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Bulgaria • Cape Verde • Caribbean luxury • China • French river cruising • Liberia • Macao • Malta • Seychelles • Sydney • UAE's new hotels

UP AND AWAY We explore the best out of a wealth of flight options to popular Southeast Asia

how to sell...

Malta China Seychelles Bulgaria Family holidays Luxury Caribbean and more...

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23 Years Running

1 35 MINS






1 Sandals Grande St. Lucian


2 Sandals Halcyon 3 Sandals Regency La Toc

S an dals R egency La Toc Go lf C l u b at San dal s Reg ency La Toc

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Mai n Po o l at Sa n d a l s G r a n d e S t. L u c i a n

S w im - up B utle r S uite s at Sandals Halcyon

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this issue

WE TRAVEL FURTHER TO BRING YOU MORE FEATURES 08 Family Holidays: Trips for toddlers to teens

22 Flights to Southeast Asia: The best options


31 Luxury Caribbean: 37 44 51 64 75

High-end highlights Seychelles: Direct flights are a boost China: Why there's new demand from the UK UAE Hot Hotels: A run down of new properties Macao: A tiny but action-packed region French river cruising: Part of our 12-page river cruise special



25 31 30



51 35

44 64



QUICK READS 25 Six of the best: Martin County

30 My Journey: Nevis 34 Six of the best: Bulgaria

35 Introducing: Liberia 41 Alberta: in the shoulder seasons

42 Six of the best: Cape Verde

54 Country profile: Malta







67 Six of the best: Sydney experiences

TALKING SHOP 13 News, competitions,



incentives, fams and our new columnists

THE REVIEW 57 News, reviews and a Caribbean show report





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

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We’re giving away

40 cabins to celebrate 40 years See our website for more details

Plus ÂŁ25 Lifestyle Voucher for every river cruise booking!

To claim your voucher please email Terms and conditions apply - valid for new bookings made between 25 January - 31 March 2019. No cash alternatives. Agents are responsible for their own tax implications. You must claim within 7 days of making the booking.

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Proudly published by BMI Publishing Ltd 2019 © 2019

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

welcome S

elling Travel hit the road – or rather the rail tracks – of the UK late last month for a series of agent events in association with Visit Guernsey. A big thanks to all of you who turned up in Glasgow, Leeds and Gatwick; we hope you left the evenings with your knowledge enhanced and inspired and motivated to sell the second-largest of the Channel Islands. Guernsey is hoping to build on the publicity it received as the setting for the 2017 movie The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society and is taking strides to engage in new ways to work with the trade. That’s why various folk from Visit Guernsey joined the Selling Travel team and leading tour operators Airways Holidays, Premier Holidays Steve Hartridge and Prestige Holidays for three lively and fun sessions that showcased EDITORIAL DIRECTOR the best of what the destination has to offer. And there’s plenty – from glorious beaches to two Red Carnation hotels; annual festivals to superb cuisine; and island-hopping opportunities over to sister islands such as Sark, Herm and Alderney. You can read more about the destination and our Visit Guernsey Destination Dialogue evenings in the April issue of Selling Travel. For this issue, we’re really excited to introduce to you our four new agent columnists who, each month, will be talking to us about the trials, tribulations and triumphs of life selling travel. We’ve selected four travel professionals who we think represent different retail areas: an independent family agency, a high street chain, a homeworker and an online agency. They live in Wales, Scotland, Sussex and the Midlands – and we’re looking forward to their expansive and no doubt diverse insights on the business of travel. Enjoy this issue!

Industry comments...


This publication is printed on Revive 100 Media and Revive recycled coated, recycled paper grades that are FSC® Recycled certified and Carbon Balanced.


"The Caribbean has long been famed for its top-class accommodation, whether it’s a fully-staffed private villa, an eclectic boutique property, understated barefoot luxury or a high-end family-focused allinclusive property. Agents should stress that flair, flavour and vibe abound here - we have a high level of repeat guests for good reasons. "

"Clear trends in French river cruising are for more wellness amenities, varied dining options, themed itineraries (not least art), culinary and wine and a wider array of excursions in a bid to draw younger and/or more active travellers. We also expect to see wider pre- and post-cruise extension options as guests look to extend their experience beyond the cruise."

Carol Hay, Director of Marketing UK & Europe, Caribbean Tourism Organization

Albert Aird, River Cruise Tour Director and a CLIA UK & Ireland contributor

See feature, page 31

See feature, page 75

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UK & Europe

DESTINATION NSW ROADSHOW 2019 LIVERPOOL: 16 May 2019 from 6-10pm LONDON: 20 May 2019 from 6-10pm Come along and meet Sydney and New South Wales tourism suppliers at a fun and informative event. Be in with a chance to win great prizes on the night including one of two tickets to Sydney with Qantas at each event!

Don’t miss out – register now!

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the big picture


Tobacco Caye Belize

Paradise found It’s in the Caribbean but it’s part of Latin America. Tiny Belize has many faces, not least as a beach destination but also a diving mecca with the world’s secondlongest barrier reef; an eco tourism icon, home to colourful birds like toucans and the elusive jaguar; a historical treasure trove scattered with ancient and mysterious Mayan ruins - and much more. Join us in London on March 13 to find out more.

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family holidays

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family holidays


A family

affair Jo Gardner delivers some expert tips on finding holidays that keep both adults and children entertained


t’s a rare thing when you can leave your six-year-old in a swimming pool while you relax on a lounger in the sunshine, concenrating on nothing more than the book in hand. For unlike many other hotel pools, this one has no deep end. It’s strange to think that such a simple thing can make or break a family holiday, but it really can! As a single parent of one, an hour on a lounger isn’t just golden, it makes me a better mother! We are in Bruges and slipping into an easy routine: up for a continental breakfast (my daughter loves making her own waffles), sightseeing before it gets too hot (the Indian summer sees temperatures hit 37 degrees), chips doused in mayonnaise from a cart for lunch, and back to the hotel for an afternoon of sunshine, swimming and reading. And when the sun starts to go down, we walk the two minutes or so back into beautiful Bruges. One evening we board a boat and drift around the canals (which are now prettily

lit up); on another we take a bike tour and are cycled around the sights. Meals are enjoyed outside in the balmy night air; all restaurants have kids’ menus and the waiters speak English. I have to admit that, when booking, I was torn between a pool holiday and a city break but in Bruges we managed to find the best of both worlds.

Striking a balance Finding ‘the best of both worlds’ is the Holy Grail of family holidays, as parents try to strike a balance between keeping the kids suitably entertained whilst also enjoying some adult time. GIC The Villa Collection, a subsidiary of Sunvil, says villas with annexes are selling well for them this year, as grandparents holiday with children and grandchildren. Adventure travel in Latin America and Scandinavia is also proving popular for Sunvil, as well as holidaymakers wishing to re-connect with nature. “We have introduced a number of new properties in Smaland in southern

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family holidays



“Rail travel is proving more popular than ever with families looking for flexibility” Lucy Stobart,Great Rail Journeys

What’s new Theme Parks: Butlins ( will make a splash in April when it opens the world’s first helterskelter water ride at its Bognor Regis resort. The 7.4 metre-high slide is part of a new £40-million seasidethemed swimming pool, thought to be one of the largest coastal investments in the UK this year. SeaWorld Orlando ( has changed its pricing policy ‘to offer better value for money’. Guests can now choose one of four passes: Bronze Pass offers savings on parking and dining; with Silver you get unlimited admission and one free guest; Gold Pass offers two free guests plus free animal encounter experiences; and Platinum gives unlimited admission to 11 SeaWorld parks nationwide. Flights: British Airways (britishairways. com) will launch a thrice-weekly service from Gatwick to the family-friendly holiday island of Kos, Greece, on May 15. The flights will depart every Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday until October 26. Hotels: Efteling ( – the fairytale theme park in southern Holland – has opened a themed suite at the Efteling Hotel, a five-minute walk from the park. The Raveleijn Suite is designed to reflect Efteling’s park show, Raveleijn, and will feature Count Olaf Grafhart’s bedroom, a secret passage and a second bedroom for kids replicating ‘The Tower Room of the Order of the Raven’. Club Med’s ( has reopened its revamped property in the French Alps


From top left, anti-clockwise: Family fun in the park and a riverside walk; mini trek at Centre Parcs

Sweden this year to cater for families wishing to immerse themselves in nature,” said Chris Wright, Managing Director of Sunvil and GIC The Villa Collection. “Kosta Lodge has two-bedroom log cabins on small complexes with kayaking, cycling, walking and horse riding available.” Brexit is on everyone’s minds, too, he admitted. “But there remains a demand for European holidays. We are keeping abreast of discussions and monitoring the latest travel advice from the FCO, ABTA and our destination countries,” he added. “Our staff have been versed to answer any questions that may arise.” Money can be a major decision factor in family holidays, with new research by Kayak suggesting 40% of parents take their children out of school during term time purely to reduce costs. Others cite convenience as a reason for taking holidays during term time. “Greece remains a very competitively priced destination for families, both in terms of the cost of the holiday and the cost of living locally,” said Wright. “We have also seen an increase in enquiries for families with teenagers to go island hopping in the Greek Cyclades.” “Rail travel is proving more popular than ever with families looking for flexibility,” added Lucy Stobart, Product Manager at Great Rail Journeys. “ “Some families need more free time, others like a full itinerary. With our tailormade itineraries, families can ensure the tour suits their needs.”

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family holidays

ski resort of Alpe d’Huez, which has four new kids’ clubs, a new spa with indoor and outdoor pools, a new restaurant and ‘gourmet lounge’ offering all-day dining. Other new features include a family fun area and an adults-only wellness room with an area for yoga and meditation.

Generation games On Safari: African game drives are a magical way for children to see the Big Five – and there’s the added benefit of a trip to Southern Africa leaving all the family jet-lag free. If avoiding anti-malaria pills is a must, book one of South Africa’s many malaria-free safari parks. Theme Parks: From Disneyland Paris to Disneyland Resort Florida, most children will ask to visit a theme park at some point. To get the balance right, suggest families combine a trip to Disneyland with a city break in Paris, or time at Disneyland Resort with a visit to the Florida Everglades. Remember: the more time families spend in the area, the more commission you’ll earn. The great outdoors: Spending time outdoors doesn’t just wear children out, it’s great for their health, too. From Center Parcs to Forest Holidays, more families are waking up to the wonders of the great outdoors. Here, children can stay in wooden lodges, cycle around on car-free paths, spot local wildlife and breathe in the fresh, clean air. For somewhere long haul offering the same, try Canada.

Skiing: You don’t have to wait until the kids are older to get them into skiing or snowboarding: children, even toddlers, are usually fearless on the slopes and often grasp the basics much quicker than adults. From the Alps to the Rockies, skiing is a great family holiday that appeals to all ages, and ski school can double as a baby-sitting service as well as an education. Water parks: You can’t beat a water park in the height of summer, with rides for children of all ages. Some of the biggest in Europe include Caneva World, Italy; Siam Park, Spain and Fasouri Watermania, Cyrprus – each available to book as add-ons to a summer break. Further afield, try Water Bom, Bali; Wild Wadi Waterpark, Dubai; and Wetside Waterpark, Australia.

“Greece remains a very competitively priced destination for families, both in terms of the cost of the holiday and the cost of living locally” Chris Wright, GIC, The Villa Collection

Where to book it SUNVIL – 020 8568 4499 A seven-night stay at the two-bedroom self-catering Lido Apartments in Tolon, Greece, over the May half-term, is from £3,335 for a family of four including flights from Gatwick, transfers, a welcome pack, and free use of bikes and kayaks.

FIRST CHOICE Seven nights at the four-star SuneoClub Reef Marsa in Marsa Alam, Egypt, start from £2,407 for a family of four in April, including flights, transfers and accommodation on an all-inclusive basis. 

From top left, clockwise: A snowball fight in Bruges; having a wild encounter; dining with the sharks in South Africa

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Media Sponsor:


ROADSHOW LOCATIONS 09 April – Cardiff 10 April – Gloucester 11 April – Southampton 12 June – Jersey 13 June – Guernsey 18 June – Edinburgh 19 June – Dundee 20 June – Glasgow 02 July – Guildford 03 July – Tonbridge 10 September – Nottingham 11 September – Leeds 18 September – London Join the Caribbean Tourism Organization and Partners for an informative evening of Networking, Fun and a delicious Caribbean-inspired Buffet, PLUS a chance to win some Great Prizes We kick off the events at 6.00pm and close at 9.30pm

RSVP at:


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For further details call: 020 8948 0057

2/26/19 04:36 PM 26/02/2019 08:54

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

Test for toys

Agents that complete training on The Beaches of Fort Myers & Sanibel could receive a dolphin, manatee or turtle soft toy. To win, agents must pass the course available at island-findings. com by May 31, 2019. The programme includes training on Sanibel Island, Captiva Island, Cape Coral, Bonita Springs and Estero and Estero Island, Fort Myers Beach. All are in Southwest Florida.

UK ag󰇪󰇳󰇺s 󰈣󰈆 󰇲 di󰇷󰈝󰈢v󰈥󰇶 󰇺he 󰈛󰇭. F󰇧rin󰈧 󰈢󰇼󰇺 So󰇻t󰇬󰈥a󰈤t A󰇷󰇮󰈜a󰇫󰇪 16 mo󰇶󰇪 󰈣󰈡 p

Cosmos' Love2Shop incentive

Agents can redeem a £20 Love2Shop voucher on all new Cosmos bookings made between now and March 31. One voucher is given per booking so the more tours or cruise holidays sold the more agents can claim. Bookings must be logged at

Contents 14




May 16 & 17

DESTINATION NEW SOUTH WALES ROADSHOWS Join us in Liverpool on May 16 and London on May 20 to learn all about New South Wales and its many attractions, including cosmopolitan Sydney, beachy Byron Bay and the Blue Mountains. Sign up now at:

Agents attending the Visit Orlando Roadshow in March could win a place on the 2019 Super Fam. Dates include: Glasgow, March 18; Leeds, March 20; London, March 28; and Bristol, March 26. Register at:




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

The life of Luxury in Tenerife SIX UK tour operators were hosted on a luxury fam trip to Tenerife by The Tenerife Tourism Corporation and British Airways. During their time on the island agents explored both the north and the south, with visits to Teide National Park and a climb up the island’s famous volcano. They also went whale watching with White Tenerife Sea Charter and stopped off at the UNESCO World Heritage Centre of La Laguna and the small town of Garachico.

Agents enjoy St. Kitts ‘Ting with a Sting’ cocktail

TO celebrate the organisation's 20th year of operations TIPTO suppliers hosted senior agents and head staff for a special VIP afternoon tea at the Shangri La Hotel in London. The 70 attendees enjoyed views of the capital from the 35th floor of the Shard where they were thanked for their continued support towards the consortium.

GILLIAN Young, UK Sales representative for the St. Kitts Tourism Authority, has been out and about delivering a taste of the Caribbean to agents in London and Newcastle. Agents from Turquoise Holidays in Wandsworth, Newmont Travel in Shepherds Bush, Travel Designers in Balham, Travel Bureau in Gosforth, Barrhead Travel and Hays Travel in Newcastle were treated to Gillian's ‘Ting with a sting’ cocktails. The rum-based drink is an iconic tipple on St. Kitts' so an in-office tasting was an essential part of the agents' education on the island's food and drink offering!

High tea with TIPTO

Luxury Alaskan Glaciers & Timeless Rocky Mountains Ship name: Seven Seas Mariner

Vancouver • Ketchikan • Sitka • Skagway • Hubbar Glacier • Juneau Prince Rupert • Victoria • Kamloops • Banff • Lake Louise • Calgary



£10,934pp | NOW £8359pp

Package includes

Travel : 15 May 19

• Return flights from London • FREE unlimited shore excursions, beverages, open bars, pre-paid gratuities, specialty restaurants & WiFi • 2 day Rocky Mountaineer GoldLeaf Service • 500 CAD per couple credit • Accomodation & sightseeing 0208 585 4020 | • Private transfers

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

Independents brighten up proceedings in Bath INDEPENDENT agents and homeworkers attended BRIGHT’s (Bringing Real Information & Guaranteed High Quality Training) first event for 2019 in Bath. The event was hosted by members from Kirker Holidays, First Class, Exodus, African Pride, Veloso, Cox and Kings, Inside Japan, Viking Cruises and Sunvil, with the top prize of a place on a Danube fam trip from Viking awarded to Elaine Ferry of Elaine’s Travel. The next two events will be in Edinburgh on March 5, at The Radisson Blu, and March 6 in Belfast at Ten Square.

Scottish agency's Super status TRAVEL Guru in Uddingston, Scotland, was awarded ‘Agent of the Month’ by Super Break for their 'excellent sales'. The agency, which opened last Autumn, proactively promoted Super Break products both on Facebook and via its shop window following a staff training session carried out by the operator. Pictured are: Kirsty Craig - Travel Consultant at Travel Guru, Wendy Cameron – Business Development Manager at Super Break and Paul Reid -  Store Manager at Travel Guru.

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

USA Tours


14nts, Wings Over the West

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MEIRWEN Wilson from The Travelhouse in Cardigan was all smiles after securing a whopping £55k booking with Gold Medal. The Branch Manager has been with the company for 12 years and specialises in the Mediterranean and New York, amongst other destinations. Gold Medal’s Key Account Manager, Andy Harris, presented Meirwen with a well deserved hamper. (Ed: We did ask where the booking was for but didn't get a response!)


Agent celebrates mega booking



15nts, Historic Route 66

0208 585 4020



7nts, Great Eastern Cities Escorted Tour

3/1/19 12:14 PM



Ti t a n Tra v e l ' s E s s e n t i a l V i e t n a m a n d C a m b o d i a

Temples and tunnels with Titan Floating along the tranquil waters of Halong Bay, exploring the lantern-lit streets of Hoi An and walking amongst stony giants at Angkor Wat were just some of the highlights of a 14-day Essential Vietnam and Cambodia tour with Titan Travel. To mark its 40th anniversary, Titan hosted 20 competition winners on a trip to Vietnam and Cambodia. Starting in Hanoi, Vietnam, the group headed east to Hoi An then Ho Chi Minh in the south, and finished in Siem Reap, Cambodia. After arriving, the agents visited the National Museum of Fine Art and Ngoc Son Temple followed by a walking tour of Hanoi’s Old Quarter, navigating through the thousands of bikes buzzing around the city – a sight to behold when witnessed from the safety of the pavement! Leaving the city bustle behind, the agents travelled south for a five-hour cruise on Halong Bay accompanied by a seafood lunch and a view of passing limestone cliffs, described as a 'once in a lifetime experience' by some in the group. “I cannot thank Titan enough for the opportunity to join the trip and will 100% be

recommending this tour and Booby traps were used to safeguard entire Titan as a company. communities living underground. It’s hard to pick The first sighting of Cambodia came a favourite on day 10 of the trip as the group VIETNAM experience – the flew into Siem Reap, home to memories I made the temples of Angkor Wat. will last a lifetime,” Tours of the archaeological said one agent. park are extensive and include A short flight from some 70 temples and ruins. It’s an Hanoi transported the agents archaeological wonder and a highlight on to pretty Hoi An, known for any Cambodia itinerary. its tailor shops. The narrow Ending the trip on a high, the agents took streets are a shopper’s paradise, to the water once more, this time on the with colourful trinkets and clothes serene Tonlé Sap Lake in the middle of made to measure. The agents were Cambodia, stopping to visit a floating village and learn about local welcomed into traditional houses before crafts and village life. enjoying authentic Vietnamese cuisine. “This was such a great fam Heading further south, the itinerary offered trip and the agents were agents the chance to familiarise themselves fantastic. The highlight with Vietnam’s war history through a visit for me was sailing to the Cu Chi Tunnels. This network of around Kampong underground tunnels Phluk’s floating village spanning thousands – it was certainly a of miles was used perfect moment to house troops shared,” concluded and transport CAMBODIA Titan Travel host supplies during Alana Jones. the Vietnam war.

From left: Kampong Phluk, Siem Reap, Cambodia; Vinh Trang Pagoda, My Tho, Vietnam; Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, Hanoi, Vietnam; and Fujian Assembly Hall, Hoi An, Vietnam

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Our columnists



Ben & Hugh

Anneka Desrosiers

Venture Travel, Mold, North Wales

Southern Cross Travel, East Sussex

MY PASSION for travel began from an early age. My parents ran overland tours from Kent to Australia in the 1970s and mum set up Southern Cross Travel in Sydney in 1983, so you could say travel is in my blood! After backpacking round the world after university, I decided I was well placed to join the family business – now based in East Sussex – and I set to training on the job. I’ve been here for over eight years and love my work! I'm an Elite Canada Specialist and also tailor-make itineraries for Australia, New Zealand and other long-haul destinations. My greatest moment so far was filming a social media campaign with Destination Canada in British Columbia in 2016 – it was so much fun, a totally new experience, and I got to share my passion for Canada on screen. We are so lucky in this job! We get to see some of the best places in the world and then share that knowledge and experience.


