Tuesday, 31 May 2016

See the Roman Baths by torchlight

ONE of the jewels in the UK's cultural crown, the Roman Baths in Bath, Somerset, will be opening until 10pm every evening during July and August for a special season of Torchlit Summer Evenings. The baths take on a magical atmosphere once the sun goes down, when the crowds disappear and the flickering torches are lit.  

Set in the heart of the World Heritage City of Bath, the Roman Baths is a magnificent ancient temple and bathing complex on the site of Britain's only hot spring, which still flows with naturally hot water.

Visitors can walk around the Great Bath where people bathed almost 2,000 years ago, see the ruins of the temple of Minerva where Roman worshippers gathered, and explore the Roman Baths museum.

Run by Bath & North East Somerset Council, the Roman Baths attracts more than one million visitors every year, making it one of the most visited heritage attractions in Britain.

The baths will be open every day in July and August from 9am to 10pm. Last entry is 9pm. Adult tickets for the Roman Baths will cost £15.50 in July and August, while entry is free for the city’s Discovery Card holders.

www.romanbaths.co.uk


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Tunisia urges lifting of travel warning after UK arrivals plummet 90%; Turkey bookings down by 32%

THE UK government is being urged to relax its warning against all but essential travel to #Tunisia after a 90% drop in British visitors in the first four months of 2016. 

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) guidance has been in place since 31 British holidaymakers were murdered in two terror attacks in Tunisia last year.

The Tunisian ambassador to the UK said the government should take into account security improvements since last year. He said there was now a gap between the ‘perception of the level of security, and the real security on the ground’.

‘Every week terrorist cells are dismantled. Terrorists are arrested or neutralized. This should give a positive image, not a negative one. If you take statistics, you have much less chance to die in Tunisia or to have any harm in Tunisia than in so many countries close to us," he said, adding that he had never seen Tunisia's beaches so empty of tourists.

An FCO spokesman said: ‘We know our travel advice can have a knock-on effect on trade and political considerations, but we don't let this influence the advice we give. The safety of British nationals is our main concern. We are working closely with the Tunisians to understand the terrorist threat better and to help them to strengthen measures to protect tourists further.’

*Market research organization GfK reports a 32% drop in the number of holidays being booked from the UK to Turkey from April 2015 to the same month this year, while bookings to mainland Spain and the Canaries have seen a 33% rise over the same period.


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Green light for £17 million Beamish museum project

BEAMISH MUSEUM’S plans to build a 1950s town, Georgian coaching inn, and a replica of a Weardale farm have been approved by Durham County Council.

It is anticipated that the £17 million expansion will attract an extra 100,000 visitors to the region and will see the museum offer overnight stays.

Richard Evans, Beamish Museum director, said: ‘We’re delighted with the news that our exciting development plans for Beamish over the next four years now have planning approval – it is a milestone in the 45-year history of the region’s living museum. It is great to see the important economic and social value of Beamish being recognized and supported so clearly.

“This is the single largest project ever undertaken at Beamish. It will enable us to create a range of new exhibits for visitors to enjoy across the museum site, offering people new ways to experience the history of the north-east. By 2020 we hope to welcome some 750,000 people every year – including nearly 400,000 tourists from outside the region, which will have a huge impact on the economy in many communities. We will also create around 95 new jobs and 50 apprentices at the museum – meaning we should be employing around 500 people by the end of this decade.’

Beamish, the Living Museum of the North, recreates life in the 1820s, 1900s, and 1940s at the 350-acre open-air site.

www.beamish.org.uk



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Blue Flags for Tenerife beaches


#TENERIFE has won 15 Blue Flags for its beaches, an increase of four since last year. 

Of the other Canary Islands Gran Canaria was awarded 12, Fuerteventura and Lanzarote six each, La Palma five, and La Gomera one.

