This year’s Destinations at Earls Court is on for 4 days from Thursday to Sunday.

Destinations is a consumer rather than a trade show but it is nevertheless useful to meet up with contacts from hotels, tourist boards, cruise lines and tour operators.

It is always useful for me to have maps and information guides to pass on on to customers that book the destinations with me

DK and Rough Guides have a huge selection of guide books thete at reduced prices of between 25% and 50% and a few for only £5 so I bought a couple that will come in useful for my future trips and also for business

Having a mixture of direct sell and operators who deal with the trade gives a balanced perspective of the range of options available and gives the consumer new ideas for all types of holiday from fly, flop and relax to extreme adventure. Many of these holidays are available through agents like myself but some are not

You should be careful of timeshare and vacation clubs. Thankfully there were only a couple this year and having been hassled in the past by them, I have now begun to recognise them

There were many tempting competitions to enter for holidays to exotic places like Mauritius, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Malaysia.

Most of the stands and destinations were familiar like the Caribbean, Greece and Cyprus, Malta, Africa and South America, Thailand, Malaysia, Abu Dhabi and a few well known tour operators like Kuoni and Cox & Kings. There were a lot less stands from the domestic market this year and also the Americas. Many of the Caribbean stands were missing too

Hurtigruten and Viking were both extremely busy a good sign that the cruise market is buoyant. Hurtigruten is enjoying a bumper year because the Northern Lights are forecast to have one of the best years ever so their winter programme is almost full. Viking river cruises have added the river Douro in Portugal for 2013 which is an exciting addition to their portfolio.

Another thing that I found interesting is the independently owned luxury train Danube Express.

One slightly negative point was the amount of exhibtion space dedicated to and not even loosely connected with a travel show such as very English furniture and clothing but otherwise, I found this year organised and well balanced and look forward to 2013


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