Saturday, 30 April 2016

Turpan, China, to attract tourists with cockfighting

A REMOTE city in northern #China, Turpan, is planning to attract tourists with cockfighting. The sport is 280 years old in #Turpan and the city hopes that the popularity of the sport will be more widespread and attract tourists from other parts of the country. 

A cockfighting association will be responsible for promoting the activity, and arenas will be set up in markets and bazaars. The sport – if it can be called a sport – will be brought out in the open so that illegal gambling associated with it can be eliminated.

Cockfighting is illegal in Britain – where it was banned in the 19th century – and in all the states of the US.


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When in North Norfolk …


HOLIDAY letting agency Norfolk Hideaways has searched for what it thinks are weird and wonderful activities families can enjoy when taking a break in its part of East Anglia …

Alpaca Trekking, Wells-next-the-Sea – The Inca Trail it is not, but for those wanting to have a unique coastal adventure, exploring the countryside and beach by Alpaca ticks all the boxes for family fun. Choose treks of between one and four hours. More kid friendly than Llamas (which have a tendency to kick and spit). Price from £28 per hour for a group of three. www.alpacatrekking.co.uk

Snail racing in Congham – Congham might have few claims to international fame but, surrounded as it is by salt marshes – a favoured breeding gastropod ground – it is home to that most thrilling of sports, snail-racing. The rules are simple: snails are placed in a small red circle in the middle of a round table and the first to make it to the outside ring is the winner. The time to beat? Two minutes, 20 seconds, a world record established here in 1995. www.scase.co.uk/snailracing

Davenport's Magic Kingdom, North Walsham – One of the largest collections of magic memorabilia and curiosities in the world. The interactive family experience takes visitors through 500 years of magic. http://davenportsmagickingdom.co.uk

Holkham Hall and Estate – Very few visitors to North Norfolk miss a visit to Holkham Hall and Estate, but this year, the events team has chalked up some new attractions: kayaking, Canadian canoe trips, and Zorbing across its expansive lake. Starting from July 11 and running until the end of the school summer holidays, Zorbing costs from £5 for a 10-minute, tummy-tumbling experience. www.holkham.co.uk/visiting/lake-activities

Langham Dome – Langham Training Dome, which opened in 2014 tells the story of the important contribution made by RAF Langham to the defence of Britain in WW2 and the Cold War. It’s a small building with a big story. https://langhamdome.org

Fairyland Fair, Sennowe Park, Guist – This year's fair (May 29-30) has music, Fairyland Trust workshops, storytelling, puppet shows, free woodland activities, pirate games, and craft workshops. Tickets £10, under three's free. www.fairylandtrust.org

Leigh's Bees beekeeping workshops – A must-do for anyone with even the slightest interest in apiary. Flexible workshops and demonstrations in various sites in North Norfolk, with protective gear provided. You'll learn how honey is made, what a queen bee looks like, and what bees do as well as practical advice from the structure of an empty hive to hands-on time looking through a working honeybee colony. Prices from £80 per person to £200 for a family of four … and you get a free jar of honey. www.leighsbees.co.uk

www.norfolkhideaways.co.uk


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Florence food tours

EATING #ITALY is expanding its portfolio by launching a new #food tour in #Florence, taking visitors through the neighbourhood of Oltrano – the Florentine equivalent of the Left Bank in Paris.

Says Kenny Dunn, managing director of Eating Europe Tours, parent company of Eating Italy: ‘Florence has such a strong culinary influence that we felt it was the next logical step in our expansion in Italy.’

On the Other Side of Florence Food tour, guests will taste what makes the city’s cuisine unique in Italy, and meet the families who have been serving up the food locals have loved for generations. 

Through food and wine tastings, guests will learn how to make Italian cantucci (biscuits), sample the local salami, and experience the neighbourhood’s Bohemian vibe. Tuscany’s wine, Chianti, is part of the tour.

Tours run Monday to Saturday, 10am to 2pm. 
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Picture Credit: Soppressa</a> via <a href="http://photopin.com">photopin

Finnair inaugurates Helsinki-Edinburgh route

FINNAIR has celebrated its inaugural flight from Edinburgh and Helsinki. The carrier now operates three flights a week between the two capitals.

To offer summer travellers greater flexibility, a fourth weekly flight will operate on Wednesdays between June 22 and August 10.

