Travelodge Returns to Hometown

Travelodge Hotels, a UK-based company that owns and operates hotel properties, has announced the opening of its newest hotel in Burton-upon-Trent, in UK, where in 1985 it opened its first hotel.

The new Travelodge Burton-upon-Trent Central will be opened by the Mayor of East Staffordshire, Cllr Len Milner, and Judy Harper, a receptionist at the company’s first hotel, Travelodge Burton A48 Northbound, and one of the first employees of the brand.

Burton-upon-Trent Central Travelodge is offering 68 guestrooms in an iconic Midlands Grain Warehouse constructed in the late 19th Century.

Melissa Wilson, the hotel manager for Burton-upon-Trent Central, said, ‘It is an honour to manage a Travelodge hotel in Burton-upon-Trent, as everyone in the company knows the importance that the town play in our history. By attracting new visitors to Travelodge Burton-upon-Trent Central we will boost the local economy by £1.1 million. As our research shows the average Travelodge customer will spend on average £36 a day in local shops, restaurants and bars during their stay.’

Judy Harper, the Travelodge receptionist who will open Travelodge Burton-upon-Trent Central, said, ‘I couldn’t believe it when I was asked to open the new hotel, I thought someone might be winding me up. It is such a privilege to open a Travelodge hotel after all these years working for the company and I’m very honoured. I’ve seen a lot in 27 years working for Travelodge but I never thought I’d get to do something like this.’

Mayor of East Staffordshire, Cllr Len Milner, said, ‘It’s wonderful to see Travelodge coming home to Burton-upon-Trent, and continuing to invest in the town. The brand has had an incredibly successful 27 years, and we’re proud that it all started here.’

Travelodge is currently operating around 500 hotels offering 35,400 rooms in the UK, Ireland and Spain. The company expansion plans include increasing its portfolio to 1,100 hotels and 100,000 rooms by 2025. For reservations made online at travelodge.co.uk, room rates commence at £19 per night.

Ryanair Announces New High Street Shop in Manchester

Ryanair, an Ireland-based low cost airline, has opened its first travel agency in Manchester, UK.

The new ‘pop-up’ shop – as known by the airline – will offer the airline’s routes, and it has offered to pay double the difference if visitors can identify a cheaper flight to their destinations from Manchester. The shop is now open in the Piccadilly area of the city for the next four weeks.

Michael Cawley, the airline chief operating officer, said, ‘Ryanair has long pioneered customer innovations and through our latest promotion, we will bring our ultra-low fare seats right to the heart of Manchester, with the opening of our first pop-up shop, giving high street customers the chance to see our lowest fares for themselves.

If any passenger finds a cheaper flight to/from Manchester during the four weeks the store is open, we will refund double the difference – we won’t be beaten on price – while we’ll also be giving away a return flight for two, every day, to amazing European destinations, including Budapest, Dublin, Faro, Oslo and Riga.

Since launching our Manchester base in November 2011, Ryanair has carried over 1.7m passengers to/from Manchester Airport, connecting the North West to 30 destinations across Europe, and sustaining over 1,700 ‘on site’ jobs at Manchester Airport.’

The airline has recently been accused of practicing unsafe procedures, and will be undergoing an investigation before it may be cleared of charges of noncompliance to safety standards while flying to France.

The airline, which has suffered flight incidents quite frequently recently, had to make an emergency landing at Valencia for refuelling, in Spain, breaking a safety regulation. European Union rules make it mandatory for commercial aircraft to carry plenty of fuel to cope with a range of emergency events.

Accor to Open Four New Hotels in London in 2012 October

Accor, a France-based hotel company and owner of brands such as ibis, ibis budget, and ibis Styles, amongst others, will be opening four new hotels in UK in October 2012.

The company is opening its new flagship Ibis London Blackfriars hotel in the UK, with 297 guestrooms, an open plan lobby with the reception, and a bar and restaurant. Located in the heart of Blackfriars, the hotel is within easy commutable distance with other parts of the city. A new Novtel hotel will also be opening at the same property, with 182 rooms and complimentary Wi-Fi, fitness centre and an indoor pool.

Commenting on the design of the ibis London Blackfriars hotel, Thomas Dubaere, the managing director, Accor UK and Ireland, said, ‘This is ibis like never before, and we are confident that ibis London Blackfriars will transform perceptions of economy hotels. We believe that travellers looking for affordable and reasonable accommodation shouldn’t have to compromise on quality and style. Guests will be surprised by the revitalised offering at Blackfriars and the hotel will also play a part in the current rejuvenation of this popular area.’

The new Ibis London Shepherd’s Bush will open in London with 128 rooms, located with easy distance of the food and fashion destination of Westfield London.

