism strategies, most destinations have challenges of some description to overcome. For the majority, these are usually infrastructure issues from establishing appropriate product to maintaining and upgrading it - and then formulating effective policies and campaigns, and the funds to pay for them, to attract new tourists. Some of these challenges are born by the accident of geography and location and it can take creativity and trade commitment to overcome them. I am writing this from the Cook Islands, a destination that truly does feel – and is – a long way from anywhere. Some 99.95% of Cook’s territory is ocean with its 15 islands spread over two million square kilometres. It takes almost a day to get here from the UK and the flight Steve Hartridge options are relatively limited, although there is a direct Saturday flight EDITOR with Air New Zealand which connects via Los Angeles. Tourism is the mainstay here and while most visitors come from New Zealand and Australia, Cook Islands Tourism is committed to increasing the number of UK and other European tourists – to the extent that it subsidises that aforementioned Air New Zealand flight, which accounts for 40% of its visitors from the northern hemisphere. In the guise of its UK office, Ocean Marketing, the Cook Islands invest heavily in the trade with annual road shows and fam trips so operators and agents can experience the islands first-hand. Even small incremental increases in tourists - and we are talking around 2,600 visitor a year from the UK - are vitally important to the islands. And it is certainly worth the long journey if your clients are looking for a tropical island break: think long, empty white sand beaches, a lush interior abundant with tropical fruits and a plethora of one-off beachfront, sandbetween-your-toes accommodation. Trips like this remind me of the ongoing commitment it takes to position and promote products and destinations - so hearty congratulations to all of our Travel Agents Choice Award winners, who are clearly getting their trade strategies right (see our coverage from page 23). Enjoy this issue.




© 2017.


Proudly published by BMI Publishing Ltd 2017


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Costa Rica Wise up to Central America's year-round appeal with this compact handbook designed to help you book holidays to 'the happiest country on Earth'. Qatar All you need to get a handle on one of the world's most dynamic, fast-evolving destinations, rapidly becoming a firm fixture on everyone's travel bucket list.


REPS & PR The who’s who of travel trade representation and PR companies in the UK

AMG | AVIAREPS | ClubCenturia | Core Communications | Flagship Consulting | GEC PR The Greg Evans Consultancy | Gosh PR | HAT Tourism Marketing | Hume Whitehead | LOTUS | Moulden Marketing Pinpoint Communications | SLC Representation | Sponge Marketing | TaylorMadePR | Travel & Tourism Marketing

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Create your USA experience Cover 2018 - FINAL.indd 1 Create experience Createyour yourUSA USA experience 10/24/17 11:00 AM

Reps & PR A who's who of UK travel trade representation and PR companies dedicated to supporting sales and destination management. Visit USA 2018 Travel Planner Your essential companion to planning the ultimate trip to the USA including state profiles, themed holidays and useful trade contact details.

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Win the Thai holiday of a lifetime We, and our friends at Thai Airways, are offering you the chance to win a stunning, adventure-filled holiday to Thailand, that you will never forget.

This is followed by five incredibly relaxing nights at two stunning Khao Lak hotels – the La Flora Resort & Spa and La Vela.

This amazing holiday for two will take you to the beautiful beaches of Khao Lak and get you up close to nature in Khao Sok National Park. This incredible opportunity includes two return economy tickets with Thai Airways to Phuket then on to enjoy three days at Elephant Hills, on their Jungle Lake Safari Tour, where your hotel room floats on the water!

A rainforest adventure and relaxation on unspoilt Thailand beaches – what could be better?

Elephant Hills, Khao Lak

La Flora Reso

All you have to do to enter our competition, is complete the Amazing Thailand Online Training Programme: T&Cs apply. Subject to availability. Closing date for entries 10.1.18.

National Park

rt & Spa

Kokulo Beach Club, La

Thai Airways,

Vela, Khao Lak

A380 -800

THAI – Experience a legendary and award-winning service to Thailand. Thai Airways has double daily departures from London to Bangkok with multiple onward connections to 11 destinations in Thailand, in partnership with its domestic wing, THAI Smile.

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the big picture

Sulawesi Indonesia

Dramatic aquatic

Under the sea has never been so top of the list. Britain has been enchanted, awed and moved by David Attenborough’s Blue Planet II and its coverage of gigantic but gentle whales, voracious alien jellyďŹ sh and disconcertingly intelligent crustacea. Sulawesi is a diving haven and just one Indonesian region looking to tempt visitors beyond Bali.

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what’s hot for 2018

cheerful reasons to be

Destinations around the world are optimistic they will welcome a bumper crop of tourists in 2018. Discover why, says Ben Lerwill

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what’s hot for 2018

South Africa The exchange rate for British tourists to South Africa has been favourable for a good few years now, and tourist numbers have been suitably strong, with figures for the first half of 2017 showing more than 230,000 UK visitors. There are good reasons to keep returning too as few countries can combine wildlife, beaches and cultural attractions to such winning effect. 2018 will add more as the ‘Nelson Mandela Centenary 2018: Be The Legacy’ initiative gets underway. Currently at the planning stage this programme of special initiatives, projects and events will celebrate 100 years since Mandela’s birth. Activities will range from education and

the arts to exhibitions and sports, and will take place both in South Africa and the UK. UK highlights will include a two-week NelsonMandela Exhibition in London in July and the unveiling of a Madiba statue in Glasgow. In South Africa, visitors can follow in Mandela’s footsteps with a free app that maps out the best in Mandela places of interest. Luxury Gold is featuring South Africa for the first time in its 2018 brochure, and the South African Tourism Board has embarked on a digital campaign to promote fly-drive holidays. Book it: African Pride Offers a 14-day Cape Town, Wine & Wilderness fly drive itinerary priced from £2,158pp.


The deal includes four nights in Cape Town, as well as time in both the Winelands and the Cederberg region, flights from Heathrow and car hire.

Malta One of Europe’s smallest but most seductive countries has plenty to shout about in 2018. Air Malta has introduced new Go-Light fares for passengers carrying hand luggage only, starting from around £35 one-way, and the airline is also reintroducing weekly Manchester flights from May 2018. Elsewhere, Jet2 has announced it will be adding Malta as a new destination from Stansted in summer 2018, while easyJet began flying twice weekly

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what’s hot for 2018

from Southend to Malta in October. 2018 also sees the capital Valletta ensconced as European Capital of Culture, so look out for its packed events calendar. A World Economic Forum study earlier this year named Malta as giving more government priority to tourism than any other country worldwide. With an offering that now appeals as much to the Instagram generation as to baby boomers, there’s plenty to shout about. Book it: Mercury Holidays has a nine-day escorted tour of Malta and Gozo from £659pp, with all breakfasts and dinners included. Highlights include visits to the cities of Valletta and Mdina, as well as the age-old Ggantija Temples on Gozo.

Portugal Hardly a newcomer to tourism, but its star keeps rising by the year. For a relatively small destination it packs in plenty, from city-break stalwarts Lisbon and Porto to the much-frequented beaches of the Algarve. What’s more, it continues to provide great value to British tourists. Flagship carrier TAP has added London City to Lisbon, meaning it now flies from three different London airports. Viking Cruises will operate a new vessel on the Douro from 2019; Jet2Holidays has added Faro to its city break portfolio; Thomas Cook has announced the opening next year of an own-brand hotel in Albufeira; and Riviera Travel has a new Portugal escorted tour for 2018. Book it: Riviera Travel offers an eight-day Lisbon, Porto and Douro Valley escorted tour from £919pp, with flights, four- and five-star hotels and guided tours of Lisbon, Porto, Sintra and the Douro Valley.

Oman When Oman Air added a new route from Manchester in mid-2017, alongside its

double-daily flights from Heathrow, it was another sign that Oman is on the up. It combine a slice of the exotic with adventure and all less than eight hours from the UK. G Adventures and Intrepid Travel have added to the options. Areas such as the Al Hajar Mountains and the Musandam Peninsula are on the up and luxury hotels on the beach broaden the appeal. One to watch is the extraordinary Anantara Al Jabal Al Akhdar Resort, which opened a year ago on a lofty mountain plateau. Book it: Intrepid Travel has an eight-day Discover Oman tour includes capital Muscat, the desert landscapes of Wahiba Sands and the canyon scenery of the Al Hajar Mountains. The lead-in price is £1,715pp, with a maximum group size of 12.

Perth & Western Australia

Clockwise from top right: Luzzi, Malta; wild Costa Rica; Perth’s skyline; and stylish Oman

The Qantas direct service from Heathrow to Perth - from March 2018 - will be the firstever regular non-stop service UK to Australia. The 16 hour journey will be the longest Dreamliner flight in the world, and will throw fresh light onto Perth and WA. The city is a vibrant destination in its own right, as well as a great gateway for foodies, winery tours, road-trippers and adventure-seekers. New hotels in 2017 included Intercontinental Perth City Centre, Aloft Perth and Tribe Perth.

Book it: Gold Medal Travel offers a 14-night itinerary (including two free nights) taking in Perth, Mandurah and Fremantle with hire car throughout, priced from £1649 pp, saving up to £470 pp for travel between May 1 and June 29, 2018.

Costa Rica Visitor numbers from the UK to Costa Rica rose eight per cent year-on-year from January to September 2017, and British Airways’ decision to add a third weekly direct flight from Gatwick this winter is likely to spell further growth for the Central American country. Its tourist board, which last month hosted a series of UK roadshow evenings in association with Selling Travel (see pages 20/21) in London, Manchester and Glasgow, will run a fam trip for agents in 2018, as part of the same campaign. Wildlife and tropical adventure have long been the main draw for visitors, although the focus in 2018 will be to promote the country as a wellness destination too. Luxury Gold is among the operators introducing Costa Rica in 2018. Book it: Cox & Kings has a Natural Splendours of Costa Rica group tour priced from £1,845pp. The 11-day, nine-night itinerary visits some of the country’s major national parks and includes direct flights with British Airways.

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Exuding European grandeur and urban glamour, discover a space that mirrors your sense of style and live the iconic Versace lifestyle in a cosmopolitan city that echoes the charms of tradition. Explore our family, business, honeymoon and other stay offers at

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what’s hot for 2018

The Seychelles British Airways’ twice-weekly service to Mahé, launching in March, will be the first non-stop flight between the UK and the Indian Ocean and cuts travel time to 10 hours. Timings on Wednesdays and Saturdays will make 10-night trips feasible. The service will run initially to October. On the ground Six Senses Zil Pasyon is now fully open and the Four Seasons Resort Seychelles At Desroches Island will be unveiled in early 2018. Book it: Inspiring Travel Co features seven nights at the Constance Ephelia on Mahe priced from £2,409pp, based on two adults staying half-board, including flights with British Airways and a 30% discount for bookings made a minimum of 45 days before travel.

Dubai Dubai aims to keep momentum rolling in its favour with initiatives to appeal across luxury, adventure and family markets. A new Rosemount will open in 2018 with an indoor rainforest, and Motiongate Park has opened the first World of Hunger Games zone with rides and attractions. In 2019 a Six Flags Theme Park will be opening in Dubai Parks and Resorts and Legoland hotel will be added to the Legoland waterpark towards the end of 2018-19. Meeting the demand for active experiences, cycle tracks and trails are expanding. Book it: If Only... offers a five-night stay in a Deluxe room at Vida Downtown Dubai, including return flights with Emirates, private transfers and breakfast, priced from £845pp.

Italy In World Travel Market’s 2017 Industry Report, Italy emerged as top of the wish-list for 1,000 Brits surveyed, and 84% of trade respondents said they were planning to sign contracts with Italian companies in the months ahead. Recent openings include the FICO Eataly World, a huge ‘agri-food park’ with restaurants, rides and cooking courses, near Bologna.

Book it: Great Rail Journeys has a 10-day Simply Lake Garda trip priced £1,395pp including travel by Eurostar, four-star hotel, full day-trips to Venice and Verona and time at Lake Garda.

Thailand Euromonitor International’s latest Top 100 Cities/Destinations ranking saw Bangkok second only to Hong Kong in terms of its visitor numbers, ahead of London thanks to 10% growth over the last 12 months. Phuket and Pattaya were placed in the top 25 visitor cities worldwide, showing just how strong Thailand’s tourism pull remains. The country accounts for some four per cent of all long-haul travel from the UK – almost one in every 20 trips – according to latest booking analysis. One operator capitalising on the allure of the destination is Gold Medal, which has seen Thai sales rise 14% year on year, and has added 38 new properties. Book it: Gold Medal offers eight nights at the four-star Le Vela Khao Lak, which opened in July 2017. Clients stay on a B&B basis from £1,149pp, including flights and transfers.

Abu Dhabi The £1bn Louvre Abu Dhabi is now open and early signs are that the decade-long construction process has been more than worthwhile. The museum has 600 permanent artworks, as well as 300 on loan from the Paris Louvre. UK visitors to the emirate are up five per cent year on year, an increase the destination puts down to its investment in the travel trade. It is also rising in status as a cruise destination, with a large, new cruise terminal and, in the shape of Sir Bani Yas, the Gulf’s only dedicated desert island cruise stopover. Book it: A three-night stay at Kempinski’s five-star Emirates Palace Hotel is priced from £951pp, with Kuoni, based on a May 2018 departure and including return flights from Heathrow. 

Clockwise from top right: Thai cultural attractions; Dubai’s buzzing downtown; La Digue Island, Seychelles; Lake Garda, Italy and Sheikh Zayed Mosque, Abu Dhabi

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spotlight on



Versace in Dubai In coversation with Sandra Tikal, General Manager at the fashion branded Palazzo Versace Dubai Give us some background on the hotel? The hotel is a collaboration between Versace and local developer Enshaa and draws on the brand’s heritage. From the architecture, design, furniture, fabrics and styling to the experience and operations, it offers a complete immersion in the Versace lifestyle.

Does Dubai have room for another ultra-luxe brand? Palazzo Versace Dubai offers far more than a memorable lifestyle experience. No expense has been spared to build a modern palace with the authenticity of an historic European palace. The end result is one of understated elegance. It’s a large property with the feel of a boutique hotel or beautiful home and that is what makes us different. We complement the luxury market with a unique, true fashion branded hotel experience.

What are the stand-out features? Ours is a top-end luxury lifestyle product and customer experience. In a competitive market we consistently exceed expectations and offer new and unexpected differentiators. As a fashion branded hotel we can connect every detail— curtains connect with the bedspread, the bedspread connects with the beige of the chair, the marbles used interact with each other, and the leathers we select for the

accessories work together. The brand influences and touches every detail of the hotel.

Sum up the hotel in one sentence? A peaceful, elegant haven in a dynamic city, and yet very close to all that Dubai has to offer.

What is your service ethos? Our team is passionate in the pursuit of exceptional and intuitive service and guest experiences. We spend a lot of time training and living by this intuitive service ethos. The team aims to provide memorable or unexpected moments for every guest including children. Wishes we overhear we make happen. It’s an old world hospitality generally lost, and it really makes a difference.

“The trade is extremely important to us. Agents are our key business partners, connecting us to the most relevant markets – travellers who understand what to expect from a luxury Versace brand experience”

Which traveller type suits your hotel? We cater for experienced, well-travelled, demanding guests with the highest expectations. They may be couples or families on business or leisure trips or loyal locals who love our restaurants and award-winning spa.

Why should agents book with you? We offer a unique luxury lifestyle experience, tailor-made personalised service and unbeatable style. Plus award-winning food and beverage in eight innovative outlets. 

WHERE TO BOOK IT Palazzo Versace Dubai is a destination within a destination. Located on the Dubai Creek, where the old meets the new, it is featured by Eden, Lusso, If Only, Azure, Southall Travel and Sunset

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six of the best: must see attractions

Dutchess County, NY About an hour from New York City is a region of New York State that offers visitors fabulous vistas, landmark historical and cultural sites and artisanal food, wine and craft beer options Franklin D. Roosevelt National Historic Site Visit the Home of Franklin D. Roosevelt National Historic Site and FDR Presidential Library and Museum. Experience early 20th century American history with a tour of the estate. Stroll through the rose gardens or discover the grounds and hiking trails.

Vanderbilt Mansion National Historic Site Experience history in Dutchess County by touring rich heritage sites. Visit Vanderbilt Mansion, one of the region’s oldest Hudson River estates. Experience the gilded age, relax in the gardens, and take in the magnificent architecture and landscapes.

The Walkway Over the Hudson Walk, bike, jog or rollerblade over The Walkway Over the Hudson, the world’s longest elevated pedestrian bridge, for great views of the Hudson River, surrounding mountains and landscape. This former railroad bridge was built in 1888.

The Culinary Institute Of America Appreciate Dutchess County’s great educational institutions, including The Culinary Institute of America, the world’s premier culinary college. Four award-winning restaurants and tours of the campus are open to the public. Savour regional fare in the facility’s restaurants.

Dutchess Craft Beverage Trail Come savour the local bounty by trying a range of awardwinning wines, beers and spirits produced in the Hudson Valley. Dutchess County’s Craft Beverage Trail is a great way to enjoy a tour, try tastings and take home a little #DutchCraftBev.

Dia:Beacon Explore the rich arts and culture of the Hudson Valley, found in theatres and galleries throughout Dutchess County. Dance, drama, film and music all have a home here. Discover the many art museums and galleries, including Dia:Beacon, which houses a stunning collection of art from the 1960s to the present day.



