In the News this Week...

brought to you by News Editor, Roger Bray
  • Hong Kong is the best airport in the world

    about 9 years ago

    Hong Kong is the best airport in the world, as voted by travellers in an international poll. Singapore's Changi came second and Seoul's Korea's Incheon International was third. On line research company Skytrax, which organises the annual survey, said the three airports had been locked in a “nail biting” finish as the final votes came in. Hong Kong triumphed partly because it had made considerable improvements during the last year “particularly in security and immigration processing that served to enhance customer satisfaction levels”. Passengers  liked its fast connections with Kowloon  and Hong Kong island, were impressed by its “bright and airy terminal ambiance” and superb shopping facilities and voted it best for  airport dining. The rest of the top ten airports were – in order – Munich, Beijing, Amsterdam, Zurich, Auckland, Kuala Lumpur and Copenhagen.

    For tours to China and Indochina, we recommend Wendy Wu Tours

  • A Taste of Cruising

    about 9 years ago

    We invite you to be our guest for a 3-course lunch and a day on board one of Holland America’s beautiful cruise ships.

    Whether you have never set foot on a cruise ship, or are a regular cruiser, you can enjoy a sumptuous three course lunch and the chance to explore one of the most beautiful cruise ships at sea, at  absolutely no cost.

    Available dates:
    Ms Eurodam (22 May, 3 June, 27 June, 9 July, 12 August)
    Ms Ryndam (21 May, 24 July, 7 August)
    Ms Rotterdam (31 May, 20 September)

    You will be met at Cruise Terminal 1 or 2, Port of Dover at 9.30am. The visit will then consist of a self-guided tour of ship, and early lunch (which will be a set 3-couse meal) in the main restaurant courtesy of Holland America Line, followed by a presentation. Disembarkation will be at around 2pm.  Dress code is elegantly casual (no t-shirts, jeans or shorts). Complimentary parking has been arranged with the Port of Dover. All visitors must bring a passport or a secondary form of photo identification.

    All you need to do is register your place by sending an email to [email protected], stating which date and ship visit you would like to attend and the number of places required. Places are limited and are offered on a first come first served basis.

  • Who needs an invite to Prince William's big day?

    about 9 years ago

    Railway Goes For Alternative Royalty Over The Bank Holiday

    The Welsh Highland Heritage Railway in Porthmadog is organising its own antidote to the Royal Wedding over the May Bank Holiday Weekend – treating its passengers like royalty instead.

    The Welsh Highland Heritage Railway will be putting a red carpet along the platform, and letting people travel in its vintage first class carriages for no extra charge.

    Visitors will be able to have a go at driving a locomotive for themselves.  One lucky adult per trip will get to be King or Queen of the railway and ride on the steam engine for the short trip along the line.  Children will also have chance to make their own crown to wear. 


    Railway enthusiasts get to enjoy a special intensive train service, featuring three steam locomotives, including a distinguished visitor.  Steam locomotive “Elidir”, engine No.1 from the Llanberis Lake Railway, will be operating in Porthmadog for the weekend.

    Wendy Dearden, Commercial Manager of the WHHR, said: “a number of us at the railway were joking that our invitations to the wedding had got lost in the post.  But then we realised that our visitors are the most important people to us anyway.

    “So this special weekend is a bit of an alternative celebration, and a way to say thank you to everyone who helps us keep the trains running.  It’s also a chance to enjoy ourselves now that Prince William has given us an extra long weekend.”

    Some of the women at the WHHR plan to wear their wedding dresses for the day on Friday 29th April, claiming that every girl wants an excuse to wear theirs again.

    Wendy Dearden added: “anyone wearing their wedding outfit can travel for free on the Friday.  I’m hoping I can still manage to get into my wedding dress……

    “We’re keeping our fingers crossed that the weather holds good, not just for Prince William, but also so people get chance to enjoy their extra day off.”

    Additional attractions over the weekend include model railways on display, and a demonstration of one of the oldest petrol railway locomotives in Britain during the weekend

    The Royal Gala starts on Friday 29th April at 10:30, and runs over the weekend until the afternoon of Monday 2nd May.

  • Golden wedding coming up? Or a big birthday?

    about 9 years ago

    CV Villas, the luxury villas operator, has added two “grand houses” to its programme. One is Travers House, a Georgian property – with peat burning fireplaces – sleeping up to 10 near Butlerstown, County Cork. The other is The Court in Herefordshire, which is set in 15 acres of gardens and has rooms for 16 – 20 guests. One week prices for the former start at £2558 – the latter at £6500. Short break rates for both are available on request.

