New seven wonders of nature winners to benefit from $1 billion

The economic value of being voted as one of the New7Wonders of Nature has been estimated at $US1 billion over five years for each winner. The projection is based on an independent impact report just released by Grant Thornton, an international organization of chartered accountants and management consultants.


According to Grant Thornton, South Africa could benefit by US$200 million a year, equivalent to over US$ 1 billion for the first five years, if Table Mountain is chosen one of the Official New7Wonders of Nature. Tourism to Cape Town would increase by up to 20 percent annually, with 70 percent of the visitors expected to come from overseas. “This would support around 11,000 employment opportunities in South Africa,” the Grant Thornton report said.


Table Mountain is one of 28 Official Finalists in the New7Wonders of Nature campaign. The winning seven will be announced on 11 November 2011 after an estimated one billion votes — online and via telephone and SMS — have been cast.


Grant Thornton’s projections are based on the campaign to choose the man-made Official New 7 Wonders of the World that culminated in 2007, in which 100 million votes were cast. Its report states that “measurable” results were seen at sites which made the top seven shortlisted in that campaign. “Visitors to Petra in Jordan increased by 61 percent and visitors to Christ the Redeemer in Brazil increased by 30 percent.”


The man-made Official New 7 Wonders of the World have “become part of school curriculums’ all over the world, and if the same happens to the New7Wonders of Nature, children from every corner of the globe will be learning about Table Mountain and South Africa as a destination.”


The Grant Thornton report was welcomed by Jean-Paul de la Fuente, Director of New7Wonders, who said that its findings confirmed the conclusions of an academic study released last year by the London-based publisher Pearson (publisher of the Financial Times newspaper) in which the worldwide economic contribution made by the campaign to elect the man-made New 7 Wonders of the World was valued at more than US$5 billion.


He also pointed out that the Grant Thornton report refers to purely economic value. “If you add the marketing, advertising, image and branding value, you would easily double the numbers, which means that the New7Wonders of Nature campaign is likely to generate well over US$10 billion in economic and marketing value globally” he said.


“This shows that New7Wonders is an extraordinarily positive force, bringing people together using modern, direct, interactive media, and in the end through this generating real economic plus-value for the world,” Jean-Paul de la Fuente added.



BMI baby to axe flights from Manchester and Cardiff airports

Airline, BMIbaby, has announced it will stop flights from Manchester and Cardiff airports at the end of this summer.
The budget airline has blamed the economic down-turn for the cuts, which will come in late October, saying they needed to concentrate on more established routes.
Four BMIbaby planes will be redeployed to Belfast, East-Midlands and Birmingham airports.
Staff will also be moved to new locations.
The 69 positions as Cardiff will be moving and 64 of the 97 positions at Manchester also being redeployed.
A BMIbaby spokesman said: “In the current economic climate it is essential for BMIbaby to focus on airports where the airline already has a strong market presence and where there are strong growth opportunities for the BMIbaby business.
“Therefore BMIbaby has optimised their current flying programme and as a result of this BMIbaby will cease operations from Cardiff Airport and from Manchester Airport at the end of the summer 2011 flying programme.”
Currently the airline operates 40 flights a week from Manchester and 30 a week to European destinations from Cardiff.
They added that parent company British Midland International (BMI), who has recently been taken over by Germany’s Lufthansa, would retain a ‘significant presence’ at Manchester airport.
Andrew Harrison, managing director of Manchester Airport, said: “We understand BMIbaby’s reasons for the decision and remind our passengers that the destinations will still be served by other carriers in the winter.
“We continue to see strong growth from carriers such as Monarch, Ryan air, Flybe, EasyJet and at Manchester and are confident of a strong summer programme that will still include BMIbaby. We’ll also still see the airline group presence at Manchester with BMI keeping a significant presence and BMIbaby will still be flying from one of our airports at East Midlands.”
BMIbaby plans to introduce seven new routes from Belfast and two from East Midland’s airport.

Sarah Taylor

Yoga retreats launched in Spain

Get practising your salute to the sun as London based Yoga Wellbeing announced today that it will launch its first international yoga retreats in sunny Spain this June. Initially located in the Sierra Espuna National park, the retreats promise to offer just what yogis will be looking for in a European holiday; stunning views, comfortable accommodation and good hearty home cooked meals.

