Thursday, 28 June 2012

British Airways to launch year-round flights to Ibiza and Palma

British Airways is bringing a bit of winter sunshine to London City Airport by extending its popular Palma and Ibiza flights to a year-round service.

At present the two Balearic Island destinations are summer-only but from October they will continue through the winter with two flights a week on Thursdays and Sundays.

The news will come as a welcome boost to Ibiza since the island does not currently have a single direct service to the UK during the winter.

The two islands are very popular with leisure customers through the summer and now winter sun seekers and second home owners have the chance to fly there in style throughout the year. Holidays in Ibiza offer something for everyone. Away from the lively nightlife hotspots, the island harbours secluded coves, family resorts, pine-scented hills and vibrant Catalan culture. The glamorous Ibiza Town is another draw full of ancient sites and party venues.

Luke Hayhoe, general manager commercial, BA CityFlyer, said: "Leisure flying is a really important part of our business now from London City. Winter sun breaks are a very popular market and with London City's unique 20 minute check-in time with luggage customers can leave the gloom of winter and be in the sun in less than three hours."

The news follows the launch of new flights to Mahon in Menorca for summer 2012 which completes the airline's Balearic Islands portfolio. As the airline continues to grow its network customers have more choice to more business and leisure destinations, flying on one of the youngest aircraft fleets in the business.

British Airways offers all-inclusive fares to all destinations, which include a generous free 23kg luggage allowance, free on-line check-in and seat selection 24 hours before departure and complimentary food and drink on board.

New low all-inclusive one-way fares for winter and great value holiday packages are now available on

TomTom offers free daily map changes on all devices

From today, TomTom is enabling all of its 60 million portable navigation devices to receive free daily map changes via the TomTom Map Share community. Map Share allows drivers to personalise the TomTom map on their own device and also share and receive map changes with the Map Share community around the world. Map Share was previously only available on a limited number of TomTom devices.

Map Share technology enables drivers to keep the TomTom map on their device up to date with immediate changes in their area. Dynamic road changes, such as changed speed limits, new street names, blocked roads and new traffic directions can be updated directly on the device. Drivers then have the choice to share those road changes with TomTom and the broader Map Share community. All TomTom customers can now download daily Map Share changes for free.

“Roads change all the time. Overnight, roads can close or traffic can be diverted, having a big impact on people’s journey times.” says Corinne Vigreux, TomTom’s Managing Director. “With Map Share, drivers can update their own map themselves straightaway. Plus, we have an active community of drivers who share around 250,000 road changes with TomTom and each other every month. We are pleased to expand our community, because the more people who use Map Share the greater the navigation experience for all our customers.”

Map Share enables people to quickly and easily report and share the most frequent road changes. More structural, long-term changes such as the addition of roads or roundabouts are validated and updated within TomTom’s maps and made available on a quarterly basis. TomTom applies a hybrid approach to map-making that includes the combination of authoritative sources, such as field collection, government data or satellite imagery, with community input to ensure its maps accurately reflect reality.

Map Share is already available for many TomTom customers. From 28 June, all TomTom Start, Via and GO customers will be able to receive free daily map changes from the TomTom Map Share Community via a simple, free software update.

A video providing an overview of TomTom’s Map Share can be found here:

Drivers have control over which daily map changes they load onto their device. They can choose to accept changes submitted by some or many other Map Share users, or only those verified by TomTom.

British Airways launch 'Go after the Games' sale

Holidaymakers looking to getaway after the summer of sport can grab a great value holiday with British Airways which has launched its 12-day summer sale. The flight and holiday sale offers savings of up to 25 per cent on flights and holiday packages travelling after September 10, 2012.

With a choice of over 80 worldwide destinations included in the sale with economy and premium economy flights as well as city breaks, USA holidays, fly-drive packages and sun breaks to the Caribbean all on offer.

Top European destinations are included with two night city breaks in Prague staying at the four star Duo hotel and two night holidays in Rome staying at the three star Scheppers with return flights from Heathrow and accommodation with breakfast. Fly-drive packages to Nice including flights from London Gatwick and car hire for seven nights also top the best deals for Europe.

Great value holidays to Dubai include three nights at the 3.5 star Holiday Inn Express Dubai, Jumeirah with return flights from Heathrow and accommodation with breakfast. USA deals include seven nights accommodation only in Orlando staying at the three star Ramada Gateway with return flights from Gatwick and three night city breaks in New York staying three nights at the three star Park South with accommodation with breakfast and return flights from Heathrow. Those wishing to discover the New England region can enjoy a seven night fly-drive holiday in Boston with flights and car hire.

Caribbean beach escapes include holidays in Barbados, staying seven nights at the three star Butterfly Beach with breakfast including and with return flights from Gatwick. Also on offer is a seven night stay in Mauritius including half-board accommodation at the three star Coin de Mire and return flights from Gatwick.

Thousands of flights are also on offer in the sale with savings of up to 25 per cent including Tokyo, Johannesburg, Baltimore and the new London Gatwick to Las Vegas flights which start on October 29, 2012.

Flight deals in premium economy include New York, Toronto and Rio de Janeiro.

All flights include free on-line check in and seat selection up to 24 hours before departure, no debit card charges, free baggage and complimentary food and drinks on board the aircraft.

Ragdale Hall earns 2012 TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence

TripAdvisor Excellence Award
TripAdvisor Excellence Award
Ragdale Hall, Leicestershire
Ragdale Hall, Leicestershire
Honoured as a Highly Rated Spa as reviewed by travellers on the world’s largest travel site.

We are pleased to announce that, not only have we recently been listed 4th in the Top 25 Relaxation/Spa Hotels in the UK in the TripAdvisor Travellers’ Choice Awards 2012, we have also been awarded a Certificate of Excellence by the online travel site.

The accolade, which honours hospitality excellence, is given only to establishments that consistently achieve outstanding traveller reviews on TripAdvisor, and is extended to qualifying businesses worldwide. Approximately 10 percent of accommodations listed on TripAdvisor receive this prestigious award.

