Friday, 31 October 2014

Secret Suffolk

SELF-CATERING holiday agency Suffolk Secrets has launched its 2015 brochure. 

The agency offers more than 220 coastal cottages in Suffolk. See more - www.suffolk-secrets.co.uk

In Suffolk enjoy some of the outstandingly beautiful places such as this pictured public footpath which runs through Oldbroom Plantation, at the side of Ampton Water.



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Picture Credit: 'Oldbroom Plantation' by Bob Jones via Wikimedia Commons

This old house …

MANY self-catering holiday cottages in Britain are old. Dating back to Georgian, Victorian, and Edwardian periods, their age is part of their charm … providing the plumbing is 21st century...... 

.. But is the Old Farmhouse in the luxury holiday hamlet of Old Lanwarnick, near Fowey, Cornwall, the absolute oldest? It could be, because the Grade II listed, four-bedroom property was recorded in the Domesday Book.

All of the six properties at Old Lanwarnick are graded five star gold by Quality In Tourism by Visit England.




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Picture Credit: courtesy Cornish Horizons

Heathrow pulls in £1 billion from regional airports sale

HEATHROW Airport Holdings has confirmed it will sell its 100 percent holdings in Aberdeen, Glasgow, and Southampton airports to a consortium formed by Ferrovial and Macquarie.

The deal – subject to European Union merger regulation clearance – is expected to bring the airport operator £1.04 billion in cash and assumed debt.

John Holland-Kaye, chief executive of Heathrow, said: ‘This sale enables us to focus on improving Heathrow for passengers and winning support for Heathrow expansion. Heathrow is the UK’s only hub airport, connecting the whole of the UK to the world and bringing economic benefits locally and nationally.’


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£125 million sale keep Monarch flying

MONARCH HOLDINGS Limited has completed its sale to Greybull Capital, securing £125 million in permanent capital and liquidity facilities.

The Civil Aviation Authority has also renewed the group’s ATOL licence.

Under a new CEO, Monarch started a strategic review in the summer which has reduced its fleet size, secured a new Boeing order, and moved to stop its long-haul and charter flying by April 2015. 

Instead the carrier will focus on short-haul European leisure routes from Gatwick, Manchester, Birmingham, Luton, and Leeds Bradford.

Its East Midlands services will stop in summer 2015.


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Thursday, 30 October 2014

Virgin Atlantic gets its first Dreamliner





VIRGIN ATLANTIC’S first Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner has been delivered to the airline. 

The carrier is the first in Europe to take delivery of the 787-9, and plans to operate the aircraft initially on its Heathrow-Boston route.


It is the first of 16 Dreamliners Virgin has ordered.


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Picture Credit: 'Virgin Atlantic Boeing 787-9 G-VNEW (1st 787-9 at Gatwick) 10-10-14' by MercerMJ via Wikimedia Commons

Crete in focus

THE wonders of Crete – from the island’s gastronomy to the hidden ‘insider’ spots –will be on display at the National Geographic London Store (November 3-9).


Catering for a range of visitors, from families to independent travellers, the aim of the promotion is to showcase every aspect of Greece’s largest island. It will feature:

· A photo exhibition of never-before-seen-in-the-UK shots of landscapes and indigenous animals

· Daily talks by experts

· Food tastings 

The store is at 102 Brompton Rd., Knightsbridge, London. 
www.nglondonstore.co.uk/london


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Picture Credit: David Kernek / GoHoliday

Thomson plans family-friendly flights

THOMSON AIRWAYS is to use its new Boeing 787 Dreamliners and a fresh order of B737 MAXs to bring what it describes as a more “family-focused flying experience”.
Family booths with seating around a table for four to six people will be placed at the back of the new B737 MAX aircraft, while an onboard kids club be introduced to keep children entertained on flights.
Couples will have the option to sit in pod-style seats that have a table for champagne, in-seat charging and mood lighting.
Destination information and inspiration will also form part of the in-flight entertainment, which will also have a bedtime story channel and content for teenagers.
The B737 MAX aircraft will be used on short and medium-haul services. A beach snack bar will be in the premium cabin
TUI UK & Ireland’s managing director David Burling said the changes would help people to see the airline as a scheduled carrier and a ‘holiday airline’.