James Hill

Go Cruise, Cruise specialist, Worcestershire

Say hello to our new columnists! Each month you'll be hearing their four different opinions on a range of travel industry issues. We'll be asking for their views and insights and hearing about their day-to-day challenges and triumphs From Glasgow to East Sussex, they will have it covered!

I STARTED late in travel – when I was in my mid-fifties – after many years in sales, marketing and running residential care homes. Having bought a Go Cruise franchise with Fred Olsen Travel, I very quickly decided to specialise within the cruise industry by focusing on small ships of up to about 250 passengers – river, coastal, luxury and expedition cruising. Of these, river cruising has become allconsuming for me. I work from home but also utilise social media and have regular meetings with my GoCruise colleagues and others in the industry – this way I can stay in touch with all the latest developments and get out of the house! My favourite area of the world to book has to be Vietnam and Cambodia. I love everything, from the culture to the food, but I like to give advice on everywhere – just getting in and out of Birmingham Airport successfully can be a challenge for many!

HUGH AND I met in high school and soon realised we shared a passion for sales and travel. Fast forward a few years and we decided working for someone else wasn't for us – and Venture Travel was born. To start with we had no money for marketing so spent hours trying to grow the business by attending events, flyering, working with celebrities and emailing local councils. Fast forward 18 months and we have won awards, seen great growth and are on track to double our sales figures this year! Like many agents, we've received plenty of odd requests. One was from a well-known reality TV star who phoned us asking for a holiday but never ended up booking. This then became a major story line in the show because he claimed he had booked a trip with his ex-girlfriend in order to rekindle their relationship. We knew he hadn't at all – apparently he was chatting up other girls!


Caroline Donaldson Barrhead Travel, Glasgow

I’VE LOVED to travel for as long as I can remember and have spent the last 20 years in this amazing industry, the last 16 of which have been spent with Barrhead Travel. I joined the business as a part-time long haul consultant in 2003 and grew with the business as it expanded, forming the start of our Business Development division. The most exciting part is looking back at how much my team has grown since then. Dubai is without a doubt my number one destination to visit. That combination of glitz and glam colliding with culture is just the ultimate experience in my opinion, and it’s my 'go-to place'. We’re fortunate in our industry to enjoy some unforgettable experiences, but my most memorable to date has to be my last family holiday to Universal Orlando Resort, where I was extremely privileged to receive a VIP pass. I whisked my kids past the queues and straight to the front. What a feeling – I felt like super-mum!

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

This month #agentstalk about... Get 󰇷󰈢󰈝󰇯al 󰇿󰇮󰇺h 󰇼󰇷:



TRAVEL AGENT RANTS & RAVES Thi󰇷 󰈩󰈢n󰇹󰇭 J󰈥n󰇳󰈠 󰈏ac󰈫󰈤󰈢n 󰈜󰇷󰈬s: "Wit󰇬 󰈤󰈢m󰈥 o󰇴󰇪󰈦󰈜to󰇶󰈤 n󰈢󰇿 󰈜󰈝ti󰇽󰇪󰇱y 󰈧󰇯󰈤co󰇻󰇳󰇺󰇯n󰇫 a󰈪󰇧󰇯n󰇷󰇺 ag󰇪󰇳󰇺s, w󰇬a󰇺 c󰇧󰇳 󰈟󰈥 do 󰇹󰈢 󰈥󰈡su󰇶󰇪 󰈟󰈥're 󰇳󰈢󰇺 p󰇼󰇷󰇭ed 󰇧󰇷󰇯󰈨e?"

Stop supporting the key suspects


Sign a petition to demand price parity and get others to sign it too

Having supported certain operators over the decades - recommending them and selling their products to clients, I now, like many other agents feel I've been forgotten about. As it becomes harder for us to compete with heavy online discounting, will it start to force independent agents out of business? Is it really necessary for them to price us out of the market? And is it time for us to fight back?

Write to the main culprits with a signed petition. 1000s of signatures needed.

Rebel and demand the trade and the press support us

Ask culprits to increase their online prices to help agents get closer to their direct prices

*data correct on February 5, 2019 Carry on and put up with it


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@wendypo rternotju sttravel at Fraser Island Au stralia with Trav el2

l sttrave rnotju ralia yporte e Aust @wend rg o G man at Moss vel2 with Tra

Going on a fam trip? Tag @sellingtravel in your #instafam and you could be here next month!


Age󰇳󰇺s ov󰇪󰇶󰇭󰈥ar󰈧 Client asked: "If I don't use my insurance, can I claim it back?" God give me strength!

“Don’t you

just love it when you're asked to plan a client's holiday around his wife’s menstrual cycle!” "A couple book a world cruise with P&O from Southampton. About a week later they email to complain that they live near Dover and could the ship pop into Dover port so they could join there instead of driving to Southampton"

First call of the day: "I'm looking for a cruise to Las Vegas"...It's going to be a long day

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St Kitts

w i t h S u n S e e k e r s Tr a v e l

The secret to success Later this year Gail Crawford will celebrate 20 years as owner and director of Sun Seekers Travel, From her base in Carluke, in the heart of the Lanarkshire countryside, she talks about the past, the present and some strange requests inbetween. “When I joined Cross Travel at the age of 16 as a YTS I could hardly have imagined that I would eventually be celebrating two decades in charge of my own business. I was grateful of the opportunity and my confidence developed as I gained experience. From early on I knew my career path would be in the travel industry. “To achieve my ultimate goal of running my own business I took on every challenge placed in front of me by my former employers, who trusted my potential. Alongside this was the loyalty I received from valued clients. These votes of confidence gave me the motivation to invest in my own business: Sun Seekers Travel.”

“Being a member of The Global Travel Group, a consortium for independent agents, has helped me achieve my long-term objectives for my company, particularly with the

MEET... NICHOLAS DUPRE Owner of St. Kitts Beach Addictions



We're lucky that we have wind and water conditions to suit all water sports. The Atlantic side of the island is perfect for surfing and kiteboarding with plenty of wind and waves, while on the Caribbean side paddleboarders and snorkellers enjoy calmer waters.









I love the adrenalin of kiteboarding kiteboarding, –it's it's an activity that anyone can be introduced to. to, also flflyboarding Also yboarding (a (a hoverboard hoverboard fifitted tted with with aa water jetpack) is great fun! But if you're looking for something more laid back then you can't beat a day sailing. rise of online retail. “It would be crazy of me as a travel professional to dismiss the perceived benefits that are promoted by online travel agencies. Nevertheless, I truly feel that travel agents on the high street offer a wealth of expertise, skills and know-how that our online friends just cannot match. “We are not affiliated to any tour operator, therefore we guide and advise solely to ensure that, from initial consultation to conclusion, we turn our clients’ dreams into reality.”

Being part of a consortium has helped me achieve my goals

Can't 󰇨e󰇧󰇺 t󰇬󰈥 󰇭ig󰇬 󰈤t󰇶e󰇪󰇺


The 󰇿󰇪󰇯󰈦d a󰇳󰈨 w󰈢󰇳󰈨󰈥r󰈇u󰇱

We tend to have heavier winds around Christmas, which Christmas which is is great great for for parasailing, parasailing, surfing and ng surfi sailing. and We sailing. see We lighter seewinds lighterfrom winds summer from to September summer to September - so perfect – sofor perfect fishing for trips, fishing kayaking trips, kayaking or going or going out onout theon jetthe ski.jet ski.

We host an annual Channel Swim (March 31) which is 2.5 miles, miles and and aa 1.9 1.9 mile mile Peninsula Peninsula swim (November 23). We also have the Booby Island Regatta, with sailors racing up and down the channel between St.Kitts and Nevis.

Being a small island, one minute you could be kiteboarding on the Atlantic side and the next relaxing on a beach on the Caribbean side watching the sunset.sunset. stkittstourism.

“Having been in business for over two decades, you can imagine that I have had some unusual holiday requests. The one that sticks out most was a pair of honeymooners who asked me to book a swingers hotel. I nearly fell off my chair! “I always look forward to our clients’ feedback. It means so much when they share their holiday memories – that way we know that not only did we provide a professional service, but a personalised service; their passport to successful travel.”

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on the move

MEET... Mark Walter New Head of UK Sales, Hurtigruten

What is Hurtigruten's ethos? We are world leaders in sustainable travel in Polar Regions and many places between, offering unique experiences and knowledge whilst leaving the smallest footprint possible. As an exploration company, our mission is to take adventurers to some of earth's most spectacular places. What's your focus? Ensuring our trade partners have the tools and information to confidently recommend us to their clients. Expedition travel is booming and Hurtigruten is at the cutting




TO: Country Manager for the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi, UK & Ireland

TO: Sales and Business Development Director for The Travel Corporation (TTC)

TO: Business Development Manager, Unique Vacations UK (UVUK)

Jane will manage a team of four covering trade, consumer, MICE and PR in the UK and Irish markets. She will work closely with agents and will provide support through training and a series of roadshow events t hat are planned across the UK. She will also be hosting the trade on the destination's mega fam in the autumn.

Rachel will oversee the business development for four TCC brands, Trafalgar, Insight Vacations, Costsaver and Luxury Gold, in the UK and Ireland. Her main objective is to nurture existing relationships and develop new partnerships with the UK trade, which is core to TTC’s growth objectives.

Tamzin is the eighth Business Development Manager to join the team at UVUK, as a representative for Sandals and Beaches Resorts in the UK. She will be looking after Yorkshire, Derbyshire, Leicestershire, Nottinghamshire and Lincolnshire. She was previously at Riviera Travel where she worked her way up from reservations to Sales Development




edge with hybrid technology, premium comfort and bucket list destinations. What's your plan? I want to develop our agents' site as the place to go our B2B booking platform, online training, webinars, image/ video library and much more support. We also want to expand the trade partners we work with through a series of road shows. Tell us something new! Our 2020/21 Explorer programme went on sale in early December and sales have already been excellent. However, prices now include beverages (ship beer and wine, sodas and mineral water) with all meals, which is a new and wonderful benefit!

TO: Global Purpose Specialist, G Adventures

TO: Sales Manager, Princess Cruises

Michelle is the tenth Global Purpose Specialist to be appointed, to support G Adventures' growing trade sales strategy across the UK and Ireland. She will work with agents across the east of England and the Channel Islands. Michelle has over 25 years of experience in the industry, working for multiple high street agencies and running her own business with Travel Counsellors for 14 years.

Ellie joins the line's agent-facing regional business team, managing five territory managers. She will be responsible for leading the training and engagement strategy for front-end agents and driving business development growth with Princess' trade partners. She has been involved in account management for 10 years and more than three years in cruise industry, including P&O.

TO: Business Development Manager, APT UK

Chris will support agents based in the Central region covering counties from Bedfordshire up to Derbyshire. He has over 10 years' experience in the travel industry, most recently as Reservations Manager at APT but also as a Holiday Advisor based in-resort and various service roles. He joins APT's two other BDMs - Denise Rice and Carrie Grant.

Have you just got a new job and want agents to know about it? We'd love to hear about it. Email:

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spotlight on



The LUX Collective In conversation with... Sarah McGlynn, Head of Sales & Marketing UK, Ireland, The Lux Collective


What are your main responsibilities? A: As Head of Sales I am responsible for overseeing all the sales and marketing activities of the company, with the help of my new Sales Manager, Richard Hey. I try to find innovative ways to drive growth in sales and visibility of our hotels across my markets. Most importantly, I build relationships with our valued travel partners and keep up to date with market trends.


Tell us about The Lux Collective? A: The Lux Collective is a global hotel operator of own brands and managed properties. We deliver worldclass hospitality experiences.


Why create a new portfolio of brands? A: When it comes to hospitality everyone’s definition of ‘perfect’ is different. That’s why we have created a portfolio of four brands: LUX*, SALT, SOCIO and TAMASSA. Each brand offers a very different experience for guests.


What makes you a ‘hospitality company with a difference’? A: The Lux Collective is a small group and we value every team member’s ideas and input.

We believe in innovation, new experiences and affordable luxury, with surprises that make each moment matter. With the launch of SALT we wanted to offer a new holiday experience for those clients who are looking for ‘cultural discovery’ and insights into the lives of locals.


Tell us more about SALT. A: We believe in meaningful travel. That’s travel that takes you to people, not just places. We believe that it is time for a travel movement; travel that protects our environment by encouraging local communities and productions. At SALT of Palmar, there are no singleuse plastics and no buffet to avoid food waste. The restaurant offers an à la carte service with 100% organic and local food; our SALT Farm produces and supplies the restaurant. It is the first SALT resort but more are on the way, starting with SALT of Wolong, China.


private Sky-Lounge, offering indoor-outdoor living and a unique perspective on the Indian Ocean. For the second year, LUX* Bodrum Resort & Residences will open on the May 1.


And next? A: LUX* Phu Quoc, Vietnam, is our forthcoming opening in 2020. This overwater resort will be set in a breathtaking UNESCO heritage bay. We are also strengthening our presence in Europe and France is our next destination for 2021.


How important is the trade to you, particularly travel agents? A: We really value our trade partners, and we have a dedicated online platform called LUX* B2B ( It clusters all relevant information on our resorts and destinations, our online gallery and all contacts for head office and resorts. Agents can also find our e-learning LUX* Expert course here. Agents that become a LUX* Expert can claim two complimentary nights in one of our resorts.


Tell us a couple of your own memorable experiences staying at a LUX property. A: Having stayed in all of our hotels I have so many memorable moments, but swimming with sharks was definitely an unforgettable experience when I stayed at LUX* South Ari.

What is new for 2019? A: LUX* revealed LUX* North Male Atoll in February, an era-shaping resort in the Maldives. Each of the 67 double-storey residences is crowned with a magnificent

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Flights to Southeast Asia

time Air

Southeast Asia is blessed with a wealth of flights from the UK – helping this region maintain its enduring appeal, says Neal Baldwin



afe, cheap and irresistibly colourful, the cities of Southeast Asia have long been the go-to destinations for youngsters in search of gap year enlightenment. But increasing tour operator attention, especially at the luxury end of the market, continues to open up the region for all ages. As you’d expect, the biggest hubs are well served from the UK, meaning plenty of choice – and with many cities relatively close and potential stopping points on a tour, agents can easily get creative to create keenly-priced packages for clients.

Brunei Best-known as an add-on or a stopover on the journey to Australia, Brunei is one of the world’s least-visited nations. Yet the country has some of the finest Islamic architecture and oodles of untouched rainforest. Getting there: royal Brunei offers a daily service from Heathrow to Banda Seri Begawan.

Cambodia Usually paired with a visit to Vietnam, Cambodia doesn’t currently have a direct air link to the UK, but the nation does have ambitions to stand alone and recently unveiled plans to build new airports in Phnom Penh and Siem Reap to welcome 12 million tourists by 2025. Shaped by its turbulent past, Cambodia’s rich history – from the temples of Angkor Wat to the chilling Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum and killing fields that reveal the horrors of the Khmer Rouge regime – should be visited now before the huge crowds arrive. Getting there: There are no non-stop flights to Cambodia but one-stop options are available with airlines including Vietnam Airlines, Thai Airways, Malaysia Airlines, Cathay Pacific, Singapore Airlines, China Eastern and Qatar Airways.

Indonesia More than 40% of Indonesia’s 14 million annual international visitors head for the

beaches of Bali, but Indonesia has eyes on spreading the love and a long-term vision to create ‘10 Balis’ - highlighting the diverse mix of attractions. The country’s ancient Buddhist and Hindu temples, numerous tropical islands, the Mount Bromo volcano in eastern Java, and a national park that is home to Komodo dragons all have potential. Getting there: Garuda international operates non-stop flights from Heathrow to Denpasar, Bali, three times a week. one-stop options include Qatar Airways and royal Brunei, which has a daily flight to Surabaya.

Laos Landlocked Laos has only been open to tourists for 20 years and is lauded for its spectacular scenery, peaceful towns and traditional but friendly locals. Religion is a major draw - the UNESCO World Heritage town of Luang Prabang is packed with golden temples and visitors can rise at dawn to give alms to Buddhist monks.

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Flights to Southeast Asia







Getting there: There are plenty of one-stop options available to the capital, Vientiane – flying via Vietnam or Thailand is the most seamless journey.

Malaysia Whether clients have a yearning to meet orangutans, fancy stuffing their suitcases with designer gear or just can’t get enough of swimming in turquoise waters, there are plenty of ways to sell Malaysia. The country is a melting pot of cultures with influences from Malay, Chinese and Indian ethnicities, as well as architecture and customs from former Arabian and European rulers. Getting there: Malaysia Airlines operates a twicedaily service from Heathrow to Kuala Lumpur, while British Airways flies there once a day. Among the one-stop options, Qatar Airways flies three times a day to Kuala Lumpur via its Doha hub.

Myanmar Myanmar’s fledgling tourist industry has undoubtedly played a big part in helping

raise living standards for locals, but moral questions still hang heavy over the country because of its on-going treatment of the Rohingya people. Operators generally encourage visits that help benefit local communities and the major cities are safe. Large parts of the country are off limits according to FCO advice, but these are well away from the main tourist trail. Getting there: Yangon is served five times a week by Qatar Airways via its Doha hub.

Philippines This archipelago of 7,107 islands – virtually every one is ringed with soft white sand and coral reefs – is not usually a first-timer’s choice but it should be. The Philippines is great for lovers of the outdoors, with the limestone stacks of El Nido, vertiginous mountain rice terraces and unrivalled diving all a must. And until you’ve ridden a Jeepney, one of Manila’s crazy-kitsch painted buses, you’ve never experienced public transport.



Getting there: Philippine Airlines flies five times a week from Heathrow to Manila. Gulf Air flies daily via Bahrain; Qatar Airways flies twice daily via Doha and royal Brunei flies five times a week via Bandar Seri Begawan – all from Heathrow to Manila.

Singapore The ‘Lion City’ of Singapore has got some serious tourism bite, thanks to its heady mix of swank and tradition. In the past the destination was a gateway to the beaches of Thailand and Malaysia, but nowadays this financial centre has the style to stand alone as a holiday choice. A host of uberchic hotels, like The Warehouse and Villa Samadhi, are taking modern colonialism to new levels, while the city’s rooftop bar scene is winning plaudits. Getting there: Singapore Airlines flies from Heathrow three times daily and also has five services a week from Manchester. British Airways offers a double-daily service from Heathrow,

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Flights to Southeast Asia

Mount bromo, indonesia

Bao Loc, Vietnam

SE Asia flights.indd 24 Untitled-2 1

alongside a daily Qantas service. Budget option, Norwegian, flies from Gatwick four times a week.

of choice the Gulf carriers offer, with swift onwards travel through their respective hubs.



With more than 60 million passengers passing through Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport each year, this busy hub is the world’s most Instagrammed place. It’s a fair bet that some of these pictures will have been taken by Brits – some of them perhaps stuck in the airport’s famously long immigration queues – given that all of the UK’s direct flights to Thailand head here. Options for increasing that capacity remain squeezed, but Thailand’s government has a one-billion-pound plan to build a new airport terminal.

A visa-waiver scheme makes things easy for intrepid UK visitors keen on seeking out a distilled Southeast Asian experience. Head to bustling capital Hanoi for mind-boggling congestion, wide boulevards with French colonial architecture and amazing street food washed down with beer at 17p a pint. Elsewhere there’s the chance to crawl through the Cu Chi tunnels of the Viet Cong, explore floating markets on the Mekong or have a suit tailored for peanuts in Hoi An. For beaches, don’t miss Cam Ranh Bay, which has a new airport and is the hottest (and most beautiful) place to get some sun. It is served by a host of regional airlines.

Getting there: There is ample choice, with Thai Airways leading the way with a double-daily Heathrow service and both British Airways and EVA Airways flying daily to Bangkok. Saving money by taking a one-stop service doesn’t necessarily add much to the 11hr 30min flight time, given the range

Getting there: Vietnam Airlines is the only carrier with direct services to Vietnam, using its swish Dreamliner aircraft to fly four times a week to Hanoi and thrice-weekly to Ho Chi Minh City. 

3/1/19 03:24 PM 18/02/2019 08:38


six of the best



Martin County, Florida This unspoilt county is like going back in time and visitors will find many opportunities to relax and explore, says Laura Gelder Kayak the Scenic Way This system of waterways and paddle trails winds through Martin County taking in the Indian River Lagoon, between Jensen Beach and Hobe Sound, and the St. Lucie River. The former is part of the Indian River Lagoon Aquatic Preserve while the St. Lucie River trail passes through St. Lucie Inlet State Park. Kayakers can paddle is peace and appreciate wildlife including manatees and birds.

