Whether it’s combining a beach break with a jungle adventure or river cruising with a city stopover, multi-centre itineraries can offer clients an enriching winter sun holiday
Multi-centre trips are becoming a popular option for winter sun breaks, allowing clients to see more in one trip. We speak with three operators for the inside track on the latest multi-centre winter sun travel trends, with tips for selling the destinations.
Multi-centre trips offer clients more diversity on holiday, says Jennie Moore, product and purchasing manager at Kuoni. “Winter sun breaks are predominantly long-haul, so when travelling further afield, it is worth spending a bit more time experiencing one or more destinations to make the most of the holiday. It can be a great way of ticking off several wish-list experiences in one go.”
Kuoni’s most popular multi-centre winter sun combinations include the Maldives and Sri Lanka,
and Singapore and Bali. Emerging locations for the operator include Bangkok and Thailand’s islands, while triple-centre holidays combining Doha, Ubud and Bali; or Muscat, Kuala Lumpur and Borneo are also proving increasingly popular.
TV programmes such as Cruising with Jane McDonald have influenced Kuoni’s multi-centre winter sun bookings, says Paul Ingram, product and category manager for the operator’s Journeys portfolio. “The Mekong Discovery itinerary (from £3,999pp) enables clients to follow in the footsteps of McDonald and be immersed in the beauty of the Mekong river and two of the most iconic cities in Cambodia and Vietnam – Siem Reap and Ho Chi Minh City – with excursions to
magnificent jungle-clad temples and the chance to learn about local life.”
Sunvil has found that clients are seeking longer, more complex multi-centre winter sun breaks. “The joy of a multi-centre trip is the diversity of experiences and sights you can incorporate,” says sales and marketing manager Rachel Jelley. “One trip can feel like many, appeal
to the interests of all members of the party and offer the chance for customers to step out of their comfort zone.”
Jelley gives the example of Latin America as a popular region for adventurous, multicentre
winter sun breaks, with trips combining Colombia with Ecuador and Peru; Brazil with Peru and Argentina; Peru and Chile; and Argentina with Chile all in demand. “Our 15-day Classic Brazil tour can be paired with most other countries in South America too,” she adds.
For clients looking for a winter sun break closer to home, Jelley cites the operator’s Exploring The Alentejo in Portugal and Extremadura in Spain as an ideal option. The eight-day fly-drive incorporates undiscovered regions of Portugal and Spain with visits to Roman, Moorish and Baroque buildings, Unesco World Heritage Sites and the chance to sample local cuisine.
According to Fiona Malan, product and procurement director at Travelopia Tailormade, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s recent visit to South Africa will fuel demand for multi-centre breaks there and to neighbouring countries.
“With no time difference and daily overnight flights, the southern African countries provide a
great combination of safari and beach itineraries. Hayes & Jarvis recommends combining these with the Seychelles or Mauritius as an extension, as customers can fly directly home to the UK from either island.”
With more than 70% of Travelopia’s clients now booking a multi-centre winter sun escape, Malan is confident the trend will continue. Emerging Hayes & Jarvis multi-centre destinations include Thailand and Cambodia, which clients can experience by booking on to the Hidden Wonders of the North tour, incorporating a stay at the Song Saa Private Island near Sihanoukville.
The two destinations are now more easily accessible due to a new direct flight between Bangkok and Sihanoukville launching in January 2020, explains Malan.
Another new multi-centre option is Hayes & Jarvis’ eight-day Costa Rica Jungle & Beach itinerary. “British Airways flies to Costa Rica three times a week during the British winter. I’d recommend booking between December and April,” advises Malan.
The South Pacific is another multi-centre winter sun hot spot. “It has good availability in the British winter months, making it a great island-hopping option that’s easily combined with Australia or New Zealand,” she says.