Tour operators are launching each season’s product line earlier and earlier. For years, the new winter designs went to market in September. This year, Transat has taken the lead by announcing their line-up in April. According to Transat’s Commercial Director, Nancy Jackson, “some consumers like to plan early. We felt that by being first to market with the winter product, we give them the opportunity to have first crack at some amazing savings.”
Andrew Dawson, President of Tour Operations at the Sunwing Travel Group, who also launched early, offers a similar observation: “The early bookers get to reap the rewards of some really aggressive advanced booking discounts we’ve negotiated”.
What’s hot for next winter? Well, besides the Caribbean sun, a few new spots are hitting the runways and bound to get some rave reviews. The season runs from November 1, 2010 to April 30, 2011.
El Salvador – [Nolitours]
Certainly not what comes to mind as the traditional winter getaway destination. But the Pacific coastline of El Salvador harbours some beautiful beaches which offer uniformly hot temperatures. Surfing is gaining popularity in recent years as more surfers visit many beaches on the coast of La Libertad and the east side of the country, finding surfing spots that are not yet overcrowded.
The eastern part of El Salvador is where you’ll find a more rural atmosphere. This is also the country’s hotbed of ecotourism. To the north are several hidden natural beauties which should be discovered before the area’s tourism industry catches on.
Margarita Island – [Nolitours, Sunwing, Signature]
Margarita Island is situated in the Caribbean sea, off the northeastern coast of Venezuela. The island is formed by two peninsulas joined by an isthmus. There are at least 50 unique and magnificent Margarita beaches which are scattered along 106 miles of coastline. Its location as an island in the Caribbean Sea offers lots of beaches to explore which range from crowded to solitary and most of them virgin.
All beaches are open to the public, including those at the luxury hotels. The east coast beaches that are swept by the trade winds from El Yaque to Playa El Agua are famous for windsurfing, while Playa Parguito and El Tirano mainly attract bodysurfing enthusiasts. Swimmers will particularly enjoy the clean, clear waters of the beaches that lie to the east of Pampatar, including Playa El Terminal, below the La Caranta fort.
Mazatlan – [new for Westjet, Sunwing]
According to WestJet, Mazatlan has qualities that embrace old and new, luxurious and down to earth, activity and soothing tranquility.
The Pearl of the Pacific boasts serious sailfish and marlin fishing, traditional colonial architecture and a lively Mexican culture. Meander along delightful esplanades on balmy evenings, feast on freshly caught seafood or laze on golden beaches to the sounds of crashing waves.
Out Islands, Bahamas – [Air Canada Vacations]
The Out Islands of the Bahamas are some of the most beautiful in the Caribbean and Air Canada Vacations recently launched service to the area. Many of the unnamed beaches and coves of the islands, including extensive offshore reef areas, are protected. There are over 55 world class resorts and boutique hotels which range from five star luxury to fishing lodges.
The Exumas are a 120-mile-long island chain-within-the-chain of the Out Islands, with the Exuma Cays scattered in a long line extending north. These Cays are the most exotic of the Out Islands – soft pink sand and storybook aquamarine waters.
By Nina Slawek
Nina Slawek is co-founder of TakeOffeh.com and Canada’s number one travel trade website, OpenJaw.com
Photo Credits: elsalvador.travel, upload.wikipedia.com, top-things-to-do.com, bahamas.com