Catch them if you can Sitting on the most biodiverse estuary in the Northern Hemisphere, Martin County is home to 100 artificial reef systems and over 800 species of fish. Fishermen flock here for snook and Stuart is known as the Sailfish Capital of the World. Inshore, offshore, saltwater or fresh, there are plenty of opportunities to reel in a great catch and many restaurants offer a Catch and Cook programme.

Jonathan Dickinson State Park Located just south of Stuart, the park teems with wildlife across 13 natural habitats including sand pine, flatwoods, mangroves and river swamps. Tours of the 1930s pioneer homestead of Trapper Nelson are available and visitors can explore paved and off-road biking, equestrian and hiking trails as well as taking to the Loxahatchee River or camping under the stars.

Discover Old Florida Long before Disney made its mark, Florida was a land of farms and Martin County is a bastion of this tradition. From thoroughbreds and polo ponies to cowboys and rodeos, Martin County is an equestrian centre with miles of riding trails. And whether it’s fish off the boat, greens straight from the ground or the livest of cheeses, Martin County’s food scene is as fresh as you can get.

Find your zen Situated along South Florida’s Treasure Coast, Martin County is a paradise of uncrowded beaches, wilderness and quaint little towns, as well as a plethora of wellness-focused businesses to help visitors recalibrate – like the luxurious Hutchinson Shores Resort & Spa on Jensen Beach. Yogis can enjoy sunrise yoga on the beach or even yoga afloat, on a paddleboard. Martin County is the ideal place to find your bliss.

Take a sunset sail Schooner Lily, a traditional wooden sailing yacht and once a cargo vessel, offers interactive day sails. Captain Fred and First Mate Jaime give shipmates the chance to spot wildlife like dolphins and bald eagles without the disruption of an engine. Glide silently down inland waters like the Saint Lucie River in the morning, afternoon or at sunset – guests can help raise the sails or relax with a cold drink.

Find out more at: or contact for a brochure.

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March 2019


Tulips of Holland A small town in Michigan with a familiar name is gearing up for its annual celebration of tulips. The 90th staging of Holland's Tulip Time Festival, when more than five million flowers will turn the town's parks and gardens orange, will say 'welkom' to visitors from May 4-12.;

Golf in two states

A NEW trail linking some of the best golf courses in

Minnesota and Wisconsin is now

Make time

attracting golfers from around the world. Customised itineraries, spanning

for the nation's capital

7 to 14 days, take in the region's clear lakes, rolling hills and pine forests.

D.C. deserves a longer look

Available courses include the renowned Whistling Straits, host of the 2020 Ryder Cup.

INTERNATIONAL tourists are recognising that Washington D.C. has plenty to offer beyond its political buildings, museums and monuments. The nation’s capital, which has seen eight years of successive growth in visitor numbers, is now more than a ‘quick-visit city’, said Elliot Ferguson, President and CEO of Destination DC and also Chair of the board of the U.S. Travel Association. “We are changing the perception that D.C. is a short add-on to a longer trip. There is more to the city than museums, galleries, the White House and the Capitol Building,” he added. “We are talking about D.C. Cool: theatre, nightlife, retail, the food scene, breweries, a great culinary scene, sporting events and new neighbourhoods to explore – like The Wharf” (pictured). Located close to the Potomac, The Wharf area also provides D.C. with a ‘new’ waterfront location, with water taxis available to ferry tourists to Georgetown, Old Town Alexandria and National Harbor.

Atlanta's new Canopy

ATLANTA'S first Canopy by Hilton property has opened in the city's Midtown neighbourhood. With 176 rooms, the hotel is ideally located to visit arts destinations like the High Museum of Art, Ferst Center for the Arts at Georgia Tech and Atlanta Symphony Orchestra.

THE USA in brief... ARKANSAS STATES may be one of the lesser known U.S. states but there are plenty of reasons why it should be included on any driving itinerary of the South. From the Clinton Presidential Centre in Little Rock to the cotton fields of the Delta, this is 'authentic U.S.A'. For copies of our Exploring Arkansas guide email

TWO popular Florida attractions are now available at one discounted price. Orlando Attractions is offering a combination ticket for Gatorland and Boggy Creek Airboat Adventures, priced from £25.65, a saving of up to 40% on gate prices at these two half-day attractions. Tickets are fully commissionable. Visit: ATTRACTIONS

THE bestvalue ticket for visiting SeaWorld Parks in Florida is the Discovery Cove Ultimate Package. It includes a one-day reservation at Discovery Cove (with a 30-minute dolphin swim, all meals included) plus 14-days unlimited entry to SeaWorld, Busch Gardens and Aquatica Orlando. Prices start from £192pp. THEME PARKS

Look out for our Visit USA Association online Travel Update for the pick of members' news

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MEMBERS' SPOTLIGHT VIRGIN DOUBLES UP ON BOSTON VIRGIN Atlantic is to introduce a second daily service between Heathrow and Boston from March 31. The new flight will leave Heathrow at 20.30, arriving into Boston at 23.00, with the return departing Boston at 08.30, arriving at 20.10. Cobblestoned, red brick Boston was one the first settlements in the U.S. when it was founded in 1630.

AER LINGUS BOOKS IN FOR HARTFORD AER Lingus has committed to continuing flights to New England for at least four more years. The Irish airline will fly from Dublin to Hartford’s Bradley International Airport through September 2022. Aer Lingus will place one of its first four A321neoLR aircraft on the route.



Tour op er

When did Nashville become a Visit USA Member? December 5, 2018.

ator offe ring

Complete southern trip

COMPLETE North America has a 14-night Southern fly-drive option taking in everything from Elvis to Cajun Country. Priced from £1,820pp for the entry-level value package, it also features blues and country music, Antebellum homes and New Orleans. The same tour is available on a standard package, from £1,885pp, and a superior package from £2,550. Stops include Atlanta, Nashville and Memphis – with a visit to Graceland, Elvis Presley’s mansion – then Mississippi, the birthplace of blues. Guests will stop at the 'crossroads' in Clarksdale, where Robert Johnson famously 'sold' his soul to the devil; Vicksburg, a town of key significance during the Civil War, and Natchez, home to the largest number of original plantation homes in the U.S. The final three nights will be spent in New Orleans.

Capital guide for agents

DID you see the 2019/20 Holiday Guide Capital Region USA, which was distributed with the February issue of Selling Travel? The pocket-sized guide is your introduction to Washington DC, Maryland and Virginia and covers everything from the region's wine areas to U.S. Civil War battlefields. For extra copies of this essential guide contact: See:

Universal value rooms AGENTS can now book rooms at two new Universal Orlando hotels. Surfside Inn and Suites will be ready to take guests this summer, while sister property the Dockside Inn and Suites will open in May 2020. Rates at the 2,050-room Dockside, a coastal-themed hotel, start at £59 per night.

What do you see as the benefits of being a member? We are able to engage with all dimensions of the travel industry – the trade, consumers and the media. Whether print, digital or events, it offers a great platform to show off what Nashville has to offer as a leisure destination. Why is Nashville known as the ‘Music City’? Music forms the backbone of the city. Iconic songs have been written there and legends of the music industry, across different genres, have come from Nashville. What's planned for agents? NCVC will be running a sales mission around the C2C festival in London, Glasgow and Dublin this month (March). It will include training, incentives and competitions for sales agents in the various cities. Plus we will soon be launching an online training programme and will be offering destination training across the UK and Ireland. Share with us a favourite Nashville experience The Grand Ole Opry is an experience like no other, combining radio, live music and entertainment all in one incredible show.

Subscribe to the Visit USA Association online Travel Update at

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3/1/19 05:55 PM



Pacific C

rossing an entire country by land may seem daunting to some – especially one the size of Australia – but with Journey Beyond’s Indian Pacific guests can sit back and marvel at the longest stretch of straight railway track in the world – and enjoy every second of it!

chefs who work closely with local suppliers and farmers to provide the best regional ingredients for a real taste of Australia. Guests enjoy dishes such as saltwater barramundi and grilled kangaroo fillet paired with a world-class Australian wine and, of course, a view of the infinite outback.

From coast to coast

The long and short of it

Travelling from Sydney to Perth, or vice versa, allows guests to explore the entire breadth of Australia’s Southern land. By venturing beyond the city skyline, clients can familiarise themselves with Australia’s spectacular yet unforgiving interior. They’ll see incredible outback sunrises, the brilliant desert stars and learn about the legendary adventurers and goldrush prospectors that endured these harsh conditions. The Sydney to Perth itinerary consists of three nights aboard the Indian Pacific with off-train experiences visiting the classic Australian mining town of Broken Hill, cosmopolitan Adelaide, the abandoned railway town of Cook and dinner under the stars on an outback sheep station at Rawlinna. On the reverse journey from Perth to Sydney guests get to explore the gold mining town of Kalgoorlie, Broken Hill and the spectacular Blue Mountains. Onboard, guests are treated to menus produced by talented

For those who don’t wish to do the entire journey from Sydney to Perth, there are plenty of itineraries that capture the same essence of Australia but cover less ground. A five-day Adalaide to Sydney journey includes two days aboard the Indian Pacific with off-train excursions in Broken Hill and the Blue Mountains, three nights accommodation in Sydney, a day spent in Manly and a tour of Taronga Zoo. Other tours include the nine-day Perth to Adelaide Margaret River Indulgence which features personalised touring with visits to Busselton Jetty, Mammoth Cave, Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse, local wineries and produce tastings. Learn more about the Indian Pacific and Journey Beyond’s other products from the new training programme at: What’s more, agents that complete the training programme before March 31 have the chance to win a £50 Love2Shop voucher. •

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INCREDIBLE JOURNEYS. UNFORGETTABLE EXPERIENCES. Venture beyond the tracks with Journey Beyond’s extensive range of holiday packages encapsulating some of Australia’s greatest rail journeys. Whether your client is keen to discover the outback, embark on a gourmet escape or explore Australia’s natural and coastal wonders, Journey Beyond has tailored packages for every type of adventure, ranging from one-day city stops through to 21-day rail and cruise odysseys. Book your Australian Rail Holiday packages now with Travel 2


Call the Travel 2 Touring & Incredible Journeys specialists on 0800 022 4302 for the latest package prices including flights from your preferred regional airport.




G O L D S E R V I C E / T W I N S H A R E / I N C LU S I O N S: 9 DAYS


o 3 nights accommodation in Perth including breakfast daily o 3 days/2 nights Margaret River Escape including accommodation BLUE MOUNTAINS, NSW

and personalised touring

o Transfer from Hotel to East Perth Rail Terminal o 4 days/3 nights aboard the Indian Pacific, Perth to Sydney including all meals, beverages and Off Train Experiences in Kalgoorlie, Rawlinna, Cook, Adelaide, Broken Hill and Blue Mountains

o 8 breakfasts, 7 lunches, 3 dinners



Untitled-6 Untitled-3 1

2/26/19 04:37 PM 26/02/2019 09:18


my trip to... nevis

the real caribbean


Andrew Hillier of the Nevis Tourism Authority enjoys a trip back to his ‘spiritual island home’ with a group of UK agents


here’s a tap on my shoulder and a whisper in my ear, “Is this your island?” With a big smile on my face and a rum punch in my hand, I announce, “Yes, indeed it is!” I feel like a proud father showing off his birthplace to his five daughters. In this case, its five travel agents and my spiritual birthplace is the Caribbean gem, Nevis. We’re crossing “The Narrows” the twomile stretch of water that separates Nevis from its sister island, St. Kitts. The water taxi crossing takes only six minutes, which is just about enough time to sip a cold drink and enjoy the aweinspiring views of Nevis Peak. I picture myself, as Christopher Columbus would have done hundreds of years ago, viewing the island for the first time with wisps of cloud surrounding the peak. That’s why he named the island ‘Nieves’, which is Spanish for ‘snow’.

Small with big adventures

Waking on the first morning from a restful night in one of the island’s Plantation-style properties, I can’t wait to hear what the group’s first impressions are. For me, I love the fact that Nevis feels so exclusive; there are only 420 hotel rooms on the whole island, there is not a single traffic light nor one fast food restaurant chain. Over breakfast, I enjoy listening to the ladies chat about their morning walk with the green vervet monkeys and taking a refreshing swim. One agent is already posting her pictures on social media to entice friends, family and future customers to this captivating place. Each day that follows offers a snapshot of what this little island offers holidaymakers: we explore trails and roads which are not even listed on an island map and bump into wild donkeys and sheep (or are they goats?!) We snorkel in the Caribbean Sea, stroll through gorgeous

botanical gardens, saunter along deserted beaches and shriek like children whilst riding on bicycles through the tiny capital, Charlestown. And we don’t go hungry! We enjoy many of the island’s authentic dishes and sample the famous ‘Killer Bee’ cocktail at Sunshine’s beach bar. As we leave Nevis the same way we arrived, there’s a tap on my shoulder and a chorus of whispers in my ear. “It’s now our island too – and we can’t wait to tell everyone about it,” my agents tell me. * Nevis Tourism Authority is represented in the UK by Clear Marketing. For more information, email

Where to book

CARIBTOURS – 020 3553 7543 Seven nights at Nisbet Plantation Beach Club, Nevis, start from £1,349pp, including breakfast, for stays from April 16 to October 31 2019. Book by March 31 2019.



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luxury caribbean



On the


The Caribbean has upgraded and added properties in recent years and is once again among the world’s leading destinations for those looking for the ultimate in upmarket comforts and thrills, says Nigel Tisdall

ow! Flying into St Barth on a small prop plane, my wife and I are knocked out by the views over this tiny French island with A-list credentials. First there’s the sight of Gustavia harbour filled with gleaming superyachts, then a scary moment as we swoop down to a landing strip that’s just over 2,000ft long with a dazzling white beach at the end. Let’s hope the brakes work. My phone pings a message welcoming me to the EU (no roaming charges here) as a sporty valet in white speeds us across the topsy-turvy hills to Hotel Le Toiny, a chic, five-star sanctuary where every suite comes with a private heated pool, Sonos sounds and Bamford toiletries. A jaunty ride in a customised Land Rover gets us to its spacious beach club, while dinner is served under the stars on a

panoramic terrace with a DJ. Yes please, we’d love to try the tasting menu that saunters confidently from Perrier-Jouet to Sauternes with ambrosial stops at red snapper tartare and beef short-rib ravioli. Tomorrow we’ll go exploring in a lipstickred MINI Convertible (“la ‘It’ car de l’île”, the concierge assures), checking out the unspoilt beaches, divine pâtisseries and chi-chi bikini shops. Could our holiday get off to a better start than this?

Checking-in Serene, safe and well-presented beach resorts have long been the bedrock of the luxury Caribbean holiday. Some of the most attractive and enduring, such as Coral Reef Club in Barbados, Jamaica Inn in Jamaica and Hotel Le Toiny on St Barth, are still privately owned – a point worth stressing

now that global brands such as Four Seasons, Kempinski and Mandarin Oriental are present in the region. While sun, sea and sand remain staple attractions, local character is not far behind. “More and more of our clients are looking for authentic properties,” says Paul Cleary, Managing Director of Caribtours. “They prefer small, family-run hotels rather than large resorts that don’t necessarily offer the personalised experience found in boutique hotels.” He cites Montpelier Plantation & Beach in Nevis and Calabash Luxury Boutique Hotel in Grenada as good examples – significantly, these are two of just six Relais & Chateaux properties in the Caribbean. Convenient access (most flights from the UK arrive in time for a swim and a sundowner), paired with longstanding cultural connections and a shared love

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luxury caribbean

of cricket and sailing, are all sound reasons to pitch the Caribbean ahead of alternative sunshine destinations such as Dubai and the Indian Ocean. The hurricanes of September 2017 were bad news for some islands but, 18 months on, agents can give this a positive spin now that many of the affected luxury resorts have reopened looking better than ever. “St Barth and Anguilla are definitely back on the radar,” confirms Caroline Beckett, Senior Product Manager for the Caribbean at Elegant Resorts. She flags up Belmond Cap Juluca on the latter as a place “definitely piquing clients’ interest”. Last month Carolyn Brown, Anguilla Tourist Board Director for the UK, announced that visitor figures for this small, beach-ringed British Overseas Territory had reached a 26-year high. And similar upbeat statistics have come in from Antigua, Barbados and Jamaica – and it’s a boom with a clear message: the Caribbean delivers satisfied customers time and again.

What’s new?

“Clients often prefer small, family-run hotels rather than large resorts that don’t necessarily offer the personalised experience found in boutique hotels” Paul Cleary, Managing Director, Caribtours

Flights: British Airways ( is refreshing its entire Gatwick fleet including a new World Traveller Plus seat: Boeing 777 flights will now have a dedicated cabin with space for 52 of these rather than 24. The airline is adding extra flights to Barbados from April and to Kingston, Jamaica, for the peak summer season from June to August. Hotels: New in Jamaica, about 30 minutes from Jamaica’s international airport in the Trelawny region, the new Excellence Oyster Bay ( is set close to both

the Caribbean and mangrove lagoons. The all-inclusive luxury resort, fronting over two miles of secluded white sands, has a range of villas featuring their own oversized plunge pools and spa baths. Several upmarket restaurants include those with Asian, Italian and seafood themes. There’s also an extensive spa. Beside the splendid sweep of Grenada’s Grande Anse Beach, Silversands (silversands has 43 minimalist luxe rooms, nine four-bedroom villas and the longest swimming pool in the Caribbean. On the north coast of Antigua, newlybuilt Hodges Bay Resort & Spa (eleganthotels. com) is the latest addition to the Elegant Hotels portfolio – 79 of its 122 rooms are premium category, from £230 including breakfast and kids’ club. On Anguilla, zestfully-designed Malliouhana ( comes with 64 rooms and suites, superb infinity pools and complimentary yoga and beach fitness classes, from £927 room only. In St Vincent and The Grenadines, The Liming ( on Bequia has been created by Scottish hoteliers ICMI with 13 one- to five-bedroom villas and a restaurant. All properties opened in November or December 2018. Trade incentives: The Caribbean Tourism Organization UK & Europe (CTO) has a Caribbean Roadshow that will visit 13 UK cities between April 9 and September 19 2019. For details contact Florian Devillers (

Top luxury experiences On the water: Ignore the party catamarans and send clients on

Previous page: English Harbour, Antigua. This page, clockwise from top left: Excellence Oyster Bay; wellness experiences are popular in the Caribbean; the Coral Reef Club Barbados

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luxury caribbean

Tradition (, a 40-year-old hand-crafted sailing boat once used for trading cargo between the islands. Now restored and based in Sandy Ground, Anguilla, it offers enchanting day-trips sailing to Prickly Pear Island for a fine lobster lunch, with plenty of mimosas, rosé and rum punches along the way. Foodie heaven: Set 1,000ft high in the rainforested hills of St Lucia, the 250-year old Rabot Estate is where luxury chocolatier Hotel Chocolat ( grows its organic cocoa. It’s home to an adults-only designer hotel and spa, but the real draw is Boucan, a restaurant with a panoramic view of Petit Piton. A visit here can be combined with a stay at Sugar Beach, A Viceroy Resort (viceroyhotelsandresorts. com), which enjoys a billion-dollar location between the Pitons. Spa bliss: GoldenEye ( is a hip beach resort on Jamaica’s north coast centred on the clifftop villa where Ian Fleming wrote all 14 Bond novels. With accommodation ranging from beach huts to villas it’s an excellent pick for couples and families but the star turn is a lagoon-side ‘Field Spa’ that guests can reach by paddleboard or swimming. Gardens of delight: Grenada frequently wins medals at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show and the expert-led tours of its private gardens, nurseries and historic homes organised by Caribbean Horizons ( are a delightful insight into island life. Base your clients at the beachfront Calabash Luxury Boutique Hotel (, a Relais & Chateaux member, which has delightful lawns and tropical gardens.


Tourism talk “The Caribbean has long been famed for its top-class accommodation, whether it’s a fully-staffed private villa, an eclectic boutique property, understated barefoot luxury or a high-end family-focused all-inclusive property. “Agents should stress that flair, flavour and vibe abound here and the region has a high level of repeat guests for good reasons. “As Ainsley Harriott’s recent TV series showed, cuisine has become a key draw thanks to the islands’ abundant seafood, tropical fruits, award-winning cocktails and culinary experiences ranging from laid-back beach shacks and food festivals to rum tastings and white-gloved service in a designer restaurant.” Carol Hay, Director of Marketing UK & Europe, Caribbean Tourism Organization

“Agents should stress that flair, flavour and vibe abound here and the region has a high level of repeat guests for good reasons” Carol Hay, Director of Marketing UK & Europe, CTO

Where to book it CARIBTOURS – 020 3553 7543 Seven nights in Grenada at Calabash Luxury Boutique Hotel costs from £2,040pp staying in a Junior Suite, including transfers, half board (for bookings 1 May-31 October 2019) and return flight from London with UK airport lounge passes.

ELEGANT RESORTS – 01244 897581 Seven nights combining four in a Deluxe Beachfront Room at Belmond Cap Juluca, Anguilla, with three in a Junior Suite at Hotel Le Toiny, St Barth, costs from £5,835pp including transfers, breakfast, return flights from London via Antigua and UK airport lounge passes. 

