JULY/AUGUST 2019 • sellingtravel.co.uk
TRAVEL TRADE PUBLICATION OF THE YEAR 2018
CANARY ISLANDS • THE ALGARVE & MADEIRA • BALEARIC ISLANDS • MAINLAND SPAIN
CROATIA & MONTENEGRO • GREECE • CYPRUS • TURKEY • ITALY • MALTA & GOZO
BOOK FOR ONLY
5 STAR HOTELS
*Terms and conditions apply. Please see you local travel agent for full details.
JULY/AUGUST 2019 • SELLINGTRAVEL.CO.UK
TRAVEL TRADE PUBLICATION OF THE YEAR 2018
Why a cruise offers the perfect
introduction to the countries of
how to sell...
Luxury Included ®
Sandals offers all the luxuries of a 5-star
resort with so much more, because here,
the best of everything is included. Every
land and water sport. Exclusive 5-Star
Global Gourmet dining at up to 16
restaurants per resort, and endless pours
of premium spirits and Robert Mondavi
Twin Oaks wines. Our resorts are set on
the Caribbean’s best beaches, and our
rooms & suites are some of the most
romantic in the world. These are just some
of the reasons Sandals has been voted
the World’s Leading All-Inclusive Resorts
23 years in a row, and the perfect choice
for your clients' dream honeymoon.
2 0 1 8
23 Years Running
VOTED THE WORLD’S LEADING ALL-INCLUSIVE RESORTS (22)
YEARS IN A ROW AT THE WORLD TRAVEL AWARDS
LUXURY INCLUDED ®
Sandals has the grandest
of pools, most spectacular
amenities, and sumptuously
But it’s the unrivaled 5-star
service provided by our staff
that keeps our guests coming
back time after time.
Our 5-star accommodation,
called Love Nest Butler Suites ® ,
are ranked among the finest
and most romantic in the world.
From Over-the-Water Villas to
Millionaire Suites, our guests
will enjoy luxurious amenities,
private plunge pools and
and butler service.
MASTERS OF EXCELLENCE
IN THE CULINARY ARTS
PER RESORT. ALL INCLUDED.
Guests will enjoy unlimited dining at up to
16 restaurants! From freshly rolled sushi
at Soy, to Filet Mignon steak cooked to
perfection at Butch’s Chophouse, we
serve cuisine to please even the toughest
foodie! Your clients will enjoy unlimited
premium brand drinks at up to 11 bars per
resort. From cocktails at the swim-up
pool bar to a glass of fizz on a
rooftop bar overlooking
the Caribbean sunset,
it’s all included in the
price of your clients'
LOVE IS ALL YOU NEED
TO BOOK CALL 0808 164 3459
*Mandatory caddies or carts at cost. ^Cost includes two free dives
per day for certified divers . Additional T&Cs may apply.
MORE QUALITY LAND & WATER SPORTS
THAN ANY OTHER RESORTS IN THE CARIBBEAN
From championship golf* to motorised water sports like waterskiing and scuba
diving^, only Sandals includes more quality land and water sports than any other
resorts in the Caribbean. It’s all included, all unlimited!
WE TRAVEL FURTHER TO BRING YOU MORE
08 Cruising the
Caribbean: Perfect for
32 The Mediterranean:
A people pleaser
39 Middle East: How to
switch-sell to it now
78 South Africa: Slow
down on the Blue Train
11 Profile: Namibia
30 48 hours in: Bangkok
36 My Journey: St Vincent
& the Grenadines
71 Introducing: Ethiopia
72 How to sell: New South
76 My Journey: California
13 Agent news and views
48 Show report: Rendezvous
52 Travel talk: Destination
53 City profile:Toronto
54 My Trip in: Ontario
57 Spotlight on: Alberta
61 News & show reports
84 Trends in touring
89 Touring four ways
91 Interview: Shearings
94 Fresh touring ideas
97 Take five: Off-thebeaten-track
Please note that Selling Travel, owned and
published by BMI Publishing Ltd., is not
connected in any way to Selling Travel
e-magazine published by SMP Training Co.
and based in British Columbia, Canada. The
latter online publication focuses exclusively on
sales skills and all aspects of professional
selling within the travel and tourism sectors.
To benefit from this travel industry sales
training resource visit sellingtravel.net
A Greek tragedy
TRADE PUBLICATION OF
THE YEAR – PRINT & ONLINE
Jessica Pook, Sasha Wood
& April Waterston
Andy Hoskins & Julie Baxter
DESIGN & PRODUCTION
Ross Clifford, Caitlan Francis
& Zoe Tarrant
PRODUCTION & STUDIO MANAGER
Last week, as I lay on my sunbed on the beautiful Greek
island of Kefalonia, I realised I had became a traveller
cliché in more ways than one.
First of all I was one of many, many people reading a dogeared
copy of Captain Correlli's Mandolin. Secondly, I was not
only British but also horribly sun-burnt thanks to my new
eco-friendly, but useless, sun screen. And thirdly, I'd consulted
Google on what was the loveliest beach.
Consequentially I was sharing it with hundreds of other
clichés, booming Ibiza-style beats and several thousand wasps,
buzzing amidst the packed and baking bodies - it may have
been lovely once, but not now!
I left shortly after and happened upon a smaller, quieter beach, with the same smooth
white pebbles and clear lapping water but less stinging insects and a gentler soundtrack
of Greek music wafting out of the taverna along with the smell of roasting souvlaki.
Aside from Louis de Bernier's novel, it was a travel agent who made me yearn for this
particular Greek isle, our former columnist Barbara Charlton. If only I'd spoken to her
again before I went I'd never have visited that over-hyped, over-packed beach!
If you read our current columnists' page this month (page 24) you can hear their
opinions on over-tourism and how to handle it - from recommending more off-thebeaten-track
itineraries to switching clients to travel in low season.
As well as writing her column for us, Sandy Murray ran the 22nd Yorkshire Travel Ball
this July (see page 22) and we were delighted to attend, along with 200 agents. In true
travel industry style, much fun was had but the event also raised £8,500 for charity. In
this case it was animal charities, including one dedicated to Greek cats, a cause even
closer to my heart since I Ieft three kittens behind in Kefalonia.
(PRINT) ISSN 2056-9319. ©BMI PUBLISHING LTD 2019.
SELLING TRAVEL IS PUBLISHED BY BMI PUBLISHING
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WE ARE MEMBERS OF THE CARIBBEAN TOURISM
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5143 Selling Travel 136x190.indd 1 10/07/2019 14:04
the big picture 7
back in business
We wouldn’t usually feature the same
destination twice in one year here,
but Sri Lanka has been through a lot.
The Easter terror attacks derailed
tourism but since the FCO ban was
lifted the travel trade has rallied
round to help bookings recover
quickly – with or without government
help. Visitor numbers are already
increasing, from 37,802 in May to
63,072 in June, so the comeback is
firmly on track. See p51 for details.
xxxxx cruising the caribbean
The Caribbean’s many islands present the perfect canvas for
a cruise and the chance to really appreciate its diversity by
taking in several destinations on one trip, says Jane Archer
carlos ojeda photography
I’ve just realised the plane I’ve
seen in the distance is landing
in Canouan, the little Grenadine
island we were anchored off yesterday.
Clearly we didn’t cruise very far
I’m on SeaDream Yacht Club’s
112-passenger SeaDream I, on a Caribbean
cruise with a difference. Since setting sail
from Barbados, we’ve anchored off every
island we’ve visited (Martinique, St Lucia,
Bequia, Canouan and today Union Island),
not seen any other ships and bumped into
just a handful of tourists.
It’s a perfect way to enjoy the ‘other’
Caribbean, the one away from the crowds,
where life is unhurried and simple
pleasures such as swimming, snorkelling
or reading a book fill the days. I’ve visited
a turtle sanctuary in Bequia, put the world
to rights with Rastafarian Ezra at his beach
bar in Canouan and hiked up to a fort on
St Lucia’s Pigeon Island.
On board I’ve tucked into some of
the tastiest food afloat and passed fun
evenings at the al-fresco top-of-the-yacht
bar. Because there are so few of us,
waiters and bar staff soon got to know our
names, likes and dislikes.
Whenever they see me, they veer off
and return with a glass of Champagne.
Extravagant? Not really. As with all drinks
on SeaDream, it is included in the fare, as
are tips. It pushes up the price, but makes
things super friendly – and with just 112 of
us on board, that is important.
One of the things that makes Caribbean
cruises such an easy sell for agents is
that there is a holiday for everyone. If the
small ship, getaway-from-it-all experience
does not appeal, clients have plenty more
vessels and itineraries to choose from.
Families can sail with Royal Caribbean
International on the world’s biggest cruise
ships or race go-karts on Norwegian Cruise
Line vessels; there are ultra-luxury ships
and sailing vessels, even cruises from the
UK with P&O Cruises, Saga Cruises and
Fred Olsen Cruise Lines for those who
don’t want to fly.
There are budget fares or all-inclusive
prices with Regent Seven Seas Cruises;
one or two-week voyages, port-intensive
Eastern and Western Caribbean itineraries.
Ritz-Carlton makes its cruising debut
in February with the yacht-like Azora.
It holds 298 passengers and sails from
Fort Lauderdale to Barbados, Aruba, St.
Maarten and St Lucia.
Scarlet Lady, Virgin Voyages’ first new
ship, launches in April 2020. An adults-only
vessel, it will offer five-night sailings to
Mexico and four-night short breaks to Key
West and Bimini in the Bahamas, roundtrip
Itineraries: Carnival Cruise Line has new
seven-night sailings from Port Canaveral to
Mexico, Puerto Rico and Turks and Caicos,
starting October 2020 on Mardi Gras, a
new ship launching in August next year.
From £624pp cruise-only.
Royal Caribbean’s Independence of the
Seas is sailing new five-night cruises
from Fort Lauderdale to CocoCay, the
company’s just-opened Bahamian private
island, from May to November 2020. From
Celebrity Cruises has a new sevencruising
the caribbean xxxx xxxx 9
itineraries and cruises with multiple sea
days for those who love life at sea.
The Caribbean is a perennial favourite
with British cruisers, attracting some
295,000 passengers in 2018 – 7% more
than 2017. “Thanks to the mix of fabulous
destinations and cultures, breathtaking
scenery and the opportunity to see a
different island every day, it’s a fantastic
cruise destination,” said CLIA UK and
Ireland Director Andy Harmer.
CLIA Chair Tony Roberts told the
association’s Southampton conference in
May that the cruise market is down due to
the uncertainty of Brexit.
However, Roberts, who is also Princess
Cruises’ UK & Ireland Vice-President, added
that the Caribbean remains one of his
company’s ‘fastest-growing destinations’.
“It’s always a popular cruise destination
… because of the range of itineraries
that encompass so many of the islands
as well as the guarantee of white sandy
beaches, plenty of sunshine and the warm
Silversea UK Managing Director Peter
Shanks said the Caribbean will always
do well due to its ‘unique mixture of
relaxation and culture’.
He said: “A cruise is the best way to see
the Caribbean, visiting both famous and
‘out of the way’ islands.” As an added
incentive, Silversea is offering free shore
excursions on selected cruises booked by
July 31 2019.
Shanks added: “Silversea’s smaller ships
access more of those ‘out of the way’
places and travel deeper to experience the
very best of the Caribbean.”
Ships: Norwegian Cruise Line’s new
Norwegian Encore, launching November
2019, makes its Caribbean debut this
winter with a go-kart circuit and Italian
restaurant called Onda.
Sky Princess enters service for Princess
Cruises this autumn with new features
including French restaurant La Mer and
Sky Suites. It will spend the winter sailing
xxxxx cruising the caribbean
combine cruising and a private island stay with msc
snorkelling in cozumel, the mexican caribbean
Royal Caribbean’s flowrider
Royal Caribbean in labadee, haiti
night Eastern Caribbean cruise roundtrip
from Fort Lauderdale on Celebrity Edge
that visits Puerto Rico, the British Virgin
Islands and St. Maarten. From £1,269pp
Shore excursions: MSC Cruises has
partnered with US lifestyle guru Martha
Stewart to offer celebrity-branded tours
in the Caribbean such as cooking classes,
garden visits and market trips.
Starting this winter, clients on Marella
Cruises’ seven-night Pride of Panama
voyage can take a tour from Santa Marta
in Columbia into the foothills of the
Sierra Nevada to meet and dine with the
country’s indigenous Kogi tribe.
Discover what’s cooking: Celebrity
Cruises’ five-hour chef-led tour from
Philipsburg, St. Maarten takes visitors to
fish and produce markets to pick up
ingredients for an exclusive dinner on the
ship, as well as tasting French specialities
at La Plantation Hotel. From £245pp.
Life balance: A four-hour tour from
Charlotte Amalie in St. Thomas with
Crystal Cruises includes paddle-boarding,
yoga and snorkelling in search of stingrays
in a mangrove lagoon and marine reserve.
Price not yet set.
Climbing Dunn’s River Falls: The
Jamaican icon is one of Caribbean’s
most sought-after experiences. The
boulders are slippery, the water is gushing
and you certainly get wet, wet, wet. Most
lines go there. Carnival’s six-hour tour
from Ocho Rios, pairing the falls with a
jeep safari, costs from $108pp.
Snuba at Pigeon Island: The St.
Lucia spot is a favourite for snuba
diving, a cross between snorkelling and
scuba that allows beginners to dive to 20
feet without struggling with tanks as they
follow on a raft on the surface. Oceania
Cruises’ three-hour snuba adventure costs
Where to book it
Seabourn – 0344 338 8615
For 14 nights of all-inclusive luxury the
Classic Caribbean Yacht Harbours cruise
round-trip from Barbados departs January
4, 2020. Fares from £5,298pp for cruiseonly
but including all meals, drinks and
MSC Cruises – 0203 426 3000
Tick off six islands in one trip and enjoy
two days on MSC’s new Ocean Cay private
island with the cruise line’s 14-night
Southern Caribbean cruise, round-trip
from Miami, departing January 11, 2020.
Fares are from £1,449pp, cruise-only but
including all meals.
What Namibia lacks in tourist numbers it makes up for in wow factors such as giant
sand dunes, stark salt pans, wild coastlines and bucket-list wildlife, says Debbie Ward
A photographer’s dream,
the national park here has
spectacular dunes whipped
into pleasing shapes by
the wind, some footed by
dramatically twisted and
desiccated trees. Climb the
most accessible dunes at
dawn for knockout views.
A safari in a shimmering
saltpan makes for great
game viewing. Elephant,
giraffe, springbok and zebra
are common, along with
ostriches and birds of prey,
while it’s possible to see
cheetah and leopards. It’s an
easy place to self-drive, best
visited July to October.
Amid the rugged scenery of
Southern Damarkand see
rock art thousands of years
old at Twyfelfontein. Take
a game drive to search
for the desert-adapted
elephants seen in David
Attenborough’s Planet Earth.
base Swakopmund offers
activities like sand-surfing
and paragliding. The huge
seal colony at Cape Cross is
a half-day trip away. Sleepy
neighbour Walvis Bay is the
gateway to prolific birdlife
hangout Sandwich Harbour.
BOOK IT WITH... KUONI
Kuoni’s Namibia Explorer is a 14-night small
group tour, taking in Etosha National Park,
Damaraland, Swakopmund, Soussevlei
and Windhoek. A special offer of £3,898pp
applies to the October 26 2019 departure.
The operator also offers Namibia self-drives.
It’s only as I turn to make a 360° video
at the top of ‘Big Daddy’ dune that the
height hits me. I giddily sink to the sand
to take a breather. The view is nothing
short of spectacular. In every direction
are ripples of golden and reddish
dunes, dramatic in the light and shade
In Dead Vlei, an arid valley far below me,
I know the moving dots I see are people
photographing the stark skeletons of
antique trees that were left behind when a
river changed course. This is Soussusvlei,
long on my travel wish list, and it has
managed to exceed my high expectations.
Namibia may not receive the high tourist
numbers of some of its neighbours, but it’s
not for lack of any wow factor.
Epic dune-filled Soussusvlei, within
Namib-Naukluft National Park, is just
one of the attractions. The country also
has renowned safaris on the salt pan of
Etosha National Park, while the coastline,
with its own wildlife, makes a pleasant
respite from the desert. There’s also tribal
heritage in the Damarland region.
Namibia is generally best visited May
to October. Common advice is to avoid
January, but early that month I found
temperatures manageable and just
handfuls of people at the key sights.
In fact, with a low population and less
advanced tourism, Namibia’s hotspots are
quieter than South Africa’s at any time of
year. With the Namibian dollar pegged to
its neighbour’s weak rand, it’s also a goodvalue
destination, while a time difference
of just two hours means no jetlag.
SELF DRIVE IS EASY IN NAMIBIA
A YOUNG HIMBA WOMAN
Namibia has accommodation to suit
many budgets. At the luxury end, new last
year were Omaanda, a lodge on a private
reserve near Windhoek; eight-room
Shipwreck Lodge, on the Skeleton Coast;
and its sister, Hoanib Valley Camp, with
six tented rooms, in the North West. This
year retro-themed Sonop has debuted
at Karas in the southern Namib Desert.
Access is indirect from the UK. Look out
for competitive fares via Frankfurt but
it’s an attractive twin with Cape Town.
Most fly in and out of the low-key capital,
Windhoek, but limited international
services to coastal Walvis Bay offer
an attractive open jaw option.
With low crime and just a few straight
roads traversing the country, Namibia is
an easy place to self-drive and appeals to
independent travellers.Those headed for
Soussevlei should expect rough surfaces.
Escorted tours are offered by operators
including Travel 2, Kuoni, Abercrombie &
Kent, G Adventures, Intrepid and Exodus.
Typical itineraries of two weeks or less
take in Etosha, Soussevlei, Damaraland
and the coast. Those with more time can
reach Fish River Canyon in the South -
Africa’s deepest - plus the eerie Skeleton
Coast, so named for its shipwrecks
caused by rocks and fog before GPS.
Fly direct twice daily London to Bangkok with
the combined, bigger network of THAI and Thai Smile.
Enjoy smooth as silk service levels,
all priviledges and more destinations.
INSPIRED BY YOU
The inside track on travel
Find out what
agents learnt from our
River Cruise Dialogue on
This time it's
THIS year's Selling Travel
Agents Choice Awards sees
several new categories but
it's worth giving a special
mention to the new trade
rep award. Make sure
you take the time to vote
for that helpful person
who makes your job
easier. We are giving
away an award for the
best reps working for a tour
operator, airline, cruise line, hotel and tourist office. Turn
over to find out more about this years' awards...
Save £800 with APT charter
APT is offering an £800pp saving for new
bookings on its Majestic Danube Luxury River
Cruise when booked by August 31, 2019. APT
will charter the AmaMagna on June 14, 2020
for the one-off summer departure, sailing from Romania to
with JA Resorts
October 7, 8 & 9
SELLING TRAVEL AGENTS CHOICE AWARDS EVENTS
Come and meet your Selling Travel Agents Choice Awards finalists at
our networking events in London (October 7), Leeds (October
8) and Manchester (October 5) and be in with a chance to win
some fantastic prizes. Register online at sellingtravel.co.uk
KIDS aged three to 16
years can enjoy various
Dubai Parks free when
agents book a stay at
a JA Resorts & Hotels
property before August 31.
IN THE OFFICE
Airlines & Airports
AIRLINE TO THE FAR EAST:
Cathay Pacific , Japan Airlines,
Singapore Airlines, Thai Airways,
AIRLINE TO NORTH AMERICA: Air Canada,
British Airways , Delta Air Lines, United
Airlines, Virgin Atlantic
AIRLINE TO LATIN AMERICA & THE
CARIBBEAN: Air Europa Lineas Aereas,
British Airways, LATAM Airlines, Norwegian,
AIRLINE TO THE MIDDLE EAST: Emirates,
Etihad Airways , Gulf Air, Oman Air,
AIRLINE TO INDIA & THE INDIAN OCEAN:
Air Mauritius, Air Seychelles, Emirates, Etihad
Airways, Qatar Airways
AIRLINE TO EUROPE: Air Malta,
British Airways, easyJet, Jet2, Croatia Airlines
AIRLINE TO AFRICA: Royal Air Maroc,
Ethiopian Airlines, Kenya Airways,
South African Airways, Tunisair
AIRLINE TO AUSTRALASIA & THE PACIFIC:
Air New Zealand , Fiji Airways, Korean Air,
Philippine Airlines, Qantas Airways
AIRLINE FOR BUSINESS CLASS:
All Nippon Airways (ANA), Etihad Airways,
Garuda Indonesia, Hainan Airlines,
AIRLINE FOR PREMIUM CLASS:
Air New Zealand, British Airways, China
Southern Airlines, Lufthansa, Virgin Atlantic
AIRLINE FOR ECONOMY CLASS:
El AL Israel Airlines, EVA Air, South African
Airways, Thai Airways, Turkish Airlines
OVERSEAS REGIONAL AIRLINE:
Avianca, Bangkok Airways, Fiji Airways,
Westjet Airlines, Virgin Australia
OVERSEAS AIRPORT: Amsterdam Schiphol,
DFW Airport , Dubai International Airport,
Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International
Airport, Singapore Changi
UK AIRPORT: East Midlands , Liverpool John
Lennon Airport, London City Airport, London
CITY BREAK: Abu Dhabi, Hong
Kong, Lisbon, Macao, Tel Aviv
DESTINATION FOR BEACH – LONG HAUL:
Bali, Cook Islands, Mauritius, Philippines,
DESTINATION FOR BEACH – SHORT HAUL:
Bulgaria, Cyprus, Greece, Israel, Jersey
DESTINATION FOR WILDLIFE & NATURE:
Belize, Botswana, Costa Rica, Peru,
DESTINATION FOR SOFT ADVENTURE:
Australia, Canada, Chile, Namibia,
DESTINATION FOR SPA & WELLNESS:
Dubai, India, Malta, Maldives, Thailand
DESTINATION FOR WEDDINGS &
HONEYMOONS: Barbados, Cyprus, Jamaica,
Mauritius, St. Kitts
DESTINATION FOR ECO FRIENDLY
HOLIDAYS: Australia, Costa Rica, Kenya,
FAVOURITE TRAINING EVENT/
ROADSHOW: Caribbean Tourism
Organization, The Amazing Thailand
Roadshow, Visit New South Wales, Visit
Orlando, Visit USA
TOUR OPERATOR TO AFRICA:
Africa Pride, Cosmos, Gambia
Experience, Kuoni, Somak Holidays
TOUR OPERATOR TO AUSTRALASIA & THE
FAR EAST: APT, Collette,
G Adventures, Jetset Holidays,
TOUR OPERATOR TO EUROPE & NORTH
AFRICA: Balkan Holidays, Inghams, Jet2
Holidays, Shearings, Titan Travel
TOUR OPERATOR TO INDIA & THE INDIAN
OCEAN: If Only, Explore, Osborne & Ebel,
Premier Holidays, Travelpack
TOUR OPERATOR TO LATIN AMERICA &
THE CARIBBEAN: Cox & Kings,
G Adventures, Journey Latin America, Latin
Routes, Wendy Wu Tours
TOUR OPERATOR TO THE MIDDLE EAST:
Emirates Holidays, Gold Medal, If Only,
Mercury Holidays, Travel 2
TOUR OPERATOR TO NORTH AMERICA:
Cosmos, Funway Holidays , North America
Travel Service , Premier Holidays, USAirtours
FOR LONG HAUL ESCORTED TOURS:
Cosmos, G Adventures, Riviera Travel,
Titan Travel, Wendy Wu Tours
FOR SHORT HAUL ESCORTED TOURS:
Newmarket Holidays , Riviera Travel, Scenic
Cruises & Tours, Saga Holidays, Shearings
FOR SENIOR TRAVELLERS: Fred. Olsen
Cruise Lines, Leger Holidays, Inghams,
Saga Holidays, Shearings
FOR SOLO TRAVELLERS: G Adventures,
Just You, Saga Holidays, Trafalgar Holidays,
OCEAN CRUISING – SHORT
HAUL: Cruise & Maritime
Voyages, Hurtigruten, Fred.Olsen Cruise
Lines, MSC Cruises, Saga Holidays
OCEAN CRUISING - LONG HAUL:
Cunard Line , Celebrity Cruises, Princess
Cruises, Royal Caribbean, Silversea
RIVER CRUISING - SHORT HAUL: A-ROSA,
CroisiEurope, Riviera Travel, Fred.Olsen
Cruise Lines, Newmarket Holidays
RIVER CRUISING – LONG HAUL:
Crystal Cruises, Viking Cruises, Scenic
Cruises & Tours, Titan Travel, Uniworld
Boutique River Cruise Collection
HOTEL/GROUP IN AFRICA:
Accor Hotels, Hilton, Protea
Hotels, Sun International, Taj Hotels
HOTEL/GROUP IN AUSTRALASIA & THE
FAR EAST: Dusit Hotels & Resorts,
Centara Hotels & Resorts , Hyatt Hotels &
Resorts, Meritus Hotels & Resorts,
Shangri-La Hotel & Resorts
HOTEL/GROUP IN EUROPE & NORTH
AFRICA: Hyatt Hotels & Resorts, Iberostar
Hotels & Resorts , Movenpick Hotels &
Resorts, Maritim Hotels , NH Hotel Group
HOTEL/GROUP IN NORTH AMERICA:
Fairmont Hotels and Resorts, Hyatt Hotels &
Resorts, Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants,
Marriott International, Wyndham Hotel
HOTEL/GROUP IN LATIN AMERICA & THE
CARIBBEAN: AM Resorts, Belmond, Elegant
Hotels, Iberostar Hotels & Resorts, Sandals
HOTEL/GROUP IN INDIA & THE INDIAN
OCEAN: Attitude Hotels, Beachcomber,
Fairmont Hotels, Lux Hotels, Sun Resorts
HOTEL/GROUP IN THE MIDDLE EAST:
Atlantis, Dukes Dubai, JA Jebel Ali Beach
Resort, Ritz Carlton, W Hotels
AM Resorts, Club Med , Hard Rock Hotels,
bodyholiday Saint Lucia , Sandals
Best of the Rest
TICKET PROVIDER: Attraction
World, Do Something Different,
Holiday Extras , Super Break
RAIL: Belmond, Blue Train, Eurostar,
Great Rail Journeys , Rocky Mountaineer
CAR HIRE: Avis Budget Group, Affordable
Car Hire, Alamo, Flexible Autos, Your
UK HOLIDAYS: Butlins, Hoseasons,
Shearings, Super Break, Warner Leisure
to all our awards
voted for the best
in the business, it's
time to meet
them face to face!
