Tuesday, 30 August 2011

That's Education: redspottedhanky.com announces fund raising for The...

That's Education: redspottedhanky.com announces fund raising for The...: redspottedhanky.com is proud to announce it will be raising funds for The Prince's Trust. red...

British Airways Cabin Crew to use iPads to revolutionise customer service

British Airways cabin crew are using the latest iPad model to bring a new dimension to customer service in the air.

The iPads enable cabin crew to have prior awareness of customer preferences and a greater understanding of each customer’s previous travel arrangements, allowing them to offer a truly bespoke, personalised service.

The iPad lets crew quickly identify where each customer is seated, who they are travelling with, their Executive Club status and any special meal requests. It gives cabin crew a whole library of information at their fingertips including timetables, safety manuals and customer service updates. It also means any issues can be logged with ground-based colleagues around the network prior to departure so solutions can be delivered while the flight is airborne.

When all the passengers have boarded and just before the doors are shut, cabin crew are currently handed a long scroll of paper, listing up to 337 customers. With the new iPads cabin crew will simply refresh their screen when the doors have closed through wireless 3G networks and they will have a complete list of passengers on board.

Bill Francis, British Airways' head of in-flight customer experience, said: "The iPad is already allowing us to offer a more personalised onboard service, but the possibilities for future development are endless. We’re receiving great feedback from cabin crew and customers already. It allows the crew to offer the thoughtful service they want to deliver and customers are treated as valued guests."

The iPad is currently being trialled with 100 cabin crew with the aim to roll it out to all senior crew members across the airline in the coming months.

Monday, 29 August 2011

Rezidor announces the Radisson Blu Sobieski Hotel, Warsaw

The Rezidor Hotel Group, reportedly one of the fastest growing hotel companies worldwide, announces their 9th hotel in Poland and their 2nd hotel in Warsaw: The Radisson Blu Sobieski Hotel featuring 435 rooms is scheduled to be re-branded in Q3 2011. Radisson Blu is one of Rezidor's core brands and the largest upper upscale brand in Europe. It features contemporary architecture and design, innovative service concepts, and the service philosophy "Yes I Can!" with a highly individual and engaged approach.

The property is known as Jan III Sobieski Hotel, Warsaw. It was designed and built in 1992 by an Austrian-Polish team, and was named after one of Europe's greatest monarchs, Sobieski. He ruled Poland for 22 years during the 1600s. Following his victory over the Ottoman Empire at the Battle of Vienna, he was hailed as the saviour of European Christendom. The hotel has recently been acquired by Wenaasgruppen - the new owner will continue the extensive, on-going renovation programme, and the hotel will be completely re-vitalised over the next few years.

"With now 17 properties, Wenaasgruppen is the largest single owner of Rezidor hotels. We are thankful and delighted to further strengthen our trustful co-operation and also look forward to further developing our portfolio in Poland - a country clearly on the move," said Kurt Ritter, President & CEO of Rezidor.

Upon completion of the renovation in 2015, the Radisson Blu Sobieski Hotel in Warsaw will comprise 467 guest rooms with Radisson Blu signature services like free high speed internet access, and will offer two restaurants, a lounge, a wellness area with Jacuzzis, sauna and gym, one of the largest conference centres in Warsaw (1,400 square metres), and some retail outlets, too.

The location of the hotel, in the southern part of Warsaw's central business district, is a perfect complement to Rezidor's existing Radisson Blu in Warsaw, which is roughly 4 km north. Warsaw's Fryderyk Chopin Airport is 7 km away, and the city's main railway station 1 km. With a prominent, corner location on a major thoroughfare, the building enjoys excellent visibility and is already a local landmark.

Dude Shoes: The Lightest Travel Accessory - Pack as many Pairs as you Like

With strict luggage regulations on air travellers, the average allowance being just 20 kilos, watching the weight is vital when it comes to packing those holiday essentials.

Coming in at just 250 grams per pair, Dude Shoes are one of the lightest styles of shoe on the market, meaning it would be possible to pack up to 80 pairs in your check-in bag and forty pairs in your carry-on bag.

Unbelievably light, with stylish Italian designs available in an array of colour combinations, the shoes are machine washable making them the perfect accessory for that beach to evening look, whilst saving that precious suitcase space. Dude Shoes are available at nationwide stockists and prices start from just £35.

Dude Shoes are currently stocked nationwide in stores including: Treds, Strolling for Shoes, Patrick’s Shoes, Scorpio Shoes, Whirlwind Sports and Weird Fish.  

Or visit the Dude website at www.dudeshoes.org/index_en.php

 (EDITOR: There's a variety of funky styles for men and women and when you are wearing them, you hardly know they are on your feet! Ideal if you are on a long flight.)

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

That's Beauty and Living: Simply Piste Online Ski Wear Store Announces 12 Ne...

That's Beauty and Living: Simply Piste Online Ski Wear Store Announces 12 Ne...: Online ski wear retailer Simply Piste is expanding its product range by introducing twelve more big name brands in time for the Autumn Winte...

25% of holiday properties not let this summer

3 out of 10 travellers reported having struggled to find suitable holiday properties when booking their holiday. Could this be the reason for so many let’s being left empty?

Research has revealed that a startling proportion of holiday properties have been left empty this summer. Following the recent pull-back in prices, an increasing number of investors are buying properties in prime locations around the UK and globally in the hope of making money from holiday lets. Unfortunately many of these new entrepreneurs make the mistake of failing to develop a suitable marketing strategy and are left with an empty investment property.

In a survey commissioned by www.PromoteMyPlace.com –a site which enables holiday accommodation owners to create their own professional quality website – it was found that 25% of holiday lets have been left unoccupied this summer.

44% of respondents said that they had stayed in a hotel on their last holiday and 39% of Brits said that letting a holiday property had not even crossed their mind when planning their holiday. Perhaps most worryingly, the survey also revealed that 32% of new holiday property investors didn’t know how to market their property effectively.

Peter Connon, co-founder of PromoteMyPlace.com said that “New investors need to understand that renting out holiday lets is a business like any other. The fundamental requirements are a good property, good sales literature and one or more channels to market”.

“Property investors need to consider not only how desirable a property is, but also how they will tell people about it. A professional quality website to showcase your property is essential, as is a listing on at least a handful of popular holiday let websites. Without these basics, owners will continue to face the prospect of an empty investment property.”

It seems that many people are falling into the trap of assuming it will be easy to find customers for their new holiday property, but this survey has revealed too many property owners are underestimating the importance of a sound marketing strategy and are losing money as a result.

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Etihad announces winner of 'Escape to Maldives' competition

Etihad Airways has announced Lynette Dobson from Abingdon, Oxfordshire, as the lucky winner of two tickets to the Maldives through its 'Escape to Paradise' Facebook competition.

Over 8,000 people across the globe entered the competition, which used a Facebook quiz to find out how romantic the respondents were. The competition posed situations such as "You're watching a beautiful sunset, you say" a) "The sun's getting tired and so am I" b) "There’s not much to do around here" c) "If beauty was a drop of water, then you’d be the ocean" d) "I have sand in my pants" or e) "You look great in this light". The application then determined where users lay on the romantic scale of 'Cold Fish' to 'Sizzling Hot'.

Winner Lynette, whose name was picked at random, was deemed to be a 'sizzling hot' romantic, and perfectly suited to a trip to the Maldives.

The stunning Maldive islands, located 700 kilometres southwest of Sri Lanka in the Indian Ocean, have long represented a romantic dream for holidaymakers and travellers across the world.

Etihad will launch daily flights to Malé in the Maldives on November 1, and following her win Lynette will be on the inaugural flight. Despite the remote location, these new flights mean it is easier than ever to plan a trip of a lifetime and discover this idyllic destination.

"I can't believe I've been lucky enough to win this prize," said Lynette. "I've always wanted to go to the Maldives and Etihad have made my dream come true."

James Hogan, Etihad Airways Chief Executive Officer, said: "We are very excited to be launching flights to the Maldives later this year, and to be opening up this exclusive destination to more guests than ever. It is with great pleasure that we invite Lynette to visit these stunning islands, and sample our award winning airline, in celebration."

Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates, began operations in 2003, and in 2010 carried more than seven million passengers. From its hub at Abu Dhabi International Airport, Etihad serves 72 cities in the Middle East, Africa, Europe, Asia, Australia and North America, with a fleet of 61 Airbus and Boeing aircraft, and 100 aircraft on order, including 10 Airbus A380s, the world’s largest passenger aircraft. For more information, please visit: www.etihadairways.com.

Film brings people to Malia

Inbetweeners stars 
and Club 18-30 reps
Following the release of The Inbetweeners Movie, Club 18-30 has seen an increase in searches for clubbing holidays to Malia. In the finale to the award winning E4 sitcom, Will, Neil, Simon and Jay head off to this popular clubbing resort in Crete. Holiday experts expect that the film will set the travel trend for 2012.

“Early indications show more interest than ever before for Malia since The Inbetweeners Movie was released last week,” said Russell Whitton, Club 18-30's trading manager. “Whilst it's only been a few days since the film’s release, it is a positive sign Malia will be the place to go in 2012 for young holiday makers."

