Turkish Airlines welcomed Istanbul Airport October 29, 2018. Starting this January, all operations will move from Istanbul Ataturk Airport to Istanbul Airport. Once complete, this will be the world’s largest airport: three times the size of Beijing Airport with six runways, four terminals, a capacity for 2,000 aircraft daily flying to more than 350 destinations and with an annual passenger capacity of about 200 million. The project will be launched in four phases with the final phase completed in 2028. This major hub at the intersection of Asia, Europe and the Middle East will be the world’s largest transfer point. Turkish Airlines (www.turkishairlines.com) offers service from major US cities including New York, Washington DC, Boston, Chicago, Houston, Miami, Seattle, San Francisco and Los Angeles to Istanbul with connections to its wide ranging international network.
An Alaskan Husky sled dog’s desire to run is so overwhelming that when you are about to leave on a 5-day expedition, they can feel the excitement in the air. Their barks are deafening. They rear up on their hind legs, paw at the air, even though they are tethered to the earth with a steel anchor. It adds to your excitement for going on a wilderness adventure, far above the Arctic Circle, in Lapland, driving your own personal team of sled dogs across 200 kilometers through some of the most mind-blowingly beautiful land you have ever seen. Well, if you could bark like the dogs, you would too!
When people tell me it’s impossible to get lost, I inevitably prove them wrong. On the island of Saõ Miguel, in the Azores, I discover that going astray brings pleasant surprises.
At one unscheduled stop, Ponta da Madrugada (about 1,500 feet above sea level) verdant mountains slither down to the sea. Waves thunder against its steep cliffs.
A group of Azoreans choose this dramatic backdrop for their Sunday outing. They fill the air with singing, clapping, accordion playing, castanets and an instrument that looks like a broken abacus. One dancing lady grabs me and before long, I am one of them. Well, sort of. Being a klutz, I am mostly smashing my partner’s feet. “Obrigada” (thank you), I say to the lady who chose me. She puts her hand on her heart, smiles and says, “nada.”
Croatia is often called a nautical paradise, with one of the most indented coasts in the Mediterranean, and home to more than 1,000 islands. Sailing along Croatia’s coastline from north to south is the best way to explore it, or a visitor can hit the road instead, and discover some of the more off-the-beaten path sites. Here are just a few of the special places your clients will want to experience for themselves, whatever way they choose to get there.
Any agent selling Europe knows that for the last few years, the Flanders area of Belgium has been a hot destination. The vast majority of travelers generally visit either Brussels, the European Union capital, or Bruges...everyone’s choice for Europe’s medieval town “cute” capital.
Bruges is definitely a great place to visit, as it is Europe’s best preserved medieval old town and has a real-life fairytale atmosphere. Not quite 2 square miles, this UNESCO World Heritage city center has something of a Disneyland feel to it. Most tourists visit Bruges between 9am and 4pm, and if you’re having a beer at a hopping café, suddenly by 5 pm, it becomes a quiet, somewhat empty café.
For those travelers looking for something beyond a fairytale experience, what’s the solution? The answer is... a visit to the beautiful city of Ghent!
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.
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.
From William Shakespeare’s Elizabethan plays to J.K. Rowling’s magical fantasies, Great Britain’s literary heritage is monumental. London, England’s capital, and the surrounding countryside have nurtured scores of celebrated authors and provided fictional settings for their poems, plays and novels.
On a one or two-week visit to England, start with a few days in London exploring famous literary haunts of William Shakespeare, Charles Dickens and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Then head to Bath and neighboring Hampshire county to follow in the footsteps of beloved writer, Jane Austen, author of such classics as Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility.
Enjoy two destinations for the price of one! Azores Airlines provides non-stop service from USA and Canada gateways, with continuing service on to mainland Portugal. From the US, it is just a 5 hour flight until your clients will have the opportunity to hike to the rim of an ancient volcano, admiring crater lakes of emerald green or deep blue, sipping wine grown in lava fields while dining in a seaside village, or watching an exquisite sunset over the Atlantic. And, after having from one to seven-days to discover the Azores, we then take them on to mainland Portugal to discover the delights of Lisbon and Porto. For those that want to get to the mainland, Azores Airlines brings a new way - the Azores Way. Fly direct if you have no time, but, flying direct means you’ll miss the Azores. With up to 3-flights per day on to Lisbon, and a daily-fight to Porto, moving beyond Azores just became so much easier with the new Stopover program.
It’s impossible not to like Madeira, the Portuguese island that stands alone in the Atlantic, closer to Morocco than to the mainland of Portugal. It has something to please almost every client, whether their passion is hiking, beaches, gardens, sea adventures or food.
What foodie could not love a place that grows more than seven different varieties of passionfruit (each with a different flavor) and is surrounded by fresh seafood. Chefs combine the largess of tropical fruits with the morning’s catch in infinite and creative ways. The island cuisine will surprise (and delight) food-lovers for its fresh and inventive style.