In the News this Week...

brought to you by News Editor, Roger Bray
  • Like the sound of a quick break across the Channel before the Christmas madness kicks in?

    over 8 years ago

    Like the sound of a quick break across the Channel before the Christmas madness kicks in? Brittany Ferries has announced a fare of £99 return for a car and two passengers on its routes from Portsmouth to Caen and St Malo and Plymouth to St Malo and Roscoff. You can stay for up to 60 hours and you must book by 21 November 2012 for travel until 18 December 2012. There's surcharge of  £10 each way if your trip includes a weekend. 

  • Next year's Olympic weeks could be a great time to visit Britain's tourist honeypots.

    over 8 years ago

    Next year's Olympic weeks could be a great time to visit Britain's tourist honeypots. Attractions usually busy with overseas visitors may be much quieter than usual. Leading inbound tour operators are reporting an average downturn of 95% in bookings for travel to London during the August games, according to the European Tour Operators Association. Even in the July and August weeks before and after the Games, bookings are down by 60%. With many visitors travelling from the capital to other parts of the UK, there's bound to be a knock on effect beyond London. Tom Jenkins, the association's executive director, says: “The expectations of visitor numbers currently circulating within the hotel industry are hugely inflated. If UK businesses are basing their plans on data in some prominent visitor forecasts, London will suffer financially, as has been experienced by previous host cities.”

  • News 254

    Watch our for tempting fare deals to Vancouver next summer.

    over 8 years ago

    Watch our for tempting fare deals to Vancouver next summer. Virgin Atlantic is to launch flights there from Heathrow. The airline will operate four times a week between May 24 and October 27, 2012  –  on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays, using Airbus A340-300 aircraft. The new service promises to increase by around 10% the number of seats available between Heathrow and the British Columbia city and will provide fresh competition for British Airways and Air Canada. 

  • News 252

    Ancient mummies ans shimmering salt flats compelling enough reasons to visit Chile's fascinating Atacama Desert,...

    over 8 years ago

    Ancient mummies ans shimmering salt flats compelling enough reasons to visit Chile's fascinating Atacama Desert, reckoned to be the driest place on earth. Stargazing is a bonus. Following the opening of the major Atacama Large Millimetre Array radio telescope facility, a hotel near San Pedro has installed its own observatory. The region's clear Southern Hemisphere skies make it one of the world's best places to enjoy the night skies. The Alto Atacama Lodge (www.altoatacama.com) has added an observatory platform with a Meade Lightbridge 16in telescope.

  • Spanish low cost airline Vueling is ti start flying between cardiff and Barcelona on 27 March 2012.

    over 8 years ago

    Spanish low cost airline Vueling is to start flying between Cardiff and Barcelona on 27 March 2012. Initially it will operate three round trips a week, by Airbus A320 aircraft, on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. Meanwhile another budget carrier, Wizz air, is reported to be planning to operate a new twice weekly service between Liverpoool and the Lithuanian capital, Vilnious, from May 2012.

  • News 250

    Shanghai has a new luxury hotel with the opening of the first property in Asia under Hyatt's Andaz brand.

    over 8 years ago

    Shanghai has a new luxury hotel with the opening of the first property in Asia under Hyatt's Andaz brand. The 28 storey, "boutique inspired", 307 room hotel is in Xiantiandi, and entertainment area in the heart of the city full of restaurants and bars and noted for restored houses in Shikumen style, a sort of architectural cross between oriental and European which were home to Chinese people in the western quarters. Rooms have views over the city. It has a spa and fitness centre with an indoor pool, and eateries with cooking ranging from contemporary Shanghai to french bistro.

  • Viking River Cruises win ‘Best River Cruise Line’ at the British Travel Awards.

    over 8 years ago

    Viking River Cruises picked up their latest accolade as they were awarded ‘Best River Cruise Line’ at the British Travel Awards 2011 for the third year running. More than 700,000 customers voted for the awards since July 2011 and the winners were announced at a Gala Dinner in Battersea on Wednesday 2nd November.



    “We’re absolutely delighted to have won Best River Cruise Line for the third year running and what’s so fantastic about this award is that it is voted for by customers” said Wendy Atkin-Smith, Managing Director Viking River Cruises UK Limited. “Our customers are at the heart of everything we do as a company so to pick up this award again is a great honour.”



    Viking River Cruises have already won a number of awards this year including ‘River Cruise Line of the Year’ at the Cruise International Awards and ‘River Cruise Specialist’ at the Travel Bulletin Awards. 