Starting retreats in Spain was a natural progression after running a number on home soil in the UK. Founder of Yoga Wellbeing, Laura Watson, commented “Spain offers a different pace of life and a warmer climate which we believe helps beginners get off to a good start in their yoga journey”. The format the retreats take is flexible with customers able to do as much or as little as they want. “On full days yogis will be taught twice per day, once in the morning and once in the evening, and in between classes they have time to explore. We have partnered with a number of local businesses some English and others Spanish to supply rewarding activities such as mountain biking, climbing and paragliding which can be enjoyed as additional extras.”

Yoga Wellbeing is a UK based Yoga School with its main office in London. It specialises in private & corporate yoga tuition; the teaching style offered draws influence primarily from the Hatha & Vinyasa flow schools of thought. If you would like to find out more about Yoga Wellbeing’s holidays, please visit their dedicated website (, you can contact the team using the contact form or by calling them on +44 (0)845 834 0895.

‘Lost’ maze revealed in Buckinghamshire

A ‘lost’ maze has been revealed in the gardens at Cliveden in Buckinghamshire by the National Trust. The maze that disappeared over half a century ago, originally made for Lord Astor in 1894, has been re-created using over 1,000 two metre (six feet six inches) high yew trees.

The fully-fledged maze is based on one that was built for Lord Astor in 1894 but had ceased to be maintained since the mid-1900s.

The new maze, a horticultural project on a scale rarely seen these days, has taken two years to create, using over 1,000 metres of steel edging and 120 tonnes of gravel to produce 500 metres of path over one third of an acre. It is the same size as the world-famous Hampton Court maze.

Lord Astor’s designs for the maze were discovered in National Trust archives in 2005. Apart from a few surviving yew trees that provided the exact location of the maze, little else was known about the original maze.

The two-year project was led by Cliveden’s head gardener Andrew Mudge. He said: “Once we found the old plans in 2005 we just felt compelled to recreate it. It took a lot of research and planning to firstly draw out the plans, and to prepare the ground.

“The maze will take a little while to really establish itself and fill out, but it’s fantastic that people can enjoy it straight away. And don’t worry, you can’t cheat by pushing through the hedges because they are all enclosed by metal railings.

“And because it’s yet to appear on Google Earth, there’s no cheating using mobile phones either, so it’s a real treat for people who want to puzzle their way in and out of the maze.”

Each tree on arrival, weighed approximately 60 kilograms, and four 40 foot long lorries were required to transport them.

Mike Calnan, head of gardens and parks at the National Trust, said: “Mazes provide a perfect opportunity for people to get outdoors and to have fun exploring these rare, but important features from our gardening past. The Cliveden maze will be the most important yew maze the Trust will have restored to date.”

The Maze is a highlight in Cliveden’s ongoing renaissance to return it to its former 19th Century splendour, when the grounds were world famous for their sophisticated planting and landscaping. Other recent developments include the opening up of long lost vistas and footpaths and the re-instatement of historical planting schemes.

British Airways’ doubles flights to Rio

British Airways is continuing its commitment to Brazil by doubling its weekly frequency to Rio de Janeiro from three to six flights.

Neil Cottrell, British Airways’ head of network planning, said: “We are experiencing a real increase in demand for Rio and by doubling the number of frequencies, we are able to offer our customers more choice and greater availability. Brazil is also experiencing strong economic growth and this capacity increase is a great opportunity for British Airways to be part of that growth.”

Flights will now depart Heathrow for Rio every day, except Mondays. The departure time remains at 12.15pm, landing in Rio at 9.55pm local time.
The flight will continue to be served by a three class B777, enabling customers to choose from World Traveller (economy), World Traveller Plus (premier economy) and the airline’s fully flat beds in Club World (business class).

Earlier this month, British Airways and Iberia announced the immediate start of codesharing on a new tranche of one another’s flights. This included BA putting its code on Iberia flights from Madrid to San Jose (Costa Rica) and Panama City and Iberia adding its code to BA’s Bahrain, Doha, Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Kuwait and Muscat services. Iberia has also added its code onto British Airways’ services to Cape Town and both airlines are now sharing their Johannesburg flights. Iberia’s flights to Havana also started carrying the BA code on April 15.