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

Beach benefits THINKING of a trip to The Palm Beaches in Florida? Then go now and Discover The Palm Beaches will help you out as it is currently offering numerous agent discounts and special trade offers including stays in beachfront resorts, food tours and shopping trips. The tourism marketing organisation is keen to support the trade and build agent knowledge and will launch an online training programme during 2018.

MC's monthly incentive THE MC Collection is currently offering monthly prizes for top-selling agents. To be entered into a prize draw, agents need to log bookings online. Each booking will qualify as a separate ‘ticket’ in the draw. The incentive is valid for bookings for travel before September 30, 2018.

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Orient Express

Dec󰇪󰇲󰇩󰈥r 13 & 14

SOUTH AFRICA TRAINING Visions Holiday Group and South African Tourism are joining forces to host South African Tourism Training Days in Cardiff and Birmingham. Sign up to attend and you'll learn about the country's many attractions.

KIRKER Holidays is offering agents the chance to win a luxury Christmas hamper plus entry into a draw to win a place on a Venice Simplon-Orient-Express fam trip. Bookings made before December 31 are valid. Email




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

Out and about with Sandals, Titan Travel, Jamaican jaunt

SANDALS welcomes 16 travel agents to Jamaica for an action-packed island FAM trip. Participants from Not Just Travel, Paradise Dreams, Blue Bay Travel and Go Travel, as well as two Sandals representatives visit Sandals Montego Bay as part of a trip which includes overnights at Sandals South Coast, Beaches Negril, Sandals Royal Caribbean and Sandals Ochi Beach. They also visited Sandals Negril, Sandals Royal Plantation and Beaches Ocho Rios. Pictured (L-R) are: Catherine Lornie, Catrina Sherrin, Teresa Roland, Irene Holland, Stephanie Cutler, Faye Shepherd, Lisa-Marie Wells, Jane Kolowski, Ian Fleming, Ryan Speakman, Charlotte Wilson, Abbey Adcock, Elaine Emery, Stuart Abbott, Della Rendell and Kimberly Robertson.

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Rocking in Vegas

GERRY Yiatrou, of Freedom Travel & Cruise Oldham, wins a trip to Las Vegas with flights and accommodation in Gold Medal's Rock, Shop & Recover campaign.

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

South African Tourism and Travel 2

Tasting the Rhine

TITAN'S agency sales team hosts a fam on board MS Serenade with 18 agents experiencing the Taste of the Rhine tour sailing from Basel to Cologne.

South African Diamond Gallery winner

THE Honourable Ms Tokozile Xasa, Minister of Tourism for South African Tourism announces the winner of the Diamond Gallery competition at World Travel Market 2017. Travel Counsellor, Rosanna Fogel receives a dazzling 1.46-carat Tanzanite and diamond pendant and 9-carat white gold necklace worth £3,000 from the Diamond Gallery in Cape Town.

Travel 2 Orlando

KEY account manager Andy Harris pops in on Tanya Goodall, manager at Robins World Travel as part of Travel 2’s Orlando campaign.


£300 VOUCHER TO SPEND AT THE IVY Macerich Shopping Centers & Fashion Outlets offer visitors the top two activities when traveling in the US – premier shopping and dining – in major markets across the country including Santa Monica Place in California; The Shops at North Bridge and Fashion Outlets of Chicago in Illinois; Scottsdale Fashion Square in Arizona; Washington Square in Portland, Oregon; Tysons Corner Center in Washington DC; Fashion Outlets of Niagara Falls in New York; and COMING SOON Fashion District Philadelphia in Pennsylvania. These premier shopping destinations offer experiential and commissionable shopping packages, such as the new Cook and Shop program for travel professionals; easy integration into travel itineraries with added value including visitor savings of up to $1000 from participating retailers. Visit for details. One lucky winner will receive, a gift voucher worth £300 to spend at any of The Ivy Collection restaurants. Redeemable at any of the Cafes, Grills or Brasseries in London and beyond for dining throughout the day or evening. Courtesy of Macerich Shopping Centers & Fashion Outlets. T & C’s apply.

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

There's no business like show business With World Travel Market, the Hays Conference and all those sales training evenings behind us, we can now take stock of the year’s business and plan for an even better 2018. Love it or hate it, Facebook has a really big part to play in our future growth, and we’re now making a big push through this medium to share awareness, information and ideas on a more regular basis with current and future clients.

Bookings show no set pattern at the moment - it's everything and everywhere

Hays Conference – Marbella

It’s been some years since I attended an overseas conference and with all the delegates and sponsors staying at the H10 Andalucia Plaza, the Hays Independence Group’s event meant we could all spend a lot of time together, building relationships with the people important to our business. Not only could we discuss business with our suppliers, but we could spend time with the people from Hays HQ who help us on a regular basis. Putting faces to voices is important. The long weekend featured some impressive speakers to update, educate and inspire us, and with so many changes afoot next year it was especially useful to have ABTA’s Director of Legal Affairs, Simon Bunce, filling in the blanks on the new Travel Directive and Data Protection, as well as giving advice on credit card changes coming in. It’s great that us agents have ABTA lobbying for us and going back to HM Treasury to get further clarification on the non-chargeable incentive idea. We were truly inspired by Chris Moon, who has really overcome adversity in his life. Despite having two limbs blown off while clearing landmines and being kept prisoner by the Khmer Rouge, Chris has gone on to complete more than 16 marathons in some of the world’s most inhospitable regions for charity. He continues to inspire through his straightforward speaking. We were also intrigued by the 'Sleep Doctor' –

Dr Michael Breus from the US. He gave us valuable tips on how to get the most from ourselves and our staff by getting better rest during downtime. It was a timely topic to be discussed the morning after enjoying the generous hospitality of John and Irene Hays, when we were all running on coffee and a prayer! I have taken on board the idea that a power nap should be no more than 35 minutes for maximum effect, and incorporated this into my weekend and holiday timetables.

World Travel Market

WTM is always a great networking opportunity for our friends from overseas, and Justine and Tanya made the journey to London to meet and greet many of our trusted suppliers, airlines and hoteliers from around the world. It was my turn to hold the fort in the shop. Bookings at the moment show no set pattern - it’s everything and everywhere, but there is strong repeat business coming through. We’re planning our first destination evening for customers in February, and we’ve had great support from the trade.

Winter sun break

  01403 276684

I’ve just returned from a lovely four-night break in the sun. Fuerteventura had a steady 25C – perfect for November. We stayed at the Bahiazul Villas and Club on the outskirts of Corralejo, which offered an excellent restaurant, snack bar and an impressive spa. But clients are advised to book restaurants early: two of the ones we wanted to eat in were full for the week. Lastly, wishing you all a fabulous Christmas - and let’s hope 2018 is a bumper year for everyone in this amazing industry.

Barbara Charlton




The Palm Beaches are just an hour from Miami by car, and two and a half hours from Orlando. A culturally and geographically diverse county, spanning 39 unique cities and towns, The Palm Beaches are known as America’s first resort destination. The region combines an exciting collection of luxury resorts, boutiques and trusted brand hotels with a nightlife that thrives year-round, vast water activities, an arts and entertainment district, eco-adventures, trendy shops and boutiques and an innovative culinary landscape. With 47 miles of pristine beaches along the Atlantic coastline,The Palm Beaches truly are the best way to experience Florida.






In 1893 Henry M. Flagler built the world's largest wooden hotel - The Royal Poinciana Hotel, and 18 years later the town of Palm Beach was incorporated. Since then, the destination has grown to include 38 more cities and welcomes everyone from Hollywood's elite to literary icons.

There are over 200 cultural attractions and events here, with just a small sample including: the Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse & Museum, Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens, the Boca Raton Museum of Art, SunFest and Lake Worth Street Painting Festival.

Wellington is one of the top three places on earth for polo and equestrian sports. The International Polo Club Palm Beach features the world’s best players and hosts the International Gay Polo League and the Winter Equestrian Festival. It's at the heart of social activity from January to April.




Internationally known as a shopping mecca, Worth Avenue is a runway for today’s top fashions. The county has a number of key shopping districts also hosting outlet malls.

Visitors can play on 160 golf courses, including the famed PGA National Resort & Spa. The Palm Beaches is also home to Junior Golf Academy and Honda Classic.



Up to 100 family-friendly attractions welcome parents and kids no matter what the budget. Get close to sea turtles and marine life at the Loggerhead Marine life Center.

Home to over 2,000 diverse culinary venues and a well-balanced fusion of celebrity chefs, cuttingedge newcomers and classic masters. Worldrenowned chefs include Masaharu Morimoto.


With a wealth of luxurious spas on offer, discover The Palm Beaches’ Spa & Wellness Month which takes place in October annually and comprises a month-long spa and wellness promotion.

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COSTA RICA Ma n c h e s t e r , G l a s g o w , L o n d o n

Catching up with Costa Rica The Costa Rica Tourism Board brought the ‘pura vida’ (pure life) of Central America to the UK as sponsors and agents gathered over the course of three networking nights in Manchester, Glasgow and London. Twenty-six operators travelled across the UK throughout November, meeting with over 200 agents keen to improve their destination knowledge and, of course, to win an exciting fam trip to Costa Rica which was up for grabs. Speaking at the Glasgow event, Federico Solano of Horizontes Nature Tours said: “The agents learnt a lot about the destination and the products that we offer. We have over 30 years of experience in nature touring and it is this local knowledge that gives us a strong advantage. It’s good to meet independent and smaller travel operators and build relationships at an event like this.” Agents worked their way around the room collecting stamps from each stand, which enabled them to enter a prize draw for fam trip places and luxury hampers drawn at the end of the evening. Ann Michell, Travel Counsellors said: “This was a brilliant event! It was such a good set up going from table to table and I feel I picked up something useful from each partner. I’ve worked as a travel counsellor for 21 years and this is one of the best events I’ve been to.” Trisha Joshi, a Belmond agent and winner of a fam trip place said: “You definitely gain more knowledge and confidence by talking to people that live and work in the destination rather than simply looking online. It’s that first- hand, trustworthy information that improves your knowledge and broadens your outlook.” She added: "I'm so chuffed to have won! Costa Rica is somewhere I have always wanted to go and now I get to experience it for myself."

Fam 󰇹󰈦󰇮p 󰇿󰇯󰈡ne󰇶󰈤:

Manchester, November 9: Rafiq Akram, STA Travel; Karen Clark, Flight Centre UK; Charlotte Flindell, Kuoni; Kerry Wight, Kuoni; Nicholas Rety, Flight Centre UK; Mike Watkinson, Peregrination Travel. Glasgow, November 13: Pauline McCormick, Travel Counsellor; Kathanna McGivern, Disabled Access Holidays; Colette Paterson, Barrhead Travel; Kimberley Ainslie, Barrhead Travel; Katie Baxter, Travel2; Isobel McCardie, Not Just Travel. London, November 14: Angela Williams, Dawling Travel; Penny Matsangou, Karnak Travel; Trisha Joshi, Venice Simplon Orient-Express; Jacqueline Bromley, Moxley & Co; Margaret Johnson, Lauderdale International; Teresa Caiazzo, Star Travel.

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Ma n c h e s t e r , G l a s g o w , L o n d o n


Check out the full gallery online at

We've 󰇬󰇧󰈨 󰈜n a󰇲󰇧󰈄󰇯n󰇫 󰇺ur󰇳󰈢󰇼󰇺 wi󰇹󰇭 26 pa󰇶󰇺n󰇪󰇶󰈤 󰈜n󰈧 o󰇾󰇪r 200 ag󰇪󰇳󰇺s 󰈜󰇰󰇱 s󰇬a󰈦󰇮n󰇫 󰈬n󰈣󰇿󰇱ed󰇫󰇪 󰈜󰈡d 󰇰e󰇧󰈦n󰇯󰇳󰈪 ab󰈢󰇼󰇹 Cos󰇹󰇧 󰉊󰇯󰈝a

Are󰇳󰇧󰇱 K󰇯or󰈢 Su󰇮t󰈥󰇷 & Spa


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Bes󰇹 󰈖󰇪󰈤t󰈥󰇶󰈡 Ira󰈃󰇻 Hot󰇪󰇰 & Cas󰇮󰇳󰈣

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Tan󰇫󰈢 󰉄󰈜󰈦

Tra󰇽󰇪󰇱 Ex󰈛󰈥󰇱le󰇳󰈝󰇪

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The 󰈉󰈢󰇷󰇺󰈜 󰉋ic󰇧 Te󰇧m

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The Luc󰈫󰈠 t󰇧󰇨󰇱󰈥 13 -


󰇿󰇮󰈡n󰇯󰇳󰈪 qu󰇮󰈃 󰇺󰈥am

Win 󰇳󰇪 t󰇬e 󰇱 󰈦s 󰈣󰈇 󰇻x󰇼󰇶 󰈠 ha󰇲 󰇵󰇪r󰇷 !

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S e a t t l e , Wa s h i n g t o n

WIN a holiday for two to Seattle with Icelandair








From the iconic Space Needle to the glittering angles of The Mark Tower, Seattle’s skyline is encircled by snow-capped volcanoes, national forests and sensational seascapes. World renowned for Hendrix and grunge music, Seattle is a city where technology, nature and the arts intersect to produce a sizzling blend of experiences. Discover the Space Needle, MoPop (a pop culture wonderland) and the beautiful Chihuly Garden and Glass; marvel at the fish throwing antics of traders at the famous Pike Place Market or get the inside story of your favourite cuppa at the Starbucks Reserve Roastery and Tasting Room.

The 󰈑󰇶󰇮󰈄󰈥

Selling Travel has teamed up with Port of Seattle and Icelandair to offer you the chance to win a Seattle holiday for two. One lucky winner and their companion will fly with Icelandair via Reykjavik to Seattle where they will pick up a hire car for a five-day trip. A host of unique attractions awaits you in

Seattle that will see you flying high above the city as well as delving deep below the streets on an underground tour. A range of excursions - whale watching, museums and other attractions are included.

Ad󰈧 󰉇󰈡 󰈾ce󰇰󰇧󰈡d

Passengers flying with Icelandair to Seattle can book a stopover in Iceland for up to seven nights at no extra airfare. So you could enjoy the magnificent landscape and friendly and relaxed Icelandic culture before you fly on to the U.S. Icelandair offers excellent services and amenities on board, including a personal entertainment system, complimentary soft drinks, ample legroom and gate-to-gate wifi is available. Icelandair flies from eight gateways in the UK and Ireland: Heathrow, Gatwick, Manchester, Birmingham, Glasgow, Aberdeen* and Belfast* and from 2018, Dublin too.

• Return economy flights with Icelandair London-Seattle-London for two people travelling together • Five days' economy car hire • Five nights' room-only accommodation • Seattle CityPASS, Ride the Ducks tour, Future of Flight tour of the Boeing Factory, whale watching tour, Bill Speidel’s Underground Tour of Seattle and Wings Over Washington tour (virtual reality experience)


Answer this Seattle question online at Q. What is the name of Seattle’s famous market?

* Codeshare operated by Air Iceland Connect. The competition is open to residents of the UK aged 25 and over. Car hire is included and one person in the party must be prepared to drive in the U.S. The driver must be 25 years of age plus and hold a full, clean, UK driving licence. Full Terms & Conditions are available at

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Congratulations to the winners of the 2017 Selling Travel Agents Choice Awards – voted for by those really in the know, the UK trade. Awards were presented at a celebratory event on board the Sunborn yacht, London

25 Winners List 26 Winners Gallery 40 Commended Gallery

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Thank you for voting us Best UK Airport! Manchester Airport – The UK’s Global Gateway In The North

Patrick Alexander Head of Marketing Manchester Airport

Nico Spyrou Travel Trade Marketing Manager Manchester Airport

Contact us: Email: Facebook: ‘Manchester Airport Agents’ Twitter: @manairporttrade Phone: 0161 489 3311

MAGnificent travel trade incentive live now Photograph ®Hufton+Crow

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the winners & commended Airlines & Airports Airline to the Far East Cathay Pacific Commended – Korean Air

Airline to North America Virgin Atlantic Commended – Delta Air Lines Airline to Latin America & the Caribbean British Airways Commended – Air Europa Lineas Aereas Airline to the Middle East Etihad Airways Commended – Oman Air Airline to India & the Indian Ocean Emirates Commended – Air Seychelles Airline to Europe & North Africa easyJet Commended – Jet2 Airline to Africa South African Airways Commended – Emirates Airline to Australasia & the Pacific Air New Zealand Commended – Qantas Overseas Regional Airline Bangkok Airways Commended – Virgin Australia Overseas Airport Singapore Changi Commended – Dubai International UK Airport Manchester Commended – London Gatwick Favourite Fam Trip Etihad Airways Commended –Thai Airways


Ocean Cruising Crystal Cruises Commended – Royal Caribbean River Cruising Riviera Travel Commended – Uniworld


City Break Tel Aviv Commended – Amsterdam Destination for Beach Mauritius Commended – Greece

Destination for Wildlife & Nature Botswana Commended – South Africa Destination for Soft Adventure New Zealand Commended – Peru Destination for Spa & Wellness Bali Commended – Oman Destination for Weddings & Honeymoons Seychelles Commended – Barbados Destination for Winter Sports Canada Commended – Austria Agent-Friendly Tourist Office Tourism New South Wales Commended – Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc. Favourite Fam Trip Canada Commended – California Favourite Training Event/Roadshow Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) Commended – Visit USA

Tour Operators

To Africa Kuoni Commended – The Gambia Experience To Australasia & the Far East Travel 2 Commended – AAT Kings To Europe & North Africa Jet2 Holidays Commended – Prestige Holidays To India & the Indian Ocean If Only Commended – Osborne & Ebel To Latin America & the Caribbean Journey Latin America Commended – Latin Routes To the Middle East Emirates Tours Commended – Gold Medal To North America North America Travel Service Commended – Funway Holidays For Escorted Tours Titan Travel Commended – Newmarket Holidays For Solo Travellers Saga Holidays Commended – Just You


Hotel/Group in Africa One & Only Commended – Sun International Hotel/Group in the Australasia & Far East Dusit Hotels & Resorts Commended – Anantara Hotels, Resorts & Spas Hotel/Group in Europe & North Africa Hyatt Hotels & Resorts Commended – Iberostar Hotels & Resorts Hotel/Group in North America Fairmont Hotels and Resorts Commended – Marriott International Hotel/Group in Latin America & the Caribbean Elegant Hotels Commended – Barceló Hotel Group Hotel/Group in India & the Indian Ocean Beachcomber Resorts & Hotels Commended – Lux Hotels Hotel/Group in the Middle East The Ritz-Carlton Commended – JA Jebel Ali Beach Hotel Hotel/Group All-Inclusive Sandals Commended – Hard Rock Hotels

Best of the Rest Bed Bank Bedsonline Commended – Getabed

Ticket Provider Commended – Attraction World Rail Great Rail Journeys Commended – Rocky Mountaineer Ferries P&O Ferries Commended – Brittany Ferries Car Hire Alamo Commended – Avis Budget Group UK Holidays Super Break Mini Holidays Commended – Hoseasons Theme Park Walt Disney World Resort Florida Commended – Dubai Parks & Resorts Best Travel Uni Online Training Programme Thailand Commended – Las Vegas

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the winners gallery

s w Ne

F R O M T H E S TA R S O F 2017

★ T I C K E T P ROV I D E R:


DOSOMETHINGDIFFERENT.COM. Annabel Cove (pictured middle with Nicola Navarra and Natasha Bayley) said: “Thanks so much to all the agents who voted for us! I like to think that this win is down to our flexible, ‘can-do’ attitude and our ‘fun factor’. Agents can expect more wacky incentives and experiential fams, or ‘holidays’ as we like to call them, in 2018!”


