Huge (and growing) interest in Sri Lanka was one of the motivations behind a famil for GTN agents to the destination arranged by Exotic Holidays and with the support of Thai Airways.
A group of agents enjoyed eight days in Bali recently where they were treated to a Lembongan Island Beach Club cruise as well as being able to check out a selection of properties featured in the GO Holidays Bali brochure. Mt Agung erupting during their stay didn’t deter these intrepid travellers and the airport reopened in time for their departure flight back to New Zealand.
Wildlife rehabilitation centres, national parks and cultural villages were amongst the highlights for participants on an agents’ famil to Borneo last week.
If clients are travelling to Tokyo between May and October, Exotic Holidays is recommending that they try to watch Ukai, the traditional fishing method manipulating seabirds in Minato-machi, Gifu Prefecture. Ukai is a traditional method of catching small Japanese trout by manipulating seabirds called Ukai (cormorants) in the Nagaragawa River. Master trainers of cormorants dressed in ancient costume manipulate 10 to 12 wild sea cormorants to catch the trout.
This fishing is performed each night between 11 May and 15 October except during a full moon or in heavy rain. Clients can watch the entire spectacle aboard a small wooden boat while dining and drinking sake. This 1300-year-old event is protected by the Japanese government. Cormorant fishing starts at 7:30pm. The evening closes with six boats sailing side by side to corner the small trout into the shallows. firstname.lastname@example.org
A Marine Discovery Centre has opened at Phi Phi Island Village Beach Resort in Thailand to raise awareness and educate visitors, locals and stakeholders about the importance of marine biodiversity and conservation. The centre houses four zones – the Shark Room, the Phi Phi Islands Room, the Clownfish Room, and the Auditorium – and offers visitors colourful, interactive displays explaining the life cycles and habits of the marine species endemic to the region. The new environmental attraction will also be a base for the re-introduction of clownfish better known as ‘nemos’, as well as breeding harmless bamboo sharks and replanting coral reefs.
Travel trade and media were updated on Macao’s World Centre of Tourism & Leisure branding over an educational presentation and lunch in Auckland on Wednesday. Richard Froggatt, sales & marketing manager in New Zealand with Macao Government Tourism Office, highlighted the July 2018 opening of the new Hong Kong – Zhuhai – Macao 55km road link, including a 29.6km bridge. Other developments to watch for include the Light Rail Cruiser – Macao’s first mass transport system – set to open in 2019. There are also 12,750 rooms to be added to the ‘pool’ by hotels currently under construction.
Adventure World’s India and Asia product manager Eric Finley has returned from exploring India as well as attending contract and supplier meetings in the region. Finley explored the alleyways in historic Old Delhi with a local guide called Pankaj to fine tune a walking tour offered to Adventure World clients.
Lisa Mead from A Walker’s World recently took part in a famil trip on the Kumano Kodo Trail in Japan. This pilgrimage trail in Southern Japan has existed for over 1,000 years and pilgrims from all levels of society have trod their way to the Grand Shrines of Kumano. Mead says the week long route is a challenging trail that is steeped in a rich cultural and natural heritage. Walking can be tailored to cover the highlights of the route to suit a walker’s level of fitness for three days and longer. ‘Accommodations along the way are mostly Japanese traditional style inns and guesthouses with tatami mat flooring in the guest and dining rooms and futon mattresses to sleep on. Meals are included which is an adventure into typical Japanese cuisine. Hot springs are common on the route and baths with mineral waters (called ‘onsen’) are soothing at the end of a day’s walk. Protocol is important and preparation notes are provided to cover the dos and don’ts. The Kumano Kodo is an immersion into the Japanese way of life far from the large cities. ‘The Kumano Kodo pilgrimage route embodies the spiritual origins of Japan in much the same way the Camino de Santiago in Spain embodies Christianity. Completing certain sections of both trails will earn walkers the Dual Pilgrim Credential. email@example.com
Singapore Airlines has launched Destination of the Month, where each month it will feature an up-coming destination on the SIA group network. This will be supported with an awareness sales pack, tactical airfare offering, special land / tour rates, special agent airfares, and special agent land rates.
Macao’s history, its new hotels and entertainment complexes in Cotai, and its gastronomy are all part of the destination’s promotional prole in 2018.
However agents who want to offer a couple of 'out of the ordinary’ tips to clients can start with these:
Educating agents on the four cities that will host the All Blacks during pool play in the Rugby World Cup next year was one of the key objectives of a Japan National Tourism Organization function at Grand Millennium Auckland last night.
There is more to Japan than just Sushi and Tempura. That’s one of the key messages that will be highlighted to trade when Japan National Tourism Organization and supplier partners hold a roadshow in Auckland next month.
‘We are also trying to break the stereotype of travel to Japan being expensive,’ says Sally Miles, business development and marketing assistant at JNTO.
‘Especially with so many major sporting events happening – Rugby World Cup 2019 and Tokyo hosting the Olympics and Paralympics in 2020 – there’s no better time for clients to see Japan.
