A Walker’s World’s 12-day Apulia and Basilicata walk/cycle combo tour explores the best of Italy’s ‘heel in the boot’ during six days of semi-guided walking and six days self-guided cycling.
‘Having a local expert guide to interpret the fascinating UNESCO World Heritage sites of the Sassi of Matera, Valle d’Itria and Alberobello, is a huge advantage and highlight of the tour,’ says A Walker’s World direct, Jill Grant.
The Emerald Isle has shown that is ready to once again to welcome Kiwis following the attendance at the Meet the Buyer trade event in Meitheal (Killarney) by Tourism Ireland’s NZ rep Darragh Walshe and Innovative Travel’s Robyn Galloway.
‘It was also important to show the Irish industry that New Zealand is now opening up again,’ says Walshe. ‘We were particularly happy to be able to host Robyn at the Meitheal event for the first time. Her enthusiasm for the breadth of product and the opportunities for the New Zealand market was plain to see – especially by the tourism board and government heads.
'Pre Covid, over 36,000 Kiwis visited the island of Ireland annually and there is no reason why we can’t build back up to those numbers over the next couple of years,’ Walshe adds.
Getting away gives clients ‘confidence to re-enter long haul travel’
‘Breaking through the ‘travel glass ceiling’ is critical to lead the recovery in international tourism and travel, says Galloway.
Galloway says she realised that she had to travel to help inspire more New Zealand long haul consumers, to prove that it really is safe and possible to re-enter the world of long haul travel.
Flying on Qatar Airways with a stopover in Doha, Galloway says travelling is so much more hygienically safe.
‘Mask wearing in flight was actually a lot more comfortable than I imagined, and airports have a more stringent focus on safely travelling,’ Galloway says.
‘Now in Ireland, the contrast between Ireland and New Zealand is noticeable. People here are really focused on getting out and enjoying life; conscious that Covid is here, but not letting it destroy the social and business fabric of their society.
‘It is wonderful to see hospitality and local business being strongly supported in tourism growth. Posts on social media about my travel experiences have led to a strong following, it is apparent that potential travellers are seeking information about the new dawn of travel.
‘The drawbridge is down and it really is time to reconnect to the world,’ says Galloway.
A Walker’s World is reporting steady interest from the trade as it releases its 2022 Europe digital brochure.
Director Jill Grant says the company’s product has always ticked the sustainability box and attracts clients who enjoy the outdoors and being active – all things that have come even more into their own after the last couple of years.
The Irish Government has ended almost all Covid-19 public health restrictions. Restaurants and bars can resume normal trading hours; and restrictions on indoor and outdoor events, including sporting fixtures, have been lifted.
Heritage Expeditions is offering an exclusive 10-day stay on Wrangel Island in the Arctic Circle. Up to five guests will be able to stay on this remote island during The Ultimate High Arctic Expedition in July 2022.
They will be guests of the rangers who man the Wrangel Island Nature Reserve, best-known as the polar bear denning capital of the world, as well as for having the largest population of Pacific walrus and a rich natural history.
Two week-long guided Bike & Barge tours in France are new for the 2022 season.
‘Heart of Alsace Lorraine’, between Strasbourg and Nancy, is where French and German cultures converge owing to the changing of borders between France and Germany, Cycling Europe’s managing dictor Jill Grant points out.
Cycling Europe reports that there has not been one single outbreak of Covid on any of its bike, boat and barge tours in Netherlands, Belgium and France this European season.
‘The thought, care and protocols put into the organisation of these cruises has paid off,’ says A Walker’s World / Cycling Europe managing director Jill Grant. ‘With some 100 plus tours and thousands of guests, this is a sound record of safety.’
A video of the protocols in place on these trips is on the Cycling Europe website so agents and clients can and see for themselves how the tours operate in the Covid era. CLICK HERE.
‘Small groups and natural social distancing while cycling are natural advantages. Looking to 2022, travellers can have great confidence booking these tours and the Bike Boat & Barge 2022 brochure is available now,’ says Grant.
For the brochure, CLICK HERE.
Cycling Europe has released its Bike Boat & Barge 2022 brochure.
It includes the Stunning Croatia by Bike & Boat itinerary – small group tours will now start and end on Fridays instead of Saturdays as they have previously.
‘This change takes advantage of emptier harbours, less traffic upon arrival and the general benefits for better logistical coordination of the tours,’ says Jill Grant, director of A Walker’s World and Cycling Europe.
Uniworld Boutique River Cruises is adding new ‘Nights Out’ evening experiences throughout Europe from 2022.
The five excursions are private offerings, showcasing top European cities in a new light.
These will be part of Uniworld’s all-inclusive itineraries. For 2023, ‘Nights Out’ excursions will be included on all of Uniworld’s European cruises.
