Travel Bulletin - - INDOCHINA -

AUSSIE travel op­er­a­tor, In­sider Jour­neys, has high­lighted Cambodia as a “star at­trac­tion” within Indochina, with the group ob­serv­ing an uptick in en­quiries for the South­east Asian des­ti­na­tion. “We’ve seen an ex­cel­lent in­crease in small group jour­ney en­quiry lev­els, up 54%, and a 23% in­crease in pri­vate travel en­quiries year-onyear,” said In­sider Jour­neys man­ag­ing di­rec­tor Paul Hole to travel bul­letin. “Laos is also trend­ing well over­all, with small group jour­ney en­quiries in­creas­ing 18%, and pri­vate travel grow­ing,” he said. Hole at­tributes the up­ward trend to boosted air ca­pac­ity along with the des­ti­na­tion’s “stun­ning nat­u­ral beauty”. “The so­porific pace of life along the Mekong River is be­ing recog­nised to drive strong sales, es­pe­cially for tours to the south,” re­marked Hole. Au­then­tic Asian cui­sine is also se­duc­ing crowds to Viet­nam, with Hole cit­ing cook­ing classes with celebrity chefs such as Ms Vy in Hoi An as a ma­jor draw­card for the des­ti­na­tion. An­other travel trend ob­served by In­sider Jour­neys is the growth in num­ber of cross bor­der trips. “Peo­ple are book­ing more com­pli­cated cross bor­der ar­range­ments that in­clude sev­eral coun­tries, such as our High­lights of Indochina small group jour­ney, cov­er­ing Cambodia, Viet­nam and Laos on the one trip. “We’re also see­ing an in­crease in in­ter­est in multi-style jour­neys, mix­ing a small group jour­ney with a small river boat cruise, such as Mekong and Be­yond, which in­cludes both modes of travel within Cambodia and Viet­nam.” Hole says that de­mand for smaller cruise boats on the Mekong is also on the rise, high­light­ing the 14-cabin tim­ber ves­sel Mekong Eyes as a pop­u­lar op­tion. In­sid­ers’ strong­est grow­ing tour in Viet­nam was iden­ti­fied as the Trails of Viet­nam trip, which ven­tures into lesser-vis­ited ar­eas such as the de­mil­i­ta­rized zone and the Ho Chi Mong Trail through the re­mote Cen­tral High­lands. The itin­er­ary, which is the long­est small group jour­ney in Viet­nam, is also pop­u­lar among sec­ond time vis­i­tors to the re­gion as it al­lows trav­ellers to delve deeper into the des­ti­na­tion, re­veal­ing “hid­den trea­sures”.

The so­porific pace of life along the Mekong River is be­ing recog­nised to drive strong sales, es­pe­cially south’ for tours to the

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