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Brits’ Must-See List
Dec 4th, 2013 by elisa

Northern Lights picture by Flickr user artic pj

Northern Lights picture by Flickr user artic pj

So, what would you expect a typical Brit’s most desirable attraction at a destination to be? The Grand Canyon? Taj Mahal? Great Barrier Reef? No, it’s the Northern Lights in Norway!

According to research from TravelSupermarket, seeing the Aurora Borealis in Norway is top of Brits’ must see lists, beating destinations such as Egypt’s Pyramids and the Great Wall of China.

It seems that previously far-flung destinations were more desired as they were harder to get to and seemed more exotic, whereas now travel across the world is much easier and more connected, British tourists are starting to consider the wonders available closer to home as just as amazing and desirable.

37% of respondents cited the Northern Lights in Norway as their number one must-see, followed by the Egyptian pyramids at 35% and a road trip down Route 66 in the US at 33%.

Other popular destinations and experiences included walking the Great Wall of China (32%), an African safari (31%), and taking a helicopter ride over the Grand Canyon (30%).

A cruise in the Caribbean was seventh with (29%), closely followed by seeing the Taj Mahal in India (28%). Ninth was riding a gondola in Venice (27%) and tenth was diving in the Great Barrier Reef (24%).

TravelSupermarket’s resident travel expert, Bob Atkinson said: “Ten years ago African safari’s and road trips down Route 66 were appealing because they were so far away, but now we’re seeing destinations much closer to home, like Norway, become a popular choice because people have decided it’s something they must see, instead of choosing long haul destinations because they’re perceived to be once in a lifetime opportunities.”

What would your must-see attraction be? I think I might have to agree with the majority on this one and go to see the Aurora!

ETS opposition meeting in Moscow
Feb 29th, 2012 by elisa

The meeting of countries opposed to the European Union’s Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) took place in Moscow a few days ago. The result is a declaration signed by 23 countries listing eight measures they will consider adopting unless the ETS is scrapped.

The US, China, Brazil, India, Japan and Russia are among those who have signed, but Canada, Egypt and Qatar, who were involved in earlier protests against the scheme, decided against signing the declaration.

The retaliatory steps in the declaration include imposing new taxes on EU airlines, and suspending talks about giving European carriers more flying rights outside the bloc. Also, Russia has threatened to cap flights by airlines from the European Union, such as British Airways and Virgin Atlantic.

Russia’s deputy transport minister Valery Okulov said he was looking at giving preference to routes over Siberia to carriers from Japan, China and other Asian nations instead of those from the EU. This measure could force the airlines to take longer and more expensive routes to Asia and Australia, which may mean numbers of new flights will be limited.

Moscow is also considering banning Russian airlines from taking part in the scheme, following China’s example. A similar action is also being considered by the US Congress. However, the alliance of opponents have backed away from the more extreme measures, such as re-opening existing EU trade deals to pressure European industries.

Connie Hedegaard, the EU climate commissioner, maintains that Brussels will not back down on the particulars of the scheme.

The officials gathered in Moscow will meet again in Saudi Arabia in the summer.

 

2011 Round up
Jan 3rd, 2012 by elisa

Happy New Year to all our readers! Before we move on to this year’s news, here’s a round up of some of the biggest stories we covered on this blog in 2011, it certainly was an eventful year!

January started with the troubled BMI threatening to withdraw its Heathrow – Glasgow route after passenger charges at Heathrow were raised (this was confirmed a month later). Ryanair returned to Manchester with four new routes. And the political troubles in Egypt disrupted flights.

Spiraling conflict in Egypt caused complete cancellation of routes to popular holiday destinations in February. Meanwhile, Which? launched a super complaint on airline card fee charges,the cost of Qantas’ engine troubles were revealed, and airlines flying from the UK finally started to show clearer air fares.

March brought faster flight times under a deal signed by traffic controllers. But by far the biggest news of the month was the huge tsunami which hit Japan and led to re-routing of flights to avoid possible radiation risk, and advice to leave Tokyo.

A Skyscanner survey found Spain back in favour for British holidaymakers in April.

In May Belfast Airport started to charge for going for a cigarette break, and the ongoing battle between Unite and British Airways was finally settled!

More natural disasters happened in June with violent aftershocks in Christchurch, New Zealand and volcanic eruptions in Chile.

