In the News this Week...

brought to you by News Editor, Roger Bray
  • News 210

    Manchester will get a new link with Madrid at the end of October...

    about 8 years ago

    Manchester will get a new link with Madrid at the end of October when Iberia’s regional franchise partner Air Nostrum launches daily flights. Flights to the Spanish capital will depart at 5.35pm, arriving at 8.55pm. Departures from Madrid will be at 4.45pm, reaching Manchester at 5.05pm. They can be booked at www.iberia.com. Air Nostrum, a full service carrier, will offer an alternative to Ryanair, which also operates between the two cities.

  • News 208

    They've been dubbed the “grey gappers”.

    about 8 years ago

    They've been dubbed the “grey gappers”. A quarter of all over 55s are taking a leaf out of the student book and heading off on extended breaks overseas, according to research commissioned by Post Office Travel Insurance. That compares with only 19% of students who are sufficiently unruffled by tuition fee increases to take gap years. Not that the over 55s are going for a whole year.  Their average time away is three and a half months – but they spend just over £53 a day compared with slightly more than £30 a day spent by under 35s. And their most favoured destinations? Unsurprising;y, perhaps, Australia (36%) and New Zealand (27%) are way out in front.

  • The number of Brits holidaying abroad in the three months to July fell slightly compared with the same quarter last year...

    about 8 years ago

    The number of Brits holidaying abroad in the three months to July fell slightly compared with the same quarter last year, latest figures from the Office for National Statistics show. The 1% drop to 36.7 millions compared with 2% increases in both the number of  business trips and visits to friends or relatives abroad, and a 9% plunge in overseas travel for other, miscellaneous purposes.
     

  • News 207

    Visitors to Tasmania will soon be able to watch the elusive Tasmanian Devil feed.

    about 8 years ago

    Visitors to Tasmania will soon be able to watch the elusive Tasmanian Devil feed. Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary near Hobart, which launched a “Wildlife SOS programme”in 2009 is opening a huge new “walk through” for 20 of the notoriously stroppy carnivores, all of which have done their bit of breeding to help provide an insurance population. And from December visitors will be able settle in comfortable chairs on an undercover observation deck for a front row viewing of a devil feed in “all its gory glory” – and learn all about the extraordinary marsupial. Other animals rescued and rehabilitated at the sanctuary include Mavis, a baby wombat. Tours start at AU$69 (£45) per adult during the day and AU$94 (£61.50) at night. 

  • News 204

    Icelandair will launch flights to Akureyi in northern Iceland in summer 2012.

    about 8 years ago

    Icelandair will launch flights to Akureyi in northern Iceland in summer 2012. Aykureyi is a jumping of point for the regions spectacular natural attractions. UK passengers will switch planes n Reykjavik before boarding a Fokker 50 aircraft for the onward leg but they will be able to book and check bags all the way through from Heathrow, Manchester and Glasgow. The service will operate up to four times a week from June 7 – September 30 2012.

  • EasyJet will start flying from Bristol to Naples on 12 May 2012.

    about 8 years ago

    EasyJet will start flying from Bristol to Naples non 12 May 2012. It will operate the route three times a week low cost carrier has also unveiled plans to start new services to Naples and Dalaman in Turkey from Edinburgh. The  announcement, which did not specify start dates for flights to the two new destinations, came as the airline launched its first service from the Scottish capital to Athens.

  • The Office of Fair Trading is to investigate charges imposed by banks and other currency exchanges for changing money abroad.

    about 8 years ago

    The Office of Fair Trading is to investigate charges imposed by banks and other currency exchanges for changing money abroad. The move follows a “super complaint” from watchdog Consumer Focus, which believes a mix of complex fees and poor or misleading information means travellers are paying too much. It says charges for using debit or credit cards overseas are unnecessarily confusing for consumers. They vary significantly and make it difficult for people to establish the full costs and shop around for better deals. Cash withdrawal fees imposed by banks and credit card providers on customers using plastic to buy travel money in the UK do not reflect costs. Consumer Focus says debit and credit card payments cost an average 9p and 37p respectively to process but typical charges to customers are 1.5% – 2% of the amount withdrawn, up to a ceiling of £4.50. And offers of “0 per  cent commission” can be misleading as the rate m ay include a mark up to reflect the supposed saving. Mike O'Connor, Consumer Focus's chief executive says: “Almost half of us travel abroad every year and we face a confusing array of often hidden charges every time we buy currency. Converting £500 into euros can cost from under £10 to over £30 depending on where you switch your money. This is a huge difference for essentially providing the same service and typically banks offer the worst deals.”

