Tours were big this summer according to Merja Pollok Tours were big this summer according to Merja Pollok

Emirates Holidays' decision to pack tours galore into its 2008 brochures has paid dividends with many passengers taking the opportunity to explore the destinations they visited this summer.

The company's destination development managers told ATN that tours of the US, Scotland, Brazil and South Africa has proven particularly popular during the June-August period as a result of the operator's brochure revamp.

"Because of the changes in the brochure with more emphasis on tours, quite simply, more people were booking tours," said a delighted Marco Heinrich, destination development manager, Europe and the Americas.

"Of course, it will be some time before these things develop, but we have many sold tours. The West Coast of the US tour was very popular even though we don't have a flight there yet."

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Heinrich said clients were also driving around Edinburgh, Loch Ness and Loch Lomond in Scotland and that Emirates Holidays' ‘Brazil Explorer' tour had also proved a winner.

"We said that this would be a classic country where people wanted a tour because they were nervous about exploring it themselves and we were right," he added.

Heinrich's colleague, Merja Pollok, destination development manager, Middle East, Africa & Indian Ocean, revealed that tours of South Africa had picked up now that Emirates operated direct daily flights to Cape Town, in addition to its three daily flights to Johannesburg.

She expected sales to the destination to pick up during the winter (summer in South Africa), but noted that the top seller for her area of responsibility was the Indian Ocean.

"It's just growing and growing," she said. "We saw a 17% increase in passengers to the Maldives, but I think we can sell more. We are growing continuously and the more new hotels that come online, the better.

"Mauritius is doing very well, but [growth in passenger numbers to] the Seychelles is stagnating a little because many of the older hotels in the Seychelles have been closed for renovations - both top end and lower end products."

She added that during the recent Eid holiday, the Indian Ocean was "full, full, full".