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Travel deals for solo travellers and Italy’s most charming cliffs

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Muri Lagoon Rarotonga, Cook Islands. Photo / Included

GET ORANA RETURN TOUR

Return Air New Zealand flights to the Cook Islands for a five night stay at Pacific Resort Rarotonga are available from Auckland from $2095 per person and from Wellington or Christchurch from $2255 per person. Book your trip by November 27th and your vacation between August 9th and September 20th. Nestled on manicured beachfront property, the resort has 64 guest rooms and also has a kids’ club. Daily breakfast, food and beverage credit and airport transfers are part of this package.

Contact: Flight Centre, 0800 427 555 or see Auckland Departures below flightcentre.co.nz/product/16531817wellington departures, flightcentre.co.nz/product/16531886 and Christchurch departures, flightcentre.co.nz/product/16531955

WELLY WEALTH OF WISDOM

Take a guided tour of the Wellington Museum, then board a ferry to Matiu/Somes Island while enjoying fish and chips on board. On the island you will discover the native flora and fauna and learn about its fascinating history. The guided tour in the museum focuses on the history and peculiarities of the capital. The Ship ‘n’ Chip Tour starts at 11:00 AM and ends around 4:00 PM. Reservations are required. An adult ticket is $55 and a child ticket is $39. A family ticket for two adults and two children is $149. Two adults and four children pay $199.

Contact: Wellington Museums, (04) 472 8904, [email protected] or museumswellington.org.nz/shipnchip/

FIJI, SOLOS ONLY

Two’s a Crowd has launched an eight-day ocean cruise in the idyllic waters of Fiji’s Mamanuca and Yasawa islands, departing September 2 next year. This cruise is for solo travelers only. Each passenger gets their own cabin aboard MV Reef Endeavor, waking up in a different scenic location each day. The five-story, air-conditioned ship, which can accommodate 62 solo travelers, will visit the island where the Tom Hanks film was filmed Throw away was filmed. You’ll explore the limestone caves of Sawa-i-Lau, take guided hikes, and experience traditional festivals and cultural performances. Prices start at approximately $4393 for cabin accommodation, all meals, use of the ship’s spa and gym, swimming pool and snorkeling gear. Sightseeing, transfers, onboard entertainment, guided tours, and entrance fees are all included.

Contact: Two’s a Crowd, 0800 895 145 or twosacrowd.com.au/group_tours/fiji-charter-cruise-23/

CHARMING CLIFFS

Explore the incredible Mediterranean coastline of the Cinque Terre on foot and spend three nights in one of the region’s historic villages, best known for their brightly painted houses. Cinque Terre is now a national park and a Unesco World Heritage Site. Book this 4-day, 3-night trip by December 16th, starting at $1017 per person sharing, and enjoy a seafood dinner and sample local wines. Travel dates for the entire year 2023 are available.

Contact: House of Travel, 0800 713 715 or houseoftravel.co.nz/hot-deals/deals/UKE-ITL-taste-of-cinque-terre

HAVE A NICE TRIP

Seven nights in France, each night in a luxurious deluxe stateroom aboard the Avalon Suite Ship, starts at $4,675 per person sharing – a savings of $3,800 for each couple traveling together. Optional excursions during your trip through southern France include cycling through the Camargue Regional Natural Park to spot flamingos, hiking, kayaking or guided hikes. Book by November 30th. Traveling from New Zealand is additional. The cruise departs from Arles, France on August 1st.

Contact: Travel Associates, 0800 951 655 or travel-associates.co.nz/cruises/europe/active—discovery-on-the-rhone-16623396

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Longer vacations, responsible vacations among Africa travel trends: Travel Weekly

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Dorina Reinstein

Dorina Reinstein

With improved air access to Africa and ever-increasing traveler confidence, Africa is expected to be a hot ticket for US travelers in 2023. This presents incredible opportunities for travel consultants, Africa experts say.

The opportunity lies in the fact that more than ever, travelers to Africa are taking a lead.

“Before Covid, some travelers asked for quotes on pre-determined destinations and camps. They would then compare prices, often choosing the lowest[-priced] Operators,” said Karen Zulauf of Deeper Africa. “They seemed to trust the internet more than anyone with extensive experience in the space. Travelers planning safaris for 2023 appear to be much more open to advice and guidance.”

The knowledgeable specialist safari tour operator will play an important role in advising and assisting travel consultants and their clients in planning the safari itinerary that best suits their expectations, said Holden Safaris’ Jim Holden. He pointed out that with more information and choices when deciding on a safari, the assistance of a safari specialist is essential.