To qualify for the Certificate of Excellence, businesses must maintain an overall rating of four or higher, out of a possible five, as reviewed by travellers on TripAdvisor. Additional criteria include the volume of reviews received within the last 12 months.

Ragdale Hall is pleased to receive a TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence,” said Clare Brandish, Sales & Marketing Director at Ragdale Hall. “We strive to offer our guests a memorable experience, and this accolade is evidence that our hard work is translating into positive traveller reviews on TripAdvisor.”

“TripAdvisor is pleased to honor exceptional businesses for consistent excellence, as reviewed by travellers on the site,” said Christine Petersen, president of TripAdvisor for Business. “The Certificate of Excellence award gives highly rated establishments around the world the recognition they deserve. We are extremely grateful for all the feedback and lovely reviews posted on by our guests."

Monday, 25 June 2012

British Airways customers vote Caribbean as top destination

British Airways has revealed that, according to its recent poll, the Caribbean tops the list of destinations where the public would most like to spend their summer holiday.

Caribbean holidays have proved popular, followed closely by sunny South Africa and Florida. The results may not come as much of a surprise, as the British summer continues to disappoint with long spells of cold and wet weather.

British Airways has made it even easier for customers to get away to several Caribbean destinations as well as family favourite, Florida, with extra flights from Gatwick for the summer. There are now three extra flights to Orlando, increasing to 10 flights a week in total. Flights to Barbados, St Lucia and Antigua are now available daily, and there is an extra flight a week to Kingston in Jamaica, increasing from two to three a week.

Followers of the airline on Facebook listed Florida, London and holidays in the Maldives in the top 5 after the Caribbean and South Africa.

Many respondents also chose 'a relaxing beach vacation' for their favourite type of holiday this summer over 'romantic city-breaks', 'fun-filled family getaways' and 'an all-action adventure trip'.

Claire Bentley, British Airways Holidays Managing Director, said: "The thought of relaxing on a stunning beach, in the warm and friendly Caribbean is a real draw as the summer weather continues to be a bit of a let down. Equally, South Africa is a real dream destination with Cape Town, Table Mountain and the Garden route all top attractions, while Florida is proving as popular as ever as an all-round destination with fantastic beaches, great attractions and weather.

"We've had a great response to our Facebook poll which just shows how important holidays are to people."

More information can be found at

PUTTING THE WORLD ON SHOW - Travel Photographer of the Year exhibition opens at RGS (with IBG)

Malgorzata Pioro/
Malgorzata Pioro/
Louis Montrose/
Louis Montrose/
Thomas Kokta/
Thomas Kokta/
A scuba diver swims alongside a friendly Beluga whale, as the gentle giant ‘smiles’ straight at the camera. The Northern Lights put on an incredible show above a tent on a snowy landscape. Mysterious figures stalk the streets of a Mexican town celebrating the Day of the Dead. A man dances in front of an electric ‘sun’ at Tate Modern. And a lone adventurer makes a jaw-dropping descent as he abseils a thundering 225m high waterfall.

These are just a few of the glorious and engaging images now on display in the magnificent, free-to-view, Travel Photographer of the Year exhibition at the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG) in London. Featuring the winning entries from the 2011 Travel Photographer of the Year awards (TPOTY), the exhibition runs until August 19th. It is open 9.30am – 5pm Monday to Saturday and 10am – 4pm on Sundays.

It offers a chance to step away from the hustle and bustle as London prepares for – and then plays host to – the Olympic Games. Visitors can take a visual journey around the globe, through the eyes of the hugely talented amateur and professional photographers who beat entrants from over 90 countries to take the top places in the awards. Just a few minutes walk along Exhibition Road from the Natural History, Victoria & Albert and Science Museums, it’s the latest ‘must-do’ London attraction!

The exhibition also features a number of special showcases, plus archive images from the Society’s own collection of historic travel photographs, giving visitors a chance to view pictures dating back to the pioneer days of photography – such as a wonderful shot of Papua New Guinean tribesmen quizzically examining an old gramophone.

Visitors have the opportunity to buy the beautiful new Travel Photographer of the Year portfolio book, Journey Four, containing the winning images from the 2011 and 2010 awards. The latest in a highly collectable series, it is on sale for the first time ever, price £25. The exhibition also sees the launch of the TPOTY Collection of greetings cards, miniprints and framed and unframed prints, available at the gallery. Finally, visitors can choose their own favourite image and be entered into a prize draw to win a tailor-made trip to Cambodia with Explore.

Travel Photographer of the Year is the world’s leading travel photography award. Last year’s exhibition broke all attendance records for the Society’s exhibitions, bringing in thousands of Londoners and British and international tourists, all keen to see world-class travel photography in an impressive setting. This year’s exhibition should provide the perfect inspiration for those considering entering the 2012 TPOTY awards, which are now open for entry.

For more information on the exhibition and awards, please visit

Knock, Knock, who's there? Aer Lingus Regional's Ireland West Airport Knock to Birmingham service takes off

Aer Lingus Regional's first flight from Ireland West Airport Knock to Birmingham has taken to the skies, giving a boost to the west of Ireland's business and tourism industries.

Aer Lingus Regional, operated by Aer Arann, now flies once daily from Ireland West Airport Knock to Birmingham, offering both business and leisure travellers direct, convenient and cost effective access to Great Britain's second largest city.

Commenting on the launch of the service, Aer Arann’s Interim Chief Executive Sean Brogan said: "We are delighted to commence our Aer Lingus Regional Ireland West Airport Knock to Birmingham service. We recognise the vital importance of regional air connectivity and the key role that this air link to Birmingham provides for business, tourism and leisure travel. We look forward to working with our partners in Ireland West Airport Knock to ensure that this route continues to be a success."

Welcoming the launch of the service, Aer Lingus Director of Communications Declan Kearney said: "Aer Lingus is delighted to add the Ireland West Airport Knock to Birmingham route to its network. We look forward to welcoming more and more customers on board this service from today and into the future."

