In the News this Week...
brought to you by News Editor, Roger Bray
Heading for Beijing? Air China is opening an arrivals loungeover 8 years ago
Heading for Beijing? Air China is opening an arrivals lounge at the airport where its passengers will be able to take a shower or get on line. It will be free for a trial period of two weeks from June 1. Initially, says the airline, first ans business class passengers will have priority. Later it will be available to “larger groups of passengers”. We're not clear exactly what this will mean. Reports from readers welcome.
Liberate the boy racer in you in Ischgl this summer.over 8 years ago
The streets of the Austrian resort will be turned into a mini Monte Carlo on July 1 and 2 as go-kart drivers compete in the Austrian resort's fifth annual grand prix. Forty teams, each with up to eight members, will take part. Groups of individuals can enter. And though the organisers warn that it will be “quite competitive”, no previous go-karting experience is required. The cost per team is €7,790 euros, which includes a racing outfit for each member to keep -and food and drink during the race days. Go to www.ischgl.com to register.
Costa Rica is to get a new all inclusive resort.over 8 years ago
The Westin Resort and Spa at Playa Conchal will have thatched roof bungalows and “a lagoon style pool”. Transformation of the property, formerly known as the Paradisus Resort, is scheduled to be completed by the end of this year. This is a first toe in the all inclusive water for Westin's parent group, Starwood. It comes as at least one major UK tour operator reports comparatively strong demand for this kind of holiday. The reason for this isn't hard to guess. Travellers nervous about spending cuts like the reassurance of knowing exactly how much they'll be spending before they pack their bags.
Why should travellers to the Caribbean pay higher air passenger duty than those to the US?over 8 years ago
Liberal peer Baroness Floella Benjamin has raised the question in the House of Lords. The Trinidad-born actress and writer says: “I believe that the APD banding system introduced in 2009 was not intended to damage Caribbean tourism, but the law of unintended consequences has come in to play and evidence suggests that it is having a negative impact on the most tourism dependent region of the world – the Caribbean.” A tourist heading for Jamaica in economy class, for example, pays £75 while a traveller to Los Angeles, which is much further away, pas only £60. The reason is that rates are based on the distance of a country's capital city from London. ABTA (Association of British Travel Agents) says evidence from the Caribbean shows the high level of tax is damaging the region's economies. Broness Benjamin says: “We must consider how government policy and proposed reforms to APD impact upon developing countries”. In March the Treasury said it would postpone changing from a per passenger to a per plane tax. The Government has set in motion a consultation on the way the duty works – due to close on June 17.
Prize-winning Silver Traveller makes tracks to Corfuover 8 years ago
When John Edwards, from St. Albans, Hertfordshire, signed up to become a member of Silver Travel Advisor little did he suspect that his travels in Turkey would lead to a trip to Corfu later this year. John became a member of the site during April and he also posted a review of his recent holiday in Istanbul.
John and his wife Rosalind (pictured here during a rail journey in India) were delighted to hear that the couple have won a week’s stay in a villa on the island in the website’s monthly prize draw, courtesy of luxury villa holiday company CV Villas .
Commenting on his good fortune John Edwards said “I am delighted to have won a week in a Corfu villa with CV Villas, and Rosalind and I are really looking forward to our holiday on this beautiful island, that we haven't managed to visit in our 33 years together!. We will be sure to write a review about our holiday experience for Silver Travel Advisor; everyone should contribute reviews with such great prizes on offer."
John’s name was pulled from the hat in our monthly prize draw among new members signing up in April.
Monarch Airlines has scrapped its debit card payment feeover 8 years ago
Monarch Airlines has scrapped its debit card payment fee and is now charging passengers who book using credit cards a flat fee of £10. Group chief executive Conrad Clifford notes: “In these difficult economic times, there is absolutely no justification advertising one fare and then stinging consumers with hidden excess charges.” The move reflects widespread irritation among consumers at high charges for paying with plastic – particularly when those charges pop up for the first time towards the end of the on lie booking process. Other airlines please copy. www.monarch.co.uk
Jilly Goolden to host AmaWaterways’ wine themed river cruiseover 8 years ago
AmaWaterways is offering UK guests a wine themed river cruise hosted by a British celebrity when British wine critic, journalist and television personality Jilly Goolden comes on board the cruise line’s luxurious AmaDolce for a Danube cruise from Vilshofen to Budapest on 14th November 2011. Jilly Goolden, known for her eccentric descriptions of wine that have included pear drops, liquorice and even rubber, presented BBC’s `Food & Drink’ show for 18 years. She went on to write a series of books on wine and food, and to appear in a number of TV shows, including the fifth series of `I’m a Celebrity – Get me out of here’.
