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JULY/AUGUST 2019 • sellingtravel.co.uk

TRAVEL TRADE PUBLICATION OF THE YEAR 2018

CANARY ISLANDS • THE ALGARVE & MADEIRA • BALEARIC ISLANDS • MAINLAND SPAIN CROATIA & MONTENEGRO • GREECE • CYPRUS • TURKEY • ITALY • MALTA & GOZO

WELCOME TO

INDULGENT ESCAPES BOOK FOR ONLY

£60 DEPOSIT PER PERSON*

COMPLIMENTARY IN-FLIGHT DRINKS

LUXURY 5 STAR HOTELS

25KG BAGGAGE ALLOWANCE

PRIVATE TRANSFERS INCLUDED

COMPLIMENTARY LUXURY GIFT

*Terms and conditions apply. Please see you local travel agent for full details.

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JULY/AUGUST 2019 • SELLINGTRAVEL.CO.UK

TRAVEL TRADE PUBLICATION OF THE YEAR 2018

DESERT ISLAND MIX Why a cruise offers the perfect introduction to the countries of the Caribbean

how to sell...

Mediterranean South Africa Middle East California

Be inspired

TOURING HOLIDAYS Page 83

Canada Namibia and more...

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T H E WO R L D ' S O N LY

Luxury Included

®

HONEYMOON

Sandals offers all the luxuries of a 5-star resort with so much more, because here, the best of everything is included. Every land and water sport. Exclusive 5-Star Global Gourmet™ dining at up to 16 restaurants per resort, and endless pours of premium spirits and Robert Mondavi Twin Oaks wines. Our resorts are set on the Caribbean’s best beaches, and our rooms & suites are some of the most romantic in the world. These are just some of the reasons Sandals has been voted the World’s Leading All-Inclusive Resorts 23 years in a row, and the perfect choice for your clients' dream honeymoon. 2018

23 Years Running

VOTED THE WORLD’S LEADING ALL-INCLUSIVE RESORTS

LUXURY INCLUDED

23

(22) YEARS IN A ROW AT THE WORLD TRAVEL AWARDS

®

Sandals has the grandest of pools, most spectacular beaches, extraordinary amenities, and sumptuously appointed accommodation. But it’s the unrivaled 5-star service provided by our staff that keeps our guests coming back time after time.

THE MOST EXCLUSIVE SUITES Our 5-star accommodation, called Love Nest Butler Suites®, are ranked among the finest and most romantic in the world. From Over-the-Water Villas to Millionaire Suites, our guests will enjoy luxurious amenities, private plunge pools and world-class concierge and butler service.

UP TO

MASTERS OF EXCELLENCE IN THE CULINARY ARTS

16

GOURMET RESTAURANTS

PER RESORT. ALL INCLUDED. ALL UNLIMITED. Guests will enjoy unlimited dining at up to 16 restaurants! From freshly rolled sushi at Soy, to Filet Mignon steak cooked to perfection at Butch’s Chophouse, we serve cuisine to please even the toughest foodie! Your clients will enjoy unlimited premium brand drinks at up to 11 bars per resort. From cocktails at the swim-up pool bar to a glass of fizz on a rooftop bar overlooking the Caribbean sunset, it’s all included in the price of your clients' honeymoon.

LOVE IS ALL YOU NEED TO BOOK CALL 0808 164 3459 VISIT SANDALS.CO.UK/AGENTS *Mandatory caddies or carts at cost. ^Cost includes two free dives per day for certified divers . Additional T&Cs may apply.

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MORE QUALITY LAND & WATER SPORTS THAN ANY OTHER RESORTS IN THE CARIBBEAN From championship golf* to motorised water sports like waterskiing and scuba diving^, only Sandals includes more quality land and water sports than any other resorts in the Caribbean. It’s all included, all unlimited!

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contents

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this issue

WE TRAVEL FURTHER TO BRING YOU MORE FEATURES 08 Cruising the Caribbean: Perfect for Island hopping 32 The Mediterranean: A people pleaser 39 Middle East: How to switch-sell to it now 78 South Africa: Slow down on the Blue Train

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32 36 08

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QUICK READS 11 Profile: Namibia 30 48 hours in: Bangkok 36 My Journey: St Vincent

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& the Grenadines

71 Introducing: Ethiopia 72 How to sell: New South Wales

76 My Journey: California TALKING SHOP 13 Agent news and views CANADA 48 Show report: Rendezvous 2019

52 Travel talk: Destination Canada

53 City profile:Toronto 54 My Trip in: Ontario 57 Spotlight on: Alberta

TOURING

MIDDLE EAST

NAMIBIA

SOUTH AFRICA

39

83 11

78

THE REVIEW 61 News & show reports TOURING 84 Trends in touring 89 Touring four ways 91 Interview: Shearings 94 Fresh touring ideas 97 Take five: Off-the-

MED HOLIDAYS

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

ALBERTA

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4

welcome

WINNER

TRADE PUBLICATION OF THE YEAR – PRINT & ONLINE

EDITORIAL EDITOR

Laura Gelder laura.gelder@sellingtravel.co.uk JOURNALISTS

Jessica Pook, Sasha Wood & April Waterston CONTRIBUTING EDITORS:

Andy Hoskins & Julie Baxter EDITORIAL DIRECTOR

Steve Hartridge

SALES PUBLISHERS

Steve Thompson steven.thompson@sellingtravel.co.uk Sally Parker sally.parker@sellingtravel.co.uk ADVERTISING MANAGER

Lisa Merrigan lisa.merrigan@sellingtravel.co.uk

DESIGN & PRODUCTION SENIOR DESIGNER

Louisa Horton DESIGNERS

Ross Clifford, Caitlan Francis & Zoe Tarrant PRODUCTION & STUDIO MANAGER

Clare Hunter

A Greek tragedy (almost)

L

ast week, as I lay on my sunbed on the beautiful Greek island of Kefalonia, I realised I had became a traveller cliché in more ways than one. First of all I was one of many, many people reading a dogeared copy of Captain Correlli's Mandolin. Secondly, I was not only British but also horribly sun-burnt thanks to my new eco-friendly, but useless, sun screen. And thirdly, I'd consulted Google on what was the loveliest beach. Consequentially I was sharing it with hundreds of other clichés, booming Ibiza-style beats and several thousand wasps, Laura Gelder buzzing amidst the packed and baking bodies - it may have EDITOR been lovely once, but not now! I left shortly after and happened upon a smaller, quieter beach, with the same smooth white pebbles and clear lapping water but less stinging insects and a gentler soundtrack of Greek music wafting out of the taverna along with the smell of roasting souvlaki. Aside from Louis de Bernier's novel, it was a travel agent who made me yearn for this particular Greek isle, our former columnist Barbara Charlton. If only I'd spoken to her again before I went I'd never have visited that over-hyped, over-packed beach! If you read our current columnists' page this month (page 24) you can hear their opinions on over-tourism and how to handle it - from recommending more off-thebeaten-track itineraries to switching clients to travel in low season. As well as writing her column for us, Sandy Murray ran the 22nd Yorkshire Travel Ball this July (see page 22) and we were delighted to attend, along with 200 agents. In true travel industry style, much fun was had but the event also raised £8,500 for charity. In this case it was animal charities, including one dedicated to Greek cats, a cause even closer to my heart since I Ieft three kittens behind in Kefalonia.

PRODUCTION ADMINISTRATOR

Steve Hunter

BMI PUBLISHING MANAGING DIRECTOR

Matt Bonner CEO

Martin Steady (PRINT) ISSN 2056-9319. © BMI PUBLISHING LTD 2019.

SELLING TRAVEL IS PUBLISHED BY BMI PUBLISHING LTD: SUFFOLK HOUSE, GEORGE STREET, CROYDON, SURREY, CR9 1SR, UK. T: 020 8649 7233 E: ENQUIRIES@BMIPUBLISHING.CO.UK BMIPUBLISHING.CO.UK • SELLINGTRAVEL.CO.UK WE ARE MEMBERS OF THE CARIBBEAN TOURISM ORGANIZATION, VISIT USA ASSOCIATION, LATA, PATA, MENATA, SATOA, THE FOREIGN AIRLINES ASSOCIATION AND THE INSTITUTE OF TRAVEL & TOURISM. WHILE EVERY EFFORT IS MADE TO ENSURE ACCURACY, BMI PUBLISHING LTD CANNOT BE HELD RESPONSIBLE FOR ANY ERRORS OR OMISSIONS. COVER IMAGE: ISTOCKPHOTO.COM This publication is printed on Revivew 100 Media and Revive recycled coated, recycled paper grades that are FSC® Recycled certified and Carbon Balanced.

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Britain’s leading independent cruise line presents Grand Round the World Cruise 120 nights - 6th Jan 2021 1st Adult from £17999 2nd Adult FREE - £8999pp

Worldwide Winter Cruises 2020/21 Our biggest ever winter cruise collection On sale now! BUY ONE GET ONE FREE PLUS ADDED VALUE BENEFITS ON SELECTED CRUISES*

Marco Polo’s Grand Oriental Odyssey 110 nights - 5th Jan 2021 1st Adult from £16599 2nd Adult FREE - £8299pp South America & Amazon Discovery 84 nights - 7th Jan 2021 1st Adult from £12599 2nd Adult FREE - £6299pp Voyage to Australia & New Zealand 52 nights - 9th Oct 2020 1st Adult from £7779 2nd Adult FREE - £3889pp Grand Northbound Voyage to UK 74 nights - 1st Feb 2021 1st Adult from £9999 2nd Adult FREE - £4999pp

Book online at: www.cruiseandmaritime.com Call: 0844 414 6161 Agency Sales: 0844 414 6140 Brochures: www.trade-gate.co.uk Subject to availability. *Book by 31st August 2019. Terms & conditions apply. Offered for sale in the UK by South Quay Travel & Leisure Ltd trading as Cruise & Maritime Voyages. Calls cost 7p per minute plus your telephone comany’s access charge. ABTA V9945. ATOL 4619. C106/P103/G105/V001/V160TL. 5143

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the big picture

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Sri Lanka back in business

All aboard We wouldn’t usually feature the same destination twice in one year here, but Sri Lanka has been through a lot. The Easter terror attacks derailed tourism but since the FCO ban was lifted the travel trade has rallied round to help bookings recover quickly – with or without government help. Visitor numbers are already increasing, from 37,802 in May to 63,072 in June, so the comeback is firmly on track. See p51 for details. srilanka.travel; lovesrilanka.org

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xxxxx the caribbean cruising

island

Hopping The Caribbean’s many islands present the perfect canvas for a cruise and the chance to really appreciate its diversity by taking in several destinations on one trip, says Jane Archer

carlos ojeda photography

I

’ve just realised the plane I’ve seen in the distance is landing in Canouan, the little Grenadine island we were anchored off yesterday. Clearly we didn’t cruise very far overnight. I’m on SeaDream Yacht Club’s 112-passenger SeaDream I, on a Caribbean cruise with a difference. Since setting sail from Barbados, we’ve anchored off every island we’ve visited (Martinique, St Lucia, Bequia, Canouan and today Union Island), not seen any other ships and bumped into just a handful of tourists. It’s a perfect way to enjoy the ‘other’ Caribbean, the one away from the crowds, where life is unhurried and simple pleasures such as swimming, snorkelling

or reading a book fill the days. I’ve visited a turtle sanctuary in Bequia, put the world to rights with Rastafarian Ezra at his beach bar in Canouan and hiked up to a fort on St Lucia’s Pigeon Island. On board I’ve tucked into some of the tastiest food afloat and passed fun evenings at the al-fresco top-of-the-yacht bar. Because there are so few of us, waiters and bar staff soon got to know our names, likes and dislikes. Whenever they see me, they veer off and return with a glass of Champagne. Extravagant? Not really. As with all drinks on SeaDream, it is included in the fare, as are tips. It pushes up the price, but makes things super friendly – and with just 112 of us on board, that is important.

Market update One of the things that makes Caribbean cruises such an easy sell for agents is that there is a holiday for everyone. If the small ship, getaway-from-it-all experience does not appeal, clients have plenty more vessels and itineraries to choose from. Families can sail with Royal Caribbean International on the world’s biggest cruise ships or race go-karts on Norwegian Cruise Line vessels; there are ultra-luxury ships and sailing vessels, even cruises from the UK with P&O Cruises, Saga Cruises and Fred Olsen Cruise Lines for those who don’t want to fly. There are budget fares or all-inclusive prices with Regent Seven Seas Cruises; one or two-week voyages, port-intensive

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cruising the caribbean xxxx xxxx

itineraries and cruises with multiple sea days for those who love life at sea. The Caribbean is a perennial favourite with British cruisers, attracting some 295,000 passengers in 2018 – 7% more than 2017. “Thanks to the mix of fabulous destinations and cultures, breathtaking scenery and the opportunity to see a different island every day, it’s a fantastic cruise destination,” said CLIA UK and Ireland Director Andy Harmer. CLIA Chair Tony Roberts told the association’s Southampton conference in May that the cruise market is down due to the uncertainty of Brexit. However, Roberts, who is also Princess Cruises’ UK & Ireland Vice-President, added that the Caribbean remains one of his company’s ‘fastest-growing destinations’. “It’s always a popular cruise destination … because of the range of itineraries that encompass so many of the islands as well as the guarantee of white sandy beaches, plenty of sunshine and the warm Caribbean sea.”

Silversea UK Managing Director Peter Shanks said the Caribbean will always do well due to its ‘unique mixture of relaxation and culture’. He said: “A cruise is the best way to see the Caribbean, visiting both famous and ‘out of the way’ islands.” As an added incentive, Silversea is offering free shore excursions on selected cruises booked by July 31 2019. Shanks added: “Silversea’s smaller ships access more of those ‘out of the way’ places and travel deeper to experience the very best of the Caribbean.”

What’s new Ships: Norwegian Cruise Line’s new Norwegian Encore, launching November 2019, makes its Caribbean debut this winter with a go-kart circuit and Italian restaurant called Onda. Sky Princess enters service for Princess Cruises this autumn with new features including French restaurant La Mer and Sky Suites. It will spend the winter sailing

9

Eastern and Western Caribbean itineraries. Ritz-Carlton makes its cruising debut in February with the yacht-like Azora. It holds 298 passengers and sails from Fort Lauderdale to Barbados, Aruba, St. Maarten and St Lucia. Scarlet Lady, Virgin Voyages’ first new ship, launches in April 2020. An adults-only vessel, it will offer five-night sailings to Mexico and four-night short breaks to Key West and Bimini in the Bahamas, roundtrip from Miami. Itineraries: Carnival Cruise Line has new seven-night sailings from Port Canaveral to Mexico, Puerto Rico and Turks and Caicos, starting October 2020 on Mardi Gras, a new ship launching in August next year. From £624pp cruise-only. Royal Caribbean’s Independence of the Seas is sailing new five-night cruises from Fort Lauderdale to CocoCay, the company’s just-opened Bahamian private island, from May to November 2020. From £619pp cruise-only. Celebrity Cruises has a new seven-

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msc rights

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xxxxx the caribbean cruising

royal owned

combine cruising and a private island stay with msc

danny lehman

snorkelling in cozumel, the mexican caribbean

norwegian breakaway

night Eastern Caribbean cruise roundtrip from Fort Lauderdale on Celebrity Edge that visits Puerto Rico, the British Virgin Islands and St. Maarten. From £1,269pp cruise-only. Shore excursions: MSC Cruises has partnered with US lifestyle guru Martha Stewart to offer celebrity-branded tours in the Caribbean such as cooking classes, garden visits and market trips. Starting this winter, clients on Marella Cruises’ seven-night Pride of Panama voyage can take a tour from Santa Marta in Columbia into the foothills of the Sierra Nevada to meet and dine with the country’s indigenous Kogi tribe.

Top experiences Discover what’s cooking: Celebrity Cruises’ five-hour chef-led tour from Philipsburg, St. Maarten takes visitors to fish and produce markets to pick up

Royal Caribbean’s flowrider

Royal Caribbean in labadee, haiti

ingredients for an exclusive dinner on the ship, as well as tasting French specialities at La Plantation Hotel. From £245pp. Life balance: A four-hour tour from Charlotte Amalie in St. Thomas with Crystal Cruises includes paddle-boarding, yoga and snorkelling in search of stingrays in a mangrove lagoon and marine reserve. Price not yet set. Climbing Dunn’s River Falls: The Jamaican icon is one of Caribbean’s most sought-after experiences. The boulders are slippery, the water is gushing and you certainly get wet, wet, wet. Most lines go there. Carnival’s six-hour tour from Ocho Rios, pairing the falls with a jeep safari, costs from $108pp. Snuba at Pigeon Island: The St. Lucia spot is a favourite for snuba diving, a cross between snorkelling and scuba that allows beginners to dive to 20 feet without struggling with tanks as they

follow on a raft on the surface. Oceania Cruises’ three-hour snuba adventure costs from £77pp.

Where to book it Seabourn – 0344 338 8615 For 14 nights of all-inclusive luxury the Classic Caribbean Yacht Harbours cruise round-trip from Barbados departs January 4, 2020. Fares from £5,298pp for cruiseonly but including all meals, drinks and staff gratuities. seabourn.com MSC Cruises – 0203 426 3000 Tick off six islands in one trip and enjoy two days on MSC’s new Ocean Cay private island with the cruise line’s 14-night Southern Caribbean cruise, round-trip from Miami, departing January 11, 2020. Fares are from £1,449pp, cruise-only but including all meals. mscbook.com 

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country profile

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Namibia What Namibia lacks in tourist numbers it makes up for in wow factors such as giant sand dunes, stark salt pans, wild coastlines and bucket-list wildlife, says Debbie Ward Don’t miss... Soussusvlei A photographer’s dream, the national park here has spectacular dunes whipped into pleasing shapes by the wind, some footed by dramatically twisted and desiccated trees. Climb the most accessible dunes at dawn for knockout views.

Etosha A safari in a shimmering saltpan makes for great game viewing. Elephant, giraffe, springbok and zebra are common, along with ostriches and birds of prey, while it’s possible to see cheetah and leopards. It’s an easy place to self-drive, best visited July to October.

Damaraland Amid the rugged scenery of Southern Damarkand see UNESCO-listed Bushman rock art thousands of years old at Twyfelfontein. Take a game drive to search for the desert-adapted elephants seen in David Attenborough’s Planet Earth.

Swakopmund Germanic-style coastal base Swakopmund offers activities like sand-surfing and paragliding. The huge seal colony at Cape Cross is a half-day trip away. Sleepy neighbour Walvis Bay is the gateway to prolific birdlife hangout Sandwich Harbour.

It’s only as I turn to make a 360° video at the top of ‘Big Daddy’ dune that the height hits me. I giddily sink to the sand to take a breather. The view is nothing short of spectacular. In every direction are ripples of golden and reddish dunes, dramatic in the light and shade of dawn. In Dead Vlei, an arid valley far below me, I know the moving dots I see are people photographing the stark skeletons of antique trees that were left behind when a river changed course. This is Soussusvlei, long on my travel wish list, and it has managed to exceed my high expectations. Namibia may not receive the high tourist numbers of some of its neighbours, but it’s not for lack of any wow factor. Epic dune-filled Soussusvlei, within Namib-Naukluft National Park, is just one of the attractions. The country also has renowned safaris on the salt pan of Etosha National Park, while the coastline, with its own wildlife, makes a pleasant respite from the desert. There’s also tribal heritage in the Damarland region. Namibia is generally best visited May to October. Common advice is to avoid January, but early that month I found temperatures manageable and just handfuls of people at the key sights. In fact, with a low population and less advanced tourism, Namibia’s hotspots are quieter than South Africa’s at any time of year. With the Namibian dollar pegged to its neighbour’s weak rand, it’s also a goodvalue destination, while a time difference of just two hours means no jetlag.

BOOK IT WITH... KUONI Kuoni’s Namibia Explorer is a 14-night small group tour, taking in Etosha National Park, Damaraland, Swakopmund, Soussevlei and Windhoek. A special offer of £3,898pp applies to the October 26 2019 departure. The operator also offers Namibia self-drives. agents.kuoni.co.uk

A YOUNG HIMBA WOMAN

NEW LODGES Namibia has accommodation to suit many budgets. At the luxury end, new last year were Omaanda, a lodge on a private reserve near Windhoek; eight-room Shipwreck Lodge, on the Skeleton Coast; and its sister, Hoanib Valley Camp, with six tented rooms, in the North West. This year retro-themed Sonop has debuted at Karas in the southern Namib Desert.

ACCESS OPTIONS Access is indirect from the UK. Look out for competitive fares via Frankfurt but it’s an attractive twin with Cape Town. Most fly in and out of the low-key capital, Windhoek, but limited international services to coastal Walvis Bay offer an attractive open jaw option. With low crime and just a few straight roads traversing the country, Namibia is an easy place to self-drive and appeals to independent travellers.Those headed for Soussevlei should expect rough surfaces. Escorted tours are offered by operators including Travel 2, Kuoni, Abercrombie & Kent, G Adventures, Intrepid and Exodus.

ITINERARIES

SELF DRIVE IS EASY IN NAMIBIA

Typical itineraries of two weeks or less take in Etosha, Soussevlei, Damaraland and the coast. Those with more time can reach Fish River Canyon in the South Africa’s deepest - plus the eerie Skeleton Coast, so named for its shipwrecks caused by rocks and fog before GPS. 

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DIFFERENT COLOURS, SAME FEEL

Fly direct twice daily London to Bangkok with the combined, bigger network of THAI and Thai Smile. Enjoy smooth as silk service levels, all priviledges and more destinations. #FlySmootherWithOurSmiles

thaiairways.com thaismileair.com

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Talking Shop INSPIRED BY YOU T h e i n s i d e t ra c k o n t ra v e l

This time it's personal

Find out what our from agents learnt ia gue on River Cruise D18lo page

THIS year's Selling Travel Agents Choice Awards sees several new categories but it's worth giving a special mention to the new trade rep award. Make sure you take the time to vote for that helpful person who makes your job easier. We are giving away an award for the best reps working for a tour operator, airline, cruise line, hotel and tourist office. Turn over to find out more about this years' awards...