Jodi Beard, marketing director of holiday planning specialists Cheap-Holidays-Tenerife.com, comments: ‘We couldn't be happier with these results. Two of my favourite beaches, Las Vistas and Los Cristianos on the popular southern area of the island, have been awarded Blue Flags this year.’

Other Blue Flags awarded on Tenerife include Playa La Arena in Santiago del Teide, which has retained its Blue Flag Status for almost 30 years.

Blue Flag beach awards, announced each year by the Foundation for Environmental Education across almost 50 countries, are judged on four categories: water quality, safety and services, environmental management, and environmental education and information.


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Monday, 30 May 2016

Aegean launches Closer to Greece initiative

AEGEAN AIRLINES has announced its Closer to #Greece initiative, with the aim of promoting Greece’s #holiday destinations. 

Each month will be dedicated to one or more Greek destinations with a series of events in co-operation with local food producers.

Local delicacies will be served in Aegean airport lounges, as well as during flights in a campaign aiming to promote the varied and exciting produce of the country.



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Go-karting on the ocean waves

CHINESE cruise passengers will be offered a world-first next year, when Norwegian Cruise Lines unveils its onboard go-karting track.

Go-kart company RiMO Supply revealed on Friday that it has been tasked with arguably its most unusual project to-date: creating a full go-karting track on the decks of the new 3,900-passenger Norwegian Joy #cruise ship, which is currently being built in Germany.

The 251-yard long racetrack will be located on decks 18 and 19 and will come equipped with 20 electrically-powered karts, a viewing platform, a covered pit lane, workshop, storage room, timing system, and floodlights.

RiMO Supply says the karts will have to be designed to work ‘under the unique conditions of intensified UV and saltwater exposure’.

Norwegian Joy will debut in 2017, operating from the Chinese ports of Shanghai and Tianjin. The ship will also have an indoor amusement arcade area featuring dodgem cars.



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Bands by the sea

PLANS are in hand to stage Thorpefest, an outdoor music festival at the Thorpeness Country Club, near Aldeburgh on Suffolk’s Heritage Coast on July 2.

Featuring almost a dozen bands from 12noon until 10pm, the charity concert replaces the Music by the Sea event, which has been held outside the White Lion Hotel on Aldeburgh’s sea front since 2012.

Peter Osborne at organisers TA Hotel Collection said: ‘With music by the Sea attracting more than 10,000 people, it has become necessary to move and revamp the event. The privately-owned Thorpeness Country Club is the perfect secure venue with both indoor and outdoor space including a large lawn overlooking the sea.

‘For the first time, it would be a pre-sold ticketed event welcoming 3,000 people to enjoy some great music performed by national acts, emerging local artists, tribute bands, and favourites from previous years.’

Bands include the Austin Beats, whose repertoire features music made famous by The Rolling Stones, the Kinks, and other artists from the 50s and 60s.

Champagne, beer tents, and a BBQ would be provided by the Thorpeness Dolphin Inn and the White Lion Hotel.

Tickets are priced at £12 per person, or £10 for Thorpeness Country Club members, £8 for under 12s and free for under 5s.

For full details, go to www.thorpenesscountryclub.co.uk, www.whitelion.co.uk, or www.brudenellhotel.co.uk


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Aussie travellers flock to the States

THE number of Australian visitors heading to the US in the past 12 months has passed the one million mark for the first time, despite the weak Aussie dollar, according to research by finder.com.au, one of Australia’s biggest comparison websites.

Australian Bureau of Statistics Overseas Arrivals and Departures data shows a record 1.02 million Aussies travelled to the US in the year to March 2016. This was up from 971,200 visitors 12 months earlier. Cracking the million visitor milestone comes in spite of the Australian dollar sinking 15% versus the US$ over the past year.

Michelle Hutchison, Money Expert at finder.com.au/travel-insurance says: ‘While our dollar is not as good value in the US as it was a few years ago, lower flight costs have cushioned Aussie travellers heading to America. The figures prove Australians’ enduring love affair with America as a holiday hotspot – with official visitor numbers growing 5.3% in a year.’