Thanks to its abundance of clubs with big name DJs, trendy bars and fine sandy beaches, Malia is one of the most popular tourist locations in Europe already. Many young people choose to book their holidays through Club 18-30, the UK's largest Youth Specialist Tour Operator, because their package holiday deals to Malia start from £175 per person.

Club 18-30 teamed up with the new movie based on the award winning Channel 4 comedy series The Inbetweeners, in a partnership that saw 100 Club 18-30 representatives and retail staff feature as extras in the film.

Club 18-30 enjoyed exclusive promotional rights within the travel sector in exchange for supporting the film, which included flying out staff to Magaluf in Majorca for a once in a lifetime week of filming. With the film’s release this week, Club 18-30 will use the partnership to raise brand awareness during the peak booking time for late escapes and for early bookings for Summer 2012.

Club 18-30 is the UK’s leading youth holiday operator. Established in 1965, it is one of the longest running brands in the tour operating industry. Over 100,000 young people book their clubbing holidays through Club 18-30 every year.

Providing affordable holidays tailored to suit young peoples’ needs, Club 18-30 operates programmes to Ibiza, Majorca, Corfu, Zante, Crete, Rhodes, Kos, Cyprus, Turkey and Bulgaria. World class entertainment is provided in conjunction with promoters such as Ministry of Sound, Judgement Sundays and Hed Kandi. Events include Silent Disco, Boat Party, Neon Nights and School Disco.

Club 18-30 also operates in the Republic of Ireland offering programmes to Ibiza, Majorca, Corfu, Zante, Crete, Cyprus and Turkey, direct from Dublin Airport. Flights to Majorca are also available direct from Cork and Shannon airports. Visit www.club18-30.com to view their latest deals.

Club 18-30 is part of Thomas Cook Group plc (www.thomascookgroup.com).

Unique Home Stays Proves Luxury is Key

Olive Grove, Andalucia The last year has seen the trend for luxury travel sway towards holidays that offer privacy and personal service. Or so says recent research.

The Global Trends Report, published by the International Luxury Travel Market, shows that travellers are looking less at larger and ostentatious resorts, and are instead choosing private islands and holiday homes offeingr a more simplistic and authentic experience with a commitment to the local environment.

The report also shows that customers are looking for accommodation, often with eco-credentials, that combines top quality accommodation with value for money and excellent service.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, bookings for luxury accommodation provider Unique Home Stays have risen by over 40% in the last 12 months.

Offering a seamless service that’s built on personal relationships, the company, operating for a decade, affords guests access to some of the best private homes in the world.

The home owners are often very interesting people who love to host and are keen to offer guests an authentic experience that you can’t get elsewhere.

Welcome hampers are offered at many of the properties, containing locally sourced products in order to support their local community.

Plus, the properties are individually assessed to ensure they offer excellent value for money and a truly unique experience.

Take a property like The Olive Grove, for example. Nestled in a beautiful mountainous area in Andalucía, guests can indulge in the complete privacy and seclusion of a nature reserve overlooking the Mediterranean Sea, or explore the surrounding area, armed with expert insider knowledge direct from the owners.

Sarah Stanley, Managing Director of Unique Home Stays, said: ‘Having travelled the world, I had stayed in many and varied accommodation, which afforded me a clear idea of what I wanted to achieve with Unique Home Stays.

‘My aim was to hand-pick the very best private luxury accommodation oozing with character, with interesting owners that wanted to provide guests with a real experience.

‘I think this is why our guests keep coming back to us – once they’ve realised that there is a world outside of humdrum hotel resorts, they can’t wait to experience the next property!’

New additions to the portfolio
We're delighted to introduce you to the latest additions to the Unique Home Stays portfolio...

The Merchant´s House, Frome, Somerset
What: A grand 17th century quirky town house B&B in the quaint market town of Frome, Somerset.
Best for: The perfect base from which to explore nearby Bath and Wells, or simply indulge in the excellent local pubs and shops.
Tell me more: Bed and Breakfast property sleeping up to 4 people; from £60 per person per night based on two people sharing.

The Hamptons, Nr. Mullion Cove, The Lizard
What: Elegant luxury New England-style bungalow squirrelled away on a country estate in West Cornwall.
Best for: With spacious open plan design and luxurious furnishings throughout, a comfortable relaxing stay is guaranteed.
Tell me more: Self-catering property sleeping up to 4 guests; from £695 for a week’s stay.

The Duck House, Kraków, Poland
What: This contemporary yet rustic summer house perches up on the hill overlooking a large lively duck pond and boasts a neat decked area with hot tub.
Best for: Just 8km from Kraków, The Duck House makes a perfect location for exploring beautiful Poland.
Tell me more: Self-catering property sleeping up to 7 people; from £295 per night


Monday, 22 August 2011

National Trust announces survey of spectacular tree avenues

The National Trust has announced a three year survey that will reveal the full extent, condition and stories behind the spectacular tree avenues cared for by the conservation charity.

There are an estimated 500 tree avenues on National Trust land stretching hundreds of miles which were historically planted to frame a particular view and are also now an important habitat for fungi, beetles, bats and lichens and forming natural wildlife corridors in the countryside.

The survey is the first of its kind in the world and as a result the Trust, as the largest individual owner of tree avenues in the world, will be better able to prioritise funding for their care as well as bringing together for the first time all of the fascinating stories behind the wealth of avenues.

Brian Muelaner, National Trust Ancient Tree Advisor, said: "Tree avenues are the perfect example of man and nature working in harmony. This new survey will give us the opportunity to understand more about these spectacular natural monuments which are rooted in the history of the places they appear.

"Historic tree avenues were great vanity projects for many wealthy landowners and there are some fantastic stories behind those in our care, so it's especially important that we capture all of this information in order to keep telling these stories for generations to come.

"Many of our tree avenues are under threat from different diseases so this survey will pinpoint where the issues are and help us decide how we can address them. We have an extensive tree safety management programme which assesses the risk of individual trees but avenues as a whole are not currently taken into consideration."

With more than 25,000 hectares of woodland, 200,000 hectares of farmland and 135 landscape and deer parks in National Trust care, more than 20,000 individual trees, equivalent to the size of 500 football pitches, are expected to be surveyed over the duration of the project.

Notable examples of tree avenues at Trust places include the Spanish Chestnuts at Croft Castle in Herefordshire, planted using the seeds from the Spanish Armada wrecks in 1592; the 731 trees in the Beech Avenue of the Kingston Lacy Estate in Dorset, which were an extravagant gift from Dorset aristocrat William John Bankes to his mother Frances and the Lime Tree Avenue at Clumber Park in Nottinghamshire. This is the longest such avenue in Europe with 1,296 trees (2 miles) planted in a double row on each side by the 4th Duke of Newcastle.

Brian Muelaner pointed out: "A tree avenue is a natural picture frame and there is nothing quite like walking along one as a magnificent building or spectacular landscape comes into view and the image is captured in your mind's eye."

Two years ago the National Trust launched a project to survey all the ancient trees in its care. Almost half of the Trust's properties have staff trained in surveying and 20,000 trees have so far been recorded.

The work of the Ancient Tree Advisor and the survey of tree avenues on National Trust land has been made possible with the support of Cadbury.

Choice Hotels announces opening of Clarion Collection Birmingham

Choice Hotels International, Inc., the global hotel group behind the Comfort, Quality and Clarion brands, has announced that the newly-branded Clarion Collection Birmingham hotel has joined its global network of 6,100-plus hotels.

Centrally located and with easy access to the city centre and Edgbaston Cricket Ground, the Clarion Collection Birmingham hotel provides business and leisure travellers with a perfect base to conduct business in the Midlands and explore the many nearby tourist attractions. (EDITOR: Including the inspiration for the Lord of the Rings!)

The four-star hotel will initially offer 60 rooms, increasing to 73 by the year's end, when 13 suites will be added. Each room is tastefully designed from bedroom furniture to the bathroom tiles, and all feature LCD TVs and iPod docking stations.  In addition the suites will be decorated with a unique theme and feature a separate lounge area, and some will also have kitchenettes and larger bathrooms containing whirlpools complete with LCD TVs.

Guests benefit from free parking as well as dining in Headingly restaurant, which specialises in grill cuisine. The Edgbaston bar offers a contemporary environment to relax, with a wide selection of hot and cold beverages. Room service is available 24 hours a day, and guests can enjoy a full buffet breakfast.

The hotel also offers four meeting room facilities and is extending its meeting and conference offering to cater for up to 1,000 people. Also expected to open in 2012, the hotel has submitted a planning application to open a leisure centre that will boast a small swimming pool, gym, sauna, steam room and hot tub.

Duncan Berry, UK CEO, Choice Hotels Europe commented: "We welcome the Clarion Collection Birmingham to our global network of more than 6,100 hotels and are delighted to now have four Choice Hotels properties in Birmingham."

Yasin Hussain, general manager, Clarion Collection Birmingham, said: "We saw many benefits to working with Choice Hotels which provides such a strong global hotel franchise brand."