Speaking on behalf of Ireland West Airport Knock, Joe Gilmore, Managing Director said: "We are delighted to welcome Aer Lingus Regional's first flight to the Airport from Birmingham. Our Birmingham service has long been one of our most established routes from the airport and I am sure the uninterrupted continuation of the service will come as welcome news to the thousands of UK visitors who use this service regularly as well as the Irish people travelling to the Birmingham region for business and leisure purposes. We wish Aer Lingus Regional every success with the new service’ and look forward to working with them to grow the service."

Aer Lingus Regional flights from Ireland West Airport Knock to Birmingham are available for booking on, where travellers can also find out about cheap flights and flight deals.

Kuoni enters Scottish market

Kuoni, the award-winning luxury holiday provider, is delighted to be marketing Kuoni within Barrhead Travel retail outlets in Scotland. The company has decided to feature a dedicated Kuoni area in four of Barrhead Travel's existing offices, Oswald Street Superstore in Glasgow, East Kilbride, Cumbernauld and Aberdeen with more planned throughout Barrhead Travel's 36 office estate.

This is Kuoni's first foray into Scotland with a physical presence unlike England where they have 21 shops of their own and will launch in-store concessions in selected John Lewis outlets this autumn. The decision to partner with Barrhead was made due to Barrhead Travel having already demonstrated that they are an excellent distribution channel for Kuoni products.

Amanda Darrington, Kuoni UK National Sales Manager commented: "We are delighted to be partnering Barrhead Travel in Scotland in four of their stores whom we have been working with for many years. We admire Barrhead's innovative approach and look forward to working more closely with them as our Specialist Elite Agent in Scotland."

Barrhead will also be tailoring holidays to suit the customer's personal wishes using Kuoni ground arrangements incorporating activity such as cruising. Kuoni is the UK's leading provider of luxury travel and has been creating holidays with a spirit of adventure for 106 years and today their knowledge and expertise spans an amazing 88 countries.

Barrhead Travel chairman Bill Munro said: "I am delighted to be able to welcome Kuoni to our stores in Scotland. We have had an excellent relationship with Kuoni in the past and we really think the decision they have made to position themselves in our stores is the right one. I believe it will really enhance our offering to the travelling public as Kuoni is such an exclusive brand which is not sold through all agents in Scotland, and it really demonstrates the commitment to the joint branding of Kuoni and Barrhead."

Barrhead Travel already specialises in so many areas of the travel industry and by employing over 600 staff many of whom are specialists in particular destinations, Bill Munro believes this could usher in a new kind of bespoke holiday available to the public who are becoming travel savvy and looking for something new and different.

"We are known for being able to offer our customers the best holidays at the best value, especially with this luxury brand in partnership. It will allow us not only to sell brochured Kuoni holidays but also tailor-make holidays for customers with Kuoni ground arrangements. That way we can offer customers great value while retaining the level of quality that customers booking holidays of this calibre expect."

Thursday, 21 June 2012

Etihad Airways expands partnership with Abu Dhabi Organics Farms

Etihad Airways, the national airline of the UAE, has purchased 200 hens which are being raised free-range at Abu Dhabi Organics Farms.

Supporting the airline's commitment to offer customers the finest and freshest products, eggs produced by the hens will be used in Etihad Airways' Diamond First Class dishes, including the hugely popular "eggs any style" breakfast option, prepared fresh by the Etihad onboard chefs.

In addition to the hens, Etihad Airways has purchased three bee hives which are also based at Abu Dhabi Organics Farms. Honey produced by the bees will be served exclusively to Etihad Airways passengers and used across an array of dishes.

Lee Shave, Etihad Airways' Vice President Guest Experience, said: "Etihad Airways is immensely proud of the range of its fresh in-flight produce and the addition of eggs from our own free-range hens gives an indication of what we strive for so our customers receive the finest, healthiest, and home produced items on our menus.

"As the national airline of the UAE, we are committed to sourcing and using 'Product of the UAE' items wherever and whenever possible, and our partnership with Abu Dhabi Organics Farms is a great example of how we work together with UAE companies to bring local products to the world.

"Etihad Airways has a rich tradition of introducing world class in-flight dining innovations and we are thrilled to be the only airline in the world offering organic eggs and honey directly from our own locally raised hens and bees."

Etihad Airways is planning to introduce its first entirely-organic dish, the Tomato Caprese Salad, to the Diamond First Class Mezoon Grille menu. The salad’s ingredients of cherry tomato, basil, rocket leaf, mozzarella, and olive oil will all be organic 'Products of the UAE'.

The airline is also developing a line of signature pickles that will be available to customers. The pickles are made from entirely organic items including paprika, chilli, onion, capsicum, and dates. They will be served with warm bread and a range of cheese.

Abu Dhabi Organics Farms was established in 1997 by Khalid Al Shamsi, an Emirati national passionate about organic living.

The farms cover more than 55 hectares of land and feature greenhouses and fields. They produce over sixty different kinds of organic vegetables, fruits and herbs, as well as poultry and livestock.

Abu Dhabi Organics Farms works with the Food & Agricultural Organization of the United Nations and has been awarded the food security medal. It is also a member of the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM), which issues accreditation and certificates for organic produce.

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Choice Hotels rewards programme celebrates 15 million members

Choice Privileges, the award-winning rewards programme from global lodging franchisor Choice Hotels International, Inc., the company behind the Comfort, Quality, and Clarion brands, announced that it has welcomed its 15 millionth member. In recognition of this significant milestone the U.S-based 15-millionth member will receive 115,000 bonus rewards points.

"We are delighted to achieve this milestone and appreciate the zest with which the traveling public has joined our comprehensive hotel rewards programme," said Greg Brown, vice president of loyalty, promotions, and relationship marketing for Choice Hotels. "Not only has Choice Privileges proven to be very popular among travellers worldwide, it has also proven to add tremendous value for our franchise hotel owners, helping to drive more reservations to their hotels."

