In the News this Week...

brought to you by News Editor, Roger Bray
  • Mozambique capital gets new hotel

    almost 8 years ago

    Mozambique's upward trajectory in the international tourist market has been boosted by the opening of a Radisson Blu hotel in the capital, Maputo. The 154 room property overlooks the Indian Ocean and is within easy reach of the airport and city centre. It has an outdoor pool, fitness area, free internet access and a restaurant serving Italian dishes. And the Hyatt hotel chain is to take over and renovate four properties in France. They are the Martinez in Cannes, the Palais de la Mediterranée Hotel and Casino in Nice and two in Paris – the Hotel du Louvre and the Concorde Lafayette. With the exception of the Hotel du Louvre, which will keep its current identity before becoming an Andaz hotel later, they will start operating under various Hyatt brands in April.


  • Florida suspends driving permit rule

    almost 8 years ago

    Authorities in Florida have moved to end confusion prompted by reports that holidaymakers hiring cars now need an international driving permit. The Florida Legislature introduced the requirement, which came into force on January 1. However, the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles has now suspended the law. In a statement, the Visit Florida tourism organisation said the Department had learned this requirement might violate the 1949 Geneva Convention on Road Traffic, to which the US was a signatory. This pre-empted state law. So the new rule would be put on ice "until a final determination of the alignment of the amendment with the treaty can be made". Meantime a UK driver's licence will suffice.

  • Hand luggage only fares launched by British Airways

    almost 8 years ago

    British Airways is offering new fares for passengers carrying only hand luggage. They are available initially on five routes from Gatwick – to Amsterdam, Dubrovnik, Jersey, Tunis and Turin. Starting at £39 one way the fares are on sale from February 19 and valid for travel from February 26. The airline says it plans to introduce the fares on all its short haul routes from Gatwick "over time".

  • News 666


    Surge in Kenya bookings

    almost 8 years ago

    Kenya is enjoying a surge in popularity fuelled by David Attenborough's BBC series, Africa, according to long haul specialist tour operator Hayes and Jarvis. In its latest report on trends in the long haul market, the firm says early bookings for summer holidays in Kenya have rocketed by 77%.  Red Sea resorts have also bounced back with a 31% increase, propelling Egypt back into the operator's top ten destinations for the first time in three years. Sean Down, head of commercial, says prices have been a significant factor: "In spring and early summer we have examples of resorts where package prices are the same as they were a year ago – despite an increase in airline taxes that could have been expected to increase package costs."

  • News 664

    Lech, Austria

    Lech to get new cable car

    almost 8 years ago

    A major new cable car is to open next winter in Lech. The two kilometres long Auenfeldjet will link the Austrian resort and its neighbour Zürs with the slopes of the lesser known Warth-Schröcken area. The lift will start at the upper station of the Weibermahd chairlift in Lech, crossing the Auenfeld pass to the Geissbühel Alpe. It will add another 64km of piste to the Lech-Zürs ski area.

  • News 662

    Changing ofthe Guard - Athens

    Get to grips with Greek crisis - on foot

    almost 8 years ago

    An American city walks specialist  is offering to explain the Greek economic crisis on tours of Athens. Philadelphia-based Context Travel promises to unravel the intricacies of the financial disaster which has plunged the country into despair in plain language. The three hour walking tours, which may be booked privately or by groups, will be led by an economist. They will start in Syntagma Square in front of the Greek parliament, with an overview of the Government's role and the people's protests which took place there. By the Old Parliament Building attention will turn to Greek economic history. At the Central Bank the more recent origins of the crisis will be discussed. There will be anecdotes to illustrate the impact on ordinary Greeks. If there's time, discussion may continue over a glass of wine in a bar. The group price is €70 a head. The price for a private party is €305. Visit or call their London walks office at 020 3514 1780.

  • News 663

    Flights to Iceland increase

    almost 8 years ago

    Icelandic budget airline WOW will more than double the number of flights it operates from London this summer. From June 2 it will operate two round trips  a day between Gatwick and Reykjavik instead of one from Sunday to Friday and one on Saturday. Last summer it operated three round trips a week from Stansted. The summer schedule will run until September 3. One way fares for the 2hr 30min flight start at £95, including taxes.

