Destination news from WTM 2018

by Jessica Pook | 08 November 2018

From tourism giants like Florida and Spain to undiscovered Pacific islands and ‘up-and-coming’ cities looking to become established inthe short breaks market, there was a whole world under one roof at World Travel Market in London this week (November 5-7). As the biggest travel show of the year comes to a close, here’s a round-up of some of the top travel news, hot off the stands at Excel.

Tel Aviv
A new direct El Al Israel Airlines flight will begin operating from Manchester to Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion International Airport in 2019. The route is scheduled to take off on May 26, 2019, the service operating three a week.

To mark the announcement, EL AL is offering special introductory fares from Manchester to Tel Aviv, with Economy tickets starting from £289 return. The offer runs until November 26 and is valid for travel from May 26, 2019 until July 11, 2019 and September 1 until 24 September 24, 2019.

The Israel Government Tourist Office is continuing with its a ‘Two Cities, One Break’ campaign to highlight Tel Aviv and Jerusalem as a year-round city break for the UK market. Ben Gurion is approximately equidistant between Tel Aviv and Jersualem.

Greece wants to establish itself as a ski city break this winter with an offering of over 20 pistes on the Arachova resort in the centre of the country.

“People can forget that the Greek mainland is one of the most mountainous countries in Europe – we have 19 ski resorts and many of them close to Athens or Thessaloniki,” said Emy Anagnostopoulou, Director of the Greek National Tourism Organisation.

Ryanair, Jet2 and BA have all announced new flight routes for summer 2019. Ryanair will operate two flights a week from Liverpool to Corfu and one from Southend along with two new flights from Manchester to Thessaloniki and a daily flight from Luton to Athens.

Jet2 will run 140 flights per week to Greece from early May to October 2019, including six flights a week each from Birmingham, Leeds Bradford, Manchester and London Stansted to Chania, Crete, one flight a week from Edinburgh to Corfu, one flight a week from Birmingham to Kefalonia and one flight a week from Glasgow to Kos.

And British Airways will launch two new seasonal routes to Greece including three flights a week from Gatwick to Kos and Two flights a week from Gatwick to Preveza.

Hotels opening in 2019 include Nikki Beach Resort & Spa in Santorini, Olympic Palladium in Rethymno and 100 Rizes Luxury Seaside Resort in Mani, which will offer special opening rates starting at £82 per suite in May 2019.

Ras Al Khaimah
The Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority debuted its ‘I found Ras Al Khaimah’ destination campaign, designed to grow the destination’s reputation as the leading adventure and leisure tourism hub in the Middle East. The campaign will target travellers and adventurers across Europe and the Middle East.

The Hungarian Tourism Authority has identified three market segments for its first-ever international tourism campaign, Spice of Europe. The campaign targets value-conscious young people aged 25-40, adventure seeking families and travellers between 30-55. The initial focus is on its capital, Budapest, but will later extend to other regions as part of a wider re-launch of the Hungary brand. The aim is to establish Budapest as European city break that is on the same footing as London or Paris.

Poland expects its celebrations to mark 100 years of independence will result in a boost in tourism in 2019. Krakow is also hoping to draw in foodies on the back of its European Capital of Gastronomy Culture 2019 title.

The Catalan Tourist Board will be promoting its ‘Year of Culture Tourism’ in 2019, including new cultural routes and tourism products. The six cultural routes will explore the region’s art and gastronomy, medieval and Roman heritage sites and the local customs of the Catalans. The strategy will also encourage more visits in the low season and to explore more of the region beyond the coastal areas.

South Africa
South African Tourism is building on its recently launched campaign, Discover YOUR South Africa. The campaign uses EEG-brain-reading technology to build a personality profile – such as ‘authentic adventurer’, ‘culture junkie’ or ‘urban nomad’ – to determine what it would take to make an individual’s ‘perfect trip’ to South Africa. This year SAT broadcast five live Facebook videos, with each focusing on a different region of the country, in order to educate the trade. South African experts were on hand to answer any questions.