Originally launched in 1998 by Choice Hotels International, the Choice Privileges rewards programme has been available in Europe since 2008. To become a Choice Privileges member travellers can log on to or sign-up when checking in to a Choice-brand hotel. Members can earn points or miles at 5,500 locations around the world and also enjoy express check-in, extended check-out, and the opportunity to redeem points for free nights at thousands of properties throughout Europe, the Middle East, Australasia, North America, Canada, Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean.  Members can also redeem points at luxury partner hotels, such as Preferred Hotel Group and Barcel√≥ Hotels & Resorts, through airline partners including airberlin, American Airlines, Qantas, Delta, and Czech Airlines, and for free car hires from Avis and Budget.

Choice Privileges members receive a wide range of hotel benefits and access to exclusive offers, including the current promotion whereby between 17 May and 15 August, 2012 Choice Privileges members enrolled in Europe can now earn double bonus points for every qualifying stay at any hotel worldwide that participates in the Choice Privileges programme. Participating hotels include the Clarion Collection Birmingham in the UK, Quality Hotel Delfino in Venice, Quality Hotel Berlin Tegel in Germany, Clarion Hotel Park Avenue in New York and the Marque Sydney Clarion Collection in Australia. To qualify reservations must be booked between 17 May and 15 August at or by calling 00800 800 44 800.

Choice Hotels International, Inc. franchises more than 6,100 hotels, representing more than 495,000 rooms, in the United States and more than 30 other countries and territories, including Choice Hotels UK properties such as the Comfort Inn Vauxhall and Comfort Inn Birmingham. As of March 31, 2012, more than 350 hotels were under construction, awaiting conversion or approved for development in the United States, representing more than 30,000 rooms, and approximately 80 hotels, representing approximately 7,000 rooms, were under construction, awaiting conversion or approved for development in approximately 20 other countries and territories. The company's Comfort, Comfort Suites, Quality, Sleep Inn, Clarion, Cambria Suites, MainStay Suites, Suburban Extended Stay Hotel, Econo Lodge and Rodeway Inn brands serve guests worldwide. In addition, via its Ascend Collection membership program, travelers in the United States, Canada and the Caribbean have upscale lodging options at historic, boutique and unique hotels.

Additional corporate information may be found on the Choice Hotels International, Inc. web site, which may be accessed at

Choice Hotels, Choice Hotels International, Choice Privileges, Comfort Inn, Comfort Suites, Quality, Sleep Inn, Clarion, Cambria Suites, MainStay Suites, Suburban Extended Stay Hotel, Econo Lodge, Rodeway Inn and Ascend Collection are proprietary trademarks and service marks of Choice Hotels International.

Launch of Greentraveller’s Guide to Holidays in the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park

Pembrokeshire Coast National ParkGreen holidays website has published an online guide to show residents and visitors on a UK family holiday how to make the most of the region in a way that has a low impact on the environment and a positive impact on the local economy.
Greentraveller’s Guide to the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park features over 75 recommendations for where to sleep and eat and what to do in the UK's only mainly coastal National Park, from the award-winning beaches and island RSPB reserves to the traditional towns and villages, ancient woodland and historic castles. The guide includes an interactive map of the featured businesses, videos celebrating the unique landscape, and in-depth information on how visitors can reduce their environmental impact by travelling to and around the area by public transport and by walking or cycling more.

Supported by the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority, Greentraveller’s team of professional travel writers has picked out some of the top places for those on a UK family holiday to stay, from an innovative ecolodge to self-catering barns, cosy cottages, luxury yurt camps, award-winning B&Bs and organic farms.

The Guide also features some of the best spots to find local produce, a range of outdoor activities from exploring the famous Pembrokeshire Coast Path to kayaking and coasteering around the Preseli Hills, and family days out at wildlife parks, adventure centres and gardens, including the award-winning Castyll Henllys iron age fort and Bluestone resort, which won the national Example of Excellence in the Rural Action category in the Business in the Community’s annual responsible business awards.

Monday, 18 June 2012

China Central Television selects Vision247 to bring English language news channel to UK hotels

Broadcast specialist Vision247 has signed an agreement with the largest TV network in China, China Central Television (CCTV), to distribute the broadcaster’s 24/7 English language news channel to over 500 hotels within the UK.

CCTV will use Vision247, which already has extensive experience delivering international news programming to hotels, to provide via its content distribution network (CDN), the CCTV News channel live to guests’ hotel rooms.

Vision247 is providing CCTV with a one-stop commercial solution for cost-effective and reliable multi-platform distribution via in-room entertainment (IRE) systems; satellite; cable; IPTV; and over the top internet broadcast delivery. This ensures CCTV has the broadest range of options available for the continuous delivery of high quality television broadcast into hotel rooms throughout the country.

Mr Hu Zhanfan, President of CCTV, says, “Through Vision247 we have found a reliable partner; one able to manage the technical issues of service delivery and also negotiate for us the often complex task of dealing with multiple hotel groups. This means our viewers will now be afforded the finest news programming wherever they stay in the UK.”

John Mills, CEO of Vision247, said: “CCTV continues to embrace innovative distribution models to deliver television to its global audience, which is something we are uniquely able to facilitate. This agreement is particularly satisfying given CCTV is deploying our technology and expertise to deliver channels over Freeview into the home, and now via a range of platforms into hotels. For travelling business people and those visiting the UK there is no excuse to miss out on high quality global broadcast news, all delivered from the Chinese cultural viewpoint.”

China Central Television is available now through the FreeviewHD EPG (electronic programme guide) on Channel 111. CCTV News will be rolled out to more than 500 UK hotels by the end of 2012 across multiple delivery platforms.
China Central Television (CCTV) is the national TV station of the People´s Republic of China and it is one of China´s most important news broadcast companies. Today, CCTV has become one of China´s most influential media outlets. /

Sunday, 17 June 2012

Volcanoes Safaris celebrates fifteen years as pioneers in great ape tourism, providing unique eco-luxury experiences in Uganda and Rwanda

Volcanoes Safaris celebrates fifteen years as pioneers in great ape tourism, providing unique eco-luxury experiences in Uganda and Rwanda.