  • News 661

    Marco Polo - Cruise & Maritime Voyages

    Discount 15% - 40% for late bookings by Cruise & Maritime Voyages

    almost 8 years ago

    With cruises about to depart from Bristol for the the first time in twenty years Cruise and Maritime Voyages has knocked 15% – 40% off the price of late bookings. The company's 700 passenger Discovery will sail on the first of a series of itineraries from the West Country port on February 28. On the first two cruises – 15 day trips up the coast on Norway to see the Northern Lights – discounts on some cabins are £420. On later, shorter trips the cuts range from £90 – £130. To qualify for the reductions passengers must book by March 18. Other itineraries from Bristol take in calls at ports in Britain, Ireland and the Channel Islands before Discovery makes a round trip to the Caribbean via the Azores.

  • News 660

    Chagall exhibition

    Chagall exhibition opens in Zürich

    almost 8 years ago

    An exhibition of works by Marc Chagall has opened at the Kunsthaus in Zurich. Organised in collaboration with Tate Liverpool it focuses on the years from 1911-1922, a period when all the elements which influenced his work, from fantasy and folklore to the striking use of colour combined to fill his paintings with a rich kind of wonder. The exhibition runs until May 12 – but the Swiss city has a more permanent connection with Chagall in the five stained glass windows he designed for the chancel of the Fraumünster church during the 1970s. 

  • News 659


    In search of the jaguar

    almost 8 years ago

    New tours tracking the elusive jaguar in Brazil have been launched by specialist tour operator Wildlife Worldwide. Travellers will live aboard a boat in the  Taiama Reserve, where the chance of sightings is relatively good. In the search for jaguars they will explore creeks and channels in a smaller motorised craft. The tours begins in the Panatanal, a vast wetland which is home to a rich variety of wildlife. Prices, which include international and domestic flights and six nights' accommodation, start at £4525. Departure dates, between June and November, are flexible.

  • News 658

    Yorkshire Shacks

    Woodland Shacks open in the Dales

    almost 8 years ago

    With wood burning stoves and views across valley and moorland, a scattering of timber framed holiday "shacks" has opened in the Yorkshire Dales. Available from One Off Places () and sleeping up to seven people, they are spread around the edge of woodland on a 20,000 acres estate. There's a café and a hot tub on site and planned activities on offer to guests include bread making workshops, dry stone walling and foraging. Prices range from £360 – £600 for a four night midweek stay.

  • Hotels under pressure to offer free Wi-Fi

    almost 8 years ago

    How long before those annoying hotel charges for Wi-Fi are a thing of the past? Figures from a survey in the US shows the pressure hoteliers are under. Seventy per cent of Americans look for free wireless internet access when deciding where to stay and there's no reason to think Europeans aren't similarly influenced. The proportion is even higher at 79% in the 18-44 age group, but among travellers older than that it is still 59%. The research was conducted on behalf of the Carlson Rezidor hotel group.

  • News 656

    Gorongosa National Park

    Safaris launched in restored Mozambique park

    almost 8 years ago

    Safaris in Mozambique's Gorongosa National Park, where a new camp will open in July,, are now on offer. Seen as a beacon of hope for wildlife conservation in Africa, the park featured in this week's final instalment of David Attenborough's BBC series Africa. It was once home to the greatest concentration of lion on the continent but was devastated by the country's long civil war, which is reckoned to have wiped out most of its animals. Now, after a major restoration project, it is being returned to something like its former, pristine state. A safari there illustrates what happens when nature is given a chance to rebound, says Asilia Africa, the company behind soon to be opened, six tent Kubatana Camp. Visitors can explore on foot, by vehicle or by boat and meet the people behind the restoration. Activities available at the camp will include traditional game drives and walking safaris, boating on Lake Urema, hiking and birdwatching in the Mount Gorongosa rainforest and fly camping. Wildlife in the park includes lion, elephant, hippos, crocodile and an unusually wide range of antelope. One of two deals on offer during the camp's opening season, a six night stay can be booked through Aardvark Safaris and costs from £3,554 – including international and regional flights in economy, full board accommodation and all safari activities.

  • News 655

    Mount Teide, Tenerife

    Back to the Canaries for BA

    almost 8 years ago

    British Airways will start flying to the Canary Islands again next month, On March 29 it will launch services from Gatwick to Tenerife and two days later it will  begin operating to Lanzarote. The airline last offered flights to Tenerife in 2008, thorugh franchise partner GB Airways. BA will also add departures from Heathrow to Palma, Mallorca from the end of March, and to Ibiza at weekends, starting on April 27.