To celebrate its opening the Clarion Collection Birmingham is offering a special opening package of a two night stay for two people in a twin, queen, or king bed room including breakfast, champagne and a seasonal fruit platter on arrival.

The Clarion Collection Birmingham is the fourth Choice Hotels property to open in Birmingham. Most recently the Quality Hotel Birmingham Airport / NEC opened in Spring 2010 and other properties include the Comfort Inn Birmingham and the Quality Hotel Birmingham.

In the past three months Choice Hotels has also announced the opening of the Comfort Inn Hyde Park in London, Comfort Hotel Luton and the Clarion Collection Croydon Park Hotel. These new openings form part of the strategy of Choice Hotels to grow its business by entering into more third-party direct franchising agreements with UK-based independent hoteliers, companies and individuals.

Choice Hotels Europe franchises nearly 500 hotels across Europe alone. Brands operated by Choice Hotels in Europe include Clarion which could be described as four-star, Quality, which sits in the three-star bracket and provides a mid-scale full service offering and Comfort, the largest Choice Hotels brand worldwide, known for value and reliability.

Sunday, 21 August 2011

Protecting Kenilworth's floral assets the Elizabethan way!

Feathers at Kenilworth 
English Heritage is looking to history for avian inspiration to keep its recreation of the Elizabethan garden looking at its best at Kenilworth Castle for visitors this summer!

This year’s weather, with an incredibly warm and dry spring and Kenilworth largely avoiding the heavy rains of July that have hit the rest of the country, has already caused some challenges for Kenilworth Castle’s head gardener, Fiona Sanders, leading her to turn to an Elizabethan gardening manual for inspiration to keep the garden in peak condition over the summer – whether that might feature fair weather or foul – testing out the idea that eagle feathers may provide magical protection from the elements!

In the book “The Gardener’s Labyrinth”, written by Thomas Hill and first published in 1590, the author refers back to a method first recommended by Archibius, a Roman writer who lived around the first century AD. He writes:

“...tempests shall not be harmful to plants or fruits, if the speckled Toade inclosed in a new earthern pot, to be buried in the middle of the Garden or Field. Others there are, which hand the feathers of the Eagle or Seales skin, in the middle of the garden, or at the four corners of the same. For these three, as by a certain secret property (and for truth) by a marvellous regugnacy do resist the Lightnings, and that of these (the aforesaid) in no manner to be harmed or blasted, it to memory of the posterity committed, and by the experiences or trials or many skilful men confirmed.”

“Aside from the issue of cruelty to a toad, burying an earthen pot in the middle of our garden is not possible, as it is occupied by the beautiful Atlas fountain,” says Fiona. “However, as we have an aviary which would have been filled with exotic birds for Elizabeth I’s visit in 1575, we are going to put the Eagle’s feather technique to the test to protect the flowers from being damaged by whatever extreme weather the summer months throw at us.”

The feathers that Fiona will be hanging at the four corners of the Elizabethan Garden have been donated to English Heritage by the Hawk Conservancy Trust in Hampshire, having been naturally moulted by two of their American bald eagles. “We get many artists and bird enthusiasts asking for feathers from our birds, but we’ve never before had a request like this before,” says Gale Gould, Head of Marketing for the Andover-based charity. “However, two of our birds, Imber and Danbury had recently moulted a couple of feathers each, so we were happy to oblige.”

As the feathers come from a protected species, English Heritage has obtained Article 10 certificates to verify that they have come from captive-bred birds. “I doubt that my predecessors in the Elizabethan garden would have gone to such lengths, but we do know that the queen was fond of all kinds of hunting including falconry, and with only the highest levels of aristocracy permitted to use birds such as eagles for hunting, it is possible that stray feathers from the royal aviary might have been used this way four hundred years ago!”

The four feathers will be mounted, along with a number of other herbs and plants that the 16th century gardeners believed would bring good luck, at the four corners of the Elizabethan Garden, although their efficacy will only be proven at the end of the summer. However, if the dry spell continues for Kenilworth Castle, Fiona may well turn to another of the book’s recommendations – an Elizabethan hand-operated water sprinkler system called the Great Squirt – to offer the thirsty plants some relief!

Kenilworth Castle and the Elizabethan Garden are open daily from 10.00am to 5.00pm. Admission is £8.00 for adults, £7.20 for concessions and £4.80 for children, or just £20.80 for a family ticket (two adults and up to three children), or free for English Heritage members.

For more details, please call 01926 852078 or visit www.english-heritage.org.uk/kenilworth

That's Books: Shropshire: A Dog Walker's Guide

That's Books: Shropshire: A Dog Walker's Guide: Shropshire: A Dog Walker's Guide is a new book by author and dog owner Judy Smith. It is published by Countryside Books in paperback and ...

Saturday, 20 August 2011

Wild Country Tents – Perfect For Family Camping Come Rain Or Shine

Families looking to buy a tent to make the most of the forthcoming Bank Holiday can enjoy themselves, whatever the weather with the Wild Country range.

Careful thought in the design and manufacture of Wild Country Tents ensures they offer a great return on investment, providing a comfortable and weatherproof environment that will stand the test of time.

Features include sewn-in, sealed groundsheets, robust poles, ventilation features, super-strength zips and the use of high technology, weatherproof fabrics.

Carolyn Budding of Wild Country Tents, points out: “A good tent comes into its own when the weather turns and the wind picks up.

“Our Wild Country Tents are designed to offer families the reassurance of shelter against the elements, comfort when the temperature soars and the confidence that their tent will provide them with plenty of camping holidays.”

Wild Country Tents has produced an online guide - available to download at www.terra-nova.co.uk/findafamilytent, to help people looking for a family tent to make an informed decision.

Call 01773 837373 to find out more or see the range at www.wild-country.co.uk

Free Car Booster Seats To Take On Holiday

Independent luxury travel company Classic Collection Holidays (www.classic-collection.co.uk freephone 0800 294 9315) is giving complimentary inflatable car booster seats (RRP £29.99) to all children aged 4 to11 years who are booked to travel with the operator.

Branded BubbleBum, these lightweight inflatable booster seats can be effortlessly carried by children or adults alike and, when deflated, the seats fit neatly into their own drawstring bag making them easy to pack into cabin or hold luggage.

Bubblebum has been approved under United Nations ECE Regulation R44/04 for safety and are designed for use with a standard three point adult seatbelt. Bubblebum booster seats are perfect for children weighing between 15kg to 36kg (normally 4 to 11 year olds).

Bubblebum is an ideal solution when holidaying with young children as it means no longer having to carry a bulky booster seat. Weighing just a kilo, the deflated booster seat fits comfortably into hand luggage or a child's travel rucksack and, when needed, is quick and easy to inflate.

The BubbleBum goes with the child, not the car, so there'll always be a booster seat handy for taxis and hire cars, and as well as a great solution for holidays, the car booster seats are really useful at home when children are travelling with grandparents or family friends, or even at the cinema, theatre or sporting events.

To hire a child booster seat from a car rental company typically costs around £6-£9 per day whereas BubbleBum portable seats will be supplied completely free to youngsters on a Classic Collection holiday, are easy to take on holiday, and can be used time and time again when travellers return home.

For further information call Classic Collection Holidays www.classic-collection.co.uk on freephone 0800 008 7288 or visit the BubbleBum website at www.bubblebum.co.uk for frequently asked questions and glowing testimonials from parents and children.

Thursday, 18 August 2011

Door2Tour.com offers cash prize for signing up to eNewsletter

Door2Tour.com has launched a prize draw to win £500 cash.

The prize draw is open to anyone who signs up to the Door2Tour.com eNewsletter and doesn't unsubscribe before 13 Nov 2011. Their name will then be entered into the draw to win £500 cash to spend on whatever they like.

This Prize Draw from the coach holidays provider will come as a welcome relief for many who are struggling with the current financial burdens of daily life. The actual cost of living for some is proving difficult to maintain especially as everything seems to be increasing in price whilst salaries remain the same.

The economic downturn is certainly having an effect on families with at least two in five deciding not to go away this year in a bid to protect their finances. Recent research has also shown that approximately 39% (equivalent to 17.7 million people) value a healthy bank balance more than a break by the beach. As many shun their usual holiday overseas, domestic tourism, including UK coach holidays, is seeing a lift with bookings for British campsites booming to highs not seen since the 1950s.

Rachel Jones, Online PR & Marketing Co-ordinator, for Door2Tour.com said: "We like to do our little bit to help ease the financial burden for our customers and we believe that £500 cash will come in handy so have launched this Prize Draw. Not only will it provide a little financial relief for a lucky winner but, we also have the opportunity of reaching new people with our exciting and informative eNewsletters, issued weekly offering fabulous holiday ideas, late deals and amazing special offers."

To take advantage of this prize, all you need do is subscribe to the Door2Tour.com eNewsletter before 31 October 2011. Customers who already receive the eNewsletter won't miss out on the chance to win this prize either as all they have to do is recommend a friend to subscribe and if they do, both names will be entered into the Draw to win £500.

Rachel concluded: "We at Door2Tour.com understand that living in the current economic environment is rather difficult at the moment and we want to be able to release this burden on our customers. Although £500 will not solve all the financial woes, it will come as welcoming relief to somebody - it might even help some get away on coach holidays that they previously thought they would not be able to afford this year."