    The British Travel Awards have categories spanning 100 types of holiday experience including transport, destination, cruise, customer service, holiday extras and accommodation.

    Viking River Cruises

  • News 247

    The Pipe and Glass Inn, in South Dalton, near Beverley in East Yorkshire has been named Pub of the Year by Michelin

    over 8 years ago

    The Pipe and Glass Inn, in South Dalton, near Beverley in East Yorkshire has been named Pub of the Year by Michelin. The award is given to the pub which best combines factors such as character and the friendliness of staff as well as the food. The Pipe and Glass Inn is run by James and Kate Mackenzie. In 2006 they took over what was the the shell of a building dating from the 17th century and they continue to upgrade it. Rebecca Burr, editor of the Michelin Eating Out in Pubs Guide describes it as “a wonderfully warm pub and nothing is ever too much trouble for the owners.” Michelin's verdict is that “James’s cooking has developed markedly over the years. He is a great advocate of local suppliers and also uses produce from his own garden. His cooking may display elements of refinement as well as some original touches, but it comes with an inherent and satisfying heartiness because, above all, James never forgets that this is a pub, not a restaurant”.

  • News 249

    A house in the grounds of Hever Castle, childhood home of Anne Boleyn, is now on offer from CV Travel.

    over 8 years ago

    A house in the grounds of Hever Castle, childhood home of Anne Boleyn, is now on offer from CV Travel. Customers renting Tudor House, which was added too the Kent castle complex by William Waldorf Astor in 1903, will get access to much of the gardens, lake and and parkland at times when they are closed to the public. The house, which has four bedrooms and sleeps up to seven people, is one of a number of new properties added by the company, which is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year. It has a terrace with views of the double moated castle and its gardens. And the cost: from £1000 for a two night stay.

    CV Travel

  • News 244

    NZ's Southern Lakes Named one of the World's Must-visit Destinations for 2012.

    over 8 years ago

    Influential travel authority, Lonely Planet, has chosen New Zealand's Southern Lakes region as one of the world's Top 10 Regions to visit in 2012.
    The Southern Lakes region of Queenstown, Lake Wanaka and Fiordland is the only New Zealand region to feature in the new book, Lonely Planet's Best in Travel 2012 – the best trends, destinations, journeys and experiences for the upcoming year.

    Queenstown and Southern Lakes is ranked eighth in the book's list of Top 10 Regions for its year-round activities and spectacular scenery. An excerpt from the book reads, "There isn't a bad time to turn up in the world's top adventure playground. There're nonstop outdoor activities year-round in the resort towns of Queenstown, Wanaka and Te Anau, as well as the surrounding mountains, lakes and parks… Where else can you ski in the morning and golf or water ski in the afternoon? Add excellent wineries and superb restaurants and what more is there to say?"
    The Southern Lakes region is renowned as one of the most diverse and spectacular regions in the world, encompassing the tranquil beauty of Lake Wanaka, the international four-season resort of Queenstown and Fiordland's dramatic landscapes, all surrounded by the breathtaking scenery of the Te Wahipounamu World Heritage Area.

    Lonely Planet New Zealand spokesperson Sarah Bennett said, "This news is hardly the shock of the century. Anyone who lives in or has visited the Queenstown region will back up this accolade. Words like breathtaking, jaw-dropping, exhilarating and stunning are grossly overused in the tourism industry but the Southern Lakes region has a right to them all."

     

    Tony Everitt, CEO of Destination Queenstown, said featuring in Lonely Planet's Best in Travel 2012 would bring significant benefits for the region's profile.

    "To receive this kind of endorsement by Lonely Planet is priceless for Queenstown and the Southern Lakes as well as New Zealand," he said. "Lonely Planet is a giant of the travel industry so making it onto their Top 10 must-visit regions for 2012 will give our region global recognition and provide inspiration for their readers to visit."

    Lisa Sadler, manager of Destination Fiordland, said the power of Lonely Planet could not be underestimated, "We are aware of the power of Lonely Planet in influencing the travelling community about where the best experiences are to be found, so the news that Fiordland has been acknowledged, along with our Southern Lakes neighbours as amongst the world's top 10 leading regions is superb."

