Chile and Argentina
T+L Travel Agent Advisory Board (TAAB) agent Paul Niskanen, of Cruise Masters/Concierge Travel Advisors, has been sending clients down Chile’s southern coast on Holland America itineraries for vastly reduced rates since the beginning of the year. Other agents are creating itineraries with guided treks through the rugged landscape in Patagonia or the Atacama Desert (with overnights at luxe lodges such as Explora, in Patagonia, and Awasi, in San Pedro de Atacama).
The pluses down under are hard to argue with: a great exchange rate, increased service from the U.S. (Delta launched an Atlanta-to-Sydney route last summer), and one-of-a-kind experiences, such as bush walks with Aborigines. Says Diane Hilliard, “You can do it all: experience culture in Sydney, get lost in El Questro Wilderness Park in Western Australia, or just relax on the beach at Qualia,” a new resort on Hamilton Island.
As Cape Town ramps up to host the 2010 World Cup and expands its hotel scene—from a new One & Only to the Taj Cape Town Clifton and countless B&B’s along the coast—some of its top tour operators are offering never-better perks, such as extra nights tagged to safaris, free bush transfers, and complimentary stays in hotels in Johannesburg and Cape Town.
“A stable currency, gorgeous nature, and surprising deals at the moment,” says Mollie Fitzgerald of the Alpine country’s latest benefits. Other agents cite the renaissance of properties such as the Dolder Grand and La Réserve Genve; and the appeal of smaller cities, like Bern and Lausanne.