Exploring Washington DC’s monuments and memorials is one of the most popular activities in the city as well as being a great way to get orientated – especially in the National Mall area. It is also easy to do independently and free.
But it is worth suggesting to clients that they include a guided tour of these icons, thus gaining so much more appreciation and getting around the highlights logically.
As the east coast of the USA opens up even more to New Zealanders, clients who are well versed with National Parks in the west will be looking for comparable experiences on the other side of the country.
While it may be less known to Kiwis than the parks of California, Utah and and Nevada, Shenandoah National Park in Virginia is rated as one of the USA’s most picturesque. It takes in the Blue Ridge Mountains, includes a stretch of the famous Appalachian Trail (which in total stretches through 14 states) and since the park was founded in 1935 has seen a resurgence in wildlife. Today Shenandoah has more than 200 species of birds and 50 species of mammals. The modern visitor is almost certain to spot Virginia white tailed deer, while there are also healthy numbers of black bear, beaver and red fox.
World Journeys reports that the Galapagos Marine Reserve has expanded to the northeast by 60,000sqkm, with the objective of creating an ‘ocean highway’ connection with Costa Rica’s Cocos Islands.
PONANT recently organised the world’s first international rescue exercise in a remote polar zone.
It was conducted during a trial voyage to the North Pole aboard polar exploration vessel, Le Commandant Charcot.
PONANT has released its documentary ‘Beyond the Polar Circle’ with newly appointed brand ambassador Andrew Daddo showcasing his experience sailing on board PONANT’s Le Boréal to Antarctica.
Available via PONANT’s website, the 45-minute feature takes viewers on a journey south, embarking on a 16-day polar expedition voyage between South America and the Antarctic Peninsula.
Terrific geological contrasts make Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area a must visit for those seeking dramatic scenery. The main feature of the area is a 146-kilometre reservoir at the bottom of a spectacular river gorge that runs 475 metres deep in some places.
Visitors also get great views of the Uinta Mountains and enjoy the refreshing atmosphere of the Ashley National Forest.
However most people head to the area for more than passive viewing – Flaming Gorge is known for its boating, water-skiing, windsurfing and more than 160 kilometres of hiking and mountain biking trails as well as being renowned for some of the best fishing in the west.
Clients wanting to take a deeper dive into the attractions of Utah are sure to be drawn towards one or more of its 43 state parks.
Wildlife viewing areas, wetlands, and historic ruins – those and more are covered by these parks and recreation areas.
An example of a state park with scenery dramatic enough to be named after a famous photographic colour film brand name is Kodachrome Basin State Park.
Clients who are keen to get on their bike will find plenty of options in Utah. Adventure cyclists, including those seeking bikepacking experiences and multi-day trips, will find endless routes to explore.
More casual cyclists can easily access great starter routes and scenic roadways.
The historic city of Ogden, for example, is ideal to explore by bike. The Ogden River Parkway is an urban oasis that includes an extensive trail system. When the ride is over, there’s time to dine out, go shopping or explore the city’s museums.
The craft brewing sector is thriving in Utah, so the state is an ideal place to visit if you enjoy a fine beer. Starting in Salt Lake City, and a fun way to explore the continually expanding and evolving scene, is to purchase a Salt Lake Brewery pass.
The pass functions as an easy to use mobile wallet, containing 12 $5 vouchers. Each of these vouchers can be used at one of 14 different Salt Lake Breweries.
The name St. George may not crop up in too many discussions about travelling in Utah, but this city (one of the fastest growing in the state) is an ideal base camp for many of the attractions in and around Greater Zion.
There’s Zion National Park of course (one of the Mighty 5® National Parks) but also much more.
Visitors will find dozens of golf courses, including the top-rated Entrada at Snow Canyon Country Club. Those seeking a relaxing or wellness retreat will not be disappointed either – clients should check out Green Valley Spa & Resort and Red Mountain Resort.
Clients keen to get their hiking boots on will appreciate a recommendation to visit Cedar Breaks National Monument – a natural and majestic amphitheatre easily reached from Cedar City.
Visitors can stretch their legs with a hike to the Alpine Pond, while a walk along the Spectra and Rampant Points will take them along amphitheatre’s rim and give them a close up look at Cedar Break’s amazing geology.
The city of Moab will be the centre of attention when luxury train journey company, Rocky Mountaineer, launches its USA itinerary in August 2021.
The Rockies to the Red Rocks route will be a two-day rail trip between Denver, Colorado and Moab, Utah, operating for 10 weeks this year through to 23 October.
The company has been working with local tourism organisations, hotels and operators to curate holiday packages at both ends of the journey.
Utah is renowned for the spectacular landscapes of its national and state parks, plus its reputation as having the Greatest Snow on Earth®.