• Amazing prizes •
The Selling Travel Agents Choice
Awards networking parties are
back! And this year we're crossing
the country to get to you.
Join us in: London (October 7)
Leeds (October 8) and
Manchester (October 9)
and put yourself in the frame to
win a fantastic prize.
Meet with tour operators, hotels
and resorts, airlines and airports,
cruising representatives and
more, all in one fun-filled evening.
Best of all, every supplier present
is giving away at least one
prize - that's a lot of prizes!
Sign up now at:
Our prize giveaway!
There's never been an easier way to win! Vote for your
favourites in the Selling Travel Agents Choice Awards and
you could be rewarded with a stay at a new five-star
property, a food tour for two or some must-have travel
goodies. Here's what's on offer so far...
A stay at Ness Walk,
Experience luxurious Scottish living
with a one-night stay in the new fivestar
Ness Walk hotel in Inverness.
Guests will enjoy Champagne and
canapes on arrival, a fine
dining experience at
Torrish restaurant and a
A stay at Reef Villa &
Spa, Sri Lanka
Reef Villa & Spa is giving away a stay
at its peaceful retreat spread over
three acres of tropical gardens.
Guests can enjoy the private
beachfront, yoga lessons in the
grounds or herbal salt scrubs at the
Reefresh Spa. reefvilla.com
DEADLINE FOR VOTING: OCTOBER 11
Two food tour tickets
with Eating Europe
Treat your tastebuds with two
tickets for a food tour with Eating
Europe (worth around £180).
You can choose from locations
including Rome, Florence, London,
Amsterdam, Prague, Paris, Lisbon,
Naples, and Strasbourg.
Travel essentials from
Win a Vivid Sydney iPad case,
featuring an image of the festival
of light which takes place in Sydney
from the end of May to mid-June
each year. Plus, style it out on holiday
with a lightweight Sydney-themed
beach towel - the ultimate Aussie
Who stands out
from the crowd?
NEW FOR 2019:
best TRADE REP
This new category in the 2019
Selling Travel Agents Choice Awards
will recognise the very important
role of trade reps. We want you to
nominate those people that support
you most and go the extra mile to
help you sell more travel.
You can nominate just one of
your favourite trade reps or a
different rep in each of the sub
categories which recognise those
representing airlines, cruise lines,
hotels & resorts, tour operators
and tourist offices
WHAT: Selling Travel River
WHERE: London & Manchester
WHEN: July 9 & July 10
WHY: River cruising is a
fast-growing sector, so we
brought together top operators
– A-ROSA, CrosiEurope, Fred.
Olsen, Leger Holidays, Pandaw,
Sanctuary Retreats, Scenic,
Shearings and Titan – to talk
about their products and give
away some fantastic prizes.
“CLIENTS MAY FEEL
SAFER AS THEY CAN
ALWAYS SEE LAND,
WHICH CAN BE
Did you know?
Shearings offers door-to-door
service on its river cruises
CroisiEurope is the only operator
to cruise the Loire Valley in France
vessel makes for great soft
adventure river cruising”
Children under 15 travel free on all
A-ROSA river cruises and most
offer free kids’ clubs
Fred.Olsen offers FAMS and
agent concessions as well as online
offers 15-50% agent
discounts on cruises, and, where
possible, the chance for agents to
experience the product
Scenic’s Space Ship fleet features
electronic beds and Vitality Pools,
also every passenger has a butler
Don't miss our next event coming near you. Visit sellingtravel.co.uk/events
How to sell...
“Learn your rivers so that you can
cater to your client. For example,
Douro cruises are very scenic and
rural whereas Rhine cruises stop at
“Sell it like a city break where you
get to see multiple cities but only
have to unpack once”
“It’s a completely different market
to ocean cruising. River cruisers
go for the range of excursions and
destinations rather than the cruise
“You can experience developing
countries such as Burma but still
have the luxury and comfort of
your cabin throughout”
is a huge
focus for Titan
because of the
expansion in the
“RIVER CRUISING IS
VERY SIMILAR TO
ESCORTED TOURING. IF
YOU HAVE TOURING
CUSTOMERS YOU HAVE
Follow us on instagram @sellingtravel and twitter @sellingtravmag
offers a full
refund and a
free cruise if
food & wine
were not very
selling a river
cruise BEFORE the
had sold a river
cruise in the last
said that Selling
Travel River Cruise
them to better sell
have seen AN
INCREASE in river
The most popular
FRED OLSEN CRUISE LINES
A-ROSA’s E-Motion ship, due for
delivery in spring 2021, features
large family cabins, a kids’ club and
a separate kids’ pool. New battery
propulsion technology enables
emission-free sailing in and out of cities,
and air bubble technology reduces fuel
CroisiEurope offers all-inclusive drinks
onboard all European cruises. The
operator is expanding its worldwide
river cruise programme in 2020 to
include more exotic itineraries such as
the Ganges in India and the Chobe in
Africa. Clients can also cruise on a canal
As most of its passengers are from the
UK, Fred. Olsen prides itself on offering
a home away from home feel. The
operator is looking to add Luxembourg
on the Moselle to its portfolio and
is setting up Global Distribution
System for the Amazon and the Nile.
Leger works alongside Silver Service
and Luxuria coaches to offer local
pick-ups for clients who don’t want to
fly. New itineraries include Andalucia
& Guadalquivir, a Danube to Black Sea
Cruise, the Douro on CroisiEurope’s
new ships and the Rhine & Moselle.
Pandaw has launched a new 14-cabin
K-class ship to sail the rivers in
Myanmar. The operator is also offering
free travel for under 18s on selected
dates during the UK school holidays
with activities to suit all ages including
movie nights and free mountain bike
Excursions are included on sailings to
Egypt, China and Myanmar as well as
Egyptology guides, an onboard doctor
and private docks in Luxor and Aswan.
The Sanctuary Nile Adventurer will join
the refurbished Sanctuary Sunboat IV for
regular four-night Aswan-Luxor sailings
in September. sanctuaryretreats.com
For 2019 all Rhine, Main and Danube
vessels now include Salt Therapy
Lounges. Each of the Royal Owner’s
Suites has also been renovated,
including baths with a river view. New
for 2020 is an 11-day South of France
itinerary and an eight-day Lower
Danube Explorer tour. scenic.co.uk
Shearings offers three-, four- and
five-star river cruises. Most itineraries
also include air, rail or road transport
and porterage all the way on the luxury
coach option. The operator has taken
larger allocations on A-ROSA vessels
and now offers a five-star option on
Amadeus vessels. shearings.com
Titan offers a VIP door-to-door return
travel service on all river cruise
bookings. The operator also charters
two of its ships: Serenade 1 along the
Rhine and the Bellejour along the
Danube. Its Uniworld ships cruise in
Europe, North Africa, Russia and the
Far East. titantravel.co.uk
BEEN THERE, DONE THAT
Training, events and fam trips
Northern agents have
animal welfare in mind
Over 200 agents attended the
annual Yorkshire Travel Ball in
July, which raises money for
animal charities across the
globe. The event, which has
been organised for the last 22
years by Selling Travel columnist
Sandy Murray, gives agents the
chance to network and catch up
with operators and win some
This year the ball raised money
for Born Free, Elephant and
Dog sanctuary in India, Soi Dog
Foundation, Hull Greyhound
Dogs, Donkey Sanctuary and
the Greek Cat Rescue.
rocks in Ibiza
A group of 50 top-performing agents
were rewarded with a three-night trip
to Ibiza as part of Carnival Cruise Line
UK’s Loyalty Rocks Club.
The agents stayed at the Ibiza Rocks
Hotel where they enjoyed exclusive
access to a DJ Jax Jones pool party, a
sunset cruise around the island and
dinner and after-show party at Pikes
Hotel. Surprise guest Dr Alex George
from Love Island 2018 was on hand
to present agents with their awards.
Agents head down under
Malaysia Airlines hosted a group of 11 agents
from STA, ITC, Hays and Austravel on a trip to
discover Australia’s Natural Coast, thanks to
Tourism Events Queensland, Visit Sunshine
Coast and Fraser Coast Tourism and Events.
After landing in Brisbane, the agents enjoyed
scuba diving, everglades tours (the region
has one of only two everglades systems in
the world) and a trip to the Noosa National
Park before taking a ferry to Fraser Island to
enjoy its seventy-five mile beach, unique lakes
and huge sand dunes. Agents finished the
adventure-packed trip in Hervey Bay.
for Abu Dhabi
The Department of Culture
and Tourism – Abu Dhabi
hosted 178 travel agents
across Chester, Manchester
and London in what was its
biggest roadshow yet.
Agents heard from 17 Abu
Dhabi suppliers and were
presented with the latest
news, including information
about the new Qasr Al
Watan, a palace offering
an interactive journey
through the emirate's
Arabic heritage, and more
Etihad Airways’ airlift from
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 email@example.com
Meet... MAGGIE O'NEIL
Executive Travel Consultant at CJL Travel
and an Azure Ambassador
Travel Training for Success debuts
Homeworkers and independant agents heard from six
trade partners including LJR Consultancy, Small Luxury
Hotels, Azure Collection and Sunrise Marketing at the
latest Travel Training for Success event in London. Agents
attending the event organised by Jenny Jackson, a Classic
Travel homeworker, included Not Just Travel, The Freedom
Travel Group, Independent Travel Experts, Hays Travel and
Explorer Travel. firstname.lastname@example.org
Agents enjoy Premier trip to Jersey
Premier Holidays took 18 agents on a mega-fam to Jersey
for two nights, with activities including visits to the Jersey
War Tunnels and Jersey Zoo, wine tasting at La Mare Wine
Estate and a tour of some of the island’s hot spots such as
Gorey, St Ouen’s Bay and Corbiere Lighthouse.
BEACH BAR BLISS AT SALT PLAGE
I'm so busy enjoying the cool breeze of the sea air that the
jetty ahead seems to come out of nowhere! As we dock at Salt
Plage, overlooking Whitehouse Bay, the first word that comes
to mind is 'chic'. Barefoot sophistication is the theme and
this is reflected in the stylish hammocks suspended over the
water. It's already a highlight on our fam trip to St. Kitts and
it's not long before there's talk of sinking into one of the plush
daybeds to enjoy the ocean view.
We're welcomed with music and dancers in colourful
costumes, their warm smiles infectious, and it's easy to see
how this chilled daytime oasis transforms into the go-to party
place once the sun goes down. Full moon parties and DJs are
popular among the locals
and a signature cocktail,
the SALT Plage Jumbie
– a concoction of spiced
rum with fresh pineapple,
oranges, cherries and
grated nutmeg – also
helps to get you in the
mood for a dance.
The adults don't get to have all the fun
though, children are welcomed and eagerly come to spot fish
swimming in the crystal clear waters from the jetty.
There's also a menu serving island favourites such as plantain
chips, fish tacos and lobster wraps to keep their hunger at bay.
To say the least, I'm impressed by this trendy yet laid-back
bar, but nothing could prepare me for what was still to come.
Salt Plage is often described as the best spot to watch the
sunset on the island and I watch in awe as wisps of pink and
orange start to fade beyond the darkening horizon. I can't help
Get cash incentives for your bookings at
With a cruise
in Venice and
to climb the
Everest, we ask:
out of control
and what can
Anneka in off-thebeaten-track
...and her Welsh
We should be
OVERTOURISM is a growing problem,
personified by that photo of climbers
queuing on Everest. As an agency, we send
travellers all over the world daily, and it does
trouble me that we add to the problem.
The question is, how do we ensure the
world is kept open for all to explore, whilst
also protecting the people, wildlife, flora
and fauna that exist in all these popular
destinations? It could be an idea to limit the
number of visitors to national parks, for
example, or enact special laws like those that
restrict visitor numbers to the Galapagos
Islands. But does this then make visiting such
destinations an elitist experience, just for
those that can afford it?
I do believe that agents can certainly play
a role in easing overcrowding in tourism
destinations by switch-selling to a different
one and encouraging people to explore more
A lot of my repeat Canada customers are
keen to explore further afield away from
British Columbia or Alberta and ask me to
arrange more varied itineraries that include
Saskatchewan, Atlantic Canada or, my
favourite, Yukon Territory.
Talking of Canada, I really enjoyed
CanadaFest last month, a day of training,
food, comedy and music with a festival
theme. I’ve also been invited on a fam trip to
the Maldives, and have just booked a break
in Wales – not as glamorous as the Indian
Ocean, but just a little ‘off the beaten track’,
so I’m doing my small bit for overtourism!
A RECENT article in a U.S. Travel Journal listed
the Galapagos, Majorca, Amsterdam, Angkor
Wat, Machu Picchu, Santorini, Iceland, Bali,
Barcelona, Venice and Mount Everest as the
destinations most affected by overtourism
- to which I would personally add Dubrovnik,
Boracay and Rudesheim!
As a cruise agent, I know the impact that
large cruise ships can have when two or three
visit a destination at once - both on the place
visited and for the passengers who see the
place in a crowded, unfavourable light. As
a river cruise specialist, I am aware that the
recent explosion of river cruise numbers is
now leading to claims of 'too many ships' in
some mooring locations.
Several operators have looked to vary
We must look
who are being
sailing dates, find alternative moorings and
are now exploring lesser-known towns and
villages. For example, AmaWaterways now
focuses on Vilshofen rather than Passau or
Nuremberg as the starting point of many of
its Danube sailings. We must look to steer
clients to operators who are being creative
about schedules to avoid overtourism.
My early May cycling weekend in Lake
Bled was a good example of going out of
season to somewhere that can suffer from
excess tourists in high season. Lake Bled was
deserted as the weather was too bad for any
boating, and we cycled up empty mountain
roads, well wrapped up against the snow!
THE FAMILY BUSINESS
Southern Cross Travel,
THE CRUISE SPECIALIST
Go Cruise, Cruise specialist,
would not go to
I ALWAYS try to steer my clients away
from the large resorts as there is nothing
worse than an early morning 'stampede' for
sunbeds or crammed beaches.
When my clients go on holiday, it is to
enjoy some quality family time, relax and
experience some local culture, therefore my
philosophy has always been to never send
anyone to a resort, hotel or destination I
would not go to myself.
Outside the large hotels you can find
wonderful family-run guest houses and local
restaurants waiting to welcome tourists
with open arms. And nothing beats the
atmosphere of a Greek taverna with fresh
wholesome food, and knowing you are
helping their business to thrive.
Meanwhile, I've been busy with my
latest venture, Travel Training for Success,
a training day for homeworkers and
independent agents. These educational days
are a great opportunity for agents to get
together and hear from key trade partners
about what they have to offer.
At the event each partner has time to talk
about their product portfolio, answer any
questions and engage with the group.
It's all about learning something new in this
constantly evolving industry.
So far we have welcomed agents from
Not Just Travel, The Freedom Travel Group,
Independent Travel Experts, Mid Counties
Travel Group, Hays Travel Group and
Explorer Travel, and I am currently working
on some great venues outside of London.
THE LUXURY SPECIALIST
Luxury Travel Guru
OVERTOURISM has such a negative impact
on the travel industry, yet it goes on day
after day without much thought to the effect
on the locals and the animals that are often
associated with popular tourist attractions.
For example, the treatment of the poor
donkeys on Santorini has got even worse. In
summer up to five cruise ships a day bring
1,200 tourists to the island. These tourists
pay to ride the donkeys and as a result they
are being crippled, with locals resorting to
cross-breeding to produce mules so they can
carry heavier tourists!
However, there are signs that authorities
are beginning to fight back. Popular Thai
beach Maya Bay, which was made famous
by the film The Beach, has been closed until
2020 to allow the eco-system time to recover.
There have been protests against cruise ships
docking in Venice after a recent collision and
now even the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island
in New York are limiting some tours.
The Taj Mahal has also increased prices and
set time limits. I would recommend looking
at lowseasontraveller.com, a great tool for
those who enjoy travelling out of season.
Aside from a holiday in Crete, I've spent
much of the last few months organising the
annual Yorkshire Travel Ball, which again
has attracted over 200 attendees. This year
proceeds go towards helping the donkeys
mentioned above as well as the Greek Cat
Welfare Society, Soi Dog Foundation and
Wildlife SOS for Elephants & Dogs.
And my thought of the month: 'One thing
you can give and still keep is your word’.
We should be
THE HOME WORKER
Sandy's Travel Escapes
Jenny at herTravel
Training for Success
Sunset in Crete
Sandy with the owner
of her favourite place
in Crete, Anfield Bar
Next month our
and how to keep
0800 619 0900
please visit our website.
For up to date arrivals sign /
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FREE child places & FREE spa treatment offer
Limited time offers,
11 night Madeira, Spain & Portugal £635
27 Aug 19 - Braemar
Southampton, La Coruna, Vigo,
Funchal (Madeira - overnight), Lisbon, Southampton.
7 night Seward (Anchorage) - Vancouver
29 Aug 19 - Silver Muse
Seward (Anchorage), Cruise Hubbard Glacier, Juneau,
Skagway, Sitka, Cruise Inside Passage, Vancouver.
All-Inclusive Lifestyle: All-Inclusive ultra-luxury suite accommodation,
butler service in every suite, all beverages, gratuities, port charges,
taxes and more.
7 night Caribbean Cruise
28 Sep 19 - MSC Seaside
Miami, San Juan (overnight), Charlotte Amalie (St.Thomas),
Philipsburg, Nassau, Miami.
7 night Captivating Rhine
12 Aug 19 - AmaKristina
Basel, Breisach, Strasbourg, Ludwigshafen, Rhine Gorge,
Cologne, Amsterdam (overnight).
9 night Grand Splendours of the Rhine
13 Oct 19 - MS Serenade I
Cologne, Bonn, Alken, Cochem (overnight),
Boppard (overnight), Rudesheim, Mannheim, Heidelberg &
Speyer, Strasbourg, Mainz, Andernach (overnight), Cologne.
8 night Christmas time on the Danube
25 Nov 19 - Avalon Passion
Prague (overnight), Nuremberg (overnight),
Regensburg, Passau, Melk, Vienna (overnight).
Le Méridien Al Aqah
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Hotel prices are per person per night and based on 2 adults sharing unless otherwise stated. Cruise prices
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Tobago Tourism Fam Trip
Taken with Tobago
BY SANDY MURRAY, HOMEWORKER
It really is amazing the opportunities
we get as travel agents. One minute I'm
at an event talking to Tobago Tourism
Sales and Marketing Manager, Stephen
Smith (who it turned out had hosted
me on a Cayman Islands trip 16 years
ago!), the next I'm at Manchester Airport
about to embark on the most amazing
trip to Tobago – an island which
claims to be unspoilt.
Putting my watch back
four hours to the local
time, I settled into my
flight with Thomas
Cook, dreaming of
sandy beaches and palm
trees. I wasn't disappointed
when I arrived at Le
Grand Courlan Spa, which
overlooks Stonehaven Bay, an
uncommercial beach that attracts
turtles for six months from March to August.
Excited to make the most of this
Caribbean adventure, I was surprised to
hear that we would be attending Sunday
School at 21.30 that evening – but I soon
learnt this was no ordinary Sunday service!
Instead of hymns and a stuffy church I
turned up at a vibrant street party, complete
with a steel drum band, rum punches and
no religious element whatsoever. My kind of
The next day we visited historical sites Fort
Bennett and Fort James before attempting
to decipher the Mystery Tombstone of Betty
James, which reads: ' She was a mother
without knowing it, and a wife without letting
her husband know it except by her kind
indulgence to him'. Curious!
Our next stop proved perfect
for bird watchers: the Adventure
Nature Park is home to a huge
number of hummingbirds that flock
around feeders – perfect for that
Hungry for some traditional Tobago
food, we headed to the Blue Crab
restaurant, run by long-term couple Kenneth
and Alison Sardinha. Not only were we
served a delicious meal, but by chance we
also managed to look in on the couple whilst
they filmed with celebrity chef
As an animal welfare
ambassador, I was keen to
visit Corbin Local Wildlife Park the
next day. Having checked into Mt
Irvine Bay Resort, another lovely hotel
set in 154 acres and overlooking the sea, we
explored this park which rescues and breeds
endangered local wildlife. I was thrilled
to learn about the ‘breed and release’
programme and we even saw an ocelot cat
that had been rescued.
The trip ended with a boat tour of Buccoo
Reef with its turquoise Nylon Pool and, of
course, time spent at Pigeon Point, which is
often considered Tobago's most beautiful
beach and great for people watching.
I left already wanting to return.
Tobago really is unspoilt, untouched
Clockwise from top left: A hummingbird at the Adventure Nature Park;
Tobago sunset; Sandy (centre) with Kenneth and Alison Sardinha at the
Blue Crab restaurant; Pigeon Point Heritage Centre,; an ocelot at the Corbin
Local Wildlife Park.
Selling Travel listens
This month #agentstalk about...
Get social with us: SellingTravel SellingTravelmag @sellingtravmag
"I LOVE IT! Las Vegas is clearly
an all-occasions destination."
Travel Agent rants & raves
This month Jenny Jackson asked: "New divorce packages to Las Vegas from Virgin
Holidays...Tacky or genius?
Founder of Luxury
"When a customer
shows you a hotel
they've found in Ibiza
and it's actually San
"Get drunk, meet a girl and
do it all over again, like Ross
Geller from Friends."
“But does it include Prosecco
by the gallon for the ladies?"
"I'm not sure how many people
want to 'celebrate' a divorce,
but I guess any excuse to
head to the entertainment
capital of the world!"
"Personally I made this the
last stop of my honeymoon,
so Vegas really is an all
"TACKY, TACKY, TACKY!"
"I know a really good divorce
counsellor if anyone is
interested, which is probably
better than this"
"Nobody takes marriage
seriously anymore! My
grandparents have been
married 60 years and my
parents 25 years! People used
to work through problems,
little argument seems to end
in a divorce!"
"Vegas sees it all, weddings,
stag and hen parties,
honeymoons, so why not add
divorce to the list?"
"If you can't go and forget
about your problems in
Vegas then seriously, where
“I had a client
the hash browns
were the wrong
"A woman asked if there was
another way to get to Florida
as she is too scared to fly. She
called Flight Centre though..."