Go Holiday editor David Kernek comments: This will be great for parents going on holiday with – often ill-disciplined – children, and all part of the trend to turn airports and planes into kid’s playgrounds. But isn’t there a gap in market for an airline with a grown-ups only policy?

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Cheaper holidays ‘no excuse’ for term-time absences

FRESH guidance for circumstances in which pupils in English schools can be given time off during term-time have been drawn up.

There has been a rise in fines for unauthorized absences following a crackdown. But now guidelines have been drafted by head teachers union NAHT, with funerals, weddings, and religious events being deemed as acceptable “exceptional circumstances”. 



The guidance would also permit time off for children to see parents returning from duty with the armed forces. 

Cheaper holidays will not be “a good enough reason”.

There have been 60,000 fines handed out to parents for removing children without permission. Not all were for holidays. 

The penalty fine is £60 per child which rises to £120 if not paid within 21 days. If parents refuse to pay, local authorities can prosecute, with a maximum fine of £2,500 or three months in jail.

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Picture Credit: 'Pencil cases' by ABX (Own work) via Wikimedia Commons

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Call that a camera!


DESPITE the Smartphone epidemic, the love affair with mobiles has seemingly taken a back seat. 

A survey by the online travel agent On the Beach found that almost a quarter of Brits are still choosing a “proper” camera as their holiday essential. 


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Picture Credit: GoHoliday

Thomson Airways faces Christmas strike disruption

THOMSON AIRWAYS faces a pre-Christmas strike threat in a dispute over below-inflation pay rises for cabin crew and pilot roster crew controllers.

The warning of passenger disruption during the Christmas travelling season came from Unite, the UK’s largest labour union.

About 30 crew controllers and their assistants, who arrange cabin crew and pilot rosters to Civil Aviation Authority regulations to cover for sick colleagues and any unforeseen circumstances, will be balloted from November 19 for strike action in a dispute over pay. The ballot closes on December 10.

The ballot follows a breakdown in negotiations held under the auspices of conciliation service ACAS.

Unite regional officer, Kevin Hall, said: ‘This is an extremely profitable company that rewards other sections of its workforce very generously. We do not believe it is unreasonable to start to bring our members pay back in line with inflation.

‘Passengers could face the real threat of disruption in the run-up to the Christmas holidays if the crew controllers and their assistants walk out.

Thomson Airways said: ‘We would like to re-assure customers that, should the strike action go ahead, we have contingency plans in place to ensure that there is no disruption to customers’ travel.’


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How to find that Xmas market

'www.Christmasmarkets.com' has held its No. 1 spot in search engine rankings for the eighth year in a row. 

People looking for Christmas markets (or related searches) will find the site at the top of the list. 

The site offers advance information about more than 450 Christmas markets in Britain, 
Europe and North America.


The Top Ten Xmas markets, according to the website [www.christmasmarkets.com], are:

1. Manchester (England)

2. Belfast (Northern Ireland)

3. Bath (England)

4. Baden-Badener (Germany)




5. Winchester (England)

6. Graz (Austria)

7. Portsmouth (England)

8. Basel (Switzerland)

9. Düsseldorf (Germany)

10. Skipton (England)







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Picture Credit: From Top -  'Bath, England - Christmas market scene' - GoHoliday'Christmas Tree' by By Lotus Head from Johannesburg, Gauteng, South Africa via Wikimedia Commons

Get flight info via Twitter

RYANAIR has launched a customer Twitter account – @RyanairFlights – which provides instant real time information for every one of its 1,600 daily flights.

Twitter users who follow @RyanairFlights send their Ryanair flight number by direct message and will receive an instant update on the status of the flight by Tweet, using three simple steps:

1. Follow @RyanairFlights

2. Send the flight number (eg FR102) by direct message

3. And receive an instant flight update


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Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Croatia … for all seasons




CROATIA is spending €5 million (£3.9 million) over the next six months to promote its Croatia 365 tourism marketing initiative, which aims to attract tourists year-round and highlights activities beyond the summer sun and beach attractions … such as culture, food and wine, active and cycling holidays, wellness and business tourism.