Lesser-known is that Utah has amazing wildlife viewing opportunities - especially at Antelope island State Park, just 25 miles (40 kilometres) north of Salt Lake City.
An annual highlight here is the Bison Roundup, traditionally held in October, when modern day cowboys and girls roundup their herd of about 700 wild bison.
While Utah’s Mighty 5 National Parks justifiably generate huge interest, agents would do well to remind clients that Utah also has a wealth of scenic and natural wonders in the form of its State Parks.
A prime example is Goblin Valley State Park, where soft sandstone has been eroded into fascinating shapes, some of them resembling (as the name suggests) goblins. Others resemble castles and mushrooms.
This fantasy like appearance, plus the natural maze the erosion has created, makes Goblin Valley ideal for families.
Clients may be tempted to regard Salt Lake City simply as a place to land (or pass through) to get to Utah’s renowned outdoor attractions and ski resorts.
Indeed it is a fantastic starting point from which to explore the rest of the state. However, it is a mistake not to include at least a day or two in the city as part of a Utah itinerary.
The most obvious attraction is the lake itself, where swimmers float with little or no effort because the water is so dense with salt.
Glamping (glamorous camping) comes with a twist in Utah. Clients can stay in a sheep camp, yurt, safari tent, teepee or Conestoga wagon – located in dramatic settings while providing comforts and modern amenities such as restaurants or dining areas, private bathrooms, wifi and more.
Conestoga Ranch Bear Lake gives clients both a mountain and beach holiday, with accommodation in either grand canvas tents or prairie style wagons. There’s a Campfire Grill for dining.
Under Canvas in Moab is an ideal base from which to explore Arches National Park and Canyonlands National Park. Activities such as whitewater rafting, canyoneering and ziplining are all on the doorstep.
Set in high desert country, the San Rafael Swell is justifiably noted for having some of the most ruggedly beautiful terrain in the world.
Among the highlights found here is the Little Grand Canyon, a 15-mile (24.1-kilometre) path cut from the Earth’s crust by the San Rafael River. Clients can best view the canyon from Wedge Overlook, in the Swell’s north – with other vistas taking in Sids Mountain, Assembly Hall Peak and Window Blind Peak.
Utah’s proud claim to be home to The Greatest Snow on Earth® is much more than a tourism slogan. According to research by the University of Utah atmospheric scientist Jim Steenburgh, the combination of climate conditions over the Wasatch Mountain resorts in Salt Lake City’s Cottonwood Canyons is the reason so many people believe Utah’s snow is the best for deep-powder skiing and snowboarding.
Utah’s 15 ski resorts average upward of 500 inches of snow a year. That means clients immediately have an excellence chance of satisfying their craving for snow when their agents focus a ski itinerary around Utah.
If clients are seeking the Great American road trip, they need look no further than Utah.
No matter where they are travelling in Utah, the 27 state and national scenic byways will reward guests with inspiring landscapes, ancient heritage, diverse geology and wildlife. The 2200 miles of scenic byways also connect many of The Mighty Five National Parks®, 44 state parks, seven national monuments and two recreational areas in the state.
Movie fans who also have a passion for exploration will find a number of Utah sites are extremely familiar to them.
Hollywood has long known that the state has incredible backdrops and scenery that lend themselves to the silver screen and televisionlie nowhere else.
In fact some 900 films have featured Utah sites.
Utah continues to lead the way when it comes to Dark Sky Places, with more dark sky state parks than any other state park system in the United States.
People from around the world travel to revel in the splendour of Utah’s naturally dark night skies and take part in activities such as full moon hikes, night sky snowshoeing, sunset to stars kayaking, scorpion safaris, owl prowls, star parties and more.
A soft adventure operator in Surfers Paradise says bookings starting to come in from New Zealand will be a real fillip for the Queensland tourism mecca.
Kate Forrester, who co-owns Gold Coast Watersports with husband Kyle Porter, says that though things started slowly, once the bubble opened, 10 bookings come through from New Zealandin one night for the family run business.
Forrester says that while many Kiwis who visit the area are catching up with friends and family they look for activities while they are there. The majority of bookings from New Zealand this week were for para sailing but jet skiing up
from the company’s site past Marina Mirage is also on many to do lists.
Packaging local attractions, activities and transport with clients’ sporting passion has allowed Golf Encounters to stay engaged with customers and add value to a domestic experience.
Director Peter Cox says tours coming up in March and April include a combination of the Tranz Alpine Express from Christchurch with golf in the West Coast. Last November, Golf Encounters hosted a group that combined the sport with the Otago Rail Trail. Bay of Islands, Taupo, Napier and Queenstown are among the other destinations being visited.
The Gold Coast is reminding Kiwis to visit in a new video that encourages families and mates to reunite.
Destination Gold Coast’s new video series rallies Kiwis to take in the scenic views, soak up the sun, pack their jandals (thongs) and a towel with a simple message to its friends from across the ditch: ‘New Zealand, we can’t wait to see you’.