Clockwise from top left: A luxury villa in the U.S. Virgin Islands; classic Caribbean sunset; St. Barth; sailing in Nevis

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Bulgaria Historic cities (including the Capital of Culture 2019), golden beaches, sweeping mountains with great-value ski resorts and many gems in between, Laura Gelder takes a look at Bulgaria At the heart of Eastern Europe, Bulgaria's rich past is still evident in the ruins of its ancient fortresses, traces of neolithic settlements in the wild mountains and grand cities with Roman amphitheatres. Add to that a significant coastline and multiple mountain ranges and you have several types of holiday covered!

City breaks The capital Sofia isn't as popular as Prague or Budapest but that's part of its charm. It's a modern city with an eclectic mix of onion-domed churches, Ottoman mosques, Roman ruins and Soviet monuments. European Capital of Culture this year, Plovdiv is also big on Roman history and, like Rome, straddles seven hills. It's Europe’s oldest continuously inhabited city and its atmospheric old town is packed with colourful and creaky 19th-century mansions. This year is a great time to go, thanks to a huge programme of events. Varna is the third-largest city in Bulgaria and the largest on the Black Sea. Its history is long and rich and there are many art galleries and museums as well as a packed calendar of cultural events involving folklore, music, ballet, opera and theatre.

The Black Sea Bulgaria has around 230 miles of coastline around this inland sea and plenty of golden beaches from where to soak up the sun. Its resorts are often associated with cheap and cheerful package holidays and there is plenty of choice. Developed Sunny Beach and Golden Sands remain the most popular resorts but there are other more low-key options. Pretty Albena is a purpose-built resort

BOOK IT WITH... BALKAN HOLIDAYS A last-minute deal for Bankso, leaving March 9 from Newcastle is from £399pp for seven nights half-board at the five-star Perelik Hotel. It's based on three adults and one child and includes transfers and 20kg hold luggage. More deals are added each week.; 020 7543 5555



sandwiched between a three-mile beach and the natural beauty of the forested Baltata National Reserve. Just a short drive away from Sunny Beach, Sveti Vlaswill has one of Bulgaria’s blue flag beaches and the port of Marina Dinevi, a yachting marin,a with expensive resorts and fancy restaurants. Nessebar has a UNESCO-listed Old Town as well as a beach, and its cobbled streets are lined with 18th-century wooden houses, Byzantine and Roman fortifications and baths, ancient churches and a traditional wooden windmill.

Winter sports Bulgaria might not be able to match the Alps but what it lacks in size it makes up for with great value – the cheapest skiing in Europe. Bansko is considered the best ski resort in Bulgaria with the longest runs as well as a rich cultural history and attractive old town set in Pirin National Park, about 100 miles from Sofia. The resort has recently seen the installation of modern lifts and new


accommodation options with direct access to its 50km of slopes. Another option for winter sports is Borovets, which has 60km of slopes and 13 lifts.

Hiking heaven Seven mountain ranges ripple across Bulgaria, home to wolves, bears, lynxes, stunning views and challenging terrain. Pirin National Park has ancient pine forests, glacial lakes and limestone mountains with caves and waterfalls, as well as Bulgaria’s oldest tree, Baykuchevata, which is a staggering 1,350 years old. The Rila Mountains are home to many iconic hikes including the region’s loftiest peak, Musala - 2,925 metres high. The hike can be fairly easy if you take the chairlift from Borovets, or a full-day trek. There’s also the Seven Rila Lakes, a series of pretty glacial pools which flow into each other. In Central Balkan National Park is the 124-metre-high Raiskoto Praskalo Waterfall, the highest in the Balkans. Its name means ‘Spray from Heaven’. 

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Liberia Bar The Gambia, West Africa isn’t a strong geographical market for UK tour operators. Like a true pioneer, Mark Stratton joins Native Eye for one of the first group tours to Liberia This small country is swathed in tropical rainforest and possesses the finest beaches you’ll ever see. Yet it’s a country traumatised by its recent past. Founded in the 1820s by emancipated slaves from the U.S., it once flourished. albeit with strong American backing. Then successive civil wars from 1989 to 2003 killed over 500,000 people and ebola outbreaks ( 2014-2016) further damaged its reputation. But after three successive peaceful elections Liberia is now headed by the ex-Arsenal soccer superstar George Weah – and the country has been officially free of ebola for the past three years.


Beautiful ruins I started my visit in the past, with a trip to the National Museum, recently reopened in a historic 19th century building. Exhibits feature artefacts from indigenous African tribes who were already on the coast when some 18,000 afro-American freed slaves arrived. There's also a chilling collection of images from the civil wars and ebola crisis. Ducor Palace is a once opulent five-star hotel, damaged during the war then looted, leaving a haunting but photogenic shell. Nearby is a grand 19th-century masonic hall with Greek-style marble columns. Soccer-fever has Monrovia in its grip and every impromptu kick-around on sandy pitches attracts boisterous crowds. A similar hubbub infuses Rally Town market where I wander among stalls piled high with cassavas and yams, inhaling pungent pepper sauces, and browsing juju magic charms. Food outlets offer West African favourites like fufu (starchy cassava)


and jollof chicken rice, but most evenings I dine at Golden Beach’s outdoor restaurant watching the Atlantic sunset and eating grilled barracuda with local Club Beer.

Monkey business Outside Monrovia the fertile countryside features simple mud brick villages – like Demeh where the Basso tribe put on a frenetic display of mask dancing with hypnotic drumming. Leader Ansu Varney

THE DETAILS TIME ZONE: GMT+0 CURENCY: Liberian Dollar £1 is LRD214 VISAS: London Embassy - £60 CAPITAL: Monrovia LANGUAGES: English, Liberian Creole CILMATE: Tropical and hot all year with heavier rains May-

October and peak dry season December-March GETTING THERE: BOOK IT: Native Eye has a 10-day group tour called ‘Liberia Revealed'. It is priced from £2599, not including international flights. STAY: Libassa Ecolodge has

cascading pools in a rainforest setting and smart wooden bungalows from around £100 per night. The lodge recycles its waste water, uses lowenergy lighting and plants native trees. It also runs a sanctuary caring for injured or confiscated wildlife.


greets me West African-style with a bittertasting kola nut. “We welcome you like we would Donald Trump,” he proclaims. Off the coast near Marshall six Islands are home to 60 chimpanzees, once used for lab experiments and now enjoying retirement courtesy of the U.S. Humane Society. On arrival, the wily chimps appear at the water’s edge, dextrous hands demanding bananas. At Second Chance Chimpanzee Rescue Centre I meet Daj, an orphaned baby chimp snatched by wildlife poachers who sell them as pets. He grabs my shirt and tries to jam his finger into my mouth before falling asleep on my chest. Robertsport is reached via the scenic northwest coastal road near Sierra Leone. It features grandiose war-ravaged mansions built by ex-slaves in the style of plantation houses and a sweeping bay fringed by golden beaches. I body-surf in the warm Atlantic swell, watching fishermen catch pinkish groupers from wooden pirogues before going to bed in a beach cabana at Nana’s Lodge, lulled to sleep by waves. 

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islands Direct flights have boosted the Seychelles but it is multi-island itineraries that make for bigger earnings, says Kathryn Liston


s that Big Ben? I am staring at a replica of London’s famous clock tower while buying vanilla pods and creole spices at the market in Victoria, Mahé’s capital. The next day I’m kicking back on the beautiful white sands of stunning Anse Lazio on Praslin, rated as one of the world’s best beaches by Giorgio Armani. After breakfast, I’m mesmerised by a turtle laying her eggs on the beach at the Constance Lemuria hotel. The following day, I’m taking the ferry over to tranquil La Digue, where I enjoy life at an oxen’s pace. We plod along the coastline in an ox cart to the Rene Payet Veuve Reserve, home of the endemic

Seychelles Paradise Flycatcher bird. I later to switch pedal power and take a leisurely cycle through the L’Union Estate’s vanilla plantation to one of the last working copra mills (where coconut oil is extracted) before cooling off at stunning Anse Source d’Argent, featured in the Bounty TV advertisements – it doesn’t get more postcard tropical than this! Returning to Mahé later on, I reflect on my visit. A walk through Fregate Island’s lush interior was rewarded by one of the most stunning and deserted beaches. Bird Island is equally remote and beautiful with just its feathered residents and a giant tortoise for company.

Mare Anglaise beach; the Victoria clock tower in Mahé

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Hop to it

“We encourage islandhopping for any clients booking the Seychelles. The honeymoon market in particular is really tapping into the whole experience as it provides a true Robinson Crusoe feel” Nikki Hain, Premier Holidays

Clockwise from top: A helicopter landing in Anse Lazio; giant tortoise; locals using an ox cart to transport goods; lion fish amongst colourful coral

UK visitors and honeymooners have fallen back in love with the Seychelles thanks to direct British Airways flights and an array of island-hopping opportunities. BA launched twice-weekly flights from Heathrow last March and the number of UK visitors rose 16%, to 17,286, between January and September last year. Nikki Hain, Product Manager at Premier Holidays, said: “The Seychelles is selling very well for travel in 2019 and we saw a healthy increase in 2018 bookings. “We encourage island hopping for any clients booking the Seychelles. The honeymoon market in particular is really tapping into the whole experience as it provides a true Robinson Crusoe feel.” Other trends identified by Premier include demand for adult-only hotels and holidays twinned with South Africa. “Resorts such as Coco de Mer and Black Parrot Suites offer adult-only accommodation that appeal perfectly to the honeymoon market,” adds Hain. Travelling to an island paradise was voted the most desired holiday aspiration for 2019 by Hayes & Jarvis customers. And the Seychelles has 115 islands to choose from, with Mahé, Praslin and La Digue being the most popular. “As the Seychelles increases in popularity, thanks to new flight routes, we are seeing a growth in demand and specifically for multi-island packages,” says Sheryl Drane, Regional Destination Manager for the Indian Ocean at Hayes & Jarvis. “It’s quite easy to get from one to the next, so it’s not surprising that people want to see more of

these paradise islands on a single trip.” Travel 2 reports encouraging growth this year with sales focused mainly on fourand five-star hotels in Mahé and Praslin, says Mark Mallinson, Senior Product Manager, Indian Ocean. Sustainability is key to the Seychelles’ future and the country has already banned plastic bags and utensils. A ban on singleuse plastic straws comes into force in June.

Easy Seychelles sells Up for the cuppa: Take it with mint, cinnamon or spices at the SeyTe tea factory on the slopes of Morne Blanc, Mahé and enjoy stunning plantation views. Hire a boat: Your clients can explore Mahé’s secret coves or cruise over to unspoilt Sainte Anne national park for an afternoon on one of its beaches. See a turtle lay her eggs: The Seychelles has many hatching sites. Hotels such as Constance Lemuria Praslin have ‘turtle wardens’ to teach you about their nests, laying habits and habitat.

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Image: © Torsten Dickmann

The Seychelles Islands... another world Image: © Gerard Larose

Image: © Chris Close

Image: © Alphonse Island

Image: © Ennio Maffei

Seychelles Tourist Office - UK & Ireland Ground Floor, 130-132 Buckingham Palace Road, London SW1W 9SA Tel: +44 (0) 207 730 0700

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Tour operators: Ramblers (cruiseandwalk. has introduced a 17-night Cape Town

to Seychelles holiday to its Cruise & Walk brochure, departing on October 29. Cruises: Dream Yacht Charter ( has added six-berth catamarans to its fleet in Praslin. An eightday cruise, which can be sold by the cabin, operates out of Mahé and visits Coco Island, La Digue and Curieuse. Crystal Esprit ( will begin seven-night Seychelles Yachting Serenade all-inclusive itineraries to and from Mahé in January 2020. The all-suite ship will visit St Anne Island, Cousin, Praslin, La Digue, Curieuse and Aride. 

Tourism talk

Go on a coral snorkelling safari: The Hilton Seychelles Northolme Resort & Spa offers one and Desroches Island, the Aquarium and Passe Tambi are top spots for seeing turtles and stingrays.

What’s new?

“As the Seychelles increases in popularity, thanks to new flight routes, we are seeing a growth in demand specifically for multi-island packages” Sheryl Drane, Hayes & Jarvis

From top left, clockwise: dinner with a view of Victoria Harboor; Bird Island; viewpoint from Mission Lodge; couple enjoying a fishing trip

Trade: The Seychelles Tourism Board is holding a roadshow March 12-14, 2019 in Chester, Glasgow and Aberdeen and will host another in October. Agents can earn between £25 and £150 in shopping vouchers for every Premier Holidays’ ( Seychelles promotional deal they sell in March. Hotels: The luxury Cosmoledo Eco Camp ( opened on Wizard Island in the remote Outer Aldabra islands last November. It has eight luxury eco-pods and offers fly fishing, scuba diving, snorkelling and stand-up paddle boarding. Flights from Mahé go via Alphonse. The five-star Hilton Seychelles Northolme Resort & Spa ( on Mahé has opened a coral nursery along Beau Vallon to protect marine life. Hilton Seychelles Labriz Resort & Spa ( on Silhouette island is ramping up its sustainability efforts with initiatives focusing on wellness, farm-tofork dining and eco travel.

“The UK continues to be one of Seychelles’ most important source markets. After a whopping increase of 16% in UK visitors in 2018, we look forward to more positive results this year, helping us to achieve our goals of sustainable visitation and increased spend.” Christine Vel, Seychelles Tourist Office, UK & Ireland Director

Where to book it RED SAVANNAH – 01242 787 800 Seven nights at the Cosmoledo Eco Camp on Wizard Island costs from £4,778pp and includes all meals, inter-island transfers, wine with dinner, non-motorised sports and fishing equipment. HAYES & JARVIS – 01293 762 456 A 12-night island hopping holiday starts from £4,049pp, departing October 18, and includes four nights’ B&B in Praslin, La Digue and Mahe, internal flights, ferry and car transfers and flights from London Gatwick with Emirates. ■

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Alberta in shoulder season Quieter and great for deals, Alberta in the low season offers affordable options for clients looking to avoid the crowds, says Laura Gelder While many choose to go to Alberta at the height of summer or winter, spring and autumn are great-value alternatives with plenty to see and do. One of the benefits of flying in the shoulder season is more choice and availability – British Airways will recommence flights to Calgary from March 29 and WestJet starts flying daily from April 29. Rocky Mountaineer will also be resuming its luxury train service from late April. Because demand is lower you’ll find more affordable deals for your clients and savings on airfares and accommodation will allow you to upgrade their experience, whether that’s upgrading their room category or adding a once-in-a-lifetime experience such as a helicopter trip over the Rockies. From late April to mid-June (excluding the local bank holiday weekend in May), and late September through to the end of November, the parks quieten down considerably and seasonal attractions start to reopen, such as the must-see Columbia Icefield Glacier Adventure (opens April 19, 2019).




Late ski deals Alberta’s resorts enjoy some of the longest ski seasons in North America, with Banff National Park-area resorts like Lake Louise and Sunshine Village boasting powder well into May. Sunshine Village has the longest non-glacial ski season in North America – an impressive seven months of skiing and snowboarding. While European visitors may find the Rockies a tad colder than Europe's slopes, the later they go the warmer the conditions. Spring skiers will enjoy an average of seven hours of sunshine a day in April, with average daytime temperatures in Banff, for

BOOK IT WITH... FRONTIER CANADA A 10-night itinerary featuring Calgary, Banff, Jasper and Edmonton, including accommodation in Fairmont properties and the Fantasyland Hotel Edmonton, flights, and nine days' car hire, travelling late May, is prcied from £2,495pp.

example, 8°C in April and 14°C in May. Now is the perfect time for clients to start taking advantage of early bird ski deals for next season.

Wild encounters Rising temperatures can also mean a better chance of seeing wildlife in the beautiful National Park surroundings. Spring brings with it sightings of grazing young in the lower valley elevations with calving season in May for elk, deer and bighorn sheep. Mid-September into October brings large concentration of elk during the rutting season. Clients may even be treated to a bear sighting as the bears emerge from their hibernation in April.

Golden days In autumn there's Larch Season to consider. This is a magical but brief period, usually from the middle of September through to the beginning of October, when the needles of the Larch trees turn a dramatic golden copper hue before dropping.

Top places to see this fall phenomenon include Kananaskis country, in particular Chester Lake; Jasper National Park, the Skyline Trail or the Jasper Sky Tram are great viewing points; and Banff National Park, most notably Larch Valley. Starting by Moraine Lake, the Larch Valley and Sentinel Pass trail takes hikers through sweeping larch meadows and past rocky spires for a sky- high view of the colours.

Local festivities Top shoulder-season events include the Jasper Dark Skies Festival (October 18-27, 2019), with little light pollution making for some of the brightest starry skies, and Book Festival (October 26 to November 3, 2019) with its stories of ground-breaking expeditions told by global explorers. Edmonton's International Beerfest, which takes place March 22-23, 2019, will offer over 300 beers to taste, while Calgary's International Film Festival sees the city taken over by movie moguls (September 18-22, 2019). 

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six of the best

Cape Verde Africa’s most westerly nation, Cape Verde offers everything from all-inclusive beach bumming to hardcore hiking. Laura Gelder picks six islands

Santiago The biggest island in the archipelago is also home to the nation’s capital, Praia, and as such is a commercial and cultural centre but still offers rugged mountains and green valleys. Old capital, Cidade Velha, was the first city built by Europeans in West Africa and a key slave trading point between Africa, Europe and America. Today it’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site and an important historical site with a 16th century fort.

Santo Antão This vertiginous island puts the verde in Cape Verde, with some of the most scenic hiking in West Africa. The more populated northeast of the island is popular with hikers and gets enough rain to support pine tree forests on its hilltops and tropical banana, cassava and coffee plants in the steamy valleys. A popular hike takes in Fontainhas, a fairytale village clinging to the cliff edge, surrounded by green mountains.

Fogo Fogo means fire in Portuguese, reflecting this island’s landscape which was shaped by molten earth. The 2829-metre Pico do Fogo volcano rises like a cinder pyramid from the floor of ancient crater Chã das Caldeiras, half-bound by black, jagged cliffs. The main cone has been inactive more than 200 years but Chã had eruptions in 2015. New settlements top the ashes of half-buried houses and the fertile soil produces great wine and coffee.

São Vicente This island’s capital Mindelo is its star. A pretty Mediterraneanstyle town proud of its cultural heritage and with a rich tradition of music and art. There’s lively night life too with live music common in the bars and restaurants. The island also hosts a Rio-style Carnival 40 days before Easter and a summer beach music festival.

Sal It’s easy to see why this was the first of Cape Verde’s islands to receive tourists. It has a seemingly inexhaustible supply of sandy beaches and its lively capital offers accessible local culture and lots of good-value restaurants. Watersports enthusiasts love it, especially kite surfers who head to the aptly-named Kite Beach. Hilton Cabo Verde Sal Resort is the archipelago’s most upmarket resort with a spa, casino and four restaurants.

Boa Vista Dramatic in a totally different way to Fogo or Santo Antão, this island has an arid red rocky desert landscape not dissimilar from Arizona or California but its golden beaches are the main draw. The crystal-clear waters off the island are a draw for divers thanks to tropical fish, bright coral and rusted shipwrecks. Quad biking, deep-sea fishing and windsurfing are also popular activities.

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The newest 5* resort in Cape Verde 241 Rooms & Suites Beach Front Location 4 Restaurants & Bars 24-hour Fitness Center Eforea Spa with 8 Treatment Rooms 1200m2 Swimming-Pool

Kids Club 650m Meeting Facilities Bounty Beach Club Casino Royal Atlantic Star Nautic-Club 2

CABOVERDESALRESORT.HILTON.COM Avenida dos Hoteis CP230 I Santa Maria I Sal Island I Cabo Verde Reservations: | +238 334 4444



China fine

More ights, a raft of new hotels and a much easier visa system means China is more attractive than ever says Jo Gardner

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t is pitch black as I arrive in has seen a 12% growth so far this year the tiny town of Lijang in the compared with the same period last year. Yunnan peninsular and, unlike “China is selling very well for us,” confirmed the rest of China, it’s eerily quiet. Stuart Howarth, Senior Product Executive Then I recall someone telling me that for China at Audley Travel. there is a ban on cars and motorbikes in the “Beijing, Xian and Shanghai, where we traditional Old Town of Lijang which, to my have continued to develop and expand our horror, means no taxis either – and the walk product offerings, are proving particularly to my hotel takes longer than it should. popular. We have also seen an increase in All is forgiven the next morning, though, enquiries and bookings for Huangshan and when a bright blue cloudless sky allows me Tiger Leaping Gorge,” he added. to see Lijang in all its glory. It’s far prettier “This follows a general trend for clients than anywhere else I’ve been to in China being increasingly interested in trips with – a well preserved town with 800-year-old more outdoor elements. We expect interest bridges, narrow canals, cobbled streets and in China to continue to grow, in part due to candle-lit restaurants. the high-speed train network that makes Traditional Chinese travel easier and lanterns hang from opens up more “We expect interest in buildings and trees China to continue to grow, places to clients and children buy on a limited time in part due to the highcandles from stall schedule.” speed train network that holders and float “China bookings them in the water. are stronger than makes travel easier and The town is blessed ever in 2019,” added opens up more places” with a backdrop Andy Eastham, PR Stuart Howarth, Audley Travel of snow-capped & Communications mountains, too and, after a hearty Manager at Wendy Wu Tours. breakfast on my hotel balcony, I take the “There’s a lot of uncertainty in the industry cable car up to Spruce Mountain. right now around Brexit, which is proving I expect a fully-enclosed device but am positive for China and long-haul travel in presented with a swing seat for two with general. Solo travel is really on the rise, just a thin bar across for safety. too, and we’ve seen a significant rise in this The snowy mountainous views on the way sector year on year.” up are so incredible I am distracted from Eastham continues: “As a result, we have the cold. At the top I feel like I’ve entered a introduced two new holidays in China: a 14winter wonderland, the snow is ankle deep day Captivating China tour and a Charming and the fur trees remind me of Christmas China tour, both catering to smaller groups – this could easily be a scene from Canada, with the guarantee of single rooms.” not China.