Dubaere said of this development, ‘We are thrilled to open this ibis hotel, which has all the innovation and style that mark the new era for ibis, and indeed those looking for affordable, quality accommodation. We believe travellers on a budget shouldn’t have to settle for anything less than the latest in design, technology and comfort. The hotel is perfectly situated in the revitalised Shepherd’s Bush area and is itself contributing to the ongoing development of the area.’

Finally, the new Mercure London Greenwich is also opening in October, with 145 rooms, complimentary Wi-Fi, a fitness centre, and a restaurant and bar.

‘2012 has been a decisive year for London, which has been a huge magnet for tourists particularly. We believe it is important to invest in the city for the longer term, as illustrated by the opening of four new hotels in just one month’, says Dubaere.

Most popular Menorca coastal towns for self-catering holidays

With its year-round sunny, lively events calendar and affordable prices during both high and low season, the island of Menorca is a popular travel destination that is not confined to the summer months. If you are looking to rent out a villa and enjoy a fun, active and memorable holiday without spending a fortune, then you should certainly consider this top destination.

In fact, the beauty of Menorca is that being an island that is relatively low lying, the weather is favourably mild all year round, meaning affordable self-catering holidays can be achieved on this popular Balearic island, regardless of the season.

Although similar to other Spanish islands, there are certain areas of Menorca that are more popular and attract a greater number of tourists than others. Boasting a remarkably beautiful coastline, it has to be said that many of Menorca’s coastal towns remain the most popular and where tourism thrives, villas can often be rented for a bargain.

Take a look at three of the most popular Menorcan coastal towns for self-catering holidays below if you need inspiration villa holidays:

Ciutadella

If you are looking for villas in Menorca that will provide you and your family with a comfortable, relaxing stay for an affordable price, then the town of Ciutadella rarely disappoints. This sensational coastal town is one of the most popular places to visit and stay on Menorca.

Asides from spending many a lazy day lapping up the sunshine on the long, sandy beach, there are plenty of attractions to cater for the more culturally-yearning of visitors. One sight of cultural interest in Ciutadella that is particularly popular amongst tourists is the Naveta des Tudons: an ancient megalithic tomb that never fails to fascinate all the family.

Mahon

Being the capital of Menorca, the eastern city of Mahon is a vibrant and colourful place to visit during any month of the year. What makes this interesting town particularly unique is that Mahon has the second deepest natural harbour in the world: 5km long and 900 metres wide.

For holidaymakers seeking a fun holiday in the sun with an affordable rented villa, then this city and its surroundings offer a wide choice of villas in Menorca. All of these promise to provide guests with comfort, quality and value for money.

Cala Galdana

If your holiday to Menorca comes with aspirations to stay somewhere a little quieter, then the delightful beach resort of Cala Galdana might be the best destination.

Situated approximately 35 kilometres to the west of Mahon and Menorca’s international airport, Cala Galdana is popular for tourists on traditional package holidays but is also becoming increasingly popular as a destination for self-catering holidays and for those looking to stay in self-contained private villas – such as those provided by reputable companies such as Villas4You.

Part of Cala Galdana’s appeal is its magnificent horseshoe beach backed by towering cliffs boasting wonderful cliff top walks. In fact the many coastal paths that run alongside Cala Galdana and its surroundings are some of the most scenic walks of the island.

Plan Your Summer Trip for 2013 Now

Planning your summer trip next year, looking at those rain clouds hovering over Britain? Then here are some destinations finding favour with UK travellers for those looking forward to sunnier weather.

Direct Destinations, a UK based travel company, is suggesting that a popular travel destination for British travellers is the US. In 2012, travellers from the UK to the US increased 4% over that in 2011. Popular destinations in the US include California, New York and Florida.

Florida is the most popular US destination for British families with its sunny beaches and famous attractions, including Walt Disney World Resort, and the recently opened Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios in Orlando.

Families are also opting for Cyprus, in the Mediterranean, for the sun and sea experience. In 2012 to date, around 100,000 UK residents have visited the island country, with its rich heritage and culture – a mingle of flavours from Europe, Asia and Africa.

A travel price comparison website, dealchecker.co.uk, has suggested that Dubai, in the UAE, is also proving to be a popular choice with British families for vacations. In the spring and summer of 2012, UK travellers searching for holidays in Dubai increased by 36% compared to the same period in the preceding year. Another report, by ACI Passenger and Freight Flash Report, said that Dubai International Airport has reported a 13.7% increase in passenger traffic in the first half of 2012 compared to the same period in 2011.

Mark Attwell, the managing director of dealchecker.co.uk, said, ‘Cities across the Middle East and Asia have grown in popularity this year, from the relatively nearby Dubai and Istanbul to far-flung hotspots like Hong Kong and Beijing. From London, you can fly to Dubai in the same time that it takes to drive to Scotland, making this exciting and family-friendly city more accessible than ever.’