Ms. Goolden will be joining guests on AmaWaterways’ picturesque `Romantic Danube’ river cruise past rolling hillsides, vineyards and medieval castles, through Austria’s captivating Wachau Valley with highlights that include visits to Vienna and Budapest. While on board, she will present her knowledge of local wines, host wine tastings, accompany guests on a wine-themed shore excursion and mingle freely with passengers during meals and in the ship’s public areas.
All presentations, wine tastings and excursions are complimentary to guests and are included in the 7 night cruise price, starting from £1376, which also includes all meals, free-flowing wine with dinner, free wi-fi and free use of on-board bicycles.
Contact AMAWATERWAYS on freephone 0808 223 5009, www.amawaterways.co.uk
The UK Foreign Office (FCO) is warning travellers heading for Portugalover 8 years ago
The UK Foreign Office (FCO) is warning travellers heading for Portugal of the dangers of violent attacks in the Algarve region following the death of a British tourist in the resort of Albufeira. The British man died after being attacked, robbed and beaten by four youths, and this incident followed another attack last month on an Irish man in the same resort. In light of these attacks the FCO has updated its travel advice for Portugal to warn holidaymakers about street violence in the southern Algarve region.
Thirsty Planet water sales bring water supplies to around 350,000 people in Africaover 8 years ago
Thomson Airways has announced that in just three years, sales of 'Thirsty Planet' bottled water have raised over £142,000 towards Pump Aid, the charity that aims to provide clean water for underprivileged communities. In this time Pump Aid has built over 4,000 Elephant Pumps, bringing water supplies to at least an estimated 350,000 people in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Thomson Airways first started working with 'Thirsty Planet' in November 2007 and have since sold millions of bottles of their water. For every bottle of 'Thirsty Planet' water sold onboard, five pence is donated directly to Pump Aid. This money is used to help people living in some of the poorest communities in Africa to gain access to clean water, funding the digging of wells and the installation of easy-to-maintain water pumps in more than 200 villages in Zimbabwe and Malawi.
Lufthansa and Austrian Airlines are revamping their hold baggage limitsover 8 years ago
Lufthansa and Austrian Airlines are revamping their hold baggage limits on European and many long haul flights. Economy class passengers, for example, will be able to check in one bag weighing up to 23 kilograms. Currently they can take any number weighing a total of 20kg. The new allowances are already in force on some long haul routes, among them those across the North Atlantic. They will affect passengers buying tickets on or after June 1. Long haul routes on which they will now apply include those to Asia, the Middle East and, in Lufthansa's case, to some countries in Africa and South America.
Political unrest in the Middle East has prompted Norwegian Cruise Line...over 8 years ago
Political unrest in the Middle East has prompted Norwegian Cruise Line to cut the number of sailings it will operate in the Eastern Mediterranean this winter. Customers booked to travel on the 2400-passenger Norwegian Jade between November 26 and April 11 have been offered the option of switching to similar itineraries with earlier or later departure dates or to any other cruise operated by NCL until the end of nest year. They include some British customers.
Britons took 5% fewer holidays abroad in the year to the end of Marchover 8 years ago
Britons took 5% fewer holidays abroad in the year to the end of March, figures from the Office for National Statistics show. But if the economic crisis hit holidays it had less impact on family loyalties, with trips overseas to see friends or relatives down by only 2%. We also spent only 2% less, which could mean Brits are cutting out cheaper or second holidays or that the figures were skewed by higher expenditure on business travel.
Overcoming fear of height seems to be this year's tourism themeover 8 years ago
Overcoming fear of height seems to be this year's tourism theme. Latest in a string of vertiginous new attractions is Edgewalk, about to open at Toronto's CNTower. Scheduled to open imminently, this is described as a “full circle hands free walk on a 5ft wide ledge around the building". 116 floors – or 1168ft – above the ground. Visitors will walk in groups of six to eight, attached by harness to an overhead safety rail. Those who dare will be able to lean back over the edge with nothing but air between them and the ground. Ticket sales will open next month. www.cntower.ca.
Margate's renaissance continues, thanks in part to Tracey Eminover 8 years ago
Following the opening of the Turner Contemporary gallery the Walpole Bay Hotel in Cliftonville – traditionally regarded as the genteel end of the Kent resort – is offering to pick up guests from the station by Rolls Royce Silver Spirit. The ride costs £39. The Walpole Bay claims Tracey Emin, Margate's best known export, as a regular. Opened just before the First World War, it is in process of restoration by its current owners. It has a caged lift installed in 1927 and a 1920s ballroom with a sprung maple floor.
