In the News this Week...

brought to you by News Editor, Roger Bray
  • News 236

    Monarch's New Flights To Barcelona Take To The Skies.

    over 8 years ago

    Scheduled leisure airline, Monarch's new flight to Barcelona takes to the sky on 21 October 2011, linking London with Spain's most cosmopolitan city.   Flights start from £35 one way including all taxes and charges (£54 return), and are available to book via www.monarch.co.uk.

    Monarch's new scheduled flights between London Gatwick and Barcelona operate daily from 21 October, increasing to 11 flights per week from 30 October 2011, bringing the total number of scheduled destinations served by the airline from Gatwick to 13.

    Commenting on the launch of this new route, Managing Director of Monarch Airlines, Kevin George said, "Barcelona is one of the UK's most popular short break destinations and we are delighted to be adding this to our route network from London Gatwick in addition to our existing flights from Manchester.

    "Barcelona attracts a broad mix of visitors for business, city breaks and leisure and we have been delighted by our customer's reaction to the new service and the demand for the route.  In addition to the frequency of flights, customers travelling on the route will benefit from Monarch's fantastic value fares and innovative 'build your own class' service, which offers the ability to tailor the flight package to their exact requirements including extra legroom seating and pre-ordered meals."

    Also commenting on the new route launch, Guy Stephenson, Chief Commercial Officer at Gatwick Airport said, "It is welcome news that Monarch has chosen to grow at Gatwick by adding another route to its long list of popular destinations already served by the airport. It is by working together that we are helping it realise its own goals for growth in London and continue to serve popular destinations for our passengers of which Barcelona is one."

    Monarch's scheduled flights are available to book until October 2012. Customers now booking flights will also benefit from zero debit card charge fees and a fixed fee for all credit card bookings, regardless of the transaction value or number of people travelling.
     

  • Silver travellers are increasingly taking peak season holidays during peak seasons because they are stuck at home looking after their grandchildren during school terms.

    over 8 years ago

    Silver travellers are increasingly taking peak season holidays during peak seasons because they are stuck at home looking after their grandchildren during school terms. Shearings, which specialises in escorted tours for the over 55s, says it has seen a 15 per cent rise in bookings for this autumn's half term break alone. Commercial director Caroline Brown says: “Over 55s have traditionally been able to enjoy the freedom of being able to travel when they want, often benefiting from the quieter off-peak seasons. Now, we are seeing a new generation of over 55s who are so heavily involved in their grandchildren’s lives, often taking on full time child care duties, that they are being forced to wait until the school break to be able to enjoy their own holidays.” Sue Stewart, of the Grandparents Association, said: “As parents struggle to manage work and finances, many grandparents are now taking on significant duties both looking after grandchildren and helping around the house. The figures from Shearings are further evidence of this growing trend.” A recent study found that around half of all UK grandparents now look after their grandchildren and help around the house while mums and dads work.

  • Scotland’s premier snowsports resort eagerly awaits start of 50th anniversary season.

    over 8 years ago

    The excitement surrounding last week’s flurry of snow which briefly turned the upper parts of Cairn Gorm white has whetted the appetites of Scotland’s skiers for the start of the resort’s 50th season. Half a century ago the first mechanized uplift – the White Lady chairlift – opened for customers, on 23rd December 1961. The chairlift is no longer there but the famous red run which gave the piste its name still provides a popular challenge for skiers and snowboarders. They access it now using the funicular railway which was built 12 years ago and which takes them from the car park to the top station in only six minutes.

    The anniversary is to be marked by a number of events including the publication of a book of photographs from the last 50 years, a photographic competition and exhibition, the bottling of a special limited edition of White Lady beer, ski patrollers wearing period tweed costume to perform their duties and a gathering to reminiscence of some of the resort’s super seniors (some 90 skiers aged 75 or over who are still skiing at Cairn Gorm).

    Commenting on the prospects for the 2011-12 season, CairnGorm Mountain Marketing Manager Colin Kirkwood said ‘Judging by the number of season ticket applications we have received, skiers and boarders are looking forward to coming to CairnGorm as eagerly as ever, buoyed by the recollection of the last two great seasons when snowsports enthusiasts got great value from their season tickets. The extent and duration of the snow then also brought skiing in Scotland to the attention of visitors from further afield many of whom discovered its delights and challenges for the first time. We hope to welcome them back too to join in our celebrations of 50 years of skiing at CairnGorm using mechanized uplift.’