Established in 1997 by Praveen Moman and Yusuf Mulima Mubiru, Volcanoes Safaris celebrates fifteen years as leaders in the safari and adventure travel world this year. It has been a special journey at the forefront of the revival of adventure tourism in Uganda and Rwanda.

Praveen Moman, described by the Financial Times as ‘a visionary conservationist’, says: “Team Volcanoes - a very fine group of men and women from Uganda, Rwanda and around the world - has been working over the last fifteen years to build up our unique story. They have been a tremendous inspiration to work with.”

“The Volcanoes team has worked hard to overcome the legacy of conflict in the 1990s and rebuild tourism in this area. A number of staff who started in humble jobs are now part of the senior management, {{making Volcanoes a unique story in the empowerment of Africans}}.”

Volcanoes’ staff share the essence of simple African hospitality with guests, a refreshing change from the homogenized travel that is increasingly prevalent in the world. A safari with Volcanoes led by their outstanding guides is an amazing experience.

A holiday with Volcanoes is a win-win story. It helps protect some key endangered species – the mountain gorilla, chimpanzee and golden monkey. It helps protect their threatened habitat. It contributes directly to local people earning a living from sensitive and controlled tourism.

Volcanoes is the only company to own four properties in this area. This allows them to share their eco-luxury values with guests so that the culture of local communities, the fragility of the environment and using resources in a sustainable way is part of the unique Volcanoes experience.

From the luxury gorilla experience at Virunga Lodge in Rwanda, to hiking and culture at Mount Gahinga, to the chimpanzee and wildlife viewing at the contemporary Kyambura Gorge Lodge, to a journey deep within the jungle to track gorillas at Bwindi Lodge - every Volcanoes lodge provides a unique eco-luxury experience.

The Volcanoes Safaris Partnership Trust (VSPT), the non-profit arm, supports conservation and community programs in the areas neighbouring the lodges as a practical demonstration of their commitment to the community.

“Today we celebrate the close and warm relationship we have developed with many guests from around the world, the many travel companies that have supported us, the commitment of our staff, our partnership with communities and of course the people of Uganda and Rwanda. Over the next fifteen years, we will continue to refine the unique eco-luxury experiences we offer our guests and continue to be one of the leading adventure brands in the world.” Praveen Moman.

Thursday, 14 June 2012

Voucher rush foy Olympics?

he Olympics are suspected to be behind new data that shows the start of June has seen a 130% increase in money-savvy savers from around the world searching for bargains and discounts that they can use when they come to the United Kingdom.

The number of people visiting a UK money saving site from overseas has grown by 130% over the last month, with the majority of overseas searches relating to offers that coincide with the start of the Olympics. discovered the growth in overseas traffic as a result of a rise in questions and requests from foreign visitors about ways of saving money whilst visiting the UK.

The Top 5 most requested and used money-saving deals from overseas site visitors have been in the following sectors:

1. Restaurant vouchers and offers
2. Hotel and accommodation offers
3. Train ticket offers
4. Flight offers
5. Attraction offers

The Olympics are expected to attract an additional 450,000* overseas visitors to the UK, along with 5.5m day visitors and this is thought to be one of the reasons that the demand for money saving offers is increasing so quickly.

The Top 5 Countries where demand for UK discounts is coming from is as follows:

1. South Africa
2. Germany
3. USA
4. Spain
5. Canada

Speaking about the rise in demand for vouchers from overseas site visitors, George Charles, marketing director of, said:

"The increase in overseas visitors looking for vouchers and deals that coincide with the start of the Olympics has been staggering and with restaurant vouchers topping the most searched for lists it is clear that people are coming over to party; and that the economy is going to benefit in a big way!”

He added: "We were massively surprised to see Spain featuring in the top 5 countries where most overseas searches came from, given their recent money plight, but it goes to show that they are keen to support their nation's athletes.”

Wild Country Tents Launches Pitching Guides On Video

Finding out about pitch perfect products from Wild Country Tents is now easier than ever with the launch of new video guides.

Available to view at viewers can see how 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 as well as being straightforward to pitch.

Wild Country have included their sturdy family tents in the videos. Features include sewn-in, sealed groundsheets, robust poles, ventilation features, strong zips and the use of high technology, weatherproof fabrics.

Wild Country is traditionally associated with backpacking tents and the Zephyros video is likely to prove popular.

The tent - available in one and two person models - is ideal for novice and experienced adventure racers and backpackers alike and the Zephyros design is based on the acclaimed 'Laser Competition' tent from world-renowned tent manufacturer, and sister brand, Terra Nova.

This proven, single pole design, gives sturdy resistance to bad weather whilst offering spacious sleeping and storage areas. The Zephyros pitches with inner and fly together for increased speed and ease of use, and features 6000mm hydrostatic head taped flysheets to keep out the rain. For stability, aluminium pegs lock everything firmly in place.

Carolyn Budding, a director of Wild Country Tents said: “The Zephyros tent has become an instant hit within the industry, with a fast growing community of owners, enthusiasts and fans recognising the benefits of this super shelter.

“The Zephyros tent is lightweight, with a small pack size and is quick and easy to pitch.

“It is also surprisingly spacious and offers exceptional value at £120 RRP for the Zephyros 1 or £150 RRP for the Zephyros 2.”

Wild Country Tents is offering the chance to win a Zephyros 2 tent (closing date 30 June). More details are available at

As well as the pitching guides, viewers at can see an all weather trial of Wild Country’s Citadel 5 tent. Put up in a field on the edge of the Peak District in October 2011, the tent remained in situ and intact until it was taken down in June 2012, despite winds of up to 65 mph, heavy snow, deep frosts and the deluge of rain in spring.