★ A I R L I N E TO I N D I A & T H E I N D I A N O C E A N:




“Thank you for all your support. We really value the work that our UK trade partners do” JESS BAIN, LATIN ROUTES

BRITISH AIRWAYS. Rajinder Johal said: “We are committed to the trade and it’s an honour to win. We would like to thank all UK travel agents who have voted for us and recognised us with this award.”

★ T H E M E PA R K:

EMIRATES. Rashid Nazir said: “The UK accounts for a big section of our market so this award means a lot. We have a huge network here and are the largest operator of the Airbus 380s with over 100 aircraft operating daily flights from six UK airports. We really appreciate the support we receive from agents.”

WALT DISNEY WORLD RESORT. Sarah Fox said: “Thank you all for your support! We are looking forward to continuing to work with the travel trade through 2018 and are also excited about the upcoming launch of Toy Story Land in Disney’s Hollywood Studios next year.”

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★ A I R L I N E TO A F R I CA:

IF ONLY... Iain Raeper (pictured centre with Lisa Merrigan and Benjamin Coren from Selling Travel) said: “We launched our new USA brochure at the start of December and will be employing 40 new staff over a five month period so exciting times lie ahead! We are very pleased to have been recognised by the UK trade with this award.”

★ AG E N T- F R I E N D LY TO U R I S T O F F I C E:




ED “We are excited about the new GoldLeaf carriages we have been developing which will be delivered next year. We are really looking forward to the season ahead and delighted to be commended” HILARY STRATH, ROCKY MOUNTAINEER

SOUTH AFRICAN AIRWAYS. Jon Danks said: “SAA is proud to be South Africa’s national flag carrier with clear network strength serving over 30 destinations in subSaharan Africa from the UK. A big thank you to all the agents who voted for us!”


DESTINATION NEW SOUTH WALES. Delilah Von Harten collects Destination NSW’s award at the Selling Travel Agents Choice Award’s ceremony in London.

JOURNEY LATIN AMERICA. Laura Rendell-Dunn said: “We are thrilled to win this award! We work with a lot of agents and it is great to know they appreciate us enough to vote for us. We are committed to the trade and will next year undertake our first-ever roadshows for agents, probably visiting three UK cities. We are looking at Birmingham, Manchester and Leeds, or maybe Edinburgh.”

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THANK YOU FOR VOTING US YOUR WINNER FOR RIVER CRUISES AGAIN IN 2017 For more information on our award winning River Cruise collection, Visit Email:

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★ OV E R S E A S R E G I O N A L A I R L I N E:



BANGKOK AIRWAYS. Andrew Hoskins (pictured centre with Sutee Yongudomkit and Chulin Kocharoen) said: “We are delighted that UK agents have voted us best regional airline. We have a new route from Bangkok to Phu Quoc that’s now flying four times a week and we hope the trade continues to support us.”

★ F AVO U R I T E F A M T R I P ★ D E S T I N AT I O N F O R W I N T E R S P O RT S:



EN “I’m so happy that DE D Selling Travel readers identify Peru as an adventure travel destination! Our new campaign called ‘Peru – the richest country in the world’, identifies our many other selling points too” ELISABETH HAKIM, PROM PERU

TOURISM THAILAND. Emma Arnott said: “Our new and improved training programme is now up and running with a focus on community-based tourism and we are also excited to be introducing Mae Hong Son as a new destination. It’s an honour to win and we’d like to thank the trade for voting.”


DESTINATION CANADA. Nim Singh said: “We hosted 60 travel agents on our

KUONI. Wendy Kenneally said: “Support from our travel agents is of utmost importance to us. In the past year we have hosted Africa-focused training events for agents including one in Bath with South African Tourism and SATOA, so we are delighted to have been recognised as Best Tour Operator to Africa.”

mega fam so it’s great to be recognised by the UK trade for our efforts. We’re also delighted to be recognised for our extensive and high-quality winter product.”

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★ D E S T I N AT I O N F O R B E AC H:


MAURITIUS TOURISM. Kevin Ramkaloan, (pictured with Kate O’Brien) said: “Next year is our nation’s 50th anniversary of independence so it’s a great time to be recognised by Selling Travel for our core USP but we have so much to offer beyond the beach. Next year we’d like to invite more trade to visit us and experience our cultural diversity for themselves.”





ED “We’ve got lots more for agents to be excited about, including the newlyrefurbished LUX Grand Gaube which re-opens this December and the opening of the new LUX North Male in 2019” SARAH MCGLYNN, LUX RESORTS

CARIBBEAN TOURISM ORGANIZATION. Ann-Marie Brooks said: “We want agents to know that the Caribbean is open for business. They can find information about all the latest developments on our Caribbean Travel Guru site where they will also be rewarded for their hard work. We rely so much on the support of agents, especially now, so this award means a lot.”


JET2 HOLIDAYS. Alan Cross said: “This is the first time we’ve won this award so it’s extra-special! For us, supporting agents is all about helping them sell better – whether that’s with training, joint marketing or using our mobile travel agencies to get them out of the shop and onto the street.”

FAIRMONT HOTELS & RESORTS. Alexandra Docherty said: “Fairmont is delighted to win this prestigious award, we’d like to say a huge thank you to the trade. We opened the Fairmont Hotel Austin this year– a new luxury hotel in downtown Austin – and the Century Plaza Hotel in Los Angeles will re-open in 2018 after a major restoration and refurbishment programme.”

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JWT CC1704894 GP7B 07.11.2017 175# HO




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★ A I R L I N E TO T H E F A R E A S T:

AIR NEW ZEALAND. Emma Fields (pictured right with Nishi Prasad) said: “Look out for ‘A Better Way to Fly’ - the new campaign we’ve just launched with a trade incentive running alongside it. It offers agents the chance to win a trip to New Zealand and more.”

★ O C E A N C R U I S I N G:




ND “Barceló Hotel Group ED is chuffed to be commended this year as we faced some tough competition. We’ll continue to work closely with agents next year as we relaunch our agent loyalty programme Barceló Partners in January 2018” DEBBIE WALKER, BARCELÓ HOTEL GROUP

CATHAY PACIFIC AIRWAYS. Ian Wilkinson said: “With so many quality flights between the UK and Asia we feel honoured to be recognised. Cathay Pacific has announced daily flights from Gatwick and Manchester to Hong Kong on top of daily flights from Heathrow, and from June 2, 2018, the A350 will fly four times a week from Dublin to Hong Kong.”

★ TO U R O P E RATO R F O R E S CO RT E D TO U R S: CRYSTAL CRUISES. Elaine Gillard said: “We sell 90% of our cruises through the trade and rely hugely on agents so we are delighted with this award. Agents should look out for details of our 2018 activities including roadshows and workshops. There is nothing like meeting our top retailers face to face and explaining in detail what the Crystal product is all about. This is particularly vital now we have expanded into river cruising and yachting.”

TITAN TRAVEL. Andy Squirrell, said: “We accept this award as Titan Travel celebrates its 40th anniversary, so it is a double celebration for us. To say thank you to the trade for voting we are offering agents the chance to win a place on 40 fam trips, along with some other great agent incentives.”

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★ H OT E L/G RO U P I N I N D I A & T H E I N D I A N O C E A N:


Newly Introduced Premium Package! A fantastic way to indulge on Kanuhura Available from 09th Jan 18 onwards

BEACHCOMBER RESORTS & HOTELS. Sam Ford (pictured right with Jean-Louis Pismont) said: “This is the second year we have won and that’s a great way to celebrate our 65th anniversary! We have partnered with new championship golf course, Mont Choisy Le Golf, which just opened between our Trou aux Biches and Canonnier resorts, to give our visitors a choice of five exceptional golf courses in Mauritius.”


“With the approaching Winter Olympics in Korea, Rugby World Cup and Summer Olympics in Japan, the eyes of the world will be on our backyard!”




PLUS Book by 15 Dec on HB and receive Complimentary Upgrade to FB! Valid for stays between 01 May – 30 Sep 18


Blissful Package EXTENSION Now book by 15 Dec 17 and receive: Discounted Rates on All Inclusive PLUS FREE 60 Min Spa per adult! AND 2 Hours Free Babysitting per day! Valid for stays between now – 30 Sept 18


Stay 7 Nights or more and get 15% Off! Valid for stays from now – 30 Apr 18

ALSO EXCLUSIVE Honeymoon and Repeater Discounts now avaliable


Valid for stay until 31 Oct 18


SUMMER 2018 OFFER Book by 15 Dec and receive: Complimentary Return Boat Transfers + 15 % Discount on All Inclusive Basis! WINTER OFFERS ALSO AVAILABLE


BEDSONLINE. Tom Bell (pictured with Selina McKelvey) said: “It’s great that this award has come straight from the source of our business. It means that we are being recognised by agents. There are exciting times ahead for Bedsonline and we look forward to a successful 2018.”


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the winners gallery

★ H OT E L/G RO U P A L L- I N C L U S I V E:


SANDALS. Karl Thompson (pictured third from left with Simon Foster, Natalie Eales and Emily Smith) said: “We never tire of being recognised by agents! They are hugely important to us and responsible for the majority of our sales. Coming soon: the 220-all-suite Royal Barbados opens December, Beaches Turks and Caicos re-opens in mid-December and next spring we break ground on the all-suite Sandals LaSource Saint Lucia, our fourth property on the island.”

ETIHAD AIRWAYS. Jeremy Pollock said: “We are proud to receive this top industry accolade and are keen to introduce more trade to Abu Dhabi. “



EN “Thank you! The DE D Visit USA Roadshows around the UK have been very successful and plans for 2018 are already taking shape. Agents can rely on our members to educate and inform them on the latest news & diverse experiences on offer in the USA.”

★ H OT E L/G RO U P I N LAT I N A M E R I CA & T H E CA R I B B E A N: ELEGANT HOTELS. Glynis Jeffery (pictured left with Jeanne Young) said: “Elegant Hotels is thrilled to be receiving this award, a true testimony to our excellent training platforms, superb portfolio and truly competitive incentives. We look forward to cementing these relationships in 2018 with new programmes, the exciting opening of Treasure Beach in Barbados on December 8, and the opening of Hodges Bay Resort & Spa in Antigua in the summer of 2018.”


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Selling Travel Agents Choice Award Tour Operator to India & the Indian Ocean Introducing our online reservation system Arabia and Indian Ocean

Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific Islands

Discover even more


United States of Ame rica

exciting destinations

United States of Americ a


in our other brochu


Introducing our USA programme Reservations: 0141 955 4000 After Sales: 0141 955 4041 Accounts: 0141 955 4042

Milngavie Enterprise Centre Ellangowan Court, Milngavie Glasgow G62 8PH

ABTA No.88888


Staff levels up over 25%

Thanks to all of our Travel Agents for their support in making this year such a success!

2018 & 2019

17 12:13

What a year for If Only...

Call our destination specialists on 0141 955 4000

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Book and shop with Titan For every Titan booking made in November and December you’ll receive a...




To claim please email Terms and conditions apply. Valid for bookings made between 01 November - 31 December 2017. To claim for the voucher you must email with your name and booking reference within 7 days of making the booking. No cash alternatives. Agents are responsible for their own tax implications.

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the winners gallery

★ C I TY B R E A K:



TEL AVIV. Oded Grofman (pictured second from left with Michelle Roberts, and Isacc Mizrachoi and Sharon Ehrlich Bershadsky) said: “This award is a great achievement as we have been pushing our ‘two cities one break’ campaign for Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. We have seen an increase in visitors and flights and are now setting our sights on becoming a top city break for the British market.”





ND “We’ve just opened ED Woodward Riviera Maya, an all-inclusive extreme sports resort, offering skiing and skateboarding, while at the Hard Rock All Inclusive Collection guests can now get unlimited golf and spa” FIONA BOSS, HARD ROCK HOTELS

NORTH AMERICA TRAVEL SERVICE. Mike Coombs said: “Thank you to all those who voted. It’s the second year in the row we’ve won so we are grateful for your votes and very much hope we’ll score the hat-trick next year!”

★ H OT E L/G RO U P I N A U S T RA LA S I A & T H E F A R E A S T:

EMIRATES HOLIDAYS. Vicky Robinson said: “Emirates Holidays is extremely honoured to be recognised by the trade and will continue to invest in our trade partnerships in the future.”

DUSIT HOTELS & RESORTS. Anita Skibiel (pictured with Steven Thompson from Selling Travel) said: “We are very excited to win after being runners up last year. It seems like our recent efforts have paid off. We wouldn’t be where we are without the agents we work with so we are eternally grateful to them all.”

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Where the Beauty of the place inspires

P ic ture t ake n at Di narobi n B e ac hco mber G o l f Reso rt & Spa

the Beauty of the heart


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★ D E S T I N AT I O N F O R S PA & W E L L N E S S:


★ U K H O L I DAY S:

BALI. Nia Niscaya (pictured left with Ambassador Hana A. Satriyo) said: “It is a great honour for Indonesia, and particularly Bali, to know that agents voted for us. Spa and wellness is essential to our heritage and throughout life. Each destination has its own unique take on wellness with special massages, herbal drinks and foods for every stage of life.”


“It’s a pleasure to have our brand featured in this beautiful magazine and to be voted for by UK travel agents. We are committed to the UK market and will continue to expand business in 2018 with new hotels set to open” GILL SHANNON, JA RESORTS & HOTELS






SUPER BREAK. Julie Pinkney (pictured left with Jacqui Rigby) said: “Our relationship with the trade is very strong and we’re very proud that agents see us as ‘best in the field’. We continue to offer exciting destinations from regional UK airports and are proud to announce our latest – Norwich to Akureyri in North Iceland and Cornwall to Seville.”

★ R I V E R C R U I S I N G: HYAT T HOTELS & RESORTS. Karen Roberts (pictured right with Julie York) said: “It’s great that agents recognise the extent of our properties in Europe and North Africa. Our big news is two openings this December: the 159-room Hyatt Centric Gran Via Madrid, located close to many of the city’s top attractions, and the ski-in-ski-out Hyatt Centric

RIVIERA TRAVEL. Joseph Grimley (pictured right with Tom Morgan) said: “We are delighted to win this award for the second year in a row. The fact that this is voted for solely by agents tells us that the trade now recognise us as the river cruise operator of choice. We’d like to send all our agent partners our sincere thanks for their fantastic support.”

La Rosière in the French Alps, near the Italian border and in the most snow-covered ski resort in France.”

