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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
Images of rolling hills, delicious wine and authentic, rustic cuisine come to mind when one thinks of Tuscany. However, there’s more to this famous Italian region, according to Marta Javarone, events and b2b executive, Toscana Promozione.