The new Edinburgh service joins London Heathrow, Manchester, and Dublin as Finnair gateways in the UK and Ireland.


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Friday, 29 April 2016

Haven launches Deck Houses

HAVEN has introduced an accommodation alternative at its Caister-on-Sea Holiday Park in Norfolk. Its Deck Houses have large open plan living spaces with 40” flat screen TVs and Bluetooth speaker, family dining rooms, and balconies or patios.

The bedrooms are en-suite and the kitchens are fully-equipped.

Deck Houses are available with two or three bedrooms that sleep up to four or six people and come with their own allocated parking spot.

Prices for a four-night break start at £329 based on a family of up to four.


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Malta tops list of world's best 10 scenic airport landings


It's like flying into a Picasso painting.’ 

#MALTA INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT has topped a global poll of the world's most scenic landings.

Jet booking service PrivateFly asked a panel of international travel experts and frequent travellers for their most scenic airport approaches. One panel member commented: ‘Landing on this gem in the Mediterranean sea is not to be missed! The islands of Malta and Gozo fit into your window... the sea, the blue skies, the landscape, the greenery, the cities, the temples, and all the colours that this beautiful island has to offer. Beats any landing by far!’

Ex-New York Times travel writer Joe Sharkey said: ‘Approached from a churning blue sea, the tiny, isolated rocky island nation suddenly appears and you immediately understand Malta's strategic geo-political importance for literally millennia by sea and later air in the middle of the Mediterranean.’

Adam Twidell, CEO of PrivateFly and an experienced pilot, said: ‘PrivateFly's poll has become an annual checklist for the well-travelled, and this year's voting was the most competitive yet. The 2016 top ten includes perennial favourites such as the imposing city views of Los Angeles and London City, the stunning mountain scenery of Queenstown; the tiny island airstrip of Saba in the Caribbean (the world's shortest commercial runway); and the unique beach landing at Barra in Scotland's Outer Hebrides.

‘Flying into Malta is a truly special experience – it's a tiny island landing that packs a big punch. There is so much to take in. Without being hectic, the landscape changes from coast, to farmland to the historic city of Valletta. It's like flying into a Picasso painting.’


The full top 10:

1. Malta International Airport

2. Nice Cote D'Azur Airport, France

3. Queenstown Airport, New Zealand

4. Barra Airport, Scotland

5. Saba Airport, Caribbean

6. Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport, Canada

7. Donegal Airport, Ireland

8. St Maarten Airport, Caribbean

9. Los Angeles International Airport, US

10. London City Airport, UK


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Throw a knob in Dorset!

WE’VE heard of Bed Knobs and Broomsticks –and doorknobs – but the people of Cattistock in Dorset claim to be specialists in, well, just knobs! The Dorset Knob*, a firm, dry, savoury biscuit – made by local bakers Moores – is thrown over a distance at the village’s annual wacky sporting contest. So proud are they of this local delicacy that a fine art foundry, Coles Casting, was commissioned to produce commemorative bronze Knobs which will be given to the winners of the Dorset Knob Throwing contest being held alongside the Frome Valley #FoodFest in Cattistock on Sunday, May 1.

The festivities will feature crazy games, all with a #DorsetKnob theme. Here’s a taster: Knob Catapults, the Dorset Tea Knob Pyramid, Putt the Knob, Pin the Knob on the (Cerne) Giant, and the Knob and Spoon race.

More than 60 local food and drink producers will be showcasing their wares at the #festival, and there will be craft and skills stalls, and live music.

The event runs from 10am to 4pm. Visitors are advised to approach from the Maiden Newton direction and follow the signs for free car parking.

www.dorsetknobthrowing.com
www.visit-dorset.com/whats-on

*Dorset Knobs are small biscuit-textured buns made by Moore's of Morecombelake since the mid-19th century. It’s thought the name derives from the hand-sewn Dorset Knob buttons that were also made locally.


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Lantern & Larks . . .

#LANTERN&LARKS opens its fourth #glamping site this weekend, in the hills of Somerset. Colonial-style tents sleep six in three bedrooms perfect for the family.

It’s in Kittisford Barton near Wellington, on an organic farm with the Blackdown Hills as a backdrop.  