  • News 200

    Woking council employee wins 5* trip to Prague.

    about 8 years ago

    Retired Surrey County Council administrator, Jennifer Lunn of Horsell, Woking, Surrey, was so delighted with news she’d won a 5* luxury Regent Holidays trip to Prague, she immediately woke her husband Andrew to share the good news.

    Mrs. Lunn still puts in the occasional day for Surrey County Council and has six grandchildren, aged from 9 months to 17 years, but since retiring she indulges in her passion for travel as often as she can. She won the 5* three day trip to Prague when her name was the first out of the hat among those from the website’s membership of thousands of over fifty year old travellers posting travel reviews on www.silvertraveladvisor.com  during August 2011.

    She says “I now have time to enjoy travelling as often as time and money permits, so I decided to join Silver Travel Advisor to post some of my holiday tips and experiences. I enjoy the site, it’s a good community for mature travellers and because it’s written by older people, for older people, the travel reviews and advice it carries are more relevant than other travel websites”.

    She continued “I have just enrolled on a course in French conversation in order to keep up my knowledge of the language.  The furthest I have travelled is Sydney, Australia but there’s so much of Europe still to discover that winning this wonderful trip to Prague will enable me to discover this intriguing city”.

    Debbie Marshall from Silver Travel Advisor, said “Jennifer told us that she woke up to find our e-mail notifying her of her win and was clearly delighted. Her prize is a three night stay at Prague’s 5* Corinthia Hotel, travelling with Regent Holidays, and we look forward to reading all about it when she posts her review”.
     

  • Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport has completed a root and branch revamp of its international Departure Lounge 3.

    about 8 years ago

    Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport has completed a root and branch revamp of its international Departure Lounge 3.  Its 26 retail outlets include a flower shop behind a simulated, glass, canals side facade and -  for those readers still young enough at heart – what is claimed to be Europe's first branch of Victoria's Secret. Many UK travellers use Schiphol not just for flights to and from the Netherlands but when flying with KLM and its partners to onward long haul destinations. The departure lounge, which handles some 5.3 million passengers a year, also offer free WiFi. 

  • Brits have been doing up their homes and gardens this summer rather than taking holidays.

    about 8 years ago

    Brits have been doing up their homes and gardens this summer rather than taking holidays, new figures suggest. Spending on travel increased by a slender 1%, according to the IMRG Capgemini e-Retail Sales Index, while consumer spending in the home and garden retail sector surged ahead with a 40% increase on August 2010. 

  • News 198

    After some new ideas for cooking fish?

    about 8 years ago

    After some new ideas for cooking fish? Head for the Falmouth Oyster Festival, which takes place between 13 -16 October 2011.  The event, which celebrates the start of the oyster dredging season, will be opened by innovative Masterchef winner Tim Anderson. There will be plenty of cookery demonstrations by local chef, marquees full of Cornish produce, a working boat race and an oyster shucking contest. Cornish Cottages has properties to rent in and around the town – and there is, of course, an R in the month.

  • News 199

    Vienna's modern art museum, the Museum Modern Kunst Ludwig Stiftung (MUMOK) has re-opened after extensive renovations.

    about 8 years ago

    Vienna's modern art museum, the Museum Modern Kunst Ludwig Stiftung (MUMOK) has re-opened after extensive renovations. Pieces selected from its collections are now on show in a new exhibition entitled Museum of Wishes. The  museum contains around 9000 paintings, sculptures, installations, drawings, graphic works, photos, videos, architectural models and furniture, invluding works by Picasso. Mondrian, Klee, Ernst, Magritte, Franci Bacon and Giacometti.

  • Las Vegas is to have a new kind of high roller.

    about 8 years ago

    Las Vegas is to have a new kind of high roller. The company that operates Caesar's Palace plans to install a 550ft Ferris wheel on a new outdoor promenade running along the city's famous Strip linking its casinos with its restaurannts ad bars. At the same time Caesar's Palace has reached an agreement with Nobu to open the world's first hotel under the Japanese restaurant brand.  Designed as a 180 room boutique property it is scheduled to open summer 2012. And it goes without saying that with it will come another of Nobu's celebrated restaurants.

  • News 196

    Passengers flying from Stansted can now buy fast track passage through security.

    about 8 years ago

    Passengers flying from Stansted can now buy fast track passage through security. No.1 Traveller, the airport hospitality specialist, has signed a deal with Stansted to try out “Premium Departures”. It costs £5 – or £4 if bought online in advance. That also includes provision of a clear plastic bag in which to carry liquids through checks. Travellers can buy it at www.No1Traveller.com, at  www.stanstedairport.com of at a specially designated desk .  No 1 Travellers also operates lounges at Stansted, Heathrow and Gatwick. At Stansted you can combine “Premium Departures” with lounge  access for £15.