  • News 233

    Holiday prices on Egypt's Red Sea coast are at an all time low in real terms claims tour operator Olympic Holidays.

    over 8 years ago

    Holiday prices on Egypt's Red Sea coast are at an all time low in real terms claims tour operator Olympic Holidays. As the country's tourism industry tries to lure back tourists followed the upheavals of the Arab spring some attractive deals are on offer. Olympic quotes, by way of example, an all inclusive week at the five star Savoy Sharm, with a flight from Manchester on 8 November 2011, which is available at £499 – a discount of £176.

  • Gatwick Airport claims new scanning technology and automation will speed up South Terminal security checks by 25%

    over 8 years ago

    Gatwick Airport claims new scanning technology and automation will speed up South Terminal security checks by 25% – enabling travellers to get through in under five minutes. Screens will display anticipated waiting times at colour coded lanes – so passengers will no longer be able to curse the fact that they joined the wrong queue. The upgrade is part of a £1.2 billion investment programme. This has also included expansion of the North Terminal, creating more space with new check in desks and baggage facilities, which is scheduled for completion in November 2011.

  • News 231

    Ski holiday price cuts have arrived long before the first icy blast of winter.

    over 8 years ago

    Ski holiday price cuts have arrived long before the first icy blast of winter. As the Ski and Snowboard Show takes place in London this week tour operators are offering widespread discounts, notably at Christmas and New Year and on packages to Swiss resorts, where a strengthening of the franc against the £ has been threatening to deter skiers. To quote just one example of the myriad deals emerging. One reason may be reluctance to travel on Christmas Eve or the big day itself, which fall respectively on Saturday and Sunday,  or on New Year's Eve the following weekend. However tour operators must have seem this coming, leading to a suspicion that the problem has at least as much to do with the economic crisis. To quote just one example of the deals on offer, chalet specialist Ski Beat has lopped no less than £200 off the pries of one week packages in La Tania or Meribel – both in the vast Trois Vallees ski area – with flights from Gatwick or Manchester departing on 31 December 2011. (www.skibeat.co.uk).

  • SAS is to launch flights from Manchester to Bergen in Norway.

    over 8 years ago

    SAS is to launch flights from Manchester to Bergen in Norway. But the airline is dropping its service there from Gatwick. From January 6, 2012 it will operate two round trips a week, on Mondays and Fridays. Flights will leave Manchester at 8.35pm, arriving at 11.15pm local time. Departures from the Norwegian city will be 7pm, arriving at 7.45pm. Most Gatwick flights to Bergen will cease on November 1 but some which are fully booked will continue to operate on certain dates until the end of the year. 

  • Gulf Air says it has launched the first jet with worldwide live television reception.

    over 8 years ago

    Gulf Air says it has launched the first jet with worldwide live television reception. Programmes will include coverage of Barclay's Premier League matches. The aircraft is an Airbus A300-200 which has been retro-fitted with the latest communications equipment developed by the Panasonic' Avionics Corporation. The technology also provides passengers with in flight broadband internet access and mobile phone connections. 

  • Inflation and barely visible interest rates may be eating into silver travellers' income but holiday prices look unlikely to lift off any time soon.

    over 8 years ago

    Inflation and barely visible interest rates may be eating into silver travellers' income but holiday prices look unlikely to lift off any time soon. Latest figures from the Office for National Statistics show trips abroad by UK residents fell by 5% in the three months to August – the main summer getaway period – compared with the same quarter last year. Even if tour operators have cut the number of holidays on offer, the research doesn't suggest they have much wriggle room when it comes to prices. Over the past year as a whole, holiday visits dropped by 2% to 36.4 millions. 

  • Holidays in New York with flights from Oxford will be available this winter.

    over 8 years ago

    Holidays in New York with flights from Oxford will be available this winter. Passengers will be able to book packages or just return flights. They will fly to Dublin with CityJet, a subsidiary of the Air France KLM group,  and travel onward to the Big Apple with Aer Lingus, returning after five days. The flights and holidays are being  organised by World of Experience Tours. The tour operator is also offering trips to Dublin using the same flights. There will be two departures – on December 7 and 12.

