CAMBODIA “STAR” OF 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