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Sunday, 29 May 2016

Win a night in the Eiffel Tower




HOMEAWAY is giving guests from around the globe a chance to make history as the first to ever to sleep over in the world's most iconic landmark: the #Eiffel
Tower in Paris, #France. 

Travellers can enter a #contest at homeaway.com/eiffel-tower to win an extraordinary vacation this summer, including the opportunity to stay in custom-built accommodation inside the Eiffel Tower by answering the question: What would you do if the HomeAway Eiffel Tower apartment was all yours for a night?

Four winners from different parts of the world, along with up to five guests each, will sleep on the first level of Paris' top real estate location.

HomeAway's Eiffel Tower apartment, created by a Parisian designer in time for the UEFA EURO 2016 football tournament, will host the different groups on June 23, June 28, July 4, and July 8. The prize also includes three additional nights in Paris at a HomeAway vacation rental, round-trip transport, and a gourmet dinner in HomeAway's Eiffel Tower apartment.

Winners will be announced on June 10, the day the tournament kicks off in Paris.


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They counted them out … and in

Brits making more visits abroad

BRITS made 65.7 million visits abroad in 2015, up 9.4% on 2014, according to figures published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS). They also spent more – a total of £3.5 billion, up by 9.8% up on the previous year without adjusting for inflation.

The number of nights spent abroad also increased, by 10.7% to 682.4 million nights.

Spain continued to be the most popular overseas destination for UK residents, accounting for 13 million visits, a 6.1% rise and almost 20% of the total number of visits abroad.

Giles Horsfield, head researcher for the ONS International Passenger Survey, said: ‘Visits abroad by UK residents have continued to rise, but have not quite returned to pre-downturn levels.’

In-bound tourism figures were also positive. The number of visits by overseas residents rose by 5.1% to 36.1 million. This was the fifth consecutive year of growth and the highest number of visits since the International Passenger Survey began in 1961. Growth was particular strong from European Union states, with 5.27 million visits, up by 7% on the first three months of 2015 and setting a record first quarter.
Visits from North America were also up 7% compared to the same period last year.

Holidays remain the main reason for visits to the UK, accounting for 13.9 million visits, a rise of 2.1%. Business visits and visits to friends and family both showed growths of 7.1%.

A record 18.6 million overnight visits to London were made by overseas residents in 2015, an increase of 6.8% from 2014. Overnight visits to the rest of England grew by 6.9% to 15.2 million.

Visits to Wales rose by 4% in 2015, while those to Scotland fell by 4%.


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A place in Spain


EL OLIVAR, a luxury four-bedroom rural #villa near Ronda in Andalucia, #Spain, is the latest holiday home on the books of One Off Places.  

The owners bought the property last year, and have spent six months renovating it.

Set in its own olive grove, the house has whitewashed beams, terracotta floors, antique furnishings, original artwork, three terraces, a large garden, and a swimming pool.

Rates from £1,400 to £1,760 per week for eight people.

www.oneoffplaces.co.uk


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London to Las Vegas – direct




NORWEGIAN is continuing the expansion of its low-cost long-haul network by launching a direct service to #LasVegas from London Gatwick from £179 one-way.

The twice-weekly flights – on Mondays and Thursdays – will start on October 31.

‘We are thrilled to see our partnership with Norwegian continue to expand, providing another non-stop option for European visitors to visit Las Vegas,’ said Cathy Tull, senior vice president of marketing for the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority.

Says Norwegian chief commercial officer Thomas Ramdahl: ‘Las Vegas is a fantastic addition to our growing transatlantic network from the UK. Viva low-cost, viva Las Vegas!’


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Saturday, 28 May 2016

NSW leads for tourism

NEW SOUTH WALES is the number one state in #Australia for total visitor nights, numbers, and expenditure in both the international and domestic stakes, with Regional #NSW far ahead of its rivals in total visitor numbers.