Save £800 with APT charter APT is offering an £800pp saving for new bookings on its Majestic Danube Luxury River Cruise when booked by August 31, 2019. APT will charter the AmaMagna on June 14, 2020 for the one-off summer departure, sailing from Romania to Germany. aptouring.co.uk

Contents 27

ON LOCATION

Park passes with JA Resorts October 7, 8 & 9

SELLING TRAVEL AGENTS CHOICE AWARDS EVENTS Come and meet your Selling Travel Agents Choice Awards finalists at our networking events in London (October 7), Leeds (October 8) and Manchester (October 5) and be in with a chance to win some fantastic prizes. Register online at sellingtravel.co.uk

KIDS aged three to 16 years can enjoy various Dubai Parks free when agents book a stay at a JA Resorts & Hotels property before August 31. jaresortshotels.com

DISNEY

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IN THE OFFICE

24

FOUR-SIGHT

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14

The 2019 awards finalists

Airlines & Airports

AIRLINE TO THE FAR EAST: Cathay Pacific, Japan Airlines, Singapore Airlines, Thai Airways, Vietnam Airlines AIRLINE TO NORTH AMERICA: Air Canada, British Airways, Delta Air Lines, United Airlines, Virgin Atlantic AIRLINE TO LATIN AMERICA & THE CARIBBEAN: Air Europa Lineas Aereas, British Airways, LATAM Airlines, Norwegian, Virgin Atlantic AIRLINE TO THE MIDDLE EAST: Emirates, Etihad Airways, Gulf Air, Oman Air, Qatar Airways AIRLINE TO INDIA & THE INDIAN OCEAN: Air Mauritius, Air Seychelles, Emirates, Etihad Airways, Qatar Airways

AIRLINE TO AUSTRALASIA & THE PACIFIC: Air New Zealand, Fiji Airways, Korean Air, Philippine Airlines, Qantas Airways AIRLINE FOR BUSINESS CLASS: All Nippon Airways (ANA), Etihad Airways, Garuda Indonesia, Hainan Airlines, Qatar Airways AIRLINE FOR PREMIUM CLASS: Air New Zealand, British Airways, China Southern Airlines, Lufthansa, Virgin Atlantic AIRLINE FOR ECONOMY CLASS: El AL Israel Airlines, EVA Air, South African Airways, Thai Airways, Turkish Airlines OVERSEAS REGIONAL AIRLINE: Avianca, Bangkok Airways, Fiji Airways, Westjet Airlines, Virgin Australia

AIRLINE TO EUROPE: Air Malta, British Airways, easyJet, Jet2, Croatia Airlines

OVERSEAS AIRPORT: Amsterdam Schiphol, DFW Airport, Dubai International Airport, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, Singapore Changi

AIRLINE TO AFRICA: Royal Air Maroc, Ethiopian Airlines, Kenya Airways, South African Airways, Tunisair

UK AIRPORT: East Midlands , Liverpool John Lennon Airport, London City Airport, London Gatwick, Manchester

Destinations

CITY BREAK: Abu Dhabi, Hong Kong, Lisbon, Macao, Tel Aviv

DESTINATION FOR BEACH – LONG HAUL: Bali, Cook Islands, Mauritius, Philippines, St Lucia DESTINATION FOR BEACH – SHORT HAUL: Bulgaria, Cyprus, Greece, Israel, Jersey DESTINATION FOR WILDLIFE & NATURE: Belize, Botswana, Costa Rica, Peru, South Africa DESTINATION FOR SOFT ADVENTURE: Australia, Canada, Chile, Namibia, New Zealand DESTINATION FOR SPA & WELLNESS: Dubai, India, Malta, Maldives, Thailand DESTINATION FOR WEDDINGS & HONEYMOONS: Barbados, Cyprus, Jamaica, Mauritius, St. Kitts DESTINATION FOR ECO FRIENDLY HOLIDAYS: Australia, Costa Rica, Kenya, Nicaragua, Norway

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FAVOURITE TRAINING EVENT/ ROADSHOW: Caribbean Tourism Organization, The Amazing Thailand Roadshow, Visit New South Wales, Visit Orlando, Visit USA

Tour Operators

TOUR OPERATOR TO AFRICA: Africa Pride, Cosmos, Gambia Experience, Kuoni, Somak Holidays TOUR OPERATOR TO AUSTRALASIA & THE FAR EAST: APT, Collette, G Adventures, Jetset Holidays, Premier Holidays TOUR OPERATOR TO EUROPE & NORTH AFRICA: Balkan Holidays, Inghams, Jet2 Holidays, Shearings, Titan Travel TOUR OPERATOR TO INDIA & THE INDIAN OCEAN: If Only, Explore, Osborne & Ebel, Premier Holidays, Travelpack TOUR OPERATOR TO LATIN AMERICA & THE CARIBBEAN: Cox & Kings, G Adventures, Journey Latin America, Latin Routes, Wendy Wu Tours TOUR OPERATOR TO THE MIDDLE EAST: Emirates Holidays, Gold Medal, If Only, Mercury Holidays, Travel 2

FOR SHORT HAUL ESCORTED TOURS: Newmarket Holidays, Riviera Travel, Scenic Cruises & Tours, Saga Holidays, Shearings FOR SENIOR TRAVELLERS: Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines, Leger Holidays, Inghams, Saga Holidays, Shearings FOR SOLO TRAVELLERS: G Adventures, Just You, Saga Holidays, Trafalgar Holidays, Titan Travel

Cruising

OCEAN CRUISING – SHORT HAUL: Cruise & Maritime Voyages, Hurtigruten, Fred.Olsen Cruise Lines, MSC Cruises, Saga Holidays

HOTEL/GROUP IN LATIN AMERICA & THE CARIBBEAN: AM Resorts, Belmond, Elegant Hotels, Iberostar Hotels & Resorts, Sandals

OCEAN CRUISING - LONG HAUL: Cunard Line, Celebrity Cruises, Princess Cruises, Royal Caribbean, Silversea

HOTEL/GROUP IN INDIA & THE INDIAN OCEAN: Attitude Hotels, Beachcomber, Fairmont Hotels, Lux Hotels, Sun Resorts

RIVER CRUISING - SHORT HAUL: A-ROSA, CroisiEurope, Riviera Travel, Fred.Olsen Cruise Lines, Newmarket Holidays

HOTEL/GROUP IN THE MIDDLE EAST: Atlantis, Dukes Dubai, JA Jebel Ali Beach Resort, Ritz Carlton, W Hotels

RIVER CRUISING – LONG HAUL: Crystal Cruises, Viking Cruises, Scenic Cruises & Tours, Titan Travel, Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection

HOTEL/GROUP ALL-INCLUSIVE: AM Resorts, Club Med, Hard Rock Hotels, bodyholiday Saint Lucia, Sandals

Hotels

TOUR OPERATOR TO NORTH AMERICA: Cosmos, Funway Holidays, North America Travel Service, Premier Holidays, USAirtours

HOTEL/GROUP IN AFRICA: Accor Hotels, Hilton, Protea Hotels, Sun International, Taj Hotels

FOR LONG HAUL ESCORTED TOURS: Cosmos, G Adventures, Riviera Travel, Titan Travel, Wendy Wu Tours

HOTEL/GROUP IN AUSTRALASIA & THE FAR EAST: Dusit Hotels & Resorts, Centara Hotels & Resorts, Hyatt Hotels & Resorts, Meritus Hotels & Resorts, Shangri-La Hotel & Resorts

Best of the Rest

TICKET PROVIDER: Attraction World, Do Something Different, Holiday Extras, Super Break RAIL: Belmond, Blue Train, Eurostar, Great Rail Journeys, Rocky Mountaineer CAR HIRE: Avis Budget Group, Affordable Car Hire, Alamo, Flexible Autos, Your Car Hire

HOTEL/GROUP IN EUROPE & NORTH AFRICA: Hyatt Hotels & Resorts, Iberostar Hotels & Resorts, Movenpick Hotels & Resorts, Maritim Hotels, NH Hotel Group

UK HOLIDAYS: Butlins, Hoseasons, Shearings, Super Break, Warner Leisure Hotels

HOTEL/GROUP IN NORTH AMERICA: Fairmont Hotels and Resorts, Hyatt Hotels & Resorts, Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants, Marriott International, Wyndham Hotel Group

Congratulations to all our awards finalists!

sellingtravel.co.uk

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16

•A Once you've voted for the best in the business, it's time to meet them face to face! The Selling Travel Agents Choice Awards networking parties are back! And this year we're crossing the country to get to you. Join us in: London (October 7) Leeds (October 8) and Manchester (October 9) and put yourself in the frame to win a fantastic prize. Meet with tour operators, hotels and resorts, airlines and airports, cruising representatives and more, all in one fun-filled evening. Best of all, every supplier present is giving away at least one prize - that's a lot of prizes! Sign up now at: sellingtravel.co.uk/events

MANCHESTER OCTOBER 9

zin

gp

riz

es

Our prize giveaway! DEADLINE FOR VOTING: OCTOBER 11

There's never been an easier way to win! Vote for your favourites in the Selling Travel Agents Choice Awards and you could be rewarded with a stay at a new five-star property, a food tour for two or some must-have travel goodies. Here's what's on offer so far...

A stay at Ness Walk, Scotland

Experience luxurious Scottish living with a one-night stay in the new fivestar Ness Walk hotel in Inverness. Guests will enjoy Champagne and canapes on arrival, a fine dining experience at Torrish restaurant and a complimentary breakfast. nesswalk.com

LEEDS OCTOBER 8

LONDON OCTOBER 7

ma

A stay at Reef Villa & Spa, Sri Lanka

Reef Villa & Spa is giving away a stay at its peaceful retreat spread over three acres of tropical gardens. Guests can enjoy the private beachfront, yoga lessons in the grounds or herbal salt scrubs at the Reefresh Spa. reefvilla.com

Two food tour tickets with Eating Europe

Treat your tastebuds with two tickets for a food tour with Eating Europe (worth around £180). You can choose from locations including Rome, Florence, London, Amsterdam, Prague, Paris, Lisbon, Naples, and Strasbourg. eatingeurope.com

Travel essentials from Destination NSW

Win a Vivid Sydney iPad case, featuring an image of the festival of light which takes place in Sydney from the end of May to mid-June each year. Plus, style it out on holiday with a lightweight Sydney-themed beach towel - the ultimate Aussie accessory. visitnswcom

sellingtravel.co.uk

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Who stands out from the crowd? NEW FOR 2019: Nominate your best TRADE REP This new category in the 2019 Selling Travel Agents Choice Awards will recognise the very important role of trade reps. We want you to nominate those people that support you most and go the extra mile to help you sell more travel. You can nominate just one of your favourite trade reps or a different rep in each of the sub categories which recognise those representing airlines, cruise lines, hotels & resorts, tour operators and tourist offices Visit sellingtravel.co.uk/awards/ tradereps

Trade Rep

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18

River cruise

Dialogue

The event

The event WHAT: Selling Travel River Cruise Dialogue WHERE: London & Manchester WHEN: July 9 & July 10 WHY: River cruising is a fast-growing sector, so we brought together top operators – A-ROSA, CrosiEurope, Fred. Olsen, Leger Holidays, Pandaw, Sanctuary Retreats, Scenic, Shearings and Titan – to talk about their products and give away some fantastic prizes.

“CLIENTS MAY FEEL SAFER AS THEY CAN ALWAYS SEE LAND, WHICH CAN BE COMFORTING” Sanctuary Retreats

Did you know? Shearings offers door-to-door service on its river cruises

CroisiEurope is the only operator to cruise the Loire Valley in France

Children under 15 travel free on all A-ROSA river cruises and most offer free kids’ clubs

Pandaw’s ultra-shallow vessel makes for great soft adventure river cruising”

Fred.Olsen offers FAMS and agent concessions as well as online training modules Leger offers 15-50% agent discounts on cruises, and, where possible, the chance for agents to experience the product Scenic’s Space Ship fleet features electronic beds and Vitality Pools, also every passenger has a butler service included

Don't miss our next event coming near you. Visit sellingtravel.co.uk/events sellingtravel.co.uk

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River cruise

19

Dialogue

How to sell... CrosiEurope

“Learn your rivers so that you can cater to your client. For example, Douro cruises are very scenic and rural whereas Rhine cruises stop at multiple cities”

A-ROSA

“Sell it like a city break where you get to see multiple cities but only have to unpack once”

Titan

“It’s a completely different market to ocean cruising. River cruisers go for the range of excursions and destinations rather than the cruise experience itself”

Sanctuary Retreats “You can experience developing countries such as Burma but still have the luxury and comfort of your cabin throughout”

River cruise is a huge focus for Titan because of the expansion in the market”

“RIVER CRUISING IS VERY SIMILAR TO ESCORTED TOURING. IF YOU HAVE TOURING CUSTOMERS YOU HAVE RIVER CRUISE CUSTOMERS” Leger Holidays

Follow us on instagram @sellingtravel and twitter @sellingtravmag sellingtravel.co.uk

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20

Fast facts

River cruise

Dialogue

Fred. Olsen’s Brexit promise offers a full refund and a free cruise if Brexix affects travel”

Words used to describe river cruising included:

nature culture city break laid-back exotic expensive relaxing pensioners food & wine

60% 50%

have seen AN INCREASE in river cruise enquiries

were not very confident in selling a river cruise BEFORE the event

40%

had sold a river cruise in the last year

77%

said that Selling Travel River Cruise events helped them to better sell

The most popular river cruise destination was:

83.2% Europe

11.1% Asia

5.6%

America

2%

Africa

sellingtravel.co.uk

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Event

Dialogue

FRED OLSEN CRUISE LINES

partners

21

River cruise

AROSA

CroisiEurope

Fred. Olsen

A-ROSA’s E-Motion ship, due for delivery in spring 2021, features large family cabins, a kids’ club and a separate kids’ pool. New battery propulsion technology enables emission-free sailing in and out of cities, and air bubble technology reduces fuel consumption. arosa-cruises.com

CroisiEurope offers all-inclusive drinks onboard all European cruises. The operator is expanding its worldwide river cruise programme in 2020 to include more exotic itineraries such as the Ganges in India and the Chobe in Africa. Clients can also cruise on a canal barge. croisieuroperivercruises.com

As most of its passengers are from the UK, Fred. Olsen prides itself on offering a home away from home feel. The operator is looking to add Luxembourg on the Moselle to its portfolio and is setting up Global Distribution System for the Amazon and the Nile. fredolsencruises.com

Leger Holidays

Pandaw

Sanctuary Retreats

Leger works alongside Silver Service and Luxuria coaches to offer local pick-ups for clients who don’t want to fly. New itineraries include Andalucia & Guadalquivir, a Danube to Black Sea Cruise, the Douro on CroisiEurope’s new ships and the Rhine & Moselle. leger.co.uk

Pandaw has launched a new 14-cabin K-class ship to sail the rivers in Myanmar. The operator is also offering free travel for under 18s on selected dates during the UK school holidays with activities to suit all ages including movie nights and free mountain bike hire. pandaw.com

Excursions are included on sailings to Egypt, China and Myanmar as well as Egyptology guides, an onboard doctor and private docks in Luxor and Aswan. The Sanctuary Nile Adventurer will join the refurbished Sanctuary Sunboat IV for regular four-night Aswan-Luxor sailings in September. sanctuaryretreats.com

Scenic

Shearings

Titan Travel

For 2019 all Rhine, Main and Danube vessels now include Salt Therapy Lounges. Each of the Royal Owner’s Suites has also been renovated, including baths with a river view. New for 2020 is an 11-day South of France itinerary and an eight-day Lower Danube Explorer tour. scenic.co.uk

Shearings offers three-, four- and five-star river cruises. Most itineraries also include air, rail or road transport and porterage all the way on the luxury coach option. The operator has taken larger allocations on A-ROSA vessels and now offers a five-star option on Amadeus vessels. shearings.com

Titan offers a VIP door-to-door return travel service on all river cruise bookings. The operator also charters two of its ships: Serenade 1 along the Rhine and the Bellejour along the Danube. Its Uniworld ships cruise in Europe, North Africa, Russia and the Far East. titantravel.co.uk

sellingtravel.co.uk

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22

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

Northern agents have animal welfare in mind Over 200 agents attended the annual Yorkshire Travel Ball in July, which raises money for animal charities across the globe. The event, which has been organised for the last 22 years by Selling Travel columnist Sandy Murray, gives agents the chance to network and catch up with operators and win some fantastic prizes. This year the ball raised money for Born Free, Elephant and Dog sanctuary in India, Soi Dog Foundation, Hull Greyhound Dogs, Donkey Sanctuary and the Greek Cat Rescue.

Record numbers for Abu Dhabi

Carnival Cruise rocks in Ibiza A group of 50 top-performing agents were rewarded with a three-night trip to Ibiza as part of Carnival Cruise Line UK’s Loyalty Rocks Club. The agents stayed at the Ibiza Rocks Hotel where they enjoyed exclusive access to a DJ Jax Jones pool party, a sunset cruise around the island and dinner and after-show party at Pikes Hotel. Surprise guest Dr Alex George from Love Island 2018 was on hand to present agents with their awards. carnival.com

Agents head down under Malaysia Airlines hosted a group of 11 agents from STA, ITC, Hays and Austravel on a trip to discover Australia’s Natural Coast, thanks to Tourism Events Queensland, Visit Sunshine Coast and Fraser Coast Tourism and Events. After landing in Brisbane, the agents enjoyed scuba diving, everglades tours (the region has one of only two everglades systems in the world) and a trip to the Noosa National Park before taking a ferry to Fraser Island to enjoy its seventy-five mile beach, unique lakes and huge sand dunes. Agents finished the adventure-packed trip in Hervey Bay. malaysiaairlines.com

The Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi hosted 178 travel agents across Chester, Manchester and London in what was its biggest roadshow yet. Agents heard from 17 Abu Dhabi suppliers and were presented with the latest news, including information about the new Qasr Al Watan, a palace offering an interactive journey through the emirate's Arabic heritage, and more Etihad Airways’ airlift from Heathrow. visitabudhabi.ae

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

sellingtravel.co.uk

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Sal t Plage

Meet... MAGGIE O'NEIL

Executive Travel Consultant at CJL Travel and an Azure Ambassador

BEACH BAR BLISS AT SALT PLAGE

Travel Training for Success debuts Homeworkers and independant agents heard from six trade partners including LJR Consultancy, Small Luxury Hotels, Azure Collection and Sunrise Marketing at the latest Travel Training for Success event in London. Agents attending the event organised by Jenny Jackson, a Classic Travel homeworker, included Not Just Travel, The Freedom Travel Group, Independent Travel Experts, Hays Travel and Explorer Travel. jenny@luxurytravelgurus.com

I'm so busy enjoying the cool breeze of the sea air that the jetty ahead seems to come out of nowhere! As we dock at Salt Plage, overlooking Whitehouse Bay, the first word that comes to mind is 'chic'. Barefoot sophistication is the theme and this is reflected in the stylish hammocks suspended over the water. It's already a highlight on our fam trip to St. Kitts and it's not long before there's talk of sinking into one of the plush daybeds to enjoy the ocean view. We're welcomed with music and dancers in colourful costumes, their warm smiles infectious, and it's easy to see how this chilled daytime oasis transforms into the go-to party place once the sun goes down. Full moon parties and DJs are popular among the locals and a signature cocktail, the SALT Plage Jumbie – a concoction of spiced rum with fresh pineapple, oranges, cherries and grated nutmeg – also helps to get you in the mood for a dance.

FAMILY APPEAL

Agents enjoy Premier trip to Jersey Premier Holidays took 18 agents on a mega-fam to Jersey for two nights, with activities including visits to the Jersey War Tunnels and Jersey Zoo, wine tasting at La Mare Wine Estate and a tour of some of the island’s hot spots such as Gorey, St Ouen’s Bay and Corbiere Lighthouse. premierholidays.co.uk

The adults don't get to have all the fun though, children are welcomed and eagerly come to spot fish swimming in the crystal clear waters from the jetty. There's also a menu serving island favourites such as plantain chips, fish tacos and lobster wraps to keep their hunger at bay. To say the least, I'm impressed by this trendy yet laid-back bar, but nothing could prepare me for what was still to come. Salt Plage is often described as the best spot to watch the sunset on the island and I watch in awe as wisps of pink and orange start to fade beyond the darkening horizon. I can't help but agree.

at for your bookings Get cash incentives uk stkittsrewards.co. sellingtravel.co.uk

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FOUR-SIGHT

24

Our columnists

With a cruise ship crashing in Venice and unseemly queues to climb the once remote and inaccessible Everest, we ask: is overtourism out of control and what can agents do?

Anneka in off-thebeaten-track Yukon...

...and her Welsh country retreat

We should be encouraging off-thebeaten-track itineraries OVERTOURISM is a growing problem, personified by that photo of climbers queuing on Everest. As an agency, we send travellers all over the world daily, and it does trouble me that we add to the problem. The question is, how do we ensure the world is kept open for all to explore, whilst also protecting the people, wildlife, flora and fauna that exist in all these popular destinations? It could be an idea to limit the number of visitors to national parks, for example, or enact special laws like those that restrict visitor numbers to the Galapagos Islands. But does this then make visiting such destinations an elitist experience, just for those that can afford it? I do believe that agents can certainly play a role in easing overcrowding in tourism destinations by switch-selling to a different one and encouraging people to explore more off-the-beaten-track places. A lot of my repeat Canada customers are keen to explore further afield away from British Columbia or Alberta and ask me to arrange more varied itineraries that include Saskatchewan, Atlantic Canada or, my favourite, Yukon Territory. Talking of Canada, I really enjoyed CanadaFest last month, a day of training, food, comedy and music with a festival theme. I’ve also been invited on a fam trip to the Maldives, and have just booked a break in Wales – not as glamorous as the Indian Ocean, but just a little ‘off the beaten track’, so I’m doing my small bit for overtourism!

A RECENT article in a U.S. Travel Journal listed the Galapagos, Majorca, Amsterdam, Angkor Wat, Machu Picchu, Santorini, Iceland, Bali, Barcelona, Venice and Mount Everest as the destinations most affected by overtourism - to which I would personally add Dubrovnik, Boracay and Rudesheim! As a cruise agent, I know the impact that large cruise ships can have when two or three visit a destination at once - both on the place visited and for the passengers who see the place in a crowded, unfavourable light. As a river cruise specialist, I am aware that the recent explosion of river cruise numbers is now leading to claims of 'too many ships' in some mooring locations. Several operators have looked to vary

We must look to operators who are being creative about schedules sailing dates, find alternative moorings and are now exploring lesser-known towns and villages. For example, AmaWaterways now focuses on Vilshofen rather than Passau or Nuremberg as the starting point of many of its Danube sailings. We must look to steer clients to operators who are being creative about schedules to avoid overtourism. My early May cycling weekend in Lake Bled was a good example of going out of season to somewhere that can suffer from excess tourists in high season. Lake Bled was deserted as the weather was too bad for any boating, and we cycled up empty mountain roads, well wrapped up against the snow!

THE FAMILY BUSINESS

THE CRUISE SPECIALIST

Southern Cross Travel, East Sussex

Go Cruise, Cruise specialist, Worcestershire

Anneka Desrosiers

James Hill

sellingtravel.co.uk

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FOUR-SIGHT

25

Our columnists

I'd never send anyone somewhere I would not go to myself I ALWAYS try to steer my clients away from the large resorts as there is nothing worse than an early morning 'stampede' for sunbeds or crammed beaches. When my clients go on holiday, it is to enjoy some quality family time, relax and experience some local culture, therefore my philosophy has always been to never send anyone to a resort, hotel or destination I would not go to myself. Outside the large hotels you can find wonderful family-run guest houses and local restaurants waiting to welcome tourists with open arms. And nothing beats the atmosphere of a Greek taverna with fresh wholesome food, and knowing you are helping their business to thrive. Meanwhile, I've been busy with my latest venture, Travel Training for Success, a training day for homeworkers and independent agents. These educational days are a great opportunity for agents to get together and hear from key trade partners about what they have to offer. At the event each partner has time to talk about their product portfolio, answer any questions and engage with the group. It's all about learning something new in this constantly evolving industry. So far we have welcomed agents from Not Just Travel, The Freedom Travel Group, Independent Travel Experts, Mid Counties Travel Group, Hays Travel Group and Explorer Travel, and I am currently working on some great venues outside of London.

OVERTOURISM has such a negative impact on the travel industry, yet it goes on day after day without much thought to the effect on the locals and the animals that are often associated with popular tourist attractions. For example, the treatment of the poor donkeys on Santorini has got even worse. In summer up to five cruise ships a day bring 1,200 tourists to the island. These tourists pay to ride the donkeys and as a result they are being crippled, with locals resorting to cross-breeding to produce mules so they can carry heavier tourists! However, there are signs that authorities are beginning to fight back. Popular Thai beach Maya Bay, which was made famous by the film The Beach, has been closed until 2020 to allow the eco-system time to recover. There have been protests against cruise ships docking in Venice after a recent collision and now even the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island in New York are limiting some tours. The Taj Mahal has also increased prices and set time limits. I would recommend looking at lowseasontraveller.com, a great tool for those who enjoy travelling out of season. Aside from a holiday in Crete, I've spent much of the last few months organising the annual Yorkshire Travel Ball, which again has attracted over 200 attendees. This year proceeds go towards helping the donkeys mentioned above as well as the Greek Cat Welfare Society, Soi Dog Foundation and Wildlife SOS for Elephants & Dogs. And my thought of the month: 'One thing you can give and still keep is your word’.

We should be promoting low season travel to clients

THE LUXURY SPECIALIST

THE HOME WORKER

Luxury Travel Guru

Sandy's Travel Escapes

Jenny Jackson

Sandy Murray

Jenny at herTravel Training for Success day

Sunset in Crete

er h the ownce it w y d n a S ourite pla of her fav Anfield Bar in Crete,

Next month our columnists talk about: Training and how to keep progressing professionally

sellingtravel.co.uk

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Untitled-1 1 99 Untitled-4 07-19-st.indd

7/18/19 03:59 PM 15/07/2019 11:50 11/07/2019 12:05


ON LOCATION

27

To b a g o To u r i s m Fa m Tr i p

Taken with Tobago BY SANDY MURRAY, HOMEWORKER It really is amazing the opportunities we get as travel agents. One minute I'm at an event talking to Tobago Tourism Sales and Marketing Manager, Stephen Smith (who it turned out had hosted me on a Cayman Islands trip 16 years ago!), the next I'm at Manchester Airport about to embark on the most amazing trip to Tobago – an island which claims to be unspoilt. Putting my watch back four hours to the local time, I settled into my flight with Thomas Cook, dreaming of sandy beaches and palm trees. I wasn't disappointed when I arrived at Le Grand Courlan Spa, which overlooks Stonehaven Bay, an uncommercial beach that attracts turtles for six months from March to August. Excited to make the most of this Caribbean adventure, I was surprised to hear that we would be attending Sunday School at 21.30 that evening – but I soon learnt this was no ordinary Sunday service! Instead of hymns and a stuffy church I turned up at a vibrant street party, complete with a steel drum band, rum punches and no religious element whatsoever. My kind of Sunday School! The next day we visited historical sites Fort Bennett and Fort James before attempting to decipher the Mystery Tombstone of Betty James, which reads: ' She was a mother without knowing it, and a wife without letting her husband know it except by her kind indulgence to him'. Curious!

