In this Issue:
- Devouring Asia
- Cruise Lines Whip Up Culinary Treats
- Onsite Review: Lovely Valencia
- 5 Adults-Only All-Inclusives Where Dinner Is an Art
- Vegas Bites
- Mexico: Spotlight on Gastronomy
- Onsite Review: Dining Through the Holy Land
Whether it’s a new restaurant, a wine-themed cruise in France, or partnering with celebrity chefs, cruise lines—ocean- and river-going—are whipping up some tasty treats for your culinary aficionado clientele.
Many clients heading to Europe want to tour their chosen destination or destinations at their own pace. Yes, many tour operators offer such diversity in their product offerings, including customized tours, that agents are sure to find something to suit their clients’ needs, but there are, as you know, those clients who insist on vacationing on their own. That said, many travelers are a bit wary of renting a car and heading into the unknown, but Jeff Coggin, assistant v.p. of travel agency sales, Enterprise Holdings Inc., has quite a few tips that are sure to, as he says, “remove customer barriers to renting internationally.”
When clients come to you requesting cooking or food experiences on their trips, listen carefully as to what they may really want.
Testament to the growth of and rising interest in river cruising, Viking River Cruises put six more of their Longships into European river service last month.
Not that long ago, people went to the Caribbean in spite of the food; not because of it. But along came the wellness movement, the Food Channel, celebrity chefs and dining as sport. Expectations rose, so resorts, including many all-inclusives, hired better chefs, opened new kinds of restaurants, offered more fresh produce, upgraded their wines, and trained the servers better. The result: Dining has become a selling point and a competitive edge, especially at adults-only resorts. So, I asked some savvy travel agents and tour operators which all-inclusives are the culinary stand-outs.
Culinary tourism seems to be about the most popular ingredient in the travel demand for new and involving experiences.
There are definitely clients on your roster who binge-watch the Food Network or have pretended to be a contestant on “Top Chef” when cooking at home. Why not help them bring these fantasies to life? Culinary travel is on the rise, and according to chef Russell Michel of The Westin La Paloma Resort & Spa in Tucson, Arizona, “The rise of food shows and culinary competitions on TV have definitely influenced a growth in culinary travel. The culinary aspect of a trip is now just as important as the local activities and sights explored during a vacation.”
Recommend’s December issue declared that “dark chocolate is the new black,” thanks to the trend of Caribbean hotels to offer more sophisticated chocolate desserts, chocolate-infused spa treatments, cacao plantation tours, and festivals. Leading the charge has been Saint Lucia, known for its scenic Pitons, beaches, and brides. But this island has other bragging rights, too: It’s been growing exceptional cacao for more than 300 years.
It’s just after Sukkot, the 7-day Jewish harvest holiday, and the hooks holding the traditional tents are still hanging from the atrium of Jerusalem’s newest five-star hotel. Strolling through the courtyard at the Waldorf Astoria Jerusalem feels just as if you’re walking through the Old City, the lamps and Ottoman-style arches bringing elements of Jerusalem’s streets indoors.
Dining in Mexico is always a treat—whether one is on the hunt for the very best culinary experience in Mexico City’s affluent neighborhoods or enjoying a romantic dinner at one of the country’s many beachfront resorts.
Valencia, Spain’s third largest city, after Barcelona and Madrid, has plenty of cultural and family-friendly activities, as well as great eats.
In the rapidly expanding world of all-inclusive resorts Hyatt Ziva Cancun is finding new ways to up the all-inclusive ante.