Anyone subscribing to the eNewsletter from 1st November 2011 onwards will not be applicable for the Prize Draw. The Draw will take place week commencing 7th November 2011 and the winner will be notified by email by 13th November 2011. The £500 prize will be transferred to the winner's bank account by BACS transfer.

www.Door2Tour.com is a consolidation of national and regional tour operators creating a diverse choice of UK, European and worldwide touring holidays, events packages, theatre breaks, cruises and holidays by air to many exciting destinations. All have live availability and offer the customer the opportunity to book online, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

New Bookable Cruise Website Launches Using New Technology

A new cruising website has officially launche, enabling users to book cruises nline. People using the site can even go as far as picking the exact cabin they’ll be staying in whilst onboard the ship, thanks to new technology that’s been made available on the site.

This marks the launch of a brand new cruising website which, for the first time, enables users to book their cruise entirely online. The site has been designed and created by the founders of one of the UK’s leading online travel agencies, sunshine.co.uk.

The site, www.bonvoyage.co.uk, has been in development for a couple of years, whilst the founders waited for the technology to be made available by cruise operators to allow people to book online.

Bonvoyage.co.uk brings something new and fresh to the cruise booking industry, where every cruise available on the website is bookable online and users will be able to see a complete layout of the liner they would be cruising on and they can select the exact cabin in which they wish to stay.

Features on the site will include videos of the ships, ports, shore excursions and more, whilst users will also be able to add on pre and post stay hotels to allow them to easily extend their cruise holidays. Berlitz star ratings will also be included on-site.

Cruises from all major liners will be featured on the site for people to view and book, initially with P&O Cruises and Cunard with the likes of Princess Cruises, Royal Caribbean, Celebrity Cruises, MCS Cruises and others expected to be added in the near future.

Targeted at both experienced cruisers and those wanting to embark on a cruise for the first time, bonvoyage.co.uk will act as a hub for anyone wanting to find out more and discover how to book. Itineraries and a map showing all destinations the cruise liners travel to are made available to site visitors and the booking process is quick and easy.

The cruise site is the latest offering from the founders of the UK’s fastest growing online independent travel agent www.sunshine.co.uk who also own a number of other websites such as airporttransfers.co.uk, familyholidays.co.uk and tenerife.co.uk.

Chris Brown, co-founder of bonvoyage.co.uk, spoke about the launch:  “The launch of bonvoyage.co.uk has been a long time coming. The site has been in development for some time, but we had to wait for some of the technology to be made available by the cruise operators. Allowing users to view a deck plan and click on the cabin they want to stay in is something we’re really excited about and a feature we hope will go down well.

“Cruises aren’t just for the older generation as some people tend to wrongly believe and we really want to encourage younger groups of people to consider a cruise as an alternative holiday too. We’re looking forward to seeing how people respond to the site and how it performs in the early stages. We’ll be offering the same high level of customer service as we do with sunshine.co.uk, as looking after our customers if our number one priority.”

LINK http://www.bonvoyage.co.uk

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Holidays To Turkey Have Never Been So Cheap

Packyourbags.com announces holidays to Turkey have never been so cheap with many 2011 Turkey holidays cheaper than 2010 and 2009.

Whilst the UK holiday market is continuing to experience tough trading conditions, the situation is clearly playing into the hands of British holidaymakers as many tour operators are forced to sell holidays at rock bottom prices to help reduce the levels of unsold inventory.

August is the height of the UK summer holiday season but for many holiday firms they are already preparing for the summer season to start drawing to a close, and crucially there are still tens of thousands of holidays still available for dates until the end of October that must be sold.

To show how keenly holidays overseas are being priced, Packyourbags.com recently compared the prices of a holiday to one of 2011’s most popular hot spots – Turkey. Their research revealed taking an all-inclusive holiday in Turkey for 7 nights departing 17 September 2011 is £40 per person cheaper this year than taking the same holiday in 2010. The 2011 price is £259 per person, whereas the same holiday in 2010 was £299 per person.

In addition, the saving compared to 2009 is even greater, as the same holiday in September 2009 was £315 per person, meaning a saving of £56 per person.

Packyourbags.com Managing Director Mark Kempster commented, “It is clear that for some going on holiday abroad is simply not an option with many UK households income stretched to the max. However, in light of this situation, there are thousands of unsold overseas package holidays available, making holidays abroad more affordable than ever, and I would urge anyone still to take a break this year to check out the thousands of unbelievable deals currently available to destinations throughout the Mediterranean”.

One of the reasons why Turkey is proving so popular is that it is still outside the Euro zone. With the current poor performance of the Euro your money will go a lot further than taking a Spanish holiday, Italy or Greece holidays.

As ever, the busy, lively resorts of Bodrum, Marmaris and Olu Deniz are still proving to be very popular, but if you prefer a quieter resort that’s still reasonably priced then Packyourbags.com certainly recommends the resorts of Kas, Patara and Kalkan.

For the latest offers visit www.Packyourbags.com or call them on 0800 652 5986.

Monday, 15 August 2011

Camping Holidays specialist shortlisted for Travel Pioneer of the Year award

I Spy Camping launched at the end of last year (2010) with a view to help families save time and money when searching for camping holidays.

At the height of this year's holiday booking season, the site held prices and availability for over 150,000 camping holidays from 16 quality camping tour operators from all over the UK, France and Holland.

In recognition of I Spy Camping's excellent first year in operation, I Spy Camping has made the shortlist for Travolution's prestigious ‘Travel Pioneer of the Year’ award for 2011.

Will Goodridge, I Spy Camping founder, commented ‘I am absolutely delighted that we have been shortlisted for the award. It is a great honour to be regarded amongst the best in the Travel industry and it recognises the huge strides we have taken in a very short time. However, onwards and upwards, we will be launching a number of new developments to the site in 2012, which will continue to add value to our visitors and the camping sector.’  (EDITOR: Well done,you!)

The winners will be announced on the 11th October 2011 at an awards ceremony held at the Camden Roundhouse in London.

Amongst I Spy Camping's key achievements this year include introducing a number of new camping operators to the UK market, including Sunelia, Travel Horizon and Vacances Directes; bringing better choice and cheaper prices to help more families escape this year. They also launched the Love Camping France campaign on Facebook which is continuously gathering momentum; inviting the near 1500 followers to share their camping holiday tips & recommendations.

I Spy Camping's mix of real-time prices and availability, maps, photos, destination-focused articles and guides, is uniquely placed to inspire more families to go camping. To review the site for yourself, please visit www.ispycamping.com

About I Spy Camping and Will Goodridge -

Will Goodridge was a previous winner of Travolution’s Travel Pioneer of the month award when he was Head of eCommerce for Siblu Holidays, previously Haven Europe. I Spy Camping can save families time and money when searching for their next Camping in France, Italy or Spain holidays.

Need holiday inspiration? Premier Inn can help!

Premier Inn has revealed new research that shows Britons are in need of some inspiration when holidaying nearer to home.

The Angel of the North and  Stonehenge are just a couple of the well-known sights that Britons visit every year but a new list unveiled today features a whole host of new must-see places.

The UK's biggest budget hotel chain has revealed that one in six Britons are unsure of where to go when it comes to looking for somewhere to visit in the UK, despite 63% saying they know the UK has lots of great places to see but they just don’t know where they are!

The new 'Bucket List' from Premier Inn is full of weird, wonderful and surprising places to visit, from a 100 year old tea room in Harrogate that boasts over 300 breads, cakes and chocolates; to the country’s highest pub that stands at an impressive 1,732ft hight. The new list of essential places to see does not include any familiar tourist sites, so the likes of Land’s End, The White Cliffs of Dover and Blackpool Tower don’t make an appearance.

Travel expert James Ellis, who helped compile the alternative 'bucket list' said: "The UK and Ireland have so many inspirational places to visit. We have history that dates back thousands of years, magnificently picturesque landscapes and wondrous feats of industrial engineering. They all combine to make a rich tapestry of places to see in the British Isles that means you don’t have to stick to the tried and tested sights all the time in order to be amazed."

Lisa Snowdon, who is supporting the campaign said: "There are some fantastic places on this alternative bucket list and it’s reminded me how great the UK is. You don't have to have a two week holiday to have a break so hopefully this list will help inspire people to have a weekend away closer to home."

Claire Haigh, spokeswoman for Premier Inn, added: "This 'bucket list' includes some of the UK's undiscovered treasures and should inspire people to visit more places across the UK.

"We hope that Britonss will look at this list and realise that the UK has plenty of places that will give some of the best sights in the world a run for their money."

Premier Inn has over 600 hotels across the UK and Ireland and, with family rooms starting at just £29, travellers can have a weekend break nearer to home that won’t break the bank.

Award-winning Premier Inn is the UK's biggest budget hotel brand with over 580 budget hotels and more than 42,000 rooms across the UK and Ireland including hotels in London, Manchester, Liverpool, Newcastle, etc.

