Maureen: Peltours cooks on the bright side

Maureen: Peltours cooks on the bright side

Maureen Hill is a regular columnist for Travel Weekly and works at Wessex World Travel, Gillingham, Dorset

Keep smiling through, that's what we always do. Dame Vera Lynn knew a thing or two about coping with adversity, and I like to think that we, in the travel industry, have our own strategies to cope with hard times.

Across the industry, tour operators and agents are thinking up reasons to be cheerful. Peltours sales and marketing director Darren Panto, for example, is taking one lucky group of travel agents to Egypt and Jordan on an educational that will see them take part in a cookery lesson at The Petra Kitchen, before consuming their efforts.

As someone who enjoys food, but whose relationship with the kitchen has been rather turbulent - I can think of other ways of getting hot and saucy - I think the idea of learning about local food in the company of others is a brilliant one.

In The Petra Kitchen, the budding students will learn the secrets of Jordanian dishes that they can recreate at home. I'm sure their partners will be looking forward to their return all the more.

The Petra cookery classroom may turn out to be more like Hell's Kitchen once Darren hits it, but the boy can take a joke. Most of the time. I hear he didn't see the funny side of things when his three-year-old daughter enquired of her mum, Gabi: "Who took Daddy's hair away?"

Gabi thought this was very funny and couldn't understand Darren's sensitivity as he gravely informed his daughter that he had had lots of hair before he met her mummy. Sounds like Mummy's got a lot to answer for.

The Queens of karaoke

The members of the Holiday Options social club also know how to raise a smile, if their latest event is anything to go by.

A retro karaoke session with an Abba and Queen theme got everybody dressing up, with special efforts from agency sales executive Paul, wearing a tiara to perform Dancing Queen, and Gemma from commercial sporting a moustache as she strutted her stuff - Freddie Mercury style.

I have been promised that photos will be posted. I'm not sure whether they'll be posted to my office or on the internet; either way, I'm sure they deserve a big audience.

Teleticket's soft option

A give-away I have appreciated came from Teleticket the other week in the form of a huge pillow. It was all part of the launch of Teleticket Holidays, a new venture the company has started following consultation with the trade, who suggested Teleticket add accommodation to its product.

Now, they must know I don't sleep too well. I like to think it's the only thing I have in common with Mrs Thatcher, who only needed four hours' shut-eye a night while she was prime minister.

Although, as I get older, I'm finding that I, too, have a growing attraction for ageing Hollywood filmstars. Forget Ronald Reagan, Maggie! Have you seen Clint Eastwood in Gran Torino? All that grouchy eyebrow action Just perfect for the sweet dreams I'm planning on my Teleticket pillow.

Pirates? You plank!

There are lots of issues in the news to worry people who are thinking about travelling abroad, what with swine flu and the exchange rate and so on, but one old chap came in this week and expressed anxiety about something I'd not even contemplated.

Having booked him on a cruise to the Canaries, I looked up and smiled. His face was deadpan.

"I nearly never booked this, you know," he said.

"Why was that?"

"Pirates," he replied gravely. "I was worried they'd board us and take us all hostage like they did with that oil tanker. And my son hasn't got the money for a ransom."

It was very hard to keep a straight face, but I managed to reassure him that the waters around the Canaries aren't known for piracy.

"I think you'll be ok," I finished.

"You can't be sure, though," he replied, "after all, they had them in Penzance."

Has anybody alerted West Cornwall police?

Maureen Hill works for Travel Angels, Gillingham, Dorset

  • Maureen has been fighting to raise the profile of fraud in the travel industry. Back her by joining her anti-fraud group on our travelhub community


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