Tel: 01773 837373 to find out more or see the range at

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Five of the best British summer road trips

With many of us feeling financial strain as the recession continues to bite, Brits are increasingly choosing to holiday in the UK . We have a wealth of history and beautiful scenery on our doorstep and there’s nothing quite like hitting the open road to explore. With new drivers experiencing this motoring freedom for the first time, RED Driving School has created a list of five of the best British road trips to enjoy this summer.

North Norfolk coast
With a coastline stretching for 43 miles, much of the Norfolk coast is classed as an ‘area of outstanding natural beauty’ . Drive from Kings Lynn to Cromer along the A149; expect to see stunning landscapes including white sandy beaches in Holkham, Wells and Brancaster as well as areas of pine forest, mud flats and saltmarshes .

The Lake District
For a lakeside drive, start at Pooley Bridge and drive 8.1 miles along the A592 to Glenridding, stopping to admire the Aira Force waterfall on the way. Continue down to Waterhead for picturesque views of England’s largest lake, Windermere . Then drive 17.5 miles along the A593 to Eskdale, along Hardknott Pass, one of the steepest roads in England stopping at Hardknott Fort to take in the beautiful scenery from the ruins of a Roman fort.

The Atlantic Highway
The Atlantic Highway stretches 78.4 miles from Barnstaple in Devon to Newquay in Cornwall along the A39 through Bude. Many areas along this stretch are classed as areas of ‘outstanding natural beauty’ . Stop at the historic fishing village Clovelly in Devon to enjoy a picturesque stroll along its cobbled, traffic-free high street and admire the scenic coastline as you journey into Cornwall.

The Scottish Highlands
There are many national tourist routes across the Scottish Highlands which allow drivers to experience the beautiful highland countryside. The Argyll coastal route takes motorists 149 miles along the A83 from Tarbet by Loch Lomond, joining the A816 at Lochgilphead through Argyll to Fort William in the Highlands. Visitors can stop at the ‘Rest and be thankful’ viewpoint to enjoy magnificent views across the valley. The route concludes at Fort William, at the foot of the UK’s highest mountain, Ben Nevis .

The Cotswolds
Much of the Cotswolds is classed as an ‘area of outstanding natural beauty’ , with rolling hills and some plant species so rare they are protected by the Wildlife and Countryside Act . The ‘romantic road’ is a two day road trip of two circular routes, ‘a road for today’ and ‘a road for tomorrow’, each starting and finishing in Cheltenham. Travelling the ‘a road for today’, visitors will drive 75 miles through the Cotswolds countryside stopping at historic towns and villages Winchcombe, Stanway, Broadway, Chipping Campden, Blockley, Moreton-in-Marsh, Stow-on-the-Wold and The Slaughters . ‘A road for tomorrow’ takes motorists 90 miles through villages Northleach, Burford, Lechlade, Fairford, Bilbury, Cirencester and Painswick .

Dominic Cohen of RED Driving School comments: “Learning to drive presents great opportunities for travel, allowing motorists to experience a side of the UK sometimes inaccessible by public transport. Planning a road trip with friends is the perfect way to celebrate passing your test and to gain some valuable driving experience. There are some stunning places to visit in the UK and the countryside aspect of driving lessons should help to prepare new motorists for rural driving experiences.”

Cohen continues: “All new drivers should thoroughly research their road trip in advance, making sure they are well prepared with maps, food and water, a fully charged mobile phone and warm clothing in case of an emergency. Motorists should always adhere to safe driving practice and take their time on unfamiliar rural roads.”

• More information from

Sunday, 10 June 2012

Private Jet Central Celebrates Cannes Success

Private Jet Central enjoyed an exceptionally busy time during the 65th Cannes Film Festival. Bookings soared with many flights from the UK as well as long haul destinations.

The 65th Cannes Film Festival came to a close on Sunday 27th May. Private Jet Central the UK jet charter company had an exceptionally busy two weeks with a large number of flights to and from Cannes. While the most popular charters were short haul flights from London a number of long haul flights were made from the Middle East and to the USA. As usual the festival was very well attended with more 30,000 accredited attendees from every area of the film industry and more than 4,000 journalists.

The 65th Cannes film festival was one of the best in recent memory with stars of stage and screen jetting in to Cannes to join in the celebrations. The prestigious Palme d’Or went to Michael Haneke’s Amour with most regarding it as the right choice. A slightly more surprising Grand prix was awarded to Matteo Garrone for his film Reality while the Jury Prize was awarded to the British stalwart Ken Loach.

During the festival Private Jet Central made a number of flights to and from Cannes including one very special VIP. While the company’s strict confidentiality policy mean they are unable to reveal the identity of the person in question they are “big” in Hollywood. The star and their entourage flew from Cannes to Miami following the closing night celebrations in a Gulfstream G550 one of the most luxurious aircraft in the Private Jet Central fleet. While the flight of 4,359 nm to Miami is beyond the range of many business jets it is well within the G550’s capabilities. With 4 living areas, 3 separate temperature zones and all of the luxuries expected from a Gulfstream jet the 550 is one of the best jets in its class.

The CEO of Private Jet Central Andy Hudson said “We are delighted with how busy we were over the festival period”. He added “The film festival is a high profile event and we are delighted to play our part in it”.
Pleasure and business users who want to fly private jet from Jeddah to Cannes can book flights quickly and easily on the Private Jet Central website. With 24/7 access to dedicated flight consultants PJC offer a unique and personalised service to private jet users in the UK and the Middle East.

Private Jet Central is a global jet charter company with offices in the United Kingdom, United States and the Middle East. Founded in 2001 they offer a range of jet charter services to business and pleasure users in the UK and Europe and the Middle East including private jet from Kuwait to Cannes flights. With over 10 years’ experience in the jet charter industry they are ideally placed to meet their client’s requirements. More information on the full range of services offered by Private Jet Central is available from their website and also by contacting any of their offices by phone or via e-mail.

Friday, 8 June 2012

Book With The Local Experts At Unique Lanzarote Villas

Lanzarote is one of the more unusual holiday destinations on the planet. There’s little in the way of greenery or plant life – thanks to the island’s aridity and low rainfall - and around one quarter of its land surface is covered in lava – a legacy of violent volcanic eruptions that rocked the island just a few centuries ago.

