Mary McBride’s Bar, in Cushendun, County Antrim reports that about 1000 people a week are now coming through its doors as a direct result of Game of Thrones – and 75% of them buy a drink or something to eat while they are there.
If a single installation has led to the resurgence of Belfast as a tourism destination it is The Titanic Experience, a museum that traces the building, launch, sinking, immediate aftermath and later search for the world’s most famous ship.
Belfast is continuing to establish itself as a ‘new capital’ for tourism in Europe, with recently opened (and soon to open) hotels, and a raft of added attractions. Leading the way in new reasons to visit are some 25 visitor experiences directly linked to the Game of Thrones TV series – including 10 doors marking scenes from the saga, six stained glass installations, and a massive Game of Thrones tapestry. These are all added to the various natural and historical sites used in the show around Northern Ireland, plus the Touring Exhibition which is in the city until 1 September.
Catherine Gray, media visits coordinator with Tourism Northern Ireland, says more is to come. The Linen Mill Studios, in Bainbridge will open a Game of Thrones Studio Tour in the spring of 2020. It will showcase authentic sets, costumes and props from all seasons of the hit series. ‘Our top attractions are the Titanic Museum and the Giant’s Causeway, but Game of Thrones has given us another high profile reason to visit,’ she says. Gray says her message to travel agents is that Northern Ireland can be promoted as a small, compact and easy to reach destination, just two hours drive from Dublin. ‘Belfast has its various locations, like the Cathedral Quarter, Linen Quarter and Titanic Quarter. But just a 20 minute drive from Belfast gets people into the countryside.’
By Stu Freeman
New Zealand agents and brokers will be able to get insights of the ‘latest and greatest’ things to see and do in Russia and the surrounding region when one of the destination’s leading experts visits a number of regions later this month.
A public private collaboration between South Africa’s National Department of Tourism, tourism industry stakeholders and Amadeus will bring much-needed technology across the country’s tourism sector.
The ‘Jurni’ platform will use different modules to capture, curate and analyse data that can be fed back to tourism operators. It will be particularly useful for rural businesses and SMEs which will be able to access a booking system and business app.
Visa relaxation and the work of Ethiopian Airlines to develop Ethiopia as a regional transport hub have been the catalyst for a massive 48% increase in international visitor arrivals, making it the fastest growing tourism market in the world in 2018.
Giving clients tips like how to have an ‘Oktoberfest’ experience without the crowds, and where to find a medieval German town just half an hour from Frankfurt airport will provide travellers with a reason to re-look at the destination, says Michael Kater, managing director of Unique Germany.
Former Silver Ferns player and coach, Yvonne Willering will lead Williment’s ‘Liverpool Experience Tour’ in July 2019 which begins in Edinburgh, travels through the north of England and down to Liverpool where the tournament will be held.
Sports tours hosted by well-known Kiwi athletes are at the core of the Williment brand explains product manager Philip Mazey.’Travelling is always a bonding experience for a tour group and particularly for sports
Cruising onboard a traditional sailing vessel and discovering by bike unknown byways and villages, are two of the best ways to explore the Croatian coast and islands of Dalmatia according to A Walker’s World.
The most popular section is between Dubrovnik and Split, two UNESCO World Heritage sites. Ships take around 30 passengers and are 25 to 30 metres, small enough to negotiate the narrow channels and tiny coves.
Cycling is on little used roads through olive groves, vineyards, and orchards past castle ruins, churches and small hamlets tucked in coves.
Switzerland Tourism is reminding agents who have not yet signed up to the 2018 Switzerland Travel Academy to do so before the end of the year and be in for chance to win one of three prizes valued at $500 each.
The simple e-learning programme equips agents with the necessary information, updates, tools and tips to help them sell and better assist their clients heading to Switzerland.
South Caucasus, encompassing the destinations of Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan, is among the new frontiers for New Zealand travellers, agents heard at roadshows around the country last week.
Fez Travel and GSA Exotic Holidays visited a number of centres, culminating in an Auckland presentation at dinner at the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron on Friday night.
Fez managing director Ekrem Usta says the company is seeing renewed interest in Egypt and Turkey, as well as having continued success in areas such as The Balkans. However, it is also seeing interest in Caucasus – a region that has an increased profile in the company’s 2019 brochure.
As an official travel agent of the ICC Cricket World Cup (CWC), Williment Travel has announced a Kiwi celebrity tour leader for its signature tour to England and Wales next year.
Chateaux & Villages of the Seine in France, a one way journey to and from Paris, south along the Canal du Centre to Montargis is a new addition in Cycling Europe’s Bike, Boat & Barge 2019 brochure.
Innovative Travel is reminding agents that the final 100th commemorations for WWI are taking place in France in Le Quesnoy, on the Western Front on 4 November, followed by Armistice Day in Paris on 11 November.
With Nelson Mandela's centenary birthday celebration this week, there has been a heightened interest from travellers to visit South Africa, reports Luxury Gold Vacations.
Guests can experience Mandela’s legacy with Luxury Gold’s 12-day luxury guided journey, Spectacular South Africa. They visit Cape Town’s UNESCO World Heritage Site of Robben Island, where he was imprisoned with many other notable anti-apartheid activists. An ex-political prisoner shares personal stories with guests who also have time to explore the island. They later meet Manfred Jacobs, a former warden at the Victor Verster prison where Mandela was also imprisoned and where he spent the last 14 months of his 27-year-long imprisonment.
The tour also visits the not-forprofit After School and Youth Skills Development Programmes that supports the Western Cape communities; Cape Peninsula and the Winelands; and Table Mountain where guests enjoy sundowner cocktails at the summit. Spectacular South Africa’s safari component is three days at Kruger National Park through Big Five territory, staying at Lion Sands Lodge on the banks fo the Sabie River, followed by a trip to Victoria Falls. Spectacular South Africa has departures for the rest of 2018 from August to December 2018. www.luxurygoldvacations.com
The winner of the Te Papa the Scale of our War Gallipoli exhibition competition, sponsored by Innovative Travel and Singapore Airlines, attended a special prize presentation last week at Te Papa Museum.
Adventure World Travel’s destination expert for Africa, Ryan Kendall, has recently returned from a reconnaissance in Africa and shares his top three insights:
1. Two weeks of driving through Namibia brought new highlights such as tracking black rhinos at the Desert Rhino Camp in Damaraland, star gazing over the Namib Desert, and climbing the ‘Big daddy’ sand dune in Sossusvlei. ‘Little Kualala is a luxurious desert retreat in the Kulala Wilderness Reserve and each of the 11 climate-controlled thatched kulalas there have a private plunge pool and a roof-top star bed’ Kendall tells of one of his camp stays in Namibia.
2. He also reports on a rebirth of Zimbabwe as a safari destination: ‘I noticed several new lodges and significant investment going into the tourism opportunities says Kendall about changes in the region. Ryan participated in a walking safari in Hawange National Park with Imvelo Safari Lodges. ‘Imvelo are leaders in eco-tourism and if you’re looking for a remote and exclusive destination, one that actually makes a difference to local communities and wildlife, Zimbabwe’s Bomani Tented Lodge is a great choice’ he says.
3. A third insight came from a visit to Cape Town where Kendall attended the ‘We Are Africa’ conference. ‘I was able to get a deep understanding of the diversity of product and stories coming out of Africa but also, that Cape Town is open for business. A tourist really won’t notice any changes due to the water crisis, the area and issue is being well managed so that there is no impact on a tourist’s experience.
Promoting the ease of self guided / FIT train journeys was one of the key factors being promoted to travel agents by a contingent from Switzerland last night.