The numbers of British visitors to Croatia has risen in each of the past three years and this year has continued to see strong growth.


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Picture Credit: 'Hvar, Croatia' by Roberta F. via Wikimedia Commons

Culture capital




VALLETTA, Malta, has been named European Capital of Culture for 2018. 



The city takes its name from its founder, the Grand Master of the Order of St. John, Jean Parisot de la Valette. 

Started in 1566, Valletta was completed, with its bastions, forts, and cathedral, in 15 years.

The grid of narrow streets, says Visit Malta, “boasts some of Europe's finest art works, churches, and palaces”.




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Picture Credit: From Top -  'Valetta at Night' and 'Valetta - 14' by Tony Hisgett (Birmingham, UK) via Wikimedia Commons; 'Grand Master´s Palace - Dome of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Valetta' by Alexandra at lb.wikipedia via Wikimedia Commons

BA jet for kid’s play




BRITISH AIRWAYS has partnered with KidZania London, an educational entertainment brand based at the Westfield shopping centre in Shepherd's Bush, London.

The tie-up has seen the body of a British Airways-branded A319 aircraft lifted into the site, a process which took 48 hours. KidZania is aimed at children aged from four to 14, and is founded on the concept of creating realistic role-plays in real-world settings

The installation is the culmination of more than a year’s planning in conjunction with Westfield London, Network Rail, Transport for London, and the counties the body of the aircraft passed through on its journey to London from Kemble Airbase, Gloucestershire.


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Picture Credit: British Airways

Drunk Hovercraft pilot jailed

A HOVERCRAFT pilot who took passengers across the Solent to the Isle of Wight while nearly three times the legal alcohol limit has been jailed for eight months.

A colleague had to take the controls when the pilot – who pleaded guilty – collapsed after missing the landing pad at Ryde on the Isle of Wight in June.

The Hovertravel craft was carrying 36 passengers at the time. It had previously taken 95 passengers to Southsea in Hampshire.

Newport Crown Court heard that one of the pilot’s colleagues noticed his reaction time was slow during the crossing and that he failed to carry out a manoeuvre properly when the hovercraft came close to tanker.


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Monday, 27 October 2014

For sale: 40% of Eurostar

THE UK government has confirmed it is seeking buyers for its 40% stake in Eurostar to help boost the public finances.

It is hoping to attract bids of up to £300 million for the shareholding.

The Treasury controls its share of Eurostar through London & Continental Railways, the remaining nationalized part of the old British Rail. 

SNCF, France’s state-owned rail operator, holds 55% and the Belgian government owns the remaining 5%.

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Where to tip … and where not to

TIPPING while travelling can be confusing, differs by country and doesn't always depend on service quality. Wego, a travel search website in the Asia Pacific and Middle East regions, has published a guide to tipping protocols.

‘Knowing which countries where you should leave a tip is just as important as knowing which countries not to,’ says Joachim Holte, chief marketing officer at Wego.

‘In Argentina for example, tipping is actually illegal, but waiters often expect to be tipped by foreigners. So if you were to tip, discretion is advised. 

In the US, low wage earners in the service industry are reliant on tipping to balance out their income, yet in Romania, tips are often declined and in Japan, tipping is considered offensive.

‘As a general rule, tips as a sign of appreciation are expected in restaurants in Austria, Brazil, Chile, Ireland, The Netherlands, Russia, South Africa, and Turkey. 

However in Fiji, Malaysia, and South Korea restaurant tips are not required. 

Checking whether there’s a service charge added to your bill is also a good way to tell whether a tip is applicable or not, and then you have the choice to leave a small amount on top if the service was particularly impressive.

‘In the UK, tipping for food in restaurants is OK, although unexpected as service charges are generally included. Yet, tipping for drinks at a bar is just not cricket!’


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Picture Credit: GoHoliday Blog via Wikimedia Commons

How not to get away from it all …

MORE than half (51%) of people are unable to get through a holiday without gadgets while a similar proportion say their break is enhanced by technology and keeping connected to those back home.

