ANTOR members showcase new products

ANTOR members showcase new products

The Association of National Tourist Offices and Representatives (ANTOR) held its annual media dinner this week, with 11 diverse member destinations – from Tunisia to Samoa to the Isle of Man – showcasing their destinations and latest news.

Tracey Poggio, ANTOR Chair and UK Head Media & Marketing for the Gibraltar Tourist Board, opened the evening by running through a list of challenges that have beset travel this year – namely floods, fires, earthquakes, airport strikes and more – but urged the media to write stories that supported those affected regions rather than ones which “swallow up whole destinations”.

With instant ‘disinformation’ on social media and artificial intelligence pumping out set piece articles, it is more important than ever for those in the travel media to convey to consumers and the trade “correct stories,” she urged.

Elena Skarveli, Director of Visit Greece UK & Ireland, noted the country’s “challenging August”, including devastating wildfires in Rhodes, but thanked travel agents, operators and the media for helping the country bounce back quickly.

“I could stand here and talk about our fabulous gastronomy and our wine, but Greece will always be firstly about the people,” she said.

Great cuisine – including a wide range of vegetarian and vegan options – and local produce are also two of the ‘pillars’ being promoted by Cyprus, along with others such as its many Blue Flag beaches, mountains, adventure activities, rural tourism and wine region. Visit Cyprus’ Tania Peck revealed that a new focus for 2024 will be the island’s many historic hotels.

Adventure and activities in the great outdoors will also be a focus for the Czech Republic next year, said Katerina Buglova of Visit Czechia.

“With mountains on our border (with Poland) we have great hiking, the Treetop Walk in the heart of the forests of Krkonoše National Park, and also Skybridge 721, the longest suspension bridge in the world which connects two mountain ridges in the Dolní Morava Mountain Resort,” she said.

Visit Flanders Anita Rampall, who represents a region that is the Dutch-speaking, northern part of Belgium, wedged between the North Sea and the Netherlands in the north and Wallonia and France in the south, highlighted the attractions of Ghent, Antwerp, 67 kilometres of sandy coastline and Flanders Fields, the site of a major battle on the Western Front during the First World War. She also noted the new Belgium Beer World, which claims to be the world’s largest interactive experience centre about beer, which opened in Brussels on September 9.

Samoa Tourism’s Sebastian Sarasin encouraged the trade to sell the Polynesian island as the perfect ‘twin’ for two-centre holidays, combining with Fiji (a two-hour flight), Australia (five hours) and New Zealand (four hours).

Taiwan Tourism’s Ling Lai, highlighted the ease of travel on the Asian island, with most tourist locations and experiences reachable within two hours and a train network – including high-speed trains – that covers most of the island.

“Visitors won’t be delayed by strikes in Taiwan,” she laughed.

The island’s main appeal rests with its history, culture, temples and 24-hour shopping, she said.

Lai also urged the trade to highlighted a Taiwan Tourism Bureau initiative for tourists, who can enter a lucky draw before they arrive in the country that could see them win a cash voucher worth NT$5,000 (approximately £125).

The scheme, which kicked off on May 1, will see 500,000 vouchers given away before it ends on June 30, 2025. Apply at https://5000.taiwan.net.tw/index_en.html.

Finally, and much closer to home, the Isle of Man’s Caroline Hadfield said the island remains largely unknown to those on the mainland even though it just a 30-minute flight from the Northwest, Midlands and Scotland.

She pointed out that few places on the mainland take you “as close to nature” and highlighted how sustainability is a focus for an island that offers history and culture in abundance and unique experiences such as the Isle of Man Steam Railway, the longest narrow gauge steam line in Britain that still uses its original locomotives and carriages.

Hadfield encouraged visitors to “look up” as the Isle of Man offers the largest concentration of dark skies in the British isles.

“More than 85% of Brits have never seen a dark sky, due to light pollution,” she said.

antor.com

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