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Thursday, 28 April 2016

Helpful Holidays and Cath Kidston offer holiday prize

CATH KIDSTON has teamed up with Helpful Holidays to offer a lucky winner a #holiday in the fashionable South Devon town of Salcombe. 

The winner will be picked at random by entering their details on a postcard available in Cath Kidston stores or via the Cath Kidston website … www.cathkidston.com/fcs/blog/seaside-holiday. The closing date for entries is May 30.

The #prize is a week's holiday at Underbecks, a 5* villa on the hillside above South Sands beach, #Salcombe. With five en suite bedrooms, the winner can invite up to 10 family members or friends to join them.

Private dining will be provided on two evenings, plus meals on other nights, as well as products from the Cath Kidston 2016 Spring/Summer seaside-themed collection.

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Picture Credit: Cath Kidston Shop, York</a> via <a href="http://photopin.com">photopin, Mill Bay</a> via <a href="http://photopin.com">photopin

48 hours in Edinburgh . . . Day One




VISITBRITAIN suggests a plan for your 48 hours in Scotland's capital … city of history, festivals, and haggis.

DAY ONE:

10am See things from a new perspective via Victorian technology
A fun and fascinating way to see the city, Edinburgh's oldest purpose-built visitor attraction the Camera Obscura has entertained and intrigued visitors for more than 150 years. With the aid of a mirror, daylight, and a giant periscope, live moving 360° images of Edinburgh are projected onto a viewing table inside this Victorian rooftop chamber. 
www.camera-obscura.co.uk

11.30am Join the crowds for the One o'clock gun
The city's most popular and famous attraction, Edinburgh Castle, dominates the city skyline from the peak of an extinct volcano. This ancient stronghold has been home to royalty for hundreds of years. Among the treasures on display are Britain's oldest Crown Jewels and the sacred Stone of Destiny, used to inaugurate monarchs for centuries. Other highlights include the medieval Great Hall. Crowds gather at 1pm for the firing of the One o'clock gun (except Sundays), a tradition dating back to 1861. 
www.edinburghcastle.gov.uk

1.30pm Quell your hunger with literary inspiration
A gourmet tea and coffee emporium, Elephant House is billed as the birthplace of Harry Potter; writer J K Rowling wrote much of her early novels here in the back room overlooking Edinburgh Castle. Authors Ian Rankin and Alexander McCall Smith have also frequented this café. 
www.elephanthouse.biz


2.15pm Pause for a selfie with a famous former resident

Continuing on from here you'll pass two of the city's most iconic monuments. A small bronze statue opposite the National Museum of #Scotland, Greyfriars Bobby commemorates a famous local resident, a little Skye Terrier who faithfully guarded over his owner’s grave in nearby Greyfriars Churchyard for 14 years. The statue was unveiled in 1873. 


On a much grander scale is the Scott Monument, a tribute to author Sir Walter Scott. The largest monument to a writer in the world, it has dominated Princes Street since 1846. For views over #Edinburgh and the surrounding countryside, visitors can climb the 287 steps to the monument's top. www.edinburghmuseums.org.uk/Venues/Monuments/Greyfriars-Bobby

2.30pm Become a kilt-wearing style icon
The kilt is Scotland's signature fashion statement. There are many affordable souvenir shop versions, but serious shoppers will prefer 21st Century Kilts. Owner Howie Nicholsby is a kilt-clad style icon, and celebrities including Lenny Kravitz, Vin Diesel and Alan Cumming have been measured up for one of his bespoke kilts, which can be cut from all kinds of cloth. There's also a ready-to-wear range in traditional Harris Tweed or more edgy denim. www.21stcenturykilts.com

3pm Go on a Scottish and international shopping spree
Continue your shopping spree at Jenners. Founded in 1838, this department store sells everything from big brands to locally-crafted Scottish products. Now part of House of Fraser, it's sometimes known as ‘Harrods of the North'. Or there's deluxe London import Harvey Nichols - five floors of international luxury. With far reaching views over the city, its fourth floor bar, brasserie, and restaurant is a stylish destination for cocktails, afternoon tea or fine dining. 
www.houseoffraser.co.uk
www.harveynichols.com/store/edinburgh


