Insights + interviews

In Conversation with Liesa Bissett, Trafalgar about European Travel

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We speak with Liesa Bissett (LB), European Product Developer from Trafalgar about what it is like planning Europe itineraries for their travellers and travel recommendations to consider visiting in 2017

Active Age (AA): As we come to the end of the year, how do you think 2017 will be for travel?

LB: 2017 will be an exciting year for travel and Trafalgar has ensured we will deliver even more compelling Insider Experiences for our guests to experience. A remarkable Trafalgar exclusive for guests travelling with us on six of our Italy itineraries is the ultimate Insider Experience at The Vatican. This will be an exclusive after-hours private visit followed by dinner in the Missionary Ethnological Museum.

Flights to Europe are more competitive, and with a strong local currency, we see many Singaporeans travelling to places like the UK, Scotland, and Scandinavia. Additionally we have added a compelling itinerary to the northern-most parts of Scandinavia on our new 20-day Nordic Adventure priced from USD 4,195 per person. Guests travelling with us will move north of the Arctic Circle and be able to experience the midnight sun at the North Cape. They will have their own Arctic Scandinavian adventure at the top of the world, complete with tales of ancient Viking kings and Lapland stories of Sami culture. They will travel through dramatic fjord and breathtaking landscapes, view the world’s northern-most university and meet Santa in Rovaniemi, visit Scandinavian capitals and see the North Cape Visitor Centre and witness the land of the midnight sun while sipping champagne.

Our guests are the heartbeat of Trafalgar and our primary concern is their safety and wellbeing. Trafalgar’s web analytics show us that people still continue to visit our website to search and plan for their holidays. Our guests are not allowing global events to deter them from going on their holidays.

We strongly believe that our 70 years of history makes us a great choice for travellers in that Trafalgar is a reassuring option and we are with our guests all the way.With more options and choice for travellers, we recommend guests seek advice from a trusted travel agent. They can share with you Trafalgar’s top destinations for travels as well as which deals are available. Guests also want to know about the special or unique experiences they can enjoy on their holidays and that is where Trafalgar has a unique proposition.

Multi-generational travel is also on the rise, with guests seeking opportunities for younger children to get disconnected from electronic and mobile devices. Hands-on experiences for everyone in the family to enjoy and those which offer a mix of cultural or history education and entertainment are popular with guests of all ages. At Trafalgar we listen to what our guests want on a holiday – hassle-free, authentic and fun experiences, and that’s what we focus on delivering on all our hand crafted itineraries.

AA: What are some of the more underappreciated destinations in Europe?

LB: One of the best-kept secrets in Europe is Poland – it is in my opinion an underrated destination in Europe. As a result we have created a Highlights of Poland in our CostSaver programme. From the Baltics in the north to the mountainous region of Zagopane in the south – this country has great food, culture and heritage.

Some European countries have suffered a drop in tourism due to negative publicity. For example, Turkey has been greatly affected. As a travel company with a long association with this incredible destination we hope to encourage more travellers to return back to this amazing destination. 2017 may actually be a great time to visit particularly because major places of interests like Hagia Sophia and Blue Mosque in Istanbul, will likely be less crowded than usual.

Travellers usually pick key cities in Europe to visit, and for 2017, we also hope to draw attention to our incredible City Explorer series which are immersive experiences in the major capitals – London, Paris, Rome and Amsterdam.

AA: What would be your dream itinerary, if you were visiting Europe and viewing it with a fresh pair of tourist eyes?

LB: This is a tough one! Europe is constantly evolving, and there are always new events happening all year around that makes each visit a different experience.

One of my dream itineraries is the Great Italian Cities – 3 nights in Rome, Florence and Venice – a perfect mix of history, art and culture. Nevermind the good food! It is also leisurely paced – with more overnight stays and 9am starts.

Our Be My Guest experiences make Trafalgar stand out. These are unique opportunities for our guests to meet local people and share a special experience that they could not have if travelling on their own. For example, we have a “Be My Guest” experience on our Austria and Switzerland routes where guests can enjoy a dinner of fresh produce and bread at the Monastery of Kloster Wernberg. Originally a castle and now a home to over 60 Missionary sisters who carry out charitable work in the region, they serve the food grown on their garden and farm.

AA: Given that you are a well-seasoned traveller, what are some of the contrasts between Europe and Asia that you have observed?

That is what makes travel so much fun! Both Asia and Europe are such a mosaic of cultures, with so many different flavours! In Europe, rice dishes are popular in Italy and Spain, dumplings in Poland, and many countries love using chilli and adding spices into their dishes.

One of the main reasons people travel is to see and taste something different. Food is an important part of our hand crafted itineraries and we try and introduce our guests to as many different tastes in the places they travel. Serving authentic and delicious cuisine is part of any travel experience and this is important to Trafalgar.

I would encourage everyone to come visit Europe to discover the contrasts and similarities between Europe and Asia.



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