"My client asked if
they could take haggis
in their hand luggage
8nts, Sri Lanka Tour &
5nts, SAii Lagoon Maldives, Curio Collection by Hilton
0208 585 4020
Highlights: Kandy • Nuwara Eliya • Udawalawa • Beruwala • Maldives
Travel: 1 Sep 19 - 30 Sep 19
Package includes flights, accommodation & transfers.
IN THE OFFICE
with Ushma Valerio - Not Just Travel
Consultant becomes travel's radio star
Not Just Travel consultant Ushma
Valerio proved live on air that luxury
'Instagrammable' travel doesn't mean
breaking the bank.
"I overheard two Kiss FM presenters talking
about a prize draw to win £40,000 and how
they would spend the entire sum of money
on an overwater villa in the Maldives. I
knew that was an outrageous amount of
money to pay and found myself calling
the station and quoting £4,700 for the trip
- meaning the pair could go eight times
for the same money! I think an important
part of our job is to educate people and
reassure them that their dream holiday
is achievable, so it was a really good way
to open up that conversation, even if they
were slightly taken aback."
Is sharing caring?
"There's this misconception that luxury
travel is reserved for those
with a lot of money or for
influencers to post on
their social media, but
of luxury is
of luxury is changing.
Clients will often
be open to adding
a touch of luxury
even to a standard
city break. For example,
perhaps they like the idea of
adding a VIP lounge, a seat upgrade or even
a private transfer. That’s what elevates the
holiday to make it seamless and luxurious.
"Instagram has been a game changer
in travel and hugely influences where
people go. Consumers will often see a
destination or hotel on social media and
want to stay there purely on that one post.
It’s up to us as travel specialists to
accommodate those requests
and deliver these
"It’s no longer good
enough to just offer a nice
all-inclusive; customers are
demanding an exact location
and asking what else they get
included in the price. There’s
a culture of trying to outdo your
friends nowadays and experience
something that is very different to day-today
life. It's great because it gives people
a desire to travel, but it also demonstrates
why it's so important to meet with suppliers
regularly and stay up-to-date with new
product and the latest openings."
Feeling the love
"Bali has been a big seller in 2019; people
are realising they don't have to compromise
their standards because they're in a
different country. I'm also seeing more
demand for multi- generation holidays – it's
great to be able to help families reconnect.
"I love the time just before a client is due
to go on holiday. It doesn't matter if I've
invested four months on the most amazing
safari booking or spent a few hours on a
city break, It's just as exciting. I want to hear
all about the trip and see all the photos
when they get back. It’s so important to me
to give that personal, friendly service.”
MATT WILSON PHOTOGRAPHY
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48 hours in
Thailand’s capital is a large, bustling city that is as cultural as it is colourful and
as trendy as it is traditional. From shopping to spas and Buddhas to bars,
boredom is not an option, says Jo Gardner
TAKE IN THE VIEWS FROM THE THREE SIXTY ROOF TOP BAR
THE GRAND PALACE
EXPLORE LIFE ON THE RIVER
SAVOUR THE STREET FOOD FLAVOURS
Day 1: Get your bearings
Morning: Start with a bird’s eye
view of the city to get your
bearings. Many of the city’s
high-rise hotels offer incredible views but if
your clients aren’t up In the clouds, tell
them to head to Spectrum for a coffee, a
three-level bar atop the new Hyatt Regency
Sukhumvit Hotel (hyatt.com).
Taxi to MSW Pier and from here hop
on a canal boat and cruise along the
Chao Phraya river to Phan Pia. You’ll
pass locals going about their daily life on
the riverbank, temples gleaming in the
sunlight, and boats selling local food all
along the way.
Afternoon: From Phan Pia Pier,
walk up to Wat sa Ket (Golden
Mount) and admire the striking
white and gold temple that was built in
1350-1767AD. The gardens set around the
temple feature mature trees and typical
Bhuddist structures such as the main
chapel, ordination hall and library.
Back at the bottom, hail a tuk-tuk and
whiz across to Chinatown for lunch. This
area of Bangkok is packed with food
outlets, shops selling gold, hotels, bars
and market stalls. Shun the restaurants
and order some street food – the dim sum
and noodle dishes are local favourites
and particularly delicious (they are also as
cheap as chips).
Evening: For the best cut of steak in
the city, head to The Rib Room in the
Landmark Hotel (landmarkbangkok.
com) and watch your steak being cooked
on a large flame in an open kitchen. Then
choose your sauce: blue cheese, garlic,
mustard or Dijon.
For a nightcap, get a tuk-tuk to Ironballs
(ironballsparlour.com), a tiny gin bar with
live music that wouldn’t be out of place
in Soho. Try the elderflower and pink
peppercorn speciality after a distillery tour.
Day 2: Get set and shop
Morning: Use the cool of the
morning to be outside. Dating
back to the 1920s, Lumpini Park
offers plenty of forestry shade as well as
pretty flora and fauna in a whopping
500,000 metres of space. People come
here to jog, row or paddleboat on the lake,
picnic, play basketball, practice Tai Chi,
work the open-air gym, and listen to live
jazz performed here on Sundays.
Afternoon: Escape the midday
heat and blow the baht in the
air-conditioned comfort of a
48 hours in 31
gleaming mall. Head to Siam Paragon
(siamparagon.co.th), for example, to buy
fashion, high-end gadgets, homeware and
even sports cars in modern luxury; or
CentralWorld (centralworld.co.th) boasts
100 restaurants, a 15-screen cinema and
an ice-skating rink; while MBK (mbk-center.
co.th) is famous for affordable and fake; or
EmQuartier offers labels galore.
Evening: Head to Cultural Centre
MRT station and from here walk
to the Rot Fai Market. It's split
into long avenues with antiques, secondhand
toys and curios in the central strips;
clothes, handbags and snack stalls around
the periphery. For dinner, hunt out Leng
Zapp where Leng, a traditional clear soup
made from pork bones and dressed with
chillies, herbs and spices, is a speciality.
End how you started at a rooftop bar –
Vertigo (on the 66th floor of the Banyan
Tree Bangkok), Octave Rooftop bar (on
the 45th floor of Bangkok Marriott Hotel
Sukhumvit) or Three Sixty (on the 32nd
floor of the Millennium Hilton Bangkok).
ADMIRE THE MIGHTY CHAO PHRAYA RIVER
SHOP THE MANY MALLS
“Use the cool of the morning
to be outside. Lumpini Park
offers plenty of shade as
well as pretty flora and
fauna in a whopping
500,000 metres of space”
BOOK IT... WITH PREMIER HOLIDAYS
Combine two nights in the Rembrandt Hotel,
Bangkok (superior room) with eight nights
in Hua Hin from £999pp, including a Bangkok
by Night tour and Bangkok City and Temple
tour, plus flights from London with Eva Air and
transfers, departing October.
out of the
The Mediterranean is an enduring British
favourite but there’s nothing tired or old
about its current offering, says
the caves of comino island, malta
feel as if I’m at home as I stroll
through the charming cobbled
streets of Valletta in the afternoon
sunshine. Around me are familiar red
postboxes, well-known high street shops
and cars driving on the left.
Although Malta has been independent for
more than 50 years, the British influence is
part of its enduring appeal. After browsing
through a market selling inexpensive handmade
lace, knitwear and honey, I head to
Upper Barrakka Gardens, the highest point
in the Maltese capital, with panoramic views
across Grand Harbour. Right on 16.00 local
history society members dressed in British
artillery uniforms fire a gun salute. It’s a
stirring sight and a throwback to the days
when cannons protected the island against
attacks and signalled the time of day.
Next morning I take a 25-minute ferry
ride to small, neighbouring Gozo, where life
ticks by at a leisurely pace. Sea salt has been
produced here for centuries and the salt
pans glisten in the sun at Marsalforn.
Afterwards I enjoy an al fresco lunch at
Ta’Mena Estate in the countryside.
Overlooking an orange grove, I tuck into
platters of local cheese, salads bursting with
flavour and oven-fresh rosemary-scented
bread with wine from the estate. It provides
a real taste of these beautiful islands, less
than three hours from London.
the mediterranean 33
dramatic Puglia, italy
In 2018 the number of UK tourists visiting
Malta reached 640,570, up 14.2% from
2017. This strong performance is likely
to continue, with Air Malta offering an
increased 16 flights a week from London
Heathrow, as well as from Manchester,
Birmingham, Southend and Bristol.
Peter Vella, Director UK & Ireland, Malta
Tourism Authority, said: “Last year was a
busy year as Valletta was the European
Capital of Culture and the island hosted
the first European TropOut [gay traveller]
Festival as well as the annual calendar of
festivals and events. Boasting 300 days of
sun a year, the archipelago has a wealth of
history, culture and stunning landscapes,
which makes Malta appealing.”
Elsewhere, Exsus Travel reports that
Turkey is back on the radar with a rise in
bookings. “As a result, we have revamped
our Turkey product,” said Neil Sutton,
Senior Account Manager for Europe. “We
recommend the Six Senses Kaplankaya and
Amanruya on the Bodrum Peninsula for
their location and impressive facilities. And
in Spain, the new Menorca Experimental, a
pretty finca set in pine forests with private
villas with pools, opens this summer. These
villas are perfect for a weekend break or
Classic Collection has seen an increase
in two- or multi-centre holidays, elegant
rail journeys and rail and ferry transfers
between resorts. Gary Boyer, Head of
Purchasing, added: “The Mediterranean
is ideal for combining a cultural stay in
a city with a few relaxing days in the sun
by the sea or in
com) is a short stroll away from the coffee
houses, bars and restaurants of Gran Via
and within walking distance of attractions
including the Marques de Don Aguas Palace
and market. The hotel has a direct Metro
link to the airport, providing short and
easy transfers on a
“The Mediterranean is
Agents can enjoy the
extra commission ideal for combining a Palma, is 15 minutes
from these highervalue
cultural stay in a city with a from the airport and
few relaxing days in the
sun by the sea or in the
also good for short
breaks. The new
value they bring to
the holiday booking
Palacio Can Marques
Gary Boyer, Classic Collection
com) has 13 designer
The weekend break
From cultural city breaks to a few days on
the beach, and the majority of flight times
suites with Murano lighting. Built in 1760, it
was previously a grand private home and
retains many original features.
less than three hours, the Mediterranean is
perfect for weekend breaks.
Malaga’s landmark Gran Hotel Miramar
Sell it: Kirker Holidays offers a three-night weekend
break in Malaga at the Grand Hotel Miramar from
launched new two-day Indulge + Detox
packages combining relaxation, pampering
and healthy menus. Treatments include
a Dead Sea salt scrub, seaweed wrap and
choice of massages.
Staying in Spain, NH Hotel Group recently
opened a 47-room property in Valencia. The
NH Collection Valencia Colon (nh-hotels.
The relaxing couples holiday
Sales opportunities abound with a raft of
new openings. In Cyprus adult-only Amavi
Hotel (amavihotel.com), offering couples
side-by-side massages, cocktails by the pool
and romantic meals, is the first member
of Made For Two Hotels, a brand
Spanish flamenco in action
launched by Kanika Hotels & Resorts.
Pierre & Vacances (pierreetvacances.com)
has opened the self-catering P&V Premium
Residence Menorca Binibeca. Some of the
149 rooms have private rooftops and there
is a free spa area. In Corfu, MarBella Hotels
has unveiled the MarBella Nido Suite Hotel
& Villas property (marbellanido.gr) featuring
70 suites and villas. And on the north-east
coast of Sardinia the new Gabbiano Azzurro
Suites is being offered by Just Sardinia
Simpson Travel (simpsontravel.com)
has introduced Katouna Suites, a stylish,
adult-only retreat on Lefkada with
accommodation cut into the hillside.
Sell it: Travel2 offers seven nights in Paphos at the
Amavi Hotel from £1,089. travel2.com
The fun family holiday
Mark Warner (markwarner.co.uk) has
opened the Paleros Beach Resort on the
Greek mainland. A multi-million pound
refurbishment of an existing property brings
130 contemporary doubles, suites and
family rooms set in beachside gardens to an
unspoilt stretch of coastline.
New activities for youngsters include
exciting robotics workshops with 3D printing
at MarBella Corfu (marbella.gr). And at
Crete’s Elounda Peninsula All Suite Hotel
(eloundapeninsula.com) there are children’s
yoga classes and Greek dancing lessons. At
the Kempinski Hotel Bahia (kempinski.com)
they can take Andalusian cookery classes.
Just Sardinia (justsardinia.com) has
introduced S’Incantu Resort on the southeast
coast, offering studio, one- and
two-bedroom self-catering apartments
with a pool, snack bar and mini club; while
Simpson Travel (simpsontravel.com) has a
new nanny service in Corfu.
Portugal’s Algarve won the award for
Europe’s Leading Beach Destination at the
2019 World Travel Awards for a recordbreaking
sixth time. Its calmer beaches are
perfect for small children, whilst older kids
can enjoy watersports.
Sell it: Just Sardina offers seven nights near
Villasimius at the S’Incantu Resort from £898 for up
to four sharing. justsardina.co.uk
A touring adventure
Matera in Basilicata is European Capital
of Culture 2019 and Red Savannah
(redsavannah.com) has a new self-drive tour
through this little-known southern Italian
region. Taking in neighbouring Puglia, the
week-long itinerary includes B&B hotel
accommodation, car hire, entrance fees to
attractions and a cookery class.
As Italy celebrates a year of ‘Slow
Tourism’ in 2019, Planetrail (planetrail.
co.uk) offers the new week-long Flavours
of Tuscany itinerary combining rail travel
to the Tuscan coast with a self-drive tour
including wine and cheese tastings. Its other
Mediterranean tours include a 10-night railand
fly-holiday visiting Madrid, Malaga and
G Adventures (gadventures.co.uk) has a
new 10-day crewed voyage from Venice
to Zadar inspired by an ancient trading
route, on a yacht sleeping up to eight.
Unforgettable Croatia (unforgettablecroatia.
co.uk), which recently launched a new
eco-friendly initiative with the Blue
World Institute of Marine Research and
Conservation, offers seven-night sailings
and 10-night cruise-and-stay packages in
Sell it: Inntravel offers a six-night self-guided
walking tour on Andros, Greece, from £635pp.
St. Vincent & the
At Dark View
From islands designed for billionaires to movie star cays surrounded by turtles,
Kathryn Liston hops between St. Vincent and a few of the Grenadines
’m face-to-face with a huge hawksbill turtle,
its shell and cream belly so close to my mask
I can almost count its markings. It turns and
glides to join two others feeding on tufts of sea
grass, but as I turn for the shore a huge stingray
emerges, flapping its gigantic wings.
I am snorkelling in the protected Baradal Turtle
Sanctuary of the Tobago Cays, a cluster of five tiny,
uninhabited cays, so remote that the desert scene
of Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the
Black Pearl was filmed on nearby
My island hopping
adventure starts in St.
Vincent as we drive
north along the Leeward
coast, the narrowing
road clinging tightly to
the cliff edge. Lush forests
and prettily painted houses in
pastel pinks, blues and greens
tumble down the mountainside onto
black-sand beaches and looking-glass seas.
We must inch our jelly-like legs across the long
swinging bamboo bridge over the Richmond River
to reach Dark View Falls, a magnificent waterfall
cascading 110 ft down acliff face.
The ice-cold water is a welcome relief from the
intense heat but, unbeknowst to us, there’s more
to come. We follow ranger Maxwell Robertson’s
magnificent head of dreds up a flight of
57 steep steps, clambering over slippery
boulders, jagged rocks and fast-running
rivulets until we reach a second waterfall
– a 229-foot thundering beauty directly
above the first.
Sadly, we don’t have time for the fourhour
hike to the crater of the active
Soufriere Saint Vincent volcano - a
The turquoise sea
glows brighter and the
powder sands whiter
rite of passage for island boys, which Maxwell did
when he was 10 - but enroute to our hotel we enjoy
views from Fort Charlotte.
At private Young Island we find 29 secluded
cottages, sparsely laid out and surrounded by the
deafening din of tree frogs. Mine comes with a
plunge pool, hammock and gorgeous sea views
thanks to the 160 steep steps I have to climb to
reach it. Thankfully, this works off the delicious
homemade coconut bread I devour.
A rum time
It’s rum for breakfast! The
sweet aroma of molasses
greets our arrival at St
Vincent Distillers, which
was a sugar factory in the
1920s and now offers tours
and tastings of its five rums.
For lunch, we feast on
finger-licking jerk chicken in
Kingstown, the capital, before taking
the 45-minute ferry to Bequia, one of 32 islands
(only nine inhabited) in The Grenadines.
Pretty Port Elizabeth exudes a laid-back
Caribbean vibe. Yachts bob gently in the harbour
and bright wooden shacks lining the waterfront
sell ‘fresh coconut - natural viagra’, rum
punch, books and colourful rattan baskets. We
are whisked in an open-sided 4WD to the Bequia
Beach Hotel, where owner Bengt Mortstedt has
dotted retro posters and quirky lamps promoting
‘Island Time’ and ‘Parrot Party’ around the
sumptuous colonial lounge and bedrooms.
We visit the recently-opened Boat Museum to
learn about the island’s whaling heritage and
on our way to lunch at Coco’s Place, we stop at
British-built Fort Hamilton for views of Admiralty
Bay, before devouring jumbo shrimp and conch.
An exhilarating 10-minute flight in a six-seater
aircraft takes us to Mustique and the only hotel on
the island, the colonial-style Cotton House, which
boasts opulent villas owned (or rented out) by the
rich and famous, including Mick Jagger.
At a cocktail party that evening, Executive Chef
my journey 37
Empty beaches and swaying
Adam Steer uncovers the pig he has buried and
cooked in the sand for several hours - it’s delicious.
Beautiful bird song is my alarm call for a morning
swim. Their beauty palls somewhat when one of
them steals my melon at breakfast.
My next hop, Canuoan, is nicknamed ‘the
Caribbean island where the billionaires go to escape
the millionnaires’. No expense has been spared on
the exclusive 1,200-acre Canuoan Estate - even
the 17th-century church was brought over from
England. Opulence also exudes from the all-suite
Mandarin Oriental Hotel overlooking gorgeous
Godahl Beach, where I control the curtains, TV and
air-conditioning from an iPad (from $1,400 a night).
There are also 13 luxury rental villas, an 18-hole golf
course and, nearby, the new Sandy Lane Marina.
Raising the fl ag
Our catamaran cruise through the Grenadines to
Petit St. Vincent the following morning is a highlight.
As we near the private island, the turquoise sea
glows brighter and the powder sands whiter - it’s
Matt, the general manager, whisks us around the
hilly, wooded island in a open-top buggy, including
in his tour his pride and joy, a 6,000 bottle wine
cellar with vintages costing up to $1,500 a bottle.
It’s easy to relax here. There are no keys or wifi in
the 22 beautiful and secluded cottages. You don’t
even have to leave for meals - just raise a yellow flag
outside for complimentary room service.
I enjoy a superb Balinese massage with fragrant
lemongrass in the tree-top spa and a West Indies
beer tasting, including unusual coffee and chocolate
varieties, precedes an excellent dinner of freshlycaught
scallops and snapper.
Will Palm Island, my final stop, live up to this?
Here I find barefoot chic: soft powder sands,
swaying palms and turquoise seas are a hop from
my day bed. There are hammocks, spa treatments
using home-grown frangipani, a pool, gym, yoga
and boat trips.
Just like Robinson Crusoe, I feel like I have this
island all to myself - apart from the resident iguanas
that is, who I’m happy to share my paradise with. •
WHERE TO BOOK IT
Lusso Travel has a seven-nights-for theprice-of
fi ve offer at Petit St. Vincent,
saving £1,305 and starting from £4,780pp,
based on two people sharing a one-bedroom
cottage, full-board and including boat
transfers, fl ights with Virgin Atlantic and
fl ights to Union Island. It’s valid for stays
from November 1 to December 19 2019
and 2020 and in April and May 2020 and
RARE, INDIGENOUS, CAPTIVATING
Experience the alluring, golden desert landscape, the captivating silence of nature, the free-roaming
wildlife in the reserve, all enjoyed from your private suite and pool. Indulge in a luxurious desert
adventure with camel treks, horseback riding, falconry, archery, dune drives and more.
HOTELS THAT DEFINE THE DESTINATION
FOR RESERVATIONS, PLEASE CALL 971 4 832 9900
OR VISIT THELUXURYCOLLECTION.COM/ALMAHA
middle east 39
Adam Coulter looks at how agents can switch-sell to
the Middle East for everything from a beach holiday to
scuba diving to a food and culture-focused city break
Everybody told me: “Oh you must
dive the Red Sea, why haven’t
you dived the Red Sea yet?” Hand
on heart, I had no idea. My travels had
taken me to the Caribbean, Mexico,
Thailand and the Canary Islands, but
never the Red Sea.
I had the idea of experiencing this scuba
hotspot from Jeddah, Saudi Arabia - a new
country for me. My thinking was the coral
and the sea life around those popular
parts of the Red Sea - Aqaba, Sharm and El
Gouna – might be ‘over-dived’, so why not
try out somewhere where dive tourism is
still in its infancy?
I was not disappointed. As well as crystalclear
waters, the spots we dived, Table
Mountain and Chicken Wreck, had an
abundance of marine life – squirrel fish,
grouper, wrasse, jacks, trevellies, pufferfish
and a blue-spotted ray; as well as big
growth corals – fan and brain – all good
signs of the health of these waters.
The only thing missing was large marine
life, specifically sharks, and for that one
spot kept coming up, again and again –
the Musandam Peninsula in Oman. This
rugged region, sliced in half by Ras al
Khaimah, and jutting into the Strait of
Hormuz, is the main thoroughfare for
marine life going into and out of the Gulf
of Oman to the Persian Gulf. I resolved: My
next dive trip would be Oman.
Iain Raeper, If Only’s (now former)
Commercial & Product Manager for the
Middle East region, said: “The Gulf has
performed fantastically well as an overall
destination for If Only since the beginning
“Specific ‘heroes’ have been Abu Dhabi
and Ras Al Khaimah, where room night
production up to June 2019 exceeded the
whole of 2018. Increased flight capacity
to the region from the UK and Ireland, as
well as supportive partnership campaigns
with tourist boards have helped contribute
towards this growth.
“Dubai remains a popular destination,
and will continue to grow into 2020 thanks
to the eagerly anticipated World Expo.
PEARLING IN RAS AL KHAIMAH
OMAN’S RUGGED MUSANDAM REGION
A FOUR WHEEL DRIVE TOUR - PERFECT FOR THRILL SEEKERS
CABANA DINNER, RAS AL KHAIMAH
SHEIKH ZAYED GRAND MOSQUE, ABU DHABI
A TRADITIONAL ARAB DHOW BOAT
FALCONRY IS ABU DHABI’S NATIONAL SPORT
“Ajman is fast becoming the choice
of sun worshippers who don’t want to be
too far away from the action of Dubai,
whilst Fujairah offers some of the most
spectacular beaches in the UAE.”
Latest figures from the Ras Al Khaimah
Tourism Authority reveal that visitor
numbers are up by 10% in 2018 compared
to 2017. The emirate welcomed one million
visitors in 2018.
Ras al Khaimah sees the opening of the
Bear Grylls Survival Academy in Q1 2020,
on Jebel Jais, which is already home to the
world’s longest zip-line.
Qatar National Tourism Council and
Qatar Airways have launched a summer
in Qatar partnership, with savings of up
to 25% on flights to Doha for travel up to
August 16 2019 (qatarairways.com), and
25% off participating hotels’ daily rates
The 233-room Anantara Resort from
luxury hospitality group Minor Hotels is
due to open in a prime beachfront location
in Sharjah next year.
Grand Prix, which takes place over four
days from November 28.
You’ll have to persuade your client to
change their travel dates (bringing forward
their May dates to November), and take a
mid-haul flight (seven hours as opposed to
an hour-and-a-half to Nice), but apart from
that there are many similarities – a rich city
state governed by an absolute monarchy,
on the coast, with lovely weather and a
wide selection of top-end hotels.
Shearings (shearingsagent.com) has
a four-night holiday at the Park Rotana
Hotel in Abu Dhabi, on a B&B basis, return
transfers in resort, a three-day South
Grandstand ticket to the Grand Prix,
pit lane walk entry, access to the afterrace
concerts, a one-day pass to Ferrari
World plus an Etihad Race Pack. Based
on two sharing and departing the UK on
November 27, prices start at £1,972pp,
including return flights.