TOBAGO

Our next stop proved perfect for bird watchers: the Adventure Nature Park is home to a huge number of hummingbirds that flock around feeders – perfect for that close-up photo. Hungry for some traditional Tobago food, we headed to the Blue Crab restaurant, run by long-term couple Kenneth and Alison Sardinha. Not only were we served a delicious meal, but by chance we also managed to look in on the couple whilst they filmed with celebrity chef Ainsley Harriott! As an animal welfare ambassador, I was keen to

visit Corbin Local Wildlife Park the next day. Having checked into Mt Irvine Bay Resort, another lovely hotel set in 154 acres and overlooking the sea, we explored this park which rescues and breeds endangered local wildlife. I was thrilled to learn about the ‘breed and release’ programme and we even saw an ocelot cat that had been rescued. The trip ended with a boat tour of Buccoo Reef with its turquoise Nylon Pool and, of course, time spent at Pigeon Point, which is often considered Tobago's most beautiful beach and great for people watching. I left already wanting to return. Tobago really is unspoilt, untouched and undiscovered.

Clockwise from top left: A hummingbird at the Adventure Nature Park; Tobago sunset; Sandy (centre) with Kenneth and Alison Sardinha at the Blue Crab restaurant; Pigeon Point Heritage Centre,; an ocelot at the Corbin Local Wildlife Park.

sellingtravel.co.uk

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agents talk

28

S e l l i n g Tra v e l l i s t e n s

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

SellingTravel

SellingTravelmag

@sellingtravmag

Agents overheard

Travel Agent rants & raves This month Jenny Jackson asked: "New divorce packages to Las Vegas from Virgin Holidays...Tacky or genius? Jenny Jackson Founder of Luxury

"When a customer shows you a hotel they've found in Ibiza and it's actually San Antonio, Texas!"

Travel Guru

"I LOVE IT! Las Vegas is clearly an all-occasions destination." "Get drunk, meet a girl and do it all over again, like Ross Geller from Friends." “But does it include Prosecco by the gallon for the ladies?" "I'm not sure how many people want to 'celebrate' a divorce, but I guess any excuse to head to the entertainment capital of the world!" "Personally I made this the last stop of my honeymoon, so Vegas really is an all rounder!" "TACKY, TACKY, TACKY!"

"I know a really good divorce counsellor if anyone is interested, which is probably better than this" "Nobody takes marriage seriously anymore! My grandparents have been married 60 years and my parents 25 years! People used to work through problems, nowadays any

little argument seems to end in a divorce!" "Vegas sees it all, weddings, stag and hen parties, honeymoons, so why not add divorce to the list?" "If you can't go and forget about your problems in Vegas then seriously, where can you?"

8nts, Sri Lanka Tour & 5nts, SAii Lagoon Maldives, Curio Collection by Hilton

£2159pp

fr

“I had a client complain that the hash browns were the wrong shape” "A woman asked if there was another way to get to Florida as she is too scared to fly. She called Flight Centre though..."

"My client asked if they could take haggis in their hand luggage to Spain"

0208 585 4020

holidays@travelpack.com

Highlights: Kandy • Nuwara Eliya • Udawalawa • Beruwala • Maldives Travel: 1 Sep 19 - 30 Sep 19 Package includes flights, accommodation & transfers.

social media.indd 28

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IN THE OFFICE

29

w i t h U s h m a Va l e r i o - No t J u s t Tra v e l

Consultant becomes travel's radio star

Is sharing caring?

"There's this misconception that luxury travel is reserved for those with a lot of money or for influencers to post on their social media, but people's perception of luxury is changing. Clients will often be open to adding a touch of luxury even to a standard city break. For example, perhaps they like the idea of adding a VIP lounge, a seat upgrade or even a private transfer. That’s what elevates the holiday to make it seamless and luxurious.

why it's so important to meet with suppliers regularly and stay up-to-date with new product and the latest openings."

Feeling the love

DISNEY

Not Just Travel consultant Ushma Valerio proved live on air that luxury 'Instagrammable' travel doesn't mean breaking the bank. "I overheard two Kiss FM presenters talking about a prize draw to win £40,000 and how they would spend the entire sum of money on an overwater villa in the Maldives. I knew that was an outrageous amount of money to pay and found myself calling the station and quoting £4,700 for the trip - meaning the pair could go eight times for the same money! I think an important part of our job is to educate people and reassure them that their dream holiday is achievable, so it was a really good way to open up that conversation, even if they were slightly taken aback."

"Instagram has been a game changer in travel and hugely influences where people go. Consumers will often see a destination or hotel on social media and want to stay there purely on that one post. It’s up to us as travel specialists to accommodate those requests and deliver these high expectations. "It’s no longer good enough to just offer a nice all-inclusive; customers are demanding an exact location and asking what else they get included in the price. There’s a culture of trying to outdo your friends nowadays and experience something that is very different to day-today life. It's great because it gives people a desire to travel, but it also demonstrates

"Bali has been a big seller in 2019; people are realising they don't have to compromise their standards because they're in a different country. I'm also seeing more demand for multi- generation holidays – it's great to be able to help families reconnect. "I love the time just before a client is due to go on holiday. It doesn't matter if I've invested four months on the most amazing safari booking or spent a few hours on a city break, It's just as exciting. I want to hear all about the trip and see all the photos when they get back. It’s so important to me to give that personal, friendly service.” ushmavalerio.notjusttravel.com

HY PHOTOGRAP MATT WILSON

People's perception of luxury is changing

0208 585 4020

The ultimate luxury train travel experiences in India £6759pp

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8nts, Maharaja Express

9nts, Palace on Wheels

Travel : 27 Sep, 22 Nov 19, 14 Feb, 3 Mar 20

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7nts, The Deccan Odyssey

Travel : 9 Sep 19

Package includes flights, accommodation & transfers.

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48 hours in

Bangkok Thailand’s capital is a large, bustling city that is as cultural as it is colourful and as trendy as it is traditional. From shopping to spas and Buddhas to bars, boredom is not an option, says Jo Gardner

TAKE IN THE VIEWS FROM THE THREE SIXTY ROOF TOP BAR

THE GRAND PALACE

Day 1: Get your bearings

EXPLORE LIFE ON THE RIVER

SAVOUR THE STREET FOOD FLAVOURS

Morning: Start with a bird’s eye view of the city to get your bearings. Many of the city’s high-rise hotels offer incredible views but if your clients aren’t up In the clouds, tell them to head to Spectrum for a coffee, a three-level bar atop the new Hyatt Regency Sukhumvit Hotel (hyatt.com). Taxi to MSW Pier and from here hop on a canal boat and cruise along the Chao Phraya river to Phan Pia. You’ll pass locals going about their daily life on the riverbank, temples gleaming in the sunlight, and boats selling local food all along the way. Afternoon: From Phan Pia Pier, walk up to Wat sa Ket (Golden Mount) and admire the striking white and gold temple that was built in 1350-1767AD. The gardens set around the temple feature mature trees and typical Bhuddist structures such as the main chapel, ordination hall and library. Back at the bottom, hail a tuk-tuk and whiz across to Chinatown for lunch. This area of Bangkok is packed with food outlets, shops selling gold, hotels, bars and market stalls. Shun the restaurants and order some street food – the dim sum

and noodle dishes are local favourites and particularly delicious (they are also as cheap as chips). Evening: For the best cut of steak in the city, head to The Rib Room in the Landmark Hotel (landmarkbangkok. com) and watch your steak being cooked on a large flame in an open kitchen. Then choose your sauce: blue cheese, garlic, mustard or Dijon. For a nightcap, get a tuk-tuk to Ironballs (ironballsparlour.com), a tiny gin bar with live music that wouldn’t be out of place in Soho. Try the elderflower and pink peppercorn speciality after a distillery tour.

Day 2: Get set and shop Morning: Use the cool of the morning to be outside. Dating back to the 1920s, Lumpini Park offers plenty of forestry shade as well as pretty flora and fauna in a whopping 500,000 metres of space. People come here to jog, row or paddleboat on the lake, picnic, play basketball, practice Tai Chi, work the open-air gym, and listen to live jazz performed here on Sundays. Afternoon: Escape the midday heat and blow the baht in the air-conditioned comfort of a

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48 hours in

gleaming mall. Head to Siam Paragon (siamparagon.co.th), for example, to buy fashion, high-end gadgets, homeware and even sports cars in modern luxury; or CentralWorld (centralworld.co.th) boasts 100 restaurants, a 15-screen cinema and an ice-skating rink; while MBK (mbk-center. co.th) is famous for affordable and fake; or EmQuartier offers labels galore. Evening: Head to Cultural Centre MRT station and from here walk to the Rot Fai Market. It's split into long avenues with antiques, secondhand toys and curios in the central strips; clothes, handbags and snack stalls around the periphery. For dinner, hunt out Leng Zapp where Leng, a traditional clear soup made from pork bones and dressed with chillies, herbs and spices, is a speciality. End how you started at a rooftop bar – Vertigo (on the 66th floor of the Banyan Tree Bangkok), Octave Rooftop bar (on the 45th floor of Bangkok Marriott Hotel Sukhumvit) or Three Sixty (on the 32nd floor of the Millennium Hilton Bangkok). 

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ADMIRE THE MIGHTY CHAO PHRAYA RIVER

31

“Use the cool of the morning to be outside. Lumpini Park offers plenty of shade as well as pretty flora and fauna in a whopping 500,000 metres of space”

BOOK IT... WITH PREMIER HOLIDAYS

SHOP THE MANY MALLS

Combine two nights in the Rembrandt Hotel, Bangkok (superior room) with eight nights in Hua Hin from £999pp, including a Bangkok by Night tour and Bangkok City and Temple tour, plus flights from London with Eva Air and transfers, departing October. trade.premierholidays.co.uk

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32

the mediterranean

out of the

Blue The Mediterranean is an enduring British favourite but there’s nothing tired or old about its current offering, says Jeannine Williamson

I

the caves of comino island, malta

feel as if I’m at home as I stroll through the charming cobbled streets of Valletta in the afternoon sunshine. Around me are familiar red postboxes, well-known high street shops and cars driving on the left. Although Malta has been independent for more than 50 years, the British influence is part of its enduring appeal. After browsing through a market selling inexpensive handmade lace, knitwear and honey, I head to Upper Barrakka Gardens, the highest point in the Maltese capital, with panoramic views across Grand Harbour. Right on 16.00 local history society members dressed in British artillery uniforms fire a gun salute. It’s a stirring sight and a throwback to the days when cannons protected the island against attacks and signalled the time of day. Next morning I take a 25-minute ferry ride to small, neighbouring Gozo, where life ticks by at a leisurely pace. Sea salt has been produced here for centuries and the salt pans glisten in the sun at Marsalforn. Afterwards I enjoy an al fresco lunch at Ta’Mena Estate in the countryside. Overlooking an orange grove, I tuck into platters of local cheese, salads bursting with flavour and oven-fresh rosemary-scented bread with wine from the estate. It provides a real taste of these beautiful islands, less than three hours from London.

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the mediterranean

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reliable cyprus

dramatic Puglia, italy

Numbers game In 2018 the number of UK tourists visiting Malta reached 640,570, up 14.2% from 2017. This strong performance is likely to continue, with Air Malta offering an increased 16 flights a week from London Heathrow, as well as from Manchester, Birmingham, Southend and Bristol. Peter Vella, Director UK & Ireland, Malta Tourism Authority, said: “Last year was a busy year as Valletta was the European Capital of Culture and the island hosted the first European TropOut [gay traveller] Festival as well as the annual calendar of festivals and events. Boasting 300 days of sun a year, the archipelago has a wealth of history, culture and stunning landscapes, which makes Malta appealing.” Elsewhere, Exsus Travel reports that Turkey is back on the radar with a rise in bookings. “As a result, we have revamped our Turkey product,” said Neil Sutton, Senior Account Manager for Europe. “We recommend the Six Senses Kaplankaya and Amanruya on the Bodrum Peninsula for their location and impressive facilities. And in Spain, the new Menorca Experimental, a pretty finca set in pine forests with private villas with pools, opens this summer. These villas are perfect for a weekend break or couple’s holiday.” Classic Collection has seen an increase

colourful turkey

in two- or multi-centre holidays, elegant com) is a short stroll away from the coffee rail journeys and rail and ferry transfers houses, bars and restaurants of Gran Via between resorts. Gary Boyer, Head of and within walking distance of attractions Purchasing, added: “The Mediterranean including the Marques de Don Aguas Palace is ideal for combining a cultural stay in and market. The hotel has a direct Metro a city with a few relaxing days in the sun link to the airport, providing short and by the sea or in easy transfers on a the countryside. weekend break. “The Mediterranean is Agents can enjoy the Majorca’s capital, ideal for combining a extra commission Palma, is 15 minutes cultural stay in a city with a from the airport and from these highervalue bookings and also good for short few relaxing days in the demonstrate the breaks. The new sun by the sea or in the value they bring to boutique property countryside” the holiday booking Palacio Can Marques Gary Boyer, Classic Collection process.” (palaciocanmarques. com) has 13 designer The weekend break suites with Murano lighting. Built in 1760, it From cultural city breaks to a few days on was previously a grand private home and the beach, and the majority of flight times retains many original features. less than three hours, the Mediterranean is perfect for weekend breaks. Sell it: Kirker Holidays offers a three-night weekend Malaga’s landmark Gran Hotel Miramar break in Malaga at the Grand Hotel Miramar from (granhotelmiramarmalaga.com) has £783. kirkerholidays.com launched new two-day Indulge + Detox packages combining relaxation, pampering The relaxing couples holiday and healthy menus. Treatments include Sales opportunities abound with a raft of a Dead Sea salt scrub, seaweed wrap and new openings. In Cyprus adult-only Amavi choice of massages. Hotel (amavihotel.com), offering couples Staying in Spain, NH Hotel Group recently side-by-side massages, cocktails by the pool opened a 47-room property in Valencia. The and romantic meals, is the first member NH Collection Valencia Colon (nh-hotels. of Made For Two Hotels, a brand

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the mediterranean

Spanish flamenco in action

launched by Kanika Hotels & Resorts. Pierre & Vacances (pierreetvacances.com) has opened the self-catering P&V Premium Residence Menorca Binibeca. Some of the 149 rooms have private rooftops and there is a free spa area. In Corfu, MarBella Hotels has unveiled the MarBella Nido Suite Hotel & Villas property (marbellanido.gr) featuring 70 suites and villas. And on the north-east coast of Sardinia the new Gabbiano Azzurro Suites is being offered by Just Sardinia (justsardinia.co.uk). Simpson Travel (simpsontravel.com) has introduced Katouna Suites, a stylish, adult-only retreat on Lefkada with accommodation cut into the hillside.

Balearic charms

the Kempinski Hotel Bahia (kempinski.com) they can take Andalusian cookery classes. Just Sardinia (justsardinia.com) has introduced S’Incantu Resort on the southeast coast, offering studio, one- and two-bedroom self-catering apartments with a pool, snack bar and mini club; while Simpson Travel (simpsontravel.com) has a new nanny service in Corfu. Portugal’s Algarve won the award for Europe’s Leading Beach Destination at the 2019 World Travel Awards for a recordbreaking sixth time. Its calmer beaches are perfect for small children, whilst older kids can enjoy watersports.

including wine and cheese tastings. Its other Mediterranean tours include a 10-night railand fly-holiday visiting Madrid, Malaga and Gibraltar. G Adventures (gadventures.co.uk) has a new 10-day crewed voyage from Venice to Zadar inspired by an ancient trading route, on a yacht sleeping up to eight. Unforgettable Croatia (unforgettablecroatia. co.uk), which recently launched a new eco-friendly initiative with the Blue World Institute of Marine Research and Conservation, offers seven-night sailings and 10-night cruise-and-stay packages in the Adriatic. 

Sell it: Travel2 offers seven nights in Paphos at the Amavi Hotel from £1,089. travel2.com

Sell it: Just Sardina offers seven nights near Villasimius at the S’Incantu Resort from £898 for up to four sharing. justsardina.co.uk

Sell it: Inntravel offers a six-night self-guided walking tour on Andros, Greece, from £635pp. inntravel.co.uk

The fun family holiday

A touring adventure

Mark Warner (markwarner.co.uk) has opened the Paleros Beach Resort on the Greek mainland. A multi-million pound refurbishment of an existing property brings 130 contemporary doubles, suites and family rooms set in beachside gardens to an unspoilt stretch of coastline. New activities for youngsters include exciting robotics workshops with 3D printing at MarBella Corfu (marbella.gr). And at Crete’s Elounda Peninsula All Suite Hotel (eloundapeninsula.com) there are children’s yoga classes and Greek dancing lessons. At

Matera in Basilicata is European Capital of Culture 2019 and Red Savannah (redsavannah.com) has a new self-drive tour through this little-known southern Italian region. Taking in neighbouring Puglia, the week-long itinerary includes B&B hotel accommodation, car hire, entrance fees to attractions and a cookery class. As Italy celebrates a year of ‘Slow Tourism’ in 2019, Planetrail (planetrail. co.uk) offers the new week-long Flavours of Tuscany itinerary combining rail travel to the Tuscan coast with a self-drive tour

algarve, portugal

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36

my journey

he t & t n e c n i V . t S

Grenadines

View At Dark Fallls

, surrounded by turtles ys ca ar st ie ov m to s for billionaire of the Grenadines w fe a d From islands designed an t en nc Vi . between St Kathryn Liston hops

I

’m face-to-face with a huge hawksbill turtle, its shell and cream belly so close to my mask I can almost count its markings. It turns and glides to join two others feeding on tufts of sea grass, but as I turn for the shore a huge stingray emerges, flapping its gigantic wings. I am snorkelling in the protected Baradal Turtle Sanctuary of the Tobago Cays, a cluster of five tiny, uninhabited cays, so remote that the desert scene of Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl was filmed on nearby Petit Tabac. My island hopping adventure starts in St. Vincent as we drive north along the Leeward coast, the narrowing road clinging tightly to the cliff edge. Lush forests and prettily painted houses in pastel pinks, blues and greens tumble down the mountainside onto black-sand beaches and looking-glass seas. We must inch our jelly-like legs across the long swinging bamboo bridge over the Richmond River to reach Dark View Falls, a magnificent waterfall cascading 110 ft down acliff face. The ice-cold water is a welcome relief from the intense heat but, unbeknowst to us, there’s more to come. We follow ranger Maxwell Robertson’s magnificent head of dreds up a flight of 57 steep steps, clambering over slippery boulders, jagged rocks and fast-running rivulets until we reach a second waterfall – a 229-foot thundering beauty directly above the first. Sadly, we don’t have time for the fourhour hike to the crater of the active Soufriere Saint Vincent volcano - a

rite of passage for island boys, which Maxwell did when he was 10 - but enroute to our hotel we enjoy views from Fort Charlotte. At private Young Island we find 29 secluded cottages, sparsely laid out and surrounded by the deafening din of tree frogs. Mine comes with a plunge pool, hammock and gorgeous sea views thanks to the 160 steep steps I have to climb to reach it. Thankfully, this works off the delicious homemade coconut bread I devour.

A rum time It’s rum for breakfast! The sweet aroma of molasses greets our arrival at St Vincent Distillers, which was a sugar factory in the 1920s and now offers tours and tastings of its five rums. For lunch, we feast on finger-licking jerk chicken in Kingstown, the capital, before taking the 45-minute ferry to Bequia, one of 32 islands (only nine inhabited) in The Grenadines. Pretty Port Elizabeth exudes a laid-back Caribbean vibe. Yachts bob gently in the harbour and bright wooden shacks lining the waterfront sell ‘fresh coconut - natural viagra’, rum punch, books and colourful rattan baskets. We are whisked in an open-sided 4WD to the Bequia Beach Hotel, where owner Bengt Mortstedt has dotted retro posters and quirky lamps promoting ‘Island Time’ and ‘Parrot Party’ around the sumptuous colonial lounge and bedrooms. We visit the recently-opened Boat Museum to learn about the island’s whaling heritage and on our way to lunch at Coco’s Place, we stop at British-built Fort Hamilton for views of Admiralty Bay, before devouring jumbo shrimp and conch. An exhilarating 10-minute flight in a six-seater aircraft takes us to Mustique and the only hotel on the island, the colonial-style Cotton House, which boasts opulent villas owned (or rented out) by the rich and famous, including Mick Jagger. At a cocktail party that evening, Executive Chef

The turquoise sea e glows brighter and th powder sands whiter

Tobago Cays

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my journey

37

Sailing

Empty beaches

and swaying palms

Adam Steer uncovers the pig he has buried and cooked in the sand for several hours - it’s delicious. Beautiful bird song is my alarm call for a morning swim. Their beauty palls somewhat when one of them steals my melon at breakfast. My next hop, Canuoan, is nicknamed ‘the Caribbean island where the billionaires go to escape the millionnaires’. No expense has been spared on the exclusive 1,200-acre Canuoan Estate - even the 17th-century church was brought over from England. Opulence also exudes from the all-suite Mandarin Oriental Hotel overlooking gorgeous Godahl Beach, where I control the curtains, TV and air-conditioning from an iPad (from $1,400 a night). There are also 13 luxury rental villas, an 18-hole golf course and, nearby, the new Sandy Lane Marina.

St. Vincent Rum Distillery

Raising the flag Our catamaran cruise through the Grenadines to Petit St. Vincent the following morning is a highlight. As we near the private island, the turquoise sea glows brighter and the powder sands whiter - it’s picture-perfect. Matt, the general manager, whisks us around the hilly, wooded island in a open-top buggy, including in his tour his pride and joy, a 6,000 bottle wine cellar with vintages costing up to $1,500 a bottle. It’s easy to relax here. There are no keys or wifi in the 22 beautiful and secluded cottages. You don’t even have to leave for meals - just raise a yellow flag outside for complimentary room service. I enjoy a superb Balinese massage with fragrant lemongrass in the tree-top spa and a West Indies beer tasting, including unusual coffee and chocolate varieties, precedes an excellent dinner of freshlycaught scallops and snapper. Will Palm Island, my final stop, live up to this? Here I find barefoot chic: soft powder sands, swaying palms and turquoise seas are a hop from my day bed. There are hammocks, spa treatments using home-grown frangipani, a pool, gym, yoga and boat trips. Just like Robinson Crusoe, I feel like I have this island all to myself - apart from the resident iguanas that is, who I’m happy to share my paradise with. •

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R A R E , I N D I G E N O U S , C A P T I V AT I N G Experience the alluring, golden desert landscape, the captivating silence of nature, the free-roaming wildlife in the reserve, all enjoyed from your private suite and pool. Indulge in a luxurious desert adventure with camel treks, horseback riding, falconry, archery, dune drives and more.

HOTELS THAT DEFINE THE DESTINATION FOR RESERVATIONS, PLEASE CALL 971 4 832 9900 OR VISIT THELUXURYCOLLECTION.COM/ALMAHA

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7/18/19 03:45 PM 21/05/2019 13:29


middle east

39

like that?

Try this! Adam Coulter looks at how agents can switch-sell to the Middle East for everything from a beach holiday to scuba diving to a food and culture-focused city break

E

verybody told me: “Oh you must dive the Red Sea, why haven’t you dived the Red Sea yet?” Hand on heart, I had no idea. My travels had taken me to the Caribbean, Mexico, Thailand and the Canary Islands, but never the Red Sea. I had the idea of experiencing this scuba hotspot from Jeddah, Saudi Arabia - a new country for me. My thinking was the coral and the sea life around those popular parts of the Red Sea - Aqaba, Sharm and El Gouna – might be ‘over-dived’, so why not try out somewhere where dive tourism is still in its infancy? I was not disappointed. As well as crystalclear waters, the spots we dived, Table Mountain and Chicken Wreck, had an abundance of marine life – squirrel fish, grouper, wrasse, jacks, trevellies, pufferfish and a blue-spotted ray; as well as big growth corals – fan and brain – all good signs of the health of these waters. The only thing missing was large marine life, specifically sharks, and for that one spot kept coming up, again and again –

the Musandam Peninsula in Oman. This rugged region, sliced in half by Ras al Khaimah, and jutting into the Strait of Hormuz, is the main thoroughfare for marine life going into and out of the Gulf of Oman to the Persian Gulf. I resolved: My next dive trip would be Oman.

Market snapshot Iain Raeper, If Only’s (now former) Commercial & Product Manager for the Middle East region, said: “The Gulf has performed fantastically well as an overall destination for If Only since the beginning of 2019. “Specific ‘heroes’ have been Abu Dhabi and Ras Al Khaimah, where room night production up to June 2019 exceeded the whole of 2018. Increased flight capacity to the region from the UK and Ireland, as well as supportive partnership campaigns with tourist boards have helped contribute towards this growth. “Dubai remains a popular destination, and will continue to grow into 2020 thanks to the eagerly anticipated World Expo.

