Travel trendsetters keep their sights on the tried and tested

HOLIDAY hotspots are the beating heart of their business, but where do the captains of the travel trade head for their summer break once they've waved off their customers?

HOLIDAY hotspots are the beating heart of their business, but where do the captains of the travel trade head for their summer break once they've waved off their customers?

One of the hottest destinations for travel executives this summer may not be deserted, but it is an island. Hawaii is proving particularly magnetic, according to the holiday plans being hatched among Virgin Atlantic's senior ranks.

"We've had three of our management team head there this winter including myself," says Gia Acitelli, Virgin Atlantic's Australian sales and distribution manager.

She puts the trend down to the strong Aussie dollar and because Hawaiian Airlines has increased the number of flights to Honolulu. She also notes it's a relatively quick trip from Australia, while the beaches are fantastic and the shopping great.

Acitelli says the other most popular spots for its staff include "sensual" Tahiti, which she says is making a comeback, and Barbados in the Caribbean because it has "some of the most translucent green water around".

New York and London are the most popular destinations among STA Travel Australia's senior management team at the moment, according to the company's Asia Pacific product director, Andrea Robinson.

STA Travel Australia's managing director, David Green, is among those holidaying in New York and he is already anticipating a white Christmas.

A getaway that is closer to home can hold special appeal for those who travel a lot on business, according to Georg Ruebensal, the managing director of web travel company Expedia. He has just returned from a short trip to Margaret River where he says he enjoyed "a beautiful coastline for long walks, diving, whale watching, and great food and wine".

Bob East, the chief executive of Mantra Group, which operates a national network of hotels, resorts and retreats under the Peppers, Mantra and BreakFree brands, says he will also be holidaying locally with his family this summer. East says his family loves the tropics during the Christmas season, so they're off to Palm Cove, Queensland.

Justin Lee, the customer experience director at Expedia, is having a holiday with a difference. He is headed to Hakuba, Japan, to take an avalanche safety course.

Jetting off to Carnival in Brazil is the holiday destination of choice for Tina Tong, managing director of the luxury travel specialist, FirstClass.

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