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the commended gallery

C O M M E N D E D F O R 2017










1 HOTEL/GROUP IN LATIN AMERICA & CARIBBEAN: Barcelรณ Hotel Group. Debbie Walker 2 FAVOURITE TRAINING EVENT/ ROADSHOW: Visit USA. Pamela Newman 3 HOTEL/GROUP IN INDIA & THE INDIAN OCEAN: LUX Hotels Sarah McGlynn 4 AIRLINE TO THE FAR EAST: Korean Air. Peter Barron 5 HOTEL/GROUP ALL- INCLUSIVE: Hard Rock Hotels. Lizzie Mis and Fiona Boss 6 DESTINATION FOR SOFT ADVENTURE: Peru. Elisabeth Hakim 7 HOTEL/ GROUP IN THE MIDDLE EAST: JA Jebel Ali Beach Hotel. Gill Shannon, Jennifer Frank and Thomas Grunder 8 TOUR OPERATOR TO LATIN AMERICA & THE CARIBBEAN: Latin Routes. Jess Bain and Martin Johnson 9 BEST FOR RAIL JOURNEYS: Rocky Mountaineer. Karen Hollands, Hazel Mansell and Hilary Strath

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*Terms and conditions apply

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northern thailand


fields of gold

Thailand’s rural north still holds plenty of potential for those seeking culture or adventure. Laura Gelder finds out why the region is on the up


ight seems to fall even more quickly in the hills of northern Thailand. One minute we were watching the children play amongst the chickens and the next minute they’ve disappeared, their brightly-coloured clothes fading into the dusty dusk. In fact, it seems that everyone has disappeared. I suppose there isn’t much to do when the sun goes down, I muse a little later, lying on my thinly-woven mat and listening to the comforting sounds of the pig shuffling

under the stilted hut which is my home for the night in this remote hilltribe village. But suddenly somewhere, further away, I hear muffled shouts. A group of us decides to investigate, weaving our way through the village by the light of a torch, getting closer to the single hut which appears to be the source of the noise. A warm light seeps out of the cracks in the bamboo walls and a low, excited chatter now emanates from inside. The door opens and we’re beckoned

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northern thailand

inside where the whole village is crammed together around a tiny retrolooking TV, watching the football of course! It doesn’t seem to matter how far into the mountains you trek – everyone still wants to talk about Wayne Rooney.

From the top: Ancient Ayutthaya; rural rice paddies; Erawan National Park and local flavours

To the west of Chiang Mai is the Mae Hong Son province and the twisting mountain roads of the 375-mile Mae Hong Son loop. Driving this is a great way to take in rustic Thailand, stopping overnight at charming towns and villages. Highlights include the limestone cliffs and caves of Chiang Dao; Green focus Pang Oung Reservoir and its surrounding The rural charms of Thailand’s north are countryside, known as ‘little Switzerland’. certainly not a ‘hidden gem’ but the region’s Tour operators are finding new ways to get full potential is yet to be realised by many visitors exploring further afield, including Brits, who still flock to the islands and beaches Diethelm Travel with its new self-drive tuk tuk in bigger numbers. This trend could be tour. Starting with driver training, travellers go challenged with the launch of a new campaign on to explore the region in their own iconic at this year’s World Travel Market - ‘Open Thai vehicle with activities along the way to the New Shades of Thailand’, which will including a temple blessing, bathing elephants support the Tourism Authority of Thailand’s and trekking Doi Inthaon National Park. The (TAT) Amazing Thailand Tourism Year 2018. focus is on ‘what the locals do’, with homeAimed at both firststay accommodation time and repeat visitors, and meals in roadside it will target specific snack bars. “We want to open up market segments such Elephants are a big rural Thailand, grow as luxury travellers, draw in Thailand but couples/honeymooners they are endangered the market and get and families. and any elephant that new visitors” Speaking at WTM, is ridden must first be YUTHASAK SUPASORN, TAT Governor, Yuthasak tamed using a brutal TAT GOVERNOR Supasorn, said: ‘breaking in’ process. The “This campaign is TAT doesn’t promote designed for Thailand’s future customers elephant riding but it’s still easy for tourists – we want to open up rural Thailand, to stumble upon places that offer it. grow the market and get new visitors.” Says Christian Sutton, Director of Product Thailand’s north can be classified as and Contracting, Diethelm Travel Thailand: anything above Bangkok, which includes the “We only offer our agents a small selection ancient capitals of Sukhothai and Ayutthaya of excursions which have been inspected (the latter just 80km north of the capital), such as to the Tong Bai Foundation, which both bursting with royal ruins and ancient provides an intimate experience limited temples dating back to the 12th century. to only 10 people, twice a week.” More commonly though, it’s the far north Perfect ten that travellers head to – flying into Thailand’s Chow down on Khao Soi: This second city Chiang Mai. This cultural capital is signature Chiang Mai dish is a mild set on a river and crammed full of gleaming curry-flavoured egg noodle soup, usually temples, bustling markets, restaurants and containing chicken, topped with a handful of bars. The Old Town’s crumbling ramparts crispy fried noodles and accompanied with and moats are where most major hotels are shallots, lime and fragrant herbs. centred but other areas are springing up. The trendy Nimmanhaemin district in the west of Chiang Mai is brimming with boutiques, coffee shops and nightclubs frequented by students. Further north, close to the Myanmar/Laos border is much sleepier Chiang Rai. This former capital of the Mengrai Dynasty has an impressive collection of temples, art, language, cuisine and music. These two cities are Premier Holidays’ most popular destinations. David Carlaw, Head of Faraway Product at Premier Holidays, says: “Chiang Mai is ideal for those seeking soft adventure like visiting elephants and rafting, while Chiang Rai provides a peaceful and laid-back experience.”

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Meet an elephant:There are numerous camps dotted around the region offering the chance to meet, feed and maybe even wash these gentle giants. Luxury choices include Anantara Golden Triangle and Four Seasons Tented Camp Golden Triangle. Hit the water: The precarious art of bamboo rafting is a fun way to navigate the region’s rivers but there are also opportunities to kayak and white water raft. Tribal trekking: Numerous ethnic groups inhabit the mountains of northern Thailand and trek parties often stay overnight in a village, meeting the villagers, learning about their way of life. Sundown bargains: Chiang Mai’s night market is a popular spot for souvenir shopping, with colourful hilltribedesigned fabrics, wooden carvings, t-shirts, jewellery, fake designer goods, food and more. Tempting temples: The region’s religious landmarks range from glittering golden stupas like Wat Suan Dok in Chiang Mai, to crumbling ruins like Wat Mahathat in Ayutthaya, or the blinding white Wat Rong Khun in Chiang Rai. A slice of Pai: This adventure tourism centre is nestled within beautiful green hills near the Burmese border, offering activities like white water rafting, kayaking and mountain biking plus a buzzing local arts and music scene. Protected paradise: National parks in the region include the walking trails of Doi Inthanon National Park; the cave paintings and dramatic gorge at Ob Luang National Park; and the waterfalls of Erawan National Park. Pedal power: Whether it’s the steep hills and bright green paddies of the countryside or the narrow sois of the cities, Thailand’s north is cycle-friendly for all. Bird’s eye view: At 2,565 metres in height Doi Inthanon is Thailand’s tallest mountain. It is known as The Roof of Thailand and is topped with the region’s holiest temple.


What’s new  Airlines: Qatar Airways’ (qatarairways. com) new four-times weekly seasonal

service will operate between Doha and Chiang Mai using a wide-bodied aircraft from December 2017 until May 2018.  Accommodation: Movenpick ( will open in Chiang Mai next year. Once owned by the heir of the Prince of Chiang Mai, the property is located at the corner of Loikoh and Changklan roads. The hotel will feature a Thai fusion restaurant, an all-day dining venue, wine bar, a variety of shops, wellness facilities, a spa, pool and fitness centre.  Tour Operators: Premier Holidays has a new half-day experience tour of Chiang Rai on a classical rickshaw. The tour operator’s new Smart Choice brand for 2018 offers value accommodation in great locations including, in northern Thailand, the Dusit Princess in Chiang Mai, which sits near the Night Market, and the Dusit Island Resort in Chiang Rai, offering some of the best river views in town.

Where to book it  DIETHELM TRAVEL GROUP – +662 660 7000 The Northern Thailand Self-Drive Tuk Tuk Adventure is price from THB 30,193pp. Travellers can enjoy a one-day tour or choose an extended group programme for 11 days with a stay in Pai.  SPICE ROADS – 0739 8191943

This cycling specialist offers, amongst many other tours, the five-day Chiang Mai Family Explorer tour from THB 35,500 per adult and THB 28,400 per child aged five to 11. Experiences include sleeping in adobe hut, visiting an organic farm, kayaking on a lake, boiling eggs in a natural hot spring and bathing with elephants. 

Clockwise from top left: Sukhothai; Yee Peng Festival in Chiang Mai; self-drive tuk tuk touring; elephant encounters check for inspected and responsible interactions

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kentucky: the bluegrass state

kentucky They’re off... to


he Kentucky Department of Tourism invited key UK partners to experience some of the state’s highlights. The stops included Louisville, with its historic Brown Hotel, Urban Bourbon Trail and Muhammad Ali Center; the Kentucky Derby Museum at Churchill Downs; Kentucky Horse Park and Keeneland Racecourse in Lexington; a tour and tasting at Buffalo Trace, the world’s oldest continually operating bourbon distillery in Frankfort; and visits to Augusta and Covington in northern Kentucky. Before departing for the UK the group enjoyed a track experience at Kentucky Motor Speedway.

White-picket fences and buzzing bars The trip was timely for Purely America’s Andrew Bird, who said: “We have seen an increased demand for the South and in response are launching a new website dedicated to the 12 Southern USA states. It was important to see Kentucky first hand, to be able to sell it to our clients with confidence.” “Before visiting my impressions of the state were of white-picket fences, horses and bourbon. We saw those but what I had not expected were cities packed with attractions, mouth-watering restaurants and great bars.” It had been a few years since America as

You Like It’s Cath Pusey had visited Kentucky but with bookings to the Bluegrass State on the rise she used the trip to see what was new and to discover new regions. “Kentucky’s not all about beautiful countryside, history and horses! Lexington, Louisville and Covington all have amazing restaurants, buzzing nightlife and a young, vibrant feel, which I wasn’t expecting.” Cath was also struck by the state’s legendary hospitality, adding: “The people were so welcoming, especially in Augusta, a small town on the Ohio River where we visited a local winery, enjoyed the Turning of the Leaves Festival and even met George Clooney’s mum!”

The river runs through it The American Queen Steamboat Company’s Katrina Weston was keen to visit Kentucky because the company’s two riverboats, American Queen and American Duchess, sail the Ohio River (a tributary of the Mississippi) which flows through the state. American Queen sails along the Ohio River and in Kentucky stops in Paducah, Brandenburg, Maysville, Augusta, Henderson and Louisville. The new American Duchess will be porting at Paducah, Henderson, Brandenburg, Owensboro and Louisville.

“We have a themed Kentucky Derby cruise from Louisville, which very quickly sold out,” she says. “I absolutely loved the fam! I enjoyed the bourbon tastings but my highlight was our day at Keeneland Races. Coming from Newmarket I love horses and horse racing!”

Scenic highways and byways The operators were struck by how easy it is to travel around the state, seamlessly linking the towns and attractions on a self-drive itinerary. Said Purely America’s Andrew Bird: “I recommend taking one of Kentucky’s Scenic Byways, chosen for their unique appeal and ability to showcase Kentucky’s historic, geographic and cultural wonders.” For America As You Like It’s Cath Pusey Kentucky is the perfect fly-drive destination. “The driving distances aren’t huge and the countryside and landscapes you pass through are very scenic. For clients with specific interests such as music, horses or food and drink, it is easy to find these experiences and link them together in a tailored itinerary.” • MORE INFORMATION Purely America – America As You Like It – American Steamboat Company –


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kentucky: the bluegrass state


“Kentucky has something for everyone no matter what their age or interest. We will be featuring several new self-drive tours and escorted tours to the state.” ANDREW BIRD, PURELY AMERICA

“George Clooney’s mum Nina runs an antique shop on the main street in Augusta and is very happy to meet all her customers and have a chat with them!” KATRINA WESTON AMERICAN QUEEN STEAMBOAT COMPANY


“As customers become more widely travelled within the U.S. they are looking for new places to visit, but also more authentic local experiences – and Kentucky has lots of those” CATH PUSEY, AMERICA AS YOU LIKE IT

Add a little Kentucky Southern flare to your family Christmas by following this quick-to-make recipe for Roasted Bourbon Maple Turkey Breast. Just combine bourbon, pure maple syrup, orange juice, and balsamic vinegar, boil everything and then bring it down to a simmer and reduce the ingredients almost to a syrup. Find out how, here:  Prep Time: 20 minutes  Cook Time: Three hours ⋔ Servings: 8


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state profile

Nevada A state apart


Spooktacular Former mining town Rhyolite is America’s most famous ghost town. The 110-yearold Mizpah Hotel (, in Tonopah, is said to be haunted by miners.


Yeehah The historic GS Carcia saddle store host the new Cowboy Arts and Gear Museum (capriolas. com) in Elko, preserving the state’s ranching heritage with exhibits and demonstrations.


Water thrills Nevada’s lakes serve up excitement aplenty, from parasailing, jet-skiing and fishing trips on Lake Tahoe to gentler pleasures like renting a houseboat and kayaking on Lake Mead.


Get the hump Virginia City’s International Camel Races (visitvirginiacitynv. com) are held each September and make a fun family excurision featuring camel and ostrich races.


evada lives up to its tag line – A world within, a state apart – with the enormous diversity it offers beyond the bright lights, vibrant nightlife and attractions of Las Vegas, says Peter Ellegard There are desert, mountain and lake adventures to be had all year long, ghost towns that were once thriving gold and silver mining communities to discover, Wild West heritage that is still very much alive and kicking, iconic road journeys where you might even spot an alien, and glorious nature in the state and national parks. The Silver State has become a favourite with UK visitors, helped by increased airlift to gateway city Las Vegas. With the October resumption of Norwegian’s twice-weekly Gatwick service launched last winter there are now 30 weekly flights from London, Manchester and Glasgow. Flights are also operated by Virgin Atlantic, Thomas Cook Airlines and British Airways, which begins new three-timesweekly Gatwick flights from late March 2018, augmenting its Heathrow service. The UK is the city’s top overseas market sending over 750,000 visitors a year, and they are increasingly venturing across Nevada too as operators expand their product range. The state attracted over 56 million visitors in 2016 and international visitor numbers are expected to grow by 15-20% by 2020.

LAS VEGAS The city may have been built on gambling but it is now a complete holiday destination, and investment in new hotels, attractions, dining,



Hit the road The 287-mile Highway 50 crosses the whole state, or try alien spotting on the ‘Extraterrestrial Highway’ (375) stopping for an alien burger at the Little A’Le’Inn.

“Nevada caters to all tastes with a great mix of stunning landscapes and natural wonders, adventure activities, world class dining and iconic Las Vegas itself” ASHLEY PILKINGTON, USA & CANADA ASSISTANT PRODUCT MANAGER, GOLD MEDAL



shows, and shopping and leisure facilities continues apace. On the hotel front, the Monte Carlo Resort and Casino is being turned into two hotels by MGM Resorts International. It remains open while it becomes a Las Vegas version of New York’s NoMad Hotel and a luxury Park MGM hotel. The work is due to be completed by the end of 2018. Wynn Resorts closes its Wynn Golf Club this month to be replaced with the $1.5 billion Wynn Paradise Park project which will feature a 38-acre lagoon lined by beaches and a boardwalk with water sports and a night-time fireworks display and parade, together with a new 1,500-room hotel. Completion of the project is due by 2020. A $4 billion integrated Chinese-themed resort development, Resorts World Las Vegas, by Malaysia’s Genting Group, will see the first phase comprising 3,500 hotel rooms, a retail village, observation deck, live entertainment venue, over 30 restaurants and an aquarium open in 2019. New attractions include Topgolf (, an entertainment complex with 108 climatecontrolled golf hitting bays plus two pools, five bars and concert venue; mermaid school Aquamermaid (, where adults and kids can learn to swim with a mermaid tail; and SPEEDVEGAS (, where the public can drive adrenalin-pumping supercars. Vegas is becoming a major sporting city too.

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state profile


NHL ice hockey has a new 20,000-seat arena and top NFL team, the Oakland Raiders will relocated to Las Vegas Stadium, new for the 2019/20 season.


Visit the

Grand Canyon Seeing is Believing!

Grand Canyon National Park • Hoover Dam • Indian Country Grand Canyon West • Grand Canyon Overnight Packages • Group Services and Charters • Grand Canyon Overnight with the Grand Canyon Railway

RENO Dubbed the “Biggest Little City in the World”, the northern Nevada city of Reno celebrates its 150th anniversary in 2018 with a series of sesquicentennial celebrations and events marking its founding on May 9, 1868. Reno is reinventing itself as an arts and culture hotspot through a huge urban renaissance, notably in its downtown Riverwalk District which is home to art galleries, cafes and a burgeoning collection of hip eateries along the Truckee River. The Eddy is a new downtown beer garden option with three bar areas cleverly constructed from shipping containers. Reno is already established as the adventure capital of America, thanks to downtown activities such as kayaking on the Truckee River and the world’s tallest climbing wall on the exterior of the Whitney Peak Hotel, as well as its proximity to Lake Tahoe which offers summer activities including mountain biking, and its surrounding ski resorts. It stages America’s premier whitewater event, the Reno River Festival (renoriverfestival. com), in May; the Great Reno Balloon Race (, when hot-air balloons fill the skies in September; and the Reno Rodeo ( which offers Wild West fun each June. 