Premier Inn bedrooms feature en-suite bathrooms, TV with Freeview channels, and WiFi internet access. All Premier Inns feature a bar and restaurant; situated inside the hotel or adjacent, offering a wide range of food choices.  

In 2008 Premier Inn launched in Dubai and is now open in Bangalore, India. On a domestic front, Premier Inn aims to be the largest provider of budget hotels within the M25 area by 2012.

Under the Premier Inn room offers, Premier Inn is offering rooms from just £29 (restrictions apply).

Premier Inn supports WaterAid, the international charity whose mission is to overcome poverty by enabling the world's poorest people to gain access to safe water, sanitation and hygiene education. Premier Inn, as part of Whitbread Hotels and Restaurants, aims to raise £1 million for WaterAid over the next two years.


Sunday, 14 August 2011

National Geographic Traveller (UK) latest issue is available, now

 Geographic Traveller UK Sep/Oct
The fifth issue of the 180-page National Geographic Traveller (UK) Sept/Oct 2011 issue, is available on the newsstands, once again it's jam-packed full of real life traveller tales and destination inspiration for you to read — and get up and go.

Cover Story: Spirit of Adventure — The best of adventure travel! Climb Mount Everest, dive in the Cayman Islands, take an Amazon cruise and indulge in Swedish wintersports as well as a whole lot more in their cover story.

Destinations — far & away: Forget Notting Hill Carnival — head to Trinidad for the ‘real thing’. Take a safari trip to Botswana and see its wildlife up close and personal. And discover the beauty of New England in the ‘Fall’.

Destinations — closer to home: From eco-lodges and cuisine to the warmth of its welcoming people, Jordan never fails to amaze. See Croatia by day and night in our spectacular photo-feature. And track down 10 of the world’s greatest train journeys.

Cities: The faded grandeur of Venice and the efforts to maintain it for generations to come; Stockholm’s green credentials make it one of Europe’s most attractive city breaks…

Smart Traveller: Live like a local in Beijing, explore the exciting cuisine of Brazil and discover our top choices for London hotels.

Interview: An insight into Moby’s many talents as he combines photography and music in his latest project.

Travel Talk: Ask the experts about your travel dilemmas; what you can do to avoid data roaming fees, the best stopover options going Down Under and the lowdown on data roaming fees.

Real Life: The growing trend of agrotourism explored and volunteer tourism at an orphanage in Thailand leads readers to find out about the launch of our own Young Travel Writers Competition (see below).

NEW for this issue

• A new 26-page digital sample of the Sept/Oct 11 issue: www.natgeotraveller.co.uk/sep11
• Competitions: National Geographic Traveller is launching THREE new competitions in this issue: a Young Travel Writers’ competition, the chance to win a once-in-a-lifetime trip to Peru for two and to also find out about our Travel Photography Competition 2012. www.natgeotraveller.co.uk/competitions

• Subscription gift: GBP 9.99 for six issues – and a free gift (a rucksack/across the body bag) while stocks last. Don’t miss out.
Promo code: NGTAUG11. www.natgeotraveller.co.uk/subscribe
• Competitions, subscriptions, blogs, features and more. www.natgeotraveller.co.uk
• Distribution for Sept/Oct: Marks & Spencer – 100 London stores; Waitrose recommended read in over 130 stores; Sainsbury’s promotion in over 300 stores. Plus all the usual newsstand distribution (including WH Smiths and independents).
• If you can’t find the magazine – let the team know today!

National Geographic Traveller (UK) is published six times a year, with a cover price of £3.85, via subscription and on newsstands. Visit www.natgeotraveller.co.uk for more information.

Find them on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/NatGeoTraveller
And Twitter: http://twitter.com/NatGeoTraveller

Online car hire comparison site offers mobile users convenience of booking anywhere anytime using new app

When a quick change of travel plans demands a car hire booking on the fly, the new Android phone app launched by Carrentals.co.uk can save the day.

With any Android device, you can search the current rates of 50 top car rental firms for anything from a car hire in Ireland to a luxury sedan in Nice using the new app from Carrentals.co.uk. Find the best rates possible on car hire to any of the 15,000 worldwide locations covered by the popular online booking service.

Gareth Robinson, Managing Director of Carrentals.co.uk, says: “We’re keeping pace with the continuing rise of Smartphones across the UK and Europe by launching our very own app designed to replicate the comprehensive car hire services offered on our website. Now you have the power to make a quick and simple booking anywhere your Android phone can connect.”

Go to www.carrentals.co.uk/about/carrentals-mobile/carrentals-andr... for the latest free version of the Android phone app. A version for Apple’s iPhone is expected to be released by the end of the year.

Making a car hire booking from an Android phone is easier than ever with the app from Carrentals.co.uk. After completing the reservation, an immediate confirmation code will be delivered to the mobile phone followed by an email detailing the booking information and serving as a rental voucher for pick up.

The process of arranging a reservation using car hire in Dublin airport the Android app is fast and easy. As soon as the process is completed, the website sends an email to the user with the actual rental voucher and full information. An instant message is also sent to the mobile phone with a special confirmation number confirming the booking.

Carrentals.co.uk is a popular online rental car booking website displaying up-to-date special offers and current rates from over 50 rental agencies like Alamo, Auto Europe, Budget, Holiday Autos and Sixt at 15,000 locations around the world from car hire in Dublin airport to a rental for the coast of Spain.


Thursday, 11 August 2011

Europcar locations set to open 7 days a week with 24 hour opening to be launched at 6 key airports

Europcar has announced that from September 2011, busy travellers can benefit from 7-day opening at over 60 Europcar locations across the UK, letting them pick-up and return hire vehicles on the day that suits them, even if it's a Sunday.

"Conventionally, the car hire market comes to a halt for the weekend after 1pm on Saturdays," explained Ken McCall, Managing Director, Europcar Group UK. "So customers either have to use an out of hours service or take another day's hire, which is not always convenient and adds to the cost. And this is pretty inconvenient for customers who are used to accessing most other consumer and retail services 7 days a week. Therefore we are extending the opening hours of these key locations to make hiring a car even more convenient for our customers."

As Europe's leader in flexible car hire services for both leisure and business users, Europcar is the first car hire provider to open seven days a week at many of its UK locations, setting the benchmark for improving the car hire experience. It is also launching 24 hour opening at six key airports, offering customers access to quality car hire whenever they need it.

McCall continued: "We want to ensure that car hire fits in with our customer's needs, by offering as much choice and flexibility as possible. By extending our opening hours at more than 60 locations to cover the entire weekend and at key airports staying open 24/7, we are offering the most adaptable car hire product possible. This is an exciting initiative for us and we think it is great news for our customers."

From September 2011, Europcar will be operating 7 day car hire across 60 locations, including 22 airports and 38 city centre branches, as well as 24 hour car hire operating at six major airports. The remaining 128 locations, including airports, will be open 6 days a week, 8am to 6pm Monday to Friday and 8am to 1pm on Saturdays, with 7-day openings in these remaining locations being rolled out to respond to customer needs.

"We have been trialling extended opening hours at selected locations over the last few months, with considerable success," added Ken McCall. "It therefore made perfect sense to roll out this service to more locations.

"Once again, Europcar is setting the standard by delivering a service that meets the changing needs of our customers, helping them save time and enjoy quality, flexible car hire that suits their busy lifestyle."

Europcar offers the most flexible pick up and drop off locations and services in the UK, utilising an outstanding fleet including vans, family and prestige vehicles. Europcar will be the largest car hire company in the UK to have branches open on Sundays, reflecting its position at the forefront of the car hire market.

Thomson and First Choice won’t leave Police out of Pocket or in the lurch

In support of the bravery Britain’s Police Force has shown this week Thomson and First Choice will allow police officers to rebook their holidays without incurring any extra charges.

Police Officers across the country were advised yesterday that all leave has been cancelled in order to deal with any further disturbances in England’s cities. While this will be hugely disappointing for hardworking members of the Police Force, if they’ve booked their holidays with either Thomson or First Choice they will be able to change their holiday dates free of charge.

“We know how important holidays are and that nobody needs a holiday more than members of the Police Force right now,” says Nick Longman, Director of Distribution for Thomson and First Choice.

“We want to ensure that all members of the Police will still be able to take their well earned break with us, at a time convenient to them. Our retail staff, some of whom have been affected by the riots, will be only too happy to help Police Officers rebook their holidays, so we advise all officers affected to pop into their local Thomson or First Choice shop.

Alternatively they can call our call centre for Thomson bookings call 0844 0871 0879 and for First Choice bookings call 0871 200 7799. As a national retailer Thomson and First Choice would like to thank Britain’s police force for protecting our high streets so fearlessly, and we look forward to welcoming them on our holidays.”

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Golfing holidays in Germany

Frankfurt is the largest city in the federal state of Hesse, a region which known for its golf courses that attract golfers from all over the world. Set in stunning landscapes including river valleys, water reservoirs and forests this region boasts Germany’s first golf society, The Wiesbadener Golfclub e.V founded in 1893 by Scottish and Englishmen.

There are 50 golf courses to choose from, many being close to Frankfurt, plus some of Hesse’s other tourist regions such as Rhön, Taunus and Odenwald. One of the closest to the city is the Frankfurter Golf Club e.V (www.fgc.de) set in an estate of 63 hectares and host of the German Open 12 times.