But despite this over 1.5 million tourists flock to this small Canary Island every year and over 50% of these visitors depart from the UK - making Lanzarote one of the most popular destinations for British tourists in the world.

Long gone are the days when these visitors would just leaf through some brochures and book a package break at their local travel agents though. As the growth of the internet and the greater availability of budget flights over the last decade has led to a rapid expansion in the number of independent tourists planning and booking their own breaks direct online.

This has in turn helped to drive demand for privately owned self catering accommodation on Lanzarote (as in other destinations) – which companies such as Unique Lanzarote Villas are now seeking to meet. By offering a selection of good quality villas and holiday apartments in Lanzarote direct from the owner.

Unlike some of their competitors Unique Lanzarote Villas are also actually based in Lanzarote and all members of their team are long term island residents, which means that they have in depth knowledge of both the island and the villas and apartments that they offer for rent. So making it possible for them to more accurately match clients with both the right location and the right accommodation to suit their needs.

The company currently offers a hand-picked selection of around 20 villas and apartments for rent, with accommodation available in all of the main resorts of Costa Teguise, Puerto del Carmen, Puerto Calero and Playa Blanca. As well as in more off the beaten track locations such as Famara on the North West coast of Lanzarote, a real surfers paradise and one of the most beautiful beaches on the island.

Visitors to the Unique Lanzarote Villas website can also book all aspects of their holiday online, with offers available on car hire and flights. Whilst also accessing instant advice via the website´s Live Help feature.

Turn that Three Star into a Five Star with Holiday Discounts

Holidays abroad have now become a luxury many of us can’t afford. Whereas five years ago every average family would enjoy at least one tropical holiday a year, now with the rising costs it seems it’s a luxury that takes some saving up!

Some of us have decided to compromise on our week away through a variety of means, either choosing a cheaper hotel or staying in the UK in an aptly named “staycation”.

However, now there are recession busting deals out there just waiting to be snapped up. Airlines and hotels alike understand the loss in custom due to the rise in fuel prices. As competition heats up between airlines and holiday companies they are keen to entice more custom offering discounts through discount voucher sites.

This means now that the savvy shopper can receive humongous holiday discounts, simply by retrieving a code and applying it by booking online. These holiday vouchers allow upgrades to plush luxurious hotels or significant savings on flights, making it seem that the price of fuel never rose at all.

There’s no denying that we all love a good break away and as we try to be a nation of people who “have it all” we deserve this break from our busy modern lives, yet the success of a good holiday does taste all the more sweeter when you know you’ve received a deal better than the person on the sun lounger opposite you!

Fear of Flying?
For those who do wish to stay in the UK there are also bargains to be had, with holiday discounts for UK holiday parks and hotels, anyone can benefit from the discount codes on offer. Usually on a good discount voucher site all of the deals will be brought together in one place allowing you to widen your options as you see the savings on offer.

Make Busy Life Busier
There’s also a huge range of deals to be had for spa breaks, city breaks and romantic weekends away, quite simply no matter where you want to go and when you can afford to with a discount voucher code. Holiday discounts for Rome, Paris, Berlin, or even here in London make every break away a profitable stay.

Home is where the Heart is
We are all familiar of the phrase we utter after a holiday, saying we need another holiday to recover? Well with that could become a reality. AS the vouchers aren’t limited to holiday discounts, they also extend to the perfect night in too. From favourite treats to movies and bottle of wine, you can extend that holiday for a little bit longer knowing that you’ve been completely savvy with your shopping skills!

British Airways announces luxury sale

British Airways has announced its forthcoming luxury sale which will offer holidaymakers massive savings on bookings made until June 14, 2012. The luxury flight and holiday sale offers savings of up to 60% in First and Business Class and on holiday packages based on various departures from July 21, 2012.

With a choice of over 90 worldwide destinations included in the sale, customers can enjoy savings of up to 64% per cent on business class flights to Montreal and Toronto and up to 50 per cent on flights to Rio de Janiero and Los Angeles. Savings of up to 38 per cent can be found on flights from London City to Palma Mallorca and Menorca in the Balearics and up to 33 per cent on business class flights to Barbados, St Kitts and Tobago in the Caribbean. Great value holiday packages are also available including holidays in St Lucia at the 5 star Marigot Bay, a member of Leading Small Hotels of the World. For ultimate luxury British Airways are offering up to 50 per cent off holidays in New York, including stays at the famous 5 star Waldorf Astoria New York.

Further afield, customers can save up to 25 per cent on business class flights to Buenos Aires and up to 20 per cent in business class flights to Hong Kong. The sale also includes luxury holidays in Dubai, where world-class properties host superb restaurants, wonderful spas and vast shopping malls. British Airways offers grand resorts on the beach including the 5 star Atlantis, The Palm. All British Airways' hotels in Dubai offer excellent facilities, great service and opulent rooms - perfect for luxury holidays.

Now is a good time to visit Europe where customers can take advantage of the rise in the pound against the Euro and there is also up to 48 per cent off business class flights. Holiday packages are included across Europe, including beach holidays in Majorca, Barcelona holidays and city breaks in Prague. Fly-drive holidays are also included to destinations such as Nice, Pisa and Larnaca.

For ultimate luxury, customers can enjoy the exclusivity and privacy of British Airways' First class cabin, re-launched after a £100 million investment which has been rolled out over the past year. Customers can take advantage of savings of up to 70 per cent on First class flights to Vancouver, 60 per cent on First class flights to Seattle and Phoenix and 50 per cent on First class flights to Bangkok.

All flights include free on-line check in and seat selection up to 24 hours before departure, no debit card charges, free baggage and complimentary food and drinks on board the aircraft.

