Author Archives: Breaking Travel News

European tourism arrivals prove resilient in 2018

Europe remains the most visited region in the world, with a six per cent upswing in international tourist arrivals in 2018 compared to the previous year. That is according to the latest report from the European Travel Commission. The commission is an association of national tourism organisations, launch in 1948, to promote Europe as a tourist destination to the long-haul markets. The report finds growth continues despite ongoing trade tensions, uncertainty surrounding Brexit and the economic slowdown in the Eurozone and China. Virtually all reporting destinations (32 out of 33) registered some form of expansion, with travel to Turkey (up 22 per cent) continuing its strong recovery , driven by a wide range of source markets and a depreciating lira.ADVERTISEMENTThe second fastest growing destination was Serbia, as it continues to benefit from its visa-free access to Chinese passport holders, with reported arrivals 15 per cent higher in the year-to-November compared to the same period a year ago. Significant outbound travel growth from the US and China was reported again in 2018. Growth from the US has been aided by various economic factors, including a strong dollar against the euro and sterling, while 24 out of 30 destination countries reported an increase in the number of visitors from China, thanks to improved air connectivity and visa procedures, as well as an expanding Chinese middle class. Speaking following the launch of the report, Eduardo Santander, executive director of the ETC, said: “Despite adverse risks such as tensions in financial markets, uncertainty surrounding the UK’s withdrawal from the EU and the worrisome forward-looking indicators, the European tourism industry has yet again proved resilient in 2018, accounting for over half of worldwide tourist arrivals. “Looking ahead to the plethora of unknowns 2019 has to offer, we are predicting growth over around three per cent in international tourist arrivals to the region. “These challenges present an opportunity to reorient European and national policy to support the drivers of sustainable tourism growth and to promote long-term development in Europe.” Brexit While most destinations reported growth from key source markets in 2018, it is increasingly evident that Brexit-related uncertainty continues to have a negative impact on the sector. According to the report, outbound travel and tourism from the UK will be impacted negatively on all fronts in the event of a ‘No Deal’ Brexit. Negative impacts from economic drivers, airline disruption and increased passport regulation are likely to see up to eight million fewer outbound trips from the UK. Older Expedia launches airline luggage allowance guide Let's block ads! (Why?)

Expedia launches airline luggage allowance guide

Expedia have launched an interactive airline luggage allowance guide to help people shopping for flights find out which one really is best for them. Many airlines are dropping their prices to compete for extra custom, so finding the right flight, not to mention dodging hidden charges, can be easier said than done. Using Expedia’s updated 2019 Luggage Allowance guide, customers can check, at a glance, the size, weight, and quantity of luggage offered by 41 of the world’s leading airlines. Users can sort the guide by size, capacity, weight, and hold luggage weight. ADVERTISEMENTUsers can also filter the airlines, making it easier than ever to choose which flight is really offering the best value for money. Eight airlines; Aegean, British Airways, EasyJet, Egypt Air, Finnair, Iberia, Jet2, and Wow permit the largest hand luggage should size rather than weigh be your priority. And for those who need to fly with everything they own, low cost carrier Wow offer the greatest combination of size and weight allowance, swiftly followed by Aegean, then easyJet. Older Radisson Hotel Group signs with SunnySeeker to grow Cyprus presence Newer European tourism arrivals prove resilient in 2018 Let's block ads! (Why?)

