Flexible flight options to the Indian Ocean are making the islands increasingly popular for twin-centre holidays.
While Mauritius, the Maldives and the Seychelles are ideal for a luxury fly and flop, suggest twin-centres with destinations such as Kenya, South Africa and Dubai to clients looking for more than the beach.
Indian Ocean twin-centres particularly suit couples who want different types of holidays – for example, one wants to relax on the beach while the other is looking for adventure.
Here is Travel Weekly’s lowdown on some of the ways you can make the Indian Ocean work for your clients.
Why:imagine heading off for a desert safari or some serious shopping, before hitting some of the world’s most beautiful beaches. Booking Dubai as part of a twin-centre is an increasingly attractive option for Indian Ocean visitors. Not only do clients get a city break, desert adventure and beach break in one, there are also the two vastly different atmospheres and cultures – the opulent Middle East in Dubai and chilled-out Asia for the Indian Ocean.
Cosmos senior commercial manager Sara Gelder said: “With the flexibility of Emirates flights, the twin-centre options can even be reversed so the beach stay is taken first followed by the Dubai city stay.”
Sample product: 15 nights’ bed and breakfast in June leads in at £1,604 with Cosmos, staying at the four-star Arabian Courtyard in Dubai, followed by the all-inclusive Silver Beach Hotel in Mauritius.
Why: South Africa is fast becoming a holiday favourite for the UK market – not least because it offers a vast array of safari product, great restaurants and shopping. The one-hour time difference from the UK also eliminates jet-lag. Premier Holidays product manager Nikki Hain said: “You can adjust quickly and then move on to the different time zone when you get to Mauritius, where you’ll just be relaxing anyway. “This appeals year-round to all our markets, including families.”
Sample product: Premier Holidays offers four nights’ bed and breakfast at the Mount Nelson, Cape Town, and then eight nights’ half-board at La Residence in Mauritius for £2,225 per person, twin-share, until July 15. The price includes flights and private transfers.
Why: Oman offers a more authentic Arabian experience than Dubai and the people are laid back and friendly. Check out the fishing port and souks of capital Muscat, alternatively suggest activities such as diving or exploring the desert. Combine this with the Seychelles, where solace seekers will find unspoilt beaches and plenty of indigenous wildlife and fauna.
Sample product:Emirates Tours offers seven nights combining two nights at the five-star Shangri-La, Oman, and five nights at the five-star L’Archipel in the Seychelles. Both are on a bed-and-breakfast basis and include flights. Prices start at £2,149 per person.
Why: clients can combine a wildlife safari experience in Kenya with a chilled-out beach holiday in Mauritius. Alternatively, they can choose a beach holiday in both by staying on Kenya’s coast, but even this will give two entirely different experiences, styles of service, culture and surroundings.
Sample product:ITC Classics offers four nights’ all-inclusive in a cottage at The Funzi Keys, Kenya, followed by seven nights’ half board in a deluxe room at Le Telfair in Mauritius, including international and all internal flights and private transfers from £4,140.
Why: “Although they are both Indian Ocean destinations, you get two very contrasting experiences and clients don’t always realise this,” said Kuoni product manager Tamara Diethelm. “The Seychelles is the most beautiful island in the Indian Ocean, with little coves and small, remote islands. Then, clients can experience Mautirtius, a bigger island, but with fabulous hotels and top-notch service. We suggest doing the Seychelles first, where clients can stay somewhere more rustic before experiencing the quality of hotels in Mauritius.”
Sample product: Kuoni offers a lead-in price of £1,596 for nine nights – four nights’ bed and breakfast at the Coco de Mar in Praslin, three nights’ bed and breakfast at the Coral Strand in Mahe and two nights’ half-board in Mauritius at the Merville Beach. The price includes flights and transfers and is available until July.
Why:this is perfect for clients looking for a cultural tour followed by sunshine and relaxation. Sri Lanka offers highlights such as Kandy, where visitors will find the Temple of the Tooth and Adam’s Peak. Elsewhere, attractions include the Pinnewala Elephant Orphanage and the rainforest. Some of the most luxurious resorts in the world can then be found in the Maldives. Elite Vacations managing director Peter Jackson said. “I’d suggest honeymooners or older couples who will appreciate Sri Lanka’s culture, and want to see the sights.”
Sample product: a 14-night twin-centre leads in at £1,665 per person, twin-share, for departures from May to June, with Elite Vacations. The Sri Lanka itinerary starts with a night at the Colombo Hilton, three nights’ bed and breakfast in Candalama, two nights at the Mahaweli Reach in Kandy, a night at the Tea Factory Nuwara Eliya and another at a hotel near the airport. In the Maldives, accommodation is at the Taj Coral Reef on a half-board basis. Flights are included.