St Helena
A further 19 flights, serviced by SA Airlink from Johannesburg, will be operational to St Helena during the peak summer season which runs from December 2018 to April 2019. The additional flights will operate on Tuesdays and Saturdays throughout this period.

The Balearic Islands
The Balearic Islands Tourist Board, which overseas promotion of Mallorca, Menorca, Ibiza and Formentera, has launched a series of tourism strategies designed to preserve the cultural heritage of the archipelago and promote a sustainable tourism model.

Mallorca has announced a new project entitled ‘Mallorca Inspires’ that highlight the island’s cultural heritage.

Menorca’s focus is on sustainability to improve marine life and extend its Biosphere Reserve.

Ibiza’s ‘Ibiza World Heritage’ highlights the island’s rich customs and traditions on the ‘other side of the island’.

Formentera hopes to encourage visitors to experience its natural beauty drawn to its ‘unique and natural’ strategy.

Brand USA’s 2019 UK & Ireland Megafam will feature new itineraries across the USA before culminating with a finale night in Phoenix/Scottsdale, Arizona. the MegaFam, which will draw up to 100 agents, will showcase American culture and travel experiences across seven, wide-ranging and simultaneous itineraries.

Agents can put themselves in the frame for a place on the MegaFam by booking American Airlines and British Airways flights to the U.S. during the entry qualifying period, which runs from December 3, 2018 to March 29, 2019.

Tobago has rebranded itself as a ‘standalone destination’ and has a new brand identity and training programme. The Caribbean Island is keen to move away from its long-standing position as a twin to sister island Trinidad and wants to be considered as more of a destination in its own right. the new logo ‘Tobago Beyond’ has an ‘unspoilt, untouched and undiscovered’ message which the tourism boars hope will take root in the minds of visitors. The island’s tourism authority will also be creating new destination guides and plans to launch an online training programme for travel agents.

Louis Lewis, CEO of the Tobago Tourism Agency (TTA) says: Tobago is the unspoilt, untouched Caribbean island where the undiscovered waits around every corner. What may surprise you more are the 101 unforgettable activities, authentic experiences and thrilling adventures that take you beyond ordinary.”

Jamaica reported a record in arrival figures for 2019, at 4.3 million, with a healthy 42% repeat visitor rate. Things could get better still for an island looking forward to several new hotel openings scheduled in 2019.

These include a Hard Rock Hotel in Liliput, S Hotel in Montego Bay and a AC Hotel in Kingston (a Sandals and Marriott project due to open in winter 2019). Also next year, the annual Kington City Run will introduce for the first time The Kingston City Marathon (KCM). Through working with partners such as the Jamaica Hotel & Tourist Association, there are plans to partner with airlines and hotels to offer affordable packages for overseas participants.

With 40 million overseas visitors expected in 2020, Japan is gearing up for a record two years of visitor arrivals. The Rugby World Cup, which the country will host in September and October next year will fuel interest while next up will be the 2020 Olympics.

The JNTO, which will also welcome the ABTA Convention next October, is pushing Japan’s cheaper shoulder season to appeal to a younger demographic and is also completing a regeneration programme with more homestay options and a wider range of affordable accommodation.

The Maldives has a number of new hotel openings scheduled in the next year including the world’s first underwater hotel, The Muraka at Conrad Maldives Rangali Island. Other openings in early 2019 include SAii Lagoon Maldives, Radisson Blu Resort Hulhumale Maldives and JW Marriott Maldives Resort and Spa. The Maldives is also home to the largest shopping mall in Southeast Asia.

Los Cabos, Mexico
A new TUI flight between Gatwick and Los Cabos, Mexico, will take to the skies on November 4, 2019. Both tourists and locals regularly vote Los Cabos as the ‘most safe destination in Mexico’.

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