Nobody is pretending high end clients are forgoing the comforts of life, but the general feeling at this week’s Luxperience event in Sydney was that authentic personal experiences trump opulence for many modern luxury travellers.
Holiday makers and business travellers alike are increasingly looking for wellness and relaxation programmes in Asia, says one of the region’s leading destination management companies (DMCs).
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.
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:
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.
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’.