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DUBROVNIK — A journey through Croatia reveals a land of incomparable natural beauty and fascinating historic attractions, making it one of Insight Vacations’ top five destinations and a powerful magnet for Canadian travellers as calendars turn to 2020.
On an exclusive FAM hosted by Insight Vacations, Travelweek joined a group of Maritime Travel Advisors from across Canada on a ‘Country Roads of Croatia’ itinerary to experience the value and benefit of a guided vacation through a mix of Insight Vacations and Luxury Gold offerings.
Escorted by an Insight Travel Director and three team members, including Carla Brake, VP of Sales in Canada, Maritime Travel Advisors had the opportunity to build one-on-one relationships with the team and discuss more of their Insight Experiences, as well as learn about ways Insight Cares is committed to responsible tourism and supporting local communities.
“Croatia is one of our most popular destinations and we wanted to offer our loyal Travel Advisors the chance to experience the destination the Insight way,” said Brake.
“Our hope was to show them what seamless and magical travel really means and help them stimulate their own sales by sharing their personal experiences. We believe having Advisors experience an Insight Vacations journey firsthand is the only way to truly exemplify the Insight Difference.”
The trip began in Zagreb, where advisors were welcomed to their first of many authentic dining experiences offered to guests on Insight’s Dine-Around evenings.
The next day, accompanied by an Insight Local Expert, guests were educated on the culture, geography and history of Croatia as they visited the capital sites with ease.
The leisurely pace continued as guests were led onto the wooden pathways inside the UNESCO designated Plitvice Lakes National Park. Each year, more than a million tourists visit the largest and most popular of Croatia’s eight national parks, renowned for its 16 crystal clear turquoise lakes connected by dramatic waterfalls and lush woodlands.
Travel advisors noted the ease and comfort in which they travelled through the ‘Country Roads’ of Croatia, which Brake says, “is thanks to our experienced drivers that make mandatory stops every two hours, our Travel Directors who share their passion and knowledge every step of the way, and our customized luxury coaches.”
Long distances were broken up with jaunts to places like the picturesque coastal town of Trogir on the Dalmatian Coast, and the business class-like tilted seating and legroom, complimentary WiFi, and large windows offering unobstructed scenic views made for the height of comfort. Something sure to impress clients.
Highlights included a guided visit through the UNESCO-protected Diocletian’s Palace in Split, a setting so beautiful that Game of Thrones filmed its fourth series here. Entering the oval, open-roofed Split Vestibul to listen to traditional klapa (a capella) singers made for one of many memorable Insight Moments. Free time meant guests could climb up to Split’s lookout point to take in the breathtaking views of the palace and impressive waterfront lined with cafes and restaurants overlooking the harbour.
“We aim to give your clients the best experience in the destination and deliver on our brand promise – ‘All the sights and the insights, up close and personal, in comfort and style,”’ continued Brake.
One of the many ways Insight is delivering on that promise is through their wide selection of unique Insight Experiences highlighting authentic interactions with locals, and cultural activities.
While en route from Split to Dubrovnik, guests sailed to Bota Šare’s floating Oyster Bar to partake in Insight’s Sea-to-Table dining experience. Advisors learned about the art of cultivation before feasting on oysters and mussels that local oyster farmer Daniel plucked straight out of the water and served with Croatian white wine.
Farmed in the bay of Mali Ston, they are something of a local headliner and not easily accessible to the independent traveller.
And thanks to Insight’s selection of the right hotels in the right places, advisors can rest easy knowing their clients stay in style, too. Every detail was looked after by Karin, Insight’s Travel Director, who ensured a seamless arrival by checking guests in at hotels and making sure luggage was promptly delivered to their hotel door. This allowed guests more free time to, among other things, soak in the hot tub at the luxurious Hotel Palace Dubrovnik while taking in the most spectacular cotton-candy sunset.
In Dubrovnik, also known as King’s Landing to Game of Thrones fans, guests were able to see the sites with a Local Expert and then enjoy free time to stroll along the Old Town’s medieval walls and admire its terra-cotta roofscape. Then, with a glass of wine in hand, advisors sat back to admire the glittering Adriatic Sea.
Experiencing a destination at a leisurely pace is one of the benefits of Insight’s premium escorted journeys, all of which now include Relaxed Starts. Guests depart after 9 a.m. and itineraries are designed with a ‘less is more’ philosophy, so there is more ‘doing and interacting’ versus seeing, with plenty of free time for guests to enjoy those unexpected Insight Moments.
Country Roads journeys are also the most popular in Insight’s collection, allowing clients to discover a different side of a destination as they delve deeper into a country’s culture and history by visiting places few tourists ever get to see.
Throughout the nine days, advisors experienced Insight’s impressive array of immersive experiences, Local Experts, Deliciously Authentic Dining, hand-picked accommodations, and attention to detail that ensured a seamless trip. It’s a standard of travel for all of Insight Vacations’ more than 100 journeys limited to 40 guests – including five brand new trips for 2020.
Also new this year is Insight Choice, where Insight’s Travel Directors will offer clients the choice of two included experiences.
As for the trade, Brake says: “95% of our business is through travel advisors and we are here to work together with them to grow our business through 2020.”
Good until Dec. 18, 2019, Insight is offering an early payment discount at 10% off select journeys. Country Roads of Croatia, Dalmatian Elegance, The Eastern Discovery, Eastern Capitals & The Dalmatian Riviera, and Treasures of the Balkans all qualify for the promotion.
Also, past guests and Club Bon Voyage members can save up to 5%. More than 50% of journeys going to Croatia in 2020 are now Definite Departures, so book clients with confidence. For more information see insightvacations.com.