Tuscany is a region of much diversity, famous for its spas and wellness sector. Less known is Tuscany’s range of adventure options. The region was centre stage at the recent Buy Tuscany exhibition. With its approximately 40 spas, it is renowned for natural swimming pools that are the cornerstone of health and wellness centres – the most notable of which are those in Montecatini and Chianciano. In these health centres, traditional cures are used alongside treatment that is aimed at ‘psychophysical equilibrium,’ in line with new trends in the health sector. However the Toscana Promozione Turistica (tourist office) is also promoting another side of health in the region – encouraging visitors to get out doors for some adventure and recreation. These include kitesurfing, hiking, mountain biking, diving in the Tuscan archipelago, hot air ballooning, canoeing on Bilancino Lake, sailing and more. Clients particularly interested in hiking and trekking should watch out for the regular walking festivals held in the region – the next one is from 22 September to 7 October. www.visittuscany.com
A recent GO Holidays and Singapore Airlines combined famil took in both Singapore and the Maldives. The group stopped off in both directions in Singapore, with the outbound accommodation at Village Hotel Changi - which is included as part of SQs stopover package - and on the return leg at the Novotel Singapore Clarke Quay.
In Macau’s Year of Gastronomy 2018 the preservation and promotion of Macanese food has gained new impetus.
Often called the first example of fusion cuisine, it is a mix of Portuguese and Chinese that arose when the Europeans wanted to have dishes that reminded them of home, but by necessity used the local ingredients to replicate the tastes and/or appearances as closely as possible.
Wilderness Safaris’ hot air ballooning season in Botswana will now run for a longer time period, from 1 April to 14 October 2018.
The safari operator launched hot air balloon safaris in 2016 at Vumbura Plains and Little Vumbura camps in Botswana’s Okavango Delta.
Busabout is now an official travel partner for one of the world’s largest annual music festivals, Tomorrowland.
For the first time in 2018, festival goers can travel to Tomorrowland with Busabout, and turn a three-day festival into a custom-made holiday - spending up to six months travelling throughout Europe.
Properties in Adventure World’s Luxury Treasures of Kenya itinerary are upping the ante, adding in new features and continuing on with current excursions.
The first is Giraffe Manor which now has two new superior rooms in the Garden Manor, bringing the lodge’s capacity to a total of 12 rooms.
Wilderness Safaris has opened its new Classic Camp, Qorokwe, bordering Moremi Game Reserve in the Okavango Delta, Botswana.
Cobus Calitz and Jil Gerard-Calitz are the owners of the new camp but will be based in an office in Maun.
‘We are thrilled to be partnering with Wilderness Safaris to market and sell Qorokwe to the world,’ says Cobus.
Dublin has been selected as one of National Geographic Traveler’s 21 ‘Best of the World’ destinations for 2018.
‘These are 21 destinations around the world selected and reported on by our editors that reveal the beauty of the wild, the creativity of our cultures and the superlatives of our cities,’ says George Stone, editor in chief,
Exotic Holidays is promoting the little known area of Tarutao with its empty beaches and jungles teeming with wildlife.
The remote island in Thailand’s southern Andaman Sea has a surprisingly sinister past that clients will find interesting.
Ko Tarutao Marine National Park comprises some of the most beautiful islands in the country.
The highly anticipated match schedule for the Rugby World Cup Japan 2019 was finally revealed last week, to the delight of rugby fans the world over.
The theme of the 2019 tournament is unity, with rugby players and fans from countries traditionally associated with the sport such as New Zealand, Australia, England and South Africa coming together with players and fans from Japan (and Asia) to create Asia's first major rugby tournament, in a bid to turn the game of rugby into a global sport.
Traditionally, the RWC tournaments have been held in countries where rugby is very popular, like in New Zealand.
Victoria's high country cycle season has just started with the launch of the longest 7 Peaks programme yet - this year extending to six months, until 29 April 2018 - and a new official digital passport, the 7 Peaks-Ride High Country app.
The Strava-integrated app has already been downloaded by more than 1000 keen riders limbering up for the annual road climbs of the seven Victorian alpine peaks of Mt Baw Baw, Mount Buffalo, Mt Buller, Dinner Plain, Falls Creek, Mt Hotham and Lake Mountain.
The Kimberley in Western Australia has the world’s largest dinosaur footprints and the Broome coastline is renowned for 130-million-year-old dinosaur footprints stretching from Roebuck Bay in the south and over 150 kilometres north along the Dampier Peninsula.
Recently, dinosaur footprints were discovered in the main tourist area of Cable Beach, directly in front of the resorts and shops.
Bart Pigram from Bart Pigram from Narlijia Cultural Tours takes clients to see footprints around Broome as well as Broome Hovercraft Tours.
There really is so much to see and do when you’re visiting Peru for a holiday. But between experiencing the breath-taking views of Machu Picchu, walking the museum-esque streets of Cusco and taking a refreshing dip in Lake Titicaca, you’ll need to refuel your batteries. There are a number of delicious traditional Peruvian dishes out there, but we believe these are the top five that you must experience when you head over there.
Bawah Island lies in the heart of the Indonesian Anambas, just three hours from Singapore by ferry, and it’s opening its doors for the first time to guests this year.
A marine conservation area, a maximum of 70 guests are allowed at any one time, with 35 eco-designed suites and overwater bungalows providing guests with a private oasis.
The Tree Top restaurant at Bawah will serve bespoke Asian-fusion cuisine with locally-grown ingredients alongside a curated drinks menu to showcase authentic flavours.
Participants at the Experience Aloha Business Exchange experienced a full day of exploring on Hawaii’s Big Island, including a farm tour, waterfall swim and a visit to the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.