Alternative option: You could also suggest the
Bahrain Grand Prix, which takes place in April.
The client asks for F1 in Monaco…
…You suggest F1 in Abu
The Formula 1 Grand Prix takes place in
Abu Dhabi at the end of November, and
marks the end of the season. This year will
be the 10th year Abu Dhabi has hosted the
The client asks for a long weekend city
break with a focus on arts and dining
…You suggest Muscat
The capital of Oman offers a culturally-rich
mix of history, heritage and culture, which
is celebrated and preserved. A Muscat city
middle east 41
DESERT TRACKS IN OMAN
MIDDLE EAST FEAST IN AJMAN
tour would include a visit to the Grand
Mosque, the markets and souk in Muttrah
and the Sultan’s Palace, which is flanked
by the Portuguese forts Jalali and Mirani,
before finishing with a visit to the Bait Al
Zubair Museum for a look back in time at
Oman’s past. Oman’s cuisine is also topnotch,
whether fine hotel-based dining or
more humble street food.
Gold Medal (goldmedal.co.uk) has three
nights at the five-star Al Bandar at Shangri
La Barr Al Jissah, staying in a deluxe room
on a B&B basis, including return economy
flights with Oman Air from Heathrow and
the Muscat City Tour. Prices start from
£906pp, up to September 30.
Alternative Option: The tiny, oil- and gas-rich
nation of Qatar is gradually increasing its cultural
offerings, including various art galleries and the
National Museum of Qatar.
The client asks for an action-packed
beach holiday in the Mediterranean…
... You suggest Ras Al
Ras al Khaimah, or RAK, is fast-becoming
the adventure capital of the Gulf. The Jebel
Jais Flight zipline is 1.76 miles long and
takes adrenaline junkies on a three-minute
ride over spectacular rocky terrain.
RAK is the northernmost emirate and
the nearest to Oman. If your client wants
an idea of how Dubai was 30 years ago
suggest here. It has the desert and beach
but without the high-rises and traffic. It
also has a burgeoning luxury hotel scene,
with a focus on eco-resorts. Next year sees
the opening of The Anantara Resort in
Mina Al Arab. An eco-sanctuary, It will have
300 rooms, suites and over-water villas in
sthe style of a property in the Maldives.
An InterContinental is also due to open
in Mina al Arab, followed by eight more
hotels in 2021.
If Only (ifonly.net) has five nights at the
five-star deluxe Waldorf Astoria Ras Al
Khaimah, in a Classic Room, including
complimentary half-board and return
flights with Emirates from £939pp.
Alternative Option: Neighbouring Oman is even
less developed, especially in the rugged Musandam
Peninsula, and is world famous for its spectacular
The client asks for a luxury break in
the Caribbean with lots of activities
for the kids…
…You suggest Dubai
Compared to the Caribbean, Dubai
involves a shorter flight and often more
competitive deals for flights and hotels.
Sheryl Makin, Director of the Luxury
Travel Boutique, was asked to find a beach
holiday for a family with musts including
“The Gulf has performed
fantastically well as an
overall destination since
the beginning of 2019”
Iain Raeper, If Only
a warm climate, a golf destination, some
interest for foodies and lots of activities
for young adults. She says: “They were
thinking Caribbean but I quoted four hotels
in Dubai and they liked the new Mandarin
Oriental best. This option is perfect for
them as they have a huge choice of golf
courses and packages which I can pre-book
for them. They are also keen on racing
so I’m looking in to a day at Meyden race
course for them.
“There are endless suggestions for
activities and days out for the adult sons,
from a snow dome to water parks and
dune buggy excursions.”
Lusso Travel (lussotravel.com) is offering
six nights at the Mandarin Oriental Dubai
for four people, half-board with transfers,
and return economy flights with Emirates
for £3,415pp, departing in December 2019.
Alternative option: Ajman is also worth
considering for a fly-and-flop holiday with hotelbased
activities. It’s easily accessible from Dubai,
just a 40-minute drive along the coast, but still
Visit USA News
THIS MONTH'S TOP STORIES FROM VISIT USA MEMBERS • VISITUSA.ORG.UK
tours with 2020
England - 400th
31. Guests will
step aboard the
Mayflower II, a
the tall ship.
Prices start from
only) for the
Visit USA plans UK road trip
The popular annual Visit USA Roadshow will be making stops in three
UK cities this autumn. The events – in Glasgow (October 1), Leeds
(October 2) and London (October 3) – will include a speed-networking
format designed to maximise the networking opportunities.
Over 30 Visit USA exhibitors and agents will exchange information
and discuss business opportunities.
But the Roadshow is not all about improving USA product knowledge:
food and drink will be provided and goody bags and a holiday to the
USA will be up for grabs at each location.
Prizes include United Airlines flights to New York, a seven-night
Cruise America RV Rental and a stay at the Moxy NYC Times Square
(Glasgow); Virgin Atlantic flights to Las Vegas, staying at Planet
Hollywood Las Vegas Resort and Casino (Leeds); and Delta Air Lines
flights to Boston, staying at the Moxy Boston Downtown (London).
Agents can register for the roadshows at: visitusaroadshow.com
Park, located a short drive
from downtown Pittsburgh, opened
The Steel Curtain roller-coaster this
summer. The ride sets a North
American record for the most
inversions (nine) and a world record
for the tallest inversion.
Mammoth on a high
Mammoth Lakes, California,
has opened the steepest zipline
experience in the U.S. The
Mammoth Mega Zip sees riders hitting
speeds of up to 60mph as they drop
2,100ft in either a seated or ‘Supermanstyle’
harness. There are two parallel
cables, which means riders can race
down the high wire side by side during
the one-mile acceleration to the
resort’s Adventure Centre.
Delta's seat pitch
Delta will launch its new
Business Class seat and its
new international Premium Economy
cabin, Premium Select, on UK routes
in November. They will feature on the
Heathrow to Atlanta route from
November 13, Heathrow to New York
JFK, November 17, and Heathrow to
Boston, November 21. delta.com
BLOG With iconic sites in every state,
great food representing just about every
country in the world, world-class theme
parks, waterparks, wildlife refuges and
even an interactive national museum
devoted to the history of toys (in New
York State), there's no better choice for a
family holiday than the USA.
More Blog content at visitusa.org.uk/Blog
Look out for our Visit USA (UK) online Travel Update for the pick of members' news
IN CELEBRATION OF ITS THRIVING ARTS SCENE,
FORT LAUDERDALE UNVEILED THE FIRST
VISIT LAUDERDALE X LONDON ART SWAP THIS
SUMMER. IT FEATURES UK STREET ARTISTS
THE GRAFFITI KINGS, WHO VISITED FORT
LAUDERDALE AND THEN CREATED A MURAL
FOR A UK AUDIENCE sunny.org
VIEW OF U.S.
Check out these
Visit USA UK
• Maverick Aviation
Canyon & Las Vegas
• Papillon Grand
• Skydive the Grand
Visitors love pull of Virginia
Half a century after the ‘Virginia is For Lovers’ slogan was first created, it
remains one of the best-known of tourism slogans.
So said Rita McClenny, President & CEO at Virginia Tourism Corporation,
during a recent visit to London for trade and media appointments.
“Our For Lovers slogan is all-encompassing and has meant a lot of
different things to a lot of different people over the years.
"It also means a love of our mountains, a love of our beaches, a love of
our wineries…and so much more,” added McClenny.
To celebrate this milestone anniversary, cities and counties across
Virginia are joining in the fun in their own special ways.
For example, located along Virginia’s Heritage Music Trail, The Crooked
Road, Floyd County, will celebrate 50 Years of Love with 50 days of
special events, promotions and products. The celebration kicks off on
July 27 at FloydFest and closes on September 14 at the County Fair.
CHIEF MARKETING OFFICER
DISCOVER PUERTO RICO
When did Discover Puerto
Rico join Visit USA?
We were a member in the
past but rejoined in July.
What did you join?
We need to increase brand
awareness amongst the UK
travel trade and ensure key
trade contacts are aware
that Discover Puerto Rico
has representation in the
UK. Other benefits include
joining the Visit USA
Roadshow and being
included in the Visit USA
Travel Planner, read by both
the trade and consumers.
How well do you think the
trade know Puerto Rico?
Having conducted a trade
forum at our offices in July,
it's apparent that Puerto
Rico is a destination which
is not well known amongst
the UK trade. Education is a
key initial step in our
upcoming trade activity. We
will be conducting various
training, webinars and
hosting product managers
on a FAM trip to experience
Puerto Rico first-hand.
Sum up Puerto Rico for us
There's a rich history and
culture which has emerged
from a mix of Taíno,
Spanish and African
traditions. Also, exceptional
food, pristine beaches, a
tropical rainforest and a
vibrant music scene.
Subscribe to the Visit USA (UK) online Travel Update at visitusa.org.uk
Develop your USA experience
REGISTER NOW TO ATTEND • VISITUSAROADSHOW.COM
Win one of
trips to the
NEW YORK, BOSTON
OR LAS VEGAS
• United Airlines
to NEW YORK
• 7 nights Cruise
America RV Rental
• Stay at the Moxy
NYC Times Sqaure
• Virgin Atlantic
to LAS VEGAS
• Stay at the Planet
Vegas Resort &
• Delta Air Lines
• Stay at the Moxy
THE VISIT USA 2019 ROADSHOW will
take place in Glasgow, Leeds and London
during the early evening of October 1, 2
and 3 respectively. The popular events
have been designed to maximise the
networking opportunities for both agents
and exhibitors. All three Roadshows are
being held in selected premium hotels where
Tuesday October 1
RADISSON BLU GLASGOW
Wednesday October 2
LEEDS MARRIOTT HOTEL
30 Visit USA exhibitors and agents can
exchange information and discuss business
development opportunities. Food and drink
will be provided. The format will include
speed networking - which will see agents
visiting all exhibitors – goody bags and a
holiday to the USA will be up for grabs at
each location (see left for prize details).
Early evening, from 6pm onwards
Thursday October 3
CANARY RIVERSIDE PLAZA HOTEL
AMTRAK VACATIONS • BRADLEY INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT, CONNECTICUT • BRAND USA UK & IRELAND • BROADWAY INBOUND •
CAESARS ENTERTAINMENT • COLORADO TOURISM OFFICE • CRUISE AMERICA RV RENTALS • EXPERIENCE KISSIMMEE • EXPERIENCE SCOTTSDALE •
FLORIDA KEYS & KEY WEST • GREATER MIAMI CONVENTION & VISITORS BUREAU • HANDLERY HOTELS • KENNEDY SPACE CENTRE VISITOR COMPLEX •
MASSACHUSETTS OFFICE OF TRAVEL & TOURISM • MAVERICK AVIATION GROUP, GRAND CANYON & LAS VEGAS • NEW ORLEANS & COMPANY AND
LOUISIANA OFFICE OF TOURISM • NEW SYMRNA BEACH AREA VISITORS BUREAU • PAPILLON GRAND CANYON HELICOPTERS •
SANTA MONICA TRAVEL AND TOURISM • TENNESSEE TOURISM • THE BEACHES OF FORT MYERS & SANIBEL • TRAVEL PORTLAND •
TRAVEL TEXAS • UNITED AIRLINES • UNIVERSAL PARKS & RESORTS • VIRGIN ATLANTIC/DELTA AIR LINES • VISIT HOUSTON •
VISIT NORTH CAROLINA • VISIT SEATTLE • VISIT WEST HOLLYWOOD
Attend one of the Roadshows by visiting
spotlight on 45
In conversation with... Thomas Grundner, Vice
President Sales & Marketing, JA Resorts and Hotels
QTell us about the JA brand
A: With a 38-year history as a
homegrown hospitality brand, we’ve now
announced major expansion plans. Our
company vision is to be recognised as
the leading provider of unique getaway
experiences in remarkable
locations around the Indian
Ocean and key global
across eight distinct
a coral reef to
QCan you sum
up the ethos of JA
Resorts & Hotels?
A: Do the work you love
and love the work you do. Our
management style is ‘the JA Way’, which
encourages associates to embrace
individuality and work with positivity–
because they truly love what they do.
It helps us stand out and be fluid as we
QWhat are your USPs?
A: The variety of unique experiences
we offer, the relaxed JA Way service
and our locations. JA Hatta Fort Hotel is
Dubai’s only mountain resort; we have two
luxurious private islands in the Seychelles
and Maldives, and two prime Dubai
locations in Jumeirah Beach Residence and
Dubai’s largest experiential resort,
JA The Resort.
QHow do you help
A: We recently
launched an online
training course for
UK travel agents
to highlight our
product. We have
strong UK sales
through Gill Shannon
and Louisa Smith,
ensuring the trade is
educated on the portfolio.
Fam trips are hosted throughout the
year and we offer verified agent discounts
on jaresorts.com using the code JATRAV.
QWhat is JA’s policy on sustainability?
A: It’s very important. We are
removing all plastic bottles, replacing them
with our own bottling plants and glassware
and rolling out a food wastage programme
which will reduce our waste drastically.
QWhat are the latest developments
agents need to know?
A: JA The Resort is Dubai’s largest
experience resort, and by September
2019 JA Beach Hotel will be completely
renovated and the new JA Lake View Hotel
will open. These additions make it a world
class, all-encompassing resort with one
million square metres of land and private
beach, a 104-berth marina and a nine-hole
golf course. There are over 40 activities like
water sports, fishing, seaplanes, tennis and
shooting, plus 25 restaurants and bars.
QWhat does the future hold for JA and
do you plan to expand anywhere else?
A: We are expanding into China in a joint
venture and are launching five or six very
upscale hotels, as well as 30-plus upper
midscale lifestyle hotels called ‘Big Bed by
JA’. We will also open two luxury lodges in
Tanzania and are exploring a 500-room
property in Sri Lanka.
YOUR GUIDE TO
TOURISM PEI/PAUL BAGLOLE
CONTENTS • 48 Rendez-vous trade show news • 52 Travel talk: Maureen Riley,
Destination Canada • 53 City profile: Toronto • 54 My trip in... Ontario
• 57 Alberta • 58/60 In the Gallery: Travel Counsellors and Prestige Holidays
TORONTO, CANADA, MAY 28-31
Canada is all heart
Steve Hartridge reports from Canada’s annual tourism marketplace
UK numbers fall
but leisure visitors
Overall UK visitor arrivals in
Canada in 2018 were down
by 3.3% – but the number of
leisure travellers reached a
five-year peak of 292,000.
While Brexit concerns
weighed on consumer
confidence and acted as a
drag on long-haul outbound
travels for business trips
and trips to visit friends and
kept travelling to Canada.
Demand for travel to
Canada was the highest
between May and June for
PARKS CANADA/DALE WILSON
New brand goes with glow
Destination Canada’s new-look
logo and marketing slogan
taps into travellers’ passion for
Canada and better connects them
to the emotional side of their
experiences in the country, said
The new slogan, ‘for glowing hearts/
le coeur grand ouvert,’” replaces the
old tagline, ‘keep exploring/explorez
sans fin’, which was in use for more
than a decade.
“Nike and Apple are both
examples of companies that
have nurtured an emotional
attachment to their brands but
Canada is also a brand, a ‘passion
brand’,” said David Goldstein,
Heritage Park shows visitors plenty of summer spirit
Destination Canada’s departing
“Previously travel was about
destination icons, then it became
about collecting travel experiences
but now it is transformative, in that
travel helps both change you and
becomes a part of you,” he said.
“Travel should change you and
our promise is that Canada will
leave a lasting mark on your heart.”
“In the last five years we have seen
phenomenal visitor growth of an
average of 6% year on year. I would
like to think we have portrayed
Canada as open, welcoming and
receptive – a place for glowing
hearts,” Goldstein added.
Heritage Park, Canada’s largest living historic
theme park, has a new after-hours tour this
summer that shows plenty of spirit. Starting from
Wainwright Saloon, in the Calgary park’s 1910
Village, guests on the Spirits of the West Ghost Tour
and Whisky Tasting enjoy a Prohibition-era whisky
cocktail before being taken to spooky locations,
including many where guests or staff claim to
have experienced some ‘paranormal activity’. The
evening ends with a gourmet three-course dinner.
RVC 2019 IN BRIEF
Tourism Toronto’s new
campaign, ‘Let Yourself
In’ was launched as the
city celebrated another
record year in visitation,
having welcomed 44
million travellers in 2018.
“Toronto is the front
door to Canada, and our
message to travellers is
simple – Let Yourself In,”
said Jon Mamela, Executive
Vice President and Chief
Rivers Edge is a 12-room,
four-star hotel earmarked
for the waterfront area in
Whitehorse, Yukon. The First
Nations-themed project will
start construction next spring.
Westjet flies to Whitehorse
from Calgary four times a
week, until September 22.
‘Neanderthal’ is a major
new exhibition at the
Canadian Museum of
History, in Gatineau, Québec.
The rare fossils and artifacts
include four Neanderthal
skulls and a hand axe made
of rock crystal. ‘Neanderthal’
runs until January 26, 2020.
For the third year running
Rendez-Vous Canada set
a new attendance record
with over 1,900 delegates
including 46 UK buyers. The
31,600 appointments was
also a record. Next year’s
show will be held in Québec
City, Québec, from May 5-8.
Rendez-vous 2019 49
UK visitors are
loving cruising in
Toronto is proving a hit
among UK visitors renting
an RV vehicle, says Tracy
Thompson, Cruise Canada’s
International Sales &
“Our 11-day Classic Ontario
Circle Tour, which also takes
in Georgian Bay, Algonquin,
1000 Islands, Ottawa and
the Muskoka Lakes region is
selling well,” said Thompson.
Agents can book the tour
through operators such as
Canadian Affair, Travelpack
and First Class Holidays.
“Last year was our best yet
out of the UK market - and
we have been here for 47
years. And 2019 will be up
again. Camping, glamping
and sleeping under the stars
in the heart of the Canadian
wilderness is really growing
in popularity right now.”
Older travellers have day
Destination Canada UK’s main
consumer target audience is to
shift from Millennials – those
aged between 22-37 – to those 45
and over, Rupert Peters, Regional
Managing Director, Europe and
to do that are the Generation Xers
(those born between the mid-
1960s and the early-1980s) and
the Baby Boomers (born between
1946 and 1964),” Peters added.
“Finally, our key tour operator
India told Selling Travel.
partners and our Canada
“We are going to go after a Specialist travel agents also have
slightly older audience than the over-45s as their core target
previously. After drilling down
our data we know that about twothirds
of our existing travellers
fall into the over-45 bracket.
“Also, I think Millennials are
more likely to be spooked by
the Brexit uncertainty than an
older audience. We have other
challenges, such as encouraging
more travellers to visit in our
audience, so we need to ensure
our approach is the same to create
as much synergy there as we can.”
Peters noted that older travellers
are more likely to be ‘cultural
explorers or learners’, that is
people who want to discover or
learn something on their holiday.
“Another of our themes is that if
you learn something about Canada
‘shoulder seasons’, and the you will likely learn something
demographic groups most likely about yourself,” he said.
Trade is Canadian
Affair’s new love
Canadian Affair has
partnered with Cunard to
offer a Vancouver and Alaska
Cruise Holiday combination
in its 2020 programme,
which is now on sale.
The 12-night Journey
of Discovery tour, which
has prices starting from
£1,568pp, includes two
nights in Vancouver, a
10-night full-board Alaska
Cruise with Cunard, and
direct return flights from
Gatwick to Vancouver.
Affair, which started selling
through the trade only last
October, has had such a
favourable pick up from
operators and agents that it
has boosted its trade team.
Helen Tate and Stephanie
Robertson are new
regional Travel Trade Sales
Executives, reporting to the
company’s new Travel Trade
Manager, Jane Fraser.
SAVE ON 4
JOURNEY BEHIND THE FALLS
NIAGARA’S FURY · WHITE WATER WALK
HORNBLOWER NIAGARA CRUISES
PLUS · Two consecutive days of WEGO transportation
All prices in Canadian dollars. Taxes not included.
All information subject to change without notice.
FOR MORE INFORMATION OR TO BOOK,
Rendez-vous 2019 51
Le Boat has early
incentives for 2020
In Pursuit of Rockies tours
Take the Scenic
way to Canada
Le Boat, the self-drive river
Scenic Luxury Cruises &
cruise operator, has an early-
Tours has plenty of Canada
bird incentive for trips on
tour options in its new 2020
Ontario’s Rideau Canal.
Natural Wonders of The
Its 2020 Canada
Americas touring collection.
programme has a booking
New is a 17-day Western
discount of up to 20%
Canada Wildlife, Wineries &
for travel secured before
the Rockies itinerary.
September 2 2019 for
The tour will see visitors
departures next year.
exploring the Okanagan
The offer applies to all boat
wine country, including a visit
types, including the state-of-
to a Syilx First Nations band
the art Horizon models.
winery. A stay at the Knight
For example, a seven-night
Inlet floating lodge should
self-catered stay on the
offer close encounters with
Rideau Canal, starting and
wildlife like grizzly bears,
finishing at Le Boat’s base
The Pursuit Collection, parent
hour slow cooked barbecue beef
seals, dolphins and more.
at Smith Falls, on board the
company of Brewster Touring,
brisket, smoked baked pork ribs
Other highlights include
Horizon 1 (which sleeps five),
unveiled several new products
and wild Pacific salmon, amongst
joining astronomers from
and arriving April 11 2020 is
and a key new partnership at
Jasper Planetarium in Jasper
priced from £1,968 per boat,
The evening, which is bookable
National Park for a Dark Sky
that’s £394pp (was £2,179
New for 2019/20 is a Banff
through operators such as
Experience and a twilight
per boat, saving 20%).
winter sightseeing tour on which
Prestige and Premier, also
supper and a trail ride on
Flights and transfer to the
guests get to sample several iconic
features story-telling and live
horseback or wagon along
boat are not included in the
Canadian winter experiences.
the Bow River, near Banff.
These include donning
snowshoes at Lake MInnewanka,
Pursuit also announced a new
partnership with Mountain Park
The tour departs May,
June, July and September
walking along the steaming
thermal waters of the hot springs
Lodges, which has added seven
hotel properties to Pursuit’s
2020. Priced from £7,445pp.
and stopping at the best photo-
Banff Jasper Collection: The
spots in Banff. The daily tour will
run from December 1, 2019 to
March 31, 2020.
Also new is a five-star rustic
dining experience, the Maligne
Canyon Wilderness Kitchen.
Crimson Hotel, Chateau Jasper,
Lobstick Lodge, Marmot Lodge,
Pocahontas Cabins, Pyramid Lake
Resort and Sawridge Inn.
“Pursuit now offers guests
unforgettable and inspiring
PARKS CANADA/SCOTT MUNN
Located close to Jasper, at the
experiences and world-class
trailhead of the canyon, the
lodging,” said David Barry,
restaurant offers a smokehouseinspired
menu that features 16-
A view to thrill
Niagara Helicopters Flightseeing Tours
905 357 5672
Steve Hartridge catches up with Maureen Riley, Vice
President International, Destination Canada
QWhen did you start your current role?
A: January 6 2019. Previously my
title was Executive Director Industry
Partnerships, Destination Canada.
QWhat are your main responsibilities?
A: My main brief is to work closely
with our nine international offices, with a
focus on the travel trade. I aim to ensure
that each market is properly aligned with
our main marketing and media messages.
QSo the trade is a key channel for you?
A: Absolutely. My background is in
the travel trade. I started off, back in my
university days, as a tour guide. I have
also worked for a receptive tour operator,
so I have an understanding how that
works, and in a travel trade capacity for
Destination Canada in Japan. This has
given me a well-rounded understanding
of what tour operators are looking for
when they are trying to develop a strong
QWhat goals have you set yourself?
A: I think it is crucial that more of
our industry understands the value of the
trade and the value it brings to Canada.
And our Canadian partners need to
better understand how they can be more
proactive and efficient when working with
international tour operators.
It is wonderful to have beautiful
campaigns that resonate with consumers,
but if after whetting their interest those
people can’t turn around and book that trip
to Canada, we are not fulfilling our full brief.
