TTG on Tour

London was the first of 31 roadshows around the country in 2012. This year it was held in Thistle Marble Arch. This is a deceptively large hotel with 692 rooms in a great location overlooking Oxford Street, the hub of London shopping, very close to Marble Arch station and within easy walking distance of Bond Street and Hyde Park Corner stations

We began the evening with networking over a glass of wine and I met up with a few of myex colleaqgues from Thomas Cook and a few travel friends from other independent agencies.

The rest of the evening was in a speed dating format on our allocated tables starting with the corresponding colour dot on our badges, with a break in the middle for bowl food and drinks.

There was a good mix of tourist boards, hotels, attractions together with My Booking Rewards and CAA – Civil Aviation Authority.

The evening was organised by TTG and hosted by Thistle and Guoman hotels. Thistle have a huge portfolio of hotels in the UK and Worldwide. Guoman are the high end hotels within the group. There are 5 in London including The Cumberland which is practically next door

Apart from Thistle/Guoman other hotel groups were Iberostar and Sani in Halkidiki. Sani consists of a three hotel complex on a white sand beach in Halkidiki. It is one of the best hotels for families of all ages from 4 months upwards, but as the children are so well catered for in the children’s club, it is also an excellent and relaxing 5* complex for adults. There are hiking trails, bike hire, spa treatments and plenty of watersports

Iberostar have upgraded all their hotels and have relabelled them so they are more clearly defined. The Grand hotels are adult only apart from the two new city hotels in Budapest and Santa Cruz which do currently accept children. The city range will expand in due course. Iberostar have a wide range of both adukt and family friendly hotels in Spain, Balearica,  Canaries, Bulgaria, Croatia, Montenegro and Tunisia

Port Aventura is the largest theme park in Spain. It is in Salou, close to Reus airport and about an hour away from Barcelona.With six themed areas, over 30 rides, numerous food outlets and fun for the whole family,it is extremely good value compared with most theme parks of a similar size. There are a number of hotels and bigger and better thrill rides are constantlhy being added

The other theme park represented was Seaworld and Busch Gardens. Seaworld is the second most visited park in Florida after Disneyworld and usually the first visited on arrival. I must admit we ourselves did Seaworld first too for exactly the reasons given. It is smaller and more sedate with a lot of shows so it isn’t as tiring as the bigger parks and even very young children get a lot of enjohyment from Seaworld. Opposite Seaworld is the huge waterpark, Aquatica. Discovery Cove is also part of the Anheuser Buisch umrella and part of the multipark tickets you can buy in the UK. Their other park is Busch Gardens, an hour away in Tampa and well worth visiting and can be added for a small supplement to the multipark ticket. Discovery Cove should always be prebooked as numbers are restricted

There were two tourist boards represented Tunisia and Samoa. Although in different continents, they both have excellent sandy beaches and a unique culture. Tunisia is of course, much closer to home, just two and a half hours from the UK and now they have a brand new airport just half an hour from Hammamet going north and Port el Kantaoui going south. Tunisia represents excellent value for money with many spa hotels, all inclusives, golf courses and both wreck and reef diving. Also represented were Yadis hotels, a Tunisian hotel group with hotels in resort, city and desert locations.

Samoa is on the other side of the world but with new flight services on Virgin Samoa from Australia and New Zealand it has become more affordable and accessible as an add on or side trip from an antipodean visit. It has decent weather most of the year. All hotels are independently owned with no chain hotels so it has a unique character. There are all sorts of accommodation there from backpacker to luxury and for the real Samoan experience you can even stay in a traditional Samoan beach hut. The other unique thing about Samoa is that they crossed the international date line this year having lost 30 Dec 2011, the first nation to do so, and they are now in a similar time zone to Australia and New Zealand making it easier to conduct business and organise flight schedules. For more information on Samoa, please refer to my previous blog, Samoa and South Pacific

My Booking Rewards is an incentive schenme for us to earn shopping and Amazon vouchers mainly for Caribbean bookings. This is organised by the representation group AMG

CAA are launching their new legislation regarding ATOL packages and this will be rolled out very soon

For any more information on any of these destinations please contact me on 0845 058 7458 or email cathie.odea@travelcounsellors.com

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