On the up Increased passenger numbers are a theme for China this year, with Cathay Pacific reporting a 17% rise in passengers flying from Manchester Airport to Beijing and Hong Kong, while Qatar Airways has bought 5% of China Southern Airlines. “China Southern Airlines is one of the most prestigious airlines in the Chinese domestic market,” said Qatar Airways’ Group Chief Executive Akbar Al Baker. “There are opportunities for us to work together and build a long-term relationship in ways that would bring benefits to customers of both airlines.” But it’s not just airlines benefitting from increased interest in China: Audley Travel

Pictured left: Dai Buddhist temple, Yunnan province; Above: Sichuan Province is home to 80% of the world’s population of Giant Pandas

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What’s new Tours: Intrepid Travel ( has expanded its range of active tours in China this year to meet increased demand for breaks promoting physical and mental wellbeing. Its new seven-day China: Great Wall Hike, Bike and Kung Fu starts at £1,055pp and offers a walk along a remote section of the wall, a bike ride through mountain villages and a Kung Fu lesson. Visas: Wendy Wu Tours ( has been granted permission to process a specialist visa for China which bypasses new entry laws to the country and avoids the need for fingerprints. The new visa is valid where two or more holidaymakers are travelling together on the same flight in and out of five specified airports in the country: Beijing, Shanghai, Chongqing, Chengdu and Kunming Changshui. Hotels: Agreement has been reached for the development of two new properties

Clockwise from top: Bustling Shanghai, Heaven Lake, Jilin, on the China-North Korea border; The Great Wall of China; the Terracotta Army, a collection of sculptures depicting the armies of Qin Shi Huang, the first Emperor, in Zi’an; a village in Xinjiang

in China to be managed by Thomas Cook China ( The Sunwing Family Resort is set to be a 350,000 sq m development in Lijang, while The Taicang is a 145,000 sq m development in Taicang City, Shanghai. Both will open in late 2020.

Key attractions Visit the Great Wall: No visit to China would be complete without seeing the iconic Great Wall, built during the Ming dynasty. Stretching 4,000 miles from Shanhaiguan on the Bohai Sea to Lop Lake in the Gobi Desert, the wall was given UNESCO World Heritage Status in 1987. See the Giant Pandas: The Sichuan Province is home to 80% of the world’s population of Giant Pandas. The Chengdu Panda Research Base – a research and conservation site 10 minutes from the City of Chengdu – has 80 of these cuddly looking creatures. Cruise down the Yangtze: Cruise down The Yangtze River, the longest in Asia and the world’s third longest, to see the Three Gorges Dam. Built between 1994 and 2009, the controversial dam is the largest water conservation project ever undertaken for the purpose of flood control, electricity and irrigation. See Shanghai: Once known as the ‘Paris of the East’ Shanghai is China’s most cosmopolitan city, where modern skyscrapers blend with traditional buildings and designer shops sit next to 100-year-old family outlets selling herbal medicines. Walk through the cobbled streets of the Old Town, visit the pretty Yu Gardens and enjoy a cocktail in a rooftop bar. Marvel at the Terracotta Warriors: One of the most significant

archaeological discoveries of the 20th century, this unearthed terracotta army is comprised of over 7,000 soldiers, horses and chariots. The army was built in life-sized form by thousands of workers and designed by Emperor Qin Shi Huang to defend himself in the afterlife.

Where to book it AUDLEY TRAVEL – 01993 838 000 The 19-day Hiking in China tour costs from £5,585pp and takes in Beijing, Huang Shan, Lijang and Shanghai. The price includes international and domestic flights, transfers, travel on the high-speed bullet train, private excursions with a guide, accommodation and some meals. WENDY WU TOURS – 0808 2230 654 The new 13-day solo Charming China tour starts at £2,990pp and includes international flights, transfers, accommodation, all meals and a tour guide. It visits Beijing, Xian, Guilin and Yangshuo. 

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Win flights

and more

Join us for an informal but informative event and make selling Belize a breeze! The night will include a presentation from Belize Tourism followed by a Q&A and a prize draw, with food and drinks provided. You better Belize it! LONDON

March 13, 6:00 - 9:00pm Double Tree Hilton Hotel, Bloomsbury

Register to attend at sellingtravelmag


Training, competitions, events March 2019


Get to know Phuket ROADSHOW

Quick Quiz Are you a Fiji Expert?

1. A bure is the traditional place of dwelling in Fiji TRUE / FALSE

The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) is showcasing one of its most popular islands as part of its Amazing Phuket Roadshow. Visiting London on March 4. Agents will network with 18 hotel suppliers from Thailand's biggest island and learn about some of its lesser known sandy spots including the beaches of Karon, Kamala, Ao Sane, Ao Yon and Banana Rock. To register interest email:


Cash in with Costa Rica

2. Fiji was first settled about one thousand years ago

Agents can save up to a quarter of the price off an Easter break at Haven in 2019, with holidays starting from £149 for the whole family. Over the Easter period Haven will be hosting a range of activities including egg decorating, Easter bonnet making and the 'Eggstravaganza' Easter egg hunt across the brand's 36 locations nationwide. Also, agents who become a Haven Expert at can claim a free day pass for completing the course successfully as well as earning rewards for bookings.

Answer 1.True 2: False



Pura Vida University I Modules: 5 COSTA RICA Tourism is offering £400 worth of Love2Shop vouchers to celebrate the relaunch of its Eco Tourism module. Costa Rica is a global leader in good ecotouism practices and now agents can learn more about rural tourism and the authentic experiences that surround the rural heritage and communities of this diverse country. Agents that pass the module, available on the Pura Vida University, before March 9 have the chance to win Love2Shop vouchers worth up to £400. Other modules include an Introduction to Costa Rica, Regions of Costa Rica, an insight into the 'Tico' culture, and Adventure.

Save 25% with Haven

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Training courses to help travel agents and advisers sell more!

Bonus for bookings

Working in partnership



A-Z of available courses

The St. Kitts Tourism Authority is offering a triple incentive for all new bookings as part of its My Booking Rewards Peaks Campaign. To qualify, bookings to the Caribbean island must include flights, a minimum of seven nights' accommodation at a St. Kitts hotel and be logged before April 30, 2019. An additional bonus will be given to agents that book one of the following four hotels: £30 will be rewarded for the five-star Belle Mont Farm or Park Hyatt, £15 for bookings to Ocean Terrace Inn and a £10 bonus for bookings to Sugar Bay Club. Details must be logged on the St. Kitts Rewards Programme at

ABTA Alaska Amtrak Vacations Anguilla Antigua & Barbuda Aruba Beaches Resorts Boucan Hotel Chocolat Bourne Leisure Butlins Centara Hotels & Resorts Cirque de Soleile Corsican | Sardinian Places Costa Rica Cruise Adviser Elegant Hotels Essential Detail Flanders Fort Myers & Sanibel GDS Haven Hotels Hawaii

New Incentive

Get train trained to win prizes

Heritage Resort Jerusalem Jumeirah Hotels & Resorts Las Vegas Macao Malaysia Melia Hotels &

Journey Beyond Rail Specialist I Modules: 8

Football escapes News

The recently reopened Jumeirah Beach Hotel in Dubai will be hosting a series of football academies during the school holidays, with the help of some ex-Premier League players. Over the Easter holidays, ex-England and Chelsea midfielder Joe Cole will be coaching children, while ex-Liverpool, Real Madrid and Manchester United striker Michael Owen will be taking the lead during October half-term. Spaces on the courses are limited to 75 children per week on a first come, first served basis. The courses are priced at £505 per week and include a daily training session. Each child will also receive a full Football Escapes kit and signed certificate.

JOURNEY BEYOND is offering the chance to win a £50 Love2Shop voucher upon completion of its Journey Beyond Rail Specialist online training programme. Agents can learn about Journey Beyond's Australian rail journeys which include The Ghan, Indian Pacific and its newest addition, The Great Southern. Marine modules highlighting the brand's other products, Cruise Whitsundays and the Rottnest Express will also be added from mid-March, with experiences such as sleeping under the stars on the Great Barrier Reef and getting aquainted with a friendly quokka on Rottnest Island in the mix. To win one of the 20 vouchers, agents must complete the training by March 31.

Resorts New York city New York state Namibia Newmarket Holidays Ontario Qatar Railbookers SAGA Saint Lucia Sandals Resorts Serenity Holidays Seychelles Simon Malls Solus St Kitts Thailand TIPTO Turks & Caicos US Airtours Veranda Resorts Virgin Limited Edition Voyages SNCF Warner Leisure Hotels Windjammer Landing Hotel

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Your Comfort is our Priority With a unique location in the heart of Dubai Media City and overlooking the Palm Jumeirah, Arjaan by Rotana – Dubai is a landmark property featuring 242 fully furnished rooms, suites and apartments including stylish premium apartments with a private plunge pool. Enjoy scrumptious cuisine at Cilantro restaurant, relax by the outdoor swimming pool or workout at Bodylines Fitness & Wellness Club. The 4 star property is a dream home away from home, where you are not only minutes away from Dubai tram but also close proximity to Dubai’s leading shopping destinations including Mall of the Emirates. The hotel is conveniently located 25 km away from Dubai International Airport. For reservations or more information, please visit or call +971 (0)4 436 0000 or email:

Dubai Media City, P. O. Box 502828, Dubai, U.A.E. T: +971 (0)4 436 0000, F: +971 (0)4 436 0111,

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new hotels in the UAE


opening Doors are

While the smaller emirates are now attracting big brands, it is the major destinations luring boutique options, says Adam Coulter


s Dubai reaches saturation point in terms of international brands, lesser-known emirates such as Ajman, Sharjah and Ras-al-Khaimah are seeing some big names open doors recently – Fairmont, Hilton, Radisson, Novotel and Park Inn to name a few. Ras-al-Khaimah has ambitious infrastructure and hotel development plans in the next two years, with the aim of almost doubling hotel rooms, to 11,500 from 6,500, and reaching 1.5 million visitors by 2021. Haitham Mattar, Chief Executive of Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority said: “There is huge potential in the Emirate for entities looking to develop resorts, niche accommodation options and new tourism products.” Openings are not confined to big chains. In Sharjah the trend is eco-based, with

South Africa-based Mantis Collection opening three new eco lodges (one last year, two this year). “Sharjah has seen consistent tourism growth in recent years,” said Khalid Jassim Al Midfa, Chairman of Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority. “We are set to see further growth in line with the Sharjah Tourism Vision 2021, which aims to attract 10 million visitors by 2021.”

Abu Dhabi The Abu Dhabi EDITION ( abu-dhabi) opened in the Abu Dhabi Marina

in October. The hotel has 198 rooms and 57 residences. There are two signature restaurants, a gourmet market, lobby bar, pool bar and three-story night life venue, two outside pools, a fitness centre and spa with seven treatment rooms. The newly-opened Beach Rotana

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new hotels in the UAE

“The Queen Elizabeth 2 opened last year after years of delays. It is now a floating museum, hotel, dining venue and events destination”

This page above: The Abu Dhabi Edition - Royal Penthouse. Below L-R: Hatta hiking, Dubai, and refreshments at Kingfisher Lodge. Facing page (clockwise): Kingfisher Lodge, Sharjah Collection by Mantis; Fairmont Ajman; Radisson Blu Al Ain

Residences ( is a contemporary hotel apartment property in downtown Abu Dhabi. It has 314 serviced studios and apartments, with one, two and threebedroom options available. Radisson Blu ( has opened two new hotels in Abu Dhabi: the Radisson Blu Hotel & Resort, Abu is located on the Corniche sea walk of Abu Dhabi; while the Radisson Blu Hotel & Resort, Al Ain. Jumeirah Al Wathba Desert Resort & Spa ( opened last month (February). The property is set in the desert 50km to the south east of Abu Dhabi city and comprises of 90 hotel rooms and 13 villas, a spa and an offsite desert camp. Fairmont Marina Resort & Residences ( will open at the end of this year. It will offer 563 rooms and suites and 249 serviced apartments situated on the waterfront close to Marina Mall. Top tip: Etihad Holidays offers trade-specific benefits including Abu Dhabi Airport meet & greet services and a two-for-one night stopover.

Dubai Atlantis The Palm saw the opening of a new restaurant, Hakassan ( locations/hakkasan-dubai), in October. The restaurant recreates the interiors of the London flagship, with a similar menu specialising in Cantonese cuisine. Caesars Entertainment Corporation ( opened two luxury hotels, a conference centre and a beach club on Bluewaters, Dubai’s latest island

development. Caesar’s Palace Bluewaters Dubai will feature a swimming pool, a spa and six restaurants. Caesars Resort, has 301 rooms, two pools and five restaurants. Both have access to a private beach. Zabeel House, The Greens ( opened at the end of last year. It is the third hotel to open as part of Jumeirah Group’s fledgling upscale casual brand. Opening in Tower 3 of the Onyx Towers, the hotel is inspired by New York loft living. The Queen Elizabeth 2 ( opened in 2018 after years of delays. It is now a floating museum, hotel, dining venue and events destination docked permanently at Dubai’s Mina Rashid. It has 10 restaurants and bars, 224 rooms and suites, a spa, theatre, heritage exhibition and a Dubai Duty Free shopping arcade. Outside of the city, in Hatta, Meera is working on three projects: Hatta Damani Lodge, which houses three types of cabin set against the mountains; Hatta Sedr Trailers, which sees guests staying in converted trailers, each with its own terrace; and Riad Hatta, which will reflect the region’s heritage with local dishes and cultural experiences. Top tip: The top areas to stay in Dubai are Downtown, near the Burj Khalifa and Dubai Mall; Jumeirah Beach, which stretches from Deira (Old Town) to Dubai Marina and incorporates the famous Burj Arab; the Dubai Marina itself, which has lots of shopping and dining options and is close to the beach; and exclusive Palm Jumeirah.

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new hotels in the UAE

Sharjah Opened in spring 2018 as part of the Kalba Eco-Tourism project, Kingfisher Lodge ( was one of the UAE’s first eco-tourism developments. The boutique property consists of 20 luxury tents in a desert wetland area, the Khor Kalba nature reserve, home to mangroves, tidal creeks and beaches full of birdlife and turtles.  Al Badayer Oasis Lodge ( project/al-badayer-oasis) opens this year. The desert resort amongst the dunes of the Al Badayer desert in central Sharjah will serve up off-road exploration and wilderness. The property has 21 rooms and 10 tents, Arabic and European restaurants and an open-air amphitheatre.  Al Faya Lodge ( is a boutique property, comprising of just five rooms, and will be situated in the heart of the Mleiha desert close to archaeological ruins. The lodge has three stone buildings – the lodge, spa and restaurant. A separate building will house a swimming pool and wellness area. Anantara Sharjah Resort will have 233 rooms and suites and is planned for a prime beachfront location in Sharjah next year. The property will offer high-end accommodation, a restaurant located on a

pier, spa and wellness centres, a children’s club, swimming pool and ballroom. Sell it: Southall Travel ( is offering a six-night holiday at the four-star Radisson Blu Resort from £611pp. Price includes return flights from London Stansted on March 19 and accommodation on a B&B basis.

Ras Al Khaimah This year the four-star Park Inn Radisson is scheduled to open in Al Marjan Island, a man-made island resort. The hotel will have 384 rooms and suites. The Anantara Resort, in Mina Al Arab, opens in late 2020 and features overwater luxury on the Gulf in a pristine ecosanctuary. Part of the new Mina Al Arab luxury development, the resort will have 300 guest rooms, suites and overwater villas in Maldivian resort style. Other hotel openings in 2020 include: Hampton by Hilton, on Al Marjan Island; Mangrove Rotana, in the city centre; Intercontinental, in Mina Al Arab; and Movenpick, on Al Marjan Island. Eight openings are planned for 2021 including: Avani Resort, Address Hotel, Millennium Hotel and Conrad by Hilton on Al Marjan Island; as well as a Marriott resort on RAK beach.


Top tip: This emirate is positioning itself as an adventure destination with its Ru’us Al Jibal mountain range ripe for hiking and biking, a via ferrata route and the world’s longest zipline.

Ajman Ajman Saray is the first beachside Luxury Collection Resort in the Middle East, and features a spa, pool, kids club and outdoor sports centre. Ajman Hotel is the first property of Blazon Hotels group – a five-star resort set in its own grounds and one of the best white-sand private beaches in the UAE. The hotel has 182 rooms and suites overlooking the sea, 10 food and beverage outlets, a fitness centre and two spas offering numerous treatments. Fairmont recently opened its newest property in Ajman, featuring 252 guestrooms and suites all with stunning views of the Arabian Gulf. A Radisson Blu hotel has opened in the new and upcoming area of Al Jurf, featuring a gym, spa, seven restaurants and a shuttle to an offsite private beach. Top tip: Diminutive Ajman provides a great alternative to the hustle and bustle of Dubai, and is only 20 minutes from Dubai Airport. It is like its neighbour was 20 years ago! 

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country profile

Malta Malta gained some serious recognition last year due to its European Capital of Culture crown but this sunny island still has plenty to offer in 2019, says Jessica Pook I race to the front of the ship to get my first glimpse of the famous Blue Lagoon, its azure waters calling to me as the midday heat starts to creep over into the 30s. I’m slightly taken aback by what I see. I’m looking out at the tiny, barren isle of Comino, just off the coast from Malta, and I can’t help but draw comparisons to the David Attenborough documentary showing thousands of penguins covering every inch of an iceberg – except the penguins are people and the iceberg is an island in the Mediterranean! It’s busy, to say the least, but then of course it was going to be as Comino, the smallest of the three sister isles, is one of the main attractions on any holiday to Malta. While the water is still impressive, crystal clear and a glistening turquoise, I sense there is more to this small bay than this throng of bodies battling for a space. Luckily, as I later discover, this is not the only way to see the Blue Lagoon. To avoid this scene of humanity, book clients on an excursion that leaves for Comino early in the morning – and the earlier the better. Or for that ultimate holiday wow factor there’s no better way to see these Mediterranean islands than by chartering a boat, available to book at: While I may be in no position to hire a yacht, a speedboat seems easy and proves just too tempting. The next day, a little older and wiser, I make the same journey, albeit on a smaller



boat and slightly choppier waters, but instead of ‘penguins’ I see the glassy azure waters of the Blue Lagoon – and there’s not a ship in sight. What’s more, I have the rest of the day to make my way around the island, stopping off for a snorkel through the caves, enjoying the gentle bob of the waves and, of course, zipping through the open water like a scene from James Bond!

History in the making

“With waters among some of the clearest and visibility down to around 30 metres, Malta has been named the second best dive site in the world”

While its reign as the European Capital of Culture came to an end at the end 2018, culture and history abounds in Malta.



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Air Malt


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country profile

Top stops Gozo Malta’s sister island is just a short ferry ride away and great for a day trip away from the busy main island. It’s Mediterranean houses are full of character and the island is serviced regularly by buses. Valletta The walkable Valletta is made for a day of exploring. Start the day with a coffee in the main square, catch the gunfire at noon and get lost in the maze of balconies that make up the streets of this city. Comino The main draw of this small island is the fabulous Blue Lagoon. It’s well worth a visit as long as you can skip the crowds and arrive prepared as there is little shade. In winter it is far less busy. Mdina Mdina, with its medieval walls and museums, is Malta’s original capital. Game of Thrones fans take note: Mdina provides the atmospheric backdrop for Kings Landing. Ramla l-Hamra Ramla l-Hamra is a large beach on Gozo with unusually striking red sands. It can be incorporated as part of a day trip and regular hop-on hop-off buses service the beach throughout the day. Grand Harbour Valletta’s Grand Harbour is one of the largest natural harbours in the world. A favourite stop for hundreds of cruise ships, it has been a port since at least the Roman period.