Radisson Hotel Group signs with SunnySeeker to grow Cyprus presence

Radisson Hotel Group has signed a master development agreement with SunnySeeker Hotels in Cyprus. Building on an already-successful partnership, the new deal will see the group grow its existing portfolio in the country to six hotels and almost 1,000 rooms by 2025. SunnySeeker Hotels has been a partner for Radisson Hotel Group in Cyprus since 2015. This new agreement is a valuable opportunity for both companies to capitalize on each other’s industry expertise, market position and global presence. It will see Radisson Hotel Group work hand in hand with SunnySeeker Hotels to develop and deliver new hotels on the Mediterranean island.ADVERTISEMENTElie Younes, chief development officer, Radisson Hotel Group, said: “We’re excited to have signed this master development agreement with SunnySeeker Hotels as our trusted partners in Cyprus – and with whom we already have three hotels. “We are glad to extend our collaboration in a market where we can grow our portfolio in line with an aligned expansion plan. “We thank them for their trust and the successful journey so far.” Radisson Hotel Group’s existing portfolio in Cyprus consists of three Radisson Blu and Radisson properties (and approximately 500 rooms) in operation or under development. The agreement will see this double to six hotels and almost 1,000 rooms in operation by 2025. Antonis Hadjinicolas, general manager of SunnySeeker Hotels, said: “It’s a pleasure to continue our longstanding and successful relationship with Radisson Hotel Group, and to be working with them to develop a range of exciting opportunities across Cyprus. “We’re highly committed to the success of our cooperation with Radisson Hotel Group – as demonstrated by the recently opened Radisson Blu Hotel, Larnaca in the city and the upcoming opening of the Radisson Larnaca Beach Resort. “We look forward to offering Radisson Hotel Group guests a growing range of outstanding experiences as part of this partnership.” Older Princess Cruises welcomes milestones for three new ships Newer Expedia launches airline luggage allowance guide Let's block ads! (Why?)

Princess Cruises welcomes milestones for three new ships

Princess Cruises has celebrated significant milestones for each of its three ships currently under construction. In an industry-first, events took place at Fincantieri shipyard in Monfalcone, Italy, to mark the construction progress for each of the 3,660-guest Sky Princess, Enchanted Princess and a sixth Royal-class ship yet to be named. For Sky Princess, which will launch in October this year, a Madrina ceremony was held. The ceremony saw Kerry Ann Wright, a Glasgow-based second officer for Princess Cruises, wish the ship a safe onward journey with a blessing at the shipyard. Wright began her career at sea working in the onboard hotel department before beginning her own deck cadetship.  ADVERTISEMENTAfter several years of study, she qualified as an officer of the watch in 2015 and gained her chief mates license in 2018, leading to her present role on sister ship, Royal Princess. She was nominated as Madrina by her fellow crew members. For Enchanted Princess, which is due for completion next year, a keel laying ceremony took place. Following a traditional blessing, executives from Princess Cruises and Fincantieri kicked off the countdown to completion of the fifth Royal-class ship by ceremoniously lowering a 500-tonne keel - the bottom-most part of the ship - into position in the drydock. Representatives and invited guests then participated in a traditional good luck coin ceremony, which comprised welding an Ocean Medallion into the ship. Enchanted Princess will launch in Southampton in June 2020. Finally, a steel-cutting ceremony was held for the final Royal-class ship. The ceremony took place during a live broadcast from Naples, Italy, and marked the cutting of the first plates of steel. These signalled the beginning of construction of the ship scheduled to launch in 2022. With two further ships on order for delivery in 2023 and 2025, Princess Cruises will increase its capacity by 32 per cent over the next six years. Jan Swartz, Princess Cruises president, said: “The number of people enjoying cruise holidays has increased, on average, by more than one million every year over the last decade, an increase of more than 68 per cent. “As we continue to grow our fleet with five new ships arriving by 2025 - maintaining our position as the fastest growing premium cruise line in the world - we’re proud to not only celebrate these three major construction milestones in the same day but also to continue to innovate our product with cutting-edge technology and elevated guest experiences that will be offered on all of these ships.” Older McSpadden joins American Express Global Business Travel for new digital role Newer Radisson Hotel Group signs with SunnySeeker to grow Cyprus presence Let's block ads! (Why?)

McSpadden joins American Express Global Business Travel for new digital role

American Express Global Business Travel has appointed Mark McSpadden as vice president of global product strategy and digital experience. He is primarily responsible for the company’s product strategy and product-driven revenue. He will also support the delivery of American Express Global Business Travel’s product roadmap, while working closely with the commercial team to drive the company’s technology value proposition directly with clients. McSpadden reports to Evan Konwiser, vice president, product strategy and marketing, and is based in Dallas, Texas. Konwiser said: “Mark is one of the most innovative and effective product leaders in the travel industry.ADVERTISEMENT“His extensive e-commerce and technology background adds tremendous value to American Express Global Business Travel as we build on our progress from the last several years and accelerate our leadership as a digital travel management company.” McSpadden most recently served as vice president of direct distribution and digital experience at Sabre Hospitality.  Commenting on his appointment, McSpadden said: “I am excited to be part of a company that is aggressively tackling challenges with forward-thinking technology solutions. “As our industry continues to evolve, I look forward to working with American Express Global Business Travel and its partners to take the traveller experience to new heights.” Older Mandarin Oriental launches new luxury residences project in New York Newer Princess Cruises welcomes milestones for three new ships Let's block ads! (Why?)