6pm Sample local ales and a ‘Greyfriars Bobby' hot dog
When specialist beer purveyor The Hanging Bat Beer Cafe opened in 2012 it was the first bar in Britain not to offer pints, believing that craft beer is best served in smaller measures. As well as beers from the Hanging Bat micro-brewery, Scottish choices include Fyne Ales IPA and Waulkmill Cider. There's also a BBQ menu with pulled pork, smoked ribs, and hot dogs including the ‘Chihuahua' with spicy jalapeño sauce, and ‘Greyfriars Bobby' with haggis and onions. The Potting Shed café, bar and kitchen is another suggestion for ales and fine pub food, or visit Timberyard for locally sourced food and artisan ale in an industrial-chic former warehouse. 
www.hangingbat.com
www.thepottingshededinburgh.co.uk
www.timberyard.co


7.30pm Enjoy a taste of the Fringe
Edinburgh's world-famous Fringe and International Festivals take place in August, but there are great performances to be enjoyed year round. Get a taste of the festival experience at one of Edinburgh's many theatres, including the Edinburgh Playhouse, Britain's largest working theatre with seating for 3,059 people. Other options include grand King's Theatre, concert venue Usher Hall, and Traverse Theatre, which showcases new writing.
www.playhousetheatre.com
www.edtheatres.com/kings
www.usherhall.co.uk
www.traverse.co.uk


10pm Burn the night oil on Edinburgh's bar and club scene
End your evening with drinks in one of the many bars in the vicinity of Grassmarket, a historic market place in Edinburgh's Old Town. Or head to the Jolly Botanist - this gin bar and restaurant with Victorian style interior was voted Best New Pub 2015. Or make it a late night by continuing onto Cabaret Voltaire, an atmospheric basement venue hosting live music and club nights.
www.greatergrassmarket.co.uk
www.thejollybotanist.co.uk
www.thecabaretvoltaire.com


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Picture Credit: Scotland 2013 - 59</a> via <a href="http://photopin.com">photopin, Massed Highland Band at Embro Highland Games</a> via <a href="http://photopin.com, Bobby's Statue</a> via <a href="http://photopin.com">photopin

Glamp in Slovenia

ONE OFF PLACES has a luxury glamping site – set in a valley and surrounded by pine forests – in #Slovenia. 

It has tented lodges (each sleeping four people) with a private deck and an outdoor hot tub. They have double beds, en-suite bathrooms, and air conditioning, while the site has a swimming pool, a herb and vegetable garden, a wellness centre, shop, and restaurant.

Tabitha Symonds, founder and director of oneoffplaces.co.uk, says: ‘#Glamping takes many forms but few of them are as sumptuous and stylish as this. This brand new offering boasts splendid architecture, chic interiors, and oasis-like surroundings, so if you're looking to get away from it all and relax in peace and privacy, you've come to the right place.’

Price: From £160-£230 per tent per night, including breakfast.


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Fish for all!

THIS year’s Pembrokeshire Fish Festival runs from June 25 to July 3. Established in 1999, the festival has grown into a nine-day, county-wide celebration, with more than 250 events and activities. 

From fishy menus to outdoor adventures, and art and craft to seashore foraging, the festival is a celebration of the county’s superb fish and other local produce, as well as its spectacular coastline and maritime heritage.

www.pembrokeshirefishweek.co.uk


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Wednesday, 27 April 2016

Flybe boosts Belfast flights

FLYBE has expanded its 2016 summer schedule from Leeds Bradford airport with an additional daily weekday service to Belfast City from July 4, offering a choice of up to five flights a day. 

One-way fares start from £19.99 including taxes and charges.


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Online aid for active holidays



TO HELP guests get the most from their UK holiday, Holidaycottages.co.uk has launched its online ‘Active Hub’, which showcases cottages for cycling, walking, water sports, and educational activity holidays. 


Later this spring, the hub will expand to highlight the cottages across the UK where there are opportunities to learn to horse ride, have pottery lessons, ride classic motorbikes, or take photography lessons.

James Morris at Holidaycottages.co.uk said: ‘The new ‘Active Hub’ will help guide our guests when they’re looking for accommodation that suits the needs of the activity they’d like to do. 

www.holidaycottages.co.uk


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The Night Manager lures Brits to Palma

CHEAPOAIR.CO.UK has seen a rise in bookings to Palma, #Majorca, which it attributes to the popularity of the BBC’s recent John le Carré adaptation of The Night Manager. 