First Great Western Announces New Services and Station Development

First Great Western, a UK-based railway company, is offering supplementary evening services on the Severn Beach Line.

The service, which began on September 17, 2012, will be catering to extra demand on passenger traffic between Bristol Temple Meads and Avonmouth.

It is to provide a boost following a recent period of growth in passenger numbers on the line. The line was inaugurated by Cllr Tim Kent, executive member for transport at Bristol City Council.

Mark Hopwood, the company managing director for First Great Western, said, ‘First Great Western has worked hard with Bristol City Council and the Severnside Community Rail Partnership to improve and promote services on this popular route through Bristol. The huge increase in passenger numbers has encouraged us to put on this additional return train, providing a more frequent evening service.

This latest improvement comes on top of the extra seats that we provided on many trains earlier this year, and will make the line much more useful for evening journeys.’

The company has also announced installation of supplementary ticket vending machines at Bristol Temple Meads as part of its development operations. The self-service ticket vending machines (TVMs) are expected to expedite the ticket booking process and help in allowing the queues at peak traffic time move faster.

The company is expected to complete around £500,000 worth in station improvement works at Bristol Temple Meads, as part of the National Station Improvement Programme (NSIP) scheme.

NSIP scheme is supported by UK Department for Transport, and Network Rail, a company that operates railway networks in the UK.

Thomas Cook Reports That Holiday Destinations Can Add Weight to Your Frame

The UK-based travel company, Thomas Cook, is reporting that British travellers are more likely to gain weight on a holiday to Greece than in US.

This is one finding as part of a research report the travel giant has conducted on places where British travellers are likely to gain weight on vacation.

Meanwhile, while holidays to Turkey are inexpensive, the average holidaymaker tends to puts on around three pounds in a 10-day vacation to the country.

However, as a British traveller, you would be likely to gain most weight on a vacation to Greece, with a typical 10 day holiday adding around 3.3 pounds to your frame. Visiting the US fares little better, as vacationing in the country comes fourth in the study of fattening places, only next to Portugal, which comes third. The US is notorious as a country serving huge portions in a restaurant, but is beaten in the list for the top position by Greece. Perhaps a surprise entry is France, at seventh position, with a reason given being better quality food served in the country encourages people to eat more.

The research has also shown that travellers typically gain weight in sunny and seaside vacation destinations, as they enjoy good food and lazy days. Also another reason to gain weight is buffets served at most hotels for meals, where guests can eat as much as they want for a fixed price.

Between British men and woman, it’s the men who tend to put on more weight on the holidays, said the study, suggesting that women may have a more active lifestyle on holidays. On average, a woman may only gain 1.5 pounds on a vacation, compared to the average for men, who gain around 5.5 pounds during the same period of 10 days.

For weight loss during vacations, the company study is suggesting that British travellers may consider visiting Ireland, Canada or Germany.

Pumpkin farm in San Mateo County allowed to operate agricultural tourism initiatives

A coastal pumpkin farm in San Mateo County that is known for offering seasonal tourist activities has been allowed by authorities to continue offering tourist attractions.

The farm, known for attractions such as pony rides and hay mazes, was considered for higher taxes as it was seen to be veering away from agriculture. However, County officials said that they would amend a contract with owners to ensure that agriculture on the land is maintained as it is.

Arata Pumpkin Farm had been attracting many visitors with offerings such as a haunted barn, coliseum-type sword fighting and a large metal gorilla. The new agreement would require owners to scale back operations and limit the seasonal activities to 90 days. Else, the farm would need to obtain zoning permits. Officials also said that they would not encourage more such farms that offer tourist attractions and still claim tax benefits related to agriculture.

Arata Pumpkin Farm is spread across eight acres on Verde Road to the east of Cabrillo Highway. One side of the farm is bordered by the Lobitos Creek. It produces pumpkins, corn and fava beans.

With the new amendment, the farm has been allowed to offer attractions as long as they are secondary to agriculture. The farm would continue to offer pony rides, hay rides, a farm animal petting zoo, a children’s play area with up to two inflatable structures, a seasonally-decorated barn, a farm-themed train ride and a hay bale maze.

Sanur named strategic tourism area in Indonesia

The tourism department of Indonesia has named Sanur as a strategic tourism area.

Sanur is already renowned as one of the centres of tourism in Bali, and with the recent announcement by the Indonesian Tourism and Creative Economy ministry, the status of the region has been enhanced as one of five strategic tourism destinations in Indonesia.

The other four areas that share a similar status are Wakatobi in Southeast Sulawesi; Komodo Island in East Nusa Tenggara; Toraja in South Sulