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.
One of the more unusual World War 1 commemorations takes place in Zambia in November. Jill Grant of A Walker’s World and Cycling Europe was at ZATEX, the Zambia Travel Expo, earlier in the year and the WWI commemoration was among the discussions there.
While visa complications for New Zealanders travelling to South Africa have come at an unfortunate time in terms of Trafalgar’s Africa portfolio launch, they should not deter agents from promoting and selling the destination, says the company’s CEO.
Africa’s 5% share of global travellers (62 million of the world’s 1.2 billion tourists) could be doubled in the next decade with the right collaboration, policies and investment. That’s according to South African Tourism CEO Sisa Ntshona who was promoting ‘Brand Africa’ at the Africa’s Travel Indaba recently in Durban.
‘Africa’s tourism sector grew 8% in 2017, 1% above the global average,’ says Ntshona. ‘The forecast is for continued growth – no other continent has as much potential to grow.’ The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) reports tourism is already an economic force on the continent – contributing a total of 8.1% to the GDP and employing 6.5% of the workforce in 2017. ‘Tourism can take us from poverty to prosperity, specifically women and young people in rural areas,’ says Ntshona who highlighted the number of small, local operators exhibiting at Indaba. ‘Today’s travellers want authenticity, and Africa covers that.’
South Africa itself has an ambitious growth plan for the next five years – to increase its visitors by 40% to 10 million. ‘South Africa has something for everyone, every wallet and every generation,’ says Ntshona. ‘We are seen as a five-star destination but we’ve got three- and four-star. Kruger is as big as Israel and you can observe the same lion from a backpacking tent to six-star luxury.’ Ntshona is also encouraging visitors to combine South Africa with another African country. ‘We are shining the spotlight so that everyone gets to benefit. Instead of spending 10 days in South Africa, how about 20 days in the region?’
From the iconic to the unexpected, Trafalgar has opportunities for your clients to see Europe through Autumn, Winter and Spring. Trafalgar’s selection of itineraries through Europe encourage year round travel, outside the peak season, for your clients who are looking to avoid crowds and make the most of cost savings.
New for 2018 is the nine day Enchanting France itinerary. This Country Explorer itinerary is a journey through France from Paris to Burgundy, and Strasbourg to Dijon. Now priced from $2821 pp, this trip includes highlights of accommodation at an 18th century chateau, dining with a local family on their 17th century farm, and at least one surprise Hidden Treasure. Trafalgar’s 7.5% Early Payment Discount is valid until 23 August 2018. www.trafalgar.com/en-nz
World Journeys recommends trekking to see the endangered gorillas in Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable Forest – a UNESCO World Heritage Site and home to over half the world’s remaining mountain gorilla population. They can only survive in the wild meaning the only chance of seeing them is trekking into their native forests in Africa. World Journeys offers this opportunity on its Magic of the Mountain Gorillas itinerary. Travellers are able to stay at The Sanctuary Gorilla Forest Camp, which is visited by gorilla families and may mean long hours of trekking isn’t required. Visit worldjourneys.co.nz/ destinations/africa/uganda/
Back-Roads Touring has a Europe Sneak Peek campaign, where clients can save up to $1,042 per couple on some of its most popular tours for 2019 travel. The deal is on sale to 19 June 2018. The early bird special applies to selected departure dates from 10 of Back-Roads’ most popular tours including Italian Indulgence, Iberian Inspiration and Corners Of Cornwall.
Back-Roads Touring country manager APAC Dennis Basham says now is the perfect time for travellers to book their UK or European holiday. ‘Catering to the mature traveller, Back-Roads recognises the demand for unforgettable experiences that take customers on an authentic, scenic route of discovery,’ he says. He adds that available experiences include lunch at Rick Stein’s signature restaurant The Seafood Restaurant, traditional Italian cooking lessons in a Tuscan villa, visiting the resting place of William Shakespeare or exploring the coastlines of Ireland. More info here backroadstouring.com
Rovos Rail fans will have to wait until 2020 for a berth on the new Trail of Two Oceans journey from Tanzania to Angola. When the July 2019 departure was launched in January this year, it sold out in three weeks. It now has a waiting list and the 2020 trip is filling up. ‘We are surprised at how quickly it has sold out,’ says Estee Badenhorst, marketing with Rovos Rail. ‘It’s been mainly repeat clients who have booked the journey,’ explains key account manager, Alicia Taljaard. ‘For ‘country tickers’, the train travels through four countries – Tanzania, Zambia, southern Democratic Republic of Congo and Angola.’ The once a year journey leaves Dar es Salaam on 19 July 2019 and, after a three-day turn around leaves Lobito for the return journey on 2 August (this leg is also booked out).
Taljaard says the changing scenery in Angola includes a vast watershed scattered with fisheries and where the railway line is built up on the water. ‘You then travel through green, lush jungle, baobab forests and dry arid dunes. In the Congo it’s remote. There’s jungle and copper mining but the thing I remember most is the warmth of the people.’ When the journey ends in Lobito, guests stay one night at the new Terminus Hotel. ‘We recommend guests then add a side trip to the capital Luanda, flying from nearby Catumbela,’ says Taljaard. In Luanda, points of interest include old forts and the trip incorporates a game drive and river cruise in nearby Kissama National Park.
– Trish Freeman
Think narrow streets, cobblestone laneways, churches packed with history, ancient buildings and towers and not to mention endless options for alfresco dining, all enclosed by well-preserved Renaissance walls, and you’ve got the historic city centre of Lucca, Tuscany. The charming destination is on show this week as part of an educational organised by The Italian State Tourist Board and Lucca Promos ahead of the Buy Tuscany exhibition this week.
Strict water saving measures, early winter rain and an above average rainfall predicted for the next three months has meant that Cape Town’s ‘Day Zero’ for water has been pushed back to 2019. ‘Cape Town is open for business,’ says Melyne Hovasapian, trade relations manager, Australia New Zealand for South African Tourism.
South African Airways have reduced regional flight schedules between Johannesburg and some African countries.
The changes reflect demand on affected routes as well as the airline’s desire to maximise efficiencies across its network and to return to profitability as soon as possible.
No intercontinental routes are impacted by the announcement with the changes taking effect from the end of September finalising in November 2017.
Back-Roads Touring has recently launched its most significant offering yet – 50 2018 itineraries, with new additions such as Madeira, Malta and a Battle of Britain itinerary.
For foodies, the Cornwall Food Tour promises a culinary adventure, including lunch at Rick Stein’s restaurant and a cooking demonstration at the renowned Fat Hen. Clients can unlock the secrets of Madeira as they sample wine and cruise the Funchal Bay in the Madeira Highlights Tour, or explore some of Italy’s historical islands by boat in the Sail the Bay of Naples tour. Other new tours include Iceland Highlights, Champagne and Great War Cruise, a Dubai stopover and more. Back-Roads Touring reports guests can save up to $720 per couple on all 2018 tours with its early bird special, available until 15 January 2018.
The Heart of Hollywood World Tour will premiere at The O2 Arena in London on 20 June this year for a four-week run.
The Heart of Hollywood World Tour is an exhibition, show and attraction that will visit 60 cities over the course of five years, allowing the world to engage with the Hollywood sign before returning it home to Los Angeles
There is still some space available on a safari this March which sees award-winning National Geographic photographer Robin Moore, on an exclusive six-night excursion to capture Kenya from behind the lens.
This Cultural Photographic Safari journeys from Girae Manor in Nairobi to Sasaab in Samburu, ending at Solio Lodge near Mount Kenya and the Aberdare Mountains.
Latitude Hotels Group is launching another property in Africa this September, Latitude 0.
The Kampala location is just one of many on the list for the group with further city hotels in the planning stages – Addis Ababa, Nairobi, Kigali, Dar Es Salaam, Maputo, and Harare.
Munich Airport showed substantial growth in 2017, with new traffic records in several categories.
The airport’s passenger traffic increased by 2.3 million to a new high of 44.6 million. This was a 5.5% gain over the 2016 figure.
The airport also saw a strong surge in take-offs and landings, with an increase of more than 10,000 to approximately 405,000 – a gain of 2.6%.
Extraordinary Journeys has put together a shortlist of getaways in Kenya, Tanzania, South Africa, and Seychelles to accommodate the ‘buddymoons’.
Designed as a honeymoon for newlyweds and their closest friends, ‘buddymoons’ are shared experiences instead of seclusion and round-the-clock romance.
To cater to this growing custom, Extraordinary Journeys has identified seven exclusive-use villas, lodges, and a private island where shared accommodations and experiences are the highlights of the trip.
Sanctuary Retreats is a company that has been committed to conservation and responsible tourism ever since opening its first camp in the Masai Mara in 1999.
That’s according to Michael McCall, director of Sales Australia, NZ & Asia. He says the company has always strived to build long-lasting relationships with rural communities in the areas in which it operates, making a point of
Coach tour packages throughout Britain and Ireland for 2018 are currently being offered with savings up to $1110 per person by Tempo Holidays.
Included in the promotion is Tempo's 24 day Grand Tour of Britain & Ireland with prices now starting from $8385 per person.
An extensive transformation of Sanctuary Retreats’ Kenyan property, Sanctuary Olonana is about to commence shortly as part of a major investment programme across the Sanctuary portfolio.
Michael McCall, director of sales New Zealand and Australia and Asia, says Sanctuary Olonana is already widely regarded as one of the top safari properties in Kenya.
Trying out the local meals are a must do on most trips abroad and Insight Vacations’ new 2018 Europe Premium Escorted Journeys program offers a host of authentic dining experiences.
‘These authentic meals are specially curated so travellers not only enjoy a beautifully prepared dish, but also learn the culture and history behind it, and the wonderful companionship the whole way through,’ says Ulla Hefel
Pangolin Photo Safaris bought a houseboat in 2015, in a move to provide accommodation for clients who have booked one of the company’s photo safaris.
The houseboat has five rooms, ideal for small groups or FIT travellers.
On top of the houseboat, it is opening a lodge in July 2018. Toby Jermyn, Pangolin Photo Safaris, says the lodge is in response to travellers not wanting to stay in hotels.
A group of travel agents from New Zealand recently went on an action-packed visit around Ireland, as guests of Tourism Ireland, Fáilte Ireland and Qatar Airways.
The trip was a good opportunity to highlight ease of access to Ireland from New Zealand, with Qatar Airways via Doha.
The group’s itinerary included the Guinness Storehouse, Bunratty Castle & Folk Park, the Cliffs of Moher, the Burren Perfumery, Tullamore D.E.W. Visitor Centre, the Irish National Stud & Gardens and Powerscourt House & Gardens.
While summer continues to be the most popular travel period to Switzerland, more travellers are discovering that a Swiss winter holiday is appealing and eventful.
Switzerland Tourism points out that the colder months transform the country into an ‘icy wonderland’, bringing out different characteristics and personalities of the country.
Christmas Markets from Zurich (home to Europe's largest indoor Christmas market), to Basel (where fairy-tale dollars are used as legal tender in the markets), and Montreux (the gateway to Santa Claus' Swiss abode atop
Monaco recently had the second edition of TEDxMonteCarlo, putting innovation at the core of its strategy.
Themed ‘License to Know’, this year’s TEDxMonteCarlo was held at Monaco’s Grimaldi Forum.
Over 16 speakers from around the world shared their passion and new ideas on a range of front-page topics such as entrepreneurship, safety, security and transparency.
Switzerland Tourism has announced the opening of AQUATIS, the largest freshwater aquarium-vivarium in Europe.
Located on the shores of Lake Geneva (the largest body of freshwater in Western Europe), in the historical town of Lausanne, the project was 15 years in the making. Spread over two levels and with 3,500sqm dedicated to
Kiwi-born Andy Kibby - the founder of Kenyan based The Safari Company - has struck a chord with older kiwis seeking African adventures, says New Zealand representative Innovative Travel.
An extra departure was added for 2018 for the most popular 31-day Gorillas, Gameparks & Beaches tour, which starts in Kampala and ends in Zanzibar.
The first tour departing on 29 July is sold out, nine months ahead of departure.
British Airways has become the first airline worldwide to introduce high-tech remote-controlled devices to push back aircraft across its short-haul operation.
In partnership with Heathrow Airport, the eco-friendly Mototok tugs will give British Airways staff the tools to prepare aircraft for departure more efficiently.
Travellers mixing business travel and leisure are one of the growing markets for Trafalgar’s expanding Explorer series, Gavin Tollman, the operator’s chief executive.
The latest Rail in Britain brochure was handed out to agents at the Great Train Journeys trade function in Auckland late August.
A new feature is an M-Pass version of the BritRail England Pass. This enables clients to use the pass via their mobile phone.
It is now over six years since Egypt’s initial uprising and the destination has moved on with its new constitution now in place, a leading travel expert advises.
The new constitution has resulted in over 80 female Members of Parliament, along with many other positive changes.
Innovative Travel Cairo-based director, Elhamy ElZayat was in Christchurch recently with the latest Egyptian updates at a trade and consumer evening.
Scenic has an array of travel incentives to mark the release of its Grand Wonders of Europe 2018 brochure, offering savings of up to $4000 per couple on selected bookings. The Grand Wonders of Europe 2018 brochure features 15 itineraries ranging in length from nine to 23 days, plus city stays.
Cycle Europe / A Walker’s World is close to releasing its Bike, Boat and Barge brochure for 2018. Among the new offerings is a Holland Meets Germany By Bike & Boat itinerary. Director Jill Grant says this easy cycle tour takes a meandering scenic course over a week between Rotterdam and Cologne and vice versa.
Tempo Holidays has launched a new package for travellers to Greece. Consisting of superior accommodation, comprehensive sightseeing and added extras to suit the requirements of the signature range, this independent package begins in mainland Greece, Athens.
Bentours has announced 2018/19 dates for the Northern Lights. Bentours’ small group escorted tour, Follow The Lights, will include 28 new departure dates across OctDec 2018 and Jan-Mar 2019, and will build upon feedback from the previous season.
Robyn Galloway of Innovative Travel says travelling through East Africa with The Safari Company recently exceeded all of her expectations. The safari was hosted by New Zealand born Andy Kibby. ‘The gorilla trekking in Volcano Park Rwanda was an incredible highlight. It was amazing to be within a metre of the gorilla families,’ says Galloway. ‘Groups are limited to eight at a time and there is the opportunity to spend an hour close to one family.
Agents have a new opportunity to promote Europe to keen walkers and others looking for soft adventure, says Jill Grant of A Walker’s World. Grant recently sampled a small section of Switzerland’s Via Alpina, which crosses the backbone of the country from west to east. It links up with the long distance hiking network of the same name that starts in Monaco on the Cote d’Azur and ends in Trieste, Italy after traversing eight alpine countries - France, Italy, Monaco, Switzerland, Lichtenstein, Germany, Austria and Slovenia.
It’s not all about the ‘Big Five’ – and a stay at a game lodge doesn’t have to break the bank. These were the key messages from two operators, speaking at an Indaba seminar, showcasing award winning tourism companies.
South Africa is well known for its luxury game lodges, where the rate can be up to $2000 per night.
In contrast Denis Goffinet, of Needles Safari Lodge, near Kruger, says he targets the middle income bracket looking for an affordable African safari.
Because the Castilian city of Madrid caters more for the Spanish than tourists, it’s attractions for visitors are a little less obvious, according to Caitlin Cantor, expat Canadian and tour guide with Devour Madrid.
Cantor reveals the core of Madrid during evening walking tours, throughout central Madrid’s network of plazas and neighbourhoods.
Between the ‘best Iberian ham in Spain’ at the Royal Tavern, (accompanied by red vermouth flavoured with cinnamon, cardamom and orange peel) and the ‘best mushroom tapas in Madrid’ at Meson del Champinon (eaten with a summer red wine and sweetened soda
Since the 820s, when the tomb of St James the Apostle (Santiago in Spanish) was discovered in Spain’s Santiago de Compostela, pilgrims have made their way on foot to the mythical city.
The end point is the Cathedral of Santiago and pilgrims start arriving daily from mid-morning, having walked an average of 25km a day – some for months, others for a few days – to earn a certificate (compostela) proving they have completed at least 100kms of the Way of St James or Camino de Santiago.
Soaring Australasian and American visitor numbers have helped Ireland offset the negative effects Brexit may have had on British tourism figures.
Australasian visitor numbers to Ireland are up 16% for January to March 2017, while there was a 23% growth spurt from the American market during the same period. These numbers have helped boost Tourism Ireland’s overall number of tourists by 1%.
However, the destination noted a 6.5% fall in British visitor numbers.