Lumo’s launch of low-cost rail services could disrupt current rail and air services between London and Edinburgh. Its low-cost model alongside a focus on minimising environmental impact will bode well for shifting traveller trends as the sector recovers from the pandemic, says GlobalData.
Gus Gardner, associate travel and tourism analyst at GlobalData, says British travellers have become accustomed to high fares and low-quality services that, pre-Covid, were often overcrowded.
Irish Whiskey’s ‘serious revival’ has not only given rise to an influx of new distilleries but also led to the formation of several tours based around the spirited beverage.
John Callely, founder of Whiskey Island Premium Tours and Tastings, says that for a long time the island of Ireland’s whiskey industry lay dormant. ‘At one stage we were down to just two distilleries, now we have 39 and more (about 25) on the way.’
He says whiskey trails offered to guests take in a number of distilleries but also stop at some of the historical, cultural and scenic highlights along the way.
Switzerland Tourism’s first Virtual Switzerland Travel Experience 2021 welcomed more than 150 advisors from New Zealand and Australia across the two-day event recently.
Apart from receiving useful updates on Switzerland’s travel experiences via six dedicated workshops and pre-scheduled one-on-one meetings with the country’s 14 plus key tourism providers, attendees were also treated to live interactive entertainment by SongDivision.
A major highlight at STE2021 was the panel discussion on sustainability. Hosted by Switzerland Tourism’s executive vice president, Urs Eberhard, the panel discussed the meaning of Swisstainable.
More than 25 tourism providers from the island of Ireland, as well as four operators based in Australia and New Zealand, will re-engage with travel advisors at Tourism Ireland ANZ’s first Ireland Virtual Expo on 7 and 8 September from 5pm-7pm.
At the online B2B event, Tourism Ireland will facilitate an Exhibit Hall as well as one-on-one pre-scheduled video appointments, where advisors will connect with the exhibitors to obtain the latest in news and experiences. The event will help advisors discover/rediscover the wide range of products and experiences in Ireland.
Tourism Ireland says it is looking forward to rolling out the green carpet to international visitors following the country’s adoption of the EU’s new Digital Covid Certificate.
This will enable more seamless travel among EU member states. Ireland will begin the scheme on 19 July, meaning that travellers from EU member states bearing the pass – which attests that the holder has either been vaccinated, has had a negative test for Covid-19 or has had the virus – will then be able to visit Ireland without the need for a test or quarantining.
Rail Europe’s new module, available on its e-learning platform, The Rail Agent Course, is designed to help travel agents learn about the Eurail pass in all its forms.
As an added bonus for participants, agents who complete the module have the chance to win a Eurail pass, First Class, for unlimited travel in Europe.
In February, Rail Europe released a mobile version of the Eurail passes on its API and agent website. The mobile pass allows travellers to cross up to 33 countries on several railway networks, using one pass.
Rail Europe is offering a mobile version of its Eurail Passes, offering flexible exchange options.
The mobile version is being released through Rail Europe’s API and its agents website. It allows passengers to cross from one to 33 countries on several railways with one pass.
Adventure World Travel is offering an exclusive offer on two Follow the Lights itineraries in Scandinavia. Clients who book with Adventure World Travel before 20 February 2021 can save up to $500pp.
The offer applies to both the northbound and southbound versions of the Follow the Lights journey onboard a Hurtigruten ship. Both itineraries take guests through fjords and ports of Finland and Norway, with a possibility to spot the Northern Lights.
Cycling Europe’s new Bike Boat & Barge brochure 2021 is available on www.cycling-europe.com together with the detailed trip notes for each tour.
‘We believe continuity is important so we decided to publish the brochure for 2021,’ says Cycling Europe/A Walker’s World founder Jill Grant. ‘Some of these tours did go ahead successfully last year.’
The International Air Transport Association’s (IATA’s) new estimates for the impacts of Covid-19 on air transport and economies in Europe in 2020 indicate a further deterioration in revenues, job prospects and economic activity across the entire continent.
IATA’s latest economic forecast reveals that in 2021 Europe is expected to be the worst hit global region in terms of airline losses (-$11.9 billion). Passenger traffic (measured in revenue passenger km, RPK) is estimated to have
After five years of construction, Zurich Airport has opened its new district, The Circle, to the public. It features two Hyatt hotels offering a combined 555 rooms, a convention centre spanning 5000sqm, a major medical centre with health and beauty facilities, 70,000sqm of office space, scenic parks, a series of high-end shops and a range of concept restaurants.
The impacts on the European aviation industry and on economies caused by the shutdown of air traffic due to the Covid-19 pandemic have worsened over recent weeks, new research by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) reveals.