Park Resorts to host Royal Wedding street parties all over the UK

The Caravan Experts Take to the Streets and Celebrate Will’s & Kate’s Wedding of the Year

Park Resorts, the number one provider of all static caravans for sale, are hosting the biggest and best royal wedding street parties across the UK! With royal wedding excitement levels ever escalating, Park Resorts are starting to put their highly anticipated street party plans into action. Championing the best of British, Andy Edge, Marketing Director from Park Resorts comments:

“Here at Park Resorts we are tremendously excited about our royal wedding street parties. Creating amazing memories is what Park Resorts is all about and the street parties are going to do just this. Our parks are already the basis of a great community spirit and we look forward to creating so many fantastic royal wedding memories for all the families and friends who come to stay with us. From the amount of entertainment we’re putting on and the community atmosphere generated, we’re truly rediscovering quintessential British summertime.”

The Park Resorts royal wedding street parties, which take place on 29th April, have all the ingredients to become a real recipe for success. Park Resorts residents can enjoy the very best of British entertainment with every park offering something different. Whatever the weather, expect to enjoy sizzling BBQ buffets, jovial picnics and lashings of good fun. There will be all manner of daytime and evening entertainment, which both kids and adults will enjoy. Fun and games for the kids will run throughout the day, including competitions, and ‘sports day’ races. At selected parks the royal wedding will be shown on the big screen for the community to watch. As you’re attending a wedding, be sure to dress to impress! And last but not least, expect a lively street party, full of good humour, merriment and a real celebration of this once-in-a-lifetime royal occasion. Make sure you don’t miss out, by booking your ‘royal wedding’ stay today. Join the party and start making amazing memories – it’ll be one to remember.

Park Resorts, who offer caravan holidays across the UK, including in Essex, Yorkshire, Kent, Sussex and Scotland, offer all manner of caravan holidays. Whether you are a family, couple or large group of friends, they have the right caravan for you. Accommodation is available to suit all age groups and price limits, from bronze, silver and gold, with a real emphasis on catering for the family.


Parents not taking children out of school for long Easter break


More than half of Britain’s schools are happy to let parents take their children away during term-time according to a recent survey by holiday rentals specialist, Owners Direct. However, despite results showing that people value their holiday time more than ever due to work overload, very few are taking advantage of their school’s relaxed attitude over the Easter and Royal Wedding break.

With just under half of schools allowing up to two weeks off during term-time, it is surprising that very few parents (just 1.1 per cent) are planning to take their children away on the two or three days of term time between Easter and the Royal wedding.

Angela Southall, Marketing Manager for Owners Direct said: “We were surprised about these findings. Many parents place significant importance on their children’s education and are instead happy to pay a premium to go away in designated holidays”.

Just seven per cent admit they are brave enough to take annual term-time holidays. However, 42 per cent will book a term-time break occasionally.

One parent commented: “So long as it doesn’t clash with exams, it’s usually ok”, whilst another said: “it is very much at the head’s discretion”.

Of those who do utilise their schools’ relaxed guidelines regarding holiday time, almost 80 per cent of respondents in the survey undertaken in April this year take children out of school to save money, with 14 per cent citing better flight options and 10 per cent for a quieter time.

Employers, it seems are more than happy to accommodate staff’s needs when it comes to taking a holiday. Almost 74 per cent are flexible on chosen dates, with only teachers suffering from not being able to go on holiday during term time.

In today’s cash-strapped times, people are valuing their holidays more than ever – over 80 per cent take up to three holidays per year. And most people would be prepared to forgo salary for extra holiday, whilst the majority take their full holiday entitlement every year because of ‘use it or lose it’ rules. Over 80 per cent are taking the same amount or more holidays than usual in 2011.

Many of those surveyed said that getting away from work, day to day stress and financial worries was really important to them.
Most felt that life was simply too short not to enjoy it and that the work, work, work culture left them desperate for a break.

Despite the record number of holidays being taken, people are always looking for ways to save money with over 70 per cent opting for a self-catering as a cheaper alternative. Other ways wily holidaymakers are saving include searching the internet for deals, doing a house swap or gramping (going away with extended family) or groups of friends.

Favourite countries include the UK, France, Spain, Italy, with USA coming a close second after Europe. Many stated that deciding where to go was the hardest aspect of booking a holiday!

Over 60 per cent think taking a holiday away from work has become more important than ever over the last three years. Parents say what their children most love about going on holiday is being on or near water, whether it be the pool or the beach.

And the one thing they could not possibly leave behind? Over half cannot do without a good holiday read by the beach or pool. Other essentials include iPods, mobile phones and computer games. So we never completely switch off, do we!