According to Holden, the most common prefix for most customer questions is “when or what is best” and then fill in the blank, be it the best time to go on safari, the best destination to go on safari, the best place to see a leopard etc. “The answer is, rather than relying on hearsay or trying to sort through all the conflicting information on social media, go with a specialist safari tour operator,” he said.

As travelers are more likely to turn to trusted travel advisors for 2023, it’s important to be up to date on the key trends for the year ahead. Here’s what thought leaders in Africa are predicting:

1. Short delivery times: Probably not the news most travel advisors want to hear, but last-minute bookings to Africa will remain rife in 2023, said Cindy Sheedy Walker, a consultant at Extraordinary, a collection of luxury hotels and lodges in southern Africa. Travelers have an urge for spontaneous adventure and discovery, adds Craig Glatthaar, Americas sales manager at Wilderness Safaris. “In a post-pandemic era, the need for adventure in life is a growing trend.”

Onne Vegter, managing director of Wild Wings Safaris, also sees a trend towards last-minute or “spontaneous” trips. This is unfortunate, he said, as availability can be limited many months in advance during peak seasons, particularly in destinations where demand far outstrips supply. Vegter added that no-deposit concessions made during the pandemic have come to an end. Travelers are still reluctant to part with large sums of money well in advance, but suppliers understandably need to insist on a reasonable deposit, typically between 10% and 30%, to reserve the rooms.

Opportunity for travel consultants? Travel advisors can encourage their clients to get out of peak season where they have greater value with new experiences and fewer crowds during shoulder seasons, says Sherwin Banda, president of African Travel.

2. Take responsible travel to a new level: In 2023, responsible travel in Africa will reach a whole new level, according to safari specialists. Sandra Devoti, general manager at Giltedge, says meaningful travel is a big trend for 2023 as travelers want to “give back” and have a meaningful vacation.

Travelers are turning to Africa because it offers sustainable travel with numerous opportunities to give back in a meaningful way, Banda agreed. “Given the severe impact of the global pandemic and the importance of wildlife conservation, there has never been a greater focus on sustainable travel in Africa,” he said. “Customers across the continent are looking for up-and-coming destinations and more remote destinations. They crave life-changing experiences.”

People are traveling much more consciously, said Lindy Rousseau, chief strategist at Singita. They are interested in authentic sustainability credentials and engage with issues such as solar energy, food waste, plastic use, water conservation, ethical food sourcing, sustainable building materials and local employment.

Opportunity for travel consultants? Direct travelers to responsible companies that not only pay lip service to sustainability and conservation, but companies that have a proven track record, said James Currie, North American sales and new development manager at Great Plains.

3. Linger longer: According to Robert More, CEO of More Family Collection, people can and will linger longer in 2023 as they have more flexibility with virtual work options.

Index Hotels CEO Craig Seaman agreed, saying we will see more individual travelers. But contrary to what is seen in Europe where it will be the more mature market, in Africa we will see a younger profile (under 35). “This is being driven by the ‘work-from-anywhere’ phenomenon that will allow this generation to enjoy longer stays,” he said.

• Related: Work from anywhere? Africa Says “Work From Here”

Travelers are asking for longer stays at safari lodges to enjoy the full safari experience and the many additional activities now offered by many safari lodges, such as learning about the importance of conservation, Holden noted.

Opportunity for travel consultants? Expand the safari experience by incorporating many activities previously considered “back home” that are an integral part of a safari lodge’s existence, such as protecting wildlife and the environment, Holden said.

Seaman adds that it is important for travel consultants to be realistic and aware that Africa is a large and developing continent and not all areas are easily accessible. “It often takes a lot longer to travel from A to B than Google Maps says, so it’s better to choose a ‘base’ hotel/luxury villa from which your guest can explore, rather than doing this every day or two to change hotels,” he said.

4. Group travel of any kind: While solo travel is a key trend for 2023, so are multi-generational travel and group travel. As Zulauf of Deeper Africa pointed out: “Before Covid, the trend was to personalize travel, but now people want to travel with others who matter to them.”

“We see friends traveling together – men, women and couples traveling together – to create memories. These groups often have a common interest, be it sport, food, fauna or flora, but what they are looking for most are unforgettable experiences,” said Seemann.

The result, according to Index Hotels’ Seaman, is an increasing demand for luxury serviced private residences.

“Groups traveling together want the luxury of a hotel but the freedom of homestay, where they can set their own schedule but still not have to worry about cleaning and cooking,” he said.