Tourism Tasmania has launched a marketing campaign in New Zealand, inviting Kiwi neighbours to Come Down for Air. New Zealand agents and brokers can expect to see a dedicated trade campaign in the next few weeks.
The impact on the Tasmanian tourism industry from Covid-19 has been significant and the campaign in New Zealand is part of a programme of activity to rebuild visitation to the state and support
Visit Ruapehu has a new marketing campaign this summer. Developed in partnership with Auckland-based agency RUN, ‘The Aroha Is All In The Detail’ focuses on the benefit of slowing down when things always seem to be speeding up.
Aligned with Ruapehu’s vision to create a thriving and sustainable visitor economy for the region that enhances the lives of visitors and residents alike, the campaign highlights heartfelt
Wild Earth Travel is running a five day distillery tour of the South Island via a privately chartered plane.
The Spirit of the South, from 26 to 30 November visits six distilleries and takes clients from Blenheim to the West Coast, across to Wanaka, and then to Nelson before returning to Auckland. Highlights include Elemental Distillers, Reefton Distilling Co, Cardrona Distillery and Dancing Sands.
The Chatham Islands are a photographers delight with the contrasting ugged landscapes, according to Innovative Travel groups manager, Lynda Morrison.
‘August was a great time to go, the temperatures were a lot milder than my hometown Christchurch and the weather proved great for taking photos.’
Claudia Moir, a long term resident of Mangawhai and travel broker with NZ Travel Brokers, has launched a new venture to tap into the domestic market.
Mangawhai Adventures has package deals for individual travellers that showcase the best this region has to offer at affordable prices. The packages can be customised and are commissionable for travel agents and brokers.
Innovative Travel has a new series of New Zealand coach tours, targeted at the 45-plus age group, in collaboration with inbound specialist Terra Nova, launching under the Inspired NZ label.
Innovative Travel managing director, Robyn Galloway, says these new tours have come about literally by neighbourly collaboration and are a positive example of how companies can come together to face new challenges.
'Do Something New, New Zealand' is the tagline of a just released marketing campaign from Tourism New Zealand that encourages domestic tourism. It will continue across the year with the aim of helping drive demand to the tourism sector right across New Zealand.
'Now is the perfect time for Kiwis to make their ‘NZ must do’ bucket list item a reality. We’ve all got things we’ve always wanted to see and do. This campaign shares those moments and gets people
A completely different option for travellers, while still being close to hand, is worth consideration by travel agents and their clients, says Sarah Porter, business development manager – Auckland for Wild Earth Travel.
The Travel Concierge Sri Lanka (TTC) has released its autumn package, which is ideal for clients looking to sail the south coast of Sri Lanka any time of year.
Nevada’s road trips, state and national parks and small towns all provide opportunities for New Zealand clients to extend their trip (and agents to extend their revenue) beyond Las Vegas, according to the state’s tourism office.
Joanne Motta, from Travel Nevada, says Las Vegas is the third most visited US location from Australasia but she often hears of people who book 10 nights and wonder what to do after enjoying the shows and other nightlife of The Strip. ‘We are telling people to get out and do something different and suggesting the trade sell Nevada beyond Las Vegas.’ She says Valley of Fire and Red Rock Canyon are state parks that are 45 and 30 minutes’ drive from Las Vegas respectively. They cost less than US$10 for entry, and can be explored by electric bike, dune buggies or foot.
There is also Cathedral Gorge, which is between Las Vegas and Great Basin National Park, one of the least visited national parks and one that offers plenty of hiking opportunities (including the fairly strenuous walk up Wheeler Peak) plus cave systems that can be explored. ‘Nevada is the most mountainous state in the USA but nobody thinks that,’ says Motta. ‘Northern Nevada has heliskiing and glaciers.’ She also recommends a drive along Highway 50 – dubbed the ‘loneliest highway in America’ by USA Today in the 1980s. Towns along the route have a passport programme where people can collect stamps to prove they have been on this road less travelled.
Air New Zealand’s Auckland to New York service from October will give the trade a greater opportunity to sell the USA’s sixth largest (but sometimes overlooked) city.
A vibrant capital, pristine islands, and wild jungle make Cambodia worth exploring further than its famous temple complex, Angkor Wat, agents heard at a Destination Asia event in Auckland last week.
Active Asia is offering A Hidden Corner of Vietnam, a seven-day itinerary that takes travellers 160km inland from Hanoi to explore UNESCO World Heritage sites and discover the country’s colours, culture and landscape.
Monaco daytrippers, most of whom book their excursion once they reach Nice in France, provide a clear opportunity for agents who could be converting these travellers into overnight visitors, according to Alison Roberts-Brown, the regional director of Visit Monaco.