Brits most clueless about tipping abroad

A survey of over 5,500 Europeans has revealed Britons are Europe’s most clueless travellers when it comes to tipping customs. Britons are least likely to know tipping procedures and most likely to find themselves in a tipping confrontation.

The research showed that 60% of Britons do not know what they’re expected to tip in foreign countries, compared to the European average of 45%. A further 16% have been confronted on holiday after not tipping, compared to just 11% of Europeans.

“In the UK tipping is relatively straightforward but that seems to have resulted in some British travellers taking other country’s tipping rules for granted. In some countries, such as the USA, staff often rely on their tips to make a living and in certain situations in Japan tipping can be considered rude,” commented Emma O’Boyle, TripAdvisor spokesperson.

The British resistance to tipping is so strong that nearly one quarter (22%) say American tipping culture puts them off holidaying in the USA, compared to just 11% of Europeans.

Despite admitting to poor preparedness and commonly causing tipping conflict, 45% of Brits claims they always tip when on holiday, compared to the European average of just 35%. In addition, 8% of Britons claim to have had a holiday “ruined” by a tipping situation.

The survey revealed a number of other interesting results:

– Almost half (45%) of all European respondents admit they are now tipping less or not at all because of the current economic squeeze. One-third (35%) of British travellers are tipping less due to the economic situation. The situation is most severe for Spanish travellers – 65% claim to have changed their tipping because of the financial crisis.

– When asked whether tips should be abolished altogether and service automatically added to the bill, 58% of Britons and 52% of Europeans do not believe tips should be added to the bill

“Just as you should check local customs and rules before visiting any country, you should also research their tipping rules to avoid unnecessary confrontation or embarrassment,” concluded TripAdvisor’s Emma O’Boyle.

Cape Town is the place to be this Easter

Today marks the start of the Easter holidays this year, and includes that long-awaited, four-day weekend when loved ones come together for some great family fun. Cape Town’s tourism establishments look forward to this time of year as domestic tourism increases, with travellers from across the country descending on Cape Town to spend some quality time with family and friends.

Easter is usually a good time for domestic tourism in Cape Town when visitors from across the country soak in the remainder of the warm days in Cape Town. Autumn in the Mother City is marked by mild sunny days and great events and activities aimed at the whole family. We are looking forward to welcoming our domestic guests to the Mother City and urge those traveling by road to drive safely. Be vigilant at all times, keep hydrated and awake, stop to stretch your legs, and whatever you do – do not drink and drive!” encouraged CEO of Cape Town Tourism, Mariette du Toit-Helmbold.

Not only is Easter a time for family and fun but it also signals a change of season. A season of culinary delights, wines, books, and culture; a season when engaging with nature is easier without the heat, and winter adventure activities are the order of the day.

There is so much to see and do in Cape Town during the winter months,” continued du Toit-Helmbold, “Granted it means less time spent on the beach, but there are beautiful walks in forests, exploring the Cape’s heritage, and experiencing our many indoor activities.”

Travelers to Cape Town are welcome to contact Cape Town Tourism on +27 21 487 6800 or to visit any one of their eighteen Visitor Information Centers across the city (

A Few Easter Weekend Activities for Adults:

Do the Wine Tour extension to City Sightseeing’s Blue Mini Peninsula Tour. The tour takes visitors to Groot Constantia and Eagles’ Nest in the Cape’s oldest wine growing region, Constantia Valley. Visit

Jazz lovers can attend weekly Sunday Jazz Brunches at Winchester Mansions in Sea Point until 24 April 2011. Harveys restaurant serves a fine food brunch in the romantic courtyard or terraces (overlooking the Atlantic Seaboard) whilst jazz shows are performed by local and international jazz artists. Visit

Take part in Fun Runs (Rondebosch) or the Friendship Run (V&A Waterfront) of the Old Mutual Two Oceans Marathon on Good Friday and choose from a variety of distances. Visit

Dads, catch the Canal Walk Motor Show between 27 April – 2 May at the Canal Walk Shopping Centre in Century City. Visit for more information.