Mandarin Oriental launches new luxury residences project in New York

Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group has announced an agreement to brand and manage 69 luxurious residences, located on Fifth Avenue New York, scheduled for completion in 2021. Mandarin Oriental Residences at 685 Fifth Avenue are being developed in an elegant 1920’s building on the corner of Fifth Avenue and 54th Street. The private homes will offer the exceptional service for which Mandarin Oriental is renowned. They will feature a variety of facilities including a library and lounge on the top floor of the building, with clear views over Central Park. A fully equipped gym, a spa with beauty treatment rooms, and a rooftop pool with cabanas and lounge beds will all be serviced by Mandarin Oriental. The property will also offer an all-day dining restaurant.ADVERTISEMENT“We look forward to introducing a new collection of Mandarin Oriental Residences to New York. “The development will offer owners a unique pied-a-terre lifestyle in an ideal location, steps away from Central Park and Manhattan’s renowned luxury shopping, museums and fine dining choices. “Mandarin Oriental’s attention to detail and legendary service will enhance the living experience of the residents,” said James Riley, group chief executive of Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group. The owners and developers of the project are SHVO, BLG Capital and Deutsche Finance America. “What I love the most about New York City real estate is reimagining a living space, a building, and even the way we can interact with a world-renowned neighbourhood,” said Michael Shvo, chairman of SHVO. “We look forward to developing these unique Mandarin Oriental residences in the heart of Manhattan and creating this one-of-a-kind offering for buyers who demand the highest level of finishes and luxury services.” Older Ashford Castle capitalises on gin boom with new tasting experience Newer McSpadden joins American Express Global Business Travel for new digital role Let's block ads! (Why?)

Ashford Castle capitalises on gin boom with new tasting experience

Ashford Castle has launched a new collaboration with The Shed Distillery to offer guests the exclusive Gin Tray Tasting Experience, in collaboration with Drumshanbo Gunpowder Irish Gin. There are few better places in the world for gin lovers at the moment than Ireland, where the spirit is in the midst of a renaissance, and for those heading to the stately Ashford Castle, there is much more than the classic G&T on offer. With the launch of Ashford Castle’s Gin Tray Tasting Experience, guests of Ashford Castle can compare a number of the world’s finest gins from Ireland, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Scotland and UK with Ireland’s distinctive Drumshambo Gunpowder Irish Gin. Under the expert guidance of Ashford Castle bar manager, Noli Alngohuro, guests will be presented with the Drumshanbo Gunpowder Tasting Tray for comparison with two other world gins of their choice from the extensive selection at Ashford Castle. ADVERTISEMENTDuring the taste comparison, guests will learn about the origins and production journey of the spirit. A selection of cocktails that complement the botanical notes of the Drumshanbo Gunpowder Gin will be created by Noli Alngohuro and team in the Prince of Wales Bar using specially chosen fresh ingredients foraged from the Ashford Castle estate. Drumshanbo Gunpowder Gin, which came onto the market in 2015, has been lauded for its delicate botanical notes and is now in demand worldwide. Older Thailand launches new electronic visa on arrival service Newer Mandarin Oriental launches new luxury residences project in New York Let's block ads! (Why?)