Walk the sandy coloured streets of Valletta, which are adorned with baroquestyle balconies, and you’re sure to stumble upon a story. A recognised UNESCO World Heritage site, Valletta has one of the most concentrated historic areas in the world with architecture dating back to the 16th century. Visitors can also explore the crumbling walls of restored fortresses, enjoy a gunfire ceremony at the Upper Barrakka Gardens every day at noon or take shelter from the sun in St. John’s Cathedral, with its extravagant display of Baroque architecture and paintings. New for history lovers is Muza, Malta’s national-community art museum, which opened its doors last December. Over 20,000 works of art are housed in the Auberge d’Italie, which dates back to the 16th century itself.

Cool credentials Don’t be fooled into thinking that its history makes for a boring or sleepy island. Malta is the home of one of Europe’s best pre-summer parties and even has a Festival Ambassador in BBC Radio 1 DJ Annie Mac. In its fifth year, Mac’s Lost and Found Festival draws thousands of partygoers for three days of dance, grime and hip hop. This year’s acts include The Black Madonna and Chase & Status. There’s also an annual Isle of MTV Festival which kicks off Malta Music Week from July 9-14. The lively St Juliens has a mixture of bar and clubs along with seafront restaurants serving staples such as rabbit stew or Lampuki Pie (fish pie).

Reefs and wrecks The three islands that make up the Maltese Archipelago (Malta, Gozo and Comino) are home to around 100 dive


sights, many of which can be accessed directly from the shore. With waters here among some of the clearest and visibility at an impressive 30 metres, Malta has been named the second-best dive site in the world! More experienced divers have the option to do a night dive for a unique experience where the marine life appears almost florescent by torchlight. A deeper dive down to 30 or 40 metres will uncover various underwater ships, plane and submarine wrecks that have been left behind as a result of the island’s past as a ‘disputed land’.

What’s new Starting from April, Ryanair will serve Malta from two new airports: Cardiff and Exeter. These additional routes are complemented with a new partnership between Air Malta and Ryanair, which allows Ryanair passengers to book Air Malta flights at Cementing the island’s family appeal, the Malta Tourism Authority has introduced a series of trails to encourage families to explore the island. The Family Trail highlights sites and experiences ideal for parents and children. Malta will also host the first Nickelodeon Treasure Hunt extravaganza between April 13-18, 2019, to coincide with the Easter Holidays. 



A seven-night all-inclusive stay at the db Seabank Resort & Spa in Mellieha Bay is priced from £642pp. The package includes return flights from Stansted and a £200 discount. The hotel is close to the beach, has a lagoon-style oudoor pool on site and is classed as family friendly.

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the review

Baltics beckoning with On The Go GROUPS operator On The Go Tours has unveiled a selection of four multicountry tours to the Baltics in response to increased demand for ‘off-thebeaten-track’ destinations. With departures running from March until September this year, the new itineraries take in Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania and Poland, and each include coach travel, three- or four-star accommodation and local guides. The operator says the tours are aimed at travellers who have already explored Europe extensively and are looking for the chance to visit its lesser-known capitals. Package prices lead in at £745pp for the eight-night Highlights of the Baltics tour, which sees clients journey through Vilnius, Riga and Tallinn. Longer 10-night and 12-night options are also available, which add the seaside town of Klaipeda, the medieval Trakai Castle on an island on Lake Galve, Lahemaa National Park and the Rundale Palace.

Hollywood in Mauritius

BY NIKKI GRIHAULT THIS month sees the release of Serenity, a tropical thriller filmed entirely on Mauritius. Matthew McConaughey plays a fishing boat captain, whose ex-wife (Anne Hathaway) in an abusive marriage, asks him to take her husband (Jason Clarke) on a fishing trip – and feed him to the sharks. The film, available now on Sky Cinema, showcases the islands’ white-sand beaches, verdant mountains and sugar cane fields, albeit set on the fictitious island of ‘Plymouth’. La Pescatore restaurant at Trou aux Biches was transformed into the Rope &

Anchor bar at the ‘fishing village’. And look out for glimpses of distinctive Coin de Mire island, the red-roofed church of Notre Dame Auxiliatrice and the atmospheric Albion Lighthouse. The cast enjoyed villa living at Trou aux Biches Beachcomber Resort and Spa and Maradiva Villas Resort & Spa during filming. Off set, McConaughey swam with dolphins, trekked the interior and bagged a giant tuna on a deep sea fishing trip. The movie is expected to provide a major boost for Mauritius, with its trailor viewed 13 million times before launch.

Great Rail Journeys on track for 2020 GREAT Rail Journeys has added six new tours to its Worldwide Holidays programme. The escorted groups operator has boosted choice in India, South Korea and South Africa and is offering savings of up to £200pp on any 2020 itinerary booked before May 31, 2019. Among the new options is the 15-day Golden Triangle, Udaipur and Jodhpur tour with stays in unique hotels, sunrise at the Taj Mahal and heritage rail journeys. Prices start from £2,395pp. A 10-day Kenya and Maasai Mara Grand Safari offers the chance to see the spectacular Great Migration, from £2,695pp. All tours feature flights, luxury accommodation and guides.

Don’t miss your slice of Southern hospitality

India Small Group Tours TRAVELPACK has a special deal for its Tour of the Golden Triangle. The seven-night journey starts from £699pp on a B&B basis and includes flights, transfers, and guided excursions. Valid for travel October 27 and November 11, 2019 and 26 January 26, February 9 and March 15, 2020.

YOUR Selling Travel this month includes the new Memphis & Mississippi Holiday & Travel Guide – a zig-zag journey across the Magnolia State from Memphis all the way to the Mississippi Gulf Coast. In each of the 22 destinations covered you’ll find details of a local highlight to help your clients enjoy a truly authentic Memphis and Mississippi experience.

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the review


Warner’s big breaks

AMARI HAVODAA MALDIVES Amazing Domestic Transfer Offer Book 7 Nights or more by 31 Mar 19 AND receive Complimentary Domestic Flight + Boat Transfers for 2! Valid for stays between 01 Apr – 30 Jun 19

BY LAURA GELDER WARNER Leisure Hotels is offering savings of up to £60 per room on all three- and four-night breaks booked before March 18. The discounts are available under the operator’s Big Sale on selected spring and summer breaks between March and August this year. Warner’s 14 properties range from Gunton Hall Coastal Village in Suffolk and Cricket St. Thomas in Somerset, set in stately country grounds. The operator’s newest resort is Studley Castle in Warwickshire.

Three-night breaks start from £180pp for a weekend stay at Lakeside Coastal Village, Hampshire, arriving on July 26 2019. The deal is based on two adults sharing standard accommodation inclusive of the Simply Dine package (English and continental buffet breakfasts and three course evening meals). Agents who complete Warner’s online training programme and become a Warner Leisure Hotels expert can claim a free day pass to sample the offering.

REETHI FARU RESORT MALDIVES Experience the beautiful Raa Atoll at Reethi Faru 20% Discount on Room Rates PLUS Reduced Meal Supplements! Valid for stays between 01 May – 31 Oct 19

Royal approval for Grand Cayman airport


GRAND Cayman’s expanded Owen Roberts International airport will be officially opened by the Prince of Wales at the end of the month (March). The $80 million project has tripled the airport’s capacity to 2.5 million passengers annually.

Amazing Domestic Transfer Offer Book 7 Nights or more by 31 Mar 19 AND receive Complimentary Domestic Flight + Boat Transfers for 2! Valid for stays between 01 Apr – 30 Jun 19 ALSO FIND EXCLUSIVE DEALS FOR TRAVEL TRADE PERSONNEL ONLY ON OUR WEBSITE OVER 200 HOTELS AND A SELECTION OF TOURS AVAILABLE ON OUR WEBSITE MALDIVES • SRI LANKA • MAURITIUS • SEYCHELLES • INDIA • UAE • CARIBBEAN • GREECE • NEW CRUISING AND SAILING. INCLUDING EXCLUSIVE OFFERS FOR SPRING 2019 SUMMER 2019 AND WINTER 2019/20 RATES ARE NOW ONLINE All above offers are subject to availability | Terms & Conditions Apply

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the review

Princess clients in credit

Kwandwe walks on the wild side KWANDWE Private Game Reserve is capitalising on its location in South Africa’s malaria-free Eastern Cape to launch immersive walking safaris. Guests will have the option to delve deeper into the bush and get closer to wildlife by heading out on foot into the 22,000-hectare reserve. Accompanied by a specialist ranger and tracker, guests leave their lodge or safari villa early in the morning for a day-long trek along the Great Fish River to reach a private tented fly-camp. Further days’ trekking is available, with guides offering a choice of different terrain and experience. Vehicles are available to drive to the furthest reaches of the reserve. Available from May to September, full-board accommodation starts at £515pp, including twicedaily game drives, big game walks, birding, all meals and drinks. The Winter Wilderness Walking is an additional £500 per night, for up to six guests.

News in brief • VIRGIN Atlantic will begin a daily service between Heathrow and Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion airport on September 25, with fares starting from £358pp. The five-hour flight will be operated by an Airbus A330-300 aircraft.

BY JESSICA POOK PRINCESS Cruises is offering clients up to $250pp onboard spending credit on 15 Europebased sailings or up to a £400 flight discount on 140 Caribbean and North and Central America voyages departing in 2019. The deals runs until April 30. The onboard spending money applies to the first and second guests sharing a stateroom and is available across a variety of Mediterranean cruises in 2020 on the 3,080-guest Crown Princess. The £400pp flight discount is on offer for US-based voyages in 2019 and 2020. Destinations include Canada, New England, the Caribbean, Panama Canal, Hawaii and Mexico.

Sample voyages include a 14day Western Mediterranean and Aegean Medley voyage, sailing from Barcelona to Athens on Crown Princess and departing April 11, 2020. Prices start from £1,999pp, with a $100pp onboard credit. A 10-day Classic Canada and New England voyage, sailing from New York to Quebec on Caribbean Princess, departs September 24, 2019. Ports of call are Newport, Boston, Bar Harbour, Saint John, Halifax, Sydney, Charlottetown and Québec. Prices are from £1,672pp including flights, a one night pre-cruise hotel stay and transfers.

• TOURISM New Zealand is hosting a series of webinars to keep agents updated on new product, special interests and regional news. The next session, on Trade Resources, will be held March 27 at 10am. Agents can sign up at • ETIHAD Airways is to increase its flights from Abu Dhabi to Heathrow from three to four daily services, from April 5, 2019. • BAHRAIN will open the world’s largest underwater ‘theme park’ for divers this summer, covering over 100,000 sq metres. Island Kingdom will feature a submerged B747 aircraft among its attractions.

Sardatur Holidays eyes UK growth

Osborne and Ebel wholesaler Osborne & Ebel has a special deal for the Sheraton Full Moon Resort Maldives. Five nights start from £375pp on a full-board basis, including return speedboat transfers, for travel May 1 to September 30, 2019. The resort is a short boat transfer from Male Airport with excellent access to great diving spots, pristine beaches and great F&B options. For details contact: TRADE-FRIENDLY

INDEPENDENT Italian specialist Sardatur Holidays has pledged to ramp up its profile in the trade following its recent takeover by UVET, a large Italian tour operator group. The company, which focuses on premium resorts, hotels and villas for the family market across Italy and its islands, has taken on Lotus to manage its trade representation in the UK.

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the review: checking out

Checking out...



NATIVE BANKSIDE, LONDON, UK BY STEVE HARTRIDGE THE BACKGROUND: This 75key apartment-style property, which opened last summer, occupies a converted Victorian tea warehouse. Features include exposed brick walls and arched factory windows. THE LOCATION: In the heart of ‘Shakespeare’s London’, it is ideally located on London’s South Bank, just a 10-minute walk to the City and Monument Tube Stations. It’s about the same distance from London Bridge Station or Blackfriars Station. THE ROOM: I stayed in a premium studio, a larger room that was stylishly furnished, with a bright colour palette of vibrant blues, reds and yellows. It features a fully-equipped kitchen and other practical amenities included an iron and

THE VERDICT This was a highly comfortable and cosy stay in a building with plenty of history. The term ‘home from home’ is overused but I could imagine spending an extended stay here. Its location, on a cobblestone street, feels like a step back in time,

board, clotheshorse, hair dryer, and USB charging ports. The bathroom area was ultra-modern - all chrome, stainless steel with streamlined sinks and taps – and with a powerful shower. THE FACILITIES: There’s no restaurant but there is a complimentary common area ‘pantry’ on the first floor, with

items like pasta (in a jar), jams, fruits, popcorn, cereal, milk and coffee. Its location means there are plenty of bars and restaurants nearby. There is also a small fitness room and wi-fi is free. Address: Empire Warehouse, 1-2 Bear Garden, London SE1 9ED;   020 7313 3886

and I liked the mix of ‘historic’ London and all mod cons. Its location – makes it a great choice for those looking for an alternative to a city hotel. RATES: Rates start from £160 a night (plus VAT).

HOTEL ROANOKE – ROANOKE, VIRGINIA, USA BY STEVE HARTRIDGE THE BACKGROUND: This property dates all the way back to 1882 but after being closed for several years it reopened in 1993 and is now a Curio – A Collection by Hilton historic property with newly renovated guest rooms.

THE LOCATION: The statelylooking hotel is set in a former railroad town that is one of the main gateways to Virginia’s Blue Ridge, a mountain area with a growing range of outdoor activities like hiking, mountain biking and various watersports.

THE ROOM: I stayed in a king bed deluxe corner room. Features included complimentary wifi, a large work desk, an oversized chair with ottoman, flat-screen TV and a generous-sized bathroom. Big windows looked out over the Roanoke Valley and the Appalachains beyond. KEY FACILITIES: The Pine Room Pub, with its good selection of grub, pool room and live music was lively. It was the night before a college American football game and the local Virginia Tech team and its supportes were in town. The Regency Room is a AAA Four Diamond restaurant serving Southern-style cusiine - like peanut soup and corn-fried oysters. Address: 110 Shenandoah Avenue, NW Roanoke, Virginia, 24016, USA   +1 5409855900

THE VERDICT There’s a real sense of timelessness at this Tudor-style hotel. But although on the National Register of Historic Places it offers all the comforts of a stylishly modern hotel – and has a buzzing pub and a top-notch restauramt to boot. The staff are excellent and the complimentary car transfer from the hotel to a train station now served by an Amtrak service from Washington D.C. was very welcome. RATES: Fom $196 a night

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the review: trade show report


Reasons to be cheerful There was plenty of positive news to come out of the 37th staging of the Caribbean Travel Marketplace in Montego Bay. Steve Hartridge reports

Jamaica on the up JAMAICA had a ‘phenomenal year’ in 2018, said Donovan White, Director of Tourism for the Jamaica Tourist Board. While visitor numbers were up just 1% – to around 4.3 million arrivals – revenues from those visitors grew by almost 9%. “The rise in visitor spend shows our promotion of more experiential tourism – that is joining island tours and visiting our restaurants, cafes, villages and craft stores – is working, he said.” In Jamaica, 130,000 people are involved in tourism – one in 11 of all workers. UK and Irish visitors numbered 225,000 in 2018, down from 220,854 in 2017. The drop-off was attributed to a decline in interest from the Irish market, said Liz Fox, Regional Director UK for the Jamaica Tourist Board. “Bookings in January – which account for more than half of bookings for the entire year – were brilliant. Tour operators and airlines had their tactical offers out as early as Boxing Day and everything suggests we are going to have an excellent year,” she said.

On the comeback trail

JANUARY 29-31 2019

SHOW SHORTS S HOTEL in Montego Bay welcomed its first guests in January. The 120-room property, overlooking Doctor’s Cave Beach, is the first new non all-inclusive property to open in the town for several years. Key features include a sixth-floor infinity pool with views of the ocean and planes descending into Montego Bay airport.

INCREASED airlift, new hotels and investment in existing properties are reasons for the Caribbean’s tourism industry to be confident in 2019, delegates in Montego Bay for the Caribbean Travel Marketplace were told. “We have seen high levels of investments in upgrades of existing hotels over the past three years, and the growth in new room inventory contributes to modest increases in room rates as the region’s product continues to expand and improve,” said

Frank Comito, the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association’s (CHTA) Director General. Airlines are continuing to introduce new services, with American Airlines now flying to 30 destinations across the region and Jet Blue serving almost the same number. Almost 30 million tourists visited the Caribbean in 2018, the second-highest number of visitors to the region on record. UK arrivals remained ‘flat’ at an estimated 1.3 million.

THE future of Sandals’ Beaches Turks and Caicos Resort Villages and Spa is in doubt after the company announced a series of planned closures. The resort – at 758 rooms the largest in the country – will shut for two five-week periods: from September 3 to October 15 this year and then September 8 to October 22 in 2020. In January 2021 it will close “for an indefinite period”.

Life’s a beach at the new Skylark in Negril SKYLARK, a 28-room beachfront property, has opened on Seven Mile Beach in Negril. It features Miss Lily’s, a beach restaurant serving Caribbean fusion-style cuisine. The property has a spa – all guests are welcomed with a foot massage – and will open a swimming pool over the coming months.

THE U.S. Virgin Islands have bounced back from two severe hurricanes in 2017 “stronger and more hardened,” said the destination’s Tourism Commissioner Deignee Joe Boschute. Almost 65% of accommodations across the territory are now open and accepting guests, he said.

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Managing Director of Essential Detail



WHAT are the benefits of being a CTO member? The activities organised are a great opportunity to grow awareness for our specialist Caribbean portfolio. The industry networking and the ‘One Caribbean Family’ ethos give us a platform and a network of industry knowledge, contacts and support that is vital in this competitive industry.


WHAT CTO activities do you get involved in? We have participated in a mix of media, consumer and networking sessions as well as joining the CTO at World Travel Market on behalf of our boutique Caribbean clients.


WHAT’S your Caribbean tip? Island hopping is a must in the Caribbean! Also, never say you have a favourite island as they all have something truly special.

Look out for the improved Travel Guru agent training programme for all things Caribbean

New Caribbean training website AGENTS will soon be able to visit the new and improved SWEET TREATS FROM SANDALS Caribbean Travel Guru training website, developed in partnership with Equator Learning. Sandals Royal Barbados The website, due to launch in the coming months, will has opened the brand’s first include tools and training on how to sell the Caribbean artisanal doughnut shop. Sweet as well as news, incentives and fam trip opportunities. n’ Salty’s Gourmet Donuts & Until then, agents that make any Caribbean bookings Coffee offers cake doughnuts in throughout March could win £100 worth of Love2Shop unique flavours such as Yuzu vouchers. To win, agents need to log bookings on the Kazi, a combination of cake Caribbean Travel Guru Agents Rewards Programme at doughnut with yuzu icing, sushi The more bookings made, the rice and shredded nori. For a more chance there is of winning. local treat, the Coco Loco Meanwhile, dates for the CTO doughnut infuses coconut, jerk Caribbean Roadshow 2019 have and pineapple compote into a been announced with events in cake doughnut. The resort has rs u ribto y Cardiff, Jersey, Glasgow, also added 50 new suites The Ca a nM inner o London and more. which brings the total room Agent D bridge and m 15 in Ca Harrogate. Visit count to 272. in June 27 P email: V S R o T ack@ lauren.m rs u to b JOHN AGENTS can learn cari Legend more about will be the Barbados at the headline act at this Taste of Barbados year’s Aruba’s Roadshow series Soul Beach music this month festival. The (March). The singer-songwriter evenings will John Legend will take to the stage It’s all about Barbados this month will join up-andinclude news on coming artist Ella Mai and many other stars what the destination has to offer along with at the annual event which will run from May Bajan food, rum-inspired cocktails and live 22-27, 2019. Festival-goers will enjoy top live entertainment. There is also a holiday to music performances, comedy nights and Barbados to be won. The events take place lively beach parties. Tickets, accommodation in London, March 12; Newcastle, March 13; and event updates are available at: Leeds, March 12; Liverpool, March 14, Birmingham, March 15.


WHAT don’t readers know about Essential Detail? It is our 20th anniversary this year! Since we were established we have kept our promise to only represent small privately owned hotels full of character. We love sharing our passion with our trade partners and ensure every single detail is correct.

