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FCTG creates powerhouse of in-destination experience businesses

LONDON, UK — Flight Centre Travel Group (FCTG) has announced its commitment to in-destination experiences with the launch of a suite of new speciality businesses. Flight Centre Global Product leader Nick Lucock said the newly formed The Travel Group would provide in-destination experiences like never before through hotels, tours, destination management and B2B product sales…

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FCTG creates powerhouse of in-destination experience businesses

LONDON, UK — Flight Centre Travel Group (FCTG) has announced its commitment to in-destination experiences with the launch of a suite of new speciality businesses.
Flight Centre Global Product leader Nick Lucock said the newly formed The Travel Group would provide in-destination experiences like never before through hotels, tours, destination management and B2B product sales and support.
The Travel Group brings together Flight Centre businesses including Discova, The Travel Junction, Cross Hotels & Resorts, Back-Roads Touring and Topdeck.
As the newest global destination management company (DMC), Discova was formed in July with the merger of Buffalo Tours, a long-time provider of customized tours in Asia, and Olympus Tours, a celebrated ground operator for Mexico, Costa Rica and the Dominican Republic.
“Discova has allowed us to expand our global reach so that we can remain at the forefront of in-destination travel services and connect our partners and customers to a world of possibilities through discovery and adventure. The new name represents a passion for our local people on the ground and global reach to service our business partners’’ Mr Lucock said.
“Discova delivers a range of services to our partners that includes day touring, transportation, extended touring, educational travel and MICE.”
“Discova is also able to create tailor-made in-destination solutions.  The strong position Buffalo Tours has had in responsible tourism will be carried into the new brand and complimented by working alongside Flight Centre Travel Groups already recognized Worldwise Charter.”
The Travel Junction – Connecting You, was created to act as an intermediary linking travel sellers outside of the traditional Flight Centre retail brands to the product powerhouse of the global procurement business with direct contracts in hotels, tours, experiences and cruise.
Mr Lucock said the continually-expanding business offered a connectivity service for B2B businesses to access the company’s specialised, highly valued range of travel products across wide reaching markets that may not have been feasible to access previously. 
“The Travel Junction offers a single distribution point with superior customer focused service to guide our partners through the entire product journey.”
“The key focus is on minimising the current disadvantages seen within the market today and being caretakers for the end to end customer experience, from supplier to end traveller,’’ he said.
The Travel Group also offers life-changing travel experiences under two distinct group touring brands; Topdeck and Back-Roads.
Topdeck is the number one provider of epic, hassle-free, authentic group trips for young people. Founded in 1973 by a group of friends with a double decker bus and a passion for adventure, Topdeck has grown to offer a variety of culturally-rich planned trips spanning Europe, Asia, Australia & New Zealand, North America, Africa and the Middle East.
Backroads with more than 30 years’ experience in small group tours across the UK, Europe, South East Asia and North America, is the original small group touring company. Capped at 18 passengers, their personalized touring experiences let fascinating cultures, delicious flavours and unexplored terrain take the lead.
Meanwhile, Cross Hotels and Resorts is Flight Centre’s regional Asian-Pacific hotel management company, which currently operates 24 hotels across three distinct brands: Cross, Cross Vibe and Away resorts targeting the luxury, urbane and beach style traveller in Thailand, Vietnam and Indonesia with many new projects in the pipeline.
“With a focus on the responsible partnerships, superior customer experience, support and personalised service that FCTG is famous for, the Travel Group provides a comprehensive one stop shop for memorable in-destination experiences world-wide,’’ Mr Lucock said.

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Intrepid launches new retreats for parents and children as family travel booms

NEW YORK – Despite uncertainty in travel due to COVID-19 border closures and regulations, global tour operator Intrepid Travel has seen unprecedented demand for its family tours over the last several months, prompting the company to create new Retreat-style tours geared towards the demographic, with safety and quality as top priorities. Intrepid has found that a…

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Intrepid launches new retreats for parents and children as family travel booms