In the year ended December 2015, Regional NSW received 689,700 international visitors who stayed 14 million nights in the state and spent AU$914 million, according to Tourism Research, Australia’s international visitor survey.

Minister for Trade, Tourism and Major Events Stuart Ayres has welcomed this announcement pointing out that NSW was the clear winner in regional tourism within Australia. ‘It’s pleasing to see the whole state benefit from Regional NSW’s thriving visitor economy. Best of all, these figures represent an increase on the previous year ended December 2014, with Regional NSW experiencing 8.5 percent more visitors, 15.1 percent more nights and 30.2 percent more visitor expenditure.’

‘The international appeal of regional NSW destinations including Byron Bay on the north coast and the World Heritage-listed Blue Mountains have encouraged significant growth in international visitor numbers, with the unspoilt south coast and the wine producing Riverina region also recording growth from international markets.’

The state also saw increases in the number of domestic holidaymakers.

‘From pristine beaches to snowfields, and rainforests to the awe-inspiring Outback, NSW is Australia’s most geographically diverse state and offers international visitors an experience like no other,’ says Destination NSW CEO Sandra Chipchase. ‘Combine that with a world-class calendar of regional events and you have the complete visitor experience.’



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Where they’re coining it!

THE ROYAL MINT in South #Wales has opened its the doors to visitors, allowing them to discover the wonder of coins and find out how they make their way into pockets and purses around the world. 

The #RoyalMint Experience at Llantrisant, Glamorgan, will give visitors first-hand knowledge of the manufacturing process, while static and interactive exhibitions will bring the 1,000-year-old organization’s heritage to life.
Anne Jessopp, The Royal Mint’s director of Commemorative Coin, said: ‘We are looking forward to welcoming visitors to a unique behind-the-scenes experience, showcasing more than 1,000 years of coin-making history, and the craftsmanship and innovation for which The Royal Mint is known worldwide.’

The Royal Mint Experience is open daily (excluding December 25-26, and January 1) from 9.30am to 6.30pm. Tickets are available to pre-book at

www.royalmint.com




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More villa options in Sitges

RENTAL agency Sitges Hills Villas has added properties to its portfolio in response to rising demand for #villa #holidays this season. 

The agency specializes in high quality holiday properties in and around the popular seaside resort of #Sitges, south of Barcelona.

Commenting on the surge in bookings Ali Scriven, Sitges Hills Villas marketing director said: ‘Our business has grown every year, but the increase in demand this year is exceptional and we have had to move quickly to source new properties.

‘Sitges is a cultured and cosmopolitan resort that has avoided over-development and this, combined with its close proximity to Barcelona and other world-class tourist attractions, has helped to grow its international recognition.’

Sitges Hills Villas has more than 70 properties ranging from beach front apartments to luxury country properties sleeping up to 30 guests. Its services include gourmet food delivery, wine and cava tours, a personal chef, babysitters, transport, bicycle hire, and event tickets.

www.sitgeshillsvillas.com



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Cornwall top holiday favourite for summer 2016

HOLIDAY rental specialist holidaycottages.co.uk has revealed the top 10 most popular parts of Britain, based on its bookings for July and August. 

They are:

Cornwall (86%)

Northern Highlands & Islands (80%)

Devon (77%)

Central Scotland (76%)

Central Highlands and Islands (75%)

Norfolk (75%)

Isle of Wight (73%)

Dorset (69%)

Northumberland (66%)

Mid Wales (65%)


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Friday, 27 May 2016

Bidding open for £40 million Discover England fund

VISITENGLAND is now accepting bids for its multi-million pound fund to drive tourism growth across England. The three-year, £40 million Discover England fund was announced by the government last year and was set up to help create a ‘world-class’ tourism offer in England, and to boost in-bound and domestic spend across the country.