A poll by Royal Caribbean International found that every day on holiday a family will send an average of:
  • four texts,
  • two personal e-mails,
  • two work e-mails,
  • two Snapchats, 
  • four Instagrams,
  • three tweets,
  • four images on Pinterest,
  • four Facebook updates.
Some of the 2,000 respondents admitted to sending more than 15 tweets and Facebook updates a day.

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Stansted gets more ePassport gates

THE number of automated ePassport gates at Stansted has been tripled to 15. The gates provide European Economic Area nationals aged 18 and travelling with a biometric passport the choice of an automated route to the UK.

The gates use facial recognition technology to provide identity and security checks. Once these are completed the gate opens automatically to allow cleared passengers through the border.

Border Force officers monitor the system and travellers rejected by the gates are directed to the normal clearance desk. The ePassport gates have been jointly funded by the Home Office and Manchester Airport Group, the owners of Stansted.

There are now 109 ePassport gates in use at 18 UK airports.

Immigration and security minister James Brokenshire says: ‘Keeping the UK's border secure is our priority. At the same time, we want to welcome legitimate visitors and trade which contributes to the UK economy.’


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Sunday, 26 October 2014

Record take-off for easyJet

EASYJET announced its peak summer schedule for 2015 by placing a record number of flights on sale. More than 79,000 flights providing 13 million seats are planned to and from the UK between June 1 and September 6 next year.


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Ocean promotion



TOURISM IRELAND’S latest campaign to promote the Wild Atlantic Way in Britain sees the organization team up with Canon Cameras and Secret Escapes, a members-only travel club.

Using stunning photography of the Wild Atlantic Way supplied by Canon, the three-week online campaign is encouraging people in Britain to book an autumn break in Ireland.

The campaign features a competition, with a chance to win a Canon camera and a trip to Ireland to experience – and photograph – the Wild Atlantic Way.

Vanessa Markey at Tourism Ireland said: ‘We have seen growth of 9% in British visitors to Ireland for the first eight months of this year. We are determined to keep that momentum going and ensure that growth continues.’


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Picture Credit: GoHoliday / Tourism Ireland

Take a tour of Tower Bridge










NOVEMBER sees the return of Tower Bridge’s engineering tours, offering visitors the chance to experience the inner workings of one of the world’s most famous bridges.

Tickets for the tours are priced at £50 per person and include access to areas normally off limits to the public.

The tours start on November 15, and take place every weekend after that throughout December, January, and March (not February). Places are limited and sell out quickly, so early booking is advisable.

The two-hour tours are divided into two parts. The first part includes an exhibition outlining bridge’s history and construction. Visitors can experience the thrill of the panoramic walkways 139ft above the Thames before moving on to the bridge’s engine rooms. These feature the restored steam pumping engines and boilers that were used to power the bridge lifts until 1976.

In the second part, visitors are taken to several areas normally out of bounds to the public, including the control room, the immense bascule chambers below river level, and the section housing the hydraulics that power the lifting of the bridge.

Ticket Hotline: 020 7407 9191, or enquiries@towerbridge.org.uk


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Picture Credit: GoHoliday / towerbridge.org.uk

Tee off in Kent

GOLFINKENT.CO.UK has been launched to promote the Garden of England as a golfer's paradise.

Kent has more than 100 courses, many of which offer magnificent views of the county’s orchards and Channel coastlines - www.golfinkent.co.uk


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Saturday, 25 October 2014

Orlando targets grown-ups to boost off-peak tourism


VISIT ORLANDO has announced plans to target pre-family adults in one of its biggest marketing pushes in the UK.

The tourism board is working with British Airways, Cosmos Holidays, Thomas Cook, Thomson and Virgin Holidays for the promotion, which offers the opportunity to win a holiday.

‘By targeting the pre-family adult market, a more flexible segment of travellers, the new Visit Orlando advertising campaign aims to enhance the efforts of our travel trade partners to further drive off-peak bookings to Orlando,’ said Danielle Courtenay, chief marketing officer for Visit Orlando.