The German Travel Centre (020 8 429 2900) can organise three night packages to Frankfurt from £279 per person including flights and accommodation.

Say Cheers at Oktoberfest 17 September – 3 October 2011

This year is the 178 Oktoberfest (www.oktoberfest.de/en/) – the festival of festivals for lovers of beer in Munich. As well as the 14 beer tents and the chance to drink copious amounts of beer, Oktoberfest also features many food stalls, cafes and a variety of entertainment, including two new rides this year. The ‘Rio Rapidos’ is a rafting ride for the whole family that goes down rapids and turning 360 degrees and the ‘Monster’ that is a new XXL swing that goes up to 40 metres and rotates around its axis while doing so.

The festival will feature a ‘nostalgic’ area as well after the success of this theme last year that includes a traditional style beer tent, music and folklore singers.

Let German Travel Centre (020 8 429 2900) take you to the action this year with a three night package to Munich up for grabs from £279 per person including flights and accommodation.

Capture the Christmas Spirit this year in Berlin 21 November – 24 December 2011

Germany is well-known for its fantastic Christmas Markets that take place in most large cities in November and December. One of the largest takes place in Berlin with over 50 different Christmas markets throughout the city. Thousands of visitors are drawn every year, tempted by the seasonal aroma of mulled wine, baked cinnamon stars and many stalls sending all kinds of unique handicrafts.

Berlin is also a great place to visit for its other sightseeing options including the fascinating Checkpoint Charlie Museum, the iconic Brandenburg Gate and of course parts of the Berlin Wall that remain standing, as well as its great pub and club life.

German Travel Centre (020 8 429 2900) are offering three night breaks to Berlin from £279 per person in November 2011 including flights and accommodation.

For information on any of the above offers and reservations call the helpful staff at the German Travel Centre on 020 8 429 2900 or visit www.german-travel-uk.com

Monday, 8 August 2011

Holidays are all about Sun, Sea and Spending

What do diamond rings, donkeys and didgeridoos have in common? They’re just a few of the weird and wonderful things Brits are splurging on whilst abroad.

A recent study by Thomson Holiday’s Foreign Exchange shows despite the recession, British holidaymakers are still splashing out while abroad, and not just on what you’d expect, either.

An incredible 57% of people polled said they spend whatever they like once they get away and don’t budget. Over a third of respondents also stated they did not save for their holiday money. It appears that despite the current economic climate, once people are on the holiday, they forget all their worries – including financial – and treat themselves. Over 65% of respondents highlighted meals and days out as the main activities they spend their hard earned cash on, closely followed by wine and beer.

The research also found that over 41% of holidaymakers usually return with around £50 worth of unused foreign currency. 75% of customers also put their unused currency in a bedroom drawer or save it for next year, even if they don’t know if they’ll be going back to the same destination. Last year over 9.5 million package holidays were booked.

If 41% of the UK package holiday market all brought home £50 worth of unused foreign exchange it’s worth nearly £200 million. If three quarters of them save it for next year or store it in a drawer it means UK Holidaymakers could potentially be sitting on approximately £150 million of unused cash - well needed money that could be saved or spent to help the economy.

Other pleasures customers like to treat themselves to while away are souvenirs, and many don’t scrimp. Brits abroad love to treat themselves to a bit of bling on holiday. The most expensive souvenir British tourists buy is jewellery, some of the most popular items being diamond rings and watches. Other items topping the list of the most expensive items bought were ornaments, furniture and handbags.

UK holidaymakers also appear to be creatures of habit and love bringing back one particular memento from abroad, for family and friends. When asked about the worst souvenir bought while on holiday a stuffed donkey was the number one response. According to the survey it’s also likely lofts and cupboards in Britain are filled with other tacky souvenirs including fridge magnets, sombreros, stuffed camels and local wines and spirits. Some wacky souvenirs, possibly bought on the spur of the moment and whilst in the holiday spirit included everything from didgeridoos and bouzoukis to reindeer meat and nodding popes.

Jeremy Osborne, TUI UK & Ireland Director of Financial Services, said, “This research highlights that despite the economic situation, customers are not saving for their holiday spending money or budgeting whilst abroad. Holidays should be carefree and people work incredibly hard for their two weeks in the sun each year, so they should enjoy themselves. There are however some really simple ways customers can save and budget, to stay in the relaxed holiday vibe as long as possible and have no nasty credit card surprises when returning home.

“Travel Money Cards are one way of making sure you stick to a budget while abroad. You can preload your budget before you go, or put on small amounts throughout the year and then use the card just like a debit card once you’re away. To ensure that you’re not sitting on lots of unused foreign exchange for a year, Thomson also offers a buy back guarantee so customers can exchange that left over £50 of foreign currency when they get home for the same amount they paid”.

Thomson Holiday shops offer a range of Foreign Exchange services from Travel Money Cards, competitive exchange rates, buy back policies and great customer services. It offers foreign currency at all of its 500 plus shops. This month it also has a summer promotion. When customers spend £500 or more on foreign currency this month in a Thomson shop, they’ll receive a free Simple™ Skincare Pack. For more information visit http://www.thomson.co.uk

Voyages Jules Verne launches latest World of Wonders brochure

Voyages Jules Verne, the innovative specialist tour operator, has launched the new edition of its popular 'World of Wonders' brochure.

Among the tempting selection of escorted worldwide departures available until December 2012 are eight new tours. These include Burma, which has been reintroduced to Voyages Jules Verne’s worldwide programme following pro-democracy leader Aung Sang Suu Kyi's approval for the return of tourism to the country. The brochure features two Burma itineraries, both selected to be both sensitive to, and supportive of, local interests.

'Discover Burma' is a 14-night trip that includes visits to picturesque pagodas, monasteries and a hill station as well as a cruise along the Irrawaddy. Meanwhile, the 'Along the Irrawaddy' tour allows travellers to experience Burma's iconic river, traversing mountains, jungles and plains on a 14-night Pandaw cruise. This itinerary is part of a 21-day tour that also includes Rangoon and Inle Lake.

Clients keen to visit Burma at this pivotal point in its history can also choose from two further itineraries - 'The Golden Land' and 'The Pagodas of Pagan', full details of which are available on the Voyages Jules Verne website.

Also new for 2011/2012 is 'The Search for El Dorado', an 11-night journey across Colombia which includes stopovers in Bogotá, the San Agustín area, the Coffee Region and Cartagena. The brochure also features, for the first time, the 'Grand Tour of Central America', an 18-night adventure through five fascinating countries; Costa Rica, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala.

Also available for 2011/12 is the 'Country Wilderness Safari'. This 18-night African odyssey combines trips to Zimbabwe, Botswana and Zambia, taking travellers from the Victoria Falls Hotel to tented safaris, with light aircraft transfers and game drives.

Also available is 'Kenya - Wildlife & Coast'. This 14-night safari takes travellers from Nairobi to Mombasa including visits to Amboseli, Tsavo and Taita Hills, lunch at Kenya's original tea estate in the Limuru Highlands and a look around the former home of 'Out of Africa's' Karen Blixen.

'Petra to the Pyramids' is an 11-night journey through Jordan including stays in Amman, Petra, Aqaba and Taba before culminating with a four-night visit to Cairo.

With the 'Ice & Lights' itinerary travellers can explore Iceland's glacial lagoon, ice cap, volcano area and the Northern Lights on this seven-night itinerary which includes stops in Reykjavik, Skaftafell and Hveragerði.

The 'Danube Waltz' features a cruise of the Danube river through Austria, Slovakia and Hungary over seven-nights that also visits Vienna, Budapest and Bratislava en-route.

World of Wonders 2011/12 also includes a number of early booking offers, saving up to £150 per person on selected tours in Europe, the Middle East and Ecuador. Price reductions of up to £460 per person also apply on selected mid and long-haul destinations such as Cuba, Egypt, India, Morocco, South Africa and Tunisia.

Voyages Jules Verne's No Single Supplement programme offers solo travellers a choice of departures without financial penalty, including 'Christmas Markets & Music on the Danube'; 'Bordeaux & the Rivers of Wine'; 'Iceland's Land of Ice & Fire'; 'Grand Tour of Sri Lanka'; India holidays and Italy tours.

Special events and exclusive arrangements remain a popular part of Voyages Jules Verne's programme, with a selection of new experiences available for 2011/12. Travellers can visit a camp on the outskirts of Petra, visit the Himalayas' largest fort and enjoy an evening of traditional Sudanese entertainment.

Voyages Jules Verne was founded in 1978 and its range of product encompasses longhaul and shorthaul, weekends and expeditions, the conventional and the unexpected, a variety of themes and special interests - all underpinned by quality and value for money. VJV offers tours to a number of exotic worldwide destinations including China tours, Far East holidays and South America tours.

Save up to £750 on holidays to Jordan and Egypt

Petra, a private tour saving up to £750
7 nights ‘Classic Jordan’ down to £1,499 per person

NEW low cost flights with Easyjet to Luxor and Amman mean travellers can make big savings on holiday packages to Egypt and Jordan with the announcement that Discover Egypt (www.discoveregypt.co.uk) has reduced prices on many of its packages from September 2011 until October 2012.