Luxury hotel Half Moon in Montego Bay, Jamaica, has opened its first vegan restaurant, Ital Café. Working in partnership with Dr. Aris Latham, Ital Café embraces the concept of ‘sunfried food’ by growing its own organic fruit, vegetables and herbs. Guests can expect raw vegan dishes such as Jerk Eggplant Steak, and cold-pressed beverages including Sorrel Cooler.

don’t miss Sign up to the CTO’s training programme at

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Magic Macao

With its East meets West blend of Chinese and Portuguese influences Macao makes a great stopover or bolt on to a Hong Kong stay, says Karl Cushing


Main picture: Lou Lim leoc Garden. Above: Chapel of St. Francis Xavier in Coloane

ocated 40 miles west of Hong Kong tiny Macao comprises a small peninsular jutting off mainland China and Taipa and Coloane, two former islands linked by the reclaimed Cotai Strip. A special administrative region (SAR) of China, Macao’s diminutive size means you can see the highlights on a short stay. With ferries operating from Hong Kong 24 hours a day it’s even possible as a day trip. While these days it’s often the food that grabs the headlines, Macao is best known for its casino resorts, backed by shows and fine dining. Come nightfall the Cotai Strip is aglow with glitzy lights, including The Parisian Macao, with its half-size Eiffel Tower. Other Cotai staples include Venetian Macao and MGM Cotai, which opened last February. Studio City and City of Dreams

offer everything from family attractions and shopping to fine dining, with CoD home to The Countdown Hotel, Grand Hyatt, Nüwa and its latest offering, the futuristic and design-focused Morpheus. Back on the peninsular, casino classic Grand Lisboa sports two restaurants with three Michelin stars — Robuchon au Dome and The Eight, whose Chinese charms I was fortunate to experience.

East meets West Macao’s colourful Asian and European contrasts and fusions are further evidenced in tours of the peninsular’s UNESCO World Heritage-listed Historic Centre. Highlights include A-Ma Temple, Senado Square and grabbing a selfie at the Ruins of St Paul’s, overlooked by the gardens at Macao Museum, a former fortress. The old Portuguese settlement around

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Lilau Square offers another pleasant stroll, exploring sights such as the Mandarin’s House, while galleries, coffee shops and boutique shops have breathed new life into Lazarus District, backed by photogenic Lou Lim leoc Garden (pictured above).

What’s new Transport: Late last year saw the opening of the Hong Kong-ZhuhaiMacao bridge offering road access to Macao from China and Hong Kong, backed by a fleet of shuttle buses. Macau Cruise (, officially launched in December, offers 45-minute sailings between Taipa and Coloane taking in the sights. Meanwhile Shenzhen Airlines (global. has a new thrice-weekly service from Heathrow to Shenzhen offering an alternative way of

accessing Macao and Hong Kong. Tour operators: Under Premier Holidays’ ( new trade campaign for March and April agents booking a selection of twin-centres including Macao earn up to £150 in shopping vouchers per booking. “We’re promoting it as an ideal stopover for 2019, and to highlight it as somewhere different for clients travelling to places such as New Zealand and Australia who’ve already visited Hong Kong,” says Nikki Hain, Product Manager. Wendy Wu Tours’ Product Manager for China, Reema Shah, says: “Macao continues to be a very popular extension for us, whether it’s a pre- or post-tour extension for our China tours, with bookings for 2019 up year on year.” The delayed Grand Lisboa Palace in Cotai is set to be 2019’s biggest opening, offering 2,000 rooms split between the Grand Lisboa


Palace, Palazzo Versace Macau (palazzoversace. com) and Karl Lagerfeld hotels. Phase three and four of the Galaxy Macau resort ( are underway with the addition of around 4,500 hotel rooms, while last year’s hot opening was the Zaha Hadiddesigned Morpheus, which opened at City of Dreams in June (

Top experiences Catch a show: One of the hottest tickets in town is the House of Dancing Water at City of Dreams ( with performances held in a 2,000 seat purpose-built theatre. Get the spa treatment: Ease away any lingering jetlag in

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a high-end hotel spa. Top picks include Mandarin Oriental (; The Spa at Encore (; and Banyan Tree at Galaxy Macao’s 130sqm Spa Sanctuary Suites ( Stretch your legs: Walking routes offer a great way to explore Taipa, Coloane and Macao’s Historic Centre (en. A-Ma Cultural village and Hác Sá beach are accessible from the five-mile Coloane Trail while Taipa’s waterfront track can be enjoyed using rental bikes from near Pak Tai Temple. Feel the rush: At Macau Tower ( you can take a harnessed Skywalk around the upper rim, a Tower Climb up its exterior or experience one of the world’s tallest bungy jumps. Or you could just watch the action from the rotating confines of its 360° Café.

“Plan clients’ itineraries so they’re in Macao during the week. A lot of Chinese and Hong Kong nationals visit over the weekend so rates are much higher and it’s a lot busier” Phillippa Philpot, Travel Expert, Premier Holidays

Clockwise from top left: One of Macao’s famous resident pandas; Travessa da Paixão ‘Love Lane; the bridge between Taipa and Macao’s main city

Make it eventful: Coincide a visit with an event such as Macao International Dragon Boat Races (May/June); Macao International Fireworks Display Contest (September/October); Macau Grand Prix (November); or Macao Light Festival (December). Find some family fun: Top picks include Coloane’s Giant Panda Pavilion (; Kids’ City at City of Dreams (; and Studio City, home to Warner Brothers Fun Zone; hi-tech Legend Heroes entertainment park; the Golden Reel ride and Elekron stunt show (

Tourism talk “Macao had a positive 2018, with more visitors from the UK and elsewhere as well as exciting developments like new luxury hotels, the opening of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge and the Macao Year of Gastronomy. “Our trade partners remain a key part of our plans in 2019 and we will be operating a range of promotions, events and fam trips throughout the year to support continued positive growth. “We have introduced new content to our online training programme, MacaoSpecialist. and will be developing this further to give agents even more tips to help them sell Macao as a perfect two or three-night addition to a Far East trip or stopover en route Down Under.” Lesley Wright, Sales & Marketing Director, Macao Government Tourism Office UK & Ireland

Where to book it GOLD MEDAL - 0800 014 7777 A room-only five-night break in a Deluxe Room at the five-star Sheraton Grand Macao Hotel is from £1,669pp, from September 2 -17, including flights with Lufthansa from Heathrow. WENDY WU TOURS - 0808 2748 614 A five-day Hong Kong & Macao package, priced from £620pp, includes guided day tours; four- and five-star accommodation; airport transfers; and some meals. 

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six of the best


Sydney A world-class city a and a beach lover’s paradise, Sydney’s many suburbs and bays have enough to entertain you on several visits visits. Laura Gelder picks six top-notch activities

Relax in The Rocks The birthplace of modern Sydney, this historic district of cobbled streets has transformed from a rowdy jumping-off point for convicts, sailors and street gangs into a thriving, trendy meeting point with craft markets, art galleries, boutique shops, bars and restaurants, including the city’s oldest pub.

Walk Bondi to Coogee Head south from buzzing Bondi on the 3.7 mile walk to Coogee and take in Tamarama, referred to as ‘Glamarama’, and Bronte with a grassy park for picnics. There are salt water swimming pools, the peaceful cliff-top Waverly Cemetery, many life saving clubs and the quintessentially Aussie Clovelly Bowls Club. End with a drink at the famous Coogee Bay Hotel.

Do the Bridge Climb

Go Botanical at the Gardens

Those with a head for heights should tackle this iconic adventure, which is not as extreme as it sounds. Climbers are attached at all times and tackle a few ladders before the gentle, secure walk with handrails across the curve of the Harbour Bridge. It offers spectacular views and a peaceful break from the busy streets below.

Next to the Sydney Opera House and hugging the harbour’s edge, this garden has over 28,000 plants and is a great place for a wander or a picnic with a view. There’s an app plus signage on the unique flora as well as many resident animals and birds. Optional tours include aboriginal history and insights into bush medicine.

Fish & chips at Watson’s Bay Sydney’s oldest fishing village sits at the entrance to the harbour. Before tucking into a seafood lunch with a view at the legendary Doyles, your clients can work up an appetite by climbing to the top of The Gap – a huge ocean cliff with spectacular views. You can get here by bus from Bondi or ferry from Circular Quay.

Fly to Rose Bay for lunch Travel in style, from a private seaplane base at Palm Beach, south to Sydney Harbour and complete a double orbit of the Harbour Bridge and Opera House before landing on the water in Rose Bay. Here the charming Cottage Point Inn sits surrounded by the peaceful Australian bushland and serves award-winning modern Aussie cuisine on an atmospheric deck.

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SO MUCH IS INCLUDED Return flights from UK regional airports or Eurostar from London St Pancras (supplements may apply) Spacious and beautiful appointed suites or cabins with river views All meals on board including welcome cocktails, a welcome dinner and the Captain’s dinner




Free time to explore Fascinating tours and excursions with expert guides and tour managers Financial protection A dedicated agency sales team available for support







CONTACT OUR AGENCY SALES TEAM: Call for support: 01283 744307 | Email:

CALL RESERVATIONS 7 DAYS A WEEK: Call to book: 01283 744370 | Book online: Prices are based on two people sharing and are correct at time of print. Single supplements may apply. Operated by and subject to booking conditions of Riviera Travel, ABTA V4744 ATOL 3430 protected. Subject to availability. Additional entrance cost may apply. Images used in conjunction with Riviera Travel.

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your guide to

River Cruising

Contents • 71 News • 75 French river cruising • 80 At a Glance •

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Brabant’s 2020 river cruise programme is now on sale


Fred. Olsen will be building on the success of its dedicated European river cruise ship, Brabant, with the launch of its new 2020 cruise programme. Guests can discover the beauty of the Danube, Rhine, Main and Moselle rivers on 26 tempting itineraries, with all the hallmarks of Fred. Olsen’s warm, welcoming style of cruising.

Brabant’s most ambitious programme yet!

43 14


ports of call, in 13 countries


maiden itineraries

areas of scenic cruising – including five brand new areas

10 maiden calls

What’s new?


• New for 2020, smaller, friendlier Brabant will sail through the size-restricted Moselle River into Luxembourg – a destination that’s out of reach to many larger river ships • Guests can opt to add a Tour Package, which includes five tours for £200pp, allowing them to fully immerse themselves in their European discovery • On board, your customers can enjoy insightful lectures from guest speakers – all relevant to specialist itineraries that cover fine wines, modern history, architecture and more – making their cruise even more enriching • Majority of turnarounds have been purposely scheduled for Sundays – a day in which many of the shops and attractions are closed in Germany • To celebrate the new programme, Fred. Olsen has a choice of tempting launch offers. Book before 31st May 2019 and your customers can enjoy Three Cruises for the Price of Two or their tips covered, on almost every Fred. Olsen River Cruise.


For further information call Fred. Olsen Trade Support on 01473 746164, or visit your dedicated agent website at

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the review: cruise

Cruise Update

New ship to sail Douro

CRUISE NEWS IN BRIEF EMERALD WATERWAYS will introduce Activity Managers across its European fleet in April. They will offer daily onboard classes, including yoga, pilates and aqua aerobics, and active excursions including guided bike tours, hiking and canoeing.

ANDY HARMER, CLIA UK & Ireland Director

IN September, CLIA reported that 2017 was a recordbreaking year for the UK river cruise sector, with 210,400 Brits taking a river cruise against 174,400 in 2016. And trips on European rivers were key to this growth, making up 90% of all bookings. River cruise lines are investing in building fabulous new ships featuring cabins with balconies, light and airy restaurants, al fresco bar areas, swimming pools, spas and cinemas. Travel agents are key to changing outdated perceptions of river cruising. That is why this month (March) CLIA will be travelling across the UK for its biggest-ever river cruise roadshow – named the ‘River Cruise Crusade’ – visiting six cities over a two-week period commencing March 11. Free to CLIA members, the evening roadshows will offer expert CLIA advice on trends, river cruise experiences, and sales opportunities. These sessions will be combined with the opportunity for travel agents to meet with river cruise operators. The CLIA River Cruise Crusade will visit Newcastle, Liverpool, Birmingham, Bristol, Oxford and Ipswich. CLIA travel agent members can register for a space by visiting


APT will operate its Essential European Gems cruise from Budapest to Amsterdam with a new ship, the Travelmarvel Contemporary River Ship, from April 2020. BY LINSEY MCNEILL

TAUCK is building what it claims will be the most intimate ship to sail along the Douro River (pictured) in Portugal when it launches in spring 2020. The Andorinha will accommodate a maximum of 84 guests in 42 cabins, including a dozen 300-square-foot suits on the upper Diamond Deck. The ship will have a crew of 36, including more director-level personnel than other ships, says CEO Dan Mahar. “At Tauck, we measure success by the quality of the experience we provide our guests, and one of the best ways to ensure a warm, relaxing and engaging atmosphere onboard is to avoid crowding too many guests into a limited space.”

He said other ships sailing the Douro are, on average, a similar size to the Andorinha but accommodate as many as 130 passengers. “That’s 55% more guests in the same space and you just can’t deliver the same level experience or ambience with those kinds of numbers.” Tauck will offer three Douro itineraries aboard the Andorinha; a 12-day journey that bookends a seven-night Douro cruise with two-night hotel stays in Lisbon and Madrid, an eight-day “cruiseonly” itinerary along the river, and an eight-day Tauck Bridges cruise designed specifically for families with four departures planned for late June/early July 2020.

SEABOURN has 10 new seven-day cruises to compliment its range of 10-, 11, and 12-day Alaska and British Columbia cruises. Heading north and south between Vancouver and Juneau, each seven-day trip can be combined to create a 14-day round-trip itinerary without repeating ports of call either way. UNIWORLD will launch three new ships in 2020: the Mekong Jewel in Vietnam and the Satet in Egypt in January, and the Gabriel on the Douro in March.

Avalon takes the view that suite-only is best in 2019 AVALON WATERWAYS has confirmed it will launch Avalon View, its 14th suite ship in Europe and its 17th suite ship worldwide, in 2020. This year, Avalon will operate a suite-only fleet, giving guests exclusive access to the industry’s only open-air balconies. Avalon Envision will launch in April 2019. Both new ships are 443-feet long with two Royal Suites, 65 Panorama Suites and

16,170-square foot staterooms. “On Avalon’s signature Suite Ships, we provide our guests with two full decks of 200-squarefoot, one-of-a-kind Panorama Suites,” says Janet Parton, Sales Director UK and Ireland, Avalon Waterways. The Avalon Envision will sail on the Danube River while the Avalon View will cruise the Rhine. An e-brochure is available online.

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Why choose to cruise with CroisiEurope? special offers For our full c ti range of fantas

IM067100025. © Paul Hilbert

visit our

Travel Agent website

For your clients:

For you the agent:

• Excellent value for money • Stylish well appointed cabins with panoramic windows • Superb French cuisine • All inclusive drinks • Exclusive destinations • Largest choice of itineraries across European and exotic river cruises, coastal cruises and canal barges

• Excellent commission rates • 24/7 online booking portal • Dedicated trade sales support team • UK reservations team • Fam trip opportunities • Training sessions • Generous group programme • Image and video library


Travel Agent website CroisiEurope

Best River Line Itineraries


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the review: river cruise

40 cabins up for grabs with Titan TITAN Travel is celebrating 40 years of business by hosting a UK-wide cruise competition awarding 40 agents a Titan river cruise of their choice with a plus-one. To enter the 40 Cabins for 40 Years competition agents must sell four or more Titan river cruises before the incentive’s closing date of March 31, 2019. The incentive coincides with the launch of the operator’s new River Cruise 2020 brochure, which unveils nine new sailing itineraries on its two chartered ships, MS Serenade 1 and MS Bellejour. The brochure is packed with cruises from £799pp and deposits of £95pp.

Pandaw seeks families


ASIAN specialist river cruise operator Pandaw is offering a Kids Sail Free deal on selected 2019/2020 sailings. Each sailing features daily excursions and cultural performances as well as low-key movie nights and free mountain bike hire. Many of the family-friendly cruise options also offer free travel for under-18s on selected dates which fit in with the UK’s school holiday schedule. Dave Chidley, Head of Sales at Fred.\ River Cruises (the UK General Sales Agent for Pandaw) says: “We know that UK audiences love to travel and our guests often tell us that they want to educate their children about the many

different sights and cultures that the world has to offer. Thanks to Pandaw’s family-friendly cruises it’s never been easier for families to ditch the traditional ‘all inclusive’ holiday and experience something new and exciting.” Pandaw founder Paul Strachan adds: “We’ve deliberately ensured our family-friendly cruises fit around school term times, making worldwide travel more accessible and affordable than ever before.” A sample package departing from the UK on July 17 2019 sees guests spend two nights in a hotel in Siem Reap before setting sail aboard RV Mekong Pandaw. Flightinclusive prices start from £3,149 per adult and £899 per child.


Go Cruise go gourmet TWO Michelin star celebrity chef John Burton-Race is to set sail aboard a luxury river cruise ship as guest chef aboard the Amacello for the seven-night Colours of Provence cruise. Burton-Race will partner with Go Cruise and AmaWaterways to cook for 20 guests on the cruise, which will depart from Arles on September 26 and meander up the Rhône River to Lyon, France’s self-billed gastronomic capital. Burton-Race will hold a presentation and Q&A session at the ship’s Chef’s Table restaurant about his career and passion for food. He will also hold cooking demonstrations, take the guests off ship in Avignon to shop at the local market and buy local ingredients and join the group on guided excursions to a truffle farm and an olive farm. The chef will oversee the cooking of a regional sixcourse tasting menu he has created. He said: “This is a fantastic opportunity and one I’m really excited for. I love France, and being able to return and work on the river Rhône is like dream come true!”

Scenic previews its new 2020 Europe River Cruise Collection SCENIC’S new collection of European river cruises offers new ports of call, city extensions, a new group incentive and 2020 cruises at 2019 brochure prices. The new Lower Danube Explorer cruise is an eight-day sailing linking Budapest and Serbia’s capital, Belgrade. Guests will mmerse themselves in culture as they cross the Great Hungarian Plain and see a horse show, before continuing on to Osijek in

Croatia where they will enjoy a home-cooked meal with a local family. The cruise is priced from £2,895pp, based on two sharing. The operator now offers new city extensions in Monte Carlo, Basque Country, Transylvania, Switzerland and Turkey. Agents selling group travel can now benefit from an additional £100pp discount for all group members to help sweeten sales Each Scenic river cruise is all-

inclusive and this includes return flights from up to 16 UK airports or Standard Premier Eurostar and First Class rail; return airport transfers; the Scenic Sun Lounge Butler service; Scenic Enrich and Scenic-exclusive excursions and activities; beverages; up to five dining options; expert local guides; free laundry service; local entertainment; wifi; and the use of e-bikes plus a Gym and Wellness Area.

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STAN River Cruising by Discover popular European waterways and sail through scenic destinations in true contemporary style. A-ROSA lifestyle cruises offer you intimate and relaxing holiday experiences, exploring renowned riverside cities and breathtaking landscapes. You can look forward to comfortable premium cabins, extensive sun-decks, tasty culinary delights plus cultural excursions to exciting destinations and landmarks – everything you need for an unforgettable holiday. You choose how much you want to do, and we’ll take care of the rest...


Home Connect Service*

We have three exciting new itineraries for 2019 including a ‘first’ for Shearings New Year in Paris.

Children Cruise

The superb MS A-ROSA SILVA is also NEW to Shearings with three fantastic festive itineraries on-board, setting sail this year.


Why choose A-ROSA...

As the UK’s largest escorted tour company, we are pleased to announce for 2019 we have again teamed up with renowned cruising specialists A-ROSA.

3 All inclusive board basis


On all A-ROSA Cruises∆

3 Return coach travel, with FREE Wi-Fi on board, regional flights from local airports or rail travel from St Pancras 3 Services of a Shearings Cruise Manager 3 A-la-Carte Speciality Dining* available in addition to the Gourmet Buffet Dining with LIVE Cooking Stations 3 Facilities on board include a SPA, Gym, lounge areas and extensive sun decks 3 Including excursions 3 On board entertainment

Cruise these great European waterways with us... Danube • Rhine • Moselle • Dutch & Belgian Waterways Rhone & Saone • Seine

£10 per pass enger

Love2Shop v


for every 2019 AROSA booking mad e between 1st – 31st Ma rch 2019.

To claim your vo e-mail win@sh uchers, please your Shearings with booking refere nce. Need to talk to us online? Visit and talk to us via webchat

Subject to Shearings T&C’s and availability. Holiday prices are 'From' and are per person based on 2 people sharing a standard cabin. Flights/cabin supplements may apply. *Selected postcodes. Alternatively 'Home Connect' to your local airport or railway station may be an option if the service is unavailable where you live. ∆Subject to availability, terms & conditions apply. E&OE.