  • Black Friday for bargain hunters this November.

    over 8 years ago

    Those wanting to visit New York for some serious retail therapy this winter should choose to stay at Nyma, the New York Manhattan Hotel over Black Friday weekend in November. Black Friday is the day after Thanksgiving and kicks off the beginning of the Christmas shopping season. It's the busiest shopping day of the year – so the story goes, it's the only day where retailers are in the black not the red – with shops opening from as early as 4am offering fantastic sales and bargains.

    Known in NYC as an unofficial bank holiday with many non-retail employers giving their staff the day off and with serious shoppers even camping outside their favourite stores, it pays to be in the know when it comes to what special deals each store is providing.  Some of the biggest Black Friday discounts are found on hot electronic purchases such as video game systems, MP3 players and DVD players. Indeed, last year the numerous Apple Stores dotted around Manhattan were offering shoppers 30 per cent off iPods and 25 per cent off Macs!

    Re-launched earlier this year with upgrades to its lobby and mezzanine areas, Nyma, the New York Manhattan Hotel has availability on Black Friday weekend (24 – 26 November) – to include Thanksgiving Thursday. Conveniently situated on 32nd Street between the bright lights of Broadway and the shops of Fifth Avenue, with Macy's on its doorstep, Nyma, the 171-room New York Manhattan Hotel is ideal for die-hard shopping fans. The budget-friendly hotel boasts a host of complimentary amenities, including  continental breakfast, wi-fi, national phone calls, a fitness centre and bar. In addition, children aged 12 and under stay free of charge.

    Rates at Nyma start from US$224.99 per room, per night over Black Friday weekend (under £73 per person based on two sharing). To book please call freephone 0808 178 6363 or visit www.thenewyorkmanhattanhotel.com.  Flights and accommodation taxes excluded. Britishairways.com offers return flights from Heathrow to New York from £380 per person including taxes in November.

  • News 226

    Colorado isn't just about skiing.

    over 8 years ago

    Colorado isn't just about skiing. From the Rocky Mountain National Park to the Anasazi cliff dwellings of Mesa Verde it's a superb summer destination, too. Next year travellers arriving in its capital Denver will have more reasons to linger before striking out into the mountains. In spring is a new, $110 million History Colorado Centre will open there, charting the discovery of that part of the American west and allowing visitors to get a foretaste of the state's landscapes making a virtual journey provided by a three storey multi media presentation.

  • News 225

    A group of renovated traditional houses in the Troodos mountain village of Kalopanayiotis, has been added to Sunvil's programme for 2012.

    over 8 years ago

    A group of renovated traditional houses in the Troodos mountain village of Kalopanayiotis, has been added to Sunvil's programme for 2012 ( www.sunvil.co.uk ). Casale Panayiotis, a boutique style complex, comprises 13 rooms and suites. The village has cobbled streets and is home to the monastery of St John Lampadistis, a UNESCO World Heritage site. 

  • News 223

    Discounted Rail Travel for the Over 55s

    over 8 years ago

    The UK’s largest rail company, FirstGroup, has announced that its hugely popular Club 55 – a discounted, walk up and go rail travel offer for people aged 55 and over – is to return this year.

    From 19 September over 55s can travel on all of FirstGroup’s train operating companies, First Great Western, ScotRail, First TransPennine Express, First Hull Trains and First Capital Connect, for just £20 return (£19 for ScotRail services) or if travelling First Class £35 return (£26 for ScotRail services).
    The offer, will run until 20 November 2011 in England and Wales and until 30 November 2011 for ScotRail services.

    To book tickets or for more information visit www.club55.co.uk.

  • News 222

    Railway Stokes Up A Passion For The Wild West

    over 8 years ago

    The rich biodiversity of the Eskdale Valley is to be celebrated with a Wildlife Day at the Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway’s Dalegarth Station, on October 22, when the station becomes a hub of wildlife activities, walks and talks to stoke up a passion for the wild Western Lake District.

    The Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway is running train to Dalegarth all day, with the first train departing Ravenglass at 9.30am and the last train back departing Dalegarth at 4.30pm.  At Dalegarth families will find representatives from Cumbria Wildlife Trust, the World Owl Trust and Save Our Squirrels, putting their own spin on wildlife and encouraging people to engage with it.