    Lake Wanaka Tourism general manager James Helmore said Lonely Planet communicates to a core audience that enjoys what the region has to offer. "With its diversity of activities, striking landforms and freedom to do your own thing in the ultimate alpine playground, Wanaka and the Southern Lakes is the perfect fit for the Lonely Planet reader. Appearing in Best in Travel 2012 will considerably enhance our profile and allow more international travellers to discover what everyone who lives here is so passionate about."

    Queenstown and the Southern Lakes shares the Top 10 Regions list with destinations such as Borneo, Sicily, Northern Kenya and Coastal Wales which tops the 2012 list.

    Best in Travel's recommendations are drawn from hundreds of ideas submitted by Lonely Planet's staff, authors and community of travellers, bloggers and tweeters. Their suggestions are then refined by a panel of in-house travel experts, based on topicality, excitement, value and that special X-factor.

    For further information on the Southern Lakes region, visit www.southernlakes.travel.
     

  • Cox & Kings scoops runner-up prize at Telegraph Travel Awards for 2011.

    over 8 years ago

    Silver Travel Advisor partner company, Cox & Kings, is delighted to have been voted as a runner-up Favourite Specialist Independent Tour Operator in the 2011 Telegraph Travel Awards. The Telegraph polled 23,000 readers about their favourite travel companies and this award is testament to the consistently high quality service and attention to detail that Cox & Kings prides itself on. The awards were made during a ceremony at London’s St. Pancras Renaissance hotel last week.

    Cox & KIngs

  • Cadogan Holidays, which has been operating for over 64 years, has confirmed it will take no more bookings after 31 October 2011.

    over 8 years ago

    Cadogan Holidays, which has been operating for over 64 years, has confirmed it will take no more bookings after 31 October 2011. The firm has not gone bust or entered administration. All customers who have already booked have been promised they will get their holidays as planned. The operator has been faced not just with long term changes in the way consumers book holidays but by the economic downturn and by upheavals in North Africa during the Arab Spring. It specialised in travel to Gibraltar, Egypt. Madeira, Morocco and Tunisia.  Managing director Neil Chapman says: “This is a  very sad day. It was a very hard decision to take. The way people book holidays now is very, very different from when we started and we could not see a viable model for the brand going forward. Other parts of our business, including our flight only operation, will keep going, however. I need to stress that Cadogan Holidays has not failed nor have we gone ‘bust’ but instead we have taken what we feel is a responsible and purely voluntary  decision to stop taking bookings. Additionally I would like to offer my thanks not just to the millions of customers who enjoyed their holidays with us but also to the many suppliers and partners who worked with us to build and maintain a reputation which has lasted for over six decades.”

  • Royal Caribbean International announces winter 2012/2013 deployment for Independence of the Seas.

    over 8 years ago

    Royal Caribbean International has announced that Independence of Seas will be based in the Caribbean for the 2012-13 winter season and return to the UK for the summer season in April 2013. 

    Independence of the Seas will depart on its trans-Atlantic voyage from Southampton on 22 November 2012, and arrive at Port Everglades on 5 December 2012. The hugely popular ship is re-locating to the Caribbean for the winter season, offering UK & Irish guests six and eight night sailings in Eastern and Western Caribbean. Since its launch in April 2008, Independence of the Seas remains the largest and most innovative cruise ship in Europe and is a real game-changer for the industry. 

    Dominic Paul, vice president and group managing director, UK, Ireland and Northern Europe, Royal Caribbean International explains:

    "Our guests are passionate about Independence of the Seas and the winter deployment presents a great opportunity to introduce sailings on Independence of the Seas in the Caribbean to our loyal guests and introduce new guests to the ship.”  
     

    “Independence of the Seas has been an instant hit with British guests and homeporting it out of Southampton has played a significant role in growing our market share and building brand awareness.  We continue to gain great support from our trade partners and know that they will support Independence of the Seas during her winter season in the Caribbean.  We also look forward to the ship returning to Southampton in April 2013 for what is set to be another extremely successful summer season.”

    Independence of the Seas' winter 2012-13 is now open for sale. The ship will offer a three-night Bahamas cruise, before alternating eight-night Eastern Caribbean and six-night Western Caribbean itineraries. In the Eastern Caribbean, guests will enjoy calls at San Juan, Puerto Rico, St. Maarten, St. Kitts, and Labadee, Royal Caribbean’s private beach destination on the northern coast of Haiti. Independence of the Seas will call at Falmouth, Jamaica; George Town, Grand Cayman; and Labadee in the Western Caribbean. Additionally, a special six-night Western Caribbean itinerary, calling at Grand Cayman, Cozumel and Costa Maya in Mexico, will sail on January 13, 2013.