Bike Boat & Barge tours in Netherlands and Belgium will start the tour season on 17 June 2020, reports A Walker’s World / Cycling Europe. ‘In the Netherlands, the Covid-19 crisis is under control and from 1 June the lockdown will be lifted. From this date, places such as restaurants, cafes, attractions, museums and shops will open again, as well as harbours and waterways,’ says Cycling Europe’s managing director Jill Grant.
Greece is preparing to open the country’s borders and is working towards a soft opening in June, with some islands also scheduled to reopen on 30 June, Innovative Travel is informing agents.
Tourists and Icelandic residents entering the country will be given the option of being screened for the novel coronavirus from 15 June.
The choice means the 14-day quarantine will not be mandatory for passengers arriving at Keflavík International Airport.
Switzerland Tourism is launching a series of live webinars for travel agents, starting 19 May, with spot prizes up for grabs. Agents will be able to hear from and interact with partners from Zurich, Basel, Lucerne, Interlaken, the Jungfrau Regions and Jungfrau Railways, the Schilthorn (aka James Bond Mountain), Zermatt and the Swiss Travel System.
Agents will hear about product updates and new developments, plus crucial advice on Switzerland's recovery plan over the next couple of years. Register here.
The United Kingdom’s early response (or lack of) to Covid-19 is unlikely to damage its reputation as a holiday destination in the medium to long term, says Australian-based Carolyn Childs, chief executive officer of My Travel Experience.
‘The UK had already done quite a bit of damage to its brand around the handling of Brexit,’ said Childs as part of the ongoing Keeping the Dream Alive series of webinars. ‘Visit Britain had tried to minimise that and I
Exotic Holidays is promoting Fez Tours for Turkey in 2021 and offering 10% discount for bookings made before 30 June, for tours starting 1 January 2021 to 31 December 2021.
Popular tours include an eight-day Aegean Delight Tour, priced from $1589 per person, twin share. It starts and ends in Istanbul and highlights include the battlefields at Gallipoli and Pamukkaale’s white terraces.
Ireland is giving agents and clients the chance to discover the island’s great whiskeys from the comfort of their armchair.
Irish whiskey has undergone a huge renaissance over the last decade. New arrivals from distilleries like Slane, Dingle, Walsh and Echlinville stand beside centuries-old favourites like Bushmills, Jameson, Teeling and Tullamore D.E.W.
IrishWhiskey360° https://irishwhiskey360.com demonstrates the importance of the master distillers, who combine quality Irish ingredients and a variety of cask finishing to create new flavours.
Last year, 17 distilleries on the island of Ireland welcomed more than one million visitors for tours that give a behind-the-scenes insight into their products. While visits are not currently possible, people can still discover the stories of Ireland’s whiskies on websites and through virtual tours.
Agents are invited to join special ANZAC Day reflections on the ANZAC Campaign at Gallipoli, hosted by Robyn Galloway, founder of Innovative Travel and chair of the NZ Turkey Business Council.
Reflecting on the lonely Gallipoli Peninsula, the video will be released on Saturday afternoon at 3pm to coincide with dawn at Gallipoli. It will be released on the Innovative Travel YouTube, Facebook and LinkedIn accounts.
Cycling Europe / A Walker’s World is getting product ready for next year, earlier than usual to allow the smooth transition of postponements for this year’s bookings to next year, says the company’s director Jill Grant.
Fez Tours, represented here by Exotic Holidays, has come up with a number of options for clients who are booked but no longer able to travel to Turkey over ANZAC Day. Along with travel restrictions around the world, ANZAC Day events such as the Dawn Service at Gallipoli will be cancelled this year due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Adventure World Travel has announced the launch of a tailormade Scandinavia, Russia and the Baltics portfolio. The Scandinavia collection will be the first of the range to be released in late November with Russia and the Baltics available in mid-2020. Adventure World Travel has been preparing the Scandinavia portfolio over the past five months but has brought forward the release due to demand from agents following the recent Bentours collapse. Neil Rodgers, managing director of Adventure World Travel, says AWT made the decision in early 2019 that these countries were a natural progression for the brand. The portfolio will launch with itineraries in Norway, Sweden, Finland, Iceland and Greenland. In addition to Adventure World Travel’s tailormade offering the collection will also showcase small group journey GSAs, such as Explore Worldwide’s boutique Yurt accommodation in Iceland and Natural Habitat’s luxury Greenland basecamp. Good rates in Scandinavia have been leveraged through the strong relationships and buying power of The Travel Corporation. In the ocean expedition category Adventure World Travel will continue its existing exclusive partnership with Lindblad Expeditions – National Geographic plus a new strategic partnership with Hurtigruten.