NEW YORK – Despite uncertainty in travel due to COVID-19 border closures and regulations, global tour operator Intrepid Travel has seen unprecedented demand for its family tours over the last several months, prompting the company to create new Retreat-style tours geared towards the demographic, with safety and quality as top priorities. Intrepid has found that a quarter of the top 25 itineraries booked by its customers globally over the past three months have been family-themed tours, compared to just 12% during the same period last year, indicating a desire for families to go abroad in 2021 after months spent distancing.Currently, the top family trips booked globally are all based in Africa and Asia, including the South Africa Family Safari with Teenagers and a family tour of Vietnam, while North American families are also interested in adventures in the Middle East, particularly Jordan and Egypt.“After months spent indoors away from friends and classmates, we’ve seen families are eager to get out and explore the world once it is safe to do so, and have a desire to reconnect with both nature and like-minded people,” said Dyan Mckie, Intrepid’s family product manager.The four new Family Retreats, based in Morocco, Turkey and England, will have groups immerse themselves in one location in handpicked accommodation with nearby experiences. This new tour style celebrates ‘slow travel’ and allows adventurers to engage with the surrounding communities away from the crowds and in a more controlled setting. Each itinerary has been designed to benefit local communities affected by the pandemic, while also providing enriching activities for children and parents who have spent the majority of 2020 indoors due to the pandemic. For example, in Turkey, families will visit a sea turtle rescue center – supported in part by donations from Intrepid travelers – to learn about conservation efforts and rehabilitation. In Morocco, they’ll break bread with a local Imazighen family in their village, getting an insight into daily life in the High Atlas region.The new Family Retreats include:Turkey Family Retreat: FethiyeThis tour has families reconnecting with the natural beauty of the world with a retreat that celebrates nature, wildlife and local cuisine. In addition to visiting a  a turtle rehabilitation center, they’ll also enjoy the clear, blue waters of the Mediterranean and enjoy an easy hike through the stunning mountainous terrain between Kayakoy to Oludeniz Beach. Travelers will also learn some new family favorites in a traditional meze cooking class with locally foraged produce. Morocco Family Retreat: Ouirgane The calm and comforts of Amazigh (Berber) hospitality await on this retreat to Ouirgage, on the edges of Mt. Toubkal National Park. Travelers will leave the modern world of Marrakech behind and journey to a home away from home to enjoy time to reconnect with their family. Families will hike the hills through small villages and farms, hang out with the locals, try their hand at making some iconic local dishes and enjoy a pool overlooking the mountains.England Family Retreat: CornwallTravelers will explore England’s southwest coast, soaking up the views of sun, sand and sea from their family-run accommodation and during walks through the history and nature of this proper ‘ansom section of Cornish countryside. Also included is a private yoga and wellness session and a visit to a small, family-run bakery that makes Cornish pasties the traditional way.England Family Retreat: Peak DistrictFamilies will enjoy Britain’s first national park and explore its forested valleys and small stone villages threaded by walking trails during this new retreat. Based out of the quintessential country town of Castleton, travelers will walk their way to the scenic villages of Bamford and Bakewell, along the banks of the River Derwent, passing farms, woods, cottages and more, while stopping along the way to grab a tea in a shop that supports, and is run by, the local community.Due to the continued demand, Intrepid also has plans to launch several family-focused tours within the U.S. and Canada later this year for those who can’t or won’t feel comfortable going abroad yet.Each tour will operate under Intrepid’s new Safe Travels health protocols, developed in partnership with the WTTC. All travelers will complete a health screening at the start of the trip and be required to wear masks in certain settings, in line with local laws and regulations. Groups are accompanied by a local leader who has received specific COVID-19 training, which covers hygiene, sanitation, physical distancing, PPE as well as supplier monitoring. In preparation for travel to resume, Intrepid recently introduced a new Flexible Bookings policy to make travelers feel at ease when booking their holidays, which permits changes to travel plans 21 days before a scheduled departure, allowing for new travel dates or an entirely different trip with no change fees.

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Airline CEOs to address major industry event

Chief executives from some of the world’s leading airlines will be in attendance at Routes Reconnected to discuss the long-term impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on their business models and how they intend to rebuild passenger demand.In open and frank discussions, industry heavyweights including Board director & Chief Executive Officer Air France-KLM Group Ben Smith,…

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Airline CEOs to address major industry event