    The Eskdale Valley is home to red squirrels and a host of other creatures, which passengers will be encouraged to look out for whilst on board the narrow gauge railway.  The journey, often described as England’s most beautiful steam trip, will also offer spectacular views, as the seven miles from the coast and tidal marshes, through hidden Miterdale, and past mighty Muncaster Fell and on through Eskdale, unfolds.
    With owls on hand, to wisely supervise activities, and the shadow of England’s tallest mountains falling close to Dalegarth, there’s lots of wildlife and nature to enjoy during the day.

    Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway’s marketing manager, Rachel Bell, says: “Our wildlife day will see us working in partnership with some of the custodians of both local wildlife and the landscape and our event will help them raise awareness of the importance of protecingt key species of both flora and fauna.

    “With steam travel underpinning the whole experience, it’s a great way to discover the ‘wild West’ of the Lake District and stoke up the passion for days out amidst the world of nature”. 

  • Hollywood In Egypt

    over 8 years ago

    American actor Sean Penn was in Egypt this week, spending three days soaking up the culture in the capital, Cairo. Sean visited the city's must-see sites including The Egyptian Museum, the famous Pyramids in Giza and the El-Sultan Hassan Mosque. He also joined the hustle and bustle of Tahrir Square on Friday as locals and tourists basked in the October sunshine. The US star was given a warm welcome by H.E. the Egyptian Minister of Tourism, Mounir Fakhry El-Nour, who invited him, and was accompanied by actor Khaled El-Nabawy during his stay. Affirming that Egypt is one of the safest destinations, Penn called on people from around the world and specially Americans to visit Egypt, which he described as having unique touristic and archaeological value.

    The 50-year-old Penn was born in Saint Monaco in California and comes from a family of artists. He was nominated five times for the Academy Award as best actor and won twice, for the film "Mystic River" and for his role in the film "Milk". In addition to his contributions as an actor and a producer, Penn is also known for his social activism.  Penn played a role in the relief operation sent after the Haiti earthquake and intervened for the release of Americans arrested in Iran and accused of espionage.

  • British Airways says it has knocked up to 20% off shorthaul fares from Gatwick

    over 8 years ago

    British Airways says it has knocked up to 20% off shorthaul fares from Gatwick in a move which may spark a winter price war. From October 7th, it says, passengers will be able to fly on 12 of its 29 domestic and European services from the airport for less than £40 one way. Fares to destinations including Malaga, Bologna and Verona are among those cut and will start at £39. Other examples include fares to Innsbruck and Faro, which now start at £49.

  • Alesund, in the Norwegian fjords, has a new place to stay on the waterfront hotel.

    over 8 years ago

    Alesund, in the Norwegian fjords, has a new place to stay on the waterfront hotel. The 196 room Quality Hotel incorporates an art nouveau home and a warehouse and well as a modern section. It has a roof terrace and a restaurant with a view of the bay. Alesund, which is served direct from Gatwick by Norwegian Air, owes its impressive concentratiom of art nouveau buildings to a fire, which ravaged the town in 1904. Among its local attractions is Runde, home to an estimated half a million birds.

  • News 217

    Boutique hotel meets long haul rail.

    over 8 years ago

    Boutique hotel meets long haul rail. Travellers making the spectacular trans-Canada train journey between Toronto and Vancouver will be able to book a new deluxe sleeper class from mid-October. VIA Rail Canada promises cabins will by 50% more spacious than those now available, with glassed in showers, flat screen TVs (if you can drag yourself away from the scenery), and extras such as a dedicated attendant, all day room service service and priority boarding. It's all part of a CN$22m (£13.5m) refurbishment, due for completion by next summer, which also covers dining and observation cars. www.viarail.ca.

  • News 216

    Sushi at sea.

    over 8 years ago

    Sushi at sea. Passengers on the expedition cruise ship Orion II next April will be able to explore the “rituals, history and philosophy” of the Japanese culinary art. Chefs will teach travellers how to prepare and serve dishes including Kobe beef and the notorious fugu puffer fish. Ports of call will include Busan, where they will visit the famous Jalgachi fish market. The eight-night Japanese Culinary Adventure departs from Kobe on April 27, Besides Busan the ship will call at Shimonoseki,  Nagasaki and Okinawa before returning to Kobe. Prices start at £4495 per person or £3596 if booked before November 30. www.orionexpeditions.com.