The company is now offering its ‘Classic Jordan’ 7 night tour is now from £1,499 per person (previous published price £2,199), saving £750 per person. This is based on two people travelling and is a private tour and not based on minimum numbers.

Highlights include the fascinating capital, Amman, bathing in the salty waters of the Dead Sea, a private escorted tour to the magnificent ruins of Petra and a stay in the Red Sea resort of Aqaba.

Travellers that want to combine Egypt and Jordan in one holiday could opt for the 15 night ‘Spectacular Egypt and Jordan’ that has just been reduced to from £1,999 per person (down from £2,599). Highlights include a 7 night cruise down the legendary Nile, the bustling capital of Egypt and visiting the Pyramids and Sphinx, followed by a tour of the ruins at Petra and some time relaxing at Aqaba.

All prices include return flights from Gatwick, transfers and tour as per itinerary, plus bed and breakfast accommodation in four or five star hotels. Prices based on travel from September 2011 to October 2012.

For information and bookings call Discover Egypt on 0844 880 0461 or visit www.discoveregypt.co.uk

Saturday, 6 August 2011

European Golf Design to make improvements at Evian

European Golf Design has been appointed by Evian Resort to undertake a major renovation project. Created in 1904 and steeped in history, the Evian Masters Golf Club sits amongst stunning grounds with unique views over Lake Geneva and the French Alps. This prestigious golf course plays host each year to the Evian Masters on the Ladies European Tour and LPGA,and as one of the most prominent events on the Tour attracts the top women golfers from around the world. From 2013, the event will be renamed ‘The Evian’ and will become the fifth Major tournament in women’s golf.

The majority of the current routing will remain in place with all greens, tees, bunkers and water features remodeled and upgraded. Holes 5, 15, 16 & 17 have been redesigned to introduce more drama and spectator viewing areas. The redesign work will include improving the quality and challenges of the golf course not just for the Evian Masters but also for the Evian Resort guests. Incorporated into the design will be the Evian Masters brand identities, rock and wood as well as their trademark “pink” which will be used in planting and signage, at the same time as retaining the organic approach to management of the golf course.

The Masterplan has been approved by Evian Resort and the LPGA, and detailed design is currently underway, to be completed by the end of August. There will be two periods of construction – the first will commence in November this year through to April 2012, with the second period starting in October 2012 and completing in April 2013, ready for ‘The Evian’ that September. Working with European Golf Design, Steve Smyers will be the design consultant on behalf of the LPGA.

European Golf Design's Dave Sampson said “We are extremely excited to be asked to work on such a prestigious project, and are looking forward to the challenge of turning this already distinguished golf course into one worthy of staging a Major golf tournament.”

European Golf Design are the joint venture design company of the European Tour and IMG. Formed in 1992 European Golf Design have designed over 30 courses throughout Europe,The Middle East and South Africa with another 30 currently in the design or construction phase.

The Twenty Ten Ryder Cup Course at Celtic Manor is a European Golf Design course. Projects currently under design and construction include those in Croatia, Holland, St Kitts, Morocco, Portugal, Russia and Spain.


Eurostar offers discounted trips to Disneyland Paris

Eurostar, the high-speed passenger service that links Britain and the continent, has announced it is offering an exclusive 30% discount on Standard Premier bookings to Disneyland Paris.

Those wishing to travel to Disneyland Paris can treat themselves to a more luxurious journey, simply by booking their trip via www.eurostar.com and using the promotion code MLVSPLON-30% for travel from St Pancras International and MLVSPASI-30% for travel from Ashford International.

With calm, spacious surroundings and on-board staff offering a light meal and a selection of magazines, Standard Premier is relaxing way to start a holiday.

Mary Walsh, Director of Communications for Eurostar said: "This special offer for travel in our Standard Premier class means that that passengers can treat themselves to extra comfort and service onboard for less, so there should be a little extra money in the budget to splash out on all the Disney magic."

Tickets for travel from London St Pancras International and Ashford International to Disneyland Paris start from £69 return in Standard and £159 return in Standard Premier and can be booked up to 4 months in advance. Eurostar also offers customers Disneyland Paris packages.

For more information, to book Eurostar tickets or purchase Eurostar gift vouchers and to find other Eurostar deals such as cheap Eurostar tickets visit www.eurostar.com or call 08432 186 186.

Thursday, 4 August 2011

British tourists are learning to behave

According to official government figures, it seems that British tourists are learning to behave, as the number of Britons arrested overseas has fallen by over 10%, according to the new Foreign and Commonwealth Office British Behaviour Abroad report. Drug arrests have decreased by almost 20% over the past year.

Despite this positive trend, Foreign Office staff still handled 5,700 arrest cases last year with Spain and USA showing the highest figures. Drug arrests continue to be a significant problem for some countries, particularly parts of South America and the Caribbean where a high proportion of total arrests are drug related.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office report, which discloses the number of consular cases handled across the globe from 1 April 2010 – 31 March 2011, provides a unique insight into the number of Britons who get into difficulty overseas.

Minister for Europe, David Lidington, pointed out: “We work hard to warn British nationals about the consequences of breaking the law abroad so it is really encouraging to see the overall number of cases of arrests and drug arrests falling. But last year there were still 5700 arrests of British nationals overseas.

“Prison conditions in some parts of the world can be very poor, overcrowded and, in some cases, dangerous and sentences can be much tougher than in the UK. People are mistaken if they think the Foreign Office can get you out of jail. We can’t, but we will work hard to try and ensure your safety, and that you get a fair trial.”

New consumer research launched today by the Foreign Office reveals that 43% of 18-24 year olds know someone who has taken illegal drugs whilst abroad. It also showed that over two thirds (69%) of people in Britain don’t always find out about the laws of the country they are visiting before they go abroad – putting themselves at risk of unknowingly breaking the law.

Most worryingly nearly a third (32%) of people are not aware they will always be prosecuted under local law if they break the law abroad - with 6% of people thinking they will be prosecuted under UK law, 22% thinking it depends on the country they are in and 4% admitted to not knowing at all.

Aside from arrests, the British Behaviour Abroad report shows that the number of Brits hospitalised abroad has increased to 3,752 cases, despite fewer people from the UK travelling abroad last year. Medical treatment abroad can be very expensive and to avoid being faced with large bills if taken ill or after having an accident, the Foreign Office is urging people to take out a comprehensive travel insurance policy before they go away this summer. Previous research suggests that 15% of Britons travel abroad uninsured.

Other key findings from the British Behaviour Abroad report include:
• Spain continues to be the country where most Britons require assistance (4,971 cases) but when you take visitor and resident numbers into account, you are most likely to need consular assistance in the Philippines, Thailand and Pakistan
• The number of rape cases in Greece almost halved since 2009-10 from 27 to 15, although the numbers of sexual assault cases rose significantly
• The number of Brits hospitalised abroad has increased with Spain handling the most cases (1,024) followed by Greece. Proportionally Brits are most likely to be hospitalised in Thailand
• In total Foreign Office staff handled 19,228 serious consular cases last year

For details on how the Foreign Office can help if you get into trouble abroad, please visit www.fco.gov.uk/travel
The Foreign Office is encouraging people to sign up to Facebook and Twitter feeds to ensure they are informed of the latest travel advice: www.facebook.com/fcotravel or twitter.com/fcotravel

Need a 'plan B' holiday?

Have your travel plans collapsed?...or simply trying to find flight availability in August? Or have you unexpectedly found yourself with some holiday time to take off from work?

‘No Fly Cruising’ last minute getaways for short breaks in Europe have never been easier with www.CityBreakCruises.co.uk.

There are some fascinating European cruise destinations you can visit from home shores, from convenient ports of departure including mini cruises from Southampton, Harwich, Dover, London Tilbury, Newcastle and Rosyth, CityBreakCruises.co.uk - No-Fly-Cruising.

www.CityBreakCruises.co.uk is the UK’s only website specialising in short cruises to Europe’s major cities and around the world; a great way to explore and enjoy destinations by day, and cruise overnight to the next port of call.

The website www.CityBreakCruises.co.uk makes choosing and booking a city break cruise simple, and features a wide range of cheap weekend breaks abroad, mini cruises and cheap cruise deals, between 2 and 7 nights.

www.CityBreakCruises.co.uk is appealing to travellers new to cruising by providing the opportunity to experience culture and events in Europe’s cities, with information featured on its destination guide pages CityBreakCruises.co.uk - Destination Guide as well as offering a different type of experience for keen cruise fans.

Another benefit is that the ‘city break’ experience is complemented by the onboard food and entertainment experience which is included in the price of each cruise.

For further information visit: www.CityBreakCruises.co.uk

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

That's Entertainment News: DirectRooms.com – Leading bands and artists perfor...

That's Entertainment News: DirectRooms.com – Leading bands and artists perfor...: "DirectRooms.com announces that Aix En Provence will see a mix of contemporary bands and talented artists coming to perform and showcase thei..."