Chief executives from some of the world’s leading airlines will be in attendance at Routes Reconnected to discuss the long-term impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on their business models and how they intend to rebuild passenger demand.In open and frank discussions, industry heavyweights including Board director & Chief Executive Officer Air France-KLM Group Ben Smith, Wizz Air CEO József Váradi, KLM President and CEO Pieter Elbers, Avianca CEO Anko van der Werff, airBaltic CEO Martin Gauss, Air Astana CEO Peter Foster, and Stefan Pichler President & Chief Executive Officer Royal Jordanian will address the week-long hybrid event, taking place from 30 November – 4 December 2020.As the leading group in terms of intercontinental traffic on departure from Europe, the Air France-KLM Group is a major global air transport player. Having steered the SkyTeam alliance members through the worst of the crisis, Ben Smith and Pieter Elbers are focused on rebuilding the airline’s balanced global network and reasserting its place in the market.With plans to double passenger numbers to 80 million by 2025, Wizz Air has continued to expand rapidly despite the disruption that coronavirus has brought. Under József Váradi’s leadership, the Hungarian low-cost carrier has announced more than 200 new routes over the last six months, opened a string of new bases, and launched a start-up in Abu Dhabi.Latvia’s airBaltic connects the Baltic region with over 60 destinations in Europe, the Middle East, and the CIS. Martin Gauss expects measures taken by the airline, including the reduction of capacity and costs, will mean the carrier is in an excellent position to fully redeploy its A220-300 fleet as the market recovers.Despite effective debt reprofiling in 2019 and the successful execution of its “Avianca 2021” plan through Mid-March, Colombia’s Avianca was forced to file for voluntary petitions under Chapter 11 in May due to the impact of the pandemic. Anko van der Werff will outline the carrier’s turnaround plan and recovery strategy during the conference.Royal Jordanian has been an essential part of the country’s economy, contributing 3% of the national GDP. With extensive experience in leadership roles across the aviation and tourism sectors, Stefan Pichler is well placed to outline the financial considerations and actions that airlines must take to rebuild from the crisis.Steven Small, Brand Director at Routes, said: “By uniting leaders from across the sphere of aviation, we can help to shape the collective industry action that must be taken to stimulate the recovery.“Over 30 hours of live and on-demand content at Routes Reconnected will provide unmatched insight, inform future business strategies and the recovery plans of the global route development community.”Routes Reconnected will bring together the world’s aviation community to tackle the impact of COVID-19 and develop strategies that will support the industry’s recovery. This five-day event will consist of three virtual days of meetings, on-demand content and virtual networking opportunities, as well as two full days of in-person meetings at the Hilton, Amsterdam Schiphol Airport.The airline CEOs join a strong line-up of big-name industry speakers. Association leaders including ACI World’s Director General, Luis Felipe de Oliveira; IATA’s Regional VP, Americas, Peter Cerda; and WTTC’s SVP, Membership & Commercial, Maribel Rodriguez will outline how aviation stakeholders can work collaboratively to develop networks that create long-term economic benefit and positive local impacts.More than 115 airlines and 275 airports and destinations are expected to attend Routes Reconnected, both physically and virtually, to engage in conversations that will go on to rebuild the world’s air services.The hybrid event will support the airlines, airports and destinations in navigating and adapting to the new market patterns, regulations and business practices that are emerging in the post-pandemic era.

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Crete favorite by Dutch for summer 2021

This summer vacation has been different from other years and for many people also different from what they had in mind. Greece may have been the desired destination this year, but due to circumstances trips were canceled or postponed. Several hotels remained closed this summer and not all flights from The Netherlands to Greek airports…

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Crete favorite by Dutch for summer 2021

This summer vacation has been different from other years and for many people also different from what they had in mind. Greece may have been the desired destination this year, but due to circumstances trips were canceled or postponed. Several hotels remained closed this summer and not all flights from The Netherlands to Greek airports were scheduled as normal.Despite of this The Dutch are already making holiday plans for the summer of 2021. With or without a Corona-voucher, many online searches for holidays are done already and holidays are also booked for next year to Greece.Crete, Kos and Zakynthos favorite summer vacation 2021In the past two months, visitors of Griekenland.net have voted for their favorite Greek destination in 2021. Crete received 13% of the total 1,566 votes and is the favorite Greek island for summer holidays next year. From the Netherlands there are direct flights to Chania (West Crete) and Heraklion (Central and East Crete) from April until October.Statistics of this poll show that Crete is no longer the undisputed favorite for the Dutch. The differences between destinations are becoming smaller and other Greek destinations are gaining popularity.  The top 10 of Greek holiday destinations in The Netherlands for next summer looks like this according to the poll-results.1. Kreta (13%),2. Kos (10%),3. Zakynthos (9%),4. Samos (9%),5. Rhodes (8%),6. Corfu (8%),7. Kefalonia (7%),8. Lesbos (7%),9. Karpathos (6%) and10. Peloponnese (6%).

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