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20 Apr 2017

BY Tom Parry

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Bulgaria, Florida and Greece lead Thomson and First Choice 2018 programmes

The Bulgarian city of Varna and new self-drive itineraries in the US lead highlights of Thomson and First Choice’s summer 2018 programmes.

Thomson First Choice summer 2018.jpg

The collections from the Tui-owned operators went on sale today

The newly launched programmes from the Tui-owned operators went on sale today (April 20).


The line-ups also include an expanded range of multi-centre holidays with itineraries to Costa Rica, Croatia and the Caribbean also featured.


An eleventh Sensatori resort opens in Rhodes - 20km from Lindos - while an adults-only Sensimar hotel opening in Halkidiki also feature in the new range.


Thomson and First Choice cited the choice of Varna as coinciding with the rise of the “microadventurer” which it described as customers who were “looking to pack more into their holidays than ever before”.


Thomson Airways will begin flying to the Bulgarian city – the country’s third largest - in May 2018 with two weekly flights from Gatwick and Manchester.


Also making its debut next summer is a selection of new self-drive tour itineraries with road trips travelling from Florida to destinations including the Deep South and giving the opportunity to take in New Orleans, Nashville and Miami.


Trips will include flights, car hire and hotels and will be available on both seven and 14-night packages as stand-alone tours or as part of the wider, expanding multi-centre holidays range.


Also new for Florida are further fly-drive itineraries and additional beach resorts, such as Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Clearwater Beach and St Pete Beach.


On the cruising front, Tui Explorer, the latest ship to the Thomson Cruises’ fleet, will be based in Palma from May next year, joining the recently introduced Tui Discovery and Tui Discovery 2 in offering all-inclusive as standard.


Tui Discovery will homeport in both Newcastle and Southampton for summer 2018, offering itineraries from the UK to the Norwegian fjords, the Baltics and Iceland, while sister ship Tui Discovery 2 will sail from Corfu for the first time.


Thomson Celebration will be based in Dubrovnik and Thomson Celebration in Palma. Fifteen new ports of call are being introduced across the fleet, including Monaco, Ancona and Skiathos.


Meanwhile, the operator’s will also boost flight choices from regional airports with new 10 and 11-night holidays from Manchester, Gatwick and Bristol available to a range of destinations including Split and Dubrovnik.


Elsewhere, Norwich airport will offer flights to Crete, Aberdeen will offer Costa Dorada with a new direct route while Bristol airport will operate its first service to Punta Cana using the 787 Dreamliner.


Mark Hall, director of product for Thomson and First Choice, said: “We know that our customers are looking for new and exciting holidays for summer 2018 so our focus is on expanding our mid-haul programme to include more choice of destination.


New hotspot Varna offers customers something a little different for their break, with the perfect balance between culture and relaxation.


“I’m also delighted that we are continuing the expansion of our luxury Tui Sensatori collection with our new addition in Rhodes and building on our extensive range of holiday types in Florida, giving families, couples and friends more unique holiday options to choose from.


“With the wide variety of choice available in the most sought-after destinations, enjoying the perfect holiday has never been easier.”

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