With the Cruise1st Website cruises can be book quickly and cheaply

The Cruise1st website now has a dedicated ‘Cruise Destinations’ section of its website dedicated to providing customers with every piece of information they need when perusing the cheap cruises available. The site has always stuck by its motto of being ‘second to none’ when it comes to luxury cruises at an affordable price and the website certainly provides a wealth of advice.

Www.Cruise1st.co.uk offers cheap cruise holidays to many of the hotspots around the world that cruise goers know and love. As the site professes, there is no better way to see the world than on a cruise.

With the opportunity to wake up in a new destination nearly every day, cruises with Cruise1st offer the most diverse trips available and at prices that won’t break the bank.

With cruises sailing to every corner of the globe on an almost weekly basis, the possibilities seem to be endless with Cruise1st.co.uk. Whether customers are after idyllic beaches on a Caribbean cruise, the spellbinding scenery of a cruise to the Norwegian Fjords or even the alternative choice of an Alaskan cruise - Cruise1st will no doubt have the right package.

With the ‘Cruise Destinations’ tab, customers can easily browse the wealth of itineraries with up-to-the-minute prices and packaged. Users simply need to click on the destination they are interested in visiting and all the appropriate itineraries will be displayed.

To visit the Cruise1st site and discover all the reduced rate packages available, customers can do so by clicking this link.

www.cruise1st.co.uk for the start of your cruising holidays.

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

That's Christmas: Door2Tour.com launches its Christmas Cracker Offer...

That's Christmas: Door2Tour.com launches its Christmas Cracker Offer...: "Door2Tour.com, the website tour consolidator, has launched an offer for customers booking a Christmas Market, Festive or New Year Break via ..."

That's Food and Drink: Flavour Fortnight 2011 Programme Launched

That's Food and Drink: Flavour Fortnight 2011 Programme Launched: "The full programme for Flavour Fortnight 2011, Dumfries & Galloway’s region-wide celebration of local food and drink, has been released with..."

Monday, 1 August 2011

Pure Entertainment Group comes up with six luxury travel escapes for a perfect mini-break

From Bordeaux Wine during Harvest time,to paradise in Bermuda, luxury bespoke concierge Pure Entertainment creates short mini-breaks that you can enjoy with your sweetheart or with your family.

Montreal, Canada – August 1st, 2011 - Imagine an exciting escape to discover Canada in charming Montreal, falling in love with Amsterdam, and introducing your family to the Big Apple. Just imagine. Here are Pure Entertainment top recommendations for mini-breaks abroad and closer to home:

1. The Bordeaux Harvest Tour
Wine enthusiasts will relish the sun-soaked vineyards of Bordeaux during the most prestigious time of year, Harvest time, with exclusive access to Chateaux that usually keep their gates firmly locked to visitors. You will enjoy wine tasting, gourmet lunch at Michelin starred restaurants, expert private guided tours in English with wine master, accommodations at a privately-owned chateau with the host, and more.
Dates: Sept 26th - Oct 1st, 2011
Prices starting at € 3995 per person.

2. Discover the Taste of Montreal
The second largest French speaking city in the world (after the lovely Paris,) charming Montreal draws you in with its world-class shopping, fine dining, amazing nightlife, and its rich history. Your charming 2-night escape includes a private guided tour of Old Montreal, tickets for two to the Jean Paul Gaultier exhibit at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, accommodations at your preferred 4/5 star hotel, and more.
Dates: Aug 1st – Dec 1st, 2011
Prices starting at $875 per person.

3. Bermuda: Paradise is Calling
Stroll barefoot through pristine pink sandy beaches with turquoise waters in view for miles and miles. This is a great chance for husband and wife to drift off to paradise hand in hand on the idyllic island of Bermuda. Your getaway can include a romantic boat ride, snorkeling, golf, guided tour of the island, reservations for dinner, and more. We’ll help you dream up your heavenly escape, with accommodations at one of our preferred luxury hotels.
Dates: Available anytime (4 days/3 nights program or more)
Prices starting at $1950 per person

4. From Amsterdam with Love...
Fall in love with the beautiful city of Amsterdam, also known as the “Venice of the North,” thanks to its network of 17th century canals that make the city so enchanting. Arrive at your hotel, the Dylan Amsterdam, on the canal by boat, and enjoy a romantic weekend for 2, complete with a four-course dinner at Michelin-starred restaurant Vinkeles and dinner reservation at Momo restaurant. The historic Dutch capital is waiting for you to uncover its beauty.
Dates: Available Anytime
Prices starting at € 999 per room for 2 nights

5. New York City by Gramercy Park Hotel: The Family Fun package
Pack up the kids and head to the Big Apple for family fun and adventure! With the help of a custom-crafted family itinerary, the excitement and thrills of New York City are in your hands. During your 4-night stay at the Gramercy Park Hotel, ride the Ferris Wheel in Times Square, visit the monkeys at the Central Park Zoo, enjoy a Broadway show, and most importantly, cherish all of the memories (your children won’t be kids forever.)
Dates: Aug 1st – Sept 5th, 2011
Prices starting at $2,200

6. A luxury short break tour in Florence, Italy
This short break tour in Florence will be a delight to any art, architecture, food and wine enthusiasts. With 3 nights accommodation in a first class historic boutique hotel, private walking tour of Florence historic, wine tasting at local vineyard and more, we invite you to rediscover one of the most beautiful cities in the world. There is a reason why Michelangelo and Donatello lived and worked; come see for yourself.
Dates: Available Anytime
Prices starting at € 1,100 per person

To book or to enquire further about these or any other travel arrangements, please contact your luxury concierge, Pure Entertainment Group: email: concierge@purentonline.com or call +1 (514) 764-9693. We invite you to connect with us on Facebook page and follow us on Twitter.

Pure Entertainment Group is an event management and luxury concierge company based in Montreal, Canada. Steve Edo, CEO and Founder, launched the company in 2006.

Pure Entertainment Group delivers premium concierge services, bespoke travel packages and luxury lifestyle experiences to its clients and members by offering personalised and customised experiences designed to suit their preferences. Whether a private jet trip around the world, luxuries yacht in the French Riviera or a trip into space, the sky is the limit! Pure Entertainment Group’s management model is to listen to their clients’ needs, and to provide exactly what they want.

Travel Photographer of the Year Festival to take place

Following from the successful Travel Photographer of the Year exhibition which drew large crowds to the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG) in London in May and June, TPOTY has launched its Festival of Photography & World Travel at the Society - three days of photography and travel events this autumn featuring a fantastic line-up of speakers from the worlds of photography, film and TV, travel and exploration.

To learn ‘how to’ or ‘how did they do that’ from the leading experts, improve your imagery, look back at the early days of travel, or get a fascinating glimpse behind the scenes of TV programmes that explore the wonders of this planet, the history and geography-steeped surroundings of the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG) are definitely the place to be this autumn.

Priced at £55 per day or £140 for all three (with discounts for Society members and students), whether you’re an avid traveller or an armchair traveller, an experienced photographer or looking to develop your skills, these are not-to-be-missed events.

EXPLORING TRAVEL & PHOTOGRAPHY DAY – Sunday, 25th September 09.30 - 16.30
• Travel, Antarctic, panoramic and street photography lectures & workshops
• Travel lecture - Machu Picchu
• 'How to do' photographic technique workshops
• Equipment & photography advice centre
• Image manipulation workshops
Speakers include:
• Steve Bloom - award winning travel & wildlife photographer
• Hugh Thomson - explorer & writer
• Nick Meers - panoramic photographer & author
• Dave Rotchelle - press & news photographer
• Julian Paren - photographer & former member of British Antarctic Survey
• Chris Coe - photographer & founder of Travel Photographer of the Year
• Jeremy Hoare – photographer and television lighting cameraman

WILD DAY – Sunday, 2nd October 09.30 - 16.30
• Wildlife, aerial, landscape, pinhole and adventure photography lectures
• Stock photography and images for publication workshops
• Equipment & photography advice centre
• Image manipulation workshops
Speakers include:
• David Noton - Travel, landscape & stock photographer
• Jason Hawkes - aerial photographer, ‘Britain From The Air’
• Caroline Metcalfe - Director of Photography, Condé Nast
• Nick Livesey - photographer & film maker
• Timothy Allen - stills photographer on the BBC ‘Human Planet’ series
• Martin Hartley - adventure & expedition photographer
• Craig Churchill – wildlife photographer

PEOPLE & CULTURES DAY - Sunday 16th October 09.30 - 16.30
• Photographers @ work lectures
• People, street & reportage photography lectures
• Equipment & photography advice centre
• Image manipulation workshops
Speakers include:
• Steve Bloom - award winning travel & wildlife photographer
• Philip Lee Harvey - travel & advertising photographer
• Dale Templar – Series Producer, BBC’s ‘Human Planet’
• Michelle Jana Chan - BBC travel presenter & video journalist (to be confirmed)
• Mary Robert - Head of Photography, Richmond, the American International University in London
• Alexander Maitland - writer & biographer
• Amanda Marks - founder of Tribes Travel, award-winning Fair Trade travel company

Tickets and programme information are available from: www.tpoty.com/courses/tpoty-festival.