BOOK IT WITH TRAVEL 2 New for this year is the Savours of the Strip foodie tour, a walking tour starting at £420pp and on which guests can experience some of the best restaurants in Las Vegas. A five-night, room-only stay at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas costs £859pp with flights for travel on February 5, including $150 food and beverage credit. – 0800 0224 182

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T H I S M O N T H ' S T O P S T O R I E S F R O M V I S I T U S A ' S M E M B E R S • V I S I T U S A .O R G .U K OPERATOR

Cirque's new training

Travel Planner

Plan the perfect USA trip

"The 2018 Travel Planner is bigger and better than ever and packed full of interesting content to help UK travellers get the most out of their USA experience" Tracey Spuyman CEO, Visit USA (UK)

THE new Visit UsA 2018 Travel Planner offers a host of ideas to help agents plan the perfect UsA holiday itineraries for their clients next year. The comprehensive 72-page publication is packed with inspirational features and destination pieces and includes a useful centrefold map. The Travel Planner has been written and designed to provide the perfect tool for those looking to explore outside the main popular gateway cities. The feature include topics that range from the UsA’s Natural Wonders and Food Festivals to Animal magic and the Old West. There are also pieces on shopping, Twin Centres, Road Trips, Rail Journeys and many others. A special section is dedicated to all 50 U.s. states and some of its territories, and it contains contact details for all Visit UsA members. Take a closer look at the eclectic mix of travel experiences the UsA has to offer by visiting:

cirQUE DU SoLEiL has launched a new travel trade online training programme called 'Discover Cirque'. The company currently has seven separate shows running in las Vegas, including mystère at Treasure island, 'O' at Bellagio Resort & Casino and Zumanity at New York-New York. HOTELS

New hotel for Disney WALT DiSnEY co is to begin work next year on a new 700-room hotel at the Anaheim Disneyland Resort. The first new four-diamond hotel at Disneyland for nearly 20 years will connect with the resort's other hotels by walkways, gardens and a monorail. ATTRACTIONS

Be a mermaid in Vegas LAS VEGAS' first mermaid school, Aquamermaid, has opened. The swimming school teaches kids and adults how to swim with a mermaid tail. The sessions offer a great core workout. Aquamermaid is aiming to attract hen and stag parties.

THE USA in brief... ATTRACTION SEAWorLD has unveiled plans for its Electric Eel rollercoaster, which will be the tallest and fastest ride in the park's history when it starts operating next summer. The san Diego theme park's adrenaline-pumping experience will see riders enjoying high-energy twists as they accelerate to more than 60 miles per second.

AIRLINE norWEGiAn will launch two new year-round services to the U.s. from Gatwick next spring. The airline will operate a fourtimes-weekly service to Chicago, starting on march 25, and a three-times-weekly service to Austin (pictured), Texas, from march. Both routes will be served by a new Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft.

ATTRACTION THE biggest amusement park in illinois, six Flags Great America, plans to open the world’s largest-ever loop roller coaster in spring 2018. At 100 feet tall, the coaster will give riders a record 'hang-time' and 360-degree revolutions. it will be six Flags Great America’s 16th coaster. The park is in Gurnee, one hour from Chicago.;

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members spotlight introducing...

A CELEBRATION of Harry Potter will return to Universal Orlando Resort next month (January26-28). Guests will enjoy interactive activities from J.K. Rowling’s Wizarding World at the Harry Potter Expo, visit The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Hogsmeade at Universal’s Islands of Adventure and The Wizarding World of Harry Potter: Diagon Alley at Universal Studios Florida and ride the Hogwarts Express between the two lands. 

THE new Kimpton Rowan Palm Springs has opened in the California desert city. The hotel, which anchors the $400 million Downtown Palm Springs revitalisation project, is the first full-scale hotel to be build in the area for decades. The 153-room property is described as 'a sunny mix of minimalist, modern desert urbanity with contemporary design and art installations.' The hotel, which fronts the Palm Springs Art Museum, features Palm Springs' only rooftop pool.

Arlington Convention and Visitors Service Emile Cassell, Director


Daytona gets a makeover VISITORS to Daytona Beach are discovering a ‘new’ city beyond its iconic motor racing heritage. Almost $2 billion being pumped into renovations, new hotels and attractions are transforming the holiday experience, with the centrepiece project being ONE DAYTONA, a multi-million dollar ‘mixed use’ development springing up from Daytona International Speedway. It features dining options, entertainment venues, shopping complexes and two new hotels, the 105-room Fairfield Inn and Suites, due to open this month (December), and a 145-room Marriott Autograph Collection property, The Daytona, planned for 2018. In addition, the historic Streamlime hotel opened in May as an upscale beachside boutique property; Delta by Marriott Daytona is expected to start welcoming guests by the year’s close and the Hilton Daytona Beach Oceanfront Resort has completed a $25 million renovation. A new-build Hard Rock Hotel will open on the oceanfront in 2018.

St.PETE/CLEARWATER weathers storm


Golden San Francisco San Francisco expects to see a three per cent growth in UK visitors in 2018, President & CEO of San Francisco Travel Association Joe D’Aless, predicted during a vist to London last month. “The UK is our largest market in Europe and we expect events like the Rugby World Cup Sevens, in July next year, to further boost interest."

DESPITE Hurricane Irma striking parts of western Florida in September, Visit St. Pete/Clearwater reports $3.2 million in tourism takings for September, proving that the effects of Irma were less than might have been expected. Opal Sands and Wyndham Grand (pictured, both opened in 2016, adding two new luxury seafront properties tr the destination's hotel stock. Next year 1920s jazz icon The Fenway Hotel will reopen with 83 rooms.

When did you become a Visit USA member? We joined in November 2016. What are the benefits of membership? Already we have noticeably increased our exposure to the UK audience. This inspired us to appoint a UK representation office to help us build relationships with operators and agents and increase awareness about Arlington. Tell us more. One of the key things for agents to know is that we are a very urban suburb that is literally connected to the District of Columbia by bridges. Often when you think of an American suburb it feels very far off and a place you have to drive to, but that is not true of Arlington. We were originally part of a Washington DC that was 10 miles square; now we are the 'other half' of the capital, the half on the west side of the Potomac river. Do you have a selling tip for travel agents? We are as close to downtown DC as you could possibly get – but our hotel rates run around 20% lower than hotels there. What are two 'must do' Arlington attractions? Overlooking Washington DC, Arlington National Cemetery is one of America's most hallowed places. You can take tours of the many sites there. Also, our 11 neighbourhoods each have their own, vibrant and dynamic feel, with lots of outside dining, walking and shopping options.

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how to sell

The Azores by Benjamin Coren


cattered across the North Atlantic, some 900 miles from the coast of Portugal, are nine volcanic islands collectively known as the Azores – a little-known destination to the UK market and a bastion of green tourism. Why sell it

The Azores is a great destination for outdoor sports and activities, nature, sailing, diving and whale-watching. It is home to some of the world’s best dive spots and unique marine wildlife. It is still relatively unknown to UK travellers and remains an unspoilt and sustainable tourism destination. With current travel trends gearing towards experiential and authentic travel, the Azores is set to see an increase in interest from the UK market. The islands also regularly appear on cruise itineraries but the stop is often weatherdependent. The Azores is currently one of the world’s largest whale sanctuaries and is home to large numbers of blue whales, sperm whales,


dolphins and sea turtles. Due to their volcanic origins, the islands have huge craters and unique landscapes perfect for hiking, cycling and canoeing in the waterways. On the largest island, Sao Miguel, the Sete Cidades is a must-see. The enormous crater has a settlement inside it and large twin lakes. The Azores is a unique part of Portugal way out in the Atlantic Ocean with lush green hills and Mediterranean architecture, mixing the familiar with the unfamiliar.

Who to sell to


The Azores will appeal to more adventurous travellers who are looking for an emphasis on sustainable and green tourism. There are plenty of outdoor recreation offerings for visitors and the winding roads and hills are a blast for cyclists and hikers. Fans of adventure sports are spoilt for choice with plenty of locations for world-class diving,

Azores essentials T I ME: GMT -1 FL I GHT T I ME: 4 hours (direct); indirect flights vary in duration. VI SAS: Nationals of EU member countries do not require visas. CURRE N CY: Euros. LAN GUAGE: Portuguese. CON TACT:

GET TING TH ERE: Azores Airlines ( operates a direct flight every Saturday between April and October from Gatwick. Ryanair ( flies direct once a week on Saturdays from Stansted. TAP Air Portugal ( flies

from Heathrow and Gatwick changing in Lisbon with onward travel to Ponta Delgada. OTHER TO UR O PERATO RS:;;;;;

canyoning and climbing. Younger travellers seeking outdoor pursuits will be in their element. If adventure is not top of the list, the major cities – such as Ponta Delgado on Sao Miguel – are packed with beautiful historic architecture and plenty of restaurants, bars and museums. The Azores is also a popular bird-watching destination and is home to the Azores bullfinch, one of the rarest birds in Europe. Although it is not the easiest destination to reach from the UK – many journeys will require two flights – there are seasonal weekly direct flights available.

What to sell There are plenty of companies offering whalewatching excursions. Picos De Aventura ( is centrally located in Ponta Delgada and offers a variety of tours. There are numerous destination management companies and specialists who can assist in booking excursions. Go to for an extensive list of companies.

When to sell The Azores is really a year-round destination as temperatures tend to hover between 13 and 25 degrees year round. The seas are much rougher in the winter seasons, and the rainy season runs from November to March. The summer months are the best times for whale-watching and warmer weather has less of an impact on outdoor activities. 

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escorted tours of oz


riders easy


Everyone is doing it! No matter your client’s age or the length of the trip, escorted touring is the way to go Down Under. Jo Austin explores the benefits


am on a motorhome trip with the family when it strikes me yet again. Oz is big. Just quite how big amazes me every time I visit and this time we give up on the idea of driving from Adelaide back to Sydney as we’ve already had enough of driving after motoring around Tasmania and South Australia. Truth is we should probably have taken an escorted tour - after all, we only have three weeks and we still want to get up to Cairns in Queensland! When we do finally reach Cairns and do just that life gets easier. Most memorable is a trip out of Port Douglas with family-owned Billy

Tea Safaris, whose guide shows us all there is to see in Daintree and Cape Tribulation, by 4WD. The trees and birdlife in the rainforest are spectacular. We get far too close to crocodiles for comfort, manage to avoid an aggressive Cassowary bird and watch a goanna trying to make off with our barbecued steak! We probably would have missed it all if we had been travelling on our own.

Stress free Most visitors to Australia have a sense of adventure but simply don’t have the time to

‘do it all’. Cue the escorted tour, which can be combined with an independent self-drive and city tours to give visitors the best of all worlds. Escorted tours are diverse too from a couple of days to several weeks, linking highlights or providing outback adventures without the need to even open a map. Participants may travel by 4WD or air-conditioned coach and there is no need to feel too organised as free time is often built in and expert guides are free to go ‘off piste’ when they choose. For first-time visitors bent on seeing all the ‘must sees’, an escorted tour is hassle free

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escorted tours of oz

Take to the skies: Scenic’s tour in Queensland includes a spectacular hot-air balloon flight at sunrise over the scenic Atherton Tablelands. Sleep under the stars: Visitors to Uluru can stay at a permanent campsite in Australia’s Red Centre and take an escorted tour with an Aboriginal guide. Indigenous insights: Collette Tours includes a three-day adventure in the rugged outback learning about Aboriginal life and traditions. Off the beaten track: APT’s escorted tour in Western Australia takes small groups in 4WD vehicles specially designed for outback terrain. Catamaran to the reef: Coral Princess has a four-night cruise escorted by a marine biologist on the Great Barrier Reef.

What’s new


and time efficient,  Tour operators: and for remoter Celebrating its 40th “Escorted touring is the areas they are a anniversary, Titan (titantravel. best way to see any country has launched its good option too. and especially a destination most ambitious escorted New direct Qantas Australia tour yet. The flights from the as large and diverse as UK to Perth have Australia. Customers have Grand Tour of Australia covers the key highlights boosted interest in a choice of touring of the country alongside Western Australia alternative experiences such for escorted tours to style too” as an overnight stay in the wilder and remote BRIAN HAWE, FIRST CLASS HOLIDAYS Hunter Valley, three nights areas such as the in Noosa with a day trip to Kimberley. While the Fraser Island and five nights in the Northern growing popularity of Tasmania, especially with Territory. Departing February to April 2019, the seasoned travellers, has brought a growth of 30-day escorted tour costs from £6,699pp. experience-based itineraries on the island. Trafalgar Tours’ ( new Inspiring Qatar’s new flight from the UK to Australia escorted tour takes guests from Canberra means it is increasingly easy tropical rainforests to the red desert, from to include the oft missed out Australian great reefs to cities. This 13-day exploration capital city in an itinerary too. of Australia showcases the country’s Perfect ten diverse ecosystems from £5,595pp. Be my guest: Trafalgar Tours includes a Travellers get to the heart of Australia on dining experience taking guests into the the Ghan Expedition ( train journey, taking passengers from Darwin to bush for an open-air dinner cooked in a bush camp oven. Melbourne for foodies: Escorted tours in the city can include wine estate visits and dinner in an historic colonial tramcar. Don’t miss: Victoria’s Great Ocean Road is a self-drive classic but visit it on an escorted tour and there’s more opportunity to take your eyes of the road and enjoy the views. On track: Board the Ghan train and side excursions can include time on a cattle station with cattle dog and horse breaking demonstrations and live local music. Tours to suit: The range of touring styles is broad. Match your clients’ needs to the most suitable escorted option from large group tours to more intimate small experiences.

From the top: Mossman Gorge; iconic Sydney Harbour Bridge; wild koalas

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escorted tours of oz



“The main things agents need to know when choosing a tour for their client is their interests and what level of accommodation they want. Then they can match that accordingly” MARK HENDERSON, TRAVEL 2

Clockwise from top left: Kata Tjuta (the Olgas); The Twelve Apostles on the Great Ocean Road; turtle in the Great Barrier Reef; aboriginal style

Adelaide over three nights with escorted tours to Nitmiluk George and Alice Springs. The four-day journey features dinner under the stars at Alice Springs and a full day of exploring the underground mining town of Coober Pedy. Scenic ( has launched its 2018/19 Australia and New Zealand Escorted Touring Collection.  Tourist board: Tourism Australia’s Aussie Specialist Programme ( has relaunched with a new digital platform, including an updated website that features interactive training modules, tour suggestions, factsheets, latest industry news updates, destination FAQs and an interactive map.

Tourism Talk “Escorted tours of Australia allow consumers to explore the country with ease, whilst accompanied by a knowledgeable guide. Our main target audience is the high-value traveller and we know that an escorted tour is of appeal to them as they want to see Australia and do it well. So whether your clients want to discover the beauty of the Great Barrier Reef or witness the sunset at Uluru – there’s certainly an escorted tour out there for everyone.” Denise Von Wald, Regional General Manager, UK/Northern Europe, Tourism Australia

Where to book it �COSMOS - 0800 668 1365 A 15-day Highlights of Australia tour includes a sunset experience at Uluru (Ayers Rock) with Champagne and canapes. From ancient Aboriginal rock paintings to the Great Barrier Reef and Sydney Harbour the tour covers the best of Australia’s outback and major cities starting from £4,405pp.

�TRAVEL 2 – 0800 022 4182 A 16-day Tasmania cruise, hike and drive is priced from £5,389pp. Departing March 10, 2018. The deal includes flights and car rental from day eight of the tour. �APT – 0800 012 6683

A 15-day El Questro, Gorges and Purnululu tour, touring the Kimberley region and Northern Territory’s Kakadu in a 4WD vehicle, starts from £5,345pp. The tour is fronted by an experienced driver-guide.

�G G ADVENTURES - 0344 272 2060 A 12-day tour from Melbourne to Uluru (Ayers Rock) includes a mix of highlights along the way including driving the Great Ocean Road, wine tasting in Victoria, sleeping underground like the locals in Coober Pedy and exploring the outback, starting from £2099pp. 

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Darwin, the capital of Australia’s Northern Territory, is more than 3,000km north of Adelaide, so it’s no great surprise to find it’s the shortest route into Australia from the UK. It is also easily reachable from Bali, (just 2.5 hours flying time) and accessible from Singapore and Manila in approximately 4.5 hours. And it really does offer something for everyone. This iconic city offers nature, culture, wildlife and adventure, has multiple accommodation options from backpacker to luxury, and provides a vibrant, multicultural hub where visitors can enjoy a relaxed, outdoor lifestyle and buzzing nightlife year-round. It’s a city with a fascinating history that’s never visited by winter (the average temperature is 31 degrees year-round). Darwin is also the gateway to the Top End’s national parks: UNESCO World Heritage-listed Kakadu National Park, ancient Arnhem Land, Litchfield National Park and Nitmiluk National Park, where Katherine Gorge is situated. At around the same size as Wales, Kakadu is Australia’s largest national park. A beautiful, unspoilt area renowned for its natural beauty and ancient Aboriginal culture, dating back more than over 50,000 years, it’s also one of Australia’s great adventure playgrounds, with all kinds of recreational attractions including air boating, billabong cruises, hiking and sleeping under the stars.

Alice Springs is a quirky outback town, known for its Aboriginal and pioneering history, art galleries and its funky bars and cafés. It’s a great place to spend a few days and a gateway to the fabulous Red Centre – home to some of Australia’s most dramatic scenery, including the awe-inspiring icons of Uluru (Ayers Rock), Kings Canyon, Kata Tjuta (The Olgas) and the MacDonnell Ranges. Whether you’re dot-art painting or walking around Uluru, listening to Dreamtime stories in Alice Springs, or tackling the rim walk at Kings Canyon, the Aboriginal culture of the region provides an incredible connection to this ancient land. The Northern Territory (NT) provides unlimited adventure: ride a camel at sunset, or an off-road Segway through Darwin’s military precinct (bombed by the Japanese in 1942), or take a scenic flight over the waterfalls of Kakadu.

