As travel agents you’re especially aware of what today’s travelers seek. Standard one-size-fits-all tours are out; today’s traveler wants to step into local culture, do what locals do, experience the local scene and taste the local flavors. Especially the latter, as travelers realize that local foods and culinary traditions are a vital key to understanding local cultures.
Your clients may not have considered Germany for their foody travels, perhaps thinking that German food begins and ends with knackwurst, dumplings and sauerkraut. They may be surprised when you tell them that Germany ranks 4th in the world for the number of restaurants with 3 Michelin stars. They will find a full range of dining choices, from the traditional hearty Gasthof favorites to brilliantly conceived dishes to delight the most sophisticated palate.
With more than 2,000 Christmas markets in Germany, travelers are spoiled for choice. That can leave travel agents puzzling over where to suggest, especially for clients who have “been there, done that” on the usual itinerary of famous markets. While these best-known markets - Nürnberg, Rothenburg, Munich, Cologne and a few others - are still fun to visit, they are also the most crowded and nearby hotel rooms harder to book.
You can assure your clients of dazzling Christkindlmarkts in the less-traveled states of eastern Germany, and plan an itinerary that takes them to the home of some of Germany’s most cherished holiday traditions. These include the beautiful wooden angels, Santas, nutcrackers and other ornaments sold in markets all over the country.
If you are faint-of-heart, forget about crossing the street in in Ho Chi Min City (Saigon), Vietnam. About two million scooters, mopeds and motorcycles swarm like bees along the thoroughfares. The skill needed to cross them is bravado.
Many people who have been to Vietnam think they have experienced all of Southeast Asia. Not true. Each mainland country - Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar (Burma), Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam - is unique. Here is a tiny sampling of each.
According to recent statistics issued by the tourism departments in Abu Dhabi and Dubai, these two emirates’ tourism numbers grew by 3.6 percent during the first three months of 2018, compared to the same period last year. Hotel occupancy increased by 1.2 percent and room occupancy rose by 5.7 percent.Dubai is nearing its 2020 tourism target as it welcomed a total of 15.79 million visitors last year, up by 6.2 percent over a year earlier. But it’s not just Abu Dhabi and Dubai that are experiencing an upswing in tourism. Other emirates in the UAE (there are seven in total), specifically Sharjah and Ajman, also saw a spike in their tourism sector.
For sunbathing and romping in the ocean, don’t overlook the wonderful island choices off the coast of Africa. Zanzibar Island is a water hotspot. The overall Zanzibar Archipelago is in the Indian Ocean, just 15 miles off the coast of Tanzania. However, it could not be more different than the mainland.
Here you will find turquoise waters, shallow sandbars and if you head into the capital of Zanzibar City, be sure to visit the World Heritage Site of Stone Town, Zanzibar City’s old quarter.
This past June, the International Travel Partners Conference 2018 was held on Nassau, Paradise Island in the Bahamas. Through increased and strategic marketing set forth by the Nassau Paradise Island Promotion Board, the Bahamas has become the “new pace setter” of the Caribbean. The NPIPB announced that it has seen an 18% surge in stopover visitors in the first quarter of 2018, effectively “the fastest rate of growth of the region.” The goal for 2018-2019 is to remain on this track with the expectation of reaching their goal of 300,000 incremental visitors. To achieve this goal, they plan to promote the core tourism motivators of the region to beach lovers, casino goers, as well as wedding and honeymooners. They also seek to reach new visitors to the region and attract return visitors by driving home the message of the re-birth of “The New Nassau Paradise Island” with the revelation that this is not the same Bahamas of 20 years ago.
Sargassum, once almost exclusively the bane of seafarers, has grown into a major headache for resort destinations from the Caribbean to Mexico, to South Florida, fouling beaches with stinking, rotting masses of seaweed. Unfortunately, “What’s your seaweed situation?” needs to be added to the list of questions agents ask of resorts in the region before booking stays
Karen Whitt, Vice President of Sales & Marketing for The Hartling Group (The Sands, The Palms, The Shore Club) took a moment from her busy life on the beautiful island of Turks and Caicos to shine some light on visiting the destination.
There are several rainforests around the world, but certainly the first ones that come to mind are in South and Central America. The Amazon basin in South America covers more than two and a half million square miles and the Amazon is the world’s most well-known rainforest. It runs 3,000 miles from the Andes to the sea. The Amazon is also the longest river on the planet, the second being the Nile.
Arguably one of the most exotic destinations in the United States, the Hawaiian Islands awaits exploration. Without a passport in hand, travelers can visit from one to six different islands, or any combination. This is the trip of a lifetime for some, and a had-to return trip for others. Visitor arrivals are growing at 6.0 percent for 2018, according to Hawaii’s Department of Business and Economic Development