  • News 195

    We'll always have Phoenix.

    about 8 years ago

    We'll always have Phoenix. One of the city's first resort hotels, the Arizona Biltmore, built in 1929 under consulting archtect Frank Lloyd Wright, is offering couple a “Casablanca Package”. It includes a champagne and chocolate truffle greeting, after which they can settle down and hum along with Dooley Wilson at a viewing of the movie in the Ocatilla Screening Room  – complete with “gourmet” popcorn and soda. After a “Parisian” breakfast you may think your troubles don't amount to a hill of beans. Rates start at $279 with valet parking thrown in.

  • News 194

    Track the elusive snow leopard in the Himalayas.

    about 8 years ago

    Track the elusive snow leopard in the Himalayas. Tour operator PlanetWildlife.com is offering a 13 day trip, departing from Delhi on November 3 and starting in earnest in Leh, which was capital of the fomrer kingdom of Ladakh. Next stop is Husing Camp in the Hemis National Park. Customers will then trek the high regions of Rumbak and the Tarbung Valley – areas famous for their  snow leopard population, as well as  Great Tibetan sheep, Tibetan wolf, Eurasian brown bear, and  bird life including the golden Eagle. Further treks will follow the Indus River to Ulley village and back to Leh. The tour costs  £1,325 including all meals, accommodation and park entry fees – but not   international flights. 

  • Scotland based Loganair has stepped in to secure the future of Glasgow's air link with Cornwall.

    about 8 years ago

    Scotland based Loganair has stepped in to secure the future of Glasgow's air link with Cornwall. On April 5, 2012 it will launch non-stop services from Glasgow to Newquay. The move follows the closure of Air Southwest, which will continue to operate the route until September 28, 2011.  Loganair will fly up to five times a week. The flights takes 40 minutes and fares will start at £64.00 one way. Tickets will be on sale from September 28 at www.flybe.com. The airline operates under a franchise agreement with Flybe.

  • News 193

    A swish new place to stay in the photogenic Austrian resort of Kitzbuhel...

    about 8 years ago

    A swish new place to stay in the photogenic Austrian resort of Kitzbuhel will open in time for the coming ski season. The five star Kempinski promises 148 rooms and suites with views of the surrounding landscape. It will have a large “wellness centre” with indoor and outdoor swimming pools. Formerly known as the Royal Spa, the hotel is offering an early season deal, available from December 7, 2011 – at €25 a night B&B. www.kempinski.com/tirol

  • Big Celebration Holidays, Kentucky Style!

    about 8 years ago

    Discover the advantages of heading to Kentucky for a big celebration holiday. Home of the famous Kentucky Derby, the birthplace of bourbon and an adventure lovers dream, Kentucky has got it all.

    Planning visit in May? Secure tickets to the famous Kentucky Oaks and Kentucky Derby where visitors can enjoy the renowned Mint Julep cocktails whilst rubbing shoulders with celebrities which flock to the races every year.

    Looking for a place to stay? Try the 21C Museum Hotel in Downtown Louisville, located on Main Street. The boutique hotel has been voted best hotel in America two years running.  It’s just a baseball-throw away from the historic Slugger Museum and a short walk from boxing legend Muhammad Ali’s award-winning museum.

    Like bourbon? Try the unmissable Urban Bourbon Trail, a set route taking in various high-class bars across Louisville offering bourbon tastings. Louisville also offers some of the most inventive American cuisine using tasty, locally sourced produce.

    Looking for some more action? Try kayaking on the amazing Red River Gorge, visit the “Niagara of the South” Cumberland Falls or zip-line your way across Mammoth Cave, the world’s longest underground cave system.

    Finally take a trip to Bowling Green where visitors will be blown away by a visit to the National Corvette Museum, America’s number one sports car.


    For information on Kentucky visit www.kentuckytourism.com/.

  • Air travellers are still being charged over £265,000 a day to book with debit cards.

    about 8 years ago

    Air travellers are still being charged over £265,000 a day to book with debit cards despite a ruling that they should stop, according to research by Which? The consumer publication submitted a “super complaint” to the Office of Fair Trading in March, asking the regulator to look into credit and debit card charges. In June the OFT said debit card fees should be banned via a simple amendment to the Treasury's Payment Services Regulations. The Government has not acted yet and consumers are still forking out. Which? Says that “unbelievably” two airliners – - Swiss and Lufthansa – have actually started charging for credit and debit card bookings since the ruling was made.