The park is home to the Kīlauea and Mauna Loa active volcanoes.
After a morning tour of OK Farms in Hilo, home to macadamia, coffee and fruit trees, the group cooled off with a swim under a waterfall, which has exclusive access for bed and breakfast guests.
Micro-adventure is the new buzz term for millennial travellers, says Marie-Louise Kellet, of Cape Town-based Gravity Adventures.
Speaking at an Indaba seminar, showcasing award winning tourism operators, Kellet described how the company has deliberately developed shorter, fun adventure activities to appeal to younger travellers, as well as families.
‘We offer new micro adventures such as ‘coasteering’, at Simons Town, 45 minutes’ drive from Cape Town. It’s canyoning on the coast; snorkelling, swimming through kelp, jumping off rocks, it’s like behaving like a child for two hours!
Changing peoples’ perceptions about Soweto is something that drives Phineas Zwane, tour guide for Johannesburg’s Kgokare Tours.
Hosting a pre-Indaba tour that took in community culture and the gritty history at the heart of modern South Africa, he says every city in the world has bad areas.
‘There are four million people in Soweto today. It is very diverse with both rich and poor people. Yes there are areas where you should be careful, just as there are risky areas in every city. For visitors there is so much to see and enjoy in Soweto.’
Remember the sleepy Asian villages of some 20 years ago? They still exist. Trish Freeman joined some Kiwi travel agents who were lucky enough to ‘step back in time’ in laid-back Laos.
Hugging the Mekong and Nam Khan Rivers, the northern resort town of Luang Prabang was the highlight of a Wendy Wu Tours-Singapore Airlines famil to the destination earlier this year.
From offering alms to the monks, cruising the Mekong, heading inland to waterfalls, sampling Mekong whisky and leisurely retail therapy at a craft village, the agents discovered that Laos caters to all travellers. Rising at dawn to see the procession of monks proved so enjoyable for Andrew Kemp, House of Travel Timaru, and Davy Chen, Flight Centre Mt Eden, that they did it again the following day, while the
One of India’s greatest love stories was brought to life for three Kiwi travel agents recently when they visited one of the New Seven Wonders of the World, the Taj Mahal in Agra.
The story of Moghul emperor Shah Jahan’s intense grief after the death of his wife, and subsequent construction of her mausoleum, the Taj Mahal, was told by Total Holiday Options guide Ashutosh Sharma on the lawns of India’s most famous monument.
‘Visiting the Taj was quite emotional,’ explains Vanessa Brocklehurst from helloworld Thames. ‘Ashutosh really knew his stuff and hearing the story while at the Taj means it’s an experience I’ll never forget.
New Caledonia’s slumping nickel industry has forced the inhabitants to come together to mine an economic future in tourism – and now the movement is gaining ground. Lisa Bradley reports.
Attendees at this year’s Rendez-vous in New Caledonia were bussed past four smokeless chimneys of Noumea’s nickel smelter en route to the magnificent US$70 million Jean-Marie Tjiboau Culture Centre.
There seemed no better symbolic illustration that the economic crown of this French-speaking nation is firmly passing from the troubled mining industry to tourism.
Further proof the hearts and minds of New Caledonians have turned to its fledging inbound market came from the around 60 workshop exhibitors, many of whom were just as animated talking about the changing face of the country as they were selling their wares.
We’re happier in Apia, the Samoan Minister of Tourism, Lautafi Fio Selafi Purcell, declared when opening the country’s annual tourism exchange in April. Lisa Bradley was on hand to discover the island nation certainly does have a lot to smile about
Samoa is gathering momentum in its endeavours to become a key tourism player in the South Pacific.
That was the message that came from the 9th Samoan Tourism Exchange, which was attended by almost 60 buyers from 12 to 15 April.
The contingency – from New Zealand, Australia, UK, Europe, Canada, Japan, South Korea, USA, Fiji and American Samoa – met with about 45 exhibitors. While there they learnt more than 300 rooms are coming online this year, the airport and Port in Apia are being redeveloped and a commitment has been made to deliver a standardised high standard on housekeeping and food and beverage.
Lisa Bradley finds that in the hunt for the stereotypical Borneo experience, the real Malaysia can be found in the charm of its people and the unexpected adventures you encounter along the way
Serendipity is a wondrous thing. Just hours before getting to the airport to board AirAsia X’s new flight to the Gold Coast and Malaysia, an advert for the airline sparked up on the car radio exclaiming Kiwis could at last enjoy a service which has been saving Australians money for years.
But I was thinking of another ‘S’ word as I hustled to get ready for the flight – simians… or, more to the point, orangutans.
I have not always had a successful history with primates, after been spooked by a gorilla as a kid at Wellington Zoo and attacked for fruit by monkeys in India. But pot-bellied, fringed-haired armed orangutans are another matter entirely; these creatures I was looking forward to seeing during a short stint in Sabah, the Malaysian state on the island of Borneo.
The Philippines has taken tourism by the tail, declaring 2016 as its year. Aleisha Moore puts a spotlight on the country’s new direction, and what it has to offer.
The Philippines has been touted as one of the top destinations to visit in 2016, and Kiwi travellers now have more time to explore the nation’s 7107 islands with Philippine Airlines’ new flights between Auckland and Manila.
Ramon Jimenez, Philippines secretary of tourism, says the country has entered a new era in tourism marked by strong growth and potential.
‘Getting tourism recognised as on of the sectors at the top of the national economic agenda is certainly a huge feat. Today, Philippines’ tourism industry is the 5th growth driver of the country’s economy.’