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Picture Credit: 'Lady Liberty of Orlando' by turtlemom4bacon via Wikimedia Commons

Book your car … and your clubs

HERTZ PORTUGAL in partnership with golf clubs rental company MyCaddyMaster is offering a combined car and golf equipment rental package. The service will enable Hertz customers to make the most of their golfing break without the worry of any additional baggage fees or lost luggage.

It enables golfers to order top quality clubs online and find them waiting in the boot of their hire car when arrive at Lisbon or Faro airports. At the end of their break, customers can drop off their golf bag and car at the same place before flying home.

Approximately 1.3 million European players make regular trips abroad to enjoy their favourite sport. With airlines charging £60 in luggage fees to transport a set of golf clubs – and 25 million pieces of luggage being lost or stolen each year – the demand for equipment hire while on holiday is growing.

The MyCaddyMaster website will select Hertz cars at the best price and with boots large enough to accommodate the golfing equipment that has been booked.


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Autumn in the Algarve …

Diving: The Ocean Revival Project is unique – four warships were deliberately sunk to create the world's largest single artificial reef structure. Teeming with marine life, it's a new world waiting to be explored.
Cycling: The south coast is one of the jewels in the Algarve's crown – and you can cycle the entire 150-mile length of it on the Ecovia cycle path.
Surfing: The Algarve coastline has surfing conditions to suit people of all abilities, and there are many surfing holiday packages and surf schools available.
Golf: Voted Europe's best destination by professional golf tour operators, the Algarve has a variety of courses, including award-winning resorts and championship courses.
Walking: Winding through the Algarve mountains, the Via Algarviana stretches almost 200 miles from Alcoutim to Cabo de São Vicente, with sites of natural and scientific interest along the way.


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Picture Credit: From Top -  'Portugal 2013 - Algarve - 19' by Kyle Taylor (London) via Wikimedia Commons; 'Algarve - walking sign' by muffinn (Worcester) via Wikimedia Commons

Luxury in Somerset

HIGH-END holiday accommodation company Boutique Retreats has expanded to cover Somerset as well as Cornwall, Devon, and Dorset.

Its first property in Somerset is The Quantock Hide, a rural, dog-friendly retreat sleeping four in the Quantock Hills. See more at:  
www.boutique-retreats.co.uk

Prices range from £504 for a long weekend in winter to £1,587 for a week in summer

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Friday, 24 October 2014

Record numbers at Edinburgh attractions

THE Scotch Whisky Experience and Camera Obscura & World of Illusions, two of Edinburgh's leading visitor attractions, have reported record visitor numbers this summer.
The five-star whisky visitor attraction saw July sales increase by 11.5% and August figures by 12%. Similarly, five-star family attraction Camera Obscura & World of Illusions reported July admissions up by 11% on the previous year, producing its busiest month ever.  The record was smashed again in August when numbers went up by a further 9%.

The two attractions are part of the Castlehill Group – a collective of businesses in a small street below Castle Esplanade. 

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Fun in the forest

WALKS, wildlife, pubs, foodie celebrations, and half term fun: check out these seasonal experiences in The National Forest & beyond.  

Autumn watch – Be quick to snap up Deer Rut Photography Tours at Bradgate Park and you could capture dramatic shots as stags and bucks mark their territory in autumn sun and mist. A park ranger will show you best spots for action. Bradgate have also run throughout October guided walks during the rut and calving – a chance to glimpse newborn red and fallow deer.  These October deer park and ancient tree walks bring autumn's secrets to life at Calke Abbey.


Crisp walks, cosy pubs – Now is the best time to discover the National Forest Way, with pub stops en route. Walk the whole 75 miles between Beacon Hill Country Park in Leicestershire and the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire, or grab a quick escape along one of 12 stages (4–7.5 miles) showcasing diverse aspects of the forest. Catch a bus if you don't fancy walking back!

Foodie Celebrations – The National Forest Food & Drink Fair (November 16) is celebrating the 20th birthday of Rosliston Forestry Centre – tuck in to some cake and browse the farmers' market showcasing local cheese, chocolate, and wine.