So I want to see, over the next couple
of years, the travel trade and consumers
more in step, so that we are not just
driving ideas and products towards
consumers but are also working with tour
operators to better understand what their
clients are looking for. Ultimately this will
result in better product and more effective
marketing campaigns for all of us.
QAnything else on your ‘wish list’?
A: Over the last three years or so
I have worked very closely with the
Indigenous Tourism Association of
Canada (ITA). I have had some wonderful
opportunities to engage with First Nations
communities and experience some of
the new and upcoming product, which is
I always leave these experiences with
a different perspective. It is my fervent
wish that more of these products become
known to our international visitors.
QDo you identify any main challenges?
A: We need to boost visitation in our
shoulder seasons or ‘off months’.
The challenge is that travellers want to
travel when they want to travel. Also, they
might not be aware of what is available in
Canada year round, so my aim is to help
grow that awareness. We also have to
work closely with our partners to make
sure enough desirable product is actually
available in those slower months.
QDo you have any favourite Canadian
travel memories to share with us?
A: I have been lucky enough to live in or
travel to most regions of the country.
I am originally from Montréal (pictured)
and that city will always have my heart.
When I was young I used to explore a lot
of Canada with my family; we were big
I love the Muskoka Lakes area
(big picture) of Ontario, with
its wide-open spaces. It also
has some excellent hotels and
lodges. I am not a hardcore
outdoors person and like to
combine Canada’s great outdoors
with some creature comforts!
I also always enjoy the Canadian
Rockies. The mountains seem to go on
and on, and always inspire me.
Q What’s top of your still-to-see list?
A: I would like to do some hiking in
Tombstone Territorial Park in Yukon in
the autumn. It is where the tundra and
the forest meet and the colours are
spectacular. At night there’s the chance to
see the colours of the aurora borealis.
city profile 53
Take a sporting chance on Canada’s most diverse and
well-rounded city says Steve Hartridge
CANADIAN TOURISM COMMISSION
This artsy enclave of
shops – buy designer
at Fluevog –and
restaurants is set
A real bustling
working market in a
historic building, this
is the place for those
souvenir bottles of
mustards, jams and
Designed to ‘trick’ your
senses this interactive
attraction with 80
visual and sensual
illusions is a one-stop
visit for fun and
Toronto makes a
great alternative to
the shows playing
this summer are
Come From Away and
starts a run
Near the airport, the
centre has 320-plus
outlets. It runs a
scheme, with savings
– pick up a pamphlet
from an information
kiosk and promotions.
There are few things that can pull a
city or nation closer together than a
sporting triumph – and Toronto was
a city whose residents seemed to
be collectively living and breathing
basketball when I visited in May.
Its professional basketball team had
reached the National Basketball
Association’s (NBA) final for the first time,
and Toronto was literally in Raptors.
The sports bars in the lively
Entertainment District and the pubs down
by the Waterfront were overflowing with
people wearing t-shirts with the team’s ‘We
The North’ motif. The parties got longer
and louder after I left, as the Raptors
became the first Canadian team to win the
title, setting off an outpouring of city and
Although Toronto doesn’t have
to go through hoops to
attract visitors – last year
was another record year
with the city welcoming
44 million travellers –
sport is one of its many
draw cards. The Raptors
and ice hockey’s Maple
Leaves both play in the
Scotiabank Arena, on the
edge of downtown, whilst
baseball’s Blue Jays pitch up at the
My hotel is the Royal York Hotel, a
Fairmont property, which is coming to the
end of a huge refurbishment. Royal York
is ideally located and immediately across
from Union Station, the starting point for
the epic cross-country train,The Canadian.
Leaving Royal York, I stroll down Front
Street, to the recently renovated CN
Tower. A glass-fronted elevator takes me
to the lookout level, 1,116 feet above the
ground, in less than a minute.
From the three new observation level
windows, the views of the city and planes
taking off from the domestic Billy Bishop
City Airport are sensational.
A little-known fact is that Toronto has
islands, located just a few minutes away
from downtown. So after leaving Ripley’s
Aquarium of Canada, with its sharks and
stingrays, to another day, I make the short
walk down to the ferry terminal at The
Waterfront for the 10-minute
crossing to Toronto Island Park.
I pick up my bike and
cycle past some of the 260
cottage-style homes on the
island – actually more than
a dozen small islands linked
by bridges - along the seawall
that protects the park from a
black and restless Lake Ontario.
There are walking and bike trails,
a wading pool, beaches, restaurants and a
petting farm. But perhaps the best reason
for visiting are the views across the water
of Toronto’s skyline.
If the shoe fits
Back on the ‘mainland’ I take the subway
line to Ontario’s Parliament buildings and
then make the short walk to the Royal
Ontario Museum, with its collection of
dinosaurs and ancient artifacts.
I drop into the Gardiner Museum, with
its cool ceramic art, and the Bata Show
Museum, which traces the history of
footwear from Neanderthal deerskin slipons
to the boots worn by astronauts on
the moon. torontonow.com
my trip in...Ontario
Touring options aplenty await just a few
hours’ drive from Toronto, discovers
Iam standing on the edge of
woodland, sipping a digestionassisting
tea made from infused wild
mint and raspberries, the fruits of our
afternoon ‘medicine walk’ with a First
Nations-owned tour company called the
Great Spirit Circle Trail.
As we nibble on ‘bannock bread’, made
from ground roots, corn, wheat and berries,
I hear all about the health-enhancing
properties of the herbs, plants and shrubs
in the forest.
“It took me seven years to understand the
benefits of the botanicals that surround
us. These have been passed down through
the generations,” said our host and
guide, Falcon Migwans, an Ojibway of the
M’Chigeeng First Nation.
“They are the gift of life itself, and help us
connect to the spirits around us. Everything,
even the tiniest flower or wild herb, is
connected and has a spirit, That is why we
start each walk with a spiritual cleanse,
where we inhale the burning essence of
white cedar, sweetgrass, sage and tobacco.”
After peeling a small layer of cedar bark,
Falcon applies the sap to his forearm and
says: “This is a natural skin adhesive, and
works faster than stitches.”
I am on Manitoulin Island, the world’s
largest freshwater island, in Northeastern
Ontario. Botanists think that more than 80%
of all the herbs, plants and flower varieties
in Canada can be found on Manitoulin.
About six driving hours north of Toronto,
the island is also home to six First Nations
tribes, who are slowly gearing up to tourism.
Visitors can sign up for the medicine
walks – “everything in the forest has either
a spiritual, healing, practical or edible use,”
says Falcon – or hike the ‘Cup and Saucer
Trail,’ which leads to the 70-metre-high East
Lookout, a part of the Niagara Escarpment.
Or they can enrol in an outdoor wilderness
experience camp or enjoy a one-hour
moon teaching, where a guide explains
the Aboriginal Calendar and the 13 moon
teachings by using a turtle’s shell.
Heartbeat of a Nation
In summer, Canoe Heritage Tours help
visitors connect with the spirits of water
and sunsets as they paddle through the
heart of Manitoulin on a labyrinth of inland
lakes and rivers. Guides on this Canadian
Signature Experience (CSP) reveal much
about the island’s history and folklore and
pass on wilderness survival techniques.
For a more immersive experience, guests
can drop into one of the several annual
pow wows (or gatherings) between June
and September, featuring drums, dances,
‘heritage interpretations’ and local foods.
There’s also a glamping option, in a Tee
Pee, which includes a ‘Voice of the Drum’
Earlier that morning, on the two-hour ferry
crossing from Tobermory, Falcon explained
to a captive audience the significant role
drums play in First Nations’ culture.
Tapping out a series of beats on a circle of
taught white-tailed deerskin, he illustrated
how the central rhythm is just like a
heartbeat – one, two… one, two…one, two…
one, two... one, two.
“The heartbeat is at the centre of
everything – the heartbeat of our existence,
the heartbeat of mother earth, the
heartbeat of our nation…even our dancers,
who stand in the centre of a circle of people,
take two steps on every foot, to replicate the
same rhythm,” he said.
The Great Spirit Circle Trail has big growth
plans: it is to develop a woodlands area
into a First Nations museum and hopes to
introduce wig-wam style lodges next year.
Great Spirit Circle Trail is a member of
the Indigenous Tourism Ontario (ITO)
organisation that works to promote
indigenous-owned tourism products and
experiences. According to ITO’s Executive
Director, Kevin Eshkawakogan, there are
now more than 600 such tourism products
CANADIAN TOURISM COMMISSION
my trip in...Ontario 55
CANADIAN TOURISM COMMISSION
BLUE HERON CRUISES, TOBERMORY
HIKING ON MANITOULIN ISLAND
in Ontario although only around 35 of these
are ‘export ready’, meaning geared up for
the international market.
Tobermory is a small town located at the tip
of the Bruce Peninsula. Once a lumber and
fishing community, today it is best-known as
the gateway to two national parks: Fathom
Five National Marine Park (Canada’s first
national marine park) and Bruce Peninsula
Restaurants, gift shops, unique stores, a
brewery and an all-you-can-eat fish and chip
shop horseshoe around the town’s quaint
Little Tub Harbour.
One of the popular ways to experience
the park’s crystal-clear waters and rocky
shorelines is by taking a glass-bottom
boat tour around several islands that sit in
Fathom Five National Park.
This is an area of over 20 shipwrecks,
many close to the water’s surface, and a few
minutes out of Little Tub Harbour on our
Blue Heron Cruise we see two of these.
FALCON MIGWANS ON A MEDICINE WALK
The Sweepstakes was a
two-masted schooner that ran
aground in 1885, she was towed into an
inlet and stripped of most of her rigging,
equipment and cargo of coal before she
sank. But her 36.3-metre hull is intact and
our boat passes what seems like just metres
Close by is another sunken vessel, The
City of Grand Rapids, a 37-metre passenger
steamship that once called in at ports on
Lake Huron and Georgian Bay. It caught fire
in 1907 and was towed out of Tobermory
harbour and released.
The cruise stops at Flowerpot island,
where guests can get off and stroll the
15 minutes to the flowerpot-shaped
limestone formations. Some of the cedar
trees clinging to the cliffs are over 1,500
years old, making them among the oldest
living trees in the world. Animals like red
squirrels, snowshoe hares, otter and
beavers inhabit most of the islands.
We see bald eagles, ospreys and turkey
vultures. But not any of the black bears
which live on Cove Island, the largest
island in Fathom Five. The bears have been
spotted swimming across to the mainland.
A five-minute drive out of Tobermory
brings us to the visitor centre of Bruce
Peninsula National Park – and an impressive
one it is too, with a short video and walkthrough
gallery that explains the geology,
history and wildlife of the park.
Several walking trails fan out from here
and from other access points further down
Highway Six. They all lead to majestic cliffs
and bright-blue waters. It’s also a home
to orchids, ferns, cliffside cedars and
endangered flowers. Trails have the same
difficulty designation as Canada’s ski runs:
How to get there
British Airways (batraveltrade.
com) operates daily flights to Toronto
International Airport from both Heathrow
and Gatwick. The flying time is around eight
hours. The Toronto Express to downtown
departs the airport every 30 minutes.
Suggest a seven-day touring itinerary
that takes in Blue Mountain Resort,
Tobermory and Bruce Peninsula National
Park, Manitoulin Island and Toronto. For
extra days recommend the Muskoka Lakes
region, one of Ontario’s premier ‘getaway’
destinations. For clients with more time
on their hands, Niagara Falls is an easy
add-on to a Toronto city stay.
Where to book it
Prestige Holidays can offer a 12-night
trip, with three nights at the Fairmont
Royal York Toronto, three nights
at Blue Mountain Village, one
night at Tobermory Princess, two nights
at Manitoulin Island Hotel and
three nights at Hidden Valley Huntsville.
Priced from £2605pp, the deal is based on
a June 10 2020 departure and includes
flights from Heathrow with Air Canada, a
full-size four-door car rental.
GREAT SPIRIT CIRCLE TRAIL
my trip in...Ontario
CANADIAN TOURISM COMMISSION
BLUE MOUNTAIN RESORT
black for difficult, blue for a challenge
and green for an easy stroll.
On this Friday there is a steady
stream of walkers strolling the
easy Georgian Bay Trail, through
woodland and past a marshy
landscape which leads to the
Georgian Bay shoreline and rock
formations called Grotto, and
It’s around a two-hour drive from
Tobermory to Blue Mountain Resort, an
adventure getaway just three hours north
Once a smallish resort for domestic skiers,
Blue Mountain has been adding attractions
over the last 10 years or so and is now a
four-season resort, with its international
visitors growing by around 1% each year and
the UK one of its top three markets.
In summer they come for activities that
include mountain walking trails, a mini-golf
course, a zipline and the Ridge Runner
Mountain Coaster. At its centre is a village,
with a small lake and various shops,
boutique outlets, bars – including a craft
brewery – restaurants and a square that
hosts summer concerts.
The resort’s 1,000-plus rooms are split
between a Westin hotel, the Blue Mountain
Inn and various village suites,
I take a gondola to the top of the mountain
for gorgeous views of the southern shores
of Georgian Bay and the resort’s golf course.
Mississauga Lake is just 22 kms away and
is a hotspot for watersports, including
kayaking and fishing for bass and lake trout.
This is also an area for mountain biking,
rock climbing and caves that burrow into
the Niagara Escarpment. These include
Scenic Caves Nature Adventures, where
you can try to squeeze through a small gap
called ‘Fatman’s Misery’.
My visit ends at Scandinave Spa, moving
gingerly between a collection of hot and
(very) cold pools, saunas, steam rooms,
hammocks and quiet relaxation areas set
amongst a wooded area.
Take me to the top
Enjoy the #1 Ski Resort in Eastern North America!
Come and enjoy a unique global destination
and its many attractions and live an exhilarating
experience at the heart of a picturesque
pedestrian village with undeniable charm.
$31 million investment since 2019:
• Increased snowmaking capacity
• New lift
• Additional trails
• Enhanced activity offer
• And much more!
Book your stay now through your favourite tour operator.
Untitled-3 1 01/07/2019 09:20
Steve Hartridge meets Astokomii Smith, an ambassador
and role model for five southern Albertan indigenous tribes
Spirit of Canada’s west
Visitors to this July’s Calgary Stampede
(5-14) would have spotted the striking
figure of the event’s First Nations Princess.
The honour this year went to 19-yearold
Astokomii Smith, who was chosen
to represent five of Southern Alberta’s
indigenous nations – Kainai, Tsuut’ina,
Stoney Nakoda, Siksika and Piikani – as
well as the indigenous-themed
Elbow River Camp located on
the Stampede grounds.
The selection process
was tough: over a
Astokomii – whose
name in Blackfoot
– took part in a
an exam on Treaty 7
(an agreement between
the Canadian government
and several indigenous tribes in
southern Alberta) and the history of the
Calgary Stampede. She also had to submit
an essay on why she wanted to be the 2019
Calgary Stampede First Nations Princess.
Her mission statement is a heartfelt
one: “I will strive to be a role model for
the younger generation. I believe that our
mental and physical health should be put
first and that education is our new way of
survival,” she said.
At Alberta’s much-loved annual Western
themed event, Astokomii, a Fancy Shawl
dancer from the Siksika First Nation, met
with visitors from around the world to talk
about the people, the animals, the land,
the traditions and the values that make up
the unique spirit of Canada’s west.
During Stampede week, Elbow
River Camp provides the
venue for each tribe to
share part of their
culture with the
public on a specific
Tribe Days. The
and other traditions.
The camp’s 26 tipis
each have a unique
design on the outside and
beadwork, buckskin outfits
and artifacts are displayed on the
inside. When visitors enter the camp, they
can experience many important aspects
of First Nations peoples, like interpretive
programmes, flag raising, powwows,
traditional storytelling and games.
And although the dust has now settled
on the Stampede for another year
Astokomii’s role, as an ambassador and
role model, will continue throughout 2019.
She will make many appearances locally,
nationally and internationally throughout
her reign, educating those she meets about
First Nations cultures and sharing her
knowledge of Treaty 7, as well as attending
many First Nation events, powwows,
ceremonies and ‘honourings’ in Alberta.
First Nations experiences
Outside of Stampede Week, there are
many opportunities for visitors to immerse
themselves in First Nations culture.
For example, in Tipi Village at Blackfoot
Crossing on the Siksika Nation, about
100km east of Calgary, they can enjoy a tipi
sleepover and learn about survival skills,
meat smoking and hide tanning.
The Glenbow Museum, in downtown
Calgary, has a year-round exhibition about
the Blackfoot people called Niitsitapiisini:
Our Way of Life, where you can learn how
the Blackfoot people live.
Or visit the site at Head-Smashed-In
Buffalo Jump, where buffaloes were
hunted and learn why they were so
important to First Nations people.
Those looking to take home authentic,
traditional native art, such as jewellery,
moccasins and beadwork by local and
Canadian artists. should visit Moonstone
Creation in Inglewood, a Calgary
neighbourhood. A family-run gallery and
gift shop of curated and created native
goods, Moonstone Creation also offers
classes where you can learn traditional
beadwork, dream catcher and moccasin
making, porcupine quillwork and medicine
gallery: travel counsellors
Travel Counsellors worked alongside
Destination Canada to host two Canada
‘Takeover Days’ for agents in
Birmingham and London. The events
provided an opportunity for agents to
meet with suppliers and learn more
about what Canada has to offer,
sparking new ideas and knowledge to
inspire and secure future bookings.
“I took so much away from the day and
learned loads. I loved the format and the
itinerary planning – that was genius!”
Heidi Kemsley, TC
Our Travel Counsellors departed our
Canada days armed with a wealth of
new ideas and knowledge - which will
stimulate future bookings”
Samantha Spencer, Commercial Partnerships, Travel Counsellors
A key takeaway from the day was that
Canada can be sold as a city break,
with flights from the UK to Canada’s
east coast taking less than five hours
A BREATHTAKING LANDSCAPE.
A JAW-DROPPING OFFER.
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ALL ABOARD AMAZING
gallery: prestige holidays
To mark Canada Day on July 1, Prestige
Holidays hosted 48 agents at BelowZero
in London for an evening of networking
and celebrations. Attendees were
invited to test their knowledge in a
Canada quiz, and were treated to
cocktails from the Ice Bar and classic
Canadian dishes, including poutine.
“Cannon Travel works closely with Prestige
Holidays and has done so for many years. It’s
great to be invited to such an event”
Tracy Williams, Cannon Travel
“We have sold a number of Canada holidays
through other operators but are now looking to build
stronger relationships. We used this event to meet
some of the Prestige team”
Mike Silford, Suitcase Travel
“Canada is a key destination for
Prestige Holidays. We were delighted
with the response from our travel
agents and partners and will definitely
make this an annual event”
Denise Hunn, Director – Canada Tour Operations, Prestige
NEED SOME MORE INSPIRATION?
Prestige’s 13-day Atlantic Maritimes escorted coach tour, which takes
in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island, starts from
£3,090pp. Highlights include the Bay of Fundy, Hopewell Rocks, St.
Andrews by-the-sea, Halifax and Charlottetown. prestigecanada.co.uk
THE TRAVEL NEWS THAT REALLY MATTERS
JERUSALEM: ISRAEL’S HOLY CITY WIDENS ITS APPEAL
WILDERNESS’ NEW KING’S POOL
A&K’s IMMERSIVE EXPEDITIONS
SHOW REPORT: IPW
HAVE YOU MET PUERTO RICO?
GET ONLINE – READ ALL OUR MAGAZINES AND CHECK OUT OUR DAILY SELLING TIPS AT SELLINGTRAVEL.CO.UK
festive breaks to
Premier Holidays has
launched a selection of
Christmas breaks to the
The four-night festive break
packages start from £359pp,
based on two adults sharing,
travelling by ferry from Poole
on December 23, or flying
from a range of regional
airports on December 24.
Jersey Christmas breaks
include the four-star Radisson
Blu Waterfront Hotel, with
B&B and half-board on
Christmas Day, from £359pp
by sea or £399pp by air.
In Guernsey, agents can
book Christmas at St Pierre
Park Hotel from £519pp by
sea or £649pp by air, on a halfboard
basis with full-board
on Christmas Day. Agents
earn £5 in vouchers for every
booking (£10 if booked online
before September 30).
Jerusalem an all-round city
BY STEVE HARTRIDGE
Jerusalem is fast shedding its
image of a city that appeals to
mainly religious pilgrims and is
now a top city-break destination
scheduled to open in 2019 and a
major new attraction, the Museum
of Tolerance, should be welcoming
visitors by the year’s close.
with a line-up of world-class “For a long time the view
attractions, says the destination’s of Jerusalem was very onedimensional:
Eli Nahmias, Director – Incoming that it is a holy city for
religious visitors but lacking appeal
Tourism and International for more mainstream tourists.
Relations for the Jerusalem “But increasingly we are being
Development Authority, hosted a
trade event in London to highlight
the ‘new Jerusalem’ and recent
developments in the city.
These include a high-speed rail
line between Ben Gurion Airport in
Tel Aviv and Jerusalem city centre,
seen as an international destination
brimming with cultural attractions,
top hotels and museums, arts,
nightlife and a calendar of great
events,” he added.
Jerusalem’s culinary scene is also
booming, with ‘chef-restaurants’
which opened late last year. A opening at a rapid rate.
billion-pound project, it links A new daily Virgin Atlantic flight
Israel’s two main cities in around
between Heathrow and Tel Aviv
starts on September 25.
Eighteen new hotels are itraveljerusalem.com
Raffles opens first
Indian Ocean hotel
Raffles has opened its first
Indian Ocean hotel – Raffles
The luxury hotel is located
in the rare Maldivian oasis of
Gaafu Alifu Atoll.
The main island is home
to Beach Villas and Beach
Residences, which opened
this summer with private
pools and a marble bathroom
with a sunken bathtub and
outdoor shower. In each of
the terraces, guests can view
the marine life below through
glass flooring panels.
The Raffles Royal
Residence and a secluded
collection of overwater
villas and residences, which
lie adjacent to one of the
house reefs, reached by a
traditional Maldivian Dhoni
boat, will launch during the
last quarter of this year.
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Wilderness reopens luxury Botswana lodge
Wilderness Safaris’ King’s Pool
Camp has reopened in Botswana’s
Linyanti Wildlife Concession.
The lodge, which has nine
luxurious thatched-roof rooms,
has been built with ecotourism
principles in mind. In keeping
with the company’s commitment
to operating with a light ecofootprint,
the camp is 100% solarpowered.
Activities include game drives,
game walks and helicopter flights.
the review 63
Sri Lanka’s fast return
FILITHEYO ISLAND RESORT MALDIVES
One of the best spots for Diving
INCREDIBLE SUMMER OFFER
Book by 31 Aug 19 and receive
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BY STEVE HARTRIDGE
Bookings for Sri Lanka are
returning faster than expected
on a wave of goodwill towards
the country, according to the
chairman of one of its leading
After the Easter Sunday
bombings, tourist arrivals
slumped 70% in May and 57%
in June compared with a year
earlier, but the green shoots
of a recovery – evidenced by
numbers increasing from 37,802
in May to 63,072 in June – are
already being seen, said Hiran
Cooray, Chairman of Jetwing,
“Our bookings immediately
took a big hit, and we lost
around 500,000 room nights,
but after the Foreign and
Commonwealth Office lifted its
travel advisory to Sri Lanka in
early June we have seen 10,000
new bookings for August alone.”
Jetwing has 23 hotels in Sri
Lanka – including six in Negombo,
one of the cities targeted by the
bombers – and a range of villas.
The renovated Jetwing
Lighthouse in Galle is scheduled
for an August 1 reopening and
a brand-new Jetwing hotel in
Kandy remains on track to be
welcoming guests by the end of
the year, reassured Cooray.
“The support we have received
from UK tour operators, agents,
the media and others has been
overwhelming,” said Cooray.
Turquoise Holidays has a
seven-night stay at Anantara
Tangalle, on the southern
tip of the island, priced from
£1,389pp, on a half-board basis.
Wonderful South Ari Atoll Location
Offering a stunning beach and house reef!
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Inghams looks to
Agents can save their clients
up to £85 per couple for
holidays booked before
September 30 from Inghams’
summer 2020 programme.
A seven-night holiday, on
a half-board basis, at the
five-star Hotel Elisabeth in
Mayrhofen, Austria, starts
from £949pp, based on two
sharing and including flights,
airport transfers and the
early booking discount.