VisitEngland has published the criteria for the fund’s first year, which is calling on applications for projects up to £250,000, which can be completed by March 31, 2017. Destinations and businesses of all sizes are urged to submit bids.

The fund will also be used to tackle some of the challenges facing English tourism, and support in-bound tourism, described as one of England’s most ‘successful export industries’.

VisitEngland/VisitBritain chief executive Sally Balcombe said: ‘While London continues to have global appeal, with more than half of international visitor spend, there is a wealth of attractions for visitors to enjoy beyond the capital. Our transport connections don’t always make this exploration easy, and customers now expect to book online, use distributors and comparison websites, and see availability at short notice, so we need to be digitally savvy as an industry to keep ahead.”

www.discoverenglandfund.org



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All aboard the wine train


FRANCE'S latest cultural attraction, the international wine museum – La Cité du Vin – opens in June in #Bordeaux. 

The museum is a 10-storey swirl of glass and steel on the banks of the River Garonne. Visitors can take a self-guided tour, exploring a series of themed spaces to discover the story of wine worldwide through the ages. The tour culminates with a glass of wine in the top-floor belvedere, providing a 360° view of the city and surrounding vineyards.

It isn't the only new structure on Bordeaux's landscape. The city will host matches –including the Wales-Slovakia match on June 11 – in the upcoming Euro 2016 championships at the newly-opened Stade de Bordeaux.

Visitors can book to travel by train from any UK station to the French city in a single transaction on the rail-booking platform Loco2 (https://loco2.com). Travelling from London to Bordeaux by train costs from £63 one-way in standard class and takes approximately seven hours by Eurostar and TGV. In mid-2017, the journey time will decrease by 80 minutes when the LGV Sud-Ouest high-speed line between Tours and Bordeaux is completed.

The new branch of the French high-speed rail network could also allow non-stop travel from London to the popular wine region. Eurostar, which operates international trains from St Pancras, says it is looking to add Bordeaux to its direct destinations beyond Paris.


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Fiji best for beaches

FOR the second year running, Australian readers of International Traveller magazine have voted #Fiji as the best place in the world for beach and #familyholidays.

In the magazine’s second annual Readers’ Choice Awards, Fiji led the voting ahead of Hawai’i, Bali, Thailand, Tahiti, Vanuatu, Cook Islands, Greek Islands, Mauritius, and the Philippines.

Fiji was also voted once again the best destination for a family holiday, ahead of runners-up Disneyland, Bali, Hawaii, and New Zealand.



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NZ set for tourism drive

AIR NEW ZEALAND and Tourism #NewZealand have announced a marketing partnership worth more than NZ$20 million over the coming financial year to promote New Zealand to new and existing international markets. 

The organizations are to invest more than NZ$10 million each over 12 months in joint marketing activity in the key markets of Australia, China, North and South America, Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore, the Philippines, the UK, and Europe.

It will build on the momentum of previous years with a particular focus on encouraging visits to New Zealand during the off-peak periods.


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Thursday, 26 May 2016

Up in the air . . .

RYANAIR has further expanded its London Stansted winter 2016 schedule with a new daily service to Luxembourg from September, 2016.

WOW AIR has started its Reykjavik-Bristol route. The route will be operated three times a week year round. With the new service, WOW air becomes the second airline to link Bristol to Iceland with a direct service, after British airline easyJet.

NORWEGIAN continues the expansion of its low-cost long-haul network by launching the UK’s only direct flights to Oakland, California. Three weekly flights will depart Gatwick serviced by Boeing 787 Dreamliners.

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Majority of travellers now book online

RESEARCH from MarkMonitor reveals that 68% of consumers globally exclusively book their #travel online. However, seven out of every 100 respondents surveyed ended up with plans not in line with their expectations, highlighting a need for increased education when booking online. 

The research, conducted by a market research company Opinium, analysed the online behaviour of consumers around booking travel online, including bargain hunting for seasonal goods and attitudes towards piracy. Opinium surveyed 3,257 consumers across eight countries, including the UK, US, Germany, France, Italy, Denmark, Spain, and the Netherlands.