Hurray for half term! – There's loads for kids to do at October half term, with extra opening, activities and deals to help them fit it all in. Check out the Fun Activity Days at the Swadlincote Ski & Snowboard Centre.

Fireworks fun – Enjoy the whoosh, dazzle, rockets, and bangs of the Vikings & Fireworks Spectacular at Tutbury Castle (November 1, 2 & 5).

Family breaks – Book a National Trust self-catering holiday.




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Picture Credit: From Top -  'Red Deer (Cervus elaphus) fawn' by By Dénes Emőke via Wikimedia Commons

Hobbit houses a winner

TREBERFEDD FARM in Ceredigion, West Wales, has been selected as a winner in this year’s Soil Association Organic awards. 




The farm’s holiday cottages and hobbit houses were winners in the ‘best organic places to stay’ category.

Guests at the farm – which produces organic beef and lamb – can stay in a 17th century farmhouse, converted barns, or two luxury Hobbit houses in the farm’s organic meadows.

A farm trail, free range hens, playground, woodlands and home-produced renewable electricity and firewood give guests an organic country experience.

Treberfedd also has a conference venue which provides organic catering to groups and businesses.

The judges said: ‘The prize for innovation goes to Treberfedd Farm for its new Hobbit houses. Organic credentials are a given here with a clear vision and attention to detail. A fantastic organic place to stay.’




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Virgin to axe Little Red flights

VIRGIN ATLANTIC is to shut down its short-haul UK operation Little Red next year..... 

....Its daily services between Heathrow and Manchester will end in March, and Heathrow flights to Edinburgh and Aberdeen will stop in September.

Little Red launched in March 2013 following British Airways’ takeover of bmi, when Virgin Atlantic was awarded “remedy slots” on the Edinburgh and Aberdeen routes. Virgin hoped to build connecting traffic into Heathrow on the domestic routes, the first it has operated.

Announcing the closure, the airline said: ‘Demand has been predominantly from point-to-point customers rather than connecting traffic. Little Red has unfortunately not been able to make a positive contribution to Virgin Atlantic’s network.’


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Picture Credit: 'Virgins "Little Red" EI-DEO at Heathrow'  by Simon Boddy via Wikimedia Commons

Thursday, 23 October 2014

Our plan for tourism, by Labour

BRITAIN’S Labour Party has said tourism would play a ‘key role’ in its plans for growth and jobs in the country if it were to come back into power after next year’s General Election.
Shadow Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport Harriet Harman has announced a plan to boost tourism that would include an ‘efficient and robust visa system’ with exit checks; a rail fare structure to make train travel cheaper; and a ‘swift decision’ on airport capacity.
She also pledged that the party would:
·       Cut business rate bills
·       Work with the tourism industry to build jobs for young people
·       Promote and regenerate seaside towns, arts, heritage and culture

The announcement has been welcomed by the Association of British Travel Agents, but some critics have pointed to the absence of any mention of Air Passenger Duty in its tourism manifesto.

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There’s more to Florida than that mouse …

VISIT FLORIDA invites travellers to experience not only the Sunshine State’s headliner destinations but also its other attractions.

·       Florida has 825 miles of beaches. Some of them are undeveloped, and a few are unreachable except by boat or seaplane. 


·       Art Basel Miami Beach … From November 8 to February 16, masterpieces by Picasso and Dali can be seen in St. Petersburg at the Dali Museum.

·       Florida has more than 100 craft breweries. St Petersburg/Clearwater and Jacksonville have established craft beer trails.

·       Less than an hour away from Orlando’s theme parks, visitors can relax on the 24 miles of the Canaveral National Seashore and watch a rocket launch from Kennedy Space Centre.


VISITFLORIDA.com

Go Holiday news : www.govillasandcottages.co.uk
All your holiday needs: IN PRINT - ON-LINE - DiGiMAG - SMARTPHONE -TABLET - BLOG - TWITTER - G+ - FACEBOOK

Picture Credit: From Top -  'Naples, FL beach' by Ebyabe via Wikimedia Commons: KSC-2014-1249 (01/23/2014) - CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. via http://mediaarchive.ksc.nasa.gov/