PEARLING IN RAS AL KHAIMAH

PICTURE CAPTION OMAN’S RUGGED MUSANDAM REGION

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middle east

A FOUR WHEEL DRIVE TOUR - PERFECT FOR THRILL SEEKERS

CABANA DINNER, RAS AL KHAIMAH

A TRADITIONAL ARAB DHOW BOAT FALCONRY IS ABU DHABI’S NATIONAL SPORT

SHEIKH ZAYED GRAND MOSQUE, ABU DHABI

“Ajman is fast becoming the choice of sun worshippers who don’t want to be too far away from the action of Dubai, whilst Fujairah offers some of the most spectacular beaches in the UAE.” Latest figures from the Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Authority reveal that visitor numbers are up by 10% in 2018 compared to 2017. The emirate welcomed one million visitors in 2018. Ras al Khaimah sees the opening of the Bear Grylls Survival Academy in Q1 2020, on Jebel Jais, which is already home to the world’s longest zip-line. Qatar National Tourism Council and Qatar Airways have launched a summer in Qatar partnership, with savings of up to 25% on flights to Doha for travel up to August 16 2019 (qatarairways.com), and 25% off participating hotels’ daily rates (summerinqatar.qa/hotels). The 233-room Anantara Resort from luxury hospitality group Minor Hotels is due to open in a prime beachfront location in Sharjah next year.

Grand Prix, which takes place over four days from November 28. You’ll have to persuade your client to change their travel dates (bringing forward their May dates to November), and take a mid-haul flight (seven hours as opposed to an hour-and-a-half to Nice), but apart from that there are many similarities – a rich city state governed by an absolute monarchy, on the coast, with lovely weather and a wide selection of top-end hotels. Shearings (shearingsagent.com) has a four-night holiday at the Park Rotana Hotel in Abu Dhabi, on a B&B basis, return transfers in resort, a three-day South Grandstand ticket to the Grand Prix, pit lane walk entry, access to the afterrace concerts, a one-day pass to Ferrari World plus an Etihad Race Pack. Based on two sharing and departing the UK on November 27, prices start at £1,972pp, including return flights.

…You suggest F1 in Abu Dhabi

The client asks for F1 in Monaco…

The client asks for a long weekend city break with a focus on arts and dining in Europe…

The Formula 1 Grand Prix takes place in Abu Dhabi at the end of November, and marks the end of the season. This year will be the 10th year Abu Dhabi has hosted the

The capital of Oman offers a culturally-rich mix of history, heritage and culture, which is celebrated and preserved. A Muscat city

Alternative option: You could also suggest the Bahrain Grand Prix, which takes place in April.

…You suggest Muscat

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41

DESERT TRACKS IN OMAN

MIDDLE EAST FEAST IN AJMAN

tour would include a visit to the Grand Mosque, the markets and souk in Muttrah and the Sultan’s Palace, which is flanked by the Portuguese forts Jalali and Mirani, before finishing with a visit to the Bait Al Zubair Museum for a look back in time at Oman’s past. Oman’s cuisine is also topnotch, whether fine hotel-based dining or more humble street food. Gold Medal (goldmedal.co.uk) has three nights at the five-star Al Bandar at Shangri La Barr Al Jissah, staying in a deluxe room on a B&B basis, including return economy flights with Oman Air from Heathrow and the Muscat City Tour. Prices start from £906pp, up to September 30. Alternative Option: The tiny, oil- and gas-rich nation of Qatar is gradually increasing its cultural offerings, including various art galleries and the National Museum of Qatar. The client asks for an action-packed beach holiday in the Mediterranean…

... You suggest Ras Al Khaimah

Ras al Khaimah, or RAK, is fast-becoming the adventure capital of the Gulf. The Jebel Jais Flight zipline is 1.76 miles long and takes adrenaline junkies on a three-minute ride over spectacular rocky terrain. RAK is the northernmost emirate and the nearest to Oman. If your client wants

an idea of how Dubai was 30 years ago suggest here. It has the desert and beach but without the high-rises and traffic. It also has a burgeoning luxury hotel scene, with a focus on eco-resorts. Next year sees the opening of The Anantara Resort in Mina Al Arab. An eco-sanctuary, It will have 300 rooms, suites and over-water villas in sthe style of a property in the Maldives. An InterContinental is also due to open in Mina al Arab, followed by eight more hotels in 2021. If Only (ifonly.net) has five nights at the five-star deluxe Waldorf Astoria Ras Al Khaimah, in a Classic Room, including complimentary half-board and return flights with Emirates from £939pp.

“The Gulf has performed fantastically well as an overall destination since the beginning of 2019” Iain Raeper, If Only

…You suggest Dubai

a warm climate, a golf destination, some interest for foodies and lots of activities for young adults. She says: “They were thinking Caribbean but I quoted four hotels in Dubai and they liked the new Mandarin Oriental best. This option is perfect for them as they have a huge choice of golf courses and packages which I can pre-book for them. They are also keen on racing so I’m looking in to a day at Meyden race course for them. “There are endless suggestions for activities and days out for the adult sons, from a snow dome to water parks and dune buggy excursions.” Lusso Travel (lussotravel.com) is offering six nights at the Mandarin Oriental Dubai for four people, half-board with transfers, and return economy flights with Emirates for £3,415pp, departing in December 2019.

Compared to the Caribbean, Dubai involves a shorter flight and often more competitive deals for flights and hotels. Sheryl Makin, Director of the Luxury Travel Boutique, was asked to find a beach holiday for a family with musts including

Alternative option: Ajman is also worth considering for a fly-and-flop holiday with hotelbased activities. It’s easily accessible from Dubai, just a 40-minute drive along the coast, but still relatively unknown. 

Alternative Option: Neighbouring Oman is even less developed, especially in the rugged Musandam Peninsula, and is world famous for its spectacular scuba diving. The client asks for a luxury break in the Caribbean with lots of activities for the kids…

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

Visit USA plans UK road trip

Pittsburgh spin

Kennywood Amusement Park, located a short drive from downtown Pittsburgh, opened The Steel Curtain roller-coaster this summer. The ride sets a North

COSMOS READY FOR TALL U.S. STORIES

Cosmos has launched new North America tours with 2020 departures. A special departure, The Classic New England - 400th Mayflower Anniversary tour, departs August 31. Guests will step aboard the Mayflower II, a full-scale reproduction of the tall ship. Prices start from £1,665pp (tour only) for the 10-day tour. cosmos.co.uk.

American record for the most inversions (nine) and a world record for the tallest inversion.

visitpittsburgh.com

Mammoth on a high Mammoth Lakes, California, has opened the steepest zipline experience in the U.S. The Mammoth Mega Zip sees riders hitting speeds of up to 60mph as they drop 2,100ft in either a seated or ‘Supermanstyle’ harness. There are two parallel cables, which means riders can race down the high wire side by side during

The popular annual Visit USA Roadshow will be making stops in three UK cities this autumn. The events – in Glasgow (October 1), Leeds (October 2) and London (October 3) – will include a speed-networking format designed to maximise the networking opportunities. Over 30 Visit USA exhibitors and agents will exchange information and discuss business opportunities. But the Roadshow is not all about improving USA product knowledge: food and drink will be provided and goody bags and a holiday to the USA will be up for grabs at each location. Prizes include United Airlines flights to New York, a seven-night Cruise America RV Rental and a stay at the Moxy NYC Times Square (Glasgow); Virgin Atlantic flights to Las Vegas, staying at Planet Hollywood Las Vegas Resort and Casino (Leeds); and Delta Air Lines flights to Boston, staying at the Moxy Boston Downtown (London). Agents can register for the roadshows at: visitusaroadshow.com

the one-mile acceleration to the resort’s Adventure Centre. mallofamerica.com

Delta's seat pitch Delta will launch its new

Business Class seat and its new international Premium Economy cabin, Premium Select, on UK routes in November. They will feature on the Heathrow to Atlanta route from November 13, Heathrow to New York JFK, November 17, and Heathrow to Boston, November 21. delta.com

BLOG With iconic sites in every state,

great food representing just about every country in the world, world-class theme parks, waterparks, wildlife refuges and even an interactive national museum devoted to the history of toys (in New York State), there's no better choice for a family holiday than the USA. More Blog content at visitusa.org.uk/Blog Look out for our Visit USA (UK) online Travel Update for the pick of members' news

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SPOTLIGHT ON... Discover Puerto Rico

IN CELEBRATION OF ITS THRIVING ARTS SCENE, FORT LAUDERDALE UNVEILED THE FIRST VISIT LAUDERDALE X LONDON ART SWAP THIS SUMMER. IT FEATURES UK STREET ARTISTS THE GRAFFITI KINGS, WHO VISITED FORT LAUDERDALE AND THEN CREATED A MURAL FOR A UK AUDIENCE sunny.org FOR THE ULTIMATE BIRD'S EYE VIEW OF U.S. ICONS LIKE NIAGARA FALLS AND THE STATUE OF LIBERTY... Check out these flight-seeing members of Visit USA UK • Maverick Aviation Group, Grand Canyon & Las Vegas • Papillon Grand Canyon Helicopters • Skydive the Grand Canyon • Sundance Helicopters

Visitors love pull of Virginia Half a century after the ‘Virginia is For Lovers’ slogan was first created, it remains one of the best-known of tourism slogans. So said Rita McClenny, President & CEO at Virginia Tourism Corporation, during a recent visit to London for trade and media appointments. “Our For Lovers slogan is all-encompassing and has meant a lot of different things to a lot of different people over the years. "It also means a love of our mountains, a love of our beaches, a love of our wineries…and so much more,” added McClenny. To celebrate this milestone anniversary, cities and counties across Virginia are joining in the fun in their own special ways. For example, located along Virginia’s Heritage Music Trail, The Crooked Road, Floyd County, will celebrate 50 Years of Love with 50 days of special events, promotions and products. The celebration kicks off on July 27 at FloydFest and closes on September 14 at the County Fair. capitalregionusa.org

LEAH CHANDLER CHIEF MARKETING OFFICER DISCOVER PUERTO RICO

When did Discover Puerto Rico join Visit USA? We were a member in the past but rejoined in July. What did you join? We need to increase brand awareness amongst the UK travel trade and ensure key trade contacts are aware that Discover Puerto Rico has representation in the UK. Other benefits include joining the Visit USA Roadshow and being included in the Visit USA Travel Planner, read by both the trade and consumers. How well do you think the trade know Puerto Rico? Having conducted a trade forum at our offices in July, it's apparent that Puerto Rico is a destination which is not well known amongst the UK trade. Education is a key initial step in our upcoming trade activity. We will be conducting various training, webinars and hosting product managers on a FAM trip to experience Puerto Rico first-hand. Sum up Puerto Rico for us There's a rich history and culture which has emerged from a mix of Taíno, Spanish and African traditions. Also, exceptional food, pristine beaches, a tropical rainforest and a vibrant music scene. discoverpuertorico.com

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

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DON'T MISS OU T...

Registe r today!

Develop your USA experience R E G IS T E R N OW TO AT T END • V I SI T U SAROADSH O W. COM

Win one of three fantastic trips to the USA!

THE VISIT USA 2019 ROADSHOW will take place in Glasgow, Leeds and London during the early evening of October 1, 2 and 3 respectively. The popular events have been designed to maximise the networking opportunities for both agents and exhibitors. All three Roadshows are being held in selected premium hotels where

NEW YORK, BOSTON OR LAS VEGAS

GLASGOW • United Airlines to NEW YORK • 7 nights Cruise America RV Rental • Stay at the Moxy NYC Times Sqaure LEEDS • Virgin Atlantic to LAS VEGAS • Stay at the Planet Hollywood Las Vegas Resort & Casino LONDON • Delta Air Lines to BOSTON • Stay at the Moxy Boston Downtown

30 Visit USA exhibitors and agents can exchange information and discuss business development opportunities. Food and drink will be provided. The format will include speed networking - which will see agents visiting all exhibitors – goody bags and a holiday to the USA will be up for grabs at each location (see left for prize details).

THE VENUES

Early evening, from 6pm onwards GLASGOW

LEEDS

LONDON

Tuesday October 1

Wednesday October 2

Thursday October 3

RADISSON BLU GLASGOW

LEEDS MARRIOTT HOTEL

CANARY RIVERSIDE PLAZA HOTEL

2019 EXHIBITORS AMTRAK VACATIONS • BRADLEY INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT, CONNECTICUT • BRAND USA UK & IRELAND • BROADWAY INBOUND • CAESARS ENTERTAINMENT • COLORADO TOURISM OFFICE • CRUISE AMERICA RV RENTALS • EXPERIENCE KISSIMMEE • EXPERIENCE SCOTTSDALE • FLORIDA KEYS & KEY WEST • GREATER MIAMI CONVENTION & VISITORS BUREAU • HANDLERY HOTELS • KENNEDY SPACE CENTRE VISITOR COMPLEX • MASSACHUSETTS OFFICE OF TRAVEL & TOURISM • MAVERICK AVIATION GROUP, GRAND CANYON & LAS VEGAS • NEW ORLEANS & COMPANY AND LOUISIANA OFFICE OF TOURISM • NEW SYMRNA BEACH AREA VISITORS BUREAU • PAPILLON GRAND CANYON HELICOPTERS • SANTA MONICA TRAVEL AND TOURISM • TENNESSEE TOURISM • THE BEACHES OF FORT MYERS & SANIBEL • TRAVEL PORTLAND • TRAVEL TEXAS • UNITED AIRLINES • UNIVERSAL PARKS & RESORTS • VIRGIN ATLANTIC/DELTA AIR LINES • VISIT HOUSTON • VISIT NORTH CAROLINA • VISIT SEATTLE • VISIT WEST HOLLYWOOD

Register now Attend one of the Roadshows by visiting visitusaroadshow.com

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45

Talking...

JA Resorts & Hotels

In conversation with... Thomas Grundner, Vice President Sales & Marketing, JA Resorts and Hotels

Q

Tell us about the JA brand A: With a 38-year history as a homegrown hospitality brand, we’ve now announced major expansion plans. Our company vision is to be recognised as the leading provider of unique getaway experiences in remarkable locations around the Indian Ocean and key global destinations. We create memories across eight distinct properties, from snorkelling in a coral reef to mountain ziplining to exploring global cuisines.

Q

Can you sum up the ethos of JA Resorts & Hotels? A: Do the work you love and love the work you do. Our management style is ‘the JA Way’, which encourages associates to embrace individuality and work with positivity– because they truly love what they do. It helps us stand out and be fluid as we navigate change.

Q

What are your USPs? A: The variety of unique experiences

we offer, the relaxed JA Way service and our locations. JA Hatta Fort Hotel is Dubai’s only mountain resort; we have two luxurious private islands in the Seychelles and Maldives, and two prime Dubai locations in Jumeirah Beach Residence and Dubai’s largest experiential resort, JA The Resort.

Q

How do you help agents? A: We recently launched an online training course for UK travel agents to highlight our product. We have strong UK sales representation through Gill Shannon and Louisa Smith, ensuring the trade is educated on the portfolio. Fam trips are hosted throughout the year and we offer verified agent discounts on jaresorts.com using the code JATRAV.

Q

What are the latest developments agents need to know? A: JA The Resort is Dubai’s largest experience resort, and by September 2019 JA Beach Hotel will be completely renovated and the new JA Lake View Hotel will open. These additions make it a world class, all-encompassing resort with one million square metres of land and private beach, a 104-berth marina and a nine-hole golf course. There are over 40 activities like water sports, fishing, seaplanes, tennis and shooting, plus 25 restaurants and bars.

Q

What does the future hold for JA and do you plan to expand anywhere else? A: We are expanding into China in a joint venture and are launching five or six very upscale hotels, as well as 30-plus upper midscale lifestyle hotels called ‘Big Bed by JA’. We will also open two luxury lodges in Tanzania and are exploring a 500-room property in Sri Lanka. 

Q

What is JA’s policy on sustainability? A: It’s very important. We are removing all plastic bottles, replacing them with our own bottling plants and glassware and rolling out a food wastage programme which will reduce our waste drastically.

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YOUR GUIDE TO

TOURISM PEI/PAUL BAGLOLE

selling Canada

CONTENTS • 48 Rendez-vous trade show news • 52 Travel talk: Maureen Riley, Destination Canada • 53 City profile: Toronto • 54 My trip in... Ontario • 57 Alberta • 58/60 In the Gallery: Travel Counsellors and Prestige Holidays sellingtravel.co.uk

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SELLING CANADA 48

Rendez-vous 2019

 TORONTO, CANADA, MAY 28-31

Canada is all heart Steve Hartridge reports from Canada’s annual tourism marketplace

UK numbers fall but leisure visitors remain robust

PARKS CANADA/DALE WILSON

Overall UK visitor arrivals in Canada in 2018 were down by 3.3% – but the number of leisure travellers reached a five-year peak of 292,000. While Brexit concerns weighed on consumer confidence and acted as a drag on long-haul outbound travels for business trips and trips to visit friends and relatives, holidaymakers kept travelling to Canada. Demand for travel to Canada was the highest between May and June for leisure travellers.

New brand goes with glow

Destination Canada’s new-look logo and marketing slogan taps into travellers’ passion for Canada and better connects them to the emotional side of their experiences in the country, said tourism officials. The new slogan, ‘for glowing hearts/ le coeur grand ouvert,’” replaces the old tagline, ‘keep exploring/explorez sans fin’, which was in use for more than a decade. “Nike and Apple are both examples of companies that have nurtured an emotional attachment to their brands but Canada is also a brand, a ‘passion brand’,” said David Goldstein,

Destination Canada’s departing Chief Executive. “Previously travel was about destination icons, then it became about collecting travel experiences but now it is transformative, in that travel helps both change you and becomes a part of you,” he said. “Travel should change you and our promise is that Canada will leave a lasting mark on your heart.” “In the last five years we have seen phenomenal visitor growth of an average of 6% year on year. I would like to think we have portrayed Canada as open, welcoming and receptive – a place for glowing hearts,” Goldstein added.

Heritage Park shows visitors plenty of summer spirit Heritage Park, Canada’s largest living historic theme park, has a new after-hours tour this summer that shows plenty of spirit. Starting from Wainwright Saloon, in the Calgary park’s 1910 Village, guests on the Spirits of the West Ghost Tour and Whisky Tasting enjoy a Prohibition-era whisky cocktail before being taken to spooky locations, including many where guests or staff claim to have experienced some ‘paranormal activity’. The evening ends with a gourmet three-course dinner. heritagepark.ca

RVC 2019 IN BRIEF Tourism Toronto’s new destination marketing campaign, ‘Let Yourself In’ was launched as the city celebrated another record year in visitation, having welcomed 44 million travellers in 2018. “Toronto is the front door to Canada, and our message to travellers is simple – Let Yourself In,” said Jon Mamela, Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer. seetorontonow.com Rivers Edge is a 12-room, four-star hotel earmarked for the waterfront area in Whitehorse, Yukon. The First Nations-themed project will start construction next spring. Westjet flies to Whitehorse from Calgary four times a week, until September 22. trade.travelyukon.com ‘Neanderthal’ is a major new exhibition at the Canadian Museum of History, in Gatineau, Québec. The rare fossils and artifacts include four Neanderthal skulls and a hand axe made of rock crystal. ‘Neanderthal’ runs until January 26, 2020. historymuseum.ca For the third year running Rendez-Vous Canada set a new attendance record with over 1,900 delegates including 46 UK buyers. The 31,600 appointments was also a record. Next year’s show will be held in Québec City, Québec, from May 5-8.

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SELLING CANADA

Rendez-vous 2019

Toronto is proving a hit among UK visitors renting an RV vehicle, says Tracy Thompson, Cruise Canada’s International Sales & Marketing Manager. “Our 11-day Classic Ontario Circle Tour, which also takes in Georgian Bay, Algonquin, 1000 Islands, Ottawa and the Muskoka Lakes region is selling well,” said Thompson. Agents can book the tour through operators such as Canadian Affair, Travelpack and First Class Holidays. “Last year was our best yet out of the UK market - and we have been here for 47 years. And 2019 will be up again. Camping, glamping and sleeping under the stars in the heart of the Canadian wilderness is really growing in popularity right now.” cruiseamerica.com

Older travellers have day

Destination Canada UK’s main consumer target audience is to shift from Millennials – those aged between 22-37 – to those 45 and over, Rupert Peters, Regional Managing Director, Europe and India told Selling Travel. “We are going to go after a slightly older audience than previously. After drilling down our data we know that about twothirds of our existing travellers fall into the over-45 bracket. “Also, I think Millennials are more likely to be spooked by the Brexit uncertainty than an older audience. We have other challenges, such as encouraging more travellers to visit in our ‘shoulder seasons’, and the demographic groups most likely

to do that are the Generation Xers (those born between the mid1960s and the early-1980s) and the Baby Boomers (born between 1946 and 1964),” Peters added. “Finally, our key tour operator partners and our Canada Specialist travel agents also have the over-45s as their core target audience, so we need to ensure our approach is the same to create as much synergy there as we can.” Peters noted that older travellers are more likely to be ‘cultural explorers or learners’, that is people who want to discover or learn something on their holiday. “Another of our themes is that if you learn something about Canada you will likely learn something about yourself,” he said.

Trade is Canadian Affair’s new love Canadian Affair has partnered with Cunard to offer a Vancouver and Alaska Cruise Holiday combination in its 2020 programme, which is now on sale. The 12-night Journey of Discovery tour, which has prices starting from £1,568pp, includes two nights in Vancouver, a 10-night full-board Alaska Cruise with Cunard, and direct return flights from Gatwick to Vancouver. Meanwhile, Canadian Affair, which started selling through the trade only last October, has had such a favourable pick up from operators and agents that it has boosted its trade team. Helen Tate and Stephanie Robertson are new regional Travel Trade Sales Executives, reporting to the company’s new Travel Trade Manager, Jane Fraser. canadianaffair.com GREG FUNNELL

UK visitors are loving cruising in Canada

49

SAVE ON 4 TOP ATTRACTIONS JOURNEY BEHIND THE FALLS NIAGARA’S FURY · WHITE WATER WALK HORNBLOWER NIAGARA CRUISES PLUS · Two consecutive days of WEGO transportation

BEGINS HERE

All prices in Canadian dollars. Taxes not included. All information subject to change without notice.

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FOR MORE INFORMATION OR TO BOOK, CONTACT GROUPS@NIAGARAPARKS.COM 7/22/19 08:55 PM 06/03/2019 16:46


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Rendez-vous 2019

Le Boat, the self-drive river cruise operator, has an earlybird incentive for trips on Ontario’s Rideau Canal. Its 2020 Canada programme has a booking discount of up to 20% for travel secured before September 2 2019 for departures next year. The offer applies to all boat types, including the state-ofthe art Horizon models. For example, a seven-night self-catered stay on the Rideau Canal, starting and finishing at Le Boat’s base at Smith Falls, on board the Horizon 1 (which sleeps five), and arriving April 11 2020 is priced from £1,968 per boat, that’s £394pp (was £2,179 per boat, saving 20%). Flights and transfer to the boat are not included in the above price. leboat.co.uk

In Pursuit of Rockies tours

The Pursuit Collection, parent company of Brewster Touring, unveiled several new products and a key new partnership at Rendez-vous. New for 2019/20 is a Banff winter sightseeing tour on which guests get to sample several iconic Canadian winter experiences. These include donning snowshoes at Lake MInnewanka, walking along the steaming thermal waters of the hot springs and stopping at the best photospots in Banff. The daily tour will run from December 1, 2019 to March 31, 2020. Also new is a five-star rustic dining experience, the Maligne Canyon Wilderness Kitchen. Located close to Jasper, at the trailhead of the canyon, the restaurant offers a smokehouseinspired menu that features 16-

hour slow cooked barbecue beef brisket, smoked baked pork ribs and wild Pacific salmon, amongst other things. The evening, which is bookable through operators such as Prestige and Premier, also features story-telling and live entertainment. Pursuit also announced a new partnership with Mountain Park Lodges, which has added seven hotel properties to Pursuit’s Banff Jasper Collection: The Crimson Hotel, Chateau Jasper, Lobstick Lodge, Marmot Lodge, Pocahontas Cabins, Pyramid Lake Resort and Sawridge Inn. “Pursuit now offers guests unforgettable and inspiring experiences and world-class lodging,” said David Barry, President, Pursuit. pursuitcollection.com

Take the Scenic way to Canada Scenic Luxury Cruises & Tours has plenty of Canada tour options in its new 2020 Natural Wonders of The Americas touring collection. New is a 17-day Western Canada Wildlife, Wineries & the Rockies itinerary. The tour will see visitors exploring the Okanagan wine country, including a visit to a Syilx First Nations band winery. A stay at the Knight Inlet floating lodge should offer close encounters with wildlife like grizzly bears, seals, dolphins and more. Other highlights include joining astronomers from Jasper Planetarium in Jasper National Park for a Dark Sky Experience and a twilight supper and a trail ride on horseback or wagon along the Bow River, near Banff. The tour departs May, June, July and September 2020. Priced from £7,445pp. Scenic.co.uk PARKS CANADA/SCOTT MUNN

Le Boat has early incentives for 2020

51

A view to thrill

Niagara Helicopters Flightseeing Tours

Niagara Helicopters 905 357 5672 niagarahelicopters.com

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travel talk

Trading places Steve Hartridge catches up with Maureen Riley, Vice President International, Destination Canada

Q

When did you start your current role? A: January 6 2019. Previously my title was Executive Director Industry Partnerships, Destination Canada.