Korea has entered the spotlight thanks to the success of the PyeongChang Winter Olympics 2018, and with this Korean food has been put on the global radar.
From Michelin starred restaurants to more affordable street food options, there is something for everyone, and they can all easily be found in the heart of Seoul.
However, when venturing out a little south by train visitors will come across the true foodie capital of Jeonju, which was declared UNESCO City of Gastronomy in 2012.
One block and a world away from the glitz and glamour of Cotai Strip is the old Taipa Village – sure to be a favourite of clients seeking traditional tavernas, Chinese street-style food, and authentic Portuguese fare.
Old Taipa has distinct areas; a European precinct with museums and gardens (a place for a quiet break) and the busier Chinese section.
Opened last month, the 1300 room MGM Cotai is likely to retain the mantle of Macao’s newest hotel for another year.
Twice the size of its MGM counterpart in the city, the new resort on the strip has four celebrity chef restaurants (Grill 58, Aji, Coast, and Janice Wong MGM), four specialist Chinese restaurants and a bar.
Park Plaza Kolkata Ballygunge has announced it is rebranding to Radisson Kolkata Ballygunge. Located in South Kolkata’s neighbourhood of Ballygunge, the hotel is within proximity of the international airport and railway station.
Pushkar Camel Fair is a grand display of Rajasthan’s cultural and social spirit.
On a 14-day Exotic Holidays tour to the fair, guests can experience a bustling temporary tented town with thousands of tourists, pilgrims, local rural people, traders, and camels all gathered in one place.
Now is the time for the New Zealand travel trade to maximise on the new and improving market opportunities offered by Sri Lanka, according to a representative of destination management companies, hotels and a domestic airline in the country.
Channa Mendis, director of Remarkable Sri Lanka and country representative Australia and New Zealand for Cinnamon Air, says daily Sri Lankan Airlines flights out of Melbourne, the opening of new international hotels, and the accessibility of special interest tours are all factors in the destination’s favour.
SALA Samui Chaweng Beach in Thailand is opening with design inspiration from Koh Samui and neighbouring Koh Phangan’s Full Moon, Half Moon, and Black Moon celebrations.
The resort will open in two phases, starting with the Oceanfront Wing, as well as facilities and guest rooms designed to take in the ocean views.
Some 104 islands lay off the coast of Pulau Langkawi in Malaysia.
Exotic Holidays is currently promoting a Langkawi sailing and island hopping adventure that will take clients to the white sandy beaches of Pulau Dayang Bunting or Pulau Singa, for ‘tropical vibes, colourful wildlife and ultimate relaxation’.
Back-Roads has expanded into Asia, with eight tours on offer in 2018. Options include Bangkok & The River Kwai, Temples of Thailand and Cambodia, Wonders of Thailand, Spirit of Cambodia, Hanoi & Halong Highlights, Vietnam Adventure, Vietnam and Cambodia Discovery, and Flavours of Vietnam.
As part of a conservation project in Singapore, Six Senses Hotels Resorts Spas has given two properties a complete restoration.
The project is located in the heart of Chinatown where Six Senses Singapore is split across two buildings that are a wander apart.
Mountaineering presents opportunities for the development of the tourism industry in Asia’s mountainous regions, especially among younger visitors, according to GlobalData.
Konstantina Boutsioukou, tourism analyst at GlobalData, says the Alps, as well as mountains in the US, have traditionally been among the favourite destinations for mountain climbers.
Travel wholesaler Pack ya Bags is seeking expressions of interest from dive qualified agents who would like to take part in a famil trip to the Philippines in June.
Pack ya Bags director Penny Henderson says the trip is part of an overall push to increase knowledge of niche markets in the destination.
‘We’re looking for six to eight agents who would need to have an open water divers qualification and it will give the trade participants a real opportunity to talk with real credibility to clients.’
With ski season in Japan just around the corner, Visit Kinosaki says travellers should head to Kinosaki Onsen before or after a week of skiing and snowboarding to wind down in its many ‘hot springs.
Alison-Roberts Brown, regional director of Visit Kinosaki in Australia, says Kinosaki is an absolute must for those wanting to go beyond the slopes and get a taste of the real japan.
‘It’s the perfect way to treat yourself to a dose of cultural indulgence before heading back home. So we really recommend taking that trip to the mainland after a ski holiday for you will be rewarded with some of the most
Langham Hospitality Group has announced it will manage a luxury hotel by the banks of Chao Phraya River in Bangkok.
Only 10 minutes from Sathorn CBD, the hotel is surrounded by views of the river and city and is expected to open in 2021.
‘To be right on the banks of the famed Chao Phraya River with its temples, the Grand Palace and Wat Phra Keaw is a hotelier’s dream,’ says Simon Manning, chief sales and marketing officer of Langham Hospitality Group.
Sanctum Inle Lake Resort is located in Myanmar and just has launched a boat journey to an ancient village, Sagar.
The 538-year-old village is located on the southern-most reaches of a lake and according to Philippe Arnaud, Sanctum Inle Resort’s general manager, very few tourists make the trip to the region to see what it has to offer.