Thailand launches new electronic visa on arrival service

Thailand has launched a new electronic visa on arrival system for international travellers. The service offers travellers a new experience when entering the country at the Suvarnabhumi and Don Mueng airports in Bangkok, as well as at Phuket and Chiang Mai airports. It is part of a Thai initiative to promote tourism, and has been developed by the Immigration Bureau of Royal Thai Police and VFS Global. In 2017, Thailand welcomed a record 35 million tourists, with tourism-generated income in Thailand amounting to around ฿2.6 trillion. In 2018, over four million visitors used the conventional, time consuming visa on arrival service at Thai airports.ADVERTISEMENTThe new service offers travellers the conveniences of avoiding long queues, and eliminates the need to fill up application forms on arrival and arrange for paper documentation or local currency which travellers find challenging after a long flight. Guests can visit the website, fill in the form, pay and get a visa emailed too them ahead of arrival. Commenting on the new service, Surachate Hakparn, commissioner of the Immigration Bureau, Royal Thai Police, said: “With the electronic visa on arrival service, we are proud to offer a new age digital solution which will enhance the overall experience for the modern-day traveller who seeks to visit Thailand from 21 countries across the globe. “In our cooperation with the world’s largest outsourcing and technology services specialist for governments and diplomatic missions VFS Global, we aim to effectively meet the objective of increasing tourism to the country through this solution especially taking into consideration the all-important security aspect that allows pre-check of travellers prior the arrival, as it offers time to the Immigration Bureau for effective assessment.” The service is available to guests from Andorra, Bulgaria, Bhutan, China, Cyprus, Ethiopia, Fiji, India, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Maldives, Malta, Mauritius, Papua New Guinea, Romania, San Marino, Saudi Arabia, Taiwan, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan. Older NATS records increase in UK air space activity Newer Ashford Castle capitalises on gin boom with new tasting experience Let's block ads! (Why?)

NATS records increase in UK air space activity

January saw 181,362 flights fly through UK airspace according to NATS, an increase of 1.6 per cent compared to January 2018. This accounted for 23.7 per cent of all European traffic and demonstrates the continuously increasing global demand for air travel. The biggest growth came in the non-transatlantic international overflights sector, with an increase of 7.5 per cent compared to last January. This is largely due to an increase in demand between Ireland and Europe, particularly on flights between Dublin and Frankfurt. Transatlantic overflights also saw a marked increase, up 6.3 per cent, led by more flights between the US and Europe, notably between New York and Paris.  ADVERTISEMENTDomestic flights were the only sector that declined in January compared to last year, with a 3.5 per cent reduction in traffic.  Traffic handled by both NATS air traffic control centres grew year on year in January, with Swanwick air traffic up by four per cent and Prestwick up by almost two per cent. NATS attributable delay for the month was minimal, with only 336 minutes in total; a substantial 97.1 per cent decrease compared to the same time last year. This equates to an average en-route delay per delayed flight of 11.59 seconds. Juliet Kennedy, NATS operations director, said: “We’re off to a good start this year, handling an increasing number of flights with less delay compared to last January.” Older Virgin Voyages opens Scarlet Lady to bookings Newer Thailand launches new electronic visa on arrival service Let's block ads! (Why?)

Virgin Voyages opens Scarlet Lady to bookings

Virgin Group founder Richard Branson and Virgin Voyages president Tom McAlpin announced today that the line is officially open for business, with the company’s first ship, Scarlet Lady, now open for bookings. Passengers can book for her inaugural season, with voyages departing from April 1st through October 25th next year. “I’ve dreamed of starting my own cruise line since I was in my 20s, and now the launch is finally getting close,” said Branson. “We have taken the time to think about every detail and craft an experience that brings the Virgin brand to life and disrupts the travel industry.” Passengers on board Virgin Voyages will enjoy free food at the 20+ eateries onboard, free group fitness classes, no gratuities or service charges, free Wi-Fi and free basic beverages like teas, drip coffee and soft drinks, as well as still and sparkling water. “At Virgin Voyages we are going beyond just great design, to defy and redefine luxury to be rebellious luxe,” said McAlpin. “This new luxury is about knowing you are taken care of, that you’re never being nickel and dimed, and what you want, even some of the things you didn’t know you wanted, are already taken care of for you.” In conjunction with opening bookings for sale, Virgin Voyages revealed that all voyages will feature the Beach Club, a Virgin Voyages experience in Bimini, Bahamas. There passengers can enjoy a beach day and/or explore the island flavour and culture of Bimini and its turquoise blue waters. Older UK visitors lead Maldives to strong year Newer Ashford Castle capitalises on gin boom with new tasting experience Let's block ads! (Why?)