Jacky recently traveled to London for her annual attendance at World Trade Market to spend time with the ground agents who make each trip unique and memorable. Here’s more from Jacky:
Bill and I recently returned from the annual World Travel Market in London where we always catch up with all our colleagues from around the world who look after you once you have left our hands.
The big news from Wilderness Safaris, our southern Africa agents, is the black rhino relocation program. There’s also a new Classic camp in the Okavango for 2016, together with a new water and walking camp – so start planning your next safari now! The bright stars this year have been Linkwasha in the Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe, full with animals and the Hoanib Skeleton Coast camp in Namibia – the first new development in that region.
Our first meeting at WTM is always Wilderness Safaris and here we are meeting with Dave Bennett and Tim Farrell to discuss their exciting black rhino relocation program and details about new camps for 2016.
Now that Emirates is flying from so many US cities, we are planning more and more stopovers in Dubai. It is a fun escape with desert camps and fabulous seaside resorts along Jumeirah Beach. We can arrange helitours and sea plane rides over the Palm Islands and the World, arrange a visit to the top of the Burj Kalifa, and take you to the Spice and Gold Souks, ending the day with a gentle dhow cruise.
Our visit to our South American colleagues brought us up to date on the new Galapagos yachts and itineraries. We will be combining north and south islands into one trip to give you a very comprehensive look at the Big 15! Africa may have the Big 5, but Galapagos has the Big 15 – 8 species of birds, 3 land iguanas, a penguin and sea lion, a fur seal and a giant tortoise. We will tell you where to find them and if you are not crazy about cruising, then we can put you in a great hotel where you can still see all the wildlife!
One of our favorite stops during WTM is to visit our dear friend Rula Nasra, our top person in Jordan. It is a wonderful land and it was great to hear Rula say that they all feel very safe: “Our King keeps us safe in Jordan and we are very grateful!” And, she brings us the best sweets and soaps. You will be in very good hands if you let us plan a trip to Jordan!
The next stop was to Cox & Kings, our wonderful agents in India, where they presented us with two very exciting new adventures. The Deccan Odyssey rail journeys will have 5 circuits and include palaces and great houses not open to the public. We can send you all the routes and design some wonderful trips to include not only the highlights, but also tiger viewing and stops outside the regular routes. The second exciting development is the ultimate traveling camp placed in Ladakh and also Kohima in India’s northeast corner bordering Myanmar. Stops of 4 nights in luxurious tents are recommended and apart from spectacular scenery, tribal villages will be visited.
Always a favorite meeting is with Krushna from Cox & Kings. Our people in India told us about new train journeys that will take you from one end of the country to the other with fabulous sightseeing at little known sites and palace.
We first connected with our partners in Asia in the late 70s and they have looked after all of you so well over the years. The exciting buzz of course was Myanmar and we met up with Thomas to discuss new itineraries. The best times to visit are November through March as May to October is rainy season. We will be happy to put together land itineraries along with cruises on the famous Irrawaddy.
We met with Thomas, Tour East’s man in Myanmar. He knows the country inside and out and will be working with us all our Myanmar itineraries. You will all be in good hands with Thomas in this wonderful land.
Our man in Costa Rica introduced us to a new luxury hotel, and Margie from BA/Comair brought us up to date on her great Victoria Falls packages and details of a new small ship on the Zambezi River for sundowners! We checked in with all our European partners and even had time to watch fabulous fireworks on Guy Fawkes Day. On the 5th November in 1605 Guy Fawkes and some conspirators tried to blow up the Houses and Parliament and fireworks have been set off in his memory ever since! Our oasis after very busy days is always the Millennium Mayfair where head concierge Nic and his wonderful team look after us so well. We had some fabulous food – The Ivy is our favorite – and there are more Michelin star restaurants in London than any other city in the world!
Travel to and from is with Virgin – our favorite airline and it is totally worth splurging for Upper Class with the Club House, limo from your front door and a dedicated check-in at Heathrow.
It was a busy yet fulfilling week, and we are already looking forward to WTM next year.