Opportunity for travel consultants? Banda noted that customers want enhanced experiences and are interested in a la carte options that cater to the diverse desires of their group, so there is something for everyone. Travel Agents who have a group of more than 10 clients traveling together may book a new group.

Travel agents should look for multi-room villas to accommodate group travel. Both Tswalu and Natural Selection have previously announced that they will be incorporating multi-room villas into their new camps, which will launch next summer.

5. A holistic experience: “We’ve entered a new travel landscape and not just a travel bubble,” Seaman said. He said travel has become part of people’s well-being and wellness journey since the pandemic subsided.

• Related: Is Africa a good choice for customers with disabilities?

Wilderness Safaris’ Smoothhair agreed with Seaman, saying that as travelers look to the future, self-development will be a critically important element of the travel experience. “Events surrounding the pandemic have highlighted the issues of self-care, mental resilience and other introspective exercises. People will look at travel as a way to invest in themselves.”

Opportunity for travel consultants? After the uncertainty of the pandemic era, travelers want to travel with peace of mind. Hence a consistent, reliable delivery of the travel experience, with health and safety in mind from start to finish, said Glatthaar.

Singita Rousseau’s travel consultants must provide guests with a seamless and easy booking experience. “Make sure guests feel cared for. Take the time to connect the right guests with the right product,” she said.

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Berlin, Germany Destination Guide – Hotels Above Par

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Berlin has a reputation for being “poor but sexy” – but its shopping, nightlife, restaurant and hotel scenes strive to ensure you never compromise on the value of taste, quite literally.


STAY:

Provocateur Hotel

Combining aesthetic nods to 1920s Paris with Berlin’s modern hedonism, the most flirty hotel on the Berlin scene is ready to have as much fun as you on this trip. The Provocateur Hotel is the kind of hotel that’s unabashedly red velvet and dark dining rooms, which seems just right after years of Scandinavian minimalism.

Hotel Michelberger

One of those hotels where residents and tourists really mingle at the bar, there’s usually an interesting crowd at the Michelberger Hotel, making it perfect for solo travelers looking to socialize, business travelers looking for coworking company, or groups of Friends who wish to stay up all night (or day) at the nearby clubs. It’s within walking distance of artsy Kreuzberg and brunch-and-boutique hotspot Boxhagener Platz, and the on-site restaurant is excellent, too.


MEAL:

KODA

This Michelin-starred restaurant in trendy Neukölln joyfully blurs the lines between dinner and dessert, thanks to the talent of chef René Frank and the rest of his team. It’s an unexpected break with much of the fine dining scene, thanks to the way Frank, a former pastry chef, uses this approach to meet, enhance and explode savory flavors on the plate. Two seating arrangements per evening (each with a different number of courses) require a reservation.

Allan’s Breakfast Club

A Franco-Australian dream team runs this utterly delightful brunch spot in leafy Prenzlauer Berg, home to the massive Mauerpark flea market (which is where you go after you’ve eaten an Eggs Benedict, which people love to queue for). You can enjoy a meal that lasts for hours if you wish: the menu is heavy on fizzy and rosé, and the staff has easy judgment, which is exactly how a perfect brunch restaurant should be. Check the wonderfully loud Facebook page for special events – oyster and rosé nights are known to take place in the summer.


DRINK:

Photo credit: Sarah S. Fischer

velvet

Head here for a drink before your CODA reservation, or take a trip to Berlin’s southern neighborhood — full of galleries, excellent bars, and other after-hours fun — for this cocktail bar. It’s run by some of Berlin’s most talented mixologists, who develop seasonal menus that often focus on handpicked ingredients and condiments from around the city, but no pressure if nothing speaks to you: the friendly staff are also happy to whip up a classic concoction or a creative libation with a few tips to keep you going.

Berghain

The classic night at Berlin’s Berghain techno club is on most tourists’ checklists and needs no explanation—though the adventure ends before you actually make it through the doors. While a lot of effort has gone into deciphering a guaranteed outfit or aura that will see you past the bouncer, the general advice is extremely Berliner: wear black and chill.


TO VISIT:

chestnut avenue

Kurfürstendamm and Friedrichstrasse might be the places to find designer designer names, but if you want to head to some independent shops instead, Kastanienallee is the place to be. Begin (or end, or both) your stroll down the street at the Pratergarten, Berlin’s oldest beer garden, located near the end of Eberswalderstrasse. Kauf Dich Glück is a medium-priced shop for clothes and flagship offers ethical fashion – and there is even more to discover in the side streets of the avenue. In a blast from the past/true Berlin spirit, there is also a DVD shop.