A WEALTH OF WISDOM The Aussie Specialist Program is Tourism Australia’s training programme providing you with knowledge and skills to sell Australian holidays. Once the core modules are completed, there is a NT module to help you confidently sell the awesome outback. Complete the NT module during December and you’ll have the chance to win prizes! •

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my journey

A jo󰇻󰇶󰈡󰈥y 󰇹o...


󰈡g 󰈇󰈣󰈦 Jum󰇴󰇮 t󰇬󰈥 jo󰈂 󰇧󰇺 󰈧󰈤 󰇮 p󰈂󰈦am

w󰇮󰇹󰇭 󰇹, an󰈧 󰇧 󰇱󰇼xu󰇶󰈠 c󰇶󰇻󰇯󰈤e s󰇯 󰇾󰇮 󰇬o w 󰈥 󰈢󰈤 t󰇬 󰇺 󰈜i 󰇧󰇿 󰈦es Eg󰈂󰇵t’s a󰇳󰈝󰇮󰈥n󰇹 󰇺re󰇧󰇷󰇼 di󰇷󰈝󰈢v󰈥󰇶󰈤 La󰇻r󰈜 󰈌e󰇰󰈨󰇪r , i󰇺 󰈧󰈣 t󰈢 a󰈠 󰇿 󰈥 󰇺h s󰇹 i󰇷 󰈞󰇻 Abe󰇶󰈝r󰈢󰇲󰇩󰇯e 󰇧n󰈧 K󰈥󰈡t


re these actually Tutankhamun’s flip flops?” I ask, straining over our guide’s shoulder to see a golden, jewelled pair of thonged sandals resting on the worktop. They wouldn’t look out of place in my local branch of Accessorize, yet they are over 3,000 years old. The director of the not-yet-complete Grand Egyptian Museum is taking us on a tour of its restoration labs, unveiling delicate papyruses painted with mesmerising hieroglyphics, ornate furniture intended for a luxurious afterlife and even items from the Pharaoh’s wardrobe – many of it never seen by the public. The Museum is set to partly open in 2018 and will house the first full collection of the young king’s treasures, painstakingly restored using new techniques and just a short drive from the pyramids we visited earlier. Outside, Cairo thrums with a different kind of energy. The notorious traffic is sluggish and antagonistic, belting out exhaust fumes and a cacophony of horns. The grime of pollution clings to everything and casts a yellow filter on the city. Downtown, above the dingy shop fronts, the curved wrought iron balconies and green-painted shutters are reminiscent of Paris. But from the next flyover we look down into gaudy markets and dimly-lit, industrious alleyways which couldn’t be anywhere but Africa. Lunch is served by Fez-topped waiters at Naguib Mahfouz, a Cairo institution named after the Nobel prize-winning local novelist. It sits somewhere in Khan El Khalili Bazaar, surrounded by dark shops piled high with brass lanterns, carpets, silk scarves, spices and tourist tat. By contrast, dinner is at the Ambassador’s residence, a cool, white-columned building tucked away from the honking and tooting. Black and white photos of politicians and

dignitaries line the walls and crystal chandeliers light light the scene as speakers from the embassy and A&K tell us that tourism in Egypt is bouncing back.

Lif󰇪 󰈣󰇳 󰇺he N󰇮󰇰󰈥 Arriving in arid Aswan the next day it’s clear there is a long way to go. The Nile appears suddenly, like an uncoiled green and blue snake resting in the desert. A&K’s luxurious ships, including our Sanctuary Sun Boat III, sit in their own dock, gleaming white and spotless. But as we drive into town we pass countless others, sometimes moored three-abreast with hulls unpolished, canvas dirty and decks empty. They make for a sad and spectral sight. Night falls fast on the Nile so we race to its most famous sunset spot, the Old Cataract Hotel (now part of the Sofitel Legend brand), where Agatha Christie set parts of Death on the Nile. From its terrace a timeless scene unfolds, framed by palm trees. Ice cubes chink above a low hum of G&T chatter and a distant imam warbles. White-sailed feluccas slip silently through the water as the horizon turns rose-gold and the bright blue paint of the Nubian houses on the opposite bank fades to black. Back on board, cold towels and even colder cocktails await, followed by a sumptuous dinner. Over the next two days we drift from temple to tomb,

Now’s 󰇹󰇭e ti󰇲󰇪 󰇺󰈣 he󰇰󰇵 g󰇪󰇹 󰇺h󰇯󰇷 co󰇻󰇳󰇺r󰈂 󰇩ac󰈫 󰈢󰈡 it󰇷 󰈆󰇪󰈥t

Loc󰇧󰇰 󰈤p󰇯󰈛e󰈤 at 󰇹󰇭󰇪 s󰈣u󰈫 󰇮󰈡 Ca󰇮r󰈣

M󰈘 󰉃AG 󰈎󰈉󰈷󰉂 MO 󰉄󰈺󰉅T󰉍 Be󰇮n󰇫 󰈣󰈡e 󰈢f 󰇹󰇭󰈥 fir 󰇷󰇺 p󰇶i󰇾󰇮l󰈥󰇫 pe󰈢󰇴󰇱󰈥 to e󰈨 󰇷󰇪󰈥 Tu󰇺󰇧n 󰈫󰇭󰈜mu󰇳’s flip-flop󰇷 󰇧󰇺 wa󰇹󰈝h󰇮󰇳󰈪 t󰇬󰈥 G󰈦an󰈧 󰉄󰇻󰈤󰈥um f󰈥󰇰u ; go󰇰󰈨-wa󰇷󰇭 󰈝c󰇧󰇷 󰈪l󰇯󰈧e 󰇧󰇱󰈣n󰇫 󰇺h e 󰇪d N puffi󰇳󰈪 s󰇬 󰇯󰇰e 󰇧󰇺 s󰇼󰇳󰈤et; an󰈧 i󰈤h󰇧 󰇯󰇳 a L󰇻󰈁󰈣r 󰈛a󰈆 󰇪

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Sun󰇷󰇪󰇺 󰈣n 󰇹󰇭e N󰇮l󰈥 f󰇶o󰈩 t󰇬󰇪 O󰇱d C a󰇹󰇧󰈦󰈜c󰇹 Hot󰇪󰇰, As󰇿a󰈡

my journey


Din󰇳󰇪󰈦 󰇯s 󰇷e󰈦v 󰇪󰈧 󰈣󰈡 t󰇬 Sun 󰈈󰈢󰈜󰇹 I󰈎󰈾 e

east bank to west bank, as our Egyptologist guide George attempts to give us a snap shot of a civilisation which ruled for thousands of years. “This, oh this isn’t that old,” he says with a dismissive wave at one point. “About 2,300 years.” We start at peaceful Philae, an island temple with towering gates carved with the falcon-headed god Horus. Later we motor to Kom Ombo, dedicated to the crocodile god Sobek and discovered with cellars stuffed with the mummified remains of this revered reptile. On board, the chilled towels and beers are endless if you want them to be. The top deck has day beds swathed in white cotton and a plunge pool for cooling off as we cruise. The Nile is lined with a narrow, fertile strip of green fields where farmers and their children are seen tending to buffalo. Beyond is desert.

Pos󰇮󰇳󰈪 󰈜t Phi󰇰󰇧󰈥 Te󰈩p󰇰󰇪, As󰇿a󰈡

Lif󰇪 󰈣󰇳 󰇺he fe󰇶󰇺󰇮l󰈥 󰇨a󰈡k󰇷 of 󰇹󰇭󰇪 N󰇯le

My󰇹󰇭 an󰈧 󰇱󰇪g󰈥󰇳󰈨 As time goes on, the gods become as real as the kings and queens and the line between the fantastical reality and legend becomes blurred. Jackal-headed Anubis seems as plausible as Queen Hapshepsut and her vast funerary temple, which looks like a luxury hotel rising out of the Valley of the Queens. It’s Tutankhamun’s resting place which gives everyone the biggest shivers, not because of its beauty (it was never finished because he died so suddenly). It’s imagining being Howard Carter, mere days from the end of his fruitless five year search, when a small boy and the son of a grave robber, runs to tells him he’s found some steps… Our last night on Sun Boat III could be a scene from an Agatha Christie novel, as we all dress in gallibayas for a grand final dinner topped off with a giant baked Alaska in the shape of the pyramids, carried in by two beaming chefs to a standing ovation. The night is rounded off with a belly dancer and a whirling dervish and thankfully no one is murdered. In fact, no one feels unsafe at any point and we all agree that Egypt really is back. It helps to be swaddled in the luxury of A&K’s unbeatable service, but no matter where you go Egypt’s people are welcoming and its treasures enthralling. They will probably stand for thousands more years but now is the time to go, to help get this country back on its feet.

Ano󰇹󰇭󰇪r A&K bo󰇧󰇹 mo󰈢󰇶󰈥󰈨 b󰈂 Ko󰈩 Om󰇨o

󰇪󰈤 Beh󰇮󰇳󰈨 t󰇬󰈥 󰈤ce󰇳 󰈨 󰈜󰇳 Gr 󰇪 at 󰇹󰇭 m Eg󰈂󰇵ti󰇧󰇳 M󰇼󰈤e󰇻

Gir󰇰 󰇵󰈢w󰈥 󰇶 Fem󰇧󰇰󰈥 󰇵h ! a󰇶󰇧󰈣󰇭 Hat󰇷󰇭󰇪p󰇷 󰇼󰇺’s 󰇹e󰈩p󰇰󰇪

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Working in partnership


Training, competitions, events December 2017


Kenya tourism boost NEWS

Quick Quiz Are you a Macao specialist?

1. The Hong Kong dollar is an accepted form of currency in Macao. TRUE / FALSE

Hot News

Finding luxury in Tenerife

2. Macao is located on mainland China.

True York City


NYC & Company has launched a new global tourism campaign called ‘True York City’ showcasing the best of New York’s culture. The campaign is running in 17 countries including the UK and will be promoted until spring 2018. The campaign encourages travellers to view online content, including thematic videos, photography and editorial stories. Additional elements such as a borough video series and insights from New York City locals are being added in 2018.

Tenerife Expert I Modules: 4


Answers: 1: True 2: True

TENERIFE is increasing its luxury tourism offering this winter with two new five-star hotels. The GF Victoria opens in December and will feature 242 luxury suites, each with a terrace overlooking the sea and a lounge and kitchenette. The second hotel, The Royal Hideaway Corales Suites, is expected to open in January 2018. The hotel will have two buildings, one with 121 junior suites specifically for adults and the other featuring 114 family apartments. These are the first of eight luxury hotels expected to open in the next five years.

KENYA is set to receive a tourism boost as part of its Vision 2030 strategy. A new cruise ship terminal is scheduled to open in Mombasa and 13 new hotels are planned by major international hotel brands, adding 2,400 beds in the next five years. From January, transit visas will be available for tourists travelling to Kenya with Kenya Airways to encourage more stopover stays. Discover more about Kenya by completing the Jambo Kenya online training.

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Training courses to help travel agents and advisers sell more!

Atlantis chase is on



ALIX Murray (pictured below, left) from Stewart Travel celebrates winning the top prize at Travel 2’s 'The Chase is on to Atlantis' event. She won a holiday a year for three years thanks to Emirates and Atlantis, The Palm. Alix is pictured with Catherine Dorsett (centre) from Colchester Travel who won a place on Travel 2’s familiarisation trip to Atlantis, The Palm and Andrea Keeble (right), sales manager from Kerzner International. Agents can enhance their product knowledge through the Travel 2 Academy online training.

Destination News

Find your Florida adventure

Visit Florida Expert I Modules: 5

Qatar welcomes world NEWS

QATAR'S new campaign, ‘Qatar Welcomes the World’ was unveiled at World Travel Market to promote visa-free entry for nationals from over 80 countries including the UK. The Qatar Tourism Authority (QTA) is also increasing its UK marketing presence on a fleet of Qatar branded taxis in London. Snap one of the taxis and upload it to social media tagging @VisitQatar with hashtag #PassporttoQatar for a chance to win a three-night trip to Qatar for two, including flights and accommodation.

VISIT Florida will focus on its adventurous side in 2018, highlighting the state’s experiences and attractions. Theme park openings include, Fast & Furious: Supercharged at Universal Studios, Ray Rush at Aquatica, Toy Story Land at Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Infinity Falls at Seaworld. Universal Studios will also be opening two new budget resort hotels with room rates from $100 a night. The resorts are scheduled to open in summer, 2019. Beyond the parks, visitors can learn to drive an airboat in Kissimmee on the new 'Romp in the Swamp' experience with Boggy Creek Airboat Rides.

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

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state profile

Alberta for millennials Connecting cool Canada with younger travellers Picture this Old Strathcona is the centre of Edmonton’s trendy arts scene. For three days each July it hosts the Whyte Avenue Art Walk, a 4km trail with 450 artists creating work outdoors. Old gold Calgary’s Heritage Park Historical Village brings history to life, from the pioneer era of the 1860s up to the 1950s. Steam trains, cowboys and classic eats are instantly Instagramable! High and mighty Switch the cameras to panoramic and head up the scenic Banff Gondola. It takes visitors 7,500ft up Sulphur Mountain and the views are beyond compare whatever time of year you visit. Heavens above Jasper National Park is unaffected by light pollution, making it one of the world’s best places to sky watch. Catch the Northern Lights, gaze at millions of stars, and revel in the quiet. Have a brew The 3.4km trek from Lake Louise to Lake Agnes is a treat. At the end, tuck in to wholesome fayre at the Lake Agnes Teahouse, perched overlooking the lake.


lways connected, on the look out for fun and desperate to spend – millennial travellers are a dream demographic for tourist boards. No wonder Alberta is taking them seriously, says Neal Baldwin

With their phones ever ready to share their latest adventure, today’s young traveller can never have too much of a good thing. The ‘Millennial’ generation – that’s anyone aged 18-34 – wants authentic, cool experiences and plenty of thrills, especially those that are rated-highly and look good on social media. Alberta, like Canada as a whole, has been quick to tap into this market. The message that Canada is ‘cool, not cold’ is winning the destination plenty of profile and blogger buzz, and that in turn is luring a growing band of millennial travellers. Top of the attractions is the fact that chic metropolitan living, lively bars and cutting edge foodie culture is available just minutes from wild open spaces, adventure terrains and full-on awesome action. Alberta is, in short, uniquely placed to offer the urban in combination with the outback.

CITY SLICKERS For urban adventures look no further than Edmonton and Calgary. Alberta’s capital is famed for its festivals – there’s 60 every year, celebrating everything from food, music, theatre and culture – plus great shopping. The giant West Edmonton Mall boasts more than 800 stores and its own theme park, while a stroll to the Warehouse District offers the chance to sample the best in artisan coffee,

“Canada’s cool not cold. It’s a marketing mantra making it a buzz on social media and one Alberta is uniquely placed to deliver upon”


cheese, chocs and pastries. In the Arts District, modern ethnic eateries are showcasing the best in local produce. While nearby Chinatown is a riot of tastes and colours. Calgary, meanwhile, is an alluring mix of neighbourhoods where modern and historic buildings stand side by side. Reach for the sky at the top of Calgary Tower, grab a veggie smoothie in trendy Kensington, or dine out in style in eclectic Inglewood.

TRAIL BLAZING Alberta’s outdoor attractions need no introduction. Winter months offer traditional alpine sports around Banff and Jasper, plus more challenging thrills such as ice walks and climbs, snowmobiling and even bobsleigh rides at Calgary’s Olympic Park. When the sun shines, visitors can show off their pioneer spirit in the Rockies or Canadian Badlands. Hiking, camping, canoeing, biking and horseriding are all part of western adventure.



For a post with kudos, millennials can check out Calgary’s famous Stampede for cowboy colour or grab a trowel and dig in the footsteps of dinosaurs in Dinosaur Provincial Park. For sporting thrills, suggest an NHL game - hockey’s a religion just looking for converts! 

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West Hollywood A misunderstood LA alternative


est Hollywood, or WeHo as it is known by locals, is a small town with a glamorous name, but like a lot of the movie stars that have either lived there or helped make it ‘chic’, it is often misunderstood. It is not a neighbourhood in Los Angeles, it is its own city, a tiny enclave of 1.9 square miles tucked between Beverly Hills, Santa Monica and Los Angeles. It’s not the Hollywood of the movies either – the famous Hollywood sign is in Griffith Park, LA - nor one big movie set (although OWN, the Oprah Winfrey Network is based there). Famous icons include the Sunset Strip, Pacific Design Center, and restaurants and nightclubs where celebrities are regularly spotted. It offers an alternative to downtown LA or the beaches, a cool and just a little pretentious enclave within easy reach of LA's major attractions. Unusually for a part of California known for its freeways, the city is easily walkable and strolling is the best way to discover its art galleries, cafes, juice bars, 24-hour fitness centres and health shops – just watch out for the dog water bowls left by many properties. WeHo is also on the Red Route of Starline Tours’ Hop-On Hop-Off double-deckers, whose four routes and two shuttles connect 100 miles. There is cheap bike hire with WeHo Pedals,

while The PickUp invites bar hoppers to jump aboard for free trolley rides at the weekends. There are other bonuses of staying in West Hollywood: less chance of beach fog and hotel rates are about 25% lower than similar properties in Beverly Hills and Santa Monica ( Some 40% of West Hollywood residents are LGBTQ and WeHo is home to The Abbey, one of the largest gay nightclubs in the U.S. LA Pride in June and Halloween Carnaval in October, showcase the city’s diversity.