  • British Airways increases fuel surcharges

    about 9 years ago

    Soaring oil prices have prompted British Airways to increase fuel surcharges on long haul flights again. They will go up by £10 per one way journey in the airline's World Traveller and World Traveller Plus cabins (economy and premium economy) from Friday (April 8). That pushes up  the charge to £85 in the former and £95 in the latter – or £98 and £116.50 respectively for flights of over nine hours. Surcharges in First Class and Club World (business class) on flights up to nine hours will increase by £20 – to £125. On flights longer than that they will rise to £145. 

    There will be no increase in surcharges on European or domestic flights. Nick Swift, British Airways’ chief financial officer, said: “It’s with real regret that we are having to increase our long haul fuel surcharge. As customers will know from the price at the petrol pumps, the cost of fuel has continued to rise significantly over the past three months. For us, fuel now represents over one third of our costs and particularly affects our longhaul flights. We are very aware of the wider economic pressures on our customers at the moment and we will bear the vast majority of the recent fuel price rise ourselves to keep this increase in surcharge to a minimum.” 

  • More travellers were left waiting for bags

    about 9 years ago

    More air travellers were left waiting for bags which failed to appear on the carousel last year. But it may have been an unfortunate hiccup. Over the past four years the number of passengers suffering mislaid or lost luggage remains sharply down. The figures come from SITA, the Geneva-based IT provider to the air travel industry. Last year the proportion of travellers affected rose from 11 per 1000 to 12 per 1000.  But in 2007 nit was nearly 19 per 1000, SITA blames last year's increase patly on disruption cased by the Icelandic ash cloud.

  • Cambridge Bike Tours - a new operation to be launched soon

    about 9 years ago

    Remember when you first wobbled off down the road on your Hercules?  Cambridge Bike Tours – a new operation to be launched soon – will offer customers the option of borrowing one of its early 1960s models. The company, which will take to the streets on April 16 has been set up by Anthony Dean, a former Kings College Choir School pupil and keen cyclist who has competed in triathlons. Four different tours of the city and surrounding countryside will run daily through the summer except on Tuesdays. The price will be £20 except for one all day tour which will cost £33. Helmets, rather than mortar boards, will be included.

  • Hong Kong's new Ritz-Carlton is tallest hotel in the world

    about 9 years ago

    View from the top: Hong Kong's new Ritz-Carlton, which has just opened, is claimed to be the tallest hotel in the world. It starts on the 102nd floor of the building which houses it and finishes at the 118th, affording spectacular views of Victoria Harbour and its skyline.

  • New Ryanair charge

    about 9 years ago

    Ryanair is to levy €2 per passenger to cover unforeseen costs  over which it has no control – such as the impact of last year's ash cloud. The charge will take effect from April 4. Over the past year the airline has been hit with bills totalling over €100m arising from flight cancellations and delays and the consequent cost of looking after and compensating passenger – and legal expenses. Apart from the volcanic eruption in Iceland the main causes were snow and air traffic control strikes. Ryanair says it regrets having to impose the levy. It argues that European rules requiring airlines to provide care for passengers when cancellations and or delays result from force majeure – and are not the carriers' fault – are unfair and discriminatory.

  • Walk across the Channel Islands

    about 9 years ago

    Walk across the Channel Islands. A new long distance footpath opens officially there next month. It'll stretch 115 miles over five islands -Guernsey, Jersey, Alderney, Sark and Herm. You could complete it in two weeks, with boat crossings between them.
    Details at

  • Italians are Europe's worst drivers

    about 9 years ago

    Italians are Europe's worst drivers It looks like a cliché – but according to a survey British holidaymakers think it’s true. They topped the table with 34%, followed by the French (20% and the Spanish (8%). The survey was conducted by YouGov for It found 49% of us don’t like driving abroad, rising to 62% of women. And to prove we're not all chauvinists, one on 20 thought the British were the most reckless drivers in Europe.

  • A new luxury hotel is about to open in Marrakech

    about 9 years ago

    A new luxury hotel is about to open in the Moroccan city of Marrakech. The Four Seasons, with 140 rooms and suites, is taking bookings for stays from June 15. The 40 acre property, opposite the Menara Gardens, will have two pools, an extensive spa, tennis courts and fitness facilities. Its promotional hyperbole promises “rose-hued pavilions with hand-carved details, surrounded by a lush landscape of swimming and reflecting pools, gardens, pathways and fountains” – and views of the Atlas mountains.

