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05.11.15 News


Two new hotels and more airlift for Tobago


Abigail Challenor


TRINIDAD AND Tobago will benefit from “significantly needed” accommodation when two new hotels open on Tobago in 2016.


The addition is particularly timely as Thomas Cook Airlines has announced it will begin operating the Manchester to Tobago route from this November, providing additional lift of 12,820 seats to the island during the 2016-17 winter season. EFM Hospitality, which already


operates hotels in the destination including the Magdalena Grand Beach Resort, is set to launch Manta Lodge in the first quarter of the year and the Tobago Great House Resort & Spa in the autumn. Tracy Davidson-Celestine, secretary


for transport and tourism for the Tobago House Assembly, heralded the opening of the new properties as she announced that Tobago had crossed the one million arrivals mark already for 2015. Nik Eastwick-Field, president of EFM Hospitality, said the 22-room Manta Lodge, an existing property in Speyside,


SHOPPING DESTINATIONS


Kildare Village retail outlet expands with 33 shops opening


Katherine Lawrey


KILDARE VILLAGE, the Chic Outlet Shopping village in Ireland, has expanded its offering by 50%. Last week it opened 33 new boutiques,


a new restaurant and a new cafe, offering guests a greater variety of Irish brands, to raise the appeal of the village with the US and Canadian markets. Alice Johnston, head of Mice sales


at Kildare Village, said the new boutiques had a focus on Irish design and Irish crafts such as glass-blowing and wood-carving. There will also be Irish food pop-ups. “This is a long-term strategy for at least the next two years,” she explained. “The US and Canada are huge markets for Ireland, and we need to attract more of that business. We know they come to Ireland to shop for Irish merchandise.”


The expansion also gave Chic Outlet Shopping the opportunity to give something back to the community, she said: “We’re working with young designers and giving them a platform


Tobago Great House Resort & Spa


would be “completely refurbished to the standard of a three-star hotel and will be aimed at divers, hikers and eco-tourists”. He added that the Tobago Great House will be a 56-room upmarket property with a focus on spa and wellness and will be a “great addition to the room supply in Tobago”. In a bid to continue to drive new


tourists to the destination, both Trinidad and Tobago are looking to eco-tourism. Keith Chin, chief executive of Trinidad


and Tobago Tourism Development Company, said the destination was more than just sun, sand and sea and that it would focus on eco-tourism and adventure trails: “We will develop 620 miles of trails over the next five years.” Davidson-Celestine highlighted


that Tobago was now awaiting the completion of its canopy tour. “The path will be a mile long and around two hours in duration with observatory platforms for birdwatchers,” she said.


to showcase their work.” There have also been developments


Bicester Village in England


at Bicester Village in England. Two weeks ago, Chiltern Railways opened a new rail link between London and Oxford, stopping at new Bicester Village Station, a stone’s throw from the Village. Previously visitors arriving by rail had to terminate at Bicester North and take a shuttle to the Village. Thibault Ruffat, head of tourism, global marketing, for parent company Value Retail, said the new rail service offered a seamless arrivals and departure experience: “You arrive at a modern station, which leads to the Bicester Village Information Hub, where you can drop off your luggage, convert your VIP invitation to a VIP card, and collect all your shopping at the end using our hands-free shopping service.” He added that rail tickets were not included in Shopping Packages sold via the trade, but that Value Retail was working on integrating train tickets into Village websites. The Collection of nine Villages in Europe attracted more than 32.5 million visits in 2014.


BIG BUS Tours will launch a new tour in Rome on December 1, 2015. Christopher Preston, chief operating


officer for the sightseeing operator, told TTGthat it had been “trying to get in for four to five years and it came together last month”. He said that it would begin operations with 10 buses, all of which will be newly refurbished with new livery. These will run on a route that “covers all the main sights” including the Vatican, the Colosseum and the Spanish Steps. “For us, it’s a city you have to be in,”


said Preston, “and the characteristics of Rome are perfect for a flexible product like ours.” Preston said the tours would launch


with five languages, with Big Bus Tours expecting Rome to attract more international visitors than some of its other tours, which have a high number of domestic customers. With a lead time of six weeks until the tour opens, Preston acknowledged that there remained a lot of work to do, but said he was confident that his experienced team would handle it well. “We’ve rolled out six new cities in the


last two years so it’s something we are well practised in,” he said. The launch follows a roll-out in


Chicago in May this year, which Preston said was “phenomenally successful”, running 30% ahead of the customer numbers that expected for the first season. The Chicago tour is currently opening


in English as it has a high number of domestic customers, but from next summer Big Bus Tours will roll it out in five languages.


SIGHTSEEING


All roads lead to Rome for Big Bus Tours


Abigail Challenor


Rome tours will feature five languages 05.11.2015 21


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