With its focus on booking travel online, the survey results also reveal that of those consumers who booked a holiday that fell short of their expectations, posting a negative review was their first reaction (42%), above trying to get a refund (40%) and complaining to a licensing body (35%) — demonstrating the power of online word of mouth”. Alarmingly, following this bad experience, 37% of respondents reported that their debit or credit card details were misused or stolen, showing the requirement for increased vigilance when shopping or booking online.

Said Mark Frost, CEO of MarkMonitor: ‘With the growth of social media and a culture where consumers have the power to make their displeasure widely known through social networking sites, online brand protection has never been more important. This is especially evident in the fact that when asked how they vetted a travel site, almost half (47%) of consumers said they read the reviews.’

With one of the main reasons for using the internet to book travel being that it’s cheaper, 75% of consumers also go on to search for discounted goods online prior to their holidays, including sunglasses, clothing and shoes, event tickets, guide books, and luggage. But looking for bargains doesn’t mean buying cheap counterfeit goods or knock-offs as, overwhelmingly, the desire for genuine goods remains with 83% saying they wouldn’t willingly buy fake products to keep up with seasonal trends.

But of those 75% seeking discounted products online, almost 10% reported that they had bought something online that turned out to be fake — with clothing and shoes (33%) and sunglasses (28%) cited most often.

Says Mr Frost: ‘In an increasingly digital world, consumers are exposed to more and more online fraud, counterfeiting, and piracy. While the desire is still to buy genuine goods, fraudsters are becoming more sophisticated in their approaches, making it even riskier for consumers. For brands with an online presence, protecting themselves and their customers through a solid online brand protection plan is absolutely key.’


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Hotel boom for St. Pete/Clearwater


ST. PETE/CLEARWATER on Florida’s Gulf Coast has responded to growing tourism demands by adding more luxury and boutique hotels to its 35-mile stretch of white sand beaches.

Opal Sands Resort and Treasure Island Beach Resort (opened in February and March this year) have kicked off the transformation of the area with four others already under construction. The developments will add over 2,000 new hotel rooms to the destination, visited by around 50,000 Brits every year.

With an average of 361 days of sunshine each year and a Guinness World Record for the most consecutive days of sunshine (768), St. Pete/Clearwater is far from the inland #Florida of theme parks and chain brands.

It has the largest collection of Dali artwork outside Spain – at The Dali Museum –independent restaurants, boutique stores, and a craft beer trail comprising 20 independent artisanal breweries.

www.visitstpeteclearwater.com



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Norwegian launches door-to-door service in UK

LOW-COST airline Norwegian has launched an airport transfer booking tool for all UK passengers flying Norwegian. Passengers can arrange a direct door-to-door collection and drop-off service upon arrival or departure.

Passengers can search more than 1,500 suppliers on Norwegian’s website to book airport transfers to and from Gatwick, Birmingham, Edinburgh, and Manchester airports. They will have the option to travel by taxi, private transfers, chauffeurs, limousines, trains, and buses for direct connections to a designated address.

Thomas Ramdahl, chief commercial officer at Norwegian said: ‘Our transfer service will give leisure and business passengers a fast and secure journey to and from the airport. By offering a door-to-door service, Norwegian is giving passengers even more peace of mind when travelling. As such, we expect our passengers to make use of the transfer tool which will enhance their journey from start to finish with Norwegian.’

The booking service is provided by car hire partner CarTrawler, where members of Norwegian Reward, the airline’s award winning loyalty programme, can also earn CashPoints which can be used to make cost savings on all flights.


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Wednesday, 25 May 2016

Fuel shortage in France could lead to holiday problems

UNION-LED blockades of French oil depots and refineries have led to fuel shortages across the country, with reports of British and European holidaymakers finding themselves stranded due to panic buying and shortages at gas stations.