The News of the World phone-hacking scandal broke in July with airlines withdrawing their advertisements as a result.

In August research revealed the use of smartphones were ruining people’s holidays.

The Rugby World Cup was held in New Zealand in September, where Wales’ hopes were dashed.

The first biofuel passenger flight took place in October, however green campaigners claimed it wasn’t as environmentally friendly as everyone thought.

Europe announced a ban on body scanners at airports in November, but the UK decided to go against the decision.

Finally, December saw 150mph winds hit parts of Scotland, which is where we are now at the start of 2012 as tremendous winds continue to batter the UK once more.

 

So, what travel news is in store for 2012? Keep up to date here!

 

Long Haul to offer better value for money
Sep 26th, 2011 by elisa

According to Post Office Travel Money’s 2011 Long Haul Holiday Report, customers travelling to long-haul destinations will get better value for money holidays as prices fall in places such as Sri Lanka (where resort costs have fallen by a third from last year), the USA, Dubai and Egypt.

A spokeswoman for Post Office Travel Money, did however admit that the survey was intended to provide only a “snapshot” of prices in overseas resorts. Nevertheless, Sarah Munro of Post Office Head of Travel Money said prospects were bright for British holidaymakers, adding: “After a summer when the weak UK pound bought less holiday cash in Europe, tourists heading further afield for winter sun can look forward to seeing their pounds stretch further in most long haul destinations.

“Resort prices have fallen in two-thirds of the countries we surveyed a year ago and, in addition, sterling has strengthened against 15 of 26 long haul currencies.

“For example, the UK pound will buy over 19% more Kenyan shillings than a year ago and is also stronger against Caribbean and Latin-American currencies. Holidaymakers visiting the USA, Dubai and Egypt will be quids in too.”

The report claims that a ‘basket’ of 10 items, including a three-course meal for two with wine, would cost £31.81 in Sri Lanka and £51.48 in Thailand.

Elsewhere, China showed the year’s biggest price rise of 27%, to make the essential items average £116.43.

Jet2 suspend flights to Sharm el Sheikh and Hurghada
Feb 8th, 2011 by elisa

Jet2.com and Jet2holidays have suspended flights and holidays to Sharm el Sheikh and Hurghada from 1st March. The decision is due to the ongoing state of civil and political unrest in Egypt.

In a statement the airline said: “Whilst the Red Sea resorts are not currently affected, the safety and comfort of our customers is our number one priority, and as such we do not want them to face the stressful uncertainty of whether their holiday will go ahead as planned.”

Jet2.com and Jet2holidays are contacting all affected passengers booked to travel to Egypt to give a full refund on their booking plus a discount on a new booking. They said customers have said they are are relieved at the decision.

To compensate for this loss of flights Jet2 has added 4,000 extra seats each week to Spanish and Portuguese destinations.

Boss Philip Meeson said: “Manchester, Leeds, Newcastle and Glasgow will see the largest growth in capacity as the airline responds to demand in the North with more flights going on sale immediately.”

The additional flights are as follows:

Manchester

· Alicante and Majorca – double daily on Fridays and Sundays.

· Tenerife on Saturdays making three flights per week.

· Many additional seats to Ibiza and Malaga.

Leeds Bradford

· A new Thursday flight to Tenerife brings the service to four times a week.

· Two flights daily on Sundays to Murcia.

Glasgow

· Majorca flights on Wednesdays.

Newcastle

· Two new flights to Alicante operating in the mornings on Thursdays and Sundays.

· Malaga on Wednesdays bringing it to six flights per week throughout the summer months.

· Many more seats available on flights to Faro.

Britain to send charter plane to Egypt
Feb 3rd, 2011 by elisa

Despite Foreign Office advice that the popular tourist areas of Egypt are calm, Britain is to send a charter plane to Cairo to bring back citizens who want to leave because of the increasing number of protests in the area.

Foreign Minister William Hague said: “We have been advising people in Cairo or Alexandria or Suez to leave if they can if they don’t have any pressing reason to remain.

“The vast majority of those wishing to do so have been able to do so on commercial flights. But I’ve also decided to send a charter aircraft to enable further British nationals to leave the country if they wish to do so.

“That will set off for Egypt tomorrow and I will send further flights if necessary just to make sure that people are able to leave if they wish to do so.”