    Independence of the Seas will join sister ships Freedom of the Seas and Liberty of the Seas for the winter season before returning to Southampton in April 2013 to offer Mediterranean and European cruises throughout the summer.



    At 154,407 gross register tons and a capacity of 3,634 guests, double-occupancy, Independence of the Seas features all of the industry-first amenities which are trademarks of the Freedom-class ships, such as a FlowRider surf simulator; the H20 Zone kids’ aqua park with sprinklers, water cannons and a pool for toddlers; cantilevered whirlpools suspended 112 ft. above the ocean in the adults-only Solarium pool zone; a full-size boxing ring and the 4-bedroom, 4-bath, and 14-guest Presidential Family Suite. Independence of the Seas also features exclusive Royal Caribbean International facilities such as an ice-skating rink; a rock-climbing wall; the award-winning Adventure Ocean kids’ programme; 10 fine to casual dining options; Broadway-style entertainment; and the Royal Promenade – a boulevard that stretches nearly the length of the ship flanked by boutiques, restaurants, and bars and lounges.

  • The sailing vessel Star Flyer will operate cruises in the Baltic for the first time next year.

    over 8 years ago

    The sailing vessel Star Flyer will operate cruises in the Baltic for the first time in 2012. Itineraries will include ten or 11 night voyages from Stockholm with an overnight in St. Petersburg. One of three ships operated by Star Clippers, the elegant 170 passenger, square rigged barquentine is a recreation of the elegant clippers which dominated the world's international trade routes in the 19th century. (www.starclippers.co.uk)

  • News 241

    Travellers heading for the Florida Keys can now get advice online from a local professional using a “live chat” tool.

    over 8 years ago

    Travellers heading for the Florida Keys can now get advice online from a local professional using a “live chat” tool. Launched by the Florida Keys & Key West tourism council it is available at www.fla-keys.co.uk  between 9am and 5pm UK time. Prospective visitors can enter a specific area they want information about, or just make a general inquiry. 

  • A UK cottage specialist says it is freezing the most of next year's prices at this years levels.

    over 8 years ago

    A UK cottage specialist says it is freezing the most of next year's prices at this years levels. Toad Hall Cottages, which manages over 500 properties in Somerset, Dorset, Devon and Cornwall and another 100 in the New Forest, says bookings were up 4.5% this year and advance reservations for 2012 and encouraging. So why not up prices rather than hold them steady? To lure in customers earlier. Director David Hamer says that “a bleak economic outlook and uncertainty about jobs” means many of them are leaving booking to the last minute.

  • News 240

    Nobody remotely interested in ancient history should pass up the opportunity to explore the tombs and temples of Luxor and Karnak.

    over 8 years ago

    Nobody remotely interested in ancient history should pass up the opportunity to explore the tombs and temples of Luxor and Karnak. In the wake of the Arab spring upheavals, tempting deals continue to emerge. Discover Egypt (www.discoveregypt.co.uk) is currently offering 50% discounts for the second of two travelling together. That means a couple booking a seven night Nile cruise on the five star Viking Princess, with flights from Gatwick on December 5 or 12 2011, pay a total of £1048.50.

  • Libya may soon be back on the tourist map.

    over 8 years ago

    Libya may soon be back on the tourist map. Following the country's liberation celebrations at least one UK travel firm is planning to offer tours there again, taking in sights including the magnificent Roman ruins of Leptis Magna. Ted Wake, sales and marketing director of London based Kirker Holidays says: “We are confident that we will be able to restore our programme there quite quickly. We operated there for about five years until just before the trouble broke out earlier this year and we think we might be able to start again in March. We know there is pent up demand. The infrastructure is there, including hotels and with demand from business passengers with oil industry connections, for example airlines will be quick to start operating there again. One carrier, Qatar Airways, has already announced it will start flying four times a week from November 1 between its Doha base to Benghazi.

  • News 237

    Take note of a big reshuffle by British Airways at Heathrow.

    over 8 years ago

    Take note of a big reshuffle by British Airways at Heathrow. The airline will switch its Barcelona and Madrid flights from from Heathrow’s Terminal 3 to Terminal 5 at the start of the winter season on Sunday 30 October 2011. It operates 13 round trips a week to the two Spanish cities. Simultaneously BA will shift services to five other European destinations – Prague, Budapest, Warsaw, Bucharest and Larnaca – to Terminal 3. 

  • 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.