According to the European Travel Commission’s (ETC) latest quarterly “European Tourism Trends and Prospects” report, Europe enjoyed a healthy 4% increase in tourist arrivals in 2019 compared to 2018.
While the rate of expansion was slower than previous years across certain individual destinations, the overall regional performance remains in positive territory. Increasing numbers of tourist arrivals generate income and support employment and investment in Europe, not only acting as a catalyst for economic expansion, but also contributing to and demonstrating the social and cultural value in the region.
Montenegro, Turkey and Lithuania registered double-digit increases in tourist arrivals, while Portugal, Serbia Slovakia and The Netherlands also outperformed the average. Montenegro’s 21% surge was shored-up by greater connectivity and infrastructure investment, while Turkey (+14%) is set to invest heavily and diversify its tourism promotion activities throughout 2020 with the aim of increasing the volume and quality of tourists. Increased air connectivity has helped Lithuania’s (+10%) performance, while the recent award of most “Accessible Tourist Destination 2019” to Portugal (+7%) reflects the country’s efforts to promote accessible tourism.
Visa relaxation policies and bilateral business relations between destinations and source markets also continue to be key factors in encouraging travel, particularly in Serbia (+7%).
Transat will bring Scandinavia and its legendary charms closer to Canadian travellers this summer with two direct flights per week out of Montreal to Copenhagen, along with a selection of guided tours, packages and cruises that highlight Nordic splendours.
Surrounded by the North Sea on one side and the Baltic on the other, Scandinavia shines in the summertime. And, one of the world’s great design capitals, Copenhagen is renowned for its waterways and green spaces, and as a place where pedestrians and cyclists reign supreme.
Transat packages include air travel, transfers, accommodations and breakfasts, along with the Copenhagen Card, providing access to more than 80 top attractions.
Also available is the 14-day Viking Route in Denmark & Sweden guided tour, including air travel, transfers, accommodations, coach and ferry transport, and the services of an experienced guide.
Transat is also offering two multi-city packages lasting nine or 11 days. Each features three destinations and zero hassles for travellers; they’ll be free to explore the essentials of Scandinavia at their own pace, but with no worries when it comes to planning, since their itinerary, transportation and accommodations are all taken care of.
The first package, Denmark’s Highlights, focuses on Denmark’s cultural heritage with a stop at the sublime ARoS modern art museum in Aarhus, and a chance to follow in the footsteps of Hans Christian Andersen in the town of Odense, the Little Mermaid author’s picturesque birthplace.
Do you have clients that are a little more ambitious? Try the second package, Capitals of the North, which lines up an enchanting trio of urban expeditions. Guests can explore the Oslo fjord by kayak, marvel at the underground art gallery of Stockholm’s subway, and indulge in Nordic cuisine at Copenhagen’s hippest wine bars… all on the same trip.
London and UK specialist DHTour is inviting travellers to venture off the tourist trail on a Blue Roads, small coach, tour – allowing guests to get to the heart of destinations with genuine local experiences.
A small group tour is a less intrusive way to travel with a more leisurely pace and offering more authentic cultural experiences.
DHTours’ “Secrets of Puglia” tour, for instance, allows guests to browse the stalls at Gallipoli’s famous fish market, while “Enchanting Eastern England” features punting on the River Cam in Cambridge. Travellers can also visit a family-owned olive grove and farm, while discovering Portugal, taste delicious wines in La Rioja in Northern Spain or discover local cheeses in the heart of the French Alps.
Overnights are at traditional inns or boutique hotels with many admissions and most meals included. A key ingredient is the experienced tour leader who tells stories and knows the best places to view the sunset or sample the local catch. Tours vary from three to 13 nights in England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland, France, Tuscany, Sicily, Germany, Spain, Portugal, and more.
Trafalgar has introduced an exclusive one departure trip with Global Brand Ambassador and Author of the #1 New York Times bestsellers 1,000 Places To See Before You Die, Patricia Schultz.
Taking place July 1-12, the 12-day Italy and Sicily with Patricia Schultz custom-guided vacation will have clients exploring Italy and Sicily like never before. With limited spots up for grabs, agents are encouraged to secure their clients’ spots quickly.
“Italy and Sicily have always had a special place in my heart, and this itinerary was specifically curated to connect with not only the destinations, but the people and cultures along the way,” says Schultz. “I feel very honoured for the opportunity to be hosting such an immersive Trafalgar trip and look forward to the memories and experiences we will share.”
Schultz is from Italian heritage and lived in Florence for three years, making her an expert on the land of “La Dolce Vita.” Also, with the launch of her new deluxe edition of the bestselling travel book, 1,000 Places to See Before You Die, Italy’s splendour is showcased.
“We have been very fortunate to have Patricia as our Global Brand Ambassador with her over 30 years of experience as a veteran travel journalist and expert, and we are so thrilled to be offering our guests this once in a lifetime adventure with her,” says Wolf Paunic, president of Trafalgar and Costsaver Canada. “From our unforgettable ‘Be My Guest’ experience hosted at a vineyard on the slopes of Mount Etna to the ‘Local Specialist’ excursions, from Capri to Palermo, clients will discover the Trafalgar difference.”
The trip starts in Venice on July 1 and ends in Palermo on July 12. Highlights include a “Connect with Locals” experience where guests will visit Maria Marano’s wine farm and enjoy a guided walking tour of the estate and later enjoy homemade appetizers accompanied by local wine at a “Be My Guest” dinner. The trip will conclude with a special “Farewell Dinner” with the Duke and Duchess of Palma in their elegant home in Palazzo Lanza Tomasi, an exclusive experience available only on this departure.