    For short breaks in Marrakech, why not try Kirker Holidays

  • Glasgow's Transport Museum moves to a new home

    about 9 years ago

    Glasgow's Transport Museum moves to a new home this summer. Opening on June 21 the £50.9million waterfront attraction – now called the Riverside Museum will focus on the history of the Clyde, with its rich shipbuilding tradition. The tall ship Glenlee, which was built on the river and houses an exhibition on the area's maritime history, will be moored alongside.

  • Swiss airline SkyWork started flying from London City Airport to Bern

    about 9 years ago

    Swiss airline SkyWork has started flying from London City Airport to the Swiss capital, Bern. Initially it will operate one round trip a day (except Saturdays) but from September 5 it will fly 11 times a week. Bern is a great jumping off point for skiers and hikers and anyone who just wants to marvel at some of the most awe inspiring scenery in the Alps. It's within an hour's drive of Grindelwald and Wengen, whos backdrop includes the Eiger and Jungfrau peaks.
    The airline's free hold baggage allowance is 20kg per passenger – and the cabin baggage limit is 8kgs. Skis, boot bags and other ports equipment can be carried for 26 CHF (£17).

    For perfect Swiss holidays, we recommend Inghams

  • Treat the grandchildren?

    about 9 years ago

    Walt Disney's animated adaptation of Winnie the Pooh – that bear of little brain – will be released in the UK on April 15. So the Ashdown Park Hotel & Country Club in East Sussex, which is near  ‘Hundred Acre Wood’, has come up with a wheeze to attract lovers of AA Milne's classic. Its so called “Tigger Escape” includes gift bag with a map showing spots such as the Enchanted Place and Pooh Bridge and a Winnie themed afternoon tea. It costs £300 for two adults and two children sharing a room – with dinner for the grown ups, tea for the kids and full English breakfast.

  • Cathay Pacific has launched a six day seat sale

    about 9 years ago

    Cathay Pacific has launched a six day seat sale (March 26 – 31). Deals include round trip include round trip fares from Heathrow to Manila, Beijing and Shanghai all from £609 and Perth from £669. Bookings to Manila, Shanghai and Beijing are valid for travel until December 31. Those to Perth are valid between April 23 and June 7, August 22 – September 30 and  November 1 –  December 8.

  • Easyjet is to launch flights between Scotland and Jersey

    about 9 years ago

    Easyjet is to launch flights between Scotland and Jersey. Services from Glasgow will operate three times a week, on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays between June and September.

  • Best Western has opened its first hotel in Cambodia

    about 9 years ago

    Best Western has opened its first hotel in Cambodia. Comprising 18 suites in nine villas, which have private pools and terraces, the hotel is 10 minutes from Siem Reap and the main entrance to the Angkor Wat temple site.

  • Brittany Ferries launches a new route

    about 9 years ago

    Brittany Ferries launches a new route between Portsmouth and Bilbao this weekend. Journey times on the 33,000 tonne Cap Finistere will vary between 24 and 32 hours. The ship will berth at a brand new terminal in the Basque city whose profile has been raised by the opening of the spectacular Guggenheim Museum.

  • South East Asia announces plans for single visa system

    about 9 years ago

    The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is planning to adopt a single visa system enabling tourists to visit any of the group’s 10 member states on a single travel document. Following the lead of Europe’s single visa system, ASEAN believes that a single tourist visa policy would enhance the tourism experience in the region, boosting arrivals to member states. “The plan is realistic, action oriented, attuned to the global realities and designed to ensure that the ASEAN region can continue to be a successful tourism destination,” said Thong Khon, Cambodia’s minister of tourism at the recent ASEAN ministerial meeting, held in Phnom Penh. ASEAN is also moving towards the implementation of an open skies aviation policy, which is scheduled to come into force in 2015.  In tandem, the single tourist visa and open skies aviation policy would have the potential to greatly improve the region’s appeal as a tourist destination.

    Nick Pulley, Managing Director of Selective Asia commented “the single visa system has been in the pipeline for a number of years, but if and when it comes into place, it will simplify visa procedures significantly and hopefully also reduce visa costs to visit Asia.”