Seven nights at the threediamond,
La Sapiniere, in Chamonix,
France, on a catered basis
afternoon tea and evening
meals with complimentary
wine is from £616pp.
BY JESSICA POOK
Rail Discoveries’ Europe & UK
2020 Preview Brochure features
over 50 escorted tours and an
early booking offer.
New for 2020 is the seven-day
Cities & Palaces of Andalucia tour,
from £745pp. The fly-rail holiday
features time in Ronda, guided
tours of Seville and Cordoba, a
tour in Granada, and a visit to
the Alhambra Palace. Included
are flights, internal transport,
breakfast, and three- or four-star
Also new is the six-day Oban,
South African wine estate offers vintage Cape experience
Rail travel a true discovery
Isle of Skye & the Sound of Mull,
priced from £545pp. Starting in
Glasgow, the itinerary includes
a journey through the Scottish
Highlands on the West Highland
Line and a trip on the Jacobite
Steam Train (pictured). There’s also
a cruise along the Sound of Mull.
Customers can save up to £60
per booking when selling a 2020
departure on or before August 20
2019. Departures from various
regional UK airports are available
at no additional cost.
One of South Africa’s leading ‘resort’ wine estates
invited operators and agents to a summer soirée
in London to showcase its latest rosé and put the
word out about one of the Winelands’ leading
Babylonstoren’s Cellar Master Charl Coetzee
launched its 2019 harvest of Mourvèdre Rosé
with an epic rosé tower centrepiece.
Located near Franschhoek, Babylonstoren –
which is listed on the UK Condé Naste Gold List –
also features a boutique hotel and spa, a farm
shop and a restaurant with a farm-to-fork menu.
Agents can book the estate – the oldest fruit
farm and vineyard in South Africa, dating back to
1652 – direct or via a specialist UK tour operator.
NEWS TO USE IN BRIEF
November will be a good
time for visitors to be in
Havana, Cuba’s capital. The
city will be celebrating the
500th anniversary of its
founding with street fairs
and festivals. Hotels across
Havana are also planning
their own events.
Prestige Holidays’ new
Madeira and The Algarve
brochure includes the fivestar
Savoy Palace Hotel in
Funchai for the first time.
Prices for a seven-night
B&B stay start from £650pp,
with flights and transfers.
Kenya, Zambia and South
Africa are featured in a
new three-country tour
from Saga. Masai Mara,
Victoria Falls, the Zambezi
River and Table Mountain
are the highlights of a
13-night option that is
priced from £3,199pp.
The next two departures
are on November 5 2019
and January 14 2020.
The Red Carnation Hotel
Collection is to open its
first hotel in Scotland. The
group’s 19th property
worldwide – its portfolio
includes Ruebens in London
and Twelve Apostles in
Cape Town – will occupy
the current 100 Princes
Street Hotel, with views
of Edinburgh Castle.
Also in Scotland, Ness
Walk, an exclusive five-star
hotel, has opened in the
Highlands capital, Inverness.
In the heart of the city, the
hotel features Torrish, a
fine-dining restaurant which
uses only local ingredients.
the review: cruise 65
A&K’s cultural cruises
CRUISE NEWS IN BRIEF
CLIA UK &
Cruise lines are increasingly
focussing on delivering
the best possible cruise
experience, asking ‘what
will our guests love?’ to
create holidays that offer
both onboard and ashore.
Conversations are moving
away from the physical
narrative of a cruise – for
example, sailing across the
Atlantic for a week – towards
what happens onboard and
during the sailing.
When listening to
customers talk about cruises
you’re more likely to hear
experiential references first,
such as visits to private
Caribbean islands, bars
staffed by robots, food
cooked in the restaurant
of a celebrity chef, visiting
relatively unknown and
exotic climes, and a raft of
sports such as ziplining.
In order to reach yet-tocruise
travellers, we should
change our language to focus
on these experiences, rather
than focussing too much on
‘maritime language’, such as
how many decks a ship has
and the size of the cabins.
So entice more people
to cruise for the first time
by pointing out innovation
in both the onboard
experience and the landbased
BY STEVE HARTRIDGE
Abercrombie & Kent has
expanded its 2020 portfolio of
Luxury Expedition Cruises, a
move it says is in response to
fast-growing interest in immersive
The new Cruising the Baltic Sea:
Copenhagen to St. Petersburg (July
16-28, 2020) aboard Le Dumont
d’Urville (limited to 148 guests), will
stop in seven countries: Denmark,
Poland, Lithuania, Sweden, Estonia,
Finland and Russia. Guests will
choose from a range of experiences
such as a Nordic food experience
in Stockholm sampling Swedish
specialties from local purveyors, a
Finnish sauna and nature walk and
a cooking class and palace visits in
St. Petersburg. The 13-day cruise
starts from £13,050pp.
A Wonders of Japan Cruise (June
13-26, 2020) will explore Japan’s
four main islands. Those aboard
Le Soleal (limited to 199 guests)
will be treated to a private geisha
performance in Kanazawa’s
Higashi Chaia district, as well as a
private performance by the worldrenowned
Kodo taiko drummers.
The 14-day cruise, priced from
£15,999, also visits Gyeongju,
“Our approach to expedition
cruising is culturally immersive,”
said Bob Simpson, Abercrombie
& Kent’s Vice President, Expedition
Cruising. “We start with selecting
the best ship for a destination, then
craft a thoughtful itinerary that
provides ample time in each port
and offers a good understanding
of the region’s history.”
Winnie the Whale splashes down on Princess Cruises
Princess Cruises has opened
a family water playground on
the top deck of its 3,140-guest
The Reef Family Splash Zone
includes a water play area, a pool
and a lounge.
Key features are an interactive
water playground (called Winnie
the Whale’s splashpad) with water
sprays and showers, and a spa
and bar area including a family
pool and jacuzzi.
French-owned cruise line
PONANT has joined forces
with Relais & Châteaux to
offer three gourmet cruises in
2020. Relais & Châteaux chefs
will be onboard cruises to
Brittany (September 11),
Canary Islands & Cape Verde
(October 11) and China and
Vietnam (October 28).
Regent Seven Seas Cruises
is to debut more than 200
selections on menus across
its fleet, beginning October 1
2019. New dishes will include
wild mushroom tart, poke
bowls and falafel fritters. rssc.
Canadian cruise line One
Ocean Expeditions (OOE) will
again run its eight-day
Scotland and Ireland Golf
Expedition Cruise next
summer after a successful
first sailing this June. Priced
from $5,595pp, it will sail
from Dublin to Leith from
The two-day annual CLIA
River Cruise Conference will
return to Amsterdam this
November (10-11) after being
staged in Paris in 2018.
‘Morgan’s Bar’ has a new childfriendly
mocktail menu with drinks
on offer such as ‘Crazy Coconut’
and ‘Berry Nice to Meet You’ .
A 14-day ‘Circle Caribbean’
voyage on Caribbean Princess is
priced from £1,599pp. It departs
from Fort Lauderdale on February
2, 2020 and ports of call include
St. Thomas, St. Maarten, St. Kitts,
Martinique, Barbados, Trinidad
and Tobago, Bonaire and Aruba.
THIS MONTH’S TOP STORIES FROM THE CARIBBEAN
MEET THE CTO MEMBER
Owner at Bespoke
QWHAT don’t readers
know about your
company? We are the
General Sales Agent in
the UK and Europe of
Atlantis Paradise Island,
Bahamas, and have been
for nearly five years. We
have the simple objective
of showcasing the resort
and ensuring agents and
operators match it with the
QWHAT are the
benefits of being
a CTO member? Being
part of a community that
is focused on marketing
the entire Caribbean;
great opportunities for
networking; and working
with the CTO on destination
marketing initiatives and
travel agent training.
QWHAT CTO activities
do you get involved
in? We participate in most
CTO events, including 13
UK travel agent roadshow
events this year.
QWHAT’S your top
Look beyond the beach to
understand the depth of
cultural, sporting, culinary
and other activities each
island has to offer. Each has
its own distinct personality,
history and appeal. An
island hopping holiday is a
great way to explore many
destinations in one trip.
The JTB is rewarding agents for selling Jamaica
Win a place on a Jamaica fam
AGENTS already selling holidays to Jamaica have the
chance to win one of 50 places on a fam trip, hosted
by the Jamaica Tourist Board.
The incentive is part of a ‘Sell It & See It’ campaign,
giving agents the chance to experience Jamaica firsthand
so that they can continue to sell the island.
A dedicated romance-themed fam for wedding and
honeymoon specialists will depart from September
12-17 as well as a regular fam from October 10-15.
To be entered into the prize draw, agents need to
make a booking to Jamaica and register it at
jamaicarewards.co.uk. The tourist board
is also rewarding agents with cash
for bookings made.
Jamaica Rewards also provides
access to training sessions,
allowing agents to become
Jamaica Travel Specialists.
rapid steps to
establish itself as a
visitors, says Karen
Leo to make his mark in Belize Bevans, Director of
Tourism for the
Belize Tourism Board. Forthcoming new
product includes a ‘restorative eco-resort’
conceived by actor and environmental
warrior Leonardo DiCaprio, who hopes to
open his property on Blackadore Caye in
Agents can meet
with key partners
at the Jamaica Travel
Market B2B tradeshow
’GREEN FINS’ FOR
Antigua & Barbuda has
become the second Caribbean
country to implement a
sustainable diving initiative.
Green Fins, an organisation that
aims to protect and conserve
coral reefs, will provide training
to dive operators to help reduce
the environmental impact on
reefs as well as help sustain the
marine tourism industry. It is
thought that 10,000 tourists will
dive under the new guidelines in
the next year. greenfins.net
ROOM SALE FOR
Agents can save up to
60% off hotel rates as part of the
Saint Lucia Tourist Board’s
‘Summer Specials’ campaign. Bay
Gardens Beach Resort & Spa,
Bay Gardens Hotel, Bay Gardens
Inn and Bay Gardens Marina
Haven are all offering 40% off
when booking and staying
between now and December 19.
Meanwhile, East Winds is offering
25% off as part of a Winter Early
Bird deal, valid for stays
between January 1 - 31 and
March 1 - 31, 2020 when
booked before October 31.
undergone a fiveyear
Cobblers Cove in
Barbados is due to
unveil its new look
in October. The
New look for Cobblers Cove transformation
refurbishment of all rooms, suites and public
spaces, with influences from furniture
designer Soane Britain. The hotel has been
described as ‘one of the chicest places in the
Caribbean’ and embodies British elegance
with Caribbean charm. cobblerscove.com
Sign up to the CTO’s training programme at caribbeantravelguru.com
the review: trade show report
Golden state of mind
Representatives from all 50 U.S. states met up in Anaheim, California, for
the IPW trade show. Jessica Pook and Sally Parker round up the news JUNE 1-5 2019
Easy travel a
priority for U.S.
The U.S. Travel Association
spoke of plans to reduce
security wait lines and make
the visa system more efficient
by expanding the Visa Waiver
Programme for visitors.
The association, which
stressed how important
international travel is to the
U.S., especially at a time when
America is experiencing a
decline in the global travel
market, has adopted a new
mantra: ‘Travel is trade. Travel
is security. And travel is
U.S. Travel President and
CEO Roger Dow said: “We are
supporting Congress in its
efforts to pass bills such as
the JOLT Act, which would
enable countries like Poland,
Israel, Brazil and others to join
the Visa Waiver Programme.”
Destination D.C. President
and CEO Elliott L. Ferguson II,
said: “We want to encourage
international visitors and
have been working with
officials in Washington to cut
down on wait times and to
make the visa application
system more efficient.”
New VR tools for Orlando
Virtual tours, including 12 ride
experiences, are now available on
the Visit Orlando website.
George Aguel, President and
The visually enhanced site CEO of Visit Orlando said: “Orlando
features 88 virtual reality tours hosted 75 million visitors in 2018,
with 360-degree access.
making it the most visited
Agents can get a ‘taster’ of 12 destination in America. It’s
popular theme park attractions
and ground tours of Downtown
Orlando, as well as the city’s
The Visit Orlando Travel Academy
is also to undergo a refresh, with
updated webinars, more video
content and interactive workshops.
Agents can download Visit
Orlando’s new free app to receive
important that agents are fully
aware of all the new experiences
Orlando will host IPW in 2022,
when delegates will experience
new attractions such as Epcot’s
nighttime spectacular and the Star
Wars: Galaxy’s Edge area, which
opens in August.
Puerto Rico asks ‘Have we met yet?’
Jurassic World: The Ride
has opened at Universal
Riders get to experience
the Indominus Rex and
aquatic Mosasaurus up
close as they peak from
behind a aquarium
The Academy Museum
of Motion Pictures,
designed to celebrate the
making of film, is due to
open at the end of the
year in Los Angeles. It will
feature behind the scenes
footage, props, costumes
Fly Linq in Las Vegas,
the Strip’s only zipline
experience, has just
enthusiasts can fly 12
storeys above the ground
and land at the world’s
tallest observation wheel,
the High Roller.
Discover Puerto Rico has
launched a new brand
campaign called “Have we met
It aims to re-introduce Puerto
Rico to the world following the
devastation caused by
Hurricane Maria in 2017. By
positioning itself as the U.S.
mainland’s “friendly neighbour
to the south” the organisation
hopes to market the island as
‘familiar yet unique’ and
encourage inbound travel.
“Puerto Rico has recovered
and passenger arrivals are now
on par with pre-hurricane
levels,” said Brad Dean, CEO of
Discover Puerto Rico.
the review: trade show report 69
CEO of Los Angeles
Selling Travel why L.A. is for
food and sport lovers.
What’s new in town?
Los Angeles has established
itself as a culinary capital - as
evidenced by the city
dominating the 2019 Michelin
Guide California. We
accounted for 18 of the 27
new restaurants with a onestar
distinction, while six were
awarded two-star status.
Going forward, we plan to use
these credentials to stimulate
demand for food tours and
We also have some major
sporting events coming up.
The new Rams stadium, due
to open in 2020, will host the
2022 Super Bowl. L.A. will also
host the opening ceremony
for the 2026 World Cup as
well as the Olympics in 2028.
How key is the UK market?
L.A. is experiencing its eighth
consecutive year of visitor
growth. We’ve actually met
our goal of 50,000 million
visitors two years in advance!
This year we’ve seen a 3%
increase in UK arrivals and are
expecting a subsequent
increase in global visitation
when we host the 2024 IPW
conference. Brand USA is
working hard to ensure that
America is a must-see
destination and I do believe
that the U.S. as a whole will
experience visitor growth,
despite recent (poor) figures.
Food for thought
The 2019 Michelin Guide California -
the first Michelin guide to focus on
across the state are a true
testament to the diverse and
a specific region of the U.S. - was creative culinary scene in
publicised during IPW in Anaheim
at a ‘reveal event’ in Huntington
Beach, and includes 90 Michelinstar
California,” said Visit California
President & CEO Caroline Beteta.
“From three-star restaurants to
hole-in-the-wall taco shops,
Until this year, the guide only
covered restaurants in the San
California’s cuisine is fuelled by
an abundance of freshness, a
Francisco Bay area but has now fearless attitude and an
expanded to include Los Angeles,
San Diego, Orange County, Santa
excitement for experimentation
Barbara, Monterey and Visit California is also
Sacramento as well.
Included is the world’s only twostar
highlighting the state’s self-drive
appeal as part of its ‘Road Trip
Mexican restaurant: Republic’ initiative.
Californios (Chef Val Cantu) in San
Francisco, and the world’s only
Visitors can choose from 50
road excursions including the
two-star Indian restaurant: popular Highway One and Route
Campton Place (Chef Srijith 66 to the lesser-known Modoc
Gopinathan) also in San Francisco. County and Wild North Coast.
The guide also features 24 The initiative follows a 79%
restaurants in L.A.
“The stars awarded to the
world-class chefs and restaurants
increase in international travellers
choosing to embark on a road-trip.
Brand USA unites with new mobile content
Corporation has launched
a campaign to celebrate
the 50th anniversary of
its ‘Virginia is for lovers’
slogan. The campaign will
last until August 10 and
meals at restaurants,
bottled ‘lovers lagers’ and
various programmes and
events. The state also
features heavily in the
upcoming Wonder Woman
movie, which is due for
release in 2020.
The Colorado tourist
board highlighted its
Historic Hot Spring Loop
at IPW. The trail includes
five natural mineral hot
spring spots as part of a
720-mile loop in the
western part of the state.
Clients can soak in
relaxing baths at
considered the world’s
largest mineral hot
springs pool, as well as
stopping off at Steamboat
Springs, Ouray, Pagosa
Springs and Chaffee
The next IPW will be
held in the Las Vegas
Convention Centre from
May 30 to June 3, 2020.
How do you work with
We believe that travel agents
are an extension of L.A.
tourism and that is why we
continue to assist the trade in
selling with our robust
educational programmes, of
which we now have more
than 5,000 graduates.
The latest United Stories
campaign from Brand USA
uses visual content to offer a
first-person insight into the
Created by locals, influencers
and travellers alike, the short
videos can be downloaded via
a free app and will be used to
inspire international travellers.
“In the last year we have
hosted fam trips to all 50 states
and continue to grow our
toolkit with new content,” said
Brand USA’s Christopher L.
“Our goal is to be the go-to
channel for content featuring
the review: trade show report
Experience Latin America
The latest edition of ELA, the UK’s only travel trade show dedicated to this
region, was the most successful yet. Laura Gelder rounds up the news
gets the go-ahead
The Guyana Tourism
Authority (GTA) won
Sustainable Destination of
the Year at the 2019 LATA
announced at ELA.
According to LATA, the GTA
was awarded ‘for its
comprehensive approach to
sustainable tourism and for
launching a community-led
framework and toolkit aimed
at helping indigenous
communities to access the
benefits of tourism.’
Brian T. Mullis, Director of
the Guyana Tourism
Authority, said: “Guyana has
expended considerable effort
in recent years, not only to
develop an eco-friendly
tourism product but also to
tourism best practice into all
aspects of its tourism
“Guyana is committed to
maximising the positive
conservation outcomes from
tourism and it is a
tremendous honour for us to
receive this award in
recognition of that.”
Cruise shows growth
There was plenty of cruiserelated
news at ELA 2019.
Anakonda Amazon Cruises
now the umbrella brand for two
luxury cruise ships – the
36-passenger Anakonda and
28-capacity Manatee, the latter
the more adventurous option in
the Ecuadorian Amazon. It works
with indigenous communities,
offering cultural tours, wildlife
watching, canoeing and onboard
lectures and activities.
Antarctica 21’s (antarctica21.
com) new polar vessel, Magellan
Explorer, launches November 28,
with private balconies and a gym.
It’s the third in its fly/cruise fleet.
There’s a new fly/cruise
programme from One Ocean
flights from Punta Arenas to King
George Island and Santiago to
Stanley in the Falkland Islands.
20-suite Aqua Nera (pictured)
begins cruising the Peruvian
Amazon in August 2020, but is on
sale now, with a choice of six
DMC opens new experience in Ecuador’s Yasuni
Adventure Journeys has a new
experience in the Amazon Basin.
The Amazon Explorer Campsite
is reached by kayak and linked
with the local Kichwa tribal
community. It’s strongly focused
on conservation, offering
activities like tree-planting as
well as wildlife watching and
DMC Argentina Travel
Partners has a new oneday
tour of the jungle
around Iguazu Falls,
accompanied by a botanist.
Achamaqui in Northern
Peru touts the
Chachapoyas as a less
crowded alternative to
Macchu Picchu. The
31-room hotel works with
communites near the preincan
site, where the main
attractions are the Kuelap
fortress and Karajia
Specialist DMC Bolivia
Milenaria offers a new
glamping experience. The
takes guests to areas less
touched by tourism in
tents, offering safari-style
comfort with double beds.
Locations include the salt
flats, Lake Titicaca and
Madidi National Park.
refuses to sell the popular
Rainbow Mountain site in
Peru. The DMC claims that
it’s being damaged due to
America will be named the
LATA Expo in 2020 and
located at Chelsea Football
Club again. lata.travel
Ethiopia is renowned for its religious celebrations and rock- hewn churches.
Lynn Houghton joins Far and Wild for the Timket festival in Addis Ababa
The day dawns bright and warm for
Timket. About 60% of this Amharic
population are Eastern Orthodox and so
celebrate Epiphany (the coming of the
three kings from the east) in January.
After arriving in Addis Ababa I
immediately participated in a stirring
procession with chanting, drumming,
marching and loud throaty singing
from local church members, attired in
matching clothing and with synchronised
choreography. It was truly uplifting.
Now I am travelling up to Meda for
the main Timket service. The glint of the
early-morning sun shines off soaring
skyscrapers and what appear to be
Bedouin camps have goats milling about
and donkeys sheltering under tents as we
pass under the just-opened light rail.
This juxtaposition of rural and modern is
strange to foreigners but the norm here.
My tour guide, Assefa, warns me that
security will be tight. The church elders
are treated like celebrities, plus the Tabot
(Ark of the Covenant), will be protected
like the crown jewels. The one we will see
is a facsimile - the original is said to be in
Axum in the far north.
Red, green and yellow bunting is
fluttering and many are attired in the
national colours too, but most are wearing
white cotton embroidered robes. We arrive
at a compound where the faithful are
descending in droves.
Let the festival begin
I manage to manoeuvre my way toward
the enormous baptismal pool. The security
seems to generally ignore tourists once
TIME ZONE: GMT +3
CURENCY: Birr. £1 = 36 Birr
VISAS: Online/on arrival, $50
CAPITAL: Addis Ababa
LANGUAGES: English, Amharic
CLIMATE: Ethiopian Highlands'
dry season is September-June,
rainy season is July-August
BOOK IT: Far & Wild Travel
A CROSS BEARING ELDER
specialise in tailor-made
holidays plus small group
tours to Ethiopia with a Timket
Festival Tour priced from
GETTING THERE: Ethiopian
Airlines fly daily from
Heathrow and four times per
through the initial frisk down. Elders
attired in golden brocaded robes carry
filigree silver crosses that represent the
religious centres: Lalibela, Axum and
Gondar. The service entails low chanting
and singing of texts by these elders. Soon,
however, there is a loud commotion. A
soberly dressed churchman is dousing the
entire group of congregants with a hose! It
is a messy group baptism and young and
old alike push forward to participate.
week from Manchester to
Addis Ababa, starting at £455
STAY: The eco Simien Mountain
Lodge, located high in the
Simien National Park, helps
fund local community projects
and is close to wildlife such as
SHEPHERDS IN THE SIMIEN MOUNTAINS
CRUCIFORM CHURCH, LALIBELA
Now the festivities begin in earnest with
everyone taking part. Football pitches
are erected, and children ride farmers'
donkeys as if on a fairground ride. Tiny
BBQs are lit as Tibs (grilled meat) is
prepared and coffee beans roasted.
Injera, a spongy sour bread, is being
divvied up amongst family members. This
unusual pancake-like staple is used as
both a plate and an eating utensil.
Ethiopia is where coffee originated,
though its beginnings are disputed. Many
locals believe it was a goat herder more
than a thousand years ago who noticed
that his flock became agitated after eating
the ripe red beans. Hundreds of years ago,
Ethiopian warriors chewed the beans for
an adrenaline rush before a battle.
These days, there is a whole ritual
around making coffee and it is quite
the social occasion. Beans are roasted
on a fire, ground, mixed with water and
returned to the fire. The resulting divine
dark concoction is truly delicious and
how to sell
New South Wales
It has Australia’s urban crown as its main draw, but visitors who arrive in Australia via Sydney
might not know that New South Wales has enough to fill an entire holiday, says Laura Gelder
Why sell it
New South Wales (NSW) has a long coastline
dotted with numerous beaches and laidback
surf towns, plus sub-tropical rainforest,
a wine region, a red outback and even snowy
mountains – in short, plenty for agents in
the know to recommend to clients looking to
experience the state beyond the city.
Most people heading to Australia for the
first time are interested in Sydney and may
have heard of the Blue Mountains and
Hunter Valley, but despite it being home to
Australia’s most iconic city much of NSW is
This presents an opportunity for agents – a
destination with a famous, desirable and
easily accessible gateway combined with a
surrounding region which still manages to
offer off-the-beaten-track experiences.
Who to sell to
In short, everyone who wants to go to
Australia. But each region has a different
appeal and it will depend on where else in
Australia the client wishes to go, how much
time they have and if they've been before.