The online travel agency has seen the Spanish island enter the #top10 booking destinations for the first time as holidaymakers are lured to the #destination, which provided filming locations for the series.

Compared to the same period in 2015, Ibiza (now at 11) and Lisbon (12) have also entered the top 20 European destinations for the first time.


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Picture Credit: Cathedral of Santa Maria of Palma and Parc del Mar  Majorca, Spain

Thomas Cook adds Croatia and Mykonos for summer 2017

#CROATIA and #Mykonos have been introduced by Thomas Cook as it raises capacity for #summer2017 by 10%. The company has also re-introduced holidays to the Costa del Sol after a five-year break.

Cook claims to be the first major operator to publish programmes for next summer with eight new brochures across the Thomas Cook, Airtours, and Signature brands.

Additional capacity has also been added in Spain, Portugal, and the US, with an increased focus on Thomas Cook-branded hotels and resorts.

Fifteen new air routes are added for next summer together with 100,000 children’s places for £1 as part of an early booking incentive. Air capacity is raised from Manchester, Newcastle, and Glasgow together with new flights from Luton airport to Majorca, Ibiza, Menorca, and Corfu.

Managing director Chris Mottershead, said: ‘This is the earliest we have launched a summer programme for the following year and with the market more competitive than ever, we want to be able to offer our customers more choice and flexibility than ever before. 



‘Our new destinations of Croatia, Mykonos, and Costa del Sol cater for families and couples, both young and old, and we are excited to expand on our USA programme to cater for an increase in demand in holidays stateside.’
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Picture Credit: A church in Mykonos - Mykonos - Greece</a> via <a href="http://photopin.com">photopin

Tuesday, 26 April 2016

‘Lost generation’ unaware of seaside options

A STUDY claims English coastal destinations could see ‘significant growth’ if they focused more on attracting the young adult market. 

The National Coastal Tourism Academy (NCTA) report Coastal England: Are young people a lost generation’? cites independent research involving 12 in-depth interviews and a survey of 1,500 young people aged between 18 and 35. 

  • Respondents were unsure of types of coastal destinations or what they could do when they got there 
  • Almost three-quarters regard it with a sense of nostalgia 
  • One third said they could not think of anywhere appealing 
  • Four in five said they would rather visit elsewhere

Samantha Richardson, NCTA director, said: ‘This research could help transform the way in which coastal destinations view and communicate with this age group and highlights significant opportunities for growth that appeals to this market.

‘The results demonstrate that under-35s need access to the right information on what there is to do, the wide range of accommodation on offer, the interesting food, cultural activities, and itineraries and events tailored to this age group. What has also emerged is the need to target specific sectors for 18 to 35s, treating those with and without children differently.

‘Longer-term, there are real opportunities focused on active and wellness holidays. With the right product development and a drive on awareness, coastal destinations could see significant growth in these markets.’

The NCTA is a Coastal Communities Fund project that analyses the nature of coastal tourism to help boost jobs and the coastal tourism economy.


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Soaring visitor numbers make it Auckland’s hottest summer yet

A RECORD number of visitors have flocked to #Auckland, with more than 824,000 international arrivals into the region between December 2015 and February 2016 – up 10.7 percent on the previous summer. 

Auckland’s mayor, Mr Len Brown, says a strong visitor economy has many flow-on effects which benefit both Auckland and #NewZealand as a whole. ‘#Tourism has reclaimed the top spot as the country’s number one export earner and it’s not hard to see why, with such sustained growth in visitor numbers. 

More visitors to Auckland creates more jobs and more money for the economy, and supports the development of better infrastructure to accelerate our transformation to become the world’s most liveable city.’

*Rounding out a positive year for Solomon Islands tourism, figures show that international visitor numbers for 2015 increased from 20,061 in 2014 to 21,623 – up by 7.8 percent.


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Report names cheapest resorts for summer

UK HOLIDAYMAKERS are likely to find #resorts more expensive this summer compared to last year as sterling has fallen from its seven-year high, but the Post Office claims the pound will still stretch further in many destinations than it did five years ago. 

Sunny Beach in Bulgaria is the cheapest holiday destination in #Europe for the third year running, according to Post Office Travel Money's annual Holiday Costs Barometer.

Despite a 9.3% year-on-year rise in prices, a basket of essential items still costs only £41.55, it said. Next come the Algarve, Cyprus, and the Costa del Sol, where the same goods cost £52.65.