A Few Easter Weekend Activities for Kids:

The Two Oceans Aquarium at the V&A Waterfront is open every day and is filled with over 3000 marine life specimens from the Indian and Atlantic oceans. During the Easter holidays the Two Oceans Aquarium will be hosting Easter Egg Hunts and snake shows (22 April – 2 May). Visit

The V&A Waterfront boasts over 450 retail stores, craft markets, the Aquarium, the scratch-patch, boat charters and street entertainers. During the Easter holidays kiddies’ rides (and the permanent Wheel of Excellence) will be offered between 11-15 April near the Two Oceans Aquarium, a Pirate Boat Jungle Gym will be on offer for the Easter weekend, and there will be a Lindt Easter Village at Barrow Court from 19 – 25 April where little ones can enjoy chocolate in the Lindt Garden and enter colour-in competitions for Lindt prizes. Visit

The Zip Zap circus is the oldest circus in Cape Town and provides top circus entertainment for the whole family. During the Easter holidays the Zip Zap Circus will be hosting a show called Just Kidding (21 – 27 April). Visit

Seeing Northern Lights Top’s Holiday Wish-List

Many employees will see the start of the new holiday year this month and will start thinking about getting away for well needed holiday. A recent survey undertaken by travel specialist, The Adventure Company, has revealed that the enigmatic Aurora Borealis is the leading light when it comes to the holiday experience wish-list.

Survey results have shown that from 8000 UK travellers, the Northern Lights topped the league of iconic sights that Brits would most like to experience over the coming year with 16% of votes. Only narrowly beating Machu Picchu (15.7%) – which this year celebrates the 100th anniversary of being ‘discovered’ by Hiram Bingham – to the ‘must-see’ post.

Explaining the rising popularity of this natural phenomenon Claire Wilson, MD of The Adventure Company, said: “It seems that recent shows such as the BBC’s ‘Wonders of the Solar System’ and Joanna Lumley’s own Northern Lights experiences have really inspired us Brits to look up for holiday inspiration. Coupled with natural displays such as a partial eclipse of the sun and a meteor shower being visible in a few fortunate corners of the UK over the last few months along with last month’s super moon, it looks like the UK’s fascination with ‘star-gazing’ on their travels may finally be moving away from C-list celebrities.”

In third position, with 8.6% of responses, was Nepal’s mighty Himalaya. No longer simply the domain of hardened mountaineers or travellers on the hippy trail, the region has become more accessible through increased flights while The Adventure Company has experienced a 60% increase in demand for holidays to the Himalayan Kingdom over the last four years. And with 2011 having been declared the year of tourism Nepal, it seems that the country¡¦s appeal to those new to adventure and seasoned travellers alike will continue to flourish.

Wildlife-rich destinations such as The Galapagos (8.2%), The Amazon (4%) and The Rainforest (3.6%), meanwhile, were left further down the list, in fourth, eighth and tenth place respectively.
However, perhaps indicating that animals have become as much of a reason to travel as the destination itself, tigers proved triumphant with a quarter of holidaymakers (23.2%) voting the endangered species the animal they would most like to see in their natural environment. With Tigers teetering on the edge of extinction and the chance of sighting one front of mind for many of those travelling to India, it can only be hoped that continued visitors will help increase awareness of the issues facing this majestic creature.

Gorillas were next on the animal agenda, with 12.1% of those questioned choosing them as the animal they’d most like to see on a wildlife holiday, followed by the Giant Panda which drew 10.6% of votes.

With a new generation of intrepid TV presenters inspiring would-be explorers of all ages to be more adventurous with their holidays, it seems there¡¦s still a long way to journey before travel stalwart Michael Palin is ousted from the nation’s heart. Over a third of those polled (37.5%) chose Palin as the TV adventurer they’d most like to travel with, leaving Ray Mears (13.5%) and Ranulph Fiennes (12.7%) in his shadow.

And it¡¦s not just adults who are increasingly drawn to exploring further afield, with the results indicating that families are increasingly adding adventure to their ‘holiday homework’. When parents were asked which corners of the world they would most like to take their children on holiday to, India’s combination of wildlife, culture and stunning landscapes ensured it topped the list for a fifth of families (20.9%). East & South Africa came second (17.7%) and Latin America third (14.3%), while Europe was left in sixth place, having attracted just 11.3% of votes.

Wilson added: “TV coverage over the last few years has certainly helped make adventurous escapes and active breaks seem more accessible. While it’s an accepted truth that travel broadens the mind, age shouldn’t be a barrier to travel. It¡¦s therefore especially encouraging to see more and more parents taking advantage of the school holidays to swap deckchairs for backpacks and, supporting this trend, The Adventure Company has seen a 49% growth in family adventure holidays over the last five years.”