Q

What are your main responsibilities? A: My main brief is to work closely with our nine international offices, with a focus on the travel trade. I aim to ensure that each market is properly aligned with our main marketing and media messages.

Q

So the trade is a key channel for you? A: Absolutely. My background is in the travel trade. I started off, back in my university days, as a tour guide. I have also worked for a receptive tour operator, so I have an understanding how that works, and in a travel trade capacity for Destination Canada in Japan. This has given me a well-rounded understanding of what tour operators are looking for when they are trying to develop a strong Canadian programme.

Q

What goals have you set yourself? A: I think it is crucial that more of our industry understands the value of the trade and the value it brings to Canada. And our Canadian partners need to better understand how they can be more proactive and efficient when working with international tour operators. It is wonderful to have beautiful campaigns that resonate with consumers, but if after whetting their interest those people can’t turn around and book that trip to Canada, we are not fulfilling our full brief. So I want to see, over the next couple of years, the travel trade and consumers more in step, so that we are not just driving ideas and products towards consumers but are also working with tour operators to better understand what their clients are looking for. Ultimately this will result in better product and more effective marketing campaigns for all of us.

Q

Anything else on your ‘wish list’? A: Over the last three years or so I have worked very closely with the Indigenous Tourism Association of

Canada (ITA). I have had some wonderful opportunities to engage with First Nations communities and experience some of the new and upcoming product, which is really exciting. I always leave these experiences with a different perspective. It is my fervent wish that more of these products become known to our international visitors.

Q

Do you identify any main challenges? A: We need to boost visitation in our shoulder seasons or ‘off months’. The challenge is that travellers want to travel when they want to travel. Also, they might not be aware of what is available in Canada year round, so my aim is to help grow that awareness. We also have to work closely with our partners to make sure enough desirable product is actually available in those slower months.

Q

Do you have any favourite Canadian travel memories to share with us? A: I have been lucky enough to live in or travel to most regions of the country. I am originally from Montréal (pictured) and that city will always have my heart. When I was young I used to explore a lot of Canada with my family; we were big into camping. I love the Muskoka Lakes area (big picture) of Ontario, with its wide-open spaces. It also has some excellent hotels and lodges. I am not a hardcore outdoors person and like to combine Canada’s great outdoors with some creature comforts! I also always enjoy the Canadian Rockies. The mountains seem to go on and on, and always inspire me. Q What’s top of your still-to-see list? A: I would like to do some hiking in Tombstone Territorial Park in Yukon in the autumn. It is where the tundra and the forest meet and the colours are spectacular. At night there’s the chance to see the colours of the aurora borealis. 

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city profile

53

Toronto Take a sporting chance on Canada’s most diverse and well-rounded city says Steve Hartridge

CANADIAN TOURISM COMMISSION

Top stops Historic Distillery District This artsy enclave of galleries, boutique shops – buy designer footwear at Fluevog –and restaurants is set amongst red-brick Victorian buildings. St. Lawrence Market A real bustling working market in a historic building, this is the place for those souvenir bottles of maple syrup, mustards, jams and more. Museum of Illusions Designed to ‘trick’ your senses this interactive attraction with 80 visual and sensual illusions is a one-stop visit for fun and entertainment. Theatre land Toronto makes a great alternative to Broadway. Among the shows playing this summer are Come From Away and Waitress, Hamilton starts a run next February. Square One Shopping Centre Near the airport, the centre has 320-plus outlets. It runs a Tourist Privileges scheme, with savings – pick up a pamphlet from an information kiosk and promotions.

There are few things that can pull a city or nation closer together than a sporting triumph – and Toronto was a city whose residents seemed to be collectively living and breathing basketball when I visited in May.

Sporting life Its professional basketball team had reached the National Basketball Association’s (NBA) final for the first time, and Toronto was literally in Raptors. The sports bars in the lively Entertainment District and the pubs down by the Waterfront were overflowing with people wearing t-shirts with the team’s ‘We The North’ motif. The parties got longer and louder after I left, as the Raptors became the first Canadian team to win the title, setting off an outpouring of city and national pride. Although Toronto doesn’t have to go through hoops to attract visitors – last year was another record year with the city welcoming 44 million travellers – sport is one of its many draw cards. The Raptors and ice hockey’s Maple Leaves both play in the Scotiabank Arena, on the edge of downtown, whilst baseball’s Blue Jays pitch up at the Rogers Centre. My hotel is the Royal York Hotel, a Fairmont property, which is coming to the end of a huge refurbishment. Royal York is ideally located and immediately across from Union Station, the starting point for the epic cross-country train,The Canadian.

Toronto’s islands Leaving Royal York, I stroll down Front Street, to the recently renovated CN Tower. A glass-fronted elevator takes me to the lookout level, 1,116 feet above the ground, in less than a minute. From the three new observation level windows, the views of the city and planes

taking off from the domestic Billy Bishop City Airport are sensational. A little-known fact is that Toronto has islands, located just a few minutes away from downtown. So after leaving Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada, with its sharks and stingrays, to another day, I make the short walk down to the ferry terminal at The Waterfront for the 10-minute crossing to Toronto Island Park. I pick up my bike and cycle past some of the 260 cottage-style homes on the island – actually more than a dozen small islands linked by bridges - along the seawall that protects the park from a black and restless Lake Ontario. There are walking and bike trails, a wading pool, beaches, restaurants and a petting farm. But perhaps the best reason for visiting are the views across the water of Toronto’s skyline.

If the shoe fits Back on the ‘mainland’ I take the subway line to Ontario’s Parliament buildings and then make the short walk to the Royal Ontario Museum, with its collection of dinosaurs and ancient artifacts. I drop into the Gardiner Museum, with its cool ceramic art, and the Bata Show Museum, which traces the history of footwear from Neanderthal deerskin slipons to the boots worn by astronauts on the moon. torontonow.com 

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my trip in...Ontario

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outdoors great

I

am standing on the edge of woodland, sipping a digestionassisting tea made from infused wild mint and raspberries, the fruits of our afternoon ‘medicine walk’ with a First Nations-owned tour company called the Great Spirit Circle Trail. As we nibble on ‘bannock bread’, made from ground roots, corn, wheat and berries, I hear all about the health-enhancing properties of the herbs, plants and shrubs in the forest. “It took me seven years to understand the benefits of the botanicals that surround us. These have been passed down through the generations,” said our host and guide, Falcon Migwans, an Ojibway of the M’Chigeeng First Nation. “They are the gift of life itself, and help us connect to the spirits around us. Everything, even the tiniest flower or wild herb, is connected and has a spirit, That is why we start each walk with a spiritual cleanse, where we inhale the burning essence of white cedar, sweetgrass, sage and tobacco.” After peeling a small layer of cedar bark, Falcon applies the sap to his forearm and says: “This is a natural skin adhesive, and works faster than stitches.” I am on Manitoulin Island, the world’s largest freshwater island, in Northeastern

Ontario. Botanists think that more than 80% of all the herbs, plants and flower varieties in Canada can be found on Manitoulin. About six driving hours north of Toronto, the island is also home to six First Nations tribes, who are slowly gearing up to tourism. Visitors can sign up for the medicine walks – “everything in the forest has either a spiritual, healing, practical or edible use,” says Falcon – or hike the ‘Cup and Saucer Trail,’ which leads to the 70-metre-high East Lookout, a part of the Niagara Escarpment. Or they can enrol in an outdoor wilderness experience camp or enjoy a one-hour moon teaching, where a guide explains the Aboriginal Calendar and the 13 moon teachings by using a turtle’s shell.

Heartbeat of a Nation

In summer, Canoe Heritage Tours help visitors connect with the spirits of water and sunsets as they paddle through the heart of Manitoulin on a labyrinth of inland lakes and rivers. Guides on this Canadian Signature Experience (CSP) reveal much about the island’s history and folklore and pass on wilderness survival techniques. For a more immersive experience, guests can drop into one of the several annual pow wows (or gatherings) between June and September, featuring drums, dances,

‘heritage interpretations’ and local foods. There’s also a glamping option, in a Tee Pee, which includes a ‘Voice of the Drum’ experience. Earlier that morning, on the two-hour ferry crossing from Tobermory, Falcon explained to a captive audience the significant role drums play in First Nations’ culture. Tapping out a series of beats on a circle of taught white-tailed deerskin, he illustrated how the central rhythm is just like a heartbeat – one, two… one, two…one, two… one, two... one, two. “The heartbeat is at the centre of everything – the heartbeat of our existence, the heartbeat of mother earth, the heartbeat of our nation…even our dancers, who stand in the centre of a circle of people, take two steps on every foot, to replicate the same rhythm,” he said. The Great Spirit Circle Trail has big growth plans: it is to develop a woodlands area into a First Nations museum and hopes to introduce wig-wam style lodges next year. Great Spirit Circle Trail is a member of the Indigenous Tourism Ontario (ITO) organisation that works to promote indigenous-owned tourism products and experiences. According to ITO’s Executive Director, Kevin Eshkawakogan, there are now more than 600 such tourism products

CANADIAN TOURISM COMMISSION

Touring options aplenty await just a few hours’ drive from Toronto, discovers Steve Hartridge

FLOWERPOT ISLAND

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BLUE HERON CR

UISES, TOBERM

ORY

HIKING ON MANITOULIN ISLAND

in Ontario although only around 35 of these are ‘export ready’, meaning geared up for the international market.

Tobermory

Tobermory is a small town located at the tip of the Bruce Peninsula. Once a lumber and fishing community, today it is best-known as the gateway to two national parks: Fathom Five National Marine Park (Canada’s first national marine park) and Bruce Peninsula National Park. Restaurants, gift shops, unique stores, a brewery and an all-you-can-eat fish and chip shop horseshoe around the town’s quaint Little Tub Harbour. One of the popular ways to experience the park’s crystal-clear waters and rocky shorelines is by taking a glass-bottom boat tour around several islands that sit in Fathom Five National Park. This is an area of over 20 shipwrecks, many close to the water’s surface, and a few minutes out of Little Tub Harbour on our Blue Heron Cruise we see two of these.

FALCON MIGWANS ON A MEDICINE WALK

The Sweepstakes was a two-masted schooner that ran aground in 1885, she was towed into an inlet and stripped of most of her rigging, equipment and cargo of coal before she sank. But her 36.3-metre hull is intact and our boat passes what seems like just metres above it. Close by is another sunken vessel, The City of Grand Rapids, a 37-metre passenger steamship that once called in at ports on Lake Huron and Georgian Bay. It caught fire in 1907 and was towed out of Tobermory harbour and released. The cruise stops at Flowerpot island, where guests can get off and stroll the 15 minutes to the flowerpot-shaped limestone formations. Some of the cedar trees clinging to the cliffs are over 1,500 years old, making them among the oldest living trees in the world. Animals like red squirrels, snowshoe hares, otter and beavers inhabit most of the islands. We see bald eagles, ospreys and turkey vultures. But not any of the black bears which live on Cove Island, the largest island in Fathom Five. The bears have been spotted swimming across to the mainland. A five-minute drive out of Tobermory brings us to the visitor centre of Bruce Peninsula National Park – and an impressive one it is too, with a short video and walkthrough gallery that explains the geology, history and wildlife of the park. Several walking trails fan out from here and from other access points further down Highway Six. They all lead to majestic cliffs and bright-blue waters. It’s also a home to orchids, ferns, cliffside cedars and endangered flowers. Trails have the same difficulty designation as Canada’s ski runs:

GREAT SP

IRIT CIRC

LE TRAIL

Top tips How to get there British Airways (batraveltrade. com) operates daily flights to Toronto International Airport from both Heathrow and Gatwick. The flying time is around eight hours. The Toronto Express to downtown departs the airport every 30 minutes. Ontario Touring Suggest a seven-day touring itinerary that takes in Blue Mountain Resort, Tobermory and Bruce Peninsula National Park, Manitoulin Island and Toronto. For extra days recommend the Muskoka Lakes region, one of Ontario’s premier ‘getaway’ destinations. For clients with more time on their hands, Niagara Falls is an easy add-on to a Toronto city stay. ontariotravel.net

Where to book it

Prestige Holidays can offer a 12-night trip, with three nights at the Fairmont Royal York Toronto, three nights at Blue Mountain Village, one night at Tobermory Princess, two nights at Manitoulin Island Hotel and three nights at Hidden Valley Huntsville. Priced from £2605pp, the deal is based on a June 10 2020 departure and includes flights from Heathrow with Air Canada, a full-size four-door car rental. prestigeholidays.co.uk

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my trip in...Ontario

MMISSION TOURISM CO CANADIAN

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black for difficult, blue for a challenge and green for an easy stroll. On this Friday there is a steady stream of walkers strolling the easy Georgian Bay Trail, through woodland and past a marshy landscape which leads to the Georgian Bay shoreline and rock formations called Grotto, and Natural Arch.

SPA

Blue Mountain

BLUE MOUNTAIN RESORT

It’s around a two-hour drive from Tobermory to Blue Mountain Resort, an adventure getaway just three hours north of Toronto. Once a smallish resort for domestic skiers, Blue Mountain has been adding attractions over the last 10 years or so and is now a four-season resort, with its international visitors growing by around 1% each year and the UK one of its top three markets. In summer they come for activities that include mountain walking trails, a mini-golf course, a zipline and the Ridge Runner

Mountain Coaster. At its centre is a village, with a small lake and various shops, boutique outlets, bars – including a craft brewery – restaurants and a square that hosts summer concerts. The resort’s 1,000-plus rooms are split between a Westin hotel, the Blue Mountain Inn and various village suites, I take a gondola to the top of the mountain for gorgeous views of the southern shores of Georgian Bay and the resort’s golf course. Mississauga Lake is just 22 kms away and is a hotspot for watersports, including kayaking and fishing for bass and lake trout. This is also an area for mountain biking, rock climbing and caves that burrow into the Niagara Escarpment. These include Scenic Caves Nature Adventures, where you can try to squeeze through a small gap called ‘Fatman’s Misery’. My visit ends at Scandinave Spa, moving gingerly between a collection of hot and (very) cold pools, saunas, steam rooms, hammocks and quiet relaxation areas set amongst a wooded area. 

Take me to the top

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Book your stay now through your favourite tour operator. Untitled-3 1

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alberta

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Calgary’s First Nations Princess Steve Hartridge meets Astokomii Smith, an ambassador and role model for five southern Albertan indigenous tribes Spirit of Canada’s west Visitors to this July’s Calgary Stampede (5-14) would have spotted the striking figure of the event’s First Nations Princess. The honour this year went to 19-yearold Astokomii Smith, who was chosen to represent five of Southern Alberta’s indigenous nations – Kainai, Tsuut’ina, Stoney Nakoda, Siksika and Piikani – as well as the indigenous-themed Elbow River Camp located on the Stampede grounds. The selection process was tough: over a two-week period Astokomii – whose name in Blackfoot translates to ‘Calling Thunder’ – took part in a contest which included public speaking, dancing, an exam on Treaty 7 (an agreement between the Canadian government and several indigenous tribes in southern Alberta) and the history of the Calgary Stampede. She also had to submit an essay on why she wanted to be the 2019 Calgary Stampede First Nations Princess. Her mission statement is a heartfelt one: “I will strive to be a role model for the younger generation. I believe that our mental and physical health should be put first and that education is our new way of survival,” she said.

At Alberta’s much-loved annual Western themed event, Astokomii, a Fancy Shawl dancer from the Siksika First Nation, met with visitors from around the world to talk about the people, the animals, the land, the traditions and the values that make up the unique spirit of Canada’s west.

nationally and internationally throughout her reign, educating those she meets about First Nations cultures and sharing her knowledge of Treaty 7, as well as attending many First Nation events, powwows, ceremonies and ‘honourings’ in Alberta.

Tribe Days

Outside of Stampede Week, there are many opportunities for visitors to immerse themselves in First Nations culture. For example, in Tipi Village at Blackfoot Crossing on the Siksika Nation, about 100km east of Calgary, they can enjoy a tipi sleepover and learn about survival skills, meat smoking and hide tanning. The Glenbow Museum, in downtown Calgary, has a year-round exhibition about the Blackfoot people called Niitsitapiisini: Our Way of Life, where you can learn how the Blackfoot people live. Or visit the site at Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump, where buffaloes were hunted and learn why they were so important to First Nations people. Those looking to take home authentic, traditional native art, such as jewellery, moccasins and beadwork by local and Canadian artists. should visit Moonstone Creation in Inglewood, a Calgary neighbourhood. A family-run gallery and gift shop of curated and created native goods, Moonstone Creation also offers classes where you can learn traditional beadwork, dream catcher and moccasin making, porcupine quillwork and medicine wheel teaching. 

During Stampede week, Elbow River Camp provides the venue for each tribe to share part of their culture with the public on a specific day, comprising Tribe Days. The demonstrations include dancing, storytelling, meat cutting, beadwork and other traditions. The camp’s 26 tipis each have a unique design on the outside and beadwork, buckskin outfits and artifacts are displayed on the inside. When visitors enter the camp, they can experience many important aspects of First Nations peoples, like interpretive programmes, flag raising, powwows, traditional storytelling and games. And although the dust has now settled on the Stampede for another year Astokomii’s role, as an ambassador and role model, will continue throughout 2019. She will make many appearances locally,

First Nations experiences

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gallery: travel counsellors

Canada Takeover

“I took so much away from the day and learned loads. I loved the format and the itinerary planning – that was genius!” Heidi Kemsley, TC

TOURISM JASPER

JOHANN WALL

Travel Counsellors worked alongside Destination Canada to host two Canada ‘Takeover Days’ for agents in Birmingham and London. The events provided an opportunity for agents to meet with suppliers and learn more about what Canada has to offer, sparking new ideas and knowledge to inspire and secure future bookings.

Our Travel Counsellors departed our Canada days armed with a wealth of new ideas and knowledge - which will stimulate future bookings” Samantha Spencer, Commercial Partnerships, Travel Counsellors

JOHAN LOLOS

A key takeaway from the day was that Canada can be sold as a city break, with flights from the UK to Canada’s east coast taking less than five hours

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A BREATHTAKING LANDSCAPE. A JAW-DROPPING OFFER.

Have clients planning their 2020 vacation? They won’t want to miss our Unforgettable 4 promotion! Valid for packages on 5+ nights, they’ll receive up to four of our favourite perks, including additional hotel nights, airport transfers and dinner, making their time in Western Canada truly unforgettable! This offer is valid for bookings made before August 31, 2019. rockymountaineer.com | 0800 088 5541

ALL ABOARD AMAZING

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gallery: prestige holidays

Prestige celebrates Canada Day To mark Canada Day on July 1, Prestige Holidays hosted 48 agents at BelowZero in London for an evening of networking and celebrations. Attendees were invited to test their knowledge in a Canada quiz, and were treated to cocktails from the Ice Bar and classic Canadian dishes, including poutine.

“Cannon Travel works closely with Prestige Holidays and has done so for many years. It’s great to be invited to such an event” Tracy Williams, Cannon Travel

“We have sold a number of Canada holidays through other operators but are now looking to build stronger relationships. We used this event to meet some of the Prestige team” Mike Silford, Suitcase Travel

“Canada is a key destination for Prestige Holidays. We were delighted with the response from our travel agents and partners and will definitely make this an annual event”

DESTINATION CANADA

Denise Hunn, Director – Canada Tour Operations, Prestige

NEED SOME MORE INSPIRATION? Prestige’s 13-day Atlantic Maritimes escorted coach tour, which takes in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island, starts from £3,090pp. Highlights include the Bay of Fundy, Hopewell Rocks, St. Andrews by-the-sea, Halifax and Charlottetown. prestigecanada.co.uk

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T H E T R A VE L N E WS THAT R E ALLY M ATTE R S

J E R U SAL E M: ISRAEL’S HOLY CITY WIDENS ITS APPEAL

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S HOW R E P OR T: I PW HAVE YOU MET PUERTO RICO?

GET ONLINE – READ ALL OUR MAGAZINES AND CHECK OUT OUR DAILY SELLING TIPS AT SELLINGTRAVEL.CO.UK

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Premier gift-wraps festive breaks to Channel Islands Premier Holidays has launched a selection of Christmas breaks to the Channel Islands. The four-night festive break packages start from £359pp, based on two adults sharing, travelling by ferry from Poole on December 23, or flying from a range of regional airports on December 24. Jersey Christmas breaks include the four-star Radisson Blu Waterfront Hotel, with B&B and half-board on Christmas Day, from £359pp by sea or £399pp by air. In Guernsey, agents can book Christmas at St Pierre Park Hotel from £519pp by sea or £649pp by air, on a halfboard basis with full-board on Christmas Day. Agents earn £5 in vouchers for every booking (£10 if booked online before September 30). trade.premierholidays.co.uk

Jerusalem an all-round city

BY STEVE HARTRIDGE

Jerusalem is fast shedding its image of a city that appeals to mainly religious pilgrims and is now a top city-break destination with a line-up of world-class attractions, says the destination’s tourism boss. Eli Nahmias, Director – Incoming Tourism and International Relations for the Jerusalem Development Authority, hosted a trade event in London to highlight the ‘new Jerusalem’ and recent developments in the city. These include a high-speed rail line between Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem city centre, which opened late last year. A billion-pound project, it links Israel’s two main cities in around 20 minutes. Eighteen new hotels are

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scheduled to open in 2019 and a major new attraction, the Museum of Tolerance, should be welcoming visitors by the year’s close. “For a long time the view of Jerusalem was very onedimensional: that it is a holy city for religious visitors but lacking appeal for more mainstream tourists. “But increasingly we are being seen as an international destination brimming with cultural attractions, top hotels and museums, arts, nightlife and a calendar of great events,” he added. Jerusalem’s culinary scene is also booming, with ‘chef-restaurants’ opening at a rapid rate. A new daily Virgin Atlantic flight between Heathrow and Tel Aviv starts on September 25. itraveljerusalem.com

Raffles opens first Indian Ocean hotel Raffles has opened its first Indian Ocean hotel – Raffles Maldives Meradhoo. The luxury hotel is located in the rare Maldivian oasis of Gaafu Alifu Atoll. The main island is home to Beach Villas and Beach Residences, which opened this summer with private pools and a marble bathroom with a sunken bathtub and outdoor shower. In each of the terraces, guests can view the marine life below through glass flooring panels. The Raffles Royal Residence and a secluded collection of overwater villas and residences, which lie adjacent to one of the house reefs, reached by a traditional Maldivian Dhoni boat, will launch during the last quarter of this year. raffles.com

Wilderness reopens luxury Botswana lodge Wilderness Safaris’ King’s Pool Camp has reopened in Botswana’s Linyanti Wildlife Concession. The lodge, which has nine luxurious thatched-roof rooms, has been built with ecotourism principles in mind. In keeping with the company’s commitment to operating with a light ecofootprint, the camp is 100% solarpowered. Activities include game drives, game walks and helicopter flights. wilderness-safaris.com

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Sri Lanka’s fast return

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BY STEVE HARTRIDGE

Bookings for Sri Lanka are returning faster than expected on a wave of goodwill towards the country, according to the chairman of one of its leading hotel groups. After the Easter Sunday bombings, tourist arrivals slumped 70% in May and 57% in June compared with a year earlier, but the green shoots of a recovery – evidenced by numbers increasing from 37,802 in May to 63,072 in June – are already being seen, said Hiran Cooray, Chairman of Jetwing, “Our bookings immediately took a big hit, and we lost around 500,000 room nights, but after the Foreign and Commonwealth Office lifted its travel advisory to Sri Lanka in

early June we have seen 10,000 new bookings for August alone.” Jetwing has 23 hotels in Sri Lanka – including six in Negombo, one of the cities targeted by the bombers – and a range of villas. The renovated Jetwing Lighthouse in Galle is scheduled for an August 1 reopening and a brand-new Jetwing hotel in Kandy remains on track to be welcoming guests by the end of the year, reassured Cooray. “The support we have received from UK tour operators, agents, the media and others has been overwhelming,” said Cooray. Turquoise Holidays has a seven-night stay at Anantara Tangalle, on the southern tip of the island, priced from £1,389pp, on a half-board basis.