‘However, with packages to Spain selling like hot cakes after falling demand for Turkey,’ says the report, ‘there has been speculation that prices may rise.  If that happens, savvy travellers could head north for the sandy shores of Asturias, where package and resort prices are low.’

In sixth place Costa Blanca, prices have fallen 6% year-on-year, it said, bringing the cost of a basket of essential items down to £62.29. In Greece, the lowest prices are in Crete, Zante, and Kefalonia. In British favourite Corfu, prices are up by more than 14%.

Andrew Brown of Post Office Travel Money said: ‘The pound may be worth less in Europe than a year ago, but our research suggests UK tourists who choose destinations carefully could find resort prices lower than expected. However, sterling could be affected – positively or negatively – by the EU referendum vote.

‘For those still at the planning stage, it will be wise to compare prices for tourist staples in resorts you are considering before booking.  This could make all the difference to how far the holiday budget will stretch.’


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Thomas Cook Airlines raises capacity and introduces Luton flights

Thomas Cook Airlines is to start flying from the Luton Airport base of easyJet and Monarch in 2017 as part of an expanded flying programme.

The carrier is opening four routes from Luton – to Corfu, Ibiza, Mahon and Palma.

Each Mediterranean destination will be served by weekly flights with Ibiza on Fridays, Mahon on Saturdays, Corfu on Sundays, and Palma on Mondays.

The airline’s summer 2017 flying schedule sees total capacity raised by 150,000 seats and the introduction of 15 new routes. A major focus is on the Balearics and Canary islands, where 100,000 extra seats are being made available.

Flight prices from Luton lead in at £49.99 one way.


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Monday, 25 April 2016

Norwich Airport announces winter programme with new Flybe schedule

NORWICH AIRPORT has added holiday routes for Winter 2016 with new flights to Malaga and Alicante, plus a ski flight to Chambery in the French Alps, all of which will be operated by Flybe.

From October 31, Flybe’s winter schedule at Norwich will see the addition of two scheduled flights a week to both Alicante and Malaga, with a new Saturday service to Chambery commencing mid-December. These are in addition to its recently launched Exeter service through the winter months.

The Chambery link will be the first winter ski flight from Norwich since 2010.


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Hop-off for Afternoon Tea

#EDINBURGH BUS TOURS is giving visitors the chance to experience not only the best views from the top deck, but some of the best tea, cakes, and sweet treats the Scottish capital has to offer. 

Visitors can enjoy a set of exclusive offers – available until the October 29 – on Afternoon Tea experiences when they hop-off with their MacTours City Tour ticket. Holidaymakers can save up to 25% at five venues.

Kenny Campbell, tour operations manager at Edinburgh Bus Tours, said: ‘In recent years, Edinburgh has gained a reputation for offering some of the country's best foodie experiences. We are always looking to give our visitors more reasons to hop-off our tours to enjoy the very best of Edinburgh before hopping back on and continuing their sightseeing.’

Tours are available every 30 minutes, with frequency increasing to every 20 minutes in July and August.

MacTours tickets cost £15 for adults and £7.50 for children, with family tickets from £36 for two adults and up to three children.

www.edinburghtour.com.


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How to stay REALLY safe in Rio

WITH the #Rio #Olympics only months away, South America is gearing up to host tourists, some of whom might have concerns about their #safety in what Brazil Bodyguard Protection (BBP) says is notorious as one of the world’s most dangerous destinations. 

A recent survey by Mexico City’s Citizen Council for Public Security and Criminal Justice found that 43 of the 50 most dangerous cities in the world are in Latin America, including 19 in Brazil. According to the US-based International Women’s Travel Centre, Brazil is one of the ten worst countries in the world for female travellers. This reputation was reinforced during Brazil’s 2014 World Cup, which was marred by violence and petty crime.

‘Unfortunately, the energy and atmosphere that goes hand-in-hand with global events such as the upcoming Olympic Games isn’t without its risks, ‘says Marcelo Silva, founder of BBP. ‘When Rio opens up its gates as 2016’s host country, the streets will unquestionably become more dangerous. For travellers who want to dive head first into the celebrations without worrying about personal safety, our service is ideal.