Head for…

Clockwise from top left: Walkable WeHo; the Pacific Design Center; trendy Gracias Madre; and rooftop views from Andaz West Hollywood

West Hollywood is known for its rooftop bars, many with pools and sublime views. Top spots include The Grafton on Sunset's Bar 20 and Skybar at the Mondrian, for hip poolside cocktails, live music and best views of the city. Or, suggest The Tower Bar at the Sunset Tower Hotel, which was once the apartment of Bugsy Siegel. There’s an elegant piano bar and poolside terrace, with more sweeping views. Others include the Chamberlain West Hollywood, Sunset Tower Hotel and the famous Viper Room (co-owned by Johnny Depp when it opened in 1993), plus The Standard, Hollywood,

and The London West Hollywood. One of the city’s hottest dining spots right now is Gracias Madre on Melrose Avenue, a Mexican spot that serves only plant-based cuisine and small-batch tequila and mescal-based cocktails.

What’s new Over the course of the next year, The Jeremy will be transformed into the 1 West Hollywood ( with 286 rooms and views of the Hollywood Hills and LA basin; La Peer Hotel, a Kimpton Hotel ( in West Hollywood’s celebrated Design District; and coming in 2018, West Hollywood EDITION ( which will have 190-rooms, trendy restaurants and a pool. 

book it with Gold Medal Five nights at the four-star boutique-style The Garland, on a room-only basis, are priced from £859pp, valid for travel January 16 and March 23 2018. The hotel offers free extras like wifi and trolley services to Universal Studios, Universal Citywalk, LA Metro Redline Universal City. – 0800 014 7777


48hours in

Vienna It means everything to me


een to combine culture with great food and nightlife in the heart of Europe? Adam Coulter did just that when spending a couple of days in the Austrian capital of Vienna during a river cruise

Day 1 - royals and horses Morning: If you have visited the Palace of Versailles, then you can imagine the scale and ambition of the Schonbrunn Palace, the 1,441-room summer – not even full-time – residence of the Hapsburg monarchy. It is Vienna's number one tourist attraction and you're going to need at least a morning to get a feel for the place, which includes extensive grounds, a puppet theatre, a maze (kids love it) and an adjoining zoo. Top tip: Book ahead and get there when it opens to avoid the huge crowds. The Versailles connection is not coincidental – Marie Antoinette was born here, one of 16 children borne by Maria Teresa, the only female Hapsburg ruler and known colloquially as the ‘Mother of Europe’ as all her children went on to marry European royals. Numerous tours are available, varying in price and length. Clients should take time to explore the grounds and bring along a picnic if visiting in spring or summer (

Afternoon: There are number of options. Clients could explore a few more of the attractions connected with the Palace, such as the Marionette Museum, which is kind of creepy but great for kids, or head to Vienna Zoo. Alternatively, they can see the city by horse-drawn carriage – the horses are extremely well looked after. OK, it's not cheap – €55 for 20 minutes – but that is per carriage. They leave from Stephansplatz or Michaelerplatz in the city centre and take in the main sites including the Palace. Next to the pick up point in Stephansplatz is the

BOOK IT WITH KIRKER HOLIDAYS The operator has six new escorted Cultural Tours for Christmas and New Year – to Vienna, Venice, Baden-Baden, Dresden, Rome and St. Petersburg. Clients travel with like-minded companions and enjoy a leisurely programme of sightseeing, along with delicious Christmas lunches and dinners in spectacular settings. Prices start from £1,648 for six days.

Viennese Riding School – time it right to see beautiful thorough-breds being led across the road for training. Evening: The wonderfully retro Prater Amusement Park is the oldest in the world, dating from 1897. Its iconic ferris wheel was the largest in the world for many years and is one of many old-school attractions: dodgems, haunted castles, carousels, roller coasters and the scariest of free-fall drops that falls from 80m to the ground in a second. You pay as you go, and you can burn through cash, but it's worth it – kids will be entertained for hours and adults will feel like kids again. Open until 01.00, the park is full of shops, restaurants, bars and food stands. In December it transforms into a glorious Christmas market. The Prater is in District 2 (Vienna is divided by Districts), which has some good restaurants like the Schone Perle, one of many eateries claiming the best schnitzel in town.

Day 2 - night at the opera Morning: To get away from the touristy centre head to District 7, a former ‘suburb’ (i.e. outside the Ringstrasse which surrounds the centre). Bordering the main train station and red-light district, it was once a run-down part of town but is enjoying a renaissance thanks to a combination of affordable rents and gentrification. In some ways it's similar to parts of East Berlin, which are going through the same process. Afternoon/Evening: The Neubau district is where it's at for boutique shops, thrift shops, open-air markets, a thriving arts scene, hipster cafes and some of the best under-the-radar restaurants in town: try the Spittelburg area for restaurants and bars. In the afternoon, wander back via the Museum District to District 2 to the Augarten, a Baroque park with acres of grounds including perfectly manicured flower beds and copses. The Schonbrunn also hosts evening events and it's hard to beat watching an Opera or a performance of Viennese waltz at the Palace. 

From the top, Vienna's appeal: The historic Schonbrunn Palace; family-friendly atmosphere and the ferris wheel at the Prater Amusement Park

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the review



S O U T H K O R E A : S E T T O W E L C O M E U K V I S I T O R S F O R T H E W I N T E R O LY M P I C S









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the review

Tourism Update

Thailand shading it

CAROL HAY UK Manager, Caribbean Tourism Organization

THE Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) hopes it’s been a productive and successful year for our industry partners. Our year has been filled with great activities and events, including the World Travel Market Agent Training Day and multiple roadshows across the UK & Ireland, culminating in the CTO winning the Best/Favourite Training Event/Roadshow in the Selling Travel Agents Choice Awards! Well done to all those agents who have won prizes. From airline tickets and accommodation stays, Love2Shop vouchers, hampers, Virgin Experience Days and L’Occitane gift sets, rewards are available for completing exams and quizzes on the Caribbean Travel Guru (CTG) programme (caribbeantravelguru. com); making and logging bookings through My Booking Rewards; and participating in training events. It’s great to see more agents qualifying as Caribbean Travel Gurus, your support and bookings are much appreciated! Congratulations go too to our latest winner: Debbie Watkins, of Thomson in Tunbridge Wells, who won a Christmas hamper for bookings in November. Get busy with bookings in December and the prize is a spa day for two. There is also a £50 Love2Shop voucher for the agent who completes the most quizzes. There will be lots more rewards in 2018, so do join the CTG Programme, at or if you are already registered, continue to work through the programme, to gain your Caribbean Travel Guru status! For more information contact Ann-Marie Brooks at or call 020 8948 0057.


TOURISM Authority of Thailand (TAT) has launched a marketing campaign, ‘Open to the New Shades of Thailand’, which will support TAT’s Amazing Thailand Tourism Year 2018. The campaign’s concept reflects another kind of ‘Thainess’ - the unique way Thai people welcome visitors ‘of all shades’ from around the world. Aimed at both first-time and repeat visitors, it will target specific market segments such as luxury travellers, couples/honeymooners and families. TAT hopes that by focusing on different aspects of Thailand including gastronomy, nature and culture the campaign will help expose lesser-known areas of Thailand and attract a wave of new visitors. Yuthasak Supasorn, Governor of Tourism Authority of Thailand, said: “We want to open up rural Thailand. This campaign is

designed for Thailand’s future customers – we want to grow the market and get new visitors to Thailand.” Digital content will be key, as TAT employs user-generated content, particularly video, to showcase the country. The UK is Thailand’s leading market with 723,000 arrivals between January and September this year. TAT is confident that by the end of the year over 990,000 will have visited. “The flights are full so we are hopeful we will reach that figure,” added Supasorn. Amazing Thailand Tourism Year 2018 will see an international programme of events across the world, drawing attention to Thailand’s gastronomy and culture. The country will host the fourth UNWTO World Forum of Gastronomy Tourism in Bangkok from May 30-June 1, 2018.

Wild encounters await in Canada CANADIAN operator, Churchill Wild, is positioning itself as the ’African Safari of the Arctic’ with a range of intimate tours to see the wilderness and wildlife of Arctic Canada. Featuring seven adventure itineraries, the company specialises in ground-level walking tours through the polar bear inhabited regions of Arctic Canada. Churchill Wild brings travellers face to face with bears and beluga whales on tours which combine wildlife watching with world-class cuisine and fly-in eco-lodges. Running July-November, the tours visit exclusive locations which guarantee bear encounters as the company owns and operates the only remote lodges on Canada’s Hudson Bay coast. Pioneers of polar bear walking safaris, it now also offers photography safaris and dual lodge safaris combining different coastal landscapes Full details of the 2018 itineraries:

Super Break launches Orient Express incentive SUPER Break has teamed up with Belmond to offer UK agents the chance to win a day out on the Belmond Northern Belle or the Belmond Pullman. To celebrate the launch of the new Murder on the Orient Express film, agents that make a booking for the Belmond Northern Belle or the Belmond Pullman before December 31, 2017 will be entered into a prize draw for the trip. Graham Balmforth, National Sales

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

Manager at Super Break said: “We have departures from a host of cities across the UK such as London, Leeds, Birmingham, Cardiff and many more. The trips make a perfect special occasion gift.” To be in with a chance of winning the trip agents need to email their name, booking reference and ABTA number to Super Break will announce six agent winners of the trip in the week commencing January 1, 2018.

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New Amari for ONYX Group ONYX Hospitality Group is to launch a new Amari hotel in Colombo, Sri Lanka’s capital. Due for completion in mid-2019, the property, with 180-rooms and suites, will be located close to the National Museum of Colombo, Gangaramaya Temple and Park, a wide range of shops and restaurants and the popular Kollupitiya Market. It will feature a street food marketstyle gourmet eatery and a rooftop pool. It follows the opening of Amari Galle, on the southern coast of Sri Lanka near the historic Galle Fort. The brand has also opened in Malaysia and China this year and aims to have 99 hotels open by 2024. It currently operates 44 properties across three core brands in eight countries, with 20 new properties in the pipeline.

Game on in South Korea


NEWS TO USE IN BRIEF ETHIOPIAN Airlines last month became the first African carrier to operate the Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner. The Dreamliner is the second member of the fuel-efficient 787 family for Ethiopian: it was among the earliest to operate the 787-8 back in August 2012.


SOUTH Korea expects to attract 20,000 British tourists to next year’s Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang. The destination was recently placed second in Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2018 ranking, and the capital Seoul was ranked safer than London by the Economist Intelligence Unit. The UK has shown consistent growth for South Korea with a five per cent increase last year, and Changsoo Jung, CEO of the Korea Tourism Organisation (KTO), said: “This year 17 million foreign visitors came to South Korea, of which 130,000 were from the UK. The UK is our biggest European market and we expect around 20,000 to come for the Winter

Olympics in 2018.” Somewhat surprisingly, the KTO expects North Korea will partake in the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics as part of a government scheme to promote a longer-term reduction in tension between the neighbouring countries. Jung added: “Recently there has been no tension between North and South Korea and we are confident that North Korea will be involved in the forthcoming games. With the World Cup in Russia next year and the Olympic Games in Tokyo, 2020, we need the Korean peninsular to be a safe and stabilised environment for visitors.”

RENAISSANCE Hotels, part of Marriott International, has opened the Renaissance Pattaya Resort & Spa. The design of the 257-room property was inspired by the serene beach setting of Na Jomtien and the local fishing village that Pattaya once was. There are four room categories including chic Pool Villas and Family Suites. Other facilities include two outdoor pools, a kids pool, kids club, fitness centre and spa.

ARENA Rail Holidays is seeking independent agents to act as ‘brand champions’ in 2018. Formerly Diamond Rail Holidays, the escorted rail tours specialist re-branded earlier this year and in September alone saw sales 45% up compared with the same period last year. Forward bookings for 2018 are looking strong and the trade is expected to be key to further growth in this niche but rapidly growing market.

Nashville and beyond: three guides distributed with this issue...

A NEW British Airways flight to Nashville launching in May will open the way to tristate itineraries of Kentucky, Mississippi and Tennessee. By flying to Nashville your clients are just hours away from Elvis, Muhammad Ali,

Abraham Lincoln, Dollywood and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, BB King and the Mississippi Blues Trail, Jack Daniel’s and the new Tennessee Whiskey Trail, the Bluegrass horse farms of Lexington and the Kentucky Bourbon Trail.

SKI Independence has a lastminute seven-night ski holiday staying at the centrally located Elk + Avenue hotel in Banff, Canada, priced from £974pp on a room-only basis. Departing this month (December), the deal includes direct return Air Canada flights from Heathrow to Calgary, as well as transfers, and is based on two adults travelling and sharing accommodation.

These iconic attractions are all less than a four-hour drive from Nashville. Check out the detailed information on all three states in the trio of travel guides distributed with this issue.

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the review

Brand USA adds trade site

Weekly updates straight to your inbox! Subscribe to Selling Travel Digital today and receive your weekly quick read features, news round-up, incentives and more!

w Ne eb w si te


BRAND USA is to launch a new online platform in 2018, to act as a ‘comprehensive, one-stop gateway for travel industry professionals looking to better sell the USA’. is projected to go live in January and will bring a number of useful trade resources, currently spread across Brand USA’s consumer and corporate websites, into a single, stand-alone digital space. It will be accessible from desktops and mobile devices ‘with intuitive navigation, enriched creative and up-todate content’. Designed and developed by Brand USA, the new travel trade website will feature direct access to a

Brand USA Trip Kit which includes suggested itineraries (beginning in key gateway cities and expanding out to explore additional destinations) and destination photographs. The site will also feature an expanded corporate calendar highlighting Brand USA’s industry activities and signature events up to five years in advance, and information and advice on visiting the USA, and U.S. travel policies. An expanded directory of receptive tour operators will also be available on the site and contact details for Brand USA’s international representation agencies, as well as a new ‘USA Trip Planner’ tool.

All-inclusive Rihiveli TRADE-FRIENDLY wholesaler Osborne & Ebel has a deal for the ‘delightfully traditional’ island resort of Rihiveli. Five nights start from £345pp on an all-inclusive basis, including return speedboat transfers, for travel in 2018. The resort is set on a serene, quiet and rustic hideaway, with a stunning lagoon and great opportunities nearby for diving. For details contact: /subscribe

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the review: show report



CLIA in Amsterdam The seventh CLIA River Cruise Conference attracted a record 300 travel agents and suppliers. Jo Austin reports

Asia calls CLIA is to hold its first Asia Cruise Conference for travel agents in Ho Chi Minh City (Vietnam). Set to be a great opportunity for aqents to learn more about the Asian river cruise market, the event will be held in April 10-11, 2018 and will be followed by a sailing on the Mekong River for travel agents. A pre-fam will be held in Singapore (April 8-9) and the post-fam, on five ships, will travel both north and south bound on itineraries between Ho Chi Minh City and Phnom Penh. The registration price for CLIA travel agent members is £100. Speaking at the Amsterdam conference, Michel Grimm, international sales director for CroisiEurope, talked about the growth of long haul cruising, particularly in Cambodia and Vietnam where Amadeus and Avalon are introducing new ships.

Open ages voyages ELLEN Bettridge, President and CEO of Uniworld and U by Uniworld told agents that there will be opportunities for all ages to try out the new U brand of river cruises in 2018 on special sailings on both A and B ships. Normally and strictly for 21 – 45 year olds only, eight voyages will allow agents to try the product so that they can sell it on. “It is vital that we educate agents so that they can sell our new product with confidence,” says Ellen. Cruises include: The A Rolling on the Rhine April 28, 2018, The A Danube Flow May 19, 2018, The A Germany’s Finest August 12, 2018, The A Danube Flow October 20, 2018, The B The Seine Experience on April 23, 28, August 25 and October 20 2018.

The rivers rise for agents

C R UI SE N EW S A- ROSA has extended its kids’ offering and added a new kids’ club on the Seine. A children’s entertainer will host a children’s show and activities. A-ROSA is the only river cruise line to offer free cruises for under 15s on all departures and all itineraries.

FRED. O L SEN’S inaugural European river cruise programme on the 156-guest Brabant will run April to Nov 2018. The 31 departures out of Dusseldorf run five to 25 nights on the Danube, Rhine, Main and Moselle.

RIVER cruise specialists are expanding their river capacity and itineraries in response to an 11% increase in British holidaymakers choosing to take a river cruise last year. Giles Hawke, CLIA UK and Ireland Deputy Chair, said: “River cruising is now making up five per cent of the global cruise market and one third of the ships have been built within the last 10 years”. Travel trade agents are now selling a third of all river cruises compared with a quarter in 2015. Some 73% of river cruisers have previously been on an ocean cruise. Notable trends include a rise in younger passengers, more

luxury, gourmet dining and more activities and wellness options. AMA Waterways, for example, has expanded its wellness programme to six ships in 2018 and was the first to introduce bicycles on board. Marco Rosa, VP Sales and Marketing at Pandaw River Cruises, explained that the new breed of river cruisers is looking for adventure, experience, exotic, culture and the unknown. Families and younger passengers enjoy the immersion away from wifi but, warned, Rosa: “It is very easy to go wrong when selling these types of cruises, so do your research first.”