The UK’s Automobile Association (AA) has warned that half of the country’s petrol pumps could run dry as French drivers store fuel in fear of supply shortage.

Travel advice has been issued by Britain’s Foreign & Commonwealth Office, with a warning over fuel rationing in parts of northern and north-west France. The problem could become severe later this week as UK families travel to France for a half term or bank holiday break.

EDMUND KING, AA PRESIDENT, said: ‘AA breakdown services in Europe have been taking calls from UK drivers who have run out of fuel. We are recovering vehicles stuck at the side of the road to places of safety until fuel supplies are resumed. We are strongly advising our members heading to France to fill up their tanks before crossing the Channel and moderate their driving to get the best miles per gallon from their fuel. The only silver lining might be less traffic that will allow a car to travel further, typically 300 miles on one tank of fuel.’

The industrial action in protest against new labour laws has spread to all of France's eight oil refineries.


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Green light for multimillion-pound Norwich Castle plan

THE HERITAGE LOTTERY FUND (HLF) has earmarked £9.2 million for a ‘Gateway to Medieval England’ project to create a major heritage attraction at Norwich Castle.

The castle has been awarded an initial HLF development grant of £462,400, which will identify essential repairs and conservation work and set out plans for the development. The project aims to show the keep as it appeared during the rule of the Norman kings.

Newly-exposed Norman archaeology and architecture will tell stories of the castle’s past and a ‘battlements experience’ will offer views of medieval and present-day Norwich.

A partnership with the British Museum will bring medieval treasures to Norfolk, displayed alongside artefacts from Norwich Castle’s own collection.

Robyn Llewellyn, head of HLF East of England, said: ‘Norwich Castle is one of Europe’s most spectacular medieval keeps and home to a wonderful historical collection. We are recognizing its potential by funding a range of plans to enhance the museum’s existing displays and creating a complementary British Museum Gallery of the Medieval Period.

‘We’ve earmarked £9.2 million for the project and will be working closely with Norfolk Museums Service over the coming months to help them produce a first-class visitor attraction.’

Building work is expected to start in 2018, with the revitalized keep being open to the public by 2020.

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Brittany Ferries self-catering discounts in France & Spain

BRITTANY FERRIES  HOLIDAYS has announced a promotion on #self-catering holidays to #France and #Spain this summer. More than 110 French cottages and 30 Spanish houses are on offer, with discounts of up to 25 percent on the company’s ferry-inclusive prices. Discounts are available throughout the summer season, including the school holidays, and until the end of 2016. 

‘We are offering all sorts of accommodation, from rural retreats and coastal resorts to properties in villages and town centres,’ said Christiane Barker, general manager Brittany Ferries Holidays. ‘Clients can choose between France or Spain and our ferry-inclusive pricing makes this excellent value for money, particularly for families. You can secure your holiday now with a deposit of just £40 per person. The balance is payable just six weeks before departure.’

Gite and French cottage locations are offered in Brittany, Normandy, Poitou Charentes, the Loire, and beyond. Spanish properties are located in Asturias and Cantabria.


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Up in the air …

FLYBE has extended its exclusive partnership with #Disneyland #Paris for its Kids Under 7 Go Free entry offer to the theme park after it drove significant passenger growth during the first quarter of the year.  

Families wanting to take advantage of the holiday package offer, which includes Flybe flights into Paris Charles de Gaulle from Birmingham, Cardiff, Doncaster Sheffield, Edinburgh, Exeter, London City, Manchester, and Southampton – and from Southampton to Paris Orly – can book through to June 29 via the Disneyland Paris website for travel up to and including October 31.

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Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Saudi tourism to boom – forecast

SAUDI ARABIA’S in-bound tourism numbers could increase by 43% by 2020, according to research done for Deloitte. The number of international trips made to #SaudiArabia is estimated to increase from 18 million in 2015 to 25.8 million in 2020. 