‘Brazil and its neighbouring Latin American countries are incredible places, but it would be naïve to romanticize the region as a destination that’s just as safe as its Western counterparts. Our service exists to help both private and corporate travellers experience everything the region has to offer, without the lingering shadow of safety concerns.’

For those wanting to enjoy the Olympic Games with the total peace of mind that their back is covered at every corner, says the company, a personal bodyguard is a must. Its English- and Portuguese-speaking bodyguards in Rio are armed … legally!

www.brazilbodyguardprotection.com


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Caribbean opening for James Villa Holidays


JAMES VILLA HOLIDAYS has expanded into the #Caribbean, adding 56 properties across Antigua, Barbados, Jamaica, and St. Lucia, to its portfolio of 2,675 holiday homes in Europe and the US. 

 Managing Director of James Villa Holidays, Mark Bloxham says: ‘The #JamesVillas Caribbean collection is a carefully selected and curated portfolio of villas, townhouses, and apartments in four of the most popular Caribbean islands. We now offer four luxury villas in Antigua, 23 in Barbados, 11 in Jamaica, and 18 in St. Lucia, with plans to expand later this year. All villas have been equipped with the latest appliances, as well as having private pools.

‘Quite a number of the properties are located on holiday resorts so guests can enjoy the full range of hotel services including spa, restaurants, and activities. Every aspect of a guest’s holiday can be arranged on request in the booking process by James Villa Holidays’ dedicated customer service team, from flights, airport parking, car hire, and travel insurance.’

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Sunday, 24 April 2016

Humberside gets new Danish air link

A ROUTE created to strengthen links between the Humber region and Denmark has been launched at Humberside Airport. 

The route, which operates twice-weekly to Aalborg and Billund, is being operated by British Airways’ franchise partner, SUN-AIR.

As the burgeoning renewables industry continues to grow in the Humber region, with Siemens to start operating in Hull in 2017, the service is expected to create stronger ties to a country which has a dominant renewables industry. The flights are also designed to provide families with opportunities to explore new regions, with Billund Airport situated close to the original Legoland, and Aalborg good for city breaks.

Flights are bookable via BritishAirways.com, Humberside Airport Travel Shop, and local travel agents – with flight times averaging 90 minutes.


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To Tuscany launches Chianti Classics trail

VILLA-BOOKING website To #Tuscany has created a free trail to mark the 300th anniversary of the delineation of the Chianti wine-growing area by Cosimo III de Medici. 

To Tuscany's '10 Chianti Classics' is a selection of new and recommended activities and experiences to help guests make the most of their holiday during this anniversary year … from wine-tastings to star-gazing and open-air concerts to ice-cream-making demonstrations.

A highlight of the trail is the chance to follow in the tyre tracks of the professional cyclists competing in the 2016 Giro d'Italia. Italy's premier cycling race will include a special time trial through the Chianti vineyards on May 15. 

There's also the chance to taste some of the best wines produced in the region and tour a world-class collection of art at Castello di Ama, where visitors can combine tastings of renowned vintages and see works by artists such as Louise Bourgeois and Anish Kapoor.

www.to-tuscany.com/10-chianti-classics 

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NZ voted world’s top country … again

#NEWZEALAND has been named ‘favourite country’ for the fourth consecutive year in the Daily and Sunday Telegraph’s annual travel readers’ awards. 

Kevin Bowler, Chief Executive Tourism New Zealand, said: ‘This award is a real honour to receive and a tribute to the work done by all of those in the New Zealand community. It’s great to know that, even though there are so many wonderful countries to visit around the globe, New Zealand still ranks as number one.’

New Zealand beat off competition from the Maldives and South Africa to take the top spot.


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Picture Credit: Abel Tasman Beaches</a> via <a href="http://photopin.com">photopin

‘Wear It Blue’ day kicks off Titanic Belfast’s Year of Access

TITANIC BELFAST has launched its Year of Access, aiming to highlight the issue of disability access and encourage industry improvements when dealing with disabled travellers, with Autism NI’s ‘Wear It Blue’ day. 

Each month, it aims to focus on a different disability and ensure Titanic Belfast’s services and facilities develop to meet the needs of guests.


Titanic Belfast has been listed by SAGA and the Rough Guide to Accessibility Britain as one of the most accessible attractions in the UK.

