I first met Albano Cymbron at a Portuguese travel workshop. For those who have no idea what a travel workshop is – well, it’s where suppliers of accommodation and overseas services meet tour operators. These meetings are normally arranged by the tourist offices on an annual basis.

I had always been curious about the Azores. The islands were often mentioned on the news because weather ‘depressions’ or ‘highs’ always seemed to originate there. I also knew that The Azores islands were an autonomous region of Portugal. Albano was the owner of an incoming agency in Ponta Delgada, the largest town on the largest island – Sao Miguel. I liked Albano and felt I could work with him. He understood Sunvil’s culture and the requirements of our clients. He was passionate about the islands and the need to conserve their pristine beauty.My instinct was right and we have worked with Melo, his agency, ever since. Albano retired about five years ago and the agency is now run by Catarina, his daughter – equally passionate and very able.

 

The success of a holiday programme depends as much on the handling agent as it does on the tour operator. No matter how efficient and knowledgeable the tour operator, an indifferent and unimaginative incoming agent can spoil anything the tour operator is trying to achieve.

We were the first tour operator to feature the Azores in any meaningful way and Sunvil paved the way for others to follow. Since my first visit all those years ago, a steady stream of Sunvil staff has visited the islands – all nine of them. Sao Miguel is the largest, and very beautiful, but the islands are all very different and two or three should, ideally, be visited on any trip. Our Discovery team knows all the in and outs – what can be done and what cannot. The weather on the islands is often variable and flight schedules change. Even the best-planned itineraries, therefore, often have to be adjusted in order to compensate, which is where a specialist operator really comes into its own; we are always there to help.

 

I am glad to say that we have also contributed to the islands in a variety of ways. We support the local charity for homeless boys, ‘Casa do Gaiato’, we have contributed to the way-marking of trails and we support the very good Bradt guide to the Azores by buying thousands of copies and giving these free of charge to our clients, to help them make the most of their trip. We have spoken at seminars to guide hoteliers as to how best to approach the UK market and we work closely with the tourist board and the regional airline, Sata International. In 2012 we sponsored, along with the tourist office, a World Garden featuring the stunning plants and scenery of the Azores at the Hampton Court Flower Show, and won a Silver Gilt medal.

But, most important of all, we all love and care for the islands.

 

Over the years we have come under a lot of pressure to support a direct flight from the UK to Ponta Delgada, the main airport into the Azorean archipelago. We resisted for a long time, feeling that a direct flight would change the nature of the islands. But, finally, because we felt we could attract the right, caring visitor to the Azores, we committed to paying for half the cost of the flight from Gatwick to Ponta Delgada and, in 2005, the airline started flying direct. From sending a few hundred clients every year we went to almost two thousand.

The Azores are beautiful islands and the pace of life slow and fulfilling. The hotels are not de luxe; the service is homely rather than slick. The smaller properties are owner run and there are some beautiful manor houses which now operate as small hotels. The islands of the Azores are not for everyone – they are for lovers of nature, for walkers and for dreamers.

 

The local Government has now allowed Ryanair to fly from Stansted once a week. We hope that this does not signal a change in the type or quality of tourism that will now visit the islands. This is not, and never will be, a mass-market destination. After 25 years we have seen some – but not too many – changes (even, happily, after the arrival of EU money)! It’s the quality and not the quantity of tourists that matters and we hope that the Azorean Government will follow our advice and never forget just why our clients love the islands. We trust the Government’s judgement not to destroy the very qualities that have attracted us, and thousands of our clients, over the last 25 years.

Noel Josephides
Sunvil Chairman

 

Noel Josephides

By Noel Josephides

1st June 2015



Noel Josephides
Noel Josephides

Noel is Sunvil’s Chairman. Born in Cyprus in 1948, he joined John der Parthog at Sunvil in 1973. Before that and following university, he spent 3 years as a trainee buyer at C&A Modes and then worked for a large Cypriot builder and property developer for whom he set up a London Office buying electrical components for the Middle East and importing lemons from orchards in Cyprus. He still researches new destinations for Sunvil and is heavily involved in matters relating to the travel industry. He is the current ABTA Chairman, a long standing director and previous chairman of The Association of Independent Tour Operators (AITO) and the current chairman of The Travel Foundation - the travel industry’s sustainability charity.

Call one of our experts to discuss your next holiday with Sunvil on

020 8568 4499

We're open tomorrow at 9:00 AM

Make an Enquiry

Please use this form to request further information about a Sunvil holiday or destination.

We promise that a member of our specialist reservation teams will reply personally to your holiday enquiry before 5.30pm if received before 12.00pm (Monday to Friday). Enquiries received after 12.00pm will be replied to within 24-hours (excluding Sundays).

If your enquiry is of an urgent nature, please telephone our dedicated reservation teams on the numbers listed below.

Our lines are open from 9.00am to 5.30pm Monday-Friday and from 9.30am to 4.30pm Saturday.

  • Greece: 020 8758 4758
  • Cyprus: 020 8758 4759
  • Portugal, the Azores, Spain, Italy, Sicily and Scandinavia: 020 8758 4722
  • Latin America: 020 8758 4774

Required Information

* Mandatory Information
Title *
First name *
Surname *
Telephone number *
Alternative telephone number
Email address *
Confirm email address
Preferred method of communication *
If you would like to be called during a specific period, please specify

Details

Preferred departure date *
Duration *
Preferred UK departure airport *
Party size *

Back

  • Adults(12+ yrs)
  • Children(2 to 11 yrs)
  • Infants(Under 2 yrs)
Budget range
Other comments:

Email newsletters

We promise that a member of our specialist reservation teams will reply personally to your holiday enquiry before 5.30pm if received before 12.00pm (Monday to Friday). Enquiries received after 12.00pm will be replied to within 24-hours (excluding Sundays).

If your enquiry is of an urgent nature, please telephone our dedicated reservation teams on the numbers listed below.

Our lines are open from 9.00am to 5.30pm Monday-Friday and from 9.30am to 4.30pm Saturday.

  • Greece: 020 8758 4758
  • Cyprus: 020 8758 4759
  • Portugal, the Azores, Spain, Italy, Sicily and Scandinavia: 020 8758 4722
  • Latin America: 020 8758 4774

Required Information

* Mandatory Information
Title *
First name *
Surname *
Telephone number *
Alternative telephone number
Email address *
Confirm email address
Preferred method of communication *
If you would like to be called during a specific period, please specify
Booking reference number *
Alternatively, please enter your query in the box below:

Email newsletters

Thank you for your enquiry

Thank you for your enquiry. A member of our specialist reservation teams will be in touch shortly.

If your enquiry is of an urgent nature, please telephone our dedicated reservation teams on the numbers listed below.

Our lines are open from 9.00am to 5.30pm Monday-Friday and from 9.30am to 4.30pm Saturday.

  • Greece: 020 8758 4758
  • Cyprus: 020 8758 4759
  • Portugal, the Azores, Italy, Sicily and Scandinavia: 020 8758 4722
  • Latin America: 020 8758 4774

Your details have been saved

Feel free to continue to browse the site and add to your enquiry. Don't forget to send the enquiry before you leave!

My Suitcase

We understand that so much choice can be overwhelming which is why we have developed 'My Suitcase'. This facility allows you to save and compare your favourite holidays, and even allows you to return to your selection at a later stage.

Why not use 'My Suitcase' to compile a wish list of your future Sunvil holidays?

 

Sign in


New to Sunvil?

Create Account


Already have an account?

Password reset

Back

Close

Close