Says Grant Salter, head of Travel, Hospitality and Leisure Advisory (Middle East) at Deloitte: ‘The kingdom already sees strong #tourism figures and hotel occupancy rates have historically been relatively high. There are more than 49,000 new hotel rooms under construction or in final planning across the country to meet the demands of this significant increase in tourists. We believe that with the improvements to the hospitality and leisure offering throughout the kingdom, there is a good chance that the projected increases will be met, if not exceeded.’

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Parents line up to challenge term-time holiday fines

THOUSANDS of British parents are poised to have fines refunded after the High Court ruled that children can be taken on term-time holidays. But the Department for Education vowed to close the loophole and change the law to remove the requirement that school attendance is ‘regular’ – which will mean that every unauthorized absence would be illegal.

However, any such changes could take years to implement and in the meantime millions of families could book term-time holidays following the court ruling.

The landmark case was won by Jon Platt, from the Isle of Wight, who refused to pay a fine for taking his daughter on a family holiday to Florida. He made legal history after the High Court ruled he was not guilty of any criminal offence. The test case will help parents take term-time holidays without fear of being prosecuted – and potentially allow some of the 200,000 fines handed out over the years to be reclaimed.

The case highlighted the issue of the high cost of holidays during school breaks. Andrew Shelton, managing director of flight search website Cheapflights, said: ‘It's unsurprising that families are flouting the rules when it comes to taking children out of school during term time, as prices can rise significantly in line with demand during the holidays. A quick search on our site today shows that families can save up to 45% by travelling during term time; a flight to Lanzarote is just £204 in September, which represents a saving of £340 on the adult tickets alone against the August price of £374.

‘Hopefully, this ruling will lead to some relaxation of the rules to flatten out those peak demand periods, giving everyone the chance to enjoy the benefits of a family getaway.’


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No nudity on Cadiz beaches

NUDITY will not be allowed at a popular tourist spot in #Spain, the country’s supreme court has ruled.  

The Spanish Federation of #Naturism objected to local legislation that prohibits nudity on beaches in the historic port city of Cadiz, arguing that naturism was a fundamental freedom.

But the supreme court ruled that authorities in Cadiz could ‘manage properly the use of its services, equipment, infrastructure, facilities, and public spaces’. The judges said the federation did not convince them that nudism was ‘at this moment an accepted practice by the majority of beachgoers’.

Naturists are allowed to use a beach outside the city.


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Argentina unveils national tourism plan

THE PRESIDENT of #Argentina and the minister of tourism, Gustavo Santos, have presented a #Tourism National Plan for the next four years. It foresees an increase of up to 50 percent in international tourists to Argentina until 2020, reaching nine million foreign tourists a year. This would mean an income of almost US$1 billion a year.

The plan sees the US, Canada, Europe, China, Russia, and India as among the main source markets, with the aim of generating 300,000 additional jobs in the country’s tourist industry.


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Monday, 23 May 2016

Up in the air …

WIZZ AIR has launched direct flights from Aberdeen to Warsaw. The service will operate the year-round twice weekly service on Monday and Fridays. 

Wizz Air arrived at Aberdeen Airport last year when it launched a twice-weekly service to Gdansk, Poland, in June.

EASYJET has recorded the busiest ski season in its history this year. With a 40 percent share of the UK ski market, easyJet carried 1.3 million passengers to destinations across Europe, 90,000 more than last year. New routes, good ski conditions, and a strong consumer demand have fuelled the growth in customer numbers, the airline said. 

easyJet operates ski flights to Lyon, Salzburg, Innsbruck, Grenoble, Friedrichshafen, Turin, and its largest gateway, Geneva.

ICELANDAIR will take its Glasgow to Reykjavik service daily on September 7. Currently it runs six flights a week between the cities.

Icelandair now offer services to 16 North American gateways with connections from six UK airports: London Heathrow, Gatwick, Birmingham, Manchester, Glasgow, and Aberdeen.




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