Spice up the art of ageingover 8 years ago
A luxury spa resort in India’s Himalayas claims that their `Healthy Aging’ programme is the way forward for smoothing the aches and pains of age and are targeting the health conscious`Baby Boomer’ generation with a range of restorative treatments. The Ananda Spa is located 260kms north of New Delhi in the Himalayas and is built around a restored Maharaja’s estate. It has 75 deluxe rooms and suites, 3 private villas, 21 treatment villas and 4 consultation rooms and offers 79 different treatments.
The Ananda Spa’s anti-aging 7 night package includes diet and lifestyle advice from an Ayurvedic doctor, a yoga and meditation consultation, an eye rejuvenating treatment, personalised yoga guidance, personalised Pranayama (the yogic art of breathing control) and a Yoga Nidra, a sleep like state to reduce tension and anxiety.
Good living and longevity come at a price, 7 night packages cost from £3320 for 7 nights based on single occupancy in a Palace View Room, excluding flights www.anandaspa.com
Cruise guests in beach clean-upover 8 years ago
Cruise guests from niche tall ship operator Star Clippers have removed 1,700 pounds of rubbish from North Friar’s Beach and Keys Beach in St. Kitts in a beach clean-op operation organised by on-board marine biologist, Mariano Peruzzo. This is the third time Star Clippers guests have take part in beach clean-ups, on this occasion joining volunteers from a local charity to rid the island’s beaches of plastics and other litter.
The marine biology team on board the flag-ship five-masted Royal Clipper have been resident for two years, carrying out research in the marine environments of the Mediterranean and Caribbean as well as leading dives, beach walks and conservation efforts and giving talks to guests.
This is the latest initiative of an ongoing eco-awareness programme operated by Star Clippers, one of the world’s leading niche cruise operators, owned and operated by passionate environmentalist Mikael Krafft. For information about Star Clippers' tall ship cruises, visit www.starclippers.co.uk
Guests at a Western Australia's remote Home Valley Stationover 8 years ago
Guests at a Western Australia's remote Home Valley Station can take part for the first time in a cattle drive across the rugged Kimberley region. In June and July guests at the will help drive feral cattle across a landscape of red dust, gorges and waterfalls, dotted with distinctive boab trees. There will be lessons in horsemanship and the chance to sleep in swags under the blazing glory of southern stars. Local drovers will provide insights into the country you cross. It'll cost A$3805 (about £2500) all in, based in two sharing accommodation, with most drinks and transfers to and from Kununurra included (but not flights). The cattle drive will run on the following dates: 10 June, 17 June, 24 June, 30 June and 7 July. www.hvstation.com.au.
If you've visited Vancouver it's probable you'll already have walked gingerlyover 8 years ago
If you've visited Vancouver it's probable you'll already have walked gingerly across the Capilano Suspension Bridge. This summer there will be a compelling reason to go again. The attraction is opening a dizzying route through rainforest vegetation on a series of subtly cantilevered and suspended walkways jutting out from the granite cliff face above the river. Described as “not for the faint of heart” the walk is high and narrow and in some sections tough glass is all that separates guests from the canyon some 90 metres below. www.capbridge.com
Flights from Southampton to Dijon are good news...over 8 years ago
Flights from Southampton to Dijon are good news for travellers heading for Burgundy. Eastern Airways will operate the summer service three times a week from June 6 with fares starting at £75 one way. Flights by 29-seat Jetstream aircraft will depart at 12.50pm on Mondays, 1.50pm on Fridays and 1.40pm on Sundays. Departures from the French city will be at 11.30pm, 12.30pm and 12.10pm local time respectively. For those jaundiced at the prospect of paying extra fees on top of the fare, it is worth noting that Eastern Airways carries checked bags and allows customers to choose seats at no additional charge. Flights can be booked at www.easternairways.com or www.easternairways.fr
Enjoy cycling but not quite up to the Tour de Franceover 8 years ago
Enjoy cycling but not quite up to the Tour de France these days? Following expansion this year Austria's Kitzbuhel Alps region now claims to offer the world's largest network of electric bike trails and battery charging points. A total of 275 power assisted bikes are available at 75 hire stations. (www.kitzalps.com/ebikes).
For cycling holidays Silver Travel Advisor recommends Headwater.