SHEARINGS HOLIDAYS is taking a full ship charter with A-ROSA in 2018 as well as selling 19 departures on 12 itineraries on six rivers. Tours will feature coach, rail or flights from the UK.

CROISIEUROPE is launching a nine night river cruise on the St Lawrence river in Canada with views of Lake Ontario, the Thousand Islands and Niagara Falls. The Jacques Cartier will sail between Quebec and Toronto

River cruise agent of the year looks to 2018 COMMENTING on her win at the CLIA Excellence Awards, agent Gill Williams of, said: “It has been a wonderful year for me and river cruising. I am passionate about all the rivers and do sell an awful lot! We have a great relationship with the operators”. Looking ahead she warns that the Douro is already selling out fast.

“It is vital that we educate agents so they can sell our new product with confidence” Ellen Bettridge, President and CEO of Uniworld and new U brand announcing FAM opportunities on eight voyages

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the review: checking out

Checking out...



THE BACKROUND: This five-star boutique property has 30 suites, each built around a private indoor courtyard. Ultra-stylish inside, the hotel’s striking facade is inspired by Chiang Mai’s ancient crumbling city walls. THE LOCATION: It is set in a small soi (street) off the busy Ninnanhaem Road in the ‘new’ part of Chiang Mai, close to but outside the walled Old Town. It is within easy walking distance of shops, restaurants and bars and a tuk tuk ride from night markets and the river. THE ROOM: I stayed in a large akyra Manor Suite, a chic and expansive space with plenty of luxuries including Egyptian cotton sheets and oversized towels, and the grandiose bathroom featured an oversized rain shower. It felt like I had walked into an Asian spa: think wooden floors, sliding doors, big mirrors and bamboos in pots. The centerpiece of a large lounge area with a two-corner couch was a fabulous sunken Jacuzzi bath. Outside was a big balcony with a table and lounger. The only tiny negative: it was quite dimly lit.

T H E V E R D I CT By any definition my suite was luxurious. The staff were equally memorable – I had a dental emergency and they sourced a dentist and set up an appointment for me. I liked the herbal sleep drink, which comes with the turn-down service and the daily mocktail recipe suggestion, which you can turn into a cocktail with items from

KEY FACILITIES: The highlight is Rise, a rooftop bar with hillside views and an infinity swimming pool. The hotel offers a range of ‘experiences’, including golf packages, Thai cooking classes, private yoga sessions, Thai boxing, cocktail mixology lessons and an elephant interaction programmed designed as a hands-on experience to learn more about the animals and their relationship with their mahouts (handlers), amongst others.

RESTAURANTS: Opposite reception, Italics is a bright and breezy space with an artisanal style personified by the overhead lights cleverly twisted in the shape of tree branches. In the evening it is an Italian, serving divine pizzas. The breakfast buffet, with raw juices made to order, was plentiful and impressive.

the minibar. The hotel is funky:

22/2 Nimmana Haeminda Road Soi 9,Chiang

around $190 with breakfast

it is an ‘art hotel’ and I enjoyed the exhibition of watercolour artworks around the hotel by guest artist Kritika Buabushaya. RATES: Rooms start from

Mai 50200, Thailand;  +66 (0) 5 321 6219;


THE BACKGROUND: This modern Pierre & Vacances apartment block offers a range of self-catering apartments and is well geared up to the needs of the wintersports market. THE LOCATION: Located in the quieter Daille end of Val d’Isere, at the entrance to the resort, the property is well connected to

the centre of the town with a free regular bus service stopping immediately outside. There are some restaurants and a few shops close by and it is just a short walk to the foot of the slopes and the Funival from where all the resort’s extensive slopes can be accessed. THE ROOM: My one-bedroom apartment had been recently renovated and was bright and

airy with a contemporary style combined with a few alpine touches. The open plan living space included a sofa bed and dining table connected to a kitchen area which was very well set up with a good range of equipment for self-catering. Large windows looked out directly to the mountains. The bathroom was new and shiny and while it wasn’t huge, it functioned well and had a great shower. KEY FACILITIES: The property included a large boot and ski storage area on the ground floor. Linen, towels, cleaning kit and a basic wifi connection are all included in the price. There was no set change-over day or stay duration which added flexibility. RESTAURANTS/BARS: The property has a small lounge/meeting area but as it is designed for self-catering it has no restaurant. There are a few nearby but the more lively part of town is an easy five minute bus ride away from the property.

T H E V E R D I CT A modern, bright, warm and well-located property in the quieter end of Val d’Isere with a well-equipped kitchen, good bathroom and comfy beds. A cosy base, with great views, it is well set up to make a wintersports break easy and enjoyable. RATES: Currently priced from £831 (down from £1072 saving 22%) for a seven-night self-catered stay in a one-bedroom apartment that sleeps up to five people.

La Daille 73150 - Val d’Isere;   0870 0267 145

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how to sell


Mexico City by Sarah Gilbert


ith a cultural heritage covering everything from Aztec to modern art, more museums than any other capital and one of the world’s hottest foodie scenes, Mexico City is more than a stopover. This Latin American hub and sprawling megalopolis sits in a highland basin encircled by mountains and presents a fascinating blend of old and new, from ancient ruins to stunning modern architecture. There’s accommodation to suit all budgets too, with B&Bs and stylish boutiques and luxury international chains.

Culture vulture The regenerated Centro Histórico, or Historic Centre, is a rich mix of architectural styles, standing on top of the Aztec capital of Tenochtitlán and it’s perfect for exploring on foot. At its heart is the Zócalo, the vast and perpetually busy Plaza de la Constitución. At the Palacio Nacional on the eastern edge of the square, Diego Rivera’s vibrant murals are a visual history of Mexico through the centuries,



from the Spanish conquest to the revolution. On the northern side is the Metropolitan Cathedral – one of the oldest and largest in the Americas, it took almost three centuries to complete. To the northeast are the remains of the Aztec Templo Mayor and a contemporary museum of archaeological finds. There are more of Rivera’s murals at the Antiguo Colegio de San Ildefonso and the Secretaría de Educación Pública. And the white marble Palacio Bellas Artes, with its sumptuous Art Deco interiors, is home to Mexico’s opera, the Ballet Folklórico and more legendary muralists, including Orozco and Siqueiros. In fact, art is all over the city, from Polanco’s Museo Soumaya showcasing Carlos Slim’s – one of the world’s richest men – private collection and contemporary art at the neighbouring Museo Jumex, to Caza Azul, Frida Kahlo’s hometurned-museum in Coyoacán. And there are museums covering an eclectic

Mexico City essentials TIME ZONE: GMT –5 VISAS: Not required by UK nationals LANGUAGE: Spanish CURRENCY: Mexican Peso, £1 = MXN26 CONTACT:

BOOK IT Journey Latin America offers the 14-day Eagle: Aztecs, Mayas and Conquistadores group tour, including Mexico City, Oaxaca and Merida, and flights, from £2,028pp based on two sharing.




range of subjects, from the unmissable National Museum of Anthropology, one of the most important collections of its kind in the world, to tequila and chocolate.

For foodies Mexican cuisine has been granted UNESCO ‘Intangible Cultural Heritage’ status, and there’s everything from taco stands to molecular gastronomy. Clients will need to book well in advance for top restaurants, such as Pujol and Quintonil, but street food is an integral part of Mexican culture and it’s worth doing a smallgroup tour with Eat Mexico (

Shop-'til-you-drop Mexico has a rich tradition of folk art and crafts, and at Bazaar Sabado, the Saturday market in the charming neighbourhood of San Angel, stalls spill out into the cobbled streets around the Plaza San Jacinto, selling everything from textiles to jewellery and kitsch art. Or for highend Mexican design, check out the shops at the downtown complex in the Centro Histórico.

Aztec appeal Factor in an afternoon gliding along the city's network of Aztec waterways in a brightly coloured trajinera, or punt, at the Floating Gardens of Xochimilco. It’s also worth travelling 50 kilometres northeast of the city to Teotihuacan and its monumental Aztec temples and pyramids dedicated to the sun and moon. 

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country profile

Philippines Scenic islands – great food - wellness and spas PHILIPPINE DEPARTMENT OF TOURISM

Festive flavour San Isidro Pahiyas Festival is a colourful celebration on May 15. Every house is adorned with fruits and flowers and processions are held in honour of San Isidro de Labrador, patron saint of farmers. Historic town Vigan in Ilocs Sur is a wellpreserved 16th century Spanish colonial town with rustic mansions and cobbled streets. Visitors can explore this UNESCO World Heritage Site on a horse-drawn carriage.


Volcanic vibes Mount Pinatubo is one of the country’s 37 volcanoes. In Central Luzon, it last erupted in 1991 and is still active. A hiking tour takes in moon-like landscapes, rivers and a crater lake with magnificent vistas. Getting fruity The fruits in the Philippines are among the best in the world, especially the mangoes. Elsewhere, talented chefs are starting to turn Manila into one of the world’s emerging foodie capitals.


ree-spirited and enigmatic, the Philippines is a land of big smiles, paradise islands, fiestas, delicious cuisine and plenty more, says Rowena Marella-Daw

The Philippines is not your typical South East Asian destination. Its predominantly Catholic population and 377 years of Spanish occupation have much to account for when it comes to the Filipino way of life – a love of celebrations, fiestas, food and close family ties. Regardless of what nature or politics may throw at them, Filipinos bounce back and enjoy life, whether it’s in the glamorous enclaves of Manila or on the powdery white beaches of remote paradise islands. Warmth and hospitality are Filipino trademarks, and the country opens up endless possibilities to those who come with an open mind, carefree spirit and a sense of adventure.

FOODIE PARADISE Filipinos are, it seems, obsessed with food, which is why the culinary scene in the capital Manila is now bursting at the seams with eateries ranging from casual street food to fine-dining establishments serving cuisine from around the world. Talented home-grown and foreign chefs are bringing innovative dishes to the table, fuelling a culinary revolution that is earning Manila a place among the world’s foodie capitals. Filipino food is a hotpot of Chinese, Spanish and Malay influences, but beyond traditional favourites such as Adobo, Sinigang, Halo-Halo and regional specialities, the local


palate is warming up to more quirky, fusioninspired fayre. Manila’s gastronomic epicentres are Makati City and Bonifacio Global City (The Fort), both frequented by hip millennials, while the Manila Bay area’s City of Dreams is a one-stop hotspot packed with restaurants, bars, nightclubs and casinos. It’s also home to the swish Nobu, Crown Towers and Hyatt hotels. The buzzword in funky dining at the moment is ‘Toyo Eatery’ from chef-owner Jordy Navarra, who worked at Heston Blumenthal’s Fat Duck in the UK, and Michelin-starred Bo Innovation in Hong Kong. Tasting menus are also popular with foodies, and a must-try is Gallery Vask, the sole Filipino restaurant to make it onto Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants 2016 and 2017 list, thanks to José Luis ‘Chele’ González, whose repertoire brings indigenous ingredients to the fore. Culinary tourism in the Philippines is the one to watch.


BOOK IT WITH HAYES & JARVIS A 12-night deal in March 2018 starts from £2,799pp. The deal includes four nights at the five-star Pan Pacific Manila, four nights at the five-star El Nido Lagen Island in Palawan and four nights at the fourplus-star Discovery Shores in Boracay. It includes flights with Philippine Airlines.


Chocolate Hills Bohol’s 1,268 cone-shaped Chocolate Hills are the island’s main attraction. The endangered Tarsier monkeys, one of the world’s smallest primates, can be observed in their natural habitat.


Of the 7,107 islands that make up the Philippines, the Palawan Islands are the country’s pride and joy, gems endowed with pristine waters, untainted coastlines and secluded powder-white beaches. Its magical sub-tropical landscapes are made up of dense jungles, mountains, and the five-mile long Puerto Princesa Underground River, one of the

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country profile

New Seven Wonders of Nature. It’s no surprise then that Palawan takes number one spot in Travel + Leisure’s 2017 list of ‘The World’s Top 10 Islands’, adding to its pole position in last year’s ‘The Best Islands in Asia’ category. This is paradise in every sense, and preservation of its biodiversity – marine life, endangered endemic species such as the Palawan Hornbill, Philippine Pangolin, Palawan leopard cat and Palawan bearcat – is what responsible tourism is all about. El Nido’s Bacuit Bay is graced by limestone cliffs and lagoons, and is home to luxury resorts, while Coron will delight divers with its Japanese shipwreck sites teeming with barracuda. Coron’s terrain is punctuated by karst rock formations and steep cliffs rising above tranquil turquoise lakes, while over at Puerto Princesa the fishing village of San Vicente’s Long Beach is a 14-kilometre stretch of white sandy shores. This is the time to go, before development takes over (but hopefully not), as it did in Boracay Island, which morphed from a sleepy island getaway to a party island capital. There are still quiet corners left, and if you can tear yourself away from beach life several dive sites cater to all levels. Plus all manner of water sports can be enjoyed.



province of Batangas. It’s all about natural, organic living – medical assessments, alternative treatments, yoga, spa indulgences, delicious vegan cuisine, and elegant villas with pools. Just a short drive away is the region’s surfing coastlines.

ENDS OF THE EARTH On the wild islands of Batanes on the northernmost tip of the Philippines the main islands of Batan, Sabtang and Itbayat are blessed with craggy cliffs, rolling hills and mountains shrouded in mist. Basco, Batan’s capital is the starting point of the adventure. Peruse the coastal scenery, meet locals, visit the Basco lighthouse and historic Mahatao Church and wallow in wild beauty of Diura beach. Stay at Fundacion Pacita hotel; former home and studio of the late artist Pacita Abad. On board a faluwa, a native boat, head for Sabtang island, where traditional Ivatan limestone dwellings and ancient burial grounds open doors to the past.

“Coron’s terrain is punctuated by karst rock formations and steep cliffs rising above tranquil turquoise lakes.... whilst at Puerto Princesa the fishing village of San Vicente’s Long Beach is a 14km stretch of white sandy shores” 


Manila’s energy can overwhelm the senses, but visitors arriving from a long-haul flight can rest assured they will get quality pampering from the city’s top-notch spas. They can indulge in a massage at Dusit Thani Manila’s Devarana Spa, a facial at Shangri-La’s The Spa or a candle oil massage at Fairmont Makati’s Willow Stream Spa. Luxurious day spas offer specialist treatments, and the Filipino-style hilot massage will do wonders for aches and pains. But the ultimate in wellbeing retreats is The Farm at San Benito, worth a trip for a genuinely life-changing experience. Just a 90-minute drive from Makati, The Farm is an oasis ensconced within 48 hectares of coconut, coffee and cocoa plantations overlooking Mt Malarayat in the





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the final word

the quirky side of travel – Celeb seat mates – girl power – Coren goes hang – Hello from the other side Ballad-blaster Adele is the passenger British holidaymakers would most like to sit beside on a plane, according to a survey released by World Travel Market. The swearing songstress scooped 28% of the vote compared to Doctor Who (any-Who, it seems) with 21% and Game of Thrones' brooding Jon Snow, aka Kit Harington, who got only 13%. Unsurprisingly, politicians appeared much further down the seat-mate rankings, with Theresa May scraping 10% of the vote, and Donald Trump on 7% (well, a good debate makes the time literally fly by). But, would you 'belieber' it, both these beleaguered leaders were ahead of Canadian pop star Justin Bieber, who scored a paltry 4%.

TOP 6… Obscure lucky charms Battle of the booze As Ryanair calls on airports to limit alcoholic drinks to two per person, that famous British spirit rises up like Baileys on a slippery nipple shot. A survey shows that 7% of those asked were drinking fiveplus pints and 15% three to four pints (or equivalent) before boarding. Said Caroline from London: “To be honest we had a few in the minibus before the airport, but that’s when the holiday starts.” Now that's thinking outside the box!

One man's trash or cheap trinket is another man's talisman, according to which has identified these global favourites...


Daruma dolls, Japan


Dolphins, Italy


Beaded turtles, North America


Hamsa hand, Israel


Scarab beetle, Egypt


Carp scales, Central Europe

Ben finally zips it Is it a bird, is it a plane, or is it Selling Travel's Benjamin Coren 'hanging' (in both senses of the word) over Bootleg Canyon on a recent trip to Las Vegas? Benjamin took a zipline tour over Bootleg Canyon with Flightlinez, located in Boulder City, Nevada, and became the first person in decades to lose momentum mid ride. Despite dangling over the canyon and requiring rescue, Ben assures us he nailed the other lines at up to 60mph!

THE JANUARY 2018 ISSUE OF SELLING TRAVEL WILL FEATURE: • Bermuda • Charleston • Colombia • India by rail • Indochina • Indonesian adventures • Macao • New Zealand's hidden gems • Oslo • South Africa • Tenerife • Touring holidays • Ultra luxury & premium all-inclusive Indian Ocean • CONTACT US; PLUS ONLINE Daily Selling Tips • Destination Guides • Photo Galleries • Travel Uni

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Selling Travel December 2017  
Selling Travel December 2017  

The world in one magazine Cover Story: Thailand, plus how to sell... What's hot 2018 • Nevada • Escorted Oz • Egypt • Philippines • Selling...