Flights and holiday packages can be booked at

New study reveals affluent Britons are spending more time overseas

• Lloyds TSB International finds 20 per cent of wealthy Britons have spent over a month overseas in the past year
• 12 per cent have left the UK for more than a month on a single trip
• Business opportunities, more affordable holiday and a preference for life abroad contribute to growing trend
• Global citizenship not only for the ‘super-rich’

As the world becomes a smaller place thanks to improved transport links and the globalisation of businesses,Lloyds TSB International Wealth has suggested a new type of ‘global citizen’ is emerging.

The bank carried out a study of over one thousand affluent Britons and found that one in five spent at least a month outside of the UK in the previous twelve months. This equates to more than half a million people nationally¹ and suggests that Britons are spending more time outside of the UK.

Research also showed that some 12 per cent, about 340,000 nationally², have spent over a month abroad in one single trip, with two per cent, or (57,000)³, spending a month or more away for work. This supports the idea that a new class of travellers is being created thanks to the expanding international network of business and social connections.

Nicholas Boys Smith, Director of Lloyds TSB International Wealth said that it’s becoming increasingly clear that more people are spending time abroad for business and pleasure than they did 10 years ago. He also pointed out how “a new global village of international mobile citizens” is being created that didn’t just include the “super-rich”.

“Ten years ago people spoke about the ‘haves’, the ‘have-nots’ and the ‘have-yachts’. Now I think we’re increasingly seeing that you don’t have to be a billionaire to be detaching from your country of origin – 17 per cent of wealthy Britons are also thinking of leaving the country in the next two years. Now it is more a case of the ‘haves’, the ‘have-nots’ and the ‘have-frequent-flier-cards’.”

The survey found that people were heading to a different part of the world because they see more
offshore business opportunities in a different country (32 per cent), their organisation does more business abroad (27 per cent) and their job role has developed or changed (25 per cent).

Boys Smith continued: “Many people are now far more comfortable travelling the world, working in other countries and experiencing different cultures. They say an Englishman’s home is his castle, but many people now move around as if on a boat, mooring their home in different places as they sail life’s journey.”

Leisure travellers were found to be spending more time away from home because they can afford more holidays abroad (43 per cent), they have retired in the past five years (40 per cent) and they prefer how people live outside of the UK (28 per cent).

Lloyds TSB International Wealth provides a range of banking and investment services for wealthy clients around the world. Lloyds TSB has opened over 20,000 international bank accounts in the past 12 months. The bank provides financial guidance and a checklist to help people emigrate at:

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Park Inn Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport Hotel provides guests with free fibre optic broadband

The Park Inn Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport Hotel has announced the launch free fibre optic broadband and Wi-Fi throughout the hotel, making it the first hotel in Roissy en France to provide its customers with free fibre optic internet access.

Optical fibre can facilitate higher bandwidth for faster data transmission, such as videoconferencing and streaming, as well as better audio and video reception.

With no need to plug in the laptop in the room or go downstairs to use the internet at the Paris airport hotel, it is now possible for customers to relax on their bed while surfing on internet with a maximum connection and can be assured of the best technology to undertake effective and successful meetings on an always constant bandwidth.

The Park Inn Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport hotel is conveniently located just a few minutes from Roissy CDG International Airport and only a short drive from prime business districts and popular attractions, including Paris city centre. The hotel boasts bright, comfortable Charles de Gaulle airport accommodation with excellent amenities, such as satellite television, free optical fiber and wireless Internet.

Featuring an inviting on-site restaurant and bar, 24 hour room service, large garden patio, fitness area with sauna and Hammam, two secure car park areas and 12 modern Charles de Gaulle conference rooms with natural day light, the hotel Charles de Gaulle provides first-rate accommodation in "The City of Lights."

Macdonald Hotels dominates at Scottish Hotel Awards 2012

Macdonald Hotels & Resorts, the UK's largest privately owned hotel group, has picked up five prestigious industry accolades at the Scottish Hotel Awards 2012.

The Scottish Hotel Awards, now in its ninth year, is designed to recognise and reward the highest standards, individually and corporately, and to celebrate the excellence and achievement of hotels in Scotland.

Macdonald Hotels was presented with the Group Breakfast of the Year Award, and the head chef from the four-star Macdonald Marine Hotel & Spa, North Berwick, was honoured along with three members of the team from Macdonald Cardrona Hotel, Golf & Spa, for their individual efforts.

Executive chef John Paul McLachlan from the four-star Macdonald Marine Hotel & Spa, North Berwick, beat off stiff competition from restaurants across Scotland to be crowned Scottish Hotel Chef of the Year for his signature restaurant, John Paul at the Marine. General Manager Morag Stark from the Macdonald Cardrona Hotel, Golf & Spa won the Hotel Manager Gold Medal, while her colleague, executive chef Ivor Clark, won the Hotel Chef Medaille a'Argent award and Gina Clark won Events Manager of the Year.

John Paul at the Marine opened in June 2011, specialising in the finest organic seasonal dishes. With two prestigious AA Rosettes, executive chef John Paul, who has worked under culinary greats such as Raymond Blanc and Gordon Ramsay, served up a host of innovative signature dishes with a modern take on traditional fare. Brasserie-style prices coupled with Scottish-influenced dishes, served against the spectacular backdrop of the Firth of Forth, raise the restaurant bar in East Lothian.

Morag, who has been with Macdonald Cardrona Hotel, Golf & Spa in Peebles for seven years, is celebrating her second consecutive management gold medal from the awards. With almost 17 years' experience in the hotel industry, sales manager Gina Clark has built an impressive career within Macdonald Hotels, starting as a trainee receptionist and progressing from this position. She won the award for Events Manager of Year for increasing the number of weddings at the hotel in Peebles by 57 per cent year on year. Chef Ivor Clark has extensive experience from kitchens across the UK and abroad and climbed the industry ladder from commis chef to head chef at Macdonald Cardrona Hotel, Golf & Spa in his home town.

Ruaridh Macdonald, Sales and Marketing Director at Macdonald Hotels & Resorts, said: "We are all extremely proud of these achievements as they reflect the hard work and dedication from not only those individuals, but across all of our 14 hotels in Scotland."