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Orient-Express Trains&Cruises announces conference and incentive opportunities for 2004

Luxury train operator Orient-Express this week announced its 2004 programme, highlighting new departures and…

Luxury train operator Orient-Express this week announced its 2004 programme, highlighting new departures and experiences perfect for all kinds of meetings, incentive events and corporate occasions.

There are few travel experiences that rival a journey on board the Orient-Express; with the Northern Belle and the British Pullman trains in the UK, the legendary Venice Simplon-Orient-Express in Europe, the Eastern and Oriental Express in South East Asia and the Road to Mandalay river cruise ship in Burma, there is an itinerary to suit every corporate need.

A trip on any of the Orient-Express trains offers a unique setting to impress key clients, said Orient-Express Trains & Cruises marketing and sales director David Hester. It is a great way to incentivise staff, kick start/round off a corporate event or to launch a new product to industry partners or the media. It needs little theming, appeals to both sexes and with nowhere to go but down the track ensures you have a captive audience.

Travelling in the lap of luxury, corporate groups can board any Orient-Express scheduled departure or choose to charter the entire train/ship for an event and tailor make the journey. A dedicated sales team work closely with corporate clients to ensure that all special arrangements are catered for.

The vintage British Pullman carriages of the Orient-Express, all dating from the 1920`s and 30`s, depart from London Victoria year round and offer a wide variety of dining experiences and days out for groups or corporate clients. Each carriage is individually designed with seating for between 20 and 26 people. The train holds a maximum of 252 people.

The most popular scheduled British Pullman experiences for corporate clients are; Murder Mystery day trips to Brighton, day trips to Bath, lunch and dinner trips and special sporting events including The Grand National and the British Grand Prix.

In 2004 six additional Bath day trips and a further eight lunch trips will be added to the schedule to meet increased demand. There are also plans to introduce a number of new exclusive black tie `Presidential Dinners` offering guests the ultimate Orient-Express gourmet experience.

Northern Belle, the Orient-Express of the North, departs from various regional cities including Leeds, Manchester, Birmingham, York, Glasgow and Edinburgh year around, with a similar programme of day trips and dining experiences. The modern carriages are all styled and designed around the Belle trains of the 20`s and 30`s and named after British stately homes and castles. Each of the six carriages seat 42 people in tables of two and four. The train seats 252 in total.

On Northern Belle, day trips to Bath and Edinburgh, as well as lunch and dinner trips, are the most popular with meetings and incentive organisers. Both cities have good C&I facilities and attractions, which combined with the train journey guarantees an interesting programme for guests. Oxford and Windsor will be NEW destinations in 2004 and a NEW Chester Races day trip will be on offer from the Midlands. These, along with a number of new departure points including Nottingham, Cardiff, Leicester, Plymouth and Bristol, will give an even wider choice for regional corporate entertaining.

The legendary Venice Simplon-Orient-Express operates from March to November each year, travelling from London to Venice (and visa versa) as well as to a number of other historic cities including Rome, Paris, Prague and Istanbul. Two new destinations – Budapest and Vienna will be added to the programme for 2004 both of which offer further opportunity for incentive programmes and private charters.

The VSOE is made up of eleven sleeping cars, three restaurant cars and a bar car. All are original Wagons-Lits carriages decorated with exquisite marquetry panels and distinctive fittings and fixtures. This continental train is ideal for pan European events as it can be chartered for short sectors to host a lunch or dinner or overnight with multi pick up/drop off points along the way.

Groups of up to 100 can be book onto scheduled departures or event organisers can make the train their own with a private charter for up to 188 passengers. A self contained conference carriage can also be provided which seats up to 22 people around a boardroom table, an ideal setting for presentations or meetings.

Private charter day trips from Budapest to Vienna offering lunch out, time in Vienna and dinner on the return to Budapest will also be available in March, June and October 2004 due the train`s new Budapest/Vienna schedule.

The Eastern & Oriental Express runs between Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, Penang and Singapore (and visa versa) year round and is the only luxury train in South East Asia. It can be booked as a complete route or for shorter sectors with pick up points in Hua Hin, Butterworth or Kuala Lumpur.

E&O has fourteen sleeping cars, three restaurant cars, two bar cars and an observation deck which provides the perfect vantage point from which to view the lush tropical landscapes of this region. The train can accommodate up to 132 guests.

A new `Thai Explorer` itinerary in northern Thailand is being launched for 2004 with seven departure dates throughout the year. The two night route which is Bangkok -Ayutthaya, Chiang Mai, Lampang, Kanchanaburi (River Kwai) -Bangkok will give conference and incentive planners an interesting and luxurious programme to offer corporate clients.

For international companies hosting events in Bangkok, day charters from the city to the River Kwai or the royal beach resort of Hua Hin are also possible on the E&O, as well as overnight charters to Chiang Mai, Thailand`s second city.

In Burma, the Road to Mandalay river cruise ship plies the Ayeyarwady River between Bagan and Mandalay and lends it self to exclusive charters for groups of 40 people or more. Three, four and seven night itineraries can be arranged with off ship guided excursions to some of Burma`s most interesting sites.

Special arrangements including horse drawn carriage transfers, sunset pagoda barbecues, meditation services and hot air balloon rides can also be organised for private charter groups on RTM.

We like to think that anything is possible on an Orient-Express charter, adds David Hester. Our sales team work hard to ensure that all requests are catered for from planning the perfect route and arranging platform entertainment prior to boarding, to welcome gifts for guests, customised menus and provision of promotional items to support the event.

Full charter rates are calculated on an individual basis depending on the destination, length of journey, number of people travelling, chosen menu and any other special requests. Group bookings on scheduled departures get a 10% discount on the brochure price.

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Theodore is the Co-Founder and Managing Editor of TravelDailyNews Media Network; his responsibilities include business development and planning for TravelDailyNews long-term opportunities.

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