The Blue Mountains and outback region
of NSW offer old-fashioned charm and
historic interest, while the Hunter Valley
and Lord Howe Island are great for those
seeking indulgence and relaxation. Families
will appreciate beautiful beaches north and
south of the city, as well as in Sydney itself,
but the south is wilder and will appeal to
those looking to get away from the crowds.
LORD HOWE ISLAND
Selling the city
Sydney could occupy travellers for several
weeks alone, offering cosmopolitan draws
like shopping, art galleries and fine dining,
as well its many bays and beaches.
Icons like the Opera House and Sydney
Harbour Bridge sell themselves, and
beaches like Bondi and Manly are always
a hit, but agents who get to know the
city’s less obvious areas will attract repeat
visitors and travellers looking to break away
from the obvious. Up-and-coming areas
include artsy Chippendale, hip and historic
Paddington and foodie Surrey Hills.
CULTURAL TOUR IN DUBBO
Agents can impress clients and up their
commission by adding value to classic
attractions. A behind-the-scenes tour of
the Sydney Opera House with lunch, or
breakfast in the koala enclosure at Wild Life
Sydney Zoo, are two examples.
A more unusual way to see the city is an
aboriginal tour with Dreamtime Southern X,
where visitors learn the city’s sacred spots
and take part in an ancient ceremony.
Selling the coast
NSW’ Central Coast, between Sydney and
the state’s second-biggest city, Newcastle,
further north. Visitors can expect great
watersports opportunities, wildlife
spotting and plenty of charming towns for
swimming, fishing and surfing.
Wildlife lovers can head to the Australian
Walkabout Wildlife Park and stay overnight
in a cabin among the native animals.
Close by, the Australian Reptile Park has
demonstrations of snake handling and how
to milk venom from funnel-web spiders.
North of Newcastle coastal stops include
Port Stephens, where visitors can tour the
towering sand on quad bikes or 4WD; Coffs
Harbour which is a jumping-off point for
the Solitary Islands Marine Park and scuba
diving trips with turtles or dolphin watching;
how to sell 73
Port Macquarie, where a hospital treats
injured and sick koalas and welcomes
visitors; and Byron Bay, home to Australia’s
most easterly point and combining great
beaches and surf culture with a laid-back
but top-quality café scene and hippy vibes.
South of Sydney visit discover uncrowded
beaches, marine and national parks and
seaside towns and fishing villages like Eden,
which is stuffed to the gills with seafood
restaurants. The rugged coastline offers
adventures such as swimming with seals,
deep-sea fishing, coastal walks and surfing.
Top sights south from Sydney include
Wollongong, NSW’s third-largest city and
home to the largest Buddhist temple
in the Southern Hemisphere, as well as
adventure activities like hang gliding and
sky diving; Kiama and its blowhole, which
spouts seawater 20 metres into the air; the
attractive village of Berry, in the Shoalhaven
wine region and renowned for its local
produce markets and restaurants; and
Jervis Bay, which claims Australia’s whitest
sand and is a haven for dolphins, whales
Another seaside option is the exclusive
Lord Howe Island, where only 400 visitors
are allowed at a time. The island lies 600km
east of the mainland and is World Heritagelisted
thanks to its abundance of nesting
seabirds, corals and marine creatures.
Activities here include relaxing in luxury
accommodation with spa treatments,
enjoying the island's rainforest trails
(including or climbing Mount Gower for
panoramic views), and watersports like
scuba diving, paddle-boarding and kayaking
Selling the country
There are lots of great places which are a
short hop or even possible as a day tour
from the coast. From Sydney the Blue
Mountains are a popular option. These
get their name from the natural blue haze
SHOAL BAY, PORT STEPHENS
created by vast eucalypt forests whose oil
mixes with water vapour and sunlight to
produce a distinctive haze.
The area’s iconic sights include the Three
Sisters rock formation at Katoomba and the
limestone crystals and underground rivers
of the Jenolan Caves. Visitors can ride the
world’s steepest passenger railway through
ancient rainforest or take a glass-floored
cable car over a steep gorge.
The World Heritage-listed Gondwana
Rainforests are just off the North Coast
and encompass Dorrigo National Park near
Coffs Harbour, with waterfalls, walking and
From Byron Bay visitors can climb an
extinct volcano, Mount Warning, and be
the first in Australia to see the sun rise.
Just off the south coast is the Minnamurra
Rainforest. Inland from Newcastle is the
NSW’s oldest wine region, the Hunter Valley,
where visitors can tour vineyards and
sample local wines at cellar doors, including
Tyrrell’s, Brokenwood and McGuigan.
Other draws include award-winning
restaurants, championship golf courses,
gardens, farmers’ markets , food and music
festivals and activities like hot air balloon
rides and biking.
Further inland, Mudgee and Orange are
also wine regions, with numerous cellar
doors, wine bars and fine restaurants.
Much further inland, the vast NSW
outback has featured in films such as
the post-apocalyptic Mad Max 2 and
encompasses the ochre and red landscapes
Australia is known for, as well as wetlands
teeming with wildlife.
Remote mining town Broken Hill is 13
hours by train from Sydney and offers
heritage trails and film location tours.
There’s also othe pal mining town White
Cliffs, with its underground motel.
There’s also lots of Aboriginal history,
including ancient rock art in Mutawintji
National Park and Mungo National Park’s
famous remains of Mungo Man and Mungo
Lady, tens of thousands of years old.
How to sell it
Distances are vast in NSW but airlines,
including Qantas, fly to smaller cities
and towns including Coffs Harbour and
country music capital, Tamworth, and there
are trains to the Hunter Valley and Blue
Mountains from Sydney.
For self-drivers there are official
drive routes to follow, like the Legendary
Pacific Coast route, north from Sydney,
and Grand Pacific Drive south from
Sydney, which link attractions and
BOOK IT WITH... AUSTRAVEL
A 14-night Sydney, Coast, Wines and Mountains tour
is from £3,449pp with Emirates fiights. It includes
nights in Sydney at the QT Hotel, glamping in Jervis Bay,
Lilianfels Resort & Spa in the Blue Mountains, Zoofari
Lodge in Dubbo, Hunter Valley Resort, and Peppers
Anchorage in Port Stephens, plus a wine tour, and 12
days Avis car hire. austravel.com – 0808 250 4889
GDS | TRAINING | REWARDS
Training, competitions, events
THIS MONTH'S TOP STORIES July/August 2019
Saga launches its
Spirit of Discovery
Are you an
1. Alaska is
home to the
TRUE / FALSE
SAGA welcomed the latest
edition to its fleet, Spirit of
Discovery, by inviting hundreds of
trade partners aboard in Dover this
July for a showcase and party.
The ship, and its sister, Spirit of
Adventure, due to launch in August
2020, are the only small new luxury
ships being built for the British
market. Spirit of Discovery will sail
up to 1,000 passengers around the
world, along with 500 crew.
City break appeal
2. In Alaska
there is one
bear to every
TRUE / FALSE
Experience Jerusalem I Modules: 3
Jerusalem has established itself as a popular citybreak
destination as it attracts more mainstream
tourists. Eli Nahmias, of the Jerusalem Development
Authority, says it has shed its image of a city
that appeals to just religious pilgrims, saying:
"Now increasingly we are recognised as an
international destination brimming with cultural
attractions, top hotels and museums, arts,
nightlife and a calendar of great events.”
Eighteen new hotels are scheduled to open this
year and a major new attraction, the Museum of
Tolerance, which will 'promote unity and respect
among Jews and people of all faiths’, should open
before the end of 2019. experiencejerusalem.co.uk
Find the answer at:
VaKaVa by Jumeirah
Jumeirah at Etihad
Towers in Abu Dhabi has
teamed up with Mexican
celebrity chef Richard Sandoval
to open new restaurant VaKaVa
Pan Latin Grill & Lounge.
Taking the place of Toro Toro,
VaKaVa enjoys the same two-storey
views and has a new menu that
offers Latin dishes, sharing platters
and personalised cocktails.
Register and complete the TAWASH Online
Training Program for your chance to WIN!
One of two Go Pro HERO7 Cameras • One of three £100 Amazon Vouchers
Register or sign-in to the TAWASH Online Training Program to find out more
Register NOW to
*Terms and conditions apply
Training courses to help travel agents and advisers sell more!
Working in partnership
BOURNE Leisure is each
week giving away £100 in
Love2Shop vouchers as part of its
latest 'Unwrap the Great British
Every agent that registers a
Butlin’s, Haven or Warner Leisure
Hotels booking for guests travelling
through July and August will be in
with a chance of winning.
Three agents can scoop a share of
the £100 voucher prize pot each
week, with the amount given to
each agent varying from week to
week. During the incentive period
all winners will be chosen at
random and announced on a
weekly basis via Bourne’s Brainz
Agent Hub Facebook page. The
incentive runs until August 11.
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Carson Pass on
the crest of the
On the road in
From the depths of Lake Tahoe to the panoramic views of Yosemite National Park,
Jessica Pook takes to the road to discover the natural allure of the Golden State.
Shaded by a
Highway 1’s iconic
There’s a country song playing on the radio
about a guy who’s drinking whiskey to
soothe his broken heart. Normally I’d
sympathise, but today I’m in a Mustang with the
top down, winding my way along the west coast of
California, the scent of pine wafting through the
car like a natural air freshener.
On one side the trees are so dense I can
barely see beyond the first row
of trunks and on the other
side the Pacific Ocean
spans forever. I’m having
a Thelma and Louise
moment and no country
crooner can dampen my
As we cruise further up
Highway 1 we pull over
at a viewpoint just north
of San Simeon and join the
gathering of muscle cars that seem
to dominate this stretch of road. I soon realise why
this is such a popular pit stop. The radio is drowned
out by a loud chorus of honking caused by hundreds,
possibly thousands, of elephant seals, all wallowing
along the shoreline, fighting for that perfect
An eagle skims
the water’s edge before
taking fl ight in front
The journey inland towards Lake Tahoe makes for
a dramatic change in scenery. During the winter
months the lake serves as a popular ski resort and
it’s blanketed in snow from November until April.
Now it’s the middle of June, which sees highs of 25C
– but we’re still seeing patches of snow.
In reality, Lake Tahoe is 75 miles in length and
North America’s largest alpine lake, but search
for it on a map of California and it looks no bigger
than a teardrop! All that fresh water makes it too
tempting to take out a kayak and paddle around.
The clear water of the shallows turn eerily black
the deeper the patches I paddle through. The depth
of the lake has also tempted scuba divers and the
new Emerald Bay Maritime Heritage Trail explores
sunken boats and barges which lie undisturbed up
to 60 feet below the surface.
Back on shore we’re met by Mike Frye from the
South Lake Tahoe Tourist Board and
taken on a gentle hike through a
forest floor scattered with wild
flowers and pine cones the
size of a rugby ball!
While we’re rambling I’m
so busy intently listening to
tales of bears breaking into
houses and wrecking cars that
I nearly miss a break in the trees
offering the most breathtaking
view of the smaller Fallen Leaf Lake,
the reflection of snow-covered mountains
rippling on the surface.
The bear stories continue and I learn that this area
is a hive of wildlife activity in the spring, thanks to
the salmon that gets caught in the weir. As if on cue,
an eagle skims the water’s edge before taking flight
in front of me. It might not be a bear but I’m ok
about that considering my current situation.
South Lake Tahoe teeters on the state line between
California and Nevada and a trip across the border
to Heavenly Valley, just a 10-minute drive from the
quiet, lakeside views of the Azure Hotel where I’m
staying, gives a small insight into a state known for
its blackjack and roulette.
Call of the wild
While I was impressed with Highway 1 and its
ocean views, the journey from Tahoe to Sonora
takes me completely by surprise. What started off
my journey 77
Refl ections on nature
at Lake Tahoe
The awesome power of water at
as an A to B drive turns into the most breathtakingly
scenic passage – dare I say it, even more so than the
Big Sur. We stop at Caples Lake and I can’t help but
investigate what looks like white foam floating on the
surface. Upon closer inspection I realise its ice and
I’m somewhat confused to be standing in shorts and
a t-shirt next to a lake that has blocks of frozen water
floating across the surface!
When we reach Sonora it feels as if we’ve stepped
back in time to the days of the Wild West. The Sonora
Inn, just an hour from Yosemite National Park, has the
charm of days gone by and I half expect to encounter
a cowboy in the corridor as he saunters to the very
real saloon across the road.
Yosemite National Park has been on my bucket list
since I first heard about the giant sequoia trees that
have been rooted here for thousands of years. While
Mariposa Grove is the largest and most popular in the
park - home to characters such as the Grizzly Giant,
the Faithful Couple and The Bachelor and Three
Graces - Tuolume Grove, near the west edge of the
park, offers just as impressive trunks but is generally
less busy so you can enjoy these majestic giants
without the crowds.
Aside from the trees, the park offers visitors a
natural oasis of scenic hikes, towering waterfalls and
sheer cliff edges, most recently highlighted in the
National Geographic documentary film Free Solo.
which follows rock climber Alex Honnold on his quest
to perform a climb of El Capitan without ropes – it’s
not easy watching.
The view from the top of Glacier Point certainly
commands your attention. With panoramic vistas of
the park, it’s worth the half-hour drive to get to.
The drama of Half Dome, with its distinct stone face
looming and the pounding Yosemite Falls, leaves me
questioning if they are actually real. It’s a view that no
camera can do justice to.
As we leave the park, which takes a solid hour due
to the sheer size of it, I feel naive that I’ve tried to ‘do’
Yosemite in two days and find myself determined to
return for a dedicated week-long camping trip. But
before we reach the exit, something catches my eye
in one of the meadows. Sure enough, it’s a grizzly
bear, chomping away at the grass, undeterred by the
audience that it has now attracted. It may not be as
impressive as Mike’s story, but I’m just chuffed to
have enjoyed and survived my own bear encounter. •
WHERE TO BOOK IT
Vacations to America has two road trips,
both starting in San Francisco, which
offer elements of this trip. The 14-day
Classic California, from £2,769pp,
takes in Highway 1 including Monterey,
Carmel and Big Sur, before ending in Los
The 11-day Golden West, from £2,385pp,
has three nights in Yosemite before
heading to Death Valley and Las Vegas.
Sunbathing next to
snow at Caples Lake
As South Africa’s Blue Train moves from a one- to a two-night
experience, Phoebe Smith jumps onboard to discover the
ultimate slow travel experience
south africa 79
There’s something mesmerising
about the sound of a train
pushing its way along a track.
I remember when I was a little girl, my
mother would tell me to listen carefully
to hear the locomotive talking to itself,
uttering the words ‘I think I can, I know
I can’ as it went.
As I got older trains somehow lost their
magic, being merely a means to an end,
crammed full of commuters. So when
I received an invitation to travel across
the expanse of South Africa on a twonight
journey by rail it was – perhaps
understandably - met with a certain
amount of trepidation. But this was no
Palace on wheels
First established back in 1923 as the
Union Express, it was a vital link between
Johannesburg and Cape Town, allowing
post to reach the waiting mail ships.
The journey back then was all about
function until, following a suspended
service during WWII, it was resurrected
in 1946 with its distinct blue-and-cream
livery, a luxury overhaul and a new name –
The Blue Train. This was to be a true ‘palace
on wheels’ and large on luxury.
From the private lounge at Cape
Town station, where we toast with pink
Champagne as a jazz musician plays the
saxophone, a blue-blazered butler leads
me to my cabin. He opens the door to
reveal a sumptuous suite consisting of two
large armchairs that fold into twin beds,
a table where a bottle of fizz chills, and a
bathroom complete with a walk-in shower.
But the real show-stopper is the huge
picture window that makes the in-room
entertainment system instantly redundant.
As we roll out of the city, with the cloud
spooling over the top of Table Mountain,
the urban sprawl gives way to farmland,
vineyards and mountain passes. I’m
mesmerised by the ever-changing palette –
from greens to golds, grape to granite.
“It used to be a bit of a rushed journey
– luxurious but fast,” explains the train
manager as we sit in the lounge car
enjoying an aperitif before dinner.
“Now, however, with the two-night
journey time. it’s about allowing guests to
have the space to properly unwind.”
The food is as glorious as the scenery.
Dishes of smoked salmon, pan-fried steak
and biltong flakes are whipped out from
a kitchen smaller than my cabin, each
paired with lovely local wines and followed
by a dessert bonanza of chocolate cigars,
hot fudge pudding and deconstructed
Despite the mesmerising flavours, I can’t
help but gaze out at the mountains as we
reach the Karoo plateau, where the grey is
transformed into pink as dusk falls.
I wake early, raise my blind and lie in bed,
simply watching the world go by. Breakfast
is not at a set time so I head to the dining
car when I feel hungry and later call my
butler for an in-room coffee.
“Cape Town is perfect for
slowing down. You could
spend a few nights in
downtown then head out to
Camps Bay for gorgeous
sunsets and endless
Jonny May, Audley Travel
The one stop on this journey is at
Kimberley, famed for its diamond mines. A
waiting tour bus whisks us away from the
train to the Big Hole. This massive mining
crater is 214 metres deep and filled with
water that has a surface area the same
size as five football fields.
As I look down at this man-made
excavation I notice my usual hurried
pace has been replaced by a much more
laid-back meander – it’s as though I’m
channelling the speed of the train despite
having left it. By the time I step back
onboard I’m ready to do more of what this
whole experience is about – nothing at all.
I head to the observation car at the back
of the train and, with a drink in hand,
watch the setting sun. My journey will
come to an end the following morning,
rolling back towards the urban, as I pass
through Johannesburg to end in Pretoria.
From there I will head four hours west, for
a safari in Madikwe Reserve. But you
THE BLUE TRAIN
WILDLIFE SPOTTING IN MADIKWE NATURE RESERVE
can combine the Blue Train with Kruger
National Park, the Garden Route along the
Eastern Cape, as well as the Hoedspruit
and Sabie areas of the north coast of
For now, I watch a cluster of pink
flamingos on the lake. With our
increasingly fast-paced lives, slow travel
offers something that no other experience
really can; the chance to disconnect
from technology, to reconnect with the
landscape, and to realise that the journey
really can be the destination.
Ideas for slow South Africa
A sidecar tour from Cape Town:
Someone else worries about the
driving while guests simply sit back and
take in the sights, smells and sounds as
the little motorcycles travel down the
coast at a leisurely speed, taking in views
(including a stop for a Champagne
breakfast), Victorian seaside towns and
South African penguins at Boulders Beach,
before ending with a toast and local wine
A multi-day safari: Just four hours
on good roads from Jo’burg is
Madikwe Nature Reserve, a place where
the Magnificent Seven roam – including
elephant, rhinos, lion, buffalo, leopard,
cheetah and African wild dog. Royal
Madikwe Lodge is situated by a prime
waterhole where, after undertaking
sunrise and sunset drives, guests are
encouraged to grab a sundowner and
watch the wildlife come to them.
Tuk-tuk tour in Soweto: Sick of
being gawped at by coach tour
tourists snapping photos of them as
though on a human safari, locals in
Soweto decided it was time for a change
and provide a more authentic experience.
Buying a fleet of bikes and three tuk-tuks,
they now offer visitors a local view of the
famous township, telling stories and
offering the chance to actually meet and
talk to the locals too.
Where to book it
CARRIER – 0161 492 1353
The seven-night Window to the Soul of
South Africa holiday is priced from £3,185pp,
based on two adults sharing. It includes
two nights’ B&B in a one-bedroom luxury
apartment at More Quarters in Cape Town,
two nights’ full-board in a Deluxe Suite on
The Blue Train from Cape Town to Pretoria,
two nights’ all-inclusive in a Luxury Suite at
Royal Madikwe Luxury Safari Lodge and one
night B&B in a Luxury Suite at The Saxon
Boutique Hotel & Spa in Johannesburg.
Plus fast track service and lounge access at
Heathrow, return flights with South African
Airways and private road transfers within
the destination. carrier.co.uk.
BLUE TRAIN SERVICE WITH A SMILE
THE PICTURESQUE VILLAGE STATION OF MATJIESFONTEIN
the final word 81
the quirky side of travel
Tea for TUI
As a tea-loving nation it comes as no
surprise that we drink an excessive
amount of the stuff, and this doesn't
change when we take flight. According
to TUI, British travellers love nothing
more than a nice brew. The airline
estimates that over the summer period
TUI Airways customers will drink
enough English breakfast tea to fill 920
bathtubs. We are also a fan of snacking
and are expected to eat enough ham
and cheese toasties to feed Wembley
Stadium twice, along with a marathon
amount of Sour Cream & Chive Pringle
- literally! Put back-to-back, the pots
would span the entire London Marathon
route. You know what they say - once
you pop, you can't stop...
Around 80% of Brits have experienced
a life-changing 'sliding doors moment',
says rail company LNER, referring to
the film Sliding Doors which shows two
versions of a life, depending on whether
a train was missed or not. LNER's survey
revealed that one in 20 came home
earlier than expected and caught their
partner cheating, just like poor Gwyneth
Paltrow in the film. lner.co.uk
Mum over mates
First Choice has revealed that over
three-quarters of young adults are
opting to go on holiday with their
parents. Whilst 23% admitted it's to
save money (thanks to the bank of
mum and dad), 62% simply enjoy
spending quality time with their
parents. They’re not taking mum to
Magaluf, though – parents are finding
new confidence to travel to long-haul
Top 5... most
expensive taxi fares
According to Taxi2airport.com, the country
with the most expensive taxi fare is
Switzerland, at £20.25 for 5km, compared to
just 75 pence for the same journey in Egypt!
Here's a list of the most pricey 5km drives...
1 Switzerland: £20.25
2 Japan: £13.97
3 Germany: £12.32
4 Netherlands: £11.97
5 Belgium: £11.52
THE SEPTEMBER 2019 ISSUE OF SELLING TRAVEL WILL FEATURE: Cyprus • Over 50s travel • Peru • South Florida • South Pacific • Weddings & Honeymoons •
CONTACT US firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com
PLUS ONLINE Daily Selling Tips • Destination Guides • Photo Galleries • Travel Uni
2020 Americas Collection – NOW ON SALE
Choose to book with Scenic on an escorted tour of The Americas, where
exclusive excursions, selected dining experiences and the intimacy of small
group travel come as standard, as well as all flights, transfers and tips.
Your guests will have unprecedented access to some of North and South America’s most
treasured destinations, as their exclusive Scenic Enrich and flexible Scenic Freechoice
programs open up possibilities that may otherwise have been unavailable. From stargazing
suppers with astronomers at Jasper Dark Sky Preserve and dining on the rim of the incredible
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Sundowners at the top of Sugarloaf Mountain, we guarantee they will be moments they’ll
Uncompromising on luxury, we include stays in some of the most iconic hotels and are the
only UK tour operator to have partnered with Fairmont Hotels and Resorts. Guests will stay in
upscale timber lodges in the Alaskan wilderness, in the heart of a Patagonian national park,
or somewhere exuding energy like the Bellagio on the Las Vegas strip.
They’ll take to the water in luxury and cruise with world-renowned cruise lines, like Holland
America Line and Oceania, travel in GoldLeaf service on board the Rocky Mountaineer, and
navigate the route to Machu Picchu with PeruRail.
The inspiring landscapes, from top to bottom of these two colossal continents, are just waiting
to be explored, and what better way to do so than in true Scenic luxury?
EXPLORE THE AMERICAS IN 2020
15-day Canadian Castles & Alaskan Cruise
Calgary > Vancouver Departing May – August 2020
24-Day Icons of Western Canada & Alaskan Cruise
Victoria > Vancouver Departing April – September 2020
23-Day The Best of America’s National Parks
Calgary > Las Vegas Departing May – September 2020
13-Day Tales of the Deep South
Atlanta > New Orleans Departing April – August 2020
19-Day Icons of South America
Lima > Buenos Aires Departing March – October 2020
22-Day Icons of South America & Amazon Cruise
Lima > Buenos Aires Departing May & October 2020
25-Day Icons of South America & Galápagos Cruise
Guayaquil > Buenos Aires Departing March – October 2020
From £7,745 pp
5-Star Luxury Inclusions:
Return flights from Heathrow, as
well as selected regional airports
The intimacy of smaller group sizes
with a maximum of 24 guests on all
South America itineraries and on
selected North America itineraries
Stays at the exclusive Fairmont
Hotels & Resorts
GoldLeaf Service on board Rocky
Luxury cruise of the Amazon
Galápagos Islands deluxe
Scenic Enrich – unforgettable
and exclusive once-in-a-lifetime
Scenic Freechoice – a choice of
flexible excursions and dining
options throughout the journey
Scenic Sundowners – exclusive
hosted evening drinks in
memorable locations (South
Scenic Special Stays – iconic
hotels remarkable for their location,
character and heritage
Fully escorted touring
Expert tour directors and guides
Locally based operations teams
All internal flights
And of course all tipping and gratuities
Book the ultimate in luxury, call: 0808 115 0463
Get in touch with your local Sales Manager at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Terms and conditions: Offers are applicable from 4 July until 31 August 2019. ^Private door-to-door chauffeur transfers are complimentary within 75 miles of an airport where flights are available
from. For guests who live outside of 75 miles, an additional supplement of £2.00 per mile will be charged. Loyalty members who already receive this benefit will receive an additional discount.