  • News 654


    Airline alliance discounts round-the-work fares

    almost 8 years ago

    Does the big trip beckon? The SkyTeam airline group has launched a range of round-the-world deals with fares 10% cheaper than the lowest normally available on individual routes. Bookings nust be made by March 31 and the firfst outbound intercontinental leg must be flown by June 30. A maximum of five stopovers is allowed. SkyTeam has 19 members, including Delta, KLM, Air France, Aerolineas Argentinas, Aeroflot and four Chinese carriers. You could, for example, fly from Heathrow to Shanghai via Paris on Air France, travel on to Sydney with China Eastern cross the Pacific to Los Angeles with Delta and return to the UK – again with Air France via Paris. Prices may vary depending on days of travel but a sample fare for this intinerary, leaving London on February 26 and returning on March 25 is £2216.48 including taxes.

  • News 653

    Association of British Travel Agents

    One on four travellers uninsured says ABTA

    almost 8 years ago

    An alarming 24% of travellers headed abroad uninsured last year, according to ABTA. Research comissioned by the leading travel industry organisation shows 17% believe all they need in Europe is the EHIC (European Health Insurance Card), though this does not cover all costs and not those of repatriation, which can be hefty if more than one airline seat or an air ambulance is needed. Almost one third (31%) cited the price of cover as the reason for going unprotected.The proportion of travellers taking out annual insurance polices fell to 23% from 30% in 2011, suggesting perhaps, that people are taking fewer trios in the current economic climate. The most cavalier approach wass among 15 – 24 year olds, 48% of whom were uninsured. Reason to play the interfering granparent, perhaps.

  • News 652

    Beach House Pasikudah, Sri Lanka

    Revived Sri Lanka region gets new boutique hotel

    almost 8 years ago

    Seaplane transfers from Colombo airport will be on offer to guests at a five star boutique hotel due to open soon in Sri Lanka's Eastern Province. The Beach House at Pasikudah will have 34 suites and two "beach pavilions". Five hours drive from the capital, the newly developed Pasikudah Bay area was off limits during Sri Lanka's long civil was and has been rehabilitated following the 2004 tsunami. Options for excursions include day trips to the ancient ruins of Polonnaruwa, the UNESCO heritage site of Sigiriya and safaris in Minneriya National Park. Divers can explore the wreck of HMS Hermes, a Second World War. The hotel will have its own PADI diving school. It will also have a 30 metre infinity pool, spa, gym, a library, an internet cafe, floodlit tennis and badminton courts and a kids’ club with its own shaded pool.

  • News 651


    New European flights from Birmingham

    almost 8 years ago

    Flights to Gothenburg, Lyon and Toulouse from Birmingham go on sale on 5th Feb. BMI regional will start flying six round trips a week to all three destrinations on 13th May. The airline's first services from Birmingham follow the launch of flights from Bristol to Aberdeen Hamburg and Frankfurt and from Manchester to Antwerp. bmi regional was sold off after IAG – British Airways' holding company – bought British Midland last year. It operates a fleet of Embraer 145 and 135 jets, the former with 49 seats, the latter with 37.

  • News 650

    Montagne Alternative

    New boutique hotel in the Swiss Alps

    almost 8 years ago

    A new boutique hotel in the Swiss Alps, created from the sensitive restoration of centuries old traditional Valais barns, has been launched for the British market for 2013. `Montagne Alternative’ is set on a sunny plateau in the tiny mountain hamlet of Commeire amd provides high quality accommodation in sixteen rooms, shared between the five ancient farm buildings, for up to 32 guests. Conservation was high on the priorities of the Belgian owners of the property, who worked closely with the village’s remaining residents’ to respect and integrate with their centuries old way of life and to preserving the ecosystem through the use of existing and/or local materials. A night’s stay at Montagne Alternative costs from 200 euros / room, or a week from 500 euros, for two sharing, call 0041 27 783 21 34 or visit

  • News 649

    Nuffield Health

    Take a holiday - live longer

    almost 8 years ago

    Holidays prolong your life. So says the major long haul tour operator Kuoni. Well, they would, wouldn't they? But to be fair, the research which led to this conclusion  was conducted in collaboraton with Nuffield Health – the healthcare charity. It found that holidaymakers' blood pressure dropped on average while they were away. They reported an improvement in sleep quality. Their ability to recover from stress  – measured by the stress resilience test – also strengthened. Dr Lucy Goundry, the charity's medical director for "wellbeing", says: “For the first time, our clinical results show how holidays helped these couples reduce their blood pressure, improve their sleep and manage their stress levels better.. These results clearly demonstrate that on holiday our resilience to stress (our ability to physically cope with stress) improves. Becoming more resilient to stress is hugely important as most of us will return back to stress when our holiday ends but being more resilient to it helps lay the foundations for improved productivity at work, better energy levels and ultimately happiness.