Seats on the flight will cost approximately £300, which is equivalent to a standard commercial single fare.

MP criticises operators still sending customers to Egypt
Feb 1st, 2011 by elisa

Tory MP Patrick Mercer has hit out at tour operators that are still sending customers to resorts in the Red Sea as Egyptians prepare for a rally in Cairo.

The Foreign Office describes the area as calm, however, Mercer said it should change its advice to no travel at all to Egypt. He also condemned some operators for offering cheap deals to resorts like Sharm el-Sheikh and Hurghada.

Mr Mercer told ITV’s Daybreak: “If we pretend that things are going to improve in Egypt, we’re wrong.

“We must get our people out. Other nations have done that already. If we don’t then – excuse the pun – our nationals become a hostage to fortune, literally.

“Let’s implement the contingency plan which I know exists. Let’s get people out and let’s stop further people going there.

“Why holidays in Sharm el-Sheikh are still being advertised in different tourist agency windows I don’t know.”

In defence of their actions a Thomas Cook spokesman said: “We have already said that the feedback we are getting from people out in the Red Sea resorts is that they are enjoying their holiday and are happy there.”

Thomson also issued a statement which said: “As the Foreign and Commonwealth Office advice has not changed for Sharm el-Sheikh, Hurghada, Taba and Marsa Alam and as it is safe to do so, our operations will continue as scheduled.

“Thomson and First Choice can confirm that there have been no related incidents in Sharm el-Sheikh or any of the other popular Red Sea tourist areas. Our colleagues in resort have expressed that it is very much a ‘business as usual’ operation.

“The atmosphere is quiet and calm, with Sharm el-Sheikh’s main resort of Naama Bay bustling as people continue to enjoy their holidays as normal.”

The US, Austria, Bulgaria, Finland, Greece, Portugal and Turkey are all concentrating their efforts on evacuating their nationals out of the country; however the UK government revealed that it was working on a “contingency plan” to keep the 20,000 Brits holidaying in Egypt safe.

Egypt curfew times disrupt flights
Jan 31st, 2011 by elisa

The trouble in Egypt is severely affecting flights at the moment. One BMIflight to Cairo had to turn back to Heathrow on Saturday after the Egyptian authorities changed curfew times. All BMI flights between Heathrow and Cairo on Sunday were also cancelled.
 
British Airways gave customers due to travel to Cairo today the chance to cancel or defer their trip. They are still operating flights, however schedules have changed to suit the new curfews. BA also put an extra flight on over the weekend to return passengers home early.
  
Most UK tourists take their holidays in Red Sea resorts like Sharm El Sheikh, hundreds of miles away from the trouble in the capital. Operators are stressing that travel to these areas is safe, although most trips to the capital have been cancelled.
 
The Foreign Office have issued a warning however, that travellers should avoid all but essential travel to Cairo, Luxor, Alexandria and Suez.
EasyJet’s winter boost
Nov 3rd, 2010 by jason

easyjetEasyJet’s winter schedule, running from 31 October through to March 2011, is its biggest ever, offering more than 11.5 million seats across 230 low fare routes.

The no-frills airline has more than 80 new routes this winter, with a host of sun destinations including Cyprus, the Canary Islands, Egypt, Morocco, Tel Aviv and Turkey.

In 15 years, British company easyJet has created one of Europe’s key transport networks, operating on 45 of Europe’s top 100 routes, with 19 bases across 28 countries, and a fleet of 182 aircraft. This year it will have carried 50 million passengers on over 500 routes between 119 airports in 29 countries. It’s the UK’s largest and Europe’s fourth largest airline by passenger numbers. In 2009, the airline carried 28 million passengers in the UK and 46 million in total.

Sydney low point in beach poll
Aug 2nd, 2010 by elisa

In an article in the Metro newspaper last week it was reported that in a recent survey of popular beach holidays Sydney has gone from a popular destination to the bottom of the list. The Aussie city scored 18 out of 100, with crime ranking as a particular low point in the survey.

Budget destinations  most favoured by Brits abroad include North Tunisia, Turkey and Bulgaria’s Back Sea Coast.

Of the different categories to help rate destinations, Egypt’s Sharm el Sheikh came top for climate. Brit’s priorities in choosing a destination consist mainly of affordability, closely followed by security, weather and good food.

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