Velana International Airport (previously known as Male International Airport) in the Maldives is now serving 2.6 million passengers and over 35 scheduled and chartered carriers annually.
Anticipating an increase in the number of travellers, and to future-proof its business, the airport has now deployed Amadeus’ airport management solutions.
Encouraging clients to stopover in India on the way to Europe could result in a substantial follow-up booking to the exotic and colourful destination a year or two later, agents attending the Incredible India functions this week are being told.
‘If agents get their clients to spend four or five days getting a taste of India, those clients will want to do three weeks next year – they will want to go back for more,’ says Jenny Burt, sales manager New Zealand with Air India. ‘So encourage them to stop and see the Taj Mahal or Jaipur on the way to Europe.’
Burt says Air India is pushing stopover opportunities to the New Zealand trade as well as niche travel and VFR (visiting friends and relatives). A delegation from India, as well as local operators specialising in the destination, hosted an Auckland function at The Zing in Auckland on Wednesday, and at Zaika Restaurant in Wellington last night.
Kanchan Kukreja, assistant director India Tourism based in Sydney, says New Zealand is a small but important and growing market for the country. Close to 51,000 New Zealanders visited in 2016, a 12.7% increase over the year before.
She says the availability or e-visas and the wide spread of niche opportunities – like spirituality, cuisine, and yoga tours, plus incentive travel groups – are favouring travel to India. Medical tourism, golf tourism, exploring the Himalayas, and travel by luxury train are other opportunities for the trade.
There have been reports that there is disruption at the Yala National Park in Sri Lanka due to a strike by drivers and suppliers with travellers needing to cancel their safaris.
Shamraz Azeez, operations manager of locally owned and operated DMC, Tour Blue says the company’s guests have no reason for concern and their holidays won’t be adversely effected.
‘The situation is still unpredictable. Some days are effected by strikes and this may continue until a permanent solution is found.
The reveal of the highly anticipated match schedule for the Rugby World Cup Japan 2019 last week was a ‘significant milestone’ for the Rugby World Cup 2019 Organising Committee, according RWC head Alan Gilpin, speaking at press conference in Tokyo this week.
Gilpin says the now the dates and venues have been released, international travellers to Japan can start planning their trips to coinide with the matches they are wanting to attend.
Exotic Holidays is currently emphasising the appeal to a Palace on Wheels, known as the pioneer of luxury train travel in India.
Rahul Sharma says Palace on Wheels allows clients to travel with ‘all the elegance of a bygone era as the Maharajas of India once did.’
He says the journey offers opulence and comfort in luxurious cabins, with butler service.
Promoting untouched and little-known regions of India and Sri Lanka was high on the agenda when the World Journeys Masterclass was held at Highwic House in Auckland.
Te agents involved were all top-selling agents for World Journeys, with the number of participants limited to 40.
Adi Bajaj, of Perfect Travel, says that while the Golden Triangle remains an important destination, a key emphasis with this week’s session was on promoting pre- and post- add-on opportunities.
Having designed many itineraries to Vietnam, Kinjal Shah from Exotic Holidays’ reservations team recently experienced the destination first hand.
‘During this trip, I got to explore Saigon – a city once devastated by war and now transformed into a modern city,’ says Shah.
‘While the characteristic of French colonization is still there, clients will now find big international hotel brands, cosmopolitan cafes and restaurants as you stroll through district one. Much of the history is exhibited at the War Remnants Museum; including tiger cages – where
Total Holiday Options has added a Women’s India Getaway to its latest brochure due to popular demand.
THO global managing director Amaan Khan says the tours are packed with culinary experiences, including cooking classes, women’s spa and massage, shopping, free time and cultural experiences.
The 15 days / 14 nights include visits to Delhi, Varanasi, Agra, Jaipur, Deogarh Palace, Jodhpur and Mumbai.
‘Varanasi is famous for its silk as well as its spiritual experience, while Jaipur – the Pink City – is known for its shopping as well as its colours and culture. Obviously the Taj Mahal and the Blue City of Jodhpur are other highlights.’
Khan says the Women’s India getaway departs once a month from now through to April 2018 and again in the season through late 2018 to 2019.
Bangkok is the leading travel destination for 2017, according to the Mastercard Global Destinations Cities Index 2017.
Asia Pacific destinations made up five of the top 10 in the annual survey, which ranks the world’s 132 top destination cities – with Bangkok in Thailand taking out first place.
‘It is easy to see why Bangkok has topped the Global Destinations Cities Index as a great place to travel.
Exotic Holidays is promoting the nine day Sabah Nature Delight Tour as its ‘pick of the week’. Exotic’s managing director Rahul Sharma says clients on the tour will visit the Malaysian state’s valleys, rivers, wildlife reserves and animal sanctuaries.
Hong Kong’s Regal International hotel group will make a two-day sales mission to New Zealand from 11 September to spread the word about its new branded leisure product and a new schedule of rates specifically for New Zealand agents.