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.
Australia is a diverse country and a huge continent - a place for adventure where excitement and natural beauty blend.
It teems with wildlife, is home to the Aboriginal people, has its own wine country and more than 900 islands in its Great Barrier Reef.
Arrayed across undulating hills overlooking its namesake bay, Japan’s Nagasaki is considered the “Naples of the Orient.” But Nagasaki is even better known as the city where the second Atomic bomb was dropped on August 9, 1945, killing 75,000 people, wounding another 75,000, and leaving generations of survivors physically and emotionally scarred.
The bombing was Nagasaki’s greatest tragedy. But it wasn’t the first. In 1597, nearly 50 years after St. Francis Xavier brought Christianity to Japan, Nagasaki witnessed the hilltop crucifixion of 26 Roman Catholic missionaries and laymen followed by more than 250 years of Christian expulsion and persecution.
It is always a challenge selling destinations that have a history of unrest, but fortunately, although Ethiopia is occasionally in the news, it is not known for widespread violence. It is still important to be aware of current events and possible threats, and booking with well-established tour operators like Big Five Tours & Expeditions (www.bigfive.com) will ensure that your clients will have the safest and most worry-free trip. Advise your clients not to book last-minute side trips, and book them group excursions for exploring more remote areas.
Allow me to take a few moments to introduce you to the latest love of my life, the lovely and lush country of Slovenia, a land of fairytales and forests that stole my heart for six days. You may remember it as part of Yugoslavia or know Slovenia as the birthplace of the First Lady of the United States, but you must travel to this verdant land to appreciate its magic. Slovenia connects the Alps, the Mediterranean and the Pannonian Plain in accessible distances. You can easily pair a trip to Slovenia with a visit to Austria, Hungary, Croatia or Italy. But you just may want to stay for a week, a while, or forever.
One of the primary reasons for my passion for this tiny country which is about the size of New Hampshire, is that it is full of diversity and surprises. Did you know that the noble white Lipizzaner horses hail from Slovenia? Or that Slovenia is home to Predjama Castle, the largest cave castle in the world? It seems almost implausible that a landscape dotted with ancient castles and steeples is just 26 years old. Join in a journey through the mountains filled with grazing pastoral animals, ribbons of greenery and breathtaking scenery.
With a long list of musicians, composers and artists, Germany has influenced Europe’s cultural scene for centuries. These days, Northern Germany commands the spotlight. Hamburg, one of the world’s fastest-growing ports, opened the stunning Elbphilharmonie concert hall. In Lübeck—celebrating its 30th anniversary as a UNESCO World Heritage Site—museums honor Nobel Prize-winning novelists Thomas Mann and Günter Grass. In Berlin, the capital, art-lovers flock to scores of galleries, including the newly opened Museum Barberini in Potsdam.
Few destinations have breezes as fragrant or seas as clear as the islands and coastline of Croatia. Speed boats and a ferry from Venice access Losinj, an island 25 miles off the northern Adriatic coast of Croatia. The island can also be reached by flying from Zagreb to Pula in Istria, ferrying to Krk and the island of Cres and driving to the main town of Mali Losinj. Plans are underway to lengthen the runway to accommodate larger planes. Adventures Croatia (www.adventurescroatia.com) customizes travel itineraries to fit the interests, budget and style of your clients traveling in Croatia.
I was among eight passengers aboard a private King Air plane, which flew from Marco Polo International Airport in Venice to Losinj, an enchanting, health promoting island.
Two, huge black rhinos block the road out of Komati Tented Lodge. They are less than 10 yards from the car. One seems very agitated. He starts pawing the ground - a bad sign. Then he puts his head down - a worse sign. Tooting the horn is not an option. After several frightful moments, he and his buddy turn and amble into the bush. Whew!
In South Africa, animals rule. And they are amazing. In my four trips to South Africa, going on safari is always a high point. But this country, located so very south of the border has so much more than wild animals. The Blue Train, Johannesburg, Durban and Cape Town quickly come to mind.
The late afternoon sun casts long shadows on the arches and balconies of Havana’s Spanish Colonial buildings. As I ride between them and the aqua-colored sea in a bright red, 1959 Cadillac Eldorado convertible, a breeze brushes my face. Nothing has changed much since the late 1950s. Sure, there are a couple of modern buildings and monuments but that’s about it. I feel like I am in a time warp.
To someone who loves to walk, it doesn’t get much better than Turkey’s Lycian Way. It has everything a hiker would want; breathtaking views, secluded beaches, exciting cliffside trails, deep cool forests, ancient history, picturesque villages, and lovely pensions to overnight in. Turkey’s first long distance walking route in the southwest, hugging the entire Teke Peninsula, is truly a bucket-list dream destination. It travels for 540 kilometers (335 miles) between the cities of Fethiye and Antalya, and much of the life along the Lycian Way has not changed for centuries.