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quoi Je ne sais

France’s rivers flow past vineyards, scenery immortalised by Monet and cities ranging from Paris to Lyon to Carcassone, discovers Kathryn Liston

river cruising



urnt toast? Surely not, for this intimate gourmet hotel barge cruise on the Canal du Midi has a Michelin-trained chef on board. Fortunately, chef Vivien isn’t at fault. Burnt toast is one of the answers in a fun wine quiz organised by Sandra, the sommelier, who puts our noses to the test, sniffing out the delights of truffle, lemon, and blackberry. At each meal she highlights the origins, grapes and complexities of Languedoc’s excellent wines and others from France (naturellement) that accompany each dish. It is fine dining at its best. Cocoa foie gras is served with citrus confit, blue lobster with avocado and the tenderest hay-smoked beef tenderloin comes with candied potatoes. Mornings are spent pootling along the 17th-century Canal du Midi at 2-4 km an hour, past neat vineyards, wading waterfowl, charming chateaux and ancient locks, including the steep flight of seven locks at Fonserranes. Captain Laurent navigates Anjodi through with ease. On afternoons, our guide, Fabian, takes us in search of Cathars and Crusaders at fortified Minerve, where 140 Cathar martyrs were killed, before guiding us around Carcassone, with its fairy-tale turrets. Back on board, I relax in the hot tub and await yet another gastronomic feast.

The good life Gastronomy and wine are key features of river cruising in France and took centre stage during my journey with European Waterways (, but

Left: Viking in Lyon. Above: The chateau of Sully-sur-Loire reflecting in the water

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“Clear trends in French river cruising are for more wellness amenities, varied dining options, themed itineraries (not least art) culinary and wine and a wider array of excursions” Albert Aird, River Cruise Tour Director

Clockwise from top: The lavender fields in Provence; The Old Mill in Vernon; Avalon’s Active Discovery Painting class

wellness, cookery classes, cycling and art are also on the menu to attract younger travellers. Albert Aird, River Cruise Tour Director and a CLIA UK & Ireland contributor, says: “Clear trends in French river cruising are for more wellness amenities, varied dining options, themed itineraries (not least art), culinary and wine and a wider array of excursions in a bid to draw younger and/or more active travellers.  “We also expect to see wider pre- and post-cruise extension options as more guests look to extend their destinationfocused travel experience beyond the core cruise itinerary.” John Fair, UK Sales Director, CroisiEurope, agrees. “The main drivers for our French itineraries are gastronomy, wine and culture. The French rivers are selling very strongly for 2019, particularly the Loire and the Rhone, where we’ve added a fourth ship. Our Seine and Bordeaux cruises are also proving popular while our six hotel barges that operate on the French canals have almost sold out.”

Guests are demanding more from their culinary experiences too. Ellen Bettridge, President and CEO of Uniworld, whose revamped Super Ship SS Bon Voyage has been inspired by the gastronomy of Bordeaux, says: “There was a time not so long ago, when one would never dream of bringing the chef front of house to cook with guests, but today our guests want to know where their food is sourced, about the local producers and to understand how a dish is prepared.” Andy Harmer, CLIA UK & Ireland Director, says France’s famous rivers attract cruisers who have ‘done’ the big two – the Rhine and the Danube.

French waterways The Seine: Begin and end in Paris. France’s second-longest river offers landscapes, the Palace of Versailles, Rouen, D-Day landing beaches and golf courses in Rouen and Étretat. Book with Riviera, Newmarket, Avalon, Viking, Uniworld, Amawaterways, APT and Scenic. Rhone and Saone: Joining in historic Lyon, Saône cruises travel through Burgundy’s wine-growing region to Macon and Chalon while Rhône guests sail south through Provence. Highlights include Arles painting classes, wine-tasting in Beaujolais and Burgundy, and the UNESCO World Heritage Papal Palace in Avignon. Book with Riviera, Avalon, Viking, Emerald, Uniworld, APT, Amawaterways, Shearings Holidays (A-ROSA). Garonne: The river flows through south-west France and into the Atlantic at Bordeaux, where the city’s hi-tech

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La Cite du Vin wine museum sits on the river bank. The Gironde Estuary is dotted with carrelets - traditional fishing huts on stilts with square-shaped nets which are lowered into the sea at high tide. Book with CroisiEurope, Viking, Shearings (CroisiEurope), Uniworld, APT, Amawaterways and Scenic. Loire: The longest river in France, the UNESCO listed Loire Valle has vineyards and more than 1,000 chateaux on its banks. Book with Shearings, CroisiEurope, European Waterways and Le Boat. Canal du Midi: Connecting the Atlantic with the Mediterranean, the region is famous for world-class vineyards and gastronomy, cathedrals, châteaux and medieval cities. Around €4million has been invested in the infrastructure following flooding last October. Book with European Waterways and Le Boat. Itinerary add-ons: Suggest a pre- or post-cruise barge trip for a day or half-day and package it with an overnight hotel


stay. These eco-friendly barges are popular in Picardy, Champagne and Burgundy. Suggest Paris as a pre- or post-cruise stay for customers sailing on the Seine, plus there’s Disney Land Paris if they are travelling as a family. Visit acclaimed chef Paul Bocuse’s three Michelin-starred L’Abbaye du Pont de Collonges in Lyon with APT or suggest a pre- or post trip. Tour Monet’s extraordinary house and gardens in Giverny, Normandy and walk under weeping willows to the lily pond where he created his Water Lilies series.

What’s new Ships: CroisiEurope ( has a new ship on the Rhône this year. The Rhône Princess is the line’s fourth ship to sail on the river. Cruises are all-inclusive. Uniworld’s ( newest super ship, SS Bon Voyage, will sail on the Dordogne and Garaonne rivers from spring 2019. The upgraded vessel

The quaint La Petite France, Strasbourg


In partnership with

All-Inclusive European River Cruises Late Availability Deals on Selected Spring Dates Rhine | Danube | Rhône & Saône | Seine

Your All-Inclusive

European River Cruise Collection 2019 Rhine | Danube | Rhône & Saône | Seine


For bookings & more, visit our agent portal at or call us on 0330 160 7999 Where stories begin...


*T&Cs: Valid on new bookings only. Use promo code RCBHP. For full terms & conditions see our website. Subject to availability & may be withdrawn at any time. Call us for details or see our website for further details.

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“The main drivers for our French itineraries are gastronomy, wine and culture which, as we all know, there is no shortage of in France!” John Fair, UK Sales Director, CroisiEurope

Clockwise from top: Paris in the springtime; Uniworld cruisers in Lyon; Monet’s garden at Giverny; CroisiEurope’s MS Renoir on the Seine

includes four new luxury suites, marble bathrooms a reconfigured gym and spa and a new outdoor swimming pool. European Waterways (europeanwaterways. com) is investing more than £400,000 on upgrading its hotel barges. Bedrooms have been redesigned on L’Impressionniste in Southern Burgundy and a new bar added to Enchanté on Canal du Midi. The Horizon fleet of luxury river boats is now available across Le Boat’s ( operations in France. Onboard activities: Scenic ( has introduced Scenic Culinaire, onboard cooking classes which enable guests the immerse themselves in the cuisine of the Rhône and Bordeaux region. TV chef Luke Nguyen will host a cooking class on APT’s ( Grand Bordeaux cruise, and cook in an open kitchen at an exclusive dinner at the La Terrasse Rouge in Saint-Emilion. Activities ashore: The interactive Cité du Vin ( wine museum in

Bordeaux which opened in 2016, is new to AmaWaterways’ shore excursions. Packages: Newmarket Holidays ( is working with A-ROSA this year. An eight-day all-inclusive Paris, Normandy and Seine cruise starts from £1,439pp including flights and transfers, for an April 13 departure.

Where to book it UNIWORLD – 0808 273 3908 A 22-day Ultimate France cruise aboard SS Bon Voyage starts from £8,599pp with accommodation, all meals and unlimited beverages onboard and excursions.

RIVIERA TRAVEL – 01283 245346 An eight-day Seine, Paris and Normandy cruise starts from £1,499pp and includes return flights or Eurostar and transfers, nine guided tours, full-board accommodation, and complimentary tea, coffee and Wi-Fi.

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THE FRENCH COLLECTION Luxury Cruising on the Rhône, Seine & Dordogne

River Rewards & More Earn luxury gifts for every booking you make

Your customers can experience France at its absolute finest, as Scenic’s luxury river cruises take them deep into the heart of the many beautiful regions. SAVE UP TO %



8-day Idyllic Rhône

PLUS Free Private Door-to-Door Chauffeur Transfers^

Chalon-sur-Saone > Tarascon Departing: May to September 2019

From £2,320 per person

£400 8-day Bordeaux Affair

PLUS Free Private Door-to-Door Chauffeur Transfers^

Bordeaux > Bordeaux Departing: April to September 2019

From £2,295 per person

Truly All-Inclusive Flights from a choice of up to 16 UK airports or travel via Eurostar All Inclusive dining & beverages* Luxury suite accommodation Private butler service Up to five on board dining venues Scenic Enrich once-in-a-lifetime experiences Scenic Freechoice excursions State-of-the-art Space-Ships Exclusive GPS tailor-made devices for self-guided touring All tipping, transfers and taxes

Call reservations on: 0808 115 0463 | Email: | or contact your local Sales Manager Terms and Conditions: Prices are correct at the time of going to print (February 2019). ^Private door-to-door transfers are complimentary within a 75 mile radius and are subject to availability. For guests who live outside of this 75 mile radius, an additional supplement of £2.00 per mile will be charged thereafter, UK mainland only. We reserve the right to withdraw our offers at any time. *All drinks included on board except for a small number of fine and rare wines, champagnes and spirits. See for full offer terms and conditions.

Romantic landscapes and spectacular historical landmarks are your customers’ to discover through France’s pastoral south.

Save £600

per couple

8-day The Flavours of Burgundy & Provence with International Wine Experts Marseille to Lyon Departing 27th July 2019 FROM £1,645 PER PERSON

Save upto £1,000

— Plus —

per couple

Enjoy €250 per cabin to spend on board

8-day Sensations of Lyon & Provence

■ ■

Marseille to Lyon Departing April to October 2020


■ ■

Return flights from a choice of up to 15 UK regional airports. Stylish accommodation on-board Emerald Literté. All on-board meals including a collection of highlight dinners at Reflections Restaurant. Complimentary wine, beer and soft drinks to accompany lunch and dinner. Onshore excursions and guided tours. Extra-special EmeraldPLUS and EmeraldACTIVE experiences. Complimentary Wi-Fi on-board. Complimentary bicycles on-board. All port charges, taxes and transfer costs. River Cruise Guarantee cover.

Call reservations on: 0808 115 0469 | Email: | or contact your local Sales Manager Terms and Conditions: The prices shown are correct at the time of going to print (February 2019) and are per person based on two people sharing a Category E Emerald Stateroom in low season and included advertised discounts. Supplements apply for single travellers, upgraded cabins and other departure dates. The up to £1,000 per couple saving is based on the full brochure price and the €250 on board spend is per cabin, based on two people sharing. The €250 on board spend will be deducted from the final bill upon departure. Offer valid from 1st February to 30th April 2019 for new 2020 European river cruise bookings only. Offer not valid on our speciality cruises. Savings of £600 per couple is valid on our Flavours of Burgundy & Provence with International Wine Experts itinerary departing on 27th July 2019. We reserve the right to withdraw our offers at any time. For full booking conditions visit E&OE.

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A-ROSA River Cruises

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£1729pp, 7-night Classic Danube Explorer (via Newmarket Holidays) including flights, meals and drinks.

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0800 520 2252

£2,029pp, 7-night Melodies of the Danube, incl. all meals with drinks plus excursions

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APT River Cruises

0800 012 6686

15 days European Gems from £2,095pp

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Avalon Waterways

0330 058 8237

£1,525; 8 days Tulips of Northern Holland, flying from Gatwick, including all transfers and private home pick-up

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0845 077 2222

£990pp, 2-night cruise on Road to Mandalay with transfers, meals with wine


020 8328 1281

£332pp for a 4-day short break in Paris

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Crystal River Cruises

020 7399 7604

£1,765pp, 7-night Danube cruise, Budapest to Vienna incl. all meals and drinks onboard

Emerald Waterways

0808 115 0469

£1,470pp, 8-day The Charms of Holland and Belgium river cruise incl. flights, excursions & meals on-board with drinks

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European Waterways

01753 598 555

£2,590pp, 6-night all-inclusive hotel barge cruises UK, France, Italy, Holland & Ireland

Fred.Olsen River Cruises

0800 0355 131

£999pp, 5-night Springtime Dutch Discovery cruise

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Fred.\River Cruises

0800 021 3172

£999pp, 7-nights Tulip Cruise including flights, non-UK transfers and port charges

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Great Rail Journeys & Rail Discoveries

0800 240 4470

£795, 5-day The Path of the Seine, Paris to Normandy including rail, 11 meals and drinks

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Insider Journeys

01865 268 944

£3,093, 16-day Mekong & Beyond small group journey. 7 nights’ cruise, 8 hotel)

Mekong Prestige River Cruise

0808 168 1458

£1,149pp, 8-night cruise only between Saigon and Siem Reap, full-board including drinks

Newmarket Holidays

0330 160 7999

£799pp, 5-night Paris, Normandy & the Seine at Christmas (incl. flights, meals & drinks)

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020 8396 7320

£3149pp 7-night Classic Mekong including flights, transfers and pre/post cruise accommodation.

Riviera Travel

01283 744 370 / 744 390

£699pp for the lead-in Amsterdam & Dutch Bulbfields cruise

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0800 074 8021 t

£399pp 4-nights Holland in Bloom from April 2, 2019

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Sanctuary Retreats

+44 (0)1242 546609

£714pp, 3-night cruise from Bagan to Mandalay in 2016, based on two people


0808 115 0463

£1,695pp, 8-day Gems of the Danube five-star river cruise, including flights, excursions, meals and drinks

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Shearings Holidays

From £553pp, 4-night Scenic Rhine New Year 0344 556 0888 full-board cruise with return coach travel

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Tauck River Cruises

0800 810 8020

£3,070pp, 8-day ‘Holland & Belgium in the Spring’ incl. flights & category one cabin

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0800 988 5800

£999pp, 8-day Dutch Tulips and Windmills cruise including meals, transport and VIP transfers

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The River Cruise Line

01858 438 466

£429pp, 4-day Amsterdam & Bulbfields Spectacular aboard the three-star MPS Lady Anne

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0808 168 9231

£2,089, 8 day all-inclusive Castles Along the Rhine cruise from Basel to Amsterdam

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020 8780 7985

£1545pp, 8-day Romantic Danube incl. wifi, meals with wine and beer & daily excursions

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Wendy Wu Tours

0800 902 0888

£2,690pp, 14-day fully-inclusive Majestic Yangtze tour with flights and guided touring

Chobe, Botswana

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Russian Waterways

Po, Italy

French Waterways


Dutch Waterways

Moselle, France, Lux, Germany

£1149pp, 7-night Treasures of Burgundy & Provence, including flights, non-UK transfers and port charges


Douro, Portugal

Amadeus River Cruises

0800 035 6411 amadeus-rivercruises.


Danube, Central Europe

Main Danube Canal, Germany

At a glance

Rhine, Switzerland to the Netherlands

river cruising directory Elbe, Czech Republic to Germany


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Selected cruises

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Selected Cruises

Weekly updates

Are you signed up to our weekly newsletter? Get our pick of features, news, blogs, interviews, reviews and incentives straight to your inbox

  

Upgrade onboard

Pre-paid drink packages

Selected cruises

Selected cruises

Selected cruises

Rail - local station only

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Pre-paid drink packages

Pre-paid drink packages

Selected dates

Selected cruises

Pre-paid drink packages

Selected cruises

Selected cruises

Coach/ Air/Rail

Selected cruises

Selected cruises

Selected cruises

Selected cruises

In Europe

Selected cruises

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Murray River, Australia

Mississippi, USA

Yangtze, China

Nile, Egypt

Irrawaddy/ Chindwin, Burma

Indian Waterways

Mekong, Cambodia, Laos, and/or Vietnam

Available on request

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the final word

the quirky side of travel When a break turns into a break-up

The romantic weekend away... a time to stare lovingly into each others eyes and let love blossom? Well, not according to Flight Centre. Research from the agency has revealed that 14% of couples actually break up while booking a romantic getaway, with over 60% admitting to having fought over organising a trip. It seems deciding when to travel causes the most friction, closely followed by setting the budget and then the destination itself. It also noted that 59% of women would not trust their partner to book by themselves. For the sake of relationships everywhere, Flight Centre is recommending adding a third person to the whole process – a travel agent!

Guernsey on the road

Last month the Selling Travel team visited Glasgow, Leeds and Gatwick for a Destination Dialogue on Guernsey. Agents learnt all about the Channel Island and three agents won a holiday thanks to Airways Holidays, Prestige Holidays and Premier Holidays. But will they be able to spot the elusive blonde hedgehog which roams the island? Watch this space!

An ice time all round It's just warming up in the UK but we're keeping winter in mind by listing Europe's eight coolest ice sculpture festivals 1

Snow and Ice Sculpture Festival, Bruges, Belgium


Ice Sculpture festival in Druskininkai, Lithuania


The Dutch Ice Sculpture Festival, Zwolle, the Netherlands


The Poznań International Ice Sculpture Festival, Poznań, Poland


Ditching the deposit

The International Ice Sculpture Festival, Jelgava,

Millennials are choosing to travel instead of saving for a house deposit, according to Culture Trip. The majority of millennials are choosing holidays that will help them 'grow as a person' (85%) or 'learn something new' (86%). Meanwhile, 58% are interested in attending wellness retreats, while over half confess they want others to be impressed by their trip on social media.

Latvia 6

The London Ice Sculpting Festival, London, UK


The Ice Music Festival, Geilo, Norway


Kiruna Snow Festival, Sweden

THE APRIL 2018 ISSUE OF SELLING TRAVEL WILL FEATURE: Belize • All-inclusive Holidays • Golf Holidays • Florida Luxury Australia • Maldives • Thailand twin-centres • South Pacific • Ethiopia • Walking Holidays • Qatar • Scandinavia • CONTACT US; PLUS ONLINE Daily Selling Tips • Destination Guides • Photo Galleries • Travel Uni

Final Word - March.indd 82

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Readers Offers

please visit our website.

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Oceans of Cruises

15 night Chile to San Diego 24 Mar 19 - Celebrity Eclipse®

Worldwide Savings


Centara Ceysands Resort & Spa

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InterContinental Mauritius Resort Balaclava Fort

£66 HB

Grotto Bay

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Sea Breeze Beach House

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River Cruising




San Antonio (Santiago), La Serena, Callao (Lima), Manta (Quito), Puerto Caldera (Puntarenas), Huatulco, Puerto Vallarta, Cabo San Lucas, San Diego.

14 night Transatlantic 21 Apr 19 - Oasis of the Seas®


10 night European Rhapsody 15 Jul 19 - Sirena



Port Canaveral (Orlando), 2 days at sea, San Juan, Phillipsburg, 7 days at sea, Malaga, Barcelona.


Civitavecchia (Rome), Livorno (Florence/Pisa), La Spezia (Florence/Pisa), Corsica, Portofino, Monte Carlo, Antibes, Marseille, Palma (Majorca), Valencia, Barcelona.

7 night Cruising the Rhine, Main & Moselle

19 Apr 19 - Brabrant




Dusseldorf, Cologne, Cochem, Cruise Moselle River, Koblenz (overnight), Miltenberg, Wurzburg, Bamberg, Nuremberg.


7 night Riches of the Mekong 22 Apr 19 - AmaDara


Prek Kdam, Oudong, Phnom Penh (overnight), Tan Chau, Sa Dec, Cai Be, Ho Chi Minh City.

7 night Tulips of Northern Holland 03 May 19 - Avalon Visionary



Haarlem, Enkhuizen (overnight), Kampen, Arnhem, Rotterdam (Amsterdam), Amsterdam (overnight).

Atmosphere Kanifushi Maldives


159 AI


Reduced Seaplane transfers from £169

Staff's family may travel independently.

Staff's family & friends may also travel at these rates.

Hotel prices are per person per night and based on 2 adults sharing unless otherwise stated. Cruise prices are per person and include all taxes and port charges. Offers subject to availability and maybe withdrawn without notice. Terms & conditions apply.

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Book with confidence ACCREDITEDAGENT

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Receive excellent commission on every booking that you make – even on extras such as airport lounge passes and Island Routes excursions.

To reward you for your commitment, we offer a number of booking incentives. From free nights with ‘Sell & Go’, to free luggage and exclusive events.

To help you sell more, we offer training MasterClasses and host FAM trips to the Caribbean.

Work with your local Business Development Manager to implement marketing plans that works for you and your target audience.

FOR MORE INFORMATION ON THE WORLD’S LEADING ALL-INCLUSIVE RESORTS Call Agency Sales 020 7590 0210 | Email | Visit OR TO BOOK Call 0808 164 3459 | Visit


23 Years Running


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Profile for BMI Publishing Ltd

Selling Travel March 2019  

The world in one magazine Cover Story: Flights to Southeast Asia, plus how to sell... Malta • China • Seychelles • Bulgaria • Family Holiday...

Selling Travel March 2019  

The world in one magazine Cover Story: Flights to Southeast Asia, plus how to sell... Malta • China • Seychelles • Bulgaria • Family Holiday...

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