Be inspired by...
Trends in touring • Touring four ways • Interview: Shearings Holidays
• Fresh touring ideas • Take five: off-the-beaten track tours •
TRENDS IN TOURING
Once synonymous with passive 'herded' groups, there’s now a touring product to
fit a wider range of clients, and a growing demand to tap into, says Debbie Ward
The touring market continues
to break down into tighter
segments with size, transport and
demographics still fragmenting.
“The concept of touring has evolved over
recent years, from the traditional escorted
coach tour carrying 50-plus passengers to a
more flexible and dynamic product range,”
explains Travel 2’s Senior Product and
Commercial Manager for Touring, Europe
and Cruise, Mark Henderson.
Anything from rail to trekking and many
special interests are now covered, he points
out, adding, “a key change is the degree of
flexibility now available within tours. This
includes more time for customers to add on
experiences tailored to their interests.”
This is part of a wider shift towards smallgroup
touring, believes Explore Worldwide’s
Global Head of Sales, Ben Ittensohn, with
even traditional coach operators having to
fragment and personalise their product to
“People are now seeing how much closer
you can get to destinations, culture and
local life in a small group,” he says.
The shift appears to be influenced by the
wider trend for authenticity. “Experiential
tours, whether food-, walking-, cultural- or
multi-sport-based are consistently growing
as travellers are interested in experiencing
the real day-to-day atmosphere and
ambience of a destination,” says Henderson.
In response to demand for more varied
tours Ramblers Walking Holidays has added
mindfulness and wellbeing, bird watching,
and skills like navigation.
“Clients are also looking for memorable,
low-impact, environmentally aware
experiences," says Sales and Reservations
Manager, Paco Gonzalez. “They expect to
come back from the break with the feeling
they’ve gained a sense of accomplishment.”
Increasingly, socially conscious travellers
seek out community projects, says Travel 2.
And Explore notes that responsible travel
is now ‘more relevant’ to consumers than
it was even five years ago. Though social
awareness is a factor, the experiential travel
boom is also fuelled by bragging rights,
“This year we launched a trip to Lebanon
and sales have just gone through the roof.
It’s social currency to say you’ve just done
eight days in Lebanon or five in Chernobyl,”
Touring operators’ high repeat booking
rates also drive innovation. “Some 21% of
our travellers last year had done 10 or more
trips with us so you can see we have a real
need to keep developing programmes,”
Northern Peru is among the off-the-beaten
track destinations tipped for growth by
Journey Latin America.
South Africa, Japan, Jordan and Lebanon
are, meanwhile, selling strongly for Explore.
It anticipates further Middle East growth
and hopes for a return to form for Sri
Lanka too. Good-value Turkey is also doing
well and operators predict other shorthaul
demand will bounce back as ‘Brexit
As ever, film and TV coverage has an
effect. Demand for Explore’s Chernobyl
tour quadrupled after the HBO/Sky miniseries
about the nuclear disaster.
Judi Dench's recent programme about
Borneo and its lovable orangutans has
driven significant sales to the Malaysian
CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: Jordan's famous lost city of Petra; Turkish resort Oludeniz; bird watching is becoming more popular; Thailand's Koh Lipe
island, according to Mercury Holidays
and Shearings Holidays.
Self-drives are increasingly popular with
those who enjoy travelling independently
while tapping into an operators’
expert know-how, and infrastructure
improvements help boost this market.
“Over the decades, improvements to Latin
America’s growing network of paved roads
have really opened up the region to this
style of holiday,” says Journey Latin America
ABOVE: Lost City of Kuelap, Northern Peru
Business Development Manager, Laura
Rendell-Dunn. “In Ecuador, for example,
recent improvements to Route 45 mean that
places once almost inaccessible to visitors
are now brought within easy reach of
popular Quito and the country’s principal
Time poor but tech savvy
Today’s travellers want to maximise their
experiences of a destination by being on
“Nowadays, clients usually travel for two
or three weeks at a time where 40 years ago
we offered a six-week escorted group tour
that covered Brazil, Paraguay, Bolivia and
Peru and was hugely popular,” points out
Clients are also better informed. Ramblers
says even its predominantly 50+ customers
do thorough internet research before
booking. A recent survey of 2,000 millennial
travellers by TrekAmerica meanwhile found
Instagram was a travel driver for 25% of this
age group – something agents could use to
their own advantage when targeting sales.
ABOVE: Lebanon's appeal includes bragging rights
Flying solo… or as a family
Solo travel is a key recent touring trend.
Explore’s Ittensohn says that although
the reasons are unclear, female client
numbers have also risen, perhaps because
women like the security of travelling with
others. He adds that with more short tours
available, those with partners with different
travel interests feel comfortable taking a
few days away on their own.
Agents can court this market by
NO-ONE INCLUDES MORE
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Over 91% would travel with us again
OUR PRICE PROMISE #
The lowest prices you’ll find or your money
OVER 39 YEARS OF TRAVEL
Award-winning service from travel specialists
you can trust
Included in all
• Local English Speaking guides
• All excursions and entry fees
• Accomodation and selected
• Return flights from UK airports
• All internal travel included
• Full holiday protection
CONTACT AGENCY SALES FOR MORE DETAILS: 01732 775 009
#Applies to like-to-like holidays, documentary proof of lower price must be provided within 24 hour. See website for full terms & conditions.
Untitled-1 1 10/07/2019 08:58
ABOVE: Chenobyl - seeing strong growth since the TV mini-series
understanding single supplement options.
Some small group operators waive this
for travellers who will share rooms. Some
have no single supplements on certain
Family touring is also on the rise. Travel 2
is expanding product to meet what it sees as
the key 2019/2020 trend.
“Families are now looking to travel on
more experiential-based holidays and we
have some great partners that we work with
to deliver this,” says Henderson.
Explore also notes the boom, with
Thailand and Turkey proving popular.
“We’ve seen double-digit growth this year.
People want to get their children away from
their screen and out doing fun activities like
kayaking,” says Ittensohn.
Agents can entice families by stressing
how group touring takes the strain off
parents, he advises.
The age demographic is also shifting. “The
average age of a tour customer is midfifties
but this is something that’s certainly
changing. I was recently on a Vietnam tour
and I happened to be the oldest person
at 40,” says Henderson. “The youngest
customer was 19 but the group was
harmonious as we all had similar interests.”
He predicts average ages will continue to
drop thanks to today’s more immersive tour
Agents often need to be proactive to sell
tours. Explore encourages retailers to use
the demand for new experiences to their
advantage, tempting clients with unusual
destinations and activities they can access
most easily with organised tours. Agents
should also join touring associations
to network with specialists, Explore’s
And Travel 2’s Henderson suggests agents
ask clients their interests and hobbies and
then match them to tours designed with the
same niche in mind.
Titan’s Head of Trade Sales Edwina
Coppock points out that touring is a quick
and easy way for agents to sell a multicentre
holiday without days of research.
She adds: “Don’t just wait for a customer
to ask for an escorted tour. They may
initially only know that they want to visit a
ABOVE: South Africa is a classic touring destination
Spirit of Discovery is here!
Book online at sagaagents.co.uk, call FREE on 0800 074 8021
or contact Trade Support FREE on 0800 068 8732
Visit our online training platform at sagaexperts.co.uk
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Image credit: Chris Ison
Saga holidays and cruises are exclusively for the over 50s. A travel companion may be 40+. NTA-SC2851
TOURING FOUR WAYS
Agents can sell tours under many different guises and for varied tastes and
interests, Debbie Ward outlines four styles
Trekking Tanzania's Kilimanjaro is a popular G Adventures trip
G Adventures (gadventures.co.uk) includes many active
tours, some specifically for ‘18 to 30-somethings’,
including serious trekking options in Kilimanjaro,
Nepal and Patagonia, the latter offering clients the
chance to raft in Glacier National Park.
Intrepid (intrepidtravel.com) encourages
adventurous travellers to take to two wheels, with
cycling tours in the Balkans, Vietnam, Cuba, Iran,
Tanzania and the lesser-cycled but trending Japan.
Routes here link Kyoto with Tokyo and the Noto
Peninsula, with optional electric bikes to take some of
Medium-haul Costa Rica is a manageable adventure
holiday for families offered by Explore (explore.co.uk)
and Exodus (exodus.co.uk). Explore’s 14-night Family
Rainforest Adventure includes treks to see sloths
and howler monkeys. An 11-day trip to Borneo with
Intrepid Travel (intrepidtravel.com) takes in an orangutan
rehabilitation centre plus proboscis monkeys.
Journey Latin America (journeylatinamerica.co.uk) has
a newly-launched tour called Self-drive Ecuador: The
Back Road of the Andes. This heads off the beaten
track, winding its way south from Quito’s high Andean
plateau to the rainforest of the Amazon basin in 10
days. It uses the newly improved scenic Route 45, with
clients staying in forest lodges on the way and taking
opportunities for wildlife spotting and river rafting.
Closer to home, Regent Holidays (regent-holidays.
co.uk) has self-drive itineraries around the mountain
passes and glaciers of Norway and the ancient villages
and beaches of Montenegro, both over eight days.
Kuoni’s (kuoni.co.uk) flexible Australian self-drive
holidays can be made by car, with pre-booked,
accommodation, or by motorhome. Among the less
obvious suggested routes is an Outback self-drive
over 22 nights from Perth to Darwin, taking in Karinji
National Park, the striped rock formations of the Bungle
Bungles and staying two nights at El Questro ranch,
besides coastal stays at Broome and Monkey Mia.
Regent Holidays offers self-drive options in Norway
While many escorted tours are likely to include a mix
of solos, couples and friends, Saga (saga.co.uk) is one of
the operators offering dedicated solo departures.
Options include a Southern Italian and Sicilian
Adventure over 12 nights, covering the trending but
lesser-known area at the heel of Italy. Wine tasting on
the foothills of Mount Vesuvius is among the highlights.
Further off the beaten track it also has a 10-night Heart
of the Silk Route solo tour of Uzbekistan, which takes in
Samarkand, famed for its Islamic mosaic work.
Solo departures from Titan Travel (titantravel.co.uk)
include California and the Golden West in the US,
incorporating Vegas and Yosemite, and trips to the
Foothills of the Himalayas in India.
Great-value Turkey is among the solo departures for
On the Go tours (onthegotours.com), which has a 10-day
‘Unplugged’ trip taking in Istanbul, Cappadocia and the
WWI landing site at Gallipoli, with no single supplement
if clients room share with another of the same sex.
Client ages range from 18 to 70-plus.
Riviera (rivieratravel.co.uk) has a solo travellers forum
for online travel chat and no single supplement on its
solo departures. These include several Italy options
plus New York, Sri Lanka and a Grand Tour of China.
Saga offers a solo tour of Uzbekistan
South Africa continues to trend this year, partly thanks
to improved airlift. Kuoni (kuoni.co.uk) has a sevennight
escorted Essential South Africa tour combining
three nights in Cape Town with two at Stellenbosch in
the Winelands and an optional Eastern Cape safari, visit
to Victoria Falls, or a three-night add-on in Mauritius.
For the ultimate cash-rich- time-poor clients,
Abercrombie & Kent (abercrombiekent.co.uk) has a
new round-the-world by private jet tour for 2019,
stopping at Kyoto in Japan; the Gobi Desert in Mongolia;
Kathmandu and Mount Everest in Nepal; Bhutan; the
Taj Mahal in India; Abu Dhabi; Petra and Wadi Rum in
Jordan; Sicily; and Seattle and Boston in the U.S..
Less typical places to see in style include Albania,
featured by Cox & Kings (coxandkings.co.uk) in its
eight-night Land of the Eagle tour, and Moldova and the
Ukraine, including caviar tasting.
Many luxury-slanted operators offer private touring
with a drive/guide on certain itineraries.
And for something totally different, Wendy Wu
(wendywutours.co.uk) has a unique Big Fat Indian
Wedding trip departing this November that includes an
invite to a lavish wedding reception.
Be a guest at a lavish Indian wedding with Wendy Wu
TALKING TO... SHEARINGS HOLIDAYS
Don’t define your customers
by their age, it’s all about
mindset and their personal
passions and interests
Touring is in vogue! People lead busy lives
so they’re looking for a holiday that’s easy
and touring makes sure they can get the best
value, money-wise but also in terms of time, because
they can more easily pack in all the must-see sights.
There’s a misconception about coach tours because
people remember what they travelled in for school.
Our coaches are up-to-date Mercedes Benz; the seat
pitch is larger than an airline’s and seats have lateral
movement. We also offer wifi and an entertainment
system, Roadshow, which lets travellers access films,
TV, podcasts and more through their own devices.
Today it’s all about personalisation, so we offer Tour
and Explore packages which travel from place to
place; or Stay and Discover itineraries based in one
hotel with tours going out every day. There are pre- or
post-tour stays available too.
The perception of coach touring is that you’re
herded around in a big crowd and that’s the myth
Yellowstone National Park
YEARS IN THE
(love the food & wine)
TRAVEL DISASTER :
Forgetting my driving
licence on a fly-drive
(hubby took the wheel!)
that agents need to dispell. The only thing that’s
prescriptive about a coach tour is the travel itself.
Once you reach the destination you have freedom
– some people might do a walking tour, some will
explore independently and others may have prebooked
an extra excursion. If they wish, travellers can
just use the coach as a way to get from A to B.
Our Grand Tourer brochure is all about authenticity.
It has all the traditional stops like the Vatican in Rome
or the Eiffel Tower in Paris, but we’ve added curated
elements that give a touch of local authenticity, such
as wine tasting in a chateau.
America is our most popular touring destination but
in Europe Italy comes top and in the UK, Scotland.
Borneo, launched a year ago, is growing in popularity
and has been boosted by Judi Dench’s documentary.
TV is a big influencer and agents should pay close
attention to what their customers may be watching.
The future of touring
We have lots of ideas on how to make tours more
individual and by 2020 agents will see more ways
to de-package, meaning they can mix and match
elements for a bespoke holiday. We’ll also be utilising
technology in our tours.
The goal is to broaden our appeal, although our core
market remains the over 55s. But don't define your
customers by their age, it’s all about mindset and their
personal passions and interests and our brochure
signposting aims to highlight each tours' focus.
An escorted tour is an end-to-end experience
and agents can get commission on all of it. We offer
great trade concessions because there’s nothing like
experiencing the product and if agents can offer firsthand
feedback that’s much more compelling
than a website. It’s all about adding value
and understanding what’s included.
From Antrim to Antarctica, whether you dream of seeing Orangutans in the jungles of Borneo or
learning about the history of Budapest, a Shearings escorted tour provides you with the freedom,
fl exibility and opportunity to explore all corners of the world. With over 1,000 expertly-planned
itineraries visiting almost 200 destinations on all seven continents, the world is waiting!
Fancy taking to the water or visiting somewhere closer to home, then look no further. We are one of the best in the
business for our Britain and Ireland escorted tours, in addition to offering an unrivalled range of 62 European and
worldwide river cruise itineraries across 32 stunning ships, plus 20 ocean cruises.
Sit back, relax and let us handle the details whilst you marvel at famous sights, natural wonders
and hidden treasures- all brought to life by our tour managers and specialist local guides.
17 DAYS FROM
Scandinavia & Land Of Midnight Sun
Join our epic journey beyond the Arctic
Circle, through some of the most breathtaking
and unspoilt scenery. Passing stunning fjord
landscapes and quaint fi shing villages along
our way, this will give us a wonderful taste of
what Scandinavia has to offer. Explore historic
capital cities, each with a unique character
and experience the spectacular natural
phenomenon of the ‘Midnight Sun’.
16 DAYS FROM
Rome, Sorrento & Amalfi Coast
Join us on this fantastic holiday and enjoy
a stay in the stylish resort of Sorrento with
its cafes and shops. Admire the stunning
Amalfi coast, home to some of the
most breath-taking scenery in the world
and discover the iconic sights of the
‘Eternal City’ of Rome, one of the most
photographed cities in the world.
Best of Enchanting Ireland
13/15 DAYS FROM
A land built on myths and legends and
sustained by local charm and hospitality,
the Emerald Isle is a place of stories.
Create your own with our tour around the
wild landscapes. dramatic seascapes and
the charismatic towns, and perhaps share
a tale or two over a pint of the ‘black stuff’.
May – July 2020
Also available by air
April – October 2020
May – September 2020 BY COACH
Also available by air
13 DAYS FROM
22 DAYS FROM
12 DAYS FROM
From the big cities, rural countryside and
history of the USA’s East Coast we cross
the border to Canada’s historic eastern
cities and the majesty of Niagara Falls that
spans the borders. We travel from city to
monument to natural wonders, immersed
in the beauty of these two countries.
New Zealand By Rail, Cruise & Coach
Discover both of New Zealand’s beautiful
islands on this tour, which includes 4
breathtaking rail journeys and 4 cruises.
From Maori traditions to British treaties, we
travel by rail, cruise and coach to see
geyers, glaciers and wildlife to give you an
authentic experience of the land of the
long white cloud.
From tropical rainforests to idyllic beaches,
experience exotic Borneo’s nature and
wilderness fi rst hand. With no less than 3
included river cruises, you will have plenty
of chances to spot the array of wildlife
that inhabits this mesmerising land, not to
mention the chance to view the infamous
April – September 2020
Sep - Nov 2019 - Jan - May 2020 • BY AIR
8 Sept 2019, 10 Jun & 15 Sept 2020 • BY AIR
The UK’s largest escorted tour company
Over 100 years
from £65pp *
Trusted hotels in
pick up points
Flexible travel options by
coach, car, air and rail
Up to 20kg luggage
included in price †
Award Winning Holidays
Need to talk to us online – visit shearingsagent.com
and talk to us via webchat
Terms and conditions apply. All prices are from prices and based on 2 people sharing a standard twin/double room.
Single/room/cabin/fl ight supplements may apply. *£65pp deposit is based on UK coach holidays of 2 - 5 days only. †On UK and
European coach holidays only. Prices correct as of 01/07/19. E&OE
FRESH TOURING IDEAS
Off the back of Judi Dench's Wild Borneo Adventure,
Titan Travel has launched a 13-day Wild Borneo
tour. Exploring both the rivers and rainforest, it
offers wildlife encounters with orangutan and the
world's smallest bear. titantravel.co.uk
Dream Yacht Charters offers
seven-day sailing itineraries
across the Mediterranean.
Island hopping around Croatia
involves exploring uninhabited
islands and protected coves,
avoiding all the tourist traps.
As Italy celebrates the year of 'slow tourism', why
not ease the pace and enjoy Tuscany by rail. Planet
Rail offers six nights at the Relais dei Molini, a
rural house set among olive trees. planetrail.co.uk
Dine in period-style cars and sleep in luxurious
Gold category rooms on Rovos Rail’s new
Shongololo Express during an 18-night luxury
journey across South Africa. saga.co.uk
© SAGA/ SHONGOLOLO EXPRESS
Dive Worldwide offers yearround
diving in the UNESCO
Biosphere Reserve at Fakarava
atoll, part of the Tuamotu
group. Expect shark encounters
and humpback whales.
Rainbow Tours' new 12-day Colours of Colombia small-group
tour begins in Bogotá before heading through the coffee region’s
emerald hills to Caribbean Cartagena. Highlights include the
underground Zipaquira Salt Cathedral. rainbowtours.co.uk
Is there anything more festive than a German Christmas
market tour featuring Aled Jones? The four-day trip features
a Christmas concert in Cologne’s Trinitatiskirche church,
featuring The Snowman singer himself. arenatravel.com
AROUND THE WORLD
Shearings Holidays has an Around the
World in 30 Days tour. The whirlwind
trip includes visits to New York and Los
Angeles before clients jet off to New
Zealand’s North Island. Clients will
also get to see the Blue Mountains, just
outside of Sydney, followed by Hong
Kong and Singapore, before finishing on
safari in South Africa. shearingsagent.com
Thanks to its mainly flat terrain, cycling
is a great way to explore Latvia, Lithuania
and Estonia. The 11-day Cycle Tour in the
Baltics starts in Lithuania's capital, Vilnius,
and ends in Estonia's capital, Tallin. It also
takes in Latvia's capital, Riga, a national
park, beaches, Soviet architecture, a
medieval castle and a meteorite crater.
CRUISE LINES INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION
32 NEW TOURS
New brochure out now!
Find a Golden Ticket to WIN!
We have hidden 50 Golden Tickets in our latest Holidays & Tours Collection
brochure packs! Order now for your chance to win a wonderful prize!
To redeem your prize, send a selfie with your voucher and tag Nic
Newmarket on Facebook. Enter by 31st July 2019. T&C’s apply.
• 1x Lake Garda Holiday for 2
• 1x Samsung Galaxy Tablet
• 1x 6 bottles of wine
• 47x £20 Love2Shop Vouchers
Your Escorted Tour Specialists
For bookings, late availability offers, brochures, personalised posters & more,
or email us at email@example.com
Order our 2019-2021 brochure at www.tradegate.co.uk
ISLAND HOPPING IN IRELAND. This
guided hiking adventure from Wilderness
Ireland (wildernessireland.com) includes
rambles along Inis Meáin in the Aran Islands;
Burren National Park, said to have inspired
Tolkien’s Middle Earth; and Killary Fjord, home
to friendly pods of dolphins.
CAPTAIN COOK’S NEW ZEALAND. A new
29-day self-drive from Silver Fern Holidays
(silverfernholidays.com) marks the 250th
anniversary of Captain Cook landing in New
Zealand. Designed to entice intrepid explorers,
it visits Ship Cove in Abel Tasman National
Park, accessible only by boat or on foot.
THE SWEDISH LAKE DISTRICT. Sunvil’s
(sunvil.co.uk) seven-night self-drive begins in
Southern Sweden’s rural Småland province. As
well as the pretty Lake Möckeln and the dense
forests of Store Mosse National Park, there’s
time to visit the IKEA museum in Älmhult and
discover more about those famous meatballs!
MONGOLIA EXPEDITION. Intrepid’s
(intrepid.com) 15-day Wilderness of the West
tour immerses guests in nomadic Mongolian
culture. Stay with families in traditional gers
and hear khoomii (traditional throat singing)
before joining Kazakh eagle hunters.
IN SEARCH OF THE SNOW LEOPARD.
Follow the tracks of this elusive cat in Natural
World Safaris' (naturalworldsafaris.com) journey
through the mountains of Ladakh, India. Along
the way, stop off at hilltop monasteries to
experience the tranquil life of the Buddhist
monks who meditate there.
Is there anywhere more evocative of the
journey itself than the American West?
Its endless prairies, rushing rivers,
deep canyons and soaring mountains,
so sacred to Native Americans, proved
the ultimate challenge to settlers from
Europe. Now the ultimate touring
destination, Wyoming's wide-open roads
call to travellers from around the world.
Our second edition features brand-new tours in Zimbabwe and southern
India, plus all 2020 departure dates (and 2021 departures on a selection
of long-haul holidays). Don’t forget, booking early guarantees your
customers the best price possible.
• VIP door-to-door travel service †
• Fly from an airport near you*
• Price Promise
• Guaranteed departures
Book online at www.titanagents.co.uk
†Mainland UK only. *Supplements may apply
FOR JULY & AUGUST
*Terms and conditions apply. Please see your local travel agent for full details.
BOOK NOW FOR
BOOK FOR JUST
DEPOSIT * PLACES *
*Terms and conditions apply. Please see your local travel agent for full details.