NORTH Africa is within easy reach of all holidaymakers, from intrepid travellers, to families with young children.
You won’t find anywhere as exotic within four hours’ flying time of the UK so what are you waiting for?
If you need a reason to sell Morocco, Tunisia, Egypt or Libya, here are 20:
1. Value for money
Hotels in Egypt, Morocco and Tunisia offer excellent value for money, with five-star hotel prices often on a par with three or four-star hotels elsewhere in the Med. Eating out is comparatively cheap too.
2. So near, yet so far
At less than four hours away, Morocco and Tunisia provide a real slice of the exotic without the long-haul flight – a winning formula as our summer fades. The culture and beaches of Egypt are five hours away.
3. Dive in
Egypt’s year-round warm water temperatures are ideal for diving. The resorts on the Red Sea Riviera offer some excellent diving schools, and learning here will often work out cheaper than in the Mediterranean, according to Discover Egypt‘s Philip Breckner. Neilson now offers the Coralia Club Hotel in Dahab, one of the region’s diving meccas, with celebrated dive sites such as the Blue Hole and the Canyon.
4. On the riad
Suggest Morocco’s riads, still the ‘in’ thing, according to Prestige Holidays marketing manager Nicky Shafe: “Riads offer high levels of service, cuisine and accommodation and are stylistically and architecturally very Moroccan. The small number of rooms means the service is personal and their central location makes it easy to explore the sights.”
5. Sahara, so good
There are wonderful places to stay in the Tunisian Sahara. Luxurious hotels and tented camps sit in the green oases of Tozeur, Tamerza and Ksar Ghilane. Wigmore Holidays offers excursions to Berber villages, salt lakes and the scenery captured in Star Wars and The English Patient.
6. Party time
Eclectic Marrakesh pulls in Brits on city breaks, but discerning travellers are looking for new places for special celebrations. CV Travel managing director Debbie Marshall said: “Moroccan villas are perfect for extended family gatherings, birthday parties and large groups.”
7. Short and sweet
Sell Tunis’s high-class boutique hotels as perfect for stylish sightseeing couples itching for a quick getaway. Tunisia First offers short breaks to the capital and recommends staying at Dar Saïd, in the pretty seaside village of Sidi Bou Saïd near Tunis, or Dar El Medina in Tunis’s Medina. The Residence Tunis is the country’s best hotel and as part of a Leading Hotels of the World promotion, rooms cost from £215 this summer.
8. On the rails
A novel way to explore Morocco is by train and the country’s rail network offers a good service. It only covers part of the country, but is comfortable and safe. See The World By Rail’s new 13-day Morocco Discovered tour departing October 2007.
9. Eyes down for new hotels
Keep your eyes peeled for new hotels – Le Méridien Marhaba-Casablanca opens mid-2007, while the stylish Sofitel El Gezirah Cairo opens this October. Meanwhile, the five-star Sofitel Saphir Palace Yasmine is the latest addition in the up-and-coming resort of Yasmine Hammamet in Tunisia. The five-star InterContinental Resort Taba Heights is opening an 18-hole championship golf course in October.
10. Something special
There are bags of special interest options. In Tunisia, Wigmore Holidays offers archaeology tours or flydrives of Roman Tunisia and visits to World War II battlefields. For classical Egypt, Peregrine Adventures offers a 10-day guided tour in the hands of an expert Egyptologist.
11. Spa gazing
Tunisia is an important centre for thalassotherapy, particularly Djerba, so push the island as the spa capital of Tunisia, and recommend the new five-star Jasmine Thalassa. Or follow Longwood Holidays’ suggestion for clients to chill out at the excellent Angsana Spa at the Mövenpick in El Gouna, Egypt.
12. Love Libya
Abercrombie and Kent now has an office in Tripoli and planning manager Janine Ostermeyer explains why Libya’s popularity is growing: “It boasts a wealth of archaeological sites and classical heritage, including five UNESCO World Heritage sites, such as Leptis Magna, the best-preserved Roman city in the world, and the ancient desert oasis town of Ghadamès.”
13. No-frills flurry…
The skies have opened up over Morocco meaning no-frills flights from EasyJet, Thomsonfly and Ryanair to Marrakesh, with the latter also set to fly to Fez. Agents can make the most of these flights by teaming up with trade-only Hotels4U.com and its new Morocco programme.
14. …or a nice little package
Not everyone is happy to book their components separately. “Who are the transfers with? Who do the representatives work for? And how comprehensive is their service?” asks Longwood Holidays marketing manager Tara Bradberry.
“Egypt is not like Europe – you can’t simply book a flight to Taba, book a hotel and assume you can pick up a taxi from the airport.” Use this uncertainty to your advantage and book a traditional package from a traditional tour operator.
15. Nile style
Cruises down the Nile are officially cool. As of September, Abercrombie and Kent’s Sun Boat IV will be the first boat to cruise the Nile in chic, Art Deco splendour. Or consider five-star Alexander the Great – exclusive and new to Discover Egypt in the UK, it’s the closest you’ll get to boutique-style cruising.
16. Take flight
Kitesurfing is the new watersport that combines windsurfing, wakeboarding, powerkiting and surfing. In Egypt, Neilson offers kitesurfing in Dahab. El Gouna is popular with adrenalin heads – the world’s largest kite-surfing centre opened there this year.
17. Twin ’em up
Tunisia, Egypt and Morocco have so much to see that twin-centres are a must. Indus Tours product manager Ray Cox said: “In Morocco, multi-centre holidays are all the rage, so we’ve introduced a selection of Atlas Mountain Retreats – including Richard Branson’s Kasbah Tamadot.” Suggest adding Jordan or Libya to Egypt holidays – Kuoni offers twin-centre packages.
18. Explorer tours
For backpackers, On The Go Tours has new expedition safaris at cheap prices in Morocco. An eight-day tour costs just £209 for those who want to jump aboard the truck from Tangier. However, flights are not included.
19. Tales of two cities
Marrakesh and Cairo get all the city glory, but consider selling Fes and Alexandria too. GB Airways offers winter flights to the stunning imperial city of Fes, featured by Prestige Holidays, while British Mediterranean flies to Alexandria, known as the Pearl of the Mediterranean, and Egypt’s second city.
20. Something for the weekend
Explore offers a weekend dash to Libya’s sun-drenched Mediterranean coast, discovering the medina and museums of Tripoli’s old town before visiting the ancient Roman cities with a guide on a three-night break.
Related training: Morocco Academy
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