VAKARUFALHI MALDIVES Wonderful South Ari Atoll Location Offering a stunning beach and house reef! Book by 31 Jul 19 and receive 30% Discount on Room Rates! PLUS Free Upgrade to All Inclusive AND Reduced Seaplane Transfer Valid for stays until 31 Oct 19

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Inghams looks to summer 2020 Agents can save their clients up to £85 per couple for holidays booked before September 30 from Inghams’ summer 2020 programme. A seven-night holiday, on a half-board basis, at the five-star Hotel Elisabeth in Mayrhofen, Austria, starts from £949pp, based on two sharing and including flights, airport transfers and the early booking discount. Seven nights at the threediamond, Inghams-run Hotel La Sapiniere, in Chamonix, France, on a catered basis (including breakfasts, afternoon tea and evening meals with complimentary wine is from £616pp. inghams.co.uk

Rail travel a true discovery

November will be a good time for visitors to be in Havana, Cuba’s capital. The city will be celebrating the 500th anniversary of its founding with street fairs and festivals. Hotels across Havana are also planning their own events. travel2cuba.co.uk Prestige Holidays’ new Madeira and The Algarve brochure includes the fivestar Savoy Palace Hotel in Funchai for the first time. Prices for a seven-night B&B stay start from £650pp, with flights and transfers. prestigeholidays.co.uk BY JESSICA POOK

Rail Discoveries’ Europe & UK 2020 Preview Brochure features over 50 escorted tours and an early booking offer. New for 2020 is the seven-day Cities & Palaces of Andalucia tour, from £745pp. The fly-rail holiday features time in Ronda, guided tours of Seville and Cordoba, a tour in Granada, and a visit to the Alhambra Palace. Included are flights, internal transport, breakfast, and three- or four-star accommodation. Also new is the six-day Oban,

Isle of Skye & the Sound of Mull, priced from £545pp. Starting in Glasgow, the itinerary includes a journey through the Scottish Highlands on the West Highland Line and a trip on the Jacobite Steam Train (pictured). There’s also a cruise along the Sound of Mull. Customers can save up to £60 per booking when selling a 2020 departure on or before August 20 2019. Departures from various regional UK airports are available at no additional cost. raildiscoveries.com

BABYLONSTOREN

South African wine estate offers vintage Cape experience

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NEWS TO USE IN BRIEF

One of South Africa’s leading ‘resort’ wine estates invited operators and agents to a summer soirée in London to showcase its latest rosé and put the word out about one of the Winelands’ leading visitor attractions. Babylonstoren’s Cellar Master Charl Coetzee launched its 2019 harvest of Mourvèdre Rosé with an epic rosé tower centrepiece. Located near Franschhoek, Babylonstoren – which is listed on the UK Condé Naste Gold List – also features a boutique hotel and spa, a farm shop and a restaurant with a farm-to-fork menu. Agents can book the estate – the oldest fruit farm and vineyard in South Africa, dating back to 1652 – direct or via a specialist UK tour operator. babylonstoren.com

Kenya, Zambia and South Africa are featured in a new three-country tour from Saga. Masai Mara, Victoria Falls, the Zambezi River and Table Mountain are the highlights of a 13-night option that is priced from £3,199pp. The next two departures are on November 5 2019 and January 14 2020. saga.co.uk The Red Carnation Hotel Collection is to open its first hotel in Scotland. The group’s 19th property worldwide – its portfolio includes Ruebens in London and Twelve Apostles in Cape Town – will occupy the current 100 Princes Street Hotel, with views of Edinburgh Castle. redcarnation.com Also in Scotland, Ness Walk, an exclusive five-star hotel, has opened in the Highlands capital, Inverness. In the heart of the city, the hotel features Torrish, a fine-dining restaurant which uses only local ingredients. nesswalk.com

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the review: cruise

Cruise Update

A&K’s cultural cruises

CRUISE NEWS IN BRIEF French-owned cruise line PONANT has joined forces with Relais & Châteaux to offer three gourmet cruises in 2020. Relais & Châteaux chefs will be onboard cruises to Brittany (September 11), Canary Islands & Cape Verde (October 11) and China and Vietnam (October 28). ponant.com

ANDY HARMER, CLIA UK & Ireland Director

Cruise lines are increasingly focussing on delivering the best possible cruise experience, asking ‘what will our guests love?’ to create holidays that offer extraordinary experiences both onboard and ashore. Conversations are moving away from the physical narrative of a cruise – for example, sailing across the Atlantic for a week – towards what happens onboard and during the sailing. When listening to customers talk about cruises you’re more likely to hear experiential references first, such as visits to private Caribbean islands, bars staffed by robots, food cooked in the restaurant of a celebrity chef, visiting relatively unknown and exotic climes, and a raft of adventurous adrenalinefilled sports such as ziplining. In order to reach yet-tocruise travellers, we should change our language to focus on these experiences, rather than focussing too much on ‘maritime language’, such as how many decks a ship has and the size of the cabins. So entice more people to cruise for the first time by pointing out innovation in both the onboard experience and the landbased excursions. cruiseexperts.org

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BY STEVE HARTRIDGE

Abercrombie & Kent has expanded its 2020 portfolio of Luxury Expedition Cruises, a move it says is in response to fast-growing interest in immersive cultural journeys. The new Cruising the Baltic Sea: Copenhagen to St. Petersburg (July 16-28, 2020) aboard Le Dumont d’Urville (limited to 148 guests), will stop in seven countries: Denmark, Poland, Lithuania, Sweden, Estonia, Finland and Russia. Guests will choose from a range of experiences such as a Nordic food experience in Stockholm sampling Swedish specialties from local purveyors, a Finnish sauna and nature walk and a cooking class and palace visits in St. Petersburg. The 13-day cruise starts from £13,050pp. A Wonders of Japan Cruise (June

13-26, 2020) will explore Japan’s four main islands. Those aboard Le Soleal (limited to 199 guests) will be treated to a private geisha performance in Kanazawa’s Higashi Chaia district, as well as a private performance by the worldrenowned Kodo taiko drummers. The 14-day cruise, priced from £15,999, also visits Gyeongju, South Korea. “Our approach to expedition cruising is culturally immersive,” said Bob Simpson, Abercrombie & Kent’s Vice President, Expedition Cruising. “We start with selecting the best ship for a destination, then craft a thoughtful itinerary that provides ample time in each port and offers a good understanding of the region’s history.” abercrombiekent.co.uk

Regent Seven Seas Cruises is to debut more than 200 gourmet plant-based selections on menus across its fleet, beginning October 1 2019. New dishes will include wild mushroom tart, poke bowls and falafel fritters. rssc. com Canadian cruise line One Ocean Expeditions (OOE) will again run its eight-day Scotland and Ireland Golf Expedition Cruise next summer after a successful first sailing this June. Priced from $5,595pp, it will sail from Dublin to Leith from June 6-13. oneoceanexpeditions.com The two-day annual CLIA River Cruise Conference will return to Amsterdam this November (10-11) after being staged in Paris in 2018. cruiseexperts.org

Winnie the Whale splashes down on Princess Cruises Princess Cruises has opened a family water playground on the top deck of its 3,140-guest Caribbean Princess. The Reef Family Splash Zone includes a water play area, a pool and a lounge. Key features are an interactive water playground (called Winnie the Whale’s splashpad) with water sprays and showers, and a spa and bar area including a family pool and jacuzzi.

‘Morgan’s Bar’ has a new childfriendly mocktail menu with drinks on offer such as ‘Crazy Coconut’ and ‘Berry Nice to Meet You’ . A 14-day ‘Circle Caribbean’ voyage on Caribbean Princess is priced from £1,599pp. It departs from Fort Lauderdale on February 2, 2020 and ports of call include St. Thomas, St. Maarten, St. Kitts, Martinique, Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago, Bonaire and Aruba. princess.com

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CARIBBEAN NEWS THIS MO N TH’S TOP STORIES FROM THE CARIB B EAN

’GREEN FINS’ FOR ECO-DIVERS

MEET THE CTO MEMBER

Antigua & Barbuda has become the second Caribbean country to implement a sustainable diving initiative. Green Fins, an organisation that aims to protect and conserve coral reefs, will provide training to dive operators to help reduce the environmental impact on reefs as well as help sustain the marine tourism industry. It is thought that 10,000 tourists will dive under the new guidelines in the next year. greenfins.net

Founder and Owner at Bespoke Travel Marketing

Q

WHAT don’t readers know about your company? We are the General Sales Agent in the UK and Europe of Atlantis Paradise Island, Bahamas, and have been for nearly five years. We have the simple objective of showcasing the resort and ensuring agents and operators match it with the right client.

Q

WHAT are the benefits of being a CTO member? Being part of a community that is focused on marketing the entire Caribbean; great opportunities for networking; and working with the CTO on destination marketing initiatives and travel agent training.

Q

WHAT CTO activities do you get involved in? We participate in most CTO events, including 13 UK travel agent roadshow events this year.

Q

WHAT’S your top Caribbean tip? Look beyond the beach to understand the depth of cultural, sporting, culinary and other activities each island has to offer. Each has its own distinct personality, history and appeal. An island hopping holiday is a great way to explore many destinations in one trip.

The JTB is rewarding agents for selling Jamaica

Win a place on a Jamaica fam

ROOM SALE FOR

SAINT LUCIA AGENTS already selling holidays to Jamaica have the chance to win one of 50 places on a fam trip, hosted Agents can save up to by the Jamaica Tourist Board. 60% off hotel rates as part of the The incentive is part of a ‘Sell It & See It’ campaign, Saint Lucia Tourist Board’s giving agents the chance to experience Jamaica first‘Summer Specials’ campaign. Bay hand so that they can continue to sell the island. Gardens Beach Resort & Spa, A dedicated romance-themed fam for wedding and Bay Gardens Hotel, Bay Gardens honeymoon specialists will depart from September Inn and Bay Gardens Marina 12-17 as well as a regular fam from October 10-15. Haven are all offering 40% off To be entered into the prize draw, agents need to when booking and staying make a booking to Jamaica and register it at between now and December 19. jamaicarewards.co.uk. The tourist board Meanwhile, East Winds is offering is also rewarding agents with cash 25% off as part of a Winter Early for bookings made. Bird deal, valid for stays et Jamaica Rewards also provides between January 1 - 31 and e m s can tners t n access to training sessions, March 1 - 31, 2020 when e Ag par ravel key allowing agents to become booked before October 31. with amaica T how des eJ Jamaica Travel Specialists. 2019. stlucia.org at th B2B tra er. b et Mark Septem m in a.co maic isitja v BELIZE HAVING has made undergone a fiverapid steps to year renovation, establish itself as a Cobblers Cove in ‘must-see Barbados is due to destination’ among unveil its new look visitors, says Karen in October. The Bevans, Director of transformation Leo to make his mark in Belize New look for Cobblers Cove Tourism for the includes the Belize Tourism Board. Forthcoming new refurbishment of all rooms, suites and public product includes a ‘restorative eco-resort’ spaces, with influences from furniture conceived by actor and environmental designer Soane Britain. The hotel has been warrior Leonardo DiCaprio, who hopes to described as ‘one of the chicest places in the open his property on Blackadore Caye in Caribbean’ and embodies British elegance 2020. travelbelize.org with Caribbean charm. cobblerscove.com

don’t

HOTTEST NEWS

PETER GRACE

miss

caribbean.co.uk Sign up to the CTO’s training programme at caribbeantravelguru.com

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CALIFORNIA

Golden state of mind Representatives from all 50 U.S. states met up in Anaheim, California, for the IPW trade show. Jessica Pook and Sally Parker round up the news

Easy travel a priority for U.S. Travel Association The U.S. Travel Association spoke of plans to reduce security wait lines and make the visa system more efficient by expanding the Visa Waiver Programme for visitors. The association, which stressed how important international travel is to the U.S., especially at a time when America is experiencing a decline in the global travel market, has adopted a new mantra: ‘Travel is trade. Travel is security. And travel is commerce’. U.S. Travel President and CEO Roger Dow said: “We are supporting Congress in its efforts to pass bills such as the JOLT Act, which would enable countries like Poland, Israel, Brazil and others to join the Visa Waiver Programme.” Destination D.C. President and CEO Elliott L. Ferguson II, said: “We want to encourage international visitors and have been working with officials in Washington to cut down on wait times and to make the visa application system more efficient.” ustravel.org

New VR tools for Orlando

JUNE 1-5 2019

SHOW SHORTS Jurassic World: The Ride has opened at Universal Studios Hollywood. Riders get to experience the Indominus Rex and aquatic Mosasaurus up close as they peak from behind a aquarium observatory tank. universalorlando.com

Virtual tours, including 12 ride experiences, are now available on the Visit Orlando website. The visually enhanced site features 88 virtual reality tours with 360-degree access. Agents can get a ‘taster’ of 12 popular theme park attractions and ground tours of Downtown Orlando, as well as the city’s Convention Centre. The Visit Orlando Travel Academy is also to undergo a refresh, with updated webinars, more video content and interactive workshops. Agents can download Visit Orlando’s new free app to receive

personalised recommendations, discounted tickets. George Aguel, President and CEO of Visit Orlando said: “Orlando hosted 75 million visitors in 2018, making it the most visited destination in America. It’s important that agents are fully aware of all the new experiences on offer.” Orlando will host IPW in 2022, when delegates will experience new attractions such as Epcot’s nighttime spectacular and the Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge area, which opens in August. visitorlando.com

The Academy Museum of Motion Pictures, designed to celebrate the making of film, is due to open at the end of the year in Los Angeles. It will feature behind the scenes footage, props, costumes and more. academymuseum.org Fly Linq in Las Vegas, the Strip’s only zipline experience, has just opened. Adrenalin enthusiasts can fly 12 storeys above the ground and land at the world’s tallest observation wheel, the High Roller. caesars.com/linq

Puerto Rico asks ‘Have we met yet?’ Discover Puerto Rico has launched a new brand campaign called “Have we met yet?” It aims to re-introduce Puerto Rico to the world following the devastation caused by Hurricane Maria in 2017. By positioning itself as the U.S. mainland’s “friendly neighbour

to the south” the organisation hopes to market the island as ‘familiar yet unique’ and encourage inbound travel. “Puerto Rico has recovered and passenger arrivals are now on par with pre-hurricane levels,” said Brad Dean, CEO of Discover Puerto Rico. discoverpuertorico.com

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the review: trade show report

INTERVIEW Ernest Woode, CEO of Los Angeles Tourism, tells Selling Travel why L.A. is for food and sport lovers. What’s new in town? Los Angeles has established itself as a culinary capital - as evidenced by the city dominating the 2019 Michelin Guide California. We accounted for 18 of the 27 new restaurants with a onestar distinction, while six were awarded two-star status. Going forward, we plan to use these credentials to stimulate demand for food tours and culinary experiences. We also have some major sporting events coming up. The new Rams stadium, due to open in 2020, will host the 2022 Super Bowl. L.A. will also host the opening ceremony for the 2026 World Cup as well as the Olympics in 2028. How key is the UK market? L.A. is experiencing its eighth consecutive year of visitor growth. We’ve actually met our goal of 50,000 million visitors two years in advance! This year we’ve seen a 3% increase in UK arrivals and are expecting a subsequent increase in global visitation when we host the 2024 IPW conference. Brand USA is working hard to ensure that America is a must-see destination and I do believe that the U.S. as a whole will experience visitor growth, despite recent (poor) figures. How do you work with travel agents? We believe that travel agents are an extension of L.A. tourism and that is why we continue to assist the trade in selling with our robust educational programmes, of which we now have more than 5,000 graduates.

Food for thought

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SHOW SHORTS Virginia Tourism Corporation has launched a campaign to celebrate the 50th anniversary of its ‘Virginia is for lovers’ slogan. The campaign will last until August 10 and features 1969-inspired meals at restaurants, bottled ‘lovers lagers’ and various programmes and events. The state also features heavily in the upcoming Wonder Woman movie, which is due for release in 2020. virginia.org

The 2019 Michelin Guide California the first Michelin guide to focus on a specific region of the U.S. - was publicised during IPW in Anaheim at a ‘reveal event’ in Huntington Beach, and includes 90 Michelinstar eateries state-wide. Until this year, the guide only covered restaurants in the San Francisco Bay area but has now expanded to include Los Angeles, San Diego, Orange County, Santa Barbara, Monterey and Sacramento as well. Included is the world’s only twostar Mexican restaurant: Californios (Chef Val Cantu) in San Francisco, and the world’s only two-star Indian restaurant: Campton Place (Chef Srijith Gopinathan) also in San Francisco. The guide also features 24 restaurants in L.A. “The stars awarded to the world-class chefs and restaurants

across the state are a true testament to the diverse and creative culinary scene in California,” said Visit California President & CEO Caroline Beteta. “From three-star restaurants to hole-in-the-wall taco shops, California’s cuisine is fuelled by an abundance of freshness, a fearless attitude and an excitement for experimentation and innovation.” Visit California is also highlighting the state’s self-drive appeal as part of its ‘Road Trip Republic’ initiative. Visitors can choose from 50 road excursions including the popular Highway One and Route 66 to the lesser-known Modoc County and Wild North Coast. The initiative follows a 79% increase in international travellers choosing to embark on a road-trip. visitcalifornia.com

The Colorado tourist board highlighted its Historic Hot Spring Loop at IPW. The trail includes five natural mineral hot spring spots as part of a 720-mile loop in the western part of the state. Clients can soak in relaxing baths at Glenwood Springs, considered the world’s largest mineral hot springs pool, as well as stopping off at Steamboat Springs, Ouray, Pagosa Springs and Chaffee County. colorado.com/ hotspringsloop The next IPW will be held in the Las Vegas Convention Centre from May 30 to June 3, 2020.

Brand USA unites with new mobile content The latest United Stories campaign from Brand USA uses visual content to offer a first-person insight into the U.S. Created by locals, influencers and travellers alike, the short videos can be downloaded via a free app and will be used to inspire international travellers.

“In the last year we have hosted fam trips to all 50 states and continue to grow our toolkit with new content,” said Brand USA’s Christopher L. Thompson. “Our goal is to be the go-to channel for content featuring U.S. destinations.” thebrandusa.com

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the review: trade show report

Experience Latin America The latest edition of ELA, the UK’s only travel trade show dedicated to this region, was the most successful yet. Laura Gelder rounds up the news

Green Guyana gets the go-ahead from LATA The Guyana Tourism Authority (GTA) won Sustainable Destination of the Year at the 2019 LATA Achievement Awards, announced at ELA. According to LATA, the GTA was awarded ‘for its comprehensive approach to sustainable tourism and for launching a community-led framework and toolkit aimed at helping indigenous communities to access the benefits of tourism.’ Brian T. Mullis, Director of the Guyana Tourism Authority, said: “Guyana has expended considerable effort in recent years, not only to develop an eco-friendly tourism product but also to incorporate sustainable tourism best practice into all aspects of its tourism strategy. “Guyana is committed to maximising the positive socio-economic and conservation outcomes from tourism and it is a tremendous honour for us to receive this award in recognition of that.” guyanatourism.com

Cruise shows growth

JUNE 10-12 2019

SHOW SHORTS DMC Argentina Travel Partners has a new oneday tour of the jungle around Iguazu Falls, accompanied by a botanist. atpdmc.com

There was plenty of cruiserelated news at ELA 2019. Anakonda Amazon Cruises (anakondaamazoncruises.com) is now the umbrella brand for two luxury cruise ships – the 36-passenger Anakonda and 28-capacity Manatee, the latter the more adventurous option in the Ecuadorian Amazon. It works with indigenous communities, offering cultural tours, wildlife watching, canoeing and onboard lectures and activities. Antarctica 21’s (antarctica21. com) new polar vessel, Magellan

Explorer, launches November 28, with private balconies and a gym. It’s the third in its fly/cruise fleet. There’s a new fly/cruise programme from One Ocean (oneoceanexpeditions.com), with flights from Punta Arenas to King George Island and Santiago to Stanley in the Falkland Islands. Aqua Expeditions’ (aquaexpeditions.com) new 20-suite Aqua Nera (pictured) begins cruising the Peruvian Amazon in August 2020, but is on sale now, with a choice of six itineraries.

DMC opens new experience in Ecuador’s Yasuni Adventure Journeys has a new experience in the Amazon Basin. The Amazon Explorer Campsite is reached by kayak and linked with the local Kichwa tribal community. It’s strongly focused on conservation, offering activities like tree-planting as well as wildlife watching and kayaking.adventurejourneys.com

Boutique hotel Achamaqui in Northern Peru touts the archeological site Chachapoyas as a less crowded alternative to Macchu Picchu. The 31-room hotel works with communites near the preincan site, where the main attractions are the Kuelap fortress and Karajia tombs. achamaqui.pe Specialist DMC Bolivia Milenaria offers a new glamping experience. The bespoke accommodation takes guests to areas less touched by tourism in tents, offering safari-style comfort with double beds. Locations include the salt flats, Lake Titicaca and Madidi National Park. boliviamilenaria.com Amazonas Explorer refuses to sell the popular Rainbow Mountain site in Peru. The DMC claims that it’s being damaged due to over tourism. amazonas-explorer.com Experience Latin America will be named the LATA Expo in 2020 and located at Chelsea Football Club again. lata.travel

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introducing

71

Ethiopia Ethiopia is renowned for its religious celebrations and rock- hewn churches. Lynn Houghton joins Far and Wild for the Timket festival in Addis Ababa The day dawns bright and warm for Timket. About 60% of this Amharic population are Eastern Orthodox and so celebrate Epiphany (the coming of the three kings from the east) in January. After arriving in Addis Ababa I immediately participated in a stirring procession with chanting, drumming, marching and loud throaty singing from local church members, attired in matching clothing and with synchronised choreography. It was truly uplifting. Now I am travelling up to Meda for the main Timket service. The glint of the early-morning sun shines off soaring skyscrapers and what appear to be Bedouin camps have goats milling about and donkeys sheltering under tents as we pass under the just-opened light rail. This juxtaposition of rural and modern is strange to foreigners but the norm here. My tour guide, Assefa, warns me that security will be tight. The church elders are treated like celebrities, plus the Tabot (Ark of the Covenant), will be protected like the crown jewels. The one we will see is a facsimile - the original is said to be in Axum in the far north. Red, green and yellow bunting is fluttering and many are attired in the national colours too, but most are wearing white cotton embroidered robes. We arrive at a compound where the faithful are descending in droves.

Let the festival begin I manage to manoeuvre my way toward the enormous baptismal pool. The security seems to generally ignore tourists once

SHEPHERDS IN THE SIMIEN MOUNTAINS

A CROSS BEARING ELDER

through the initial frisk down. Elders attired in golden brocaded robes carry filigree silver crosses that represent the religious centres: Lalibela, Axum and Gondar. The service entails low chanting and singing of texts by these elders. Soon, however, there is a loud commotion. A soberly dressed churchman is dousing the entire group of congregants with a hose! It is a messy group baptism and young and old alike push forward to participate.

THE DETAILS TIME ZONE: GMT +3 CURENCY: Birr. £1 = 36 Birr VISAS: Online/on arrival, $50 CAPITAL: Addis Ababa LANGUAGES: English, Amharic CLIMATE: Ethiopian Highlands' dry season is September-June, rainy season is July-August BOOK IT: Far & Wild Travel

specialise in tailor-made holidays plus small group tours to Ethiopia with a Timket Festival Tour priced from £3,685pp (farandwild.travel/ africa/ethiopia) GETTING THERE: Ethiopian Airlines fly daily from Heathrow and four times per

week from Manchester to Addis Ababa, starting at £455 return (ethiopianairlines.com) STAY: The eco Simien Mountain Lodge, located high in the Simien National Park, helps fund local community projects and is close to wildlife such as gelada baboons.

CRUCIFORM CHURCH, LALIBELA

Now the festivities begin in earnest with everyone taking part. Football pitches are erected, and children ride farmers' donkeys as if on a fairground ride. Tiny BBQs are lit as Tibs (grilled meat) is prepared and coffee beans roasted. Injera, a spongy sour bread, is being divvied up amongst family members. This unusual pancake-like staple is used as both a plate and an eating utensil. Ethiopia is where coffee originated, though its beginnings are disputed. Many locals believe it was a goat herder more than a thousand years ago who noticed that his flock became agitated after eating the ripe red beans. Hundreds of years ago, Ethiopian warriors chewed the beans for an adrenaline rush before a battle. These days, there is a whole ritual around making coffee and it is quite the social occasion. Beans are roasted on a fire, ground, mixed with water and returned to the fire. The resulting divine dark concoction is truly delicious and never forgotten. 

