2020: A Travel Odyssey23.01.20 | Oliver & Nathan
Taken from the forthcoming 2020 edition of our Travel Explorer magazine.
Where do we start? This year has brought a variety of exciting new travel opportunities as well as highlighting some of the challenges we face with growing visitor numbers around the world. Our independence allows us to be flexible and honest with our clients. Not all of the destinations in this issue will appeal to everyone, but they show that we like to explore new territories and expand our horizons. We are extremely passionate about travel and everything that comes with it and as you will read below, our environmental policy review has already made an impact on some of the communities we visit, as well as doing our bit at home too.
Whilst we love exciting and adventurous destinations, we also appreciate the familiar. We look forward to new flights this summer to an expanding Mediterranean programme including Montenegro (pictured above), Portugal, Greece and Sardinia (pictured). Over in Greece, Santorini is one of our favourite islands and there are a number of new services from regional airports including Birmingham, Manchester and Stansted. We love this picture-perfect island for its stunning sunsets and exclusive feel.
Further afield, Japan is attracting a lot of attention following the Rugby last year. 2020 will no doubt be even more popular with Tokyo hosting the Olympic & Paralympic Games during the summer. The country has so much to offer beyond Tokyo, with many opting to also visit the cultural and historic city of Kyoto and nearby Osaka which now has a direct flight from London. Our top tip would be to jump on the train just 45 minutes from Kyoto to Nara for an even more authentic Japanese experience. Hiroshima has also become more popular with those seeking to learn more about the country’s difficult past. Japan’s ski resorts are even tipped as some of the best in the world. There are certainly many options available to you in Japan and luckily, we have visited the country and can help piece together the perfect trip.
For a few years, Dubai has been gearing up to host Expo 2020. The event’s slogan is ‘Global Celebrations’ and offers the chance to experience, learn and develop our knowledge about the host nations via entertaining and interactive exhibits. No doubt, environmental issues will be at the forefront of the event as we all look to the world of the future and how our lives will adapt.
Oman celebrates the 50th Anniversary of the current Sultan in November. Oliver recently visited, viewing new hotels in the capital city of Muscat and the mountains which are just a 90-minute drive from the city (pictured above). These offer a stunning backdrop for the drive and relaxation in the canyon valleys; read more on page 38. Also attracting travel industry attention is Saudi Arabia, celebrating its 90th Anniversary in 2020.
Asia welcomes a new direct flight from Manchester to Shanghai from March. China is one of our most popular destinations to join an escorted group. We always recommend smaller groups of between 16 and 25. Some cheaper tours have you in larger groups of around 50 which we avoid as it is a less personal experience.
Over the Atlantic, the Deep South (Nashville, Memphis and New Orleans) saw a resurgence in popularity in 2019 and we expect this to only increase in 2020. Alan visited in September, the highlight of which was Graceland. It’s a great area for a self-drive holiday, or if you prefer, maybe join one of the pre-arranged group tours. You can even travel along the Mississippi on-board a Steamboat. Also in the USA, we will welcome a new direct flight to Charleston in South Carolina. Famous for its cobbled streets, pastel antebellum houses and promenade, there is a lot of civil war history to soak in over the water at Fort Sumter.
Finally, environmental issues such as sustainable tourism and carbon footprints have become major topics of discussion in the travel industry of late. At RB, we have offset the carbon footprint for all our staff travels in 2019 and will continue to do this into 2020. We already offer this for some holidays we book for customers and going forward we are working on a new scheme to provide this option for every single holiday booked with us. There are a number of challenges to this and we want to ensure we work with ethical and reputable organisations so the money contributed is used effectively.
Many communities rely heavily on tourism to fund their livelihoods and we are training our team so they can pass on this relevant information to our clients. We are also reviewing our processes to reduce the environmental impact of our administration procedures, business partners and even down to our office supplies and soap in the kitchen. We understand and accept we have a responsibility to monitor and control our environmental impact and look forward to doing more in the future. Read more here about the various projects we are involved with here.
Wherever 2020 takes you, we look forward to creating special memories for you.
Oliver & Nathan
Joint Managing Directors