Deputy chief executive and director of operations at Titanic Belfast Judith Owens said: ‘At Titanic Belfast, we are very proud to be consistently recognized as industry leaders on a local, national, and international level for our accessibility standards.

‘We have designated 2016/17 as our Year of Access. Each month, we aim to look at different disabilities and ensure that we are fully accessible for all our differing customers’ needs. We also hope that our example will inspire the tourism industry locally, nationally, and internationally to do more to better cater for disabled travellers.’


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Saturday, 23 April 2016

Terrorism concerns to boost UK staycations

AN ADDITIONAL one million people in Britain plan to take domestic holidays this year amid rising fears about terrorism abroad, according to research by QHotels.

Almost 34 million people – equivalent to 71% of the adult population – will take at least one UK break during 2016, an increase of more than one million people on 2014.

Increasing fears about safety overseas and rising holiday costs is driving the change, according to the study.

Only half of the people surveyed said they felt completely happy when travelling abroad. One fifth said they were concerned about terrorism overseas, but felt it would not stop them travelling. Seven percent said they were so concerned that they would look at UK alternatives, The Times reported.

Cornwall is the preferred destination of all the English counties, with half of respondents saying they would like to visit this year. Devon was in second place, (38%) followed by Yorkshire in third (31%).

The research among 2,000 adults also found that short breaks are now almost as popular as one-week or two-week holidays.

Claire Rowland, QHotels marketing director, said: ‘The traditional fortnight away is no longer what the majority of people want. As a nation, we’re definitely moving more towards shorter and more frequent breaks, and increasingly those breaks are in the UK.

‘Talking to our guests, we know there are a lot of factors driving that change. The cost of going abroad, especially with sterling’s weakness, is obviously a factor, but it’s also becoming more important for people to relieve the stress of their busy working lives by having frequent long weekends away rather than saving up for one big trip a year.’


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Awards for responsible tourism

TOURISM BUSINESSES and organizations are being invited to submit an entry for the World Responsible Tourism Awards 2016. 

The global search for the world’s most inspirational examples of responsible tourism in action kicks off with entries being accepted into five categories spanning issues across the tourism industry.

The announcement of the 2016 winners, at World Travel Market (WTM) London, will this year be part of the celebrations marking 10 years of World #ResponsibleTourism Day.

New categories for 2016 include the ‘Best responsible tourism campaign’ which aims to celebrate the most successful marketing or advocacy campaigns in encouraging and promoting a more responsible style of travel.

The importance of the awards in assessing how far responsible tourism has developed, and how much it been achieved in the last decade is not lost on the chairman of the judging panel, Professor Harold Goodwin of the Responsible Tourism Partnership and the International Centre for Responsible Tourism. ‘Through the awards winners every year, we see the standard of what is being achieved by people taking responsibility for tourism getting higher and higher. And every year we see more and more countries represented in our entries.

‘Tourism, if sold, enjoyed, and organized responsibly is of global importance, and our winners this year will set the standard to which all tourism businesses should aspire.’

Awards judge Simon Press, senior exhibition director for World Travel Market London, adds: ‘The World Responsible Tourism Awards at WTM London are a central pillar of the success of World Responsible Tourism Day. The winners and shortlisted companies act as a benchmark and inspiration for what the global travel and tourism industry can achieve in responsible tourism practice.’

The 2016 categories:
  • Best accommodation for responsible employment 
  • Best contribution to wildlife conservation 
  • Best innovation by a tour operator 
  • Best for poverty reduction and inclusion 
  • Best responsible tourism campaign

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Malta organizes screen tourism courses for tour guides




A SCREEN TOURISM training course for licensed guides has been started by the #Malta Tourism Authority (MTA) in collaboration with the country’s film commission and tourist guides union.

Screen tourism provides a link between a location and a film or television production, during or after the shooting.

So far, 42 licensed guides have successfully completed the ten-hour course.

Malta‘s history as a film location spans more than nine decades, with the first film having been shot on the island in 1925. Versatile locations, a skilled and adaptable workforce, a safe environment, long hours of daylight, competitive rates for crews, artists and extras, and fiscal incentives are among the factors that have attracted movie and television producers and directors.

Says the MTA’s chief executive Paul Bugeja: ‘Screen tourism is a growing phenomenon, with more and more destinations across the globe benefiting from a booming screen industry. Such courses can help provide a higher quality service level to tourists.’


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