EX­PERTS

Condé Nast Traveller Middle East - - Contents -

What is a key travel trend to ex­pect in 2019?

NATHALIE DULEUX

CEO AND CO-FOUNDER, COLO­NIAL AT­MOS­PHERE, DUBAI

In 2019, trav­ellers will search for the most authen­tic ex­pe­ri­ence, the one that makes a trip unique and gives it soul. For ex­am­ple, if you visit Ra­jasthan and choose to stay in one of the ma­haraja palaces turned into a ho­tel, the peo­ple you meet there are not only pas­sion­ate about the place but often also mem­bers of the royal fam­ily. You may even have the chance to dine with the ma­haraja and his wife – and be­lieve me, they have fas­ci­nat­ing sto­ries to tell. The search for au­then­tic­ity often comes with a quest for con­scious travel, not only con­cern­ing the qual­ity of food or a zero-plas­tic pol­icy, but also the role played by the ho­tel within the lo­cal com­mu­nity. Most of the ho­tels rec­om­mended on our web­site are en­vi­ron­men­tally re­spon­si­ble, such as RAAS ho­tels in In­dia or Sala Lodges in Cam­bo­dia. They help by train­ing the lo­cal com­mu­nity to work in the ho­tel busi­ness and by pro­mot­ing lo­cal art and crafts in their bou­tique. And most have cho­sen to ren­o­vate their spa­ces based on a deep re­spect for lo­cal ma­te­ri­als and know-how.

HEN­RI­ETTA LOYD FOUNDER AND DI­REC­TOR, CAZENOVE+LOYD, LON­DON

We’ve no­ticed a grow­ing in­ter­est in mul­ti­des­ti­na­tion hol­i­days, with many of our clients wish­ing to com­bine two or more coun­tries in one trip and en­joy the high­lights of a much wider re­gion in a lim­ited time­frame. There are myr­iad places that work well to­gether, in­clud­ing Botswana and Namibia, Thai­land and Laos, Ar­gentina and Chile, and Le­banon and Jor­dan – to name just a few. With air­line net­works bur­geon­ing the world over and flight con­nec­tions be­ing greatly im­proved, a mul­ti­plestop trip is be­com­ing in­creas­ingly easy for travel de­sign­ers like us to cre­ate. What’s more, we’ve found some ex­tra­or­di­nary ways for our clients to cross bor­ders, mak­ing the ac­tual jour­ney part of the over­all ex­pe­ri­ence. For in­stance, you can travel by lux­ury boat char­ter from Thai­land to Laos, take a he­li­copter flight from Kenya to Rwanda, or ride on horse­back across Ar­gentina’s en­chant­ing Lake Dis­trict to Chile – surely the ul­ti­mate ad­ven­ture.

LES­LEY PATER­SON-BOTHA DI­REC­TOR AND SE­NIOR CON­SUL­TANT, TRANS AFRICA SA­FARIS, CAPE TOWN

While Vic­to­ria Falls re­mains Zim­babwe’s top re­sort town, with a num­ber of new prop­er­ties open­ing in 2018, we’re see­ing a trend of sa­fari com­pa­nies ex­pand­ing into Zim­babwe’s na­tional parks. The premier na­tional park, Hwange, has long been pop­u­lar dur­ing the dry months, when herds of an­i­mals are drawn to its lim­ited wa­ter sources, and sev­eral new lodges are mak­ing for im­pres­sive vis­i­tor num­bers. Mana Pools Na­tional Park is also rid­ing the wave of in­creased ac­com­mo­da­tion op­tions with new camps launched in 2018 and ad­di­tional ones open­ing this year. This is con­ceiv­ably the “ex­pe­ri­ence cap­i­tal” of south­ern Africa, with game drives, walk­ing sa­faris, ca­noe sa­faris, boat­ing and fish­ing all on of­fer. Zim­babwe’s game lodges present good value along­side pro­lific wildlife, im­pres­sive land­scapes, ex­pe­ri­enced guides, var­ied game-view­ing ac­tiv­i­ties and some of the friendli­est peo­ple. Trav­ellers are in­creas­ingly look­ing for authen­tic, im­mer­sive ex­pe­ri­ences with­out break­ing the bank and Zim­babwe of­fers this in spades.

Sa­fari lodges are ex­pand­ing in Zim­babwe

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