Market Hall Nine

Kreuzberg’s most famous market hall hosts a big party once a week celebrating the local gastronomy, Street Food Thursdays, where you can go from vendor to vendor with friends and taste their wares. (Arrive early to secure a spot!). It’s family-friendly, but there are also some great wine suppliers here, adding a bit of a party vibe to the evening – our advice is to buy a bottle or two, then send friends off to collect missions from the talented chefs. It’s great too Not Thursdays to take home local specialties (and to buy quality local ingredients for cooking if you choose the apartment route for accommodation).

VooStore Berlin

This design-led concept store features both big names and those who call Berliners home, whether you’re looking for an all-black outfit for Berghain, utility trousers from GmbH, Jacquemus knitwear or minimalist jackets from Acne Studios.

Manufactured

If fashion with the capital F isn’t quite your thing, head to Manufactum in Charlottenburg for a huge selection of homewares for gifting or keeping that combine timeless design with good old-fashioned German quality and a few foreign finds. Here you can take home wooden toys for your children, Japanese gardening gloves, nice stationery, chunky sweaters and a bottle of German whiskey (yes, really) – and think of your trip every time you use them.

Tempelhof field

This former Nazi airport has seen a lot of drama and history in its lifetime – and now it’s a huge park, playground, kitesurf track, barbecue area and basically a backyard for Berliners. In fact, it’s the world’s largest open inner-city square, and this is where you’ll find everyone (really everyone) hanging out on a sunny summer’s day. There’s a circus school, a beer garden and a six-kilometre track (the former runways) where you can walk, run or kitesurf, and the charming cafes of the Schillerkiez are a short stroll away if you need a break .


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Kerala’s women-friendly tourism to unlock entrepreneurship in the State, Hospitality News, ET HospitalityWorld

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    PA Mohamed Riyas, Kerala Tourism Minister, launches the Women-Friendly Kerala Initiative at an event in Thiruvananthapuram.
PA Mohamed Riyas, Kerala Tourism Minister, launches the Women-Friendly Kerala Initiative at an event in Thiruvananthapuram.

Kerala tourism is launching another ambitious movement to take its already well-established responsible tourism project to a whole other level and level, and has recently launched a campaign to make the state women-friendly through its Responsible Tourism Mission.

What does the Kerala Campaign different from the usual safe to travel Campaigning for women is the whole construct of how they want to achieve this goal. The country’s tourism minister recently launched the campaign, PA Mohammed Riyas said that state tourism seeks to achieve this by unleashing the entrepreneurial spirit of women in the state. The travel packages are designed and run by women, with food, accommodation, transportation and tour guides being women.

“We have combined two global campaigns – Tourism for Inclusive Growth and UN Women – Gender Inclusive Tourism – in our women-friendly tourism project,” said Rupeshkumar, state coordinator of RT Mission Kerala.

As a knot agency RT mission is commissioned to advance the project for Kerala Tourism. With a network of over 25,000 RT units statewide spanning farm tourism, agritourism, homestays, cultural and craft units, the state RT Mission sees this as an expansion of its current activities.

“Of the 25,000 RT units, almost 18,000 are women-led RT units, which gives us a head start when we start this project,” says Rupeshkumar.

Around 1,500 people have already registered on the network since it launched last month, he says. Two rounds of training were also successfully arranged for these newly registered participants. In the coming months, training workshops will be held in all 14 districts and around 1000 panchayats.

In addition to the RT units, the country also has well-connected and active women’s travel groups. That’s an added benefit, he says. All these groups also fully support the initiative.

He said an audit of all destinations would be launched in terms of women-friendliness and gaps would be identified and bridged with financial support from state tourism. These audits address gaps in terms of adequate toilet facilities, availability of safe and hygienic food, feeding stations, shelter, etc. The audit will be completed in all villages before December 30th.

There are already 2800 ethnic kitchen units registered under the RT mission. Many of these units are part of a household and run by women. According to Rupeshkumar, the number of such units could be increased many times over.

The initiative aims to include 30 women from each village in the women-friendly tourism network. Among these 30 people there are tour guides; travel coordinators; Homestay/Serviced Villas, ‘she stays‘, food/catering units, toilet/drinking water units; refresh houses; female-friendly taxis; ‘you cars‘, Etc.

While female-friendly travel aims to create a positive image for the state and attract the burgeoning female solo travelers and women’s groups; It also intends to encourage local women to explore their own state with confidence.



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