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More and more people are swapping their holidays for 'experiences'. Two Yorkshire companies talk travel trends with Jo Haywood

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Florence is an inspiring place. It has nurtured home-grown talent over the centuries from Dante and da Vinci to Ferragamo and Cavalli. And now it has provided a spark of inspiration for a Malton entrepreneur and a York music teacher.


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school trip to Tuscanys capital city led Debbie England, a mother-of-two with 20 years experience in the finance, entertainment and travel industries, and Andrew Wright, a teacher at St Peters for 24 years, to set up their own business - Opera Tours Italy.

While in Florence with my son on a school trip, Andrew and I spotted a gap in the market for a holiday that brought the specialist knowledge of opera, art and Italian architecture to seasoned opera goers and budding enthusiasts alike, said Debbie.

With the growing demand for more experience-led holidays, we felt it was the right time to launch tours for adults looking for something different.

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he pair now offer fully-guided tours to the world famous Puccini and Verdi festivals, including sought-after tickets - and the chance to pick the brain of a dedicated opera addict.

Andrews expertise certainly brings something different to the tour, said Debbie. His unique knowledge and passion for opera mean holidaymakers get the chance to hear the stories behind the operas.

ndrew has spent more than 50 years visiting Italy, developing an in-depth knowledge of its opera, art, history and architecture which hes more than happy to share. have lectured and taught music and art for many years, he said. When retired, wanted to do something that continued my love of music and this was perfect.


Florence is an inspiring place. It has nurtured home-grown talent over the centuries from Dante and da Vinci to Ferragamo and Cavalli. And now it has provided a spark of inspiration for a Malton entrepreneur and a York music teacher.

A school trip to Tuscanys capital city led Debbie England, a mother-of-two with 20 years experience in the finance, entertainment and travel industries, and Andrew Wright, a teacher at St Peters for 24 years, to set up their own business - Opera Tours Italy.

While in Florence with my son on a school trip, Andrew and I spotted a gap in the market for a holiday that brought the specialist knowledge of opera, art and Italian architecture to seasoned opera goers and budding enthusiasts alike, said Debbie.

With the growing demand for more experience-led holidays, we felt it was the right time to launch tours for adults looking for something different.The pair now offer fully-guided tours to the world famous Puccini and Verdi festivals, including sought-after tickets - and the chance to pick the brain of a dedicated opera addict.

Andrews expertise certainly brings something different to the tour, said Debbie. His unique knowledge and passion for opera mean holidaymakers get the chance to hear the stories behind the operas.

Andrew has spent more than 50 years visiting Italy, developing an in-depth knowledge of its opera, art, history and architecture which hes more than happy to share. have lectured and taught music and art for many years, he said. When retired, wanted to do something that continued my love of music and this was perfect.

What Andrew is to opera, Alan Robertshaw is to hiking and cycling. He runs Discovery Travel with his son, Alex, offering adventures across Britain and Europe

The York-based company is enjoying a boom in interest in one of their walks at the moment, thanks to a new film by Martin Sheen and his son Emilio Estevez. The Way, written and directed byEmilioand starring his father, tells the story of a man walking The Way of St James in Spain to try and understandhis sons death.




The route dates back to the early middle ages when northern European devotees made their way to the holy shrine of St James, travelling past the ancient church of Priesca, a jewel of pre-Romanesque architecture, said Alan.

Its a special setting and offers an insight into a rural and surprisingly green Spain that doesnt immediately spring to mind.





Discovery Travels route, which has been recently extended to take in the entire 425km country trail, takes in the heritage, folklore and nature of Spain.

The Way also highlights the therapeutic benefits of walking, said Alan.

Especially if you travel along routes like this which follow a course of historic and spiritual sites.

Travel trends After a year or two of staycations, tourists are set to start travelling further afield again. But do any of these new travel trends float your boat? Companies are now offering tuneful tourists singing holidays in Cuba where they can meet local musicians, enjoy performances and spend their evenings singing under the stars as a part of a travelling choir.

Most of us like to spoil ourselves rotten on holiday, but there are those who are partial to a bit of deprivation. So, expect even more boot camps and diet hotels now extremely popular in America to make their way here. Space tourism has really taken off, but if you cant afford a rocket to the moon, tour operators are now offering space camp experiences in South Africa, where travellers can holiday at an observatory.

You might turn your nose up at sensory resorts, but they are big in the Far East, where hoteliers are now developing their own fragrances for travellers to take home to remind them of their holiday. In Japan (where else?), they are also using mobile phones to trigger aromas and visual content to engage visitors.


Why not tell us about your favourite holiday destination? Contact us via our website at yorkshire.greatbritishlife.co.uk, by email at feedback@yorkshirelife.co.uk or by writing to us at Yorkshire Life, Regional Agricultural Centre, Harrogate, HG2 8NZ.


Travel trends After a year or two of staycations, tourists are set to start travelling further afield again. But do any of these new travel trends float your boat?

Companies are now offering tuneful tourists singing holidays in Cuba where they can meet local musicians, enjoy performances and spend their evenings singing under the stars as a part of a travelling choir.

Most of us like to spoil ourselves rotten on holiday, but there are those who are partial to a bit of deprivation. So, expect even more boot camps and diet hotels now extremely popular in America to make their way here.

Space tourism has really taken off, but if you cant afford a rocket to the moon, tour operators are now offering space camp experiences in South Africa, where travellers can holiday at an observatory.

You might turn your nose up at sensory resorts, but they are big in the Far East, where hoteliers are now developing their own fragrances for travellers to take home to remind them of their holiday. In Japan (where else?), they are also using mobile phones to trigger aromas and visual content to engage visitors.

Why not tell us about your favourite holiday destination? Leave a comment below or email at feedback@yorkshirelife.co.uk or by writing to us at Yorkshire Life, Regional Agricultural Centre, Harrogate, HG2 8NZ.

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