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how to sell

New South Wales It has Australia’s urban crown as its main draw, but visitors who arrive in Australia via Sydney might not know that New South Wales has enough to fill an entire holiday, says Laura Gelder Why sell it New South Wales (NSW) has a long coastline dotted with numerous beaches and laidback surf towns, plus sub-tropical rainforest, a wine region, a red outback and even snowy mountains – in short, plenty for agents in the know to recommend to clients looking to experience the state beyond the city. Most people heading to Australia for the first time are interested in Sydney and may have heard of the Blue Mountains and Hunter Valley, but despite it being home to Australia’s most iconic city much of NSW is usually unexplored. This presents an opportunity for agents – a destination with a famous, desirable and easily accessible gateway combined with a surrounding region which still manages to offer off-the-beaten-track experiences.

Who to sell to In short, everyone who wants to go to Australia. But each region has a different appeal and it will depend on where else in Australia the client wishes to go, how much time they have and if they've been before. The Blue Mountains and outback region of NSW offer old-fashioned charm and historic interest, while the Hunter Valley and Lord Howe Island are great for those seeking indulgence and relaxation. Families will appreciate beautiful beaches north and south of the city, as well as in Sydney itself, but the south is wilder and will appeal to those looking to get away from the crowds.

JERVIS BAY

LORD HOWE ISLAND

Selling the city Sydney could occupy travellers for several weeks alone, offering cosmopolitan draws like shopping, art galleries and fine dining, as well its many bays and beaches. Icons like the Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge sell themselves, and beaches like Bondi and Manly are always a hit, but agents who get to know the city’s less obvious areas will attract repeat visitors and travellers looking to break away from the obvious. Up-and-coming areas include artsy Chippendale, hip and historic Paddington and foodie Surrey Hills.

CULTURAL TOUR IN DUBBO

Agents can impress clients and up their commission by adding value to classic attractions. A behind-the-scenes tour of the Sydney Opera House with lunch, or breakfast in the koala enclosure at Wild Life Sydney Zoo, are two examples. A more unusual way to see the city is an aboriginal tour with Dreamtime Southern X, where visitors learn the city’s sacred spots and take part in an ancient ceremony.

Selling the coast NSW’ Central Coast, between Sydney and the state’s second-biggest city, Newcastle, further north. Visitors can expect great watersports opportunities, wildlife spotting and plenty of charming towns for swimming, fishing and surfing. Wildlife lovers can head to the Australian Walkabout Wildlife Park and stay overnight in a cabin among the native animals. Close by, the Australian Reptile Park has demonstrations of snake handling and how to milk venom from funnel-web spiders. North of Newcastle coastal stops include Port Stephens, where visitors can tour the towering sand on quad bikes or 4WD; Coffs Harbour which is a jumping-off point for the Solitary Islands Marine Park and scuba diving trips with turtles or dolphin watching;

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how to sell

Port Macquarie, where a hospital treats injured and sick koalas and welcomes visitors; and Byron Bay, home to Australia’s most easterly point and combining great beaches and surf culture with a laid-back but top-quality café scene and hippy vibes. South of Sydney visit discover uncrowded beaches, marine and national parks and seaside towns and fishing villages like Eden, which is stuffed to the gills with seafood restaurants. The rugged coastline offers adventures such as swimming with seals, deep-sea fishing, coastal walks and surfing. Top sights south from Sydney include Wollongong, NSW’s third-largest city and home to the largest Buddhist temple in the Southern Hemisphere, as well as adventure activities like hang gliding and sky diving; Kiama and its blowhole, which spouts seawater 20 metres into the air; the attractive village of Berry, in the Shoalhaven wine region and renowned for its local produce markets and restaurants; and Jervis Bay, which claims Australia’s whitest sand and is a haven for dolphins, whales and penguins. Another seaside option is the exclusive Lord Howe Island, where only 400 visitors are allowed at a time. The island lies 600km east of the mainland and is World Heritagelisted thanks to its abundance of nesting seabirds, corals and marine creatures. Activities here include relaxing in luxury accommodation with spa treatments, enjoying the island's rainforest trails (including or climbing Mount Gower for panoramic views), and watersports like scuba diving, paddle-boarding and kayaking

Selling the country There are lots of great places which are a short hop or even possible as a day tour from the coast. From Sydney the Blue Mountains are a popular option. These get their name from the natural blue haze

PORT MACQUARIE

73

SHOAL BAY, PORT STEPHENS

created by vast eucalypt forests whose oil mixes with water vapour and sunlight to produce a distinctive haze. The area’s iconic sights include the Three Sisters rock formation at Katoomba and the limestone crystals and underground rivers of the Jenolan Caves. Visitors can ride the world’s steepest passenger railway through ancient rainforest or take a glass-floored cable car over a steep gorge. The World Heritage-listed Gondwana Rainforests are just off the North Coast and encompass Dorrigo National Park near Coffs Harbour, with waterfalls, walking and bird watching. From Byron Bay visitors can climb an extinct volcano, Mount Warning, and be the first in Australia to see the sun rise. Just off the south coast is the Minnamurra Rainforest. Inland from Newcastle is the NSW’s oldest wine region, the Hunter Valley, where visitors can tour vineyards and sample local wines at cellar doors, including Tyrrell’s, Brokenwood and McGuigan. Other draws include award-winning restaurants, championship golf courses, gardens, farmers’ markets , food and music festivals and activities like hot air balloon rides and biking. Further inland, Mudgee and Orange are also wine regions, with numerous cellar doors, wine bars and fine restaurants. Much further inland, the vast NSW outback has featured in films such as the post-apocalyptic Mad Max 2 and encompasses the ochre and red landscapes Australia is known for, as well as wetlands

teeming with wildlife. Remote mining town Broken Hill is 13 hours by train from Sydney and offers heritage trails and film location tours. There’s also othe pal mining town White Cliffs, with its underground motel. There’s also lots of Aboriginal history, including ancient rock art in Mutawintji National Park and Mungo National Park’s famous remains of Mungo Man and Mungo Lady, tens of thousands of years old.

How to sell it Distances are vast in NSW but airlines, including Qantas, fly to smaller cities and towns including Coffs Harbour and country music capital, Tamworth, and there are trains to the Hunter Valley and Blue Mountains from Sydney. For self-drivers there are official drive routes to follow, like the Legendary Pacific Coast route, north from Sydney, and Grand Pacific Drive south from Sydney, which link attractions and towns together. 

BOOK IT WITH... AUSTRAVEL A 14-night Sydney, Coast, Wines and Mountains tour is from £3,449pp with Emirates fiights. It includes nights in Sydney at the QT Hotel, glamping in Jervis Bay, Lilianfels Resort & Spa in the Blue Mountains, Zoofari Lodge in Dubbo, Hunter Valley Resort, and Peppers Anchorage in Port Stephens, plus a wine tour, and 12 days Avis car hire. austravel.com – 0808 250 4889

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traveluni.com

GDS | TRAINING | REWARDS

Training, competitions, events July/August 2019

THIS MONTH'S TOP STORIES

Saga launches its Spirit of Discovery Quick Quiz Are you an Alaska Expert?

1. Alaska is home to the tallest mountain in America TRUE / FALSE

Trending

City break appeal for Jerusalem

2. In Alaska there is one bear to every person

NEWS

SAGA welcomed the latest edition to its fleet, Spirit of Discovery, by inviting hundreds of trade partners aboard in Dover this July for a showcase and party. The ship, and its sister, Spirit of Adventure, due to launch in August 2020, are the only small new luxury ships being built for the British market. Spirit of Discovery will sail up to 1,000 passengers around the world, along with 500 crew. sagaexperts.com

TRUE / FALSE

Experience Jerusalem I Modules: 3 Jerusalem has established itself as a popular citybreak destination as it attracts more mainstream tourists. Eli Nahmias, of the Jerusalem Development Authority, says it has shed its image of a city that appeals to just religious pilgrims, saying: "Now increasingly we are recognised as an international destination brimming with cultural attractions, top hotels and museums, arts, nightlife and a calendar of great events.” Eighteen new hotels are scheduled to open this year and a major new attraction, the Museum of Tolerance, which will 'promote unity and respect among Jews and people of all faiths’, should open before the end of 2019. experiencejerusalem.co.uk

VaKaVa by Jumeirah News

Find the answer at: alaskacertifiedexperts.com

Register and complete the TAWASH Online Training Program for your chance to WIN! One of two Go Pro HERO7 Cameras • One of three £100 Amazon Vouchers Register or sign-in to the TAWASH Online Training Program to find out more

Jumeirah at Etihad Towers in Abu Dhabi has teamed up with Mexican celebrity chef Richard Sandoval to open new restaurant VaKaVa Pan Latin Grill & Lounge. Taking the place of Toro Toro, VaKaVa enjoys the same two-storey views and has a new menu that offers Latin dishes, sharing platters and personalised cocktails. jumeirah.com

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Thailan


Working in partnership

Training courses to help travel agents and advisers sell more!

Summer seller

COURSE LIST

Incentive

A-Z of available courses

BOURNE Leisure is each week giving away £100 in Love2Shop vouchers as part of its latest 'Unwrap the Great British Summer' incentive. Every agent that registers a Butlin’s, Haven or Warner Leisure Hotels booking for guests travelling through July and August will be in with a chance of winning. Three agents can scoop a share of the £100 voucher prize pot each week, with the amount given to each agent varying from week to week. During the incentive period all winners will be chosen at random and announced on a weekly basis via Bourne’s Brainz Agent Hub Facebook page. The incentive runs until August 11.

ABTA Alaska Aruba Amtrak Vacations Beaches Resorts Bourne Leisure Butlins Centara Hotels & Resorts Cirque de Soleile Costa Rica Elegant Hotels Essential Detail Fiji Finland Flanders Fort Myers & Sanibel Haven Hotels Hawaii

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News

Fiji Airways' stopover deal

Heritage Resort Jerusalem Jumeirah Hotels & Resorts Journey Beyond Las Vegas Macao Melia Hotels &

Matai Fiji I Modules:4

Honeymoon offer News

Veranda Resorts has a honeymoon offer of up to 40% off for stays until January 2020. Agents can book both the Veranda Paul et Virginie and Veranda Pointe aux Biches, both in Mauritius, for 40% less, with free gifts in the room upon arrival. The deal is applicable in Superior and Privilege room categories on a halfboard basis when booking five nights. veranda-resorts.com

Resorts

Passengers can enjoy a stopover in Singapore for 20% less when they travel to Fiji with Fiji Airways. The carrier is promoting a two-day-onenight Singapore stopover package consisting of accommodation, local SIM card and a one-way transfer from the airport to the hotel, priced from SGD $62.50pp. To take advantage of the deal, agents must book a multi-city itinerary, with a night in Singapore, then use the code FLYFIJI20 to save 20% on select Changi stopover packages. Their clients can then enjoy attractions such as Sentosa Island, Gardens by the Bay, Marina Bay Sands and Singapore Zoo.

New York state Newmarket Holidays Ontario Qatar Railbookers SAGA Saint Lucia Sandals Resorts Seychelles Simon Malls St Kitts Thailand TIPTO US Airtours Veranda Resorts Windjammer Landing Hotel Yas Island traveluni.com

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76

my journey

On the road in

a i n r o f i l a C

ass on Carson P the of the crest da va Sierra Ne

, Yosemite National Park of ws vie ic m ra no pa e e. ke Tahoe to th lure of the Golden Stat al l ra From the depths of La tu na e th er ov sc e road to di Jessica Pook takes to th

T

here’s a country song playing on the radio about a guy who’s drinking whiskey to soothe his broken heart. Normally I’d sympathise, but today I’m in a Mustang with the top down, winding my way along the west coast of California, the scent of pine wafting through the car like a natural air freshener. On one side the trees are so dense I can barely see beyond the first row of trunks and on the other side the Pacific Ocean spans forever. I’m having a Thelma and Louise moment and no country crooner can dampen my mood! As we cruise further up Highway 1 we pull over at a viewpoint just north of San Simeon and join the gathering of muscle cars that seem to dominate this stretch of road. I soon realise why this is such a popular pit stop. The radio is drowned out by a loud chorus of honking caused by hundreds, possibly thousands, of elephant seals, all wallowing along the shoreline, fighting for that perfect sunbathing spot.

tempting to take out a kayak and paddle around. The clear water of the shallows turn eerily black the deeper the patches I paddle through. The depth of the lake has also tempted scuba divers and the new Emerald Bay Maritime Heritage Trail explores sunken boats and barges which lie undisturbed up to 60 feet below the surface. Back on shore we’re met by Mike Frye from the South Lake Tahoe Tourist Board and taken on a gentle hike through a forest floor scattered with wild flowers and pine cones the size of a rugby ball! While we’re rambling I’m so busy intently listening to tales of bears breaking into houses and wrecking cars that I nearly miss a break in the trees offering the most breathtaking view of the smaller Fallen Leaf Lake, the reflection of snow-covered mountains rippling on the surface. The bear stories continue and I learn that this area is a hive of wildlife activity in the spring, thanks to the salmon that gets caught in the weir. As if on cue, an eagle skims the water’s edge before taking flight in front of me. It might not be a bear but I’m ok about that considering my current situation. South Lake Tahoe teeters on the state line between California and Nevada and a trip across the border to Heavenly Valley, just a 10-minute drive from the quiet, lakeside views of the Azure Hotel where I’m staying, gives a small insight into a state known for its blackjack and roulette.

An eagle skims e the water’s edge befor taking flight in front of me

Shaded by a sequoia

Highway 1’s iconic cliffhanger views

Tahoe treasures The journey inland towards Lake Tahoe makes for a dramatic change in scenery. During the winter months the lake serves as a popular ski resort and it’s blanketed in snow from November until April. Now it’s the middle of June, which sees highs of 25C – but we’re still seeing patches of snow. In reality, Lake Tahoe is 75 miles in length and North America’s largest alpine lake, but search for it on a map of California and it looks no bigger than a teardrop! All that fresh water makes it too

Call of the wild While I was impressed with Highway 1 and its ocean views, the journey from Tahoe to Sonora takes me completely by surprise. What started off

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my journey

77

re s on natu Reflection Tahoe at Lake

The awesome po

wer of water at Yosemite Falls

as an A to B drive turns into the most breathtakingly scenic passage – dare I say it, even more so than the Big Sur. We stop at Caples Lake and I can’t help but investigate what looks like white foam floating on the surface. Upon closer inspection I realise its ice and I’m somewhat confused to be standing in shorts and a t-shirt next to a lake that has blocks of frozen water floating across the surface! When we reach Sonora it feels as if we’ve stepped back in time to the days of the Wild West. The Sonora Inn, just an hour from Yosemite National Park, has the charm of days gone by and I half expect to encounter a cowboy in the corridor as he saunters to the very real saloon across the road. Yosemite National Park has been on my bucket list since I first heard about the giant sequoia trees that have been rooted here for thousands of years. While Mariposa Grove is the largest and most popular in the park - home to characters such as the Grizzly Giant, the Faithful Couple and The Bachelor and Three Graces - Tuolume Grove, near the west edge of the park, offers just as impressive trunks but is generally less busy so you can enjoy these majestic giants without the crowds. Aside from the trees, the park offers visitors a natural oasis of scenic hikes, towering waterfalls and sheer cliff edges, most recently highlighted in the National Geographic documentary film Free Solo. which follows rock climber Alex Honnold on his quest to perform a climb of El Capitan without ropes – it’s not easy watching. The view from the top of Glacier Point certainly commands your attention. With panoramic vistas of the park, it’s worth the half-hour drive to get to. The drama of Half Dome, with its distinct stone face looming and the pounding Yosemite Falls, leaves me questioning if they are actually real. It’s a view that no camera can do justice to. As we leave the park, which takes a solid hour due to the sheer size of it, I feel naive that I’ve tried to ‘do’ Yosemite in two days and find myself determined to return for a dedicated week-long camping trip. But before we reach the exit, something catches my eye in one of the meadows. Sure enough, it’s a grizzly bear, chomping away at the grass, undeterred by the audience that it has now attracted. It may not be as impressive as Mike’s story, but I’m just chuffed to have enjoyed and survived my own bear encounter. •

Open roads and beautiful views

Our shiny Mustang

T BOOK I d trips, O T E WHER two roa

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aboard!

As South Africa’s Blue Train moves from a one- to a two-night experience, Phoebe Smith jumps onboard to discover the ultimate slow travel experience

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here’s something mesmerising about the sound of a train pushing its way along a track. I remember when I was a little girl, my mother would tell me to listen carefully to hear the locomotive talking to itself, uttering the words ‘I think I can, I know I can’ as it went. As I got older trains somehow lost their magic, being merely a means to an end, crammed full of commuters. So when I received an invitation to travel across the expanse of South Africa on a twonight journey by rail it was – perhaps understandably - met with a certain amount of trepidation. But this was no ordinary train.

Palace on wheels First established back in 1923 as the Union Express, it was a vital link between Johannesburg and Cape Town, allowing post to reach the waiting mail ships. The journey back then was all about function until, following a suspended service during WWII, it was resurrected in 1946 with its distinct blue-and-cream livery, a luxury overhaul and a new name – The Blue Train. This was to be a true ‘palace on wheels’ and large on luxury. From the private lounge at Cape Town station, where we toast with pink Champagne as a jazz musician plays the saxophone, a blue-blazered butler leads me to my cabin. He opens the door to reveal a sumptuous suite consisting of two

large armchairs that fold into twin beds, a table where a bottle of fizz chills, and a bathroom complete with a walk-in shower. But the real show-stopper is the huge picture window that makes the in-room entertainment system instantly redundant. As we roll out of the city, with the cloud spooling over the top of Table Mountain, the urban sprawl gives way to farmland, vineyards and mountain passes. I’m mesmerised by the ever-changing palette – from greens to golds, grape to granite. “It used to be a bit of a rushed journey – luxurious but fast,” explains the train manager as we sit in the lounge car enjoying an aperitif before dinner. “Now, however, with the two-night journey time. it’s about allowing guests to have the space to properly unwind.” The food is as glorious as the scenery. Dishes of smoked salmon, pan-fried steak and biltong flakes are whipped out from a kitchen smaller than my cabin, each paired with lovely local wines and followed by a dessert bonanza of chocolate cigars, hot fudge pudding and deconstructed lemon meringue. Despite the mesmerising flavours, I can’t help but gaze out at the mountains as we reach the Karoo plateau, where the grey is transformed into pink as dusk falls. I wake early, raise my blind and lie in bed, simply watching the world go by. Breakfast is not at a set time so I head to the dining car when I feel hungry and later call my butler for an in-room coffee.

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“Cape Town is perfect for slowing down. You could spend a few nights in downtown then head out to Camps Bay for gorgeous sunsets and endless coastal walks” Jonny May, Audley Travel

Precious gem The one stop on this journey is at Kimberley, famed for its diamond mines. A waiting tour bus whisks us away from the train to the Big Hole. This massive mining crater is 214 metres deep and filled with water that has a surface area the same size as five football fields. As I look down at this man-made excavation I notice my usual hurried pace has been replaced by a much more laid-back meander – it’s as though I’m channelling the speed of the train despite having left it. By the time I step back onboard I’m ready to do more of what this whole experience is about – nothing at all. I head to the observation car at the back of the train and, with a drink in hand, watch the setting sun. My journey will come to an end the following morning, rolling back towards the urban, as I pass through Johannesburg to end in Pretoria. From there I will head four hours west, for a safari in Madikwe Reserve. But you

THE BLUE TRAIN

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WILDLIFE SPOTTING IN MADIKWE NATURE RESERVE

can combine the Blue Train with Kruger National Park, the Garden Route along the Eastern Cape, as well as the Hoedspruit and Sabie areas of the north coast of KwaZulu-Natal. For now, I watch a cluster of pink flamingos on the lake. With our increasingly fast-paced lives, slow travel offers something that no other experience really can; the chance to disconnect from technology, to reconnect with the landscape, and to realise that the journey really can be the destination.

Ideas for slow South Africa A sidecar tour from Cape Town: Someone else worries about the driving while guests simply sit back and take in the sights, smells and sounds as the little motorcycles travel down the coast at a leisurely speed, taking in views (including a stop for a Champagne

BLUE TRAIN SERVICE WITH A SMILE

breakfast), Victorian seaside towns and South African penguins at Boulders Beach, before ending with a toast and local wine in Stellenbosch. A multi-day safari: Just four hours on good roads from Jo’burg is Madikwe Nature Reserve, a place where the Magnificent Seven roam – including elephant, rhinos, lion, buffalo, leopard, cheetah and African wild dog. Royal Madikwe Lodge is situated by a prime waterhole where, after undertaking sunrise and sunset drives, guests are encouraged to grab a sundowner and watch the wildlife come to them. Tuk-tuk tour in Soweto: Sick of being gawped at by coach tour tourists snapping photos of them as though on a human safari, locals in Soweto decided it was time for a change and provide a more authentic experience. Buying a fleet of bikes and three tuk-tuks,

they now offer visitors a local view of the famous township, telling stories and offering the chance to actually meet and talk to the locals too.

Where to book it CARRIER – 0161 492 1353 The seven-night Window to the Soul of South Africa holiday is priced from £3,185pp, based on two adults sharing. It includes two nights’ B&B in a one-bedroom luxury apartment at More Quarters in Cape Town, two nights’ full-board in a Deluxe Suite on The Blue Train from Cape Town to Pretoria, two nights’ all-inclusive in a Luxury Suite at Royal Madikwe Luxury Safari Lodge and one night B&B in a Luxury Suite at The Saxon Boutique Hotel & Spa in Johannesburg. Plus fast track service and lounge access at Heathrow, return flights with South African Airways and private road transfers within the destination. carrier.co.uk. 

THE PICTURESQUE VILLAGE STATION OF MATJIESFONTEIN

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the quirky side of travel Tea for TUI

As a tea-loving nation it comes as no surprise that we drink an excessive amount of the stuff, and this doesn't change when we take flight. According to TUI, British travellers love nothing more than a nice brew. The airline estimates that over the summer period TUI Airways customers will drink enough English breakfast tea to fill 920 bathtubs. We are also a fan of snacking and are expected to eat enough ham and cheese toasties to feed Wembley Stadium twice, along with a marathon amount of Sour Cream & Chive Pringle - literally! Put back-to-back, the pots would span the entire London Marathon route. You know what they say - once you pop, you can't stop... tui.co.uk

Mum over mates

First Choice has revealed that over three-quarters of young adults are opting to go on holiday with their parents. Whilst 23% admitted it's to save money (thanks to the bank of mum and dad), 62% simply enjoy spending quality time with their parents. They’re not taking mum to Magaluf, though – parents are finding new confidence to travel to long-haul destinations. firstchoice.co.uk

Top 5... most expensive taxi fares According to Taxi2airport.com, the country with the most expensive taxi fare is Switzerland, at £20.25 for 5km, compared to just 75 pence for the same journey in Egypt! Here's a list of the most pricey 5km drives... 1 2 3 4 5

Train strains

Switzerland: £20.25 Japan: £13.97 Germany: £12.32 Netherlands: £11.97 Belgium: £11.52

Around 80% of Brits have experienced a life-changing 'sliding doors moment', says rail company LNER, referring to the film Sliding Doors which shows two versions of a life, depending on whether a train was missed or not. LNER's survey revealed that one in 20 came home earlier than expected and caught their partner cheating, just like poor Gwyneth Paltrow in the film. lner.co.uk

THE SEPTEMBER 2019 ISSUE OF SELLING TRAVEL WILL FEATURE: Cyprus • Over 50s travel • Peru • South Florida • South Pacific • Weddings & Honeymoons • CONTACT US sales@bmipublishing.co.uk; editorial@bmipublishing.co.uk PLUS ONLINE Daily Selling Tips • Destination Guides • Photo Galleries • Travel Uni

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SAVE A GUARANTEED

£400 PER PERSON

PLUS Free Private Door-to-Door Chauffeur Transfers^

2020 Americas Collection – NOW ON SALE Choose to book with Scenic on an escorted tour of The Americas, where exclusive excursions, selected dining experiences and the intimacy of small group travel come as standard, as well as all flights, transfers and tips. Your guests will have unprecedented access to some of North and South America’s most treasured destinations, as their exclusive Scenic Enrich and flexible Scenic Freechoice programs open up possibilities that may otherwise have been unavailable. From stargazing suppers with astronomers at Jasper Dark Sky Preserve and dining on the rim of the incredible Grand Canyon, to a coffee and Pisco tasting tour in the Peruvian city of Cuzco and Scenic Sundowners at the top of Sugarloaf Mountain, we guarantee they will be moments they’ll cherish forever. Uncompromising on luxury, we include stays in some of the most iconic hotels and are the only UK tour operator to have partnered with Fairmont Hotels and Resorts. Guests will stay in upscale timber lodges in the Alaskan wilderness, in the heart of a Patagonian national park, or somewhere exuding energy like the Bellagio on the Las Vegas strip. They’ll take to the water in luxury and cruise with world-renowned cruise lines, like Holland America Line and Oceania, travel in GoldLeaf service on board the Rocky Mountaineer, and navigate the route to Machu Picchu with PeruRail. The inspiring landscapes, from top to bottom of these two colossal continents, are just waiting to be explored, and what better way to do so than in true Scenic luxury?

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5-Star Luxury Inclusions: Return flights from Heathrow, as well as selected regional airports The intimacy of smaller group sizes with a maximum of 24 guests on all South America itineraries and on selected North America itineraries Stays at the exclusive Fairmont Hotels & Resorts GoldLeaf Service on board Rocky Mountaineer Luxury cruise of the Amazon rainforest Galápagos Islands deluxe expedition cruises Scenic Enrich – unforgettable and exclusive once-in-a-lifetime experiences Scenic Freechoice – a choice of flexible excursions and dining options throughout the journey Scenic Sundowners – exclusive hosted evening drinks in memorable locations (South America) Scenic Special Stays – iconic hotels remarkable for their location, character and heritage Fully escorted touring

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Be inspired by...

TOURING Trends in touring • Touring four ways • Interview: Shearings Holidays • Fresh touring ideas • Take five: off-the-beaten track tours •

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TRENDS IN TOURING Once synonymous with passive 'herded' groups, there’s now a touring product to fit a wider range of clients, and a growing demand to tap into, says Debbie Ward

T

he touring market continues to break down into tighter segments with size, transport and demographics still fragmenting. “The concept of touring has evolved over recent years, from the traditional escorted coach tour carrying 50-plus passengers to a more flexible and dynamic product range,” explains Travel 2’s Senior Product and Commercial Manager for Touring, Europe and Cruise, Mark Henderson. Anything from rail to trekking and many special interests are now covered, he points out, adding, “a key change is the degree of flexibility now available within tours. This includes more time for customers to add on experiences tailored to their interests.” This is part of a wider shift towards smallgroup touring, believes Explore Worldwide’s Global Head of Sales, Ben Ittensohn, with even traditional coach operators having to fragment and personalise their product to meet demand. “People are now seeing how much closer you can get to destinations, culture and local life in a small group,” he says. The shift appears to be influenced by the wider trend for authenticity. “Experiential

tours, whether food-, walking-, cultural- or multi-sport-based are consistently growing as travellers are interested in experiencing the real day-to-day atmosphere and ambience of a destination,” says Henderson. Experiential travel In response to demand for more varied tours Ramblers Walking Holidays has added mindfulness and wellbeing, bird watching, and skills like navigation. “Clients are also looking for memorable, low-impact, environmentally aware experiences," says Sales and Reservations Manager, Paco Gonzalez. “They expect to come back from the break with the feeling they’ve gained a sense of accomplishment.” Increasingly, socially conscious travellers seek out community projects, says Travel 2. And Explore notes that responsible travel is now ‘more relevant’ to consumers than it was even five years ago. Though social awareness is a factor, the experiential travel boom is also fuelled by bragging rights, admits Ittensohn. “This year we launched a trip to Lebanon and sales have just gone through the roof. It’s social currency to say you’ve just done

eight days in Lebanon or five in Chernobyl,” he explains. Touring operators’ high repeat booking rates also drive innovation. “Some 21% of our travellers last year had done 10 or more trips with us so you can see we have a real need to keep developing programmes,” says Ittensohn. Widening horizons Northern Peru is among the off-the-beaten track destinations tipped for growth by Journey Latin America. South Africa, Japan, Jordan and Lebanon are, meanwhile, selling strongly for Explore. It anticipates further Middle East growth and hopes for a return to form for Sri Lanka too. Good-value Turkey is also doing well and operators predict other shorthaul demand will bounce back as ‘Brexit wariness’ eases. As ever, film and TV coverage has an effect. Demand for Explore’s Chernobyl tour quadrupled after the HBO/Sky miniseries about the nuclear disaster. Judi Dench's recent programme about Borneo and its lovable orangutans has driven significant sales to the Malaysian

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CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: Jordan's famous lost city of Petra; Turkish resort Oludeniz; bird watching is becoming more popular; Thailand's Koh Lipe

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island, according to Mercury Holidays and Shearings Holidays. Self-drives are increasingly popular with those who enjoy travelling independently while tapping into an operators’ expert know-how, and infrastructure improvements help boost this market. “Over the decades, improvements to Latin America’s growing network of paved roads have really opened up the region to this style of holiday,” says Journey Latin America

ABOVE: Lost City of Kuelap, Northern Peru

Business Development Manager, Laura Rendell-Dunn. “In Ecuador, for example, recent improvements to Route 45 mean that places once almost inaccessible to visitors are now brought within easy reach of popular Quito and the country’s principal highland cities.” Time poor but tech savvy Today’s travellers want to maximise their experiences of a destination by being on tighter schedules. “Nowadays, clients usually travel for two or three weeks at a time where 40 years ago we offered a six-week escorted group tour that covered Brazil, Paraguay, Bolivia and Peru and was hugely popular,” points out Rendell-Dunn. Clients are also better informed. Ramblers says even its predominantly 50+ customers do thorough internet research before booking. A recent survey of 2,000 millennial travellers by TrekAmerica meanwhile found Instagram was a travel driver for 25% of this age group – something agents could use to their own advantage when targeting sales.

ABOVE: Lebanon's appeal includes bragging rights

Flying solo… or as a family Solo travel is a key recent touring trend. Explore’s Ittensohn says that although the reasons are unclear, female client numbers have also risen, perhaps because women like the security of travelling with others. He adds that with more short tours available, those with partners with different travel interests feel comfortable taking a few days away on their own. Agents can court this market by

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CONTACT AGENCY SALES FOR MORE DETAILS: 01732 775 009 #Applies to like-to-like holidays, documentary proof of lower price must be provided within 24 hour. See website for full terms & conditions. Untitled-1 1

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ABOVE: Chenobyl - seeing strong growth since the TV mini-series

understanding single supplement options. Some small group operators waive this for travellers who will share rooms. Some have no single supplements on certain departure dates. Family touring is also on the rise. Travel 2 is expanding product to meet what it sees as the key 2019/2020 trend. “Families are now looking to travel on more experiential-based holidays and we have some great partners that we work with to deliver this,” says Henderson. Explore also notes the boom, with Thailand and Turkey proving popular. “We’ve seen double-digit growth this year. People want to get their children away from their screen and out doing fun activities like kayaking,” says Ittensohn. Agents can entice families by stressing how group touring takes the strain off parents, he advises. The age demographic is also shifting. “The average age of a tour customer is mid-

fifties but this is something that’s certainly changing. I was recently on a Vietnam tour and I happened to be the oldest person at 40,” says Henderson. “The youngest customer was 19 but the group was harmonious as we all had similar interests.” He predicts average ages will continue to drop thanks to today’s more immersive tour opportunities. Agent tips Agents often need to be proactive to sell tours. Explore encourages retailers to use the demand for new experiences to their advantage, tempting clients with unusual destinations and activities they can access most easily with organised tours. Agents should also join touring associations to network with specialists, Explore’s Ittensohn advises. And Travel 2’s Henderson suggests agents ask clients their interests and hobbies and then match them to tours designed with the

same niche in mind. Titan’s Head of Trade Sales Edwina Coppock points out that touring is a quick and easy way for agents to sell a multicentre holiday without days of research. She adds: “Don’t just wait for a customer to ask for an escorted tour. They may initially only know that they want to visit a certain country.”

ABOVE: South Africa is a classic touring destination

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Spirit of Discovery is here!

Book online at sagaagents.co.uk, call FREE on 0800 074 8021 or contact Trade Support FREE on 0800 068 8732 Visit our online training platform at sagaexperts.co.uk Find us on social media Saga Trade Team Image credit: Chris Ison Saga holidays and cruises are exclusively for the over 50s. A travel companion may be 40+. NTA-SC2851

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TOURING FOUR WAYS Agents can sell tours under many different guises and for varied tastes and interests, Debbie Ward outlines four styles ADVENTURE TOURING G Adventures (gadventures.co.uk) includes many active tours, some specifically for ‘18 to 30-somethings’, including serious trekking options in Kilimanjaro, Nepal and Patagonia, the latter offering clients the chance to raft in Glacier National Park. Intrepid (intrepidtravel.com) encourages adventurous travellers to take to two wheels, with cycling tours in the Balkans, Vietnam, Cuba, Iran, Tanzania and the lesser-cycled but trending Japan. Routes here link Kyoto with Tokyo and the Noto Peninsula, with optional electric bikes to take some of the strain. Medium-haul Costa Rica is a manageable adventure holiday for families offered by Explore (explore.co.uk) and Exodus (exodus.co.uk). Explore’s 14-night Family Rainforest Adventure includes treks to see sloths and howler monkeys. An 11-day trip to Borneo with Intrepid Travel (intrepidtravel.com) takes in an orangutan rehabilitation centre plus proboscis monkeys. Trekking Tanzania's Kilimanjaro is a popular G Adventures trip

SELF DRIVE Journey Latin America (journeylatinamerica.co.uk) has a newly-launched tour called Self-drive Ecuador: The Back Road of the Andes. This heads off the beaten track, winding its way south from Quito’s high Andean plateau to the rainforest of the Amazon basin in 10 days. It uses the newly improved scenic Route 45, with clients staying in forest lodges on the way and taking opportunities for wildlife spotting and river rafting. Closer to home, Regent Holidays (regent-holidays. co.uk) has self-drive itineraries around the mountain passes and glaciers of Norway and the ancient villages and beaches of Montenegro, both over eight days. Kuoni’s (kuoni.co.uk) flexible Australian self-drive holidays can be made by car, with pre-booked, accommodation, or by motorhome. Among the less obvious suggested routes is an Outback self-drive over 22 nights from Perth to Darwin, taking in Karinji National Park, the striped rock formations of the Bungle Bungles and staying two nights at El Questro ranch, besides coastal stays at Broome and Monkey Mia. Regent Holidays offers self-drive options in Norway

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SOLO TOURING While many escorted tours are likely to include a mix of solos, couples and friends, Saga (saga.co.uk) is one of the operators offering dedicated solo departures. Options include a Southern Italian and Sicilian Adventure over 12 nights, covering the trending but lesser-known area at the heel of Italy. Wine tasting on the foothills of Mount Vesuvius is among the highlights. Further off the beaten track it also has a 10-night Heart of the Silk Route solo tour of Uzbekistan, which takes in Samarkand, famed for its Islamic mosaic work. Solo departures from Titan Travel (titantravel.co.uk) include California and the Golden West in the US, incorporating Vegas and Yosemite, and trips to the Foothills of the Himalayas in India. Great-value Turkey is among the solo departures for On the Go tours (onthegotours.com), which has a 10-day ‘Unplugged’ trip taking in Istanbul, Cappadocia and the WWI landing site at Gallipoli, with no single supplement if clients room share with another of the same sex. Client ages range from 18 to 70-plus. Riviera (rivieratravel.co.uk) has a solo travellers forum for online travel chat and no single supplement on its solo departures. These include several Italy options plus New York, Sri Lanka and a Grand Tour of China. Saga offers a solo tour of Uzbekistan

LUXURY TOURING South Africa continues to trend this year, partly thanks to improved airlift. Kuoni (kuoni.co.uk) has a sevennight escorted Essential South Africa tour combining three nights in Cape Town with two at Stellenbosch in the Winelands and an optional Eastern Cape safari, visit to Victoria Falls, or a three-night add-on in Mauritius. For the ultimate cash-rich- time-poor clients, Abercrombie & Kent (abercrombiekent.co.uk) has a new round-the-world by private jet tour for 2019, stopping at Kyoto in Japan; the Gobi Desert in Mongolia; Kathmandu and Mount Everest in Nepal; Bhutan; the Taj Mahal in India; Abu Dhabi; Petra and Wadi Rum in Jordan; Sicily; and Seattle and Boston in the U.S.. Less typical places to see in style include Albania, featured by Cox & Kings (coxandkings.co.uk) in its eight-night Land of the Eagle tour, and Moldova and the Ukraine, including caviar tasting. Many luxury-slanted operators offer private touring with a drive/guide on certain itineraries. And for something totally different, Wendy Wu (wendywutours.co.uk) has a unique Big Fat Indian Wedding trip departing this November that includes an invite to a lavish wedding reception. Be a guest at a lavish Indian wedding with Wendy Wu

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TALKING TO... SHEARINGS HOLIDAYS

Don’t define your customers by their age, it’s all about mindset and their personal passions and interests Touring is in vogue! People lead busy lives so they’re looking for a holiday that’s easy and touring makes sure they can get the best value, money-wise but also in terms of time, because they can more easily pack in all the must-see sights. There’s a misconception about coach tours because people remember what they travelled in for school. Our coaches are up-to-date Mercedes Benz; the seat pitch is larger than an airline’s and seats have lateral movement. We also offer wifi and an entertainment system, Roadshow, which lets travellers access films, TV, podcasts and more through their own devices. Trending now Today it’s all about personalisation, so we offer Tour and Explore packages which travel from place to place; or Stay and Discover itineraries based in one hotel with tours going out every day. There are pre- or post-tour stays available too. The perception of coach touring is that you’re herded around in a big crowd and that’s the myth

JANE ATKINS Managing Director Shearings Holidays YEARS IN THE INDUSTRY: 30 FAVOURITE HOLIDAY DESTINATION: Italy (love the food & wine) TRAVEL DISASTER : Forgetting my driving licence on a fly-drive (hubby took the wheel!)

that agents need to dispell. The only thing that’s prescriptive about a coach tour is the travel itself. Once you reach the destination you have freedom – some people might do a walking tour, some will explore independently and others may have prebooked an extra excursion. If they wish, travellers can just use the coach as a way to get from A to B. Our Grand Tourer brochure is all about authenticity. It has all the traditional stops like the Vatican in Rome or the Eiffel Tower in Paris, but we’ve added curated elements that give a touch of local authenticity, such as wine tasting in a chateau. America is our most popular touring destination but in Europe Italy comes top and in the UK, Scotland. Borneo, launched a year ago, is growing in popularity and has been boosted by Judi Dench’s documentary. TV is a big influencer and agents should pay close attention to what their customers may be watching. The future of touring We have lots of ideas on how to make tours more individual and by 2020 agents will see more ways to de-package, meaning they can mix and match elements for a bespoke holiday. We’ll also be utilising technology in our tours. The goal is to broaden our appeal, although our core market remains the over 55s. But don't define your customers by their age, it’s all about mindset and their personal passions and interests and our brochure signposting aims to highlight each tours' focus. An escorted tour is an end-to-end experience and agents can get commission on all of it. We offer great trade concessions because there’s nothing like experiencing the product and if agents can offer firsthand feedback that’s much more compelling than a website. It’s all about adding value and understanding what’s included.

Yellowstone National Park

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This is

Escorted Touring From Antrim to Antarctica, whether you dream of seeing Orangutans in the jungles of Borneo or learning about the history of Budapest, a Shearings escorted tour provides you with the freedom, flexibility and opportunity to explore all corners of the world. With over 1,000 expertly-planned itineraries visiting almost 200 destinations on all seven continents, the world is waiting! Fancy taking to the water or visiting somewhere closer to home, then look no further. We are one of the best in the business for our Britain and Ireland escorted tours, in addition to offering an unrivalled range of 62 European and worldwide river cruise itineraries across 32 stunning ships, plus 20 ocean cruises. Sit back, relax and let us handle the details whilst you marvel at famous sights, natural wonders and hidden treasures- all brought to life by our tour managers and specialist local guides.

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Scandinavia & Land Of Midnight Sun

Rome, Sorrento & Amalfi Coast

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Join our epic journey beyond the Arctic Circle, through some of the most breathtaking and unspoilt scenery. Passing stunning fjord landscapes and quaint fishing villages along our way, this will give us a wonderful taste of what Scandinavia has to offer. Explore historic capital cities, each with a unique character and experience the spectacular natural phenomenon of the ‘Midnight Sun’.

Join us on this fantastic holiday and enjoy a stay in the stylish resort of Sorrento with its cafes and shops. Admire the stunning Amalfi coast, home to some of the most breath-taking scenery in the world and discover the iconic sights of the ‘Eternal City’ of Rome, one of the most photographed cities in the world.

A land built on myths and legends and sustained by local charm and hospitality, the Emerald Isle is a place of stories. Create your own with our tour around the wild landscapes. dramatic seascapes and the charismatic towns, and perhaps share a tale or two over a pint of the ‘black stuff’.

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Eastern Discovery

New Zealand By Rail, Cruise & Coach

Borneo Wilderness

From the big cities, rural countryside and history of the USA’s East Coast we cross the border to Canada’s historic eastern cities and the majesty of Niagara Falls that spans the borders. We travel from city to monument to natural wonders, immersed in the beauty of these two countries.

Discover both of New Zealand’s beautiful islands on this tour, which includes 4 breathtaking rail journeys and 4 cruises. From Maori traditions to British treaties, we travel by rail, cruise and coach to see geyers, glaciers and wildlife to give you an authentic experience of the land of the long white cloud.

From tropical rainforests to idyllic beaches, experience exotic Borneo’s nature and wilderness first hand. With no less than 3 included river cruises, you will have plenty of chances to spot the array of wildlife that inhabits this mesmerising land, not to mention the chance to view the infamous Sepiok Orangutan.

April – September 2020

Sep - Nov 2019 - Jan - May 2020 • BY AIR

8 Sept 2019, 10 Jun & 15 Sept 2020 • BY AIR

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Why choose Shearings? The UK’s largest escorted tour company

SHEARINGS

Over 100 years of experience

Award-winning holidays

Low deposits, from £65pp*

Trusted hotels in excellent locations

Over 600 pick up points nationwide

Flexible travel options by coach, car, air and rail

Over 200 destinations worldwide

Up to 20kg luggage included in price†

Award Winning Holidays

facebook.com/groups/shearingstradeteam Need to talk to us online – visit shearingsagent.com and talk to us via webchat Terms and conditions apply. All prices are from prices and based on 2 people sharing a standard twin/double room. Single/room/cabin/flight supplements may apply. *£65pp deposit is based on UK coach holidays of 2 - 5 days only. †On UK and European coach holidays only. Prices correct as of 01/07/19. E&OE

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FRESH TOURING IDEAS

BORNEO

CROATIA

Off the back of Judi Dench's Wild Borneo Adventure, Titan Travel has launched a 13-day Wild Borneo tour. Exploring both the rivers and rainforest, it offers wildlife encounters with orangutan and the world's smallest bear. titantravel.co.uk

Dream Yacht Charters offers seven-day sailing itineraries across the Mediterranean. Island hopping around Croatia involves exploring uninhabited islands and protected coves, avoiding all the tourist traps. dreamyachtsales.com

TUSCANY, ITALY As Italy celebrates the year of 'slow tourism', why not ease the pace and enjoy Tuscany by rail. Planet Rail offers six nights at the Relais dei Molini, a rural house set among olive trees. planetrail.co.uk

SOUTH AFRICA

© SAGA/ SHONGOLOLO EXPRESS

Dine in period-style cars and sleep in luxurious Gold category rooms on Rovos Rail’s new Shongololo Express during an 18-night luxury journey across South Africa. saga.co.uk

FRENCH POLYNESIA Dive Worldwide offers yearround diving in the UNESCO Biosphere Reserve at Fakarava atoll, part of the Tuamotu group. Expect shark encounters and humpback whales. diveworldwide.com

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COLOMBIA Rainbow Tours' new 12-day Colours of Colombia small-group tour begins in Bogotá before heading through the coffee region’s emerald hills to Caribbean Cartagena. Highlights include the underground Zipaquira Salt Cathedral. rainbowtours.co.uk

COLOGNE, GERMANY Is there anything more festive than a German Christmas market tour featuring Aled Jones? The four-day trip features a Christmas concert in Cologne’s Trinitatiskirche church, featuring The Snowman singer himself. arenatravel.com

AROUND THE WORLD

BALTIC STATES

Shearings Holidays has an Around the World in 30 Days tour. The whirlwind trip includes visits to New York and Los Angeles before clients jet off to New Zealand’s North Island. Clients will also get to see the Blue Mountains, just outside of Sydney, followed by Hong Kong and Singapore, before finishing on safari in South Africa. shearingsagent.com

Thanks to its mainly flat terrain, cycling is a great way to explore Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia. The 11-day Cycle Tour in the Baltics starts in Lithuania's capital, Vilnius, and ends in Estonia's capital, Tallin. It also takes in Latvia's capital, Riga, a national park, beaches, Soviet architecture, a medieval castle and a meteorite crater. baltictravelcompany.com

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32 NEW TOURS

New brochure out now! New

Find a Golden Ticket to WIN! We have hidden 50 Golden Tickets in our latest Holidays & Tours Collection brochure packs! Order now for your chance to win a wonderful prize! To redeem your prize, send a selfie with your voucher and tag Nic Newmarket on Facebook. Enter by 31st July 2019. T&C’s apply.

Prizes include: • • • •

1x Lake Garda Holiday for 2 1x Samsung Galaxy Tablet 1x 6 bottles of wine 47x £20 Love2Shop Vouchers

Your Escorted Tour Specialists

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

CRUISE LINES INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION

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FIVE OFF-THEBEATEN-TRACK TOURS ISLAND HOPPING IN IRELAND. This guided hiking adventure from Wilderness Ireland (wildernessireland.com) includes rambles along Inis Meáin in the Aran Islands; Burren National Park, said to have inspired Tolkien’s Middle Earth; and Killary Fjord, home to friendly pods of dolphins.

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CAPTAIN COOK’S NEW ZEALAND. A new 29-day self-drive from Silver Fern Holidays (silverfernholidays.com) marks the 250th anniversary of Captain Cook landing in New Zealand. Designed to entice intrepid explorers, it visits Ship Cove in Abel Tasman National Park, accessible only by boat or on foot. THE SWEDISH LAKE DISTRICT. Sunvil’s (sunvil.co.uk) seven-night self-drive begins in Southern Sweden’s rural Småland province. As well as the pretty Lake Möckeln and the dense forests of Store Mosse National Park, there’s time to visit the IKEA museum in Älmhult and discover more about those famous meatballs!

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MONGOLIA EXPEDITION. Intrepid’s (intrepid.com) 15-day Wilderness of the West tour immerses guests in nomadic Mongolian culture. Stay with families in traditional gers and hear khoomii (traditional throat singing) before joining Kazakh eagle hunters. IN SEARCH OF THE SNOW LEOPARD. Follow the tracks of this elusive cat in Natural World Safaris' (naturalworldsafaris.com) journey through the mountains of Ladakh, India. Along the way, stop off at hilltop monasteries to experience the tranquil life of the Buddhist monks who meditate there.

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WYOMING Is there anywhere more evocative of the journey itself than the American West? Its endless prairies, rushing rivers, deep canyons and soaring mountains, so sacred to Native Americans, proved the ultimate challenge to settlers from Europe. Now the ultimate touring destination, Wyoming's wide-open roads call to travellers from around the world. travelwyoming.com

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second edition brochure

Our second edition features brand-new tours in Zimbabwe and southern India, plus all 2020 departure dates (and 2021 departures on a selection of long-haul holidays). Don’t forget, booking early guarantees your customers the best price possible. • VIP door-to-door travel service†

• Price Promise

• Fly from an airport near you*

• Guaranteed departures

Book online at www.titanagents.co.uk †Mainland UK only. *Supplements may apply

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GREAT LATE

GETAWAYS FOR JULY & AUGUST

*Terms and conditions apply. Please see your local travel agent for full details.

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BOOK NOW FOR

SUMMER 2020 BOOK FOR JUST

OVER 50,000

FREE CHILD DEPOSIT PLACES *

*

PER PERSON

*Terms and conditions apply. Please see your local travel agent for full details.

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Profile for BMI Publishing Ltd

Selling Travel July/August 2019  

The world in one magazine Cover Story: Caribbean, plus how to sell... Mediterranean • South Africa • Middle East • California • Canada • Na...

Selling Travel July/August 2019  

The world in one magazine Cover Story: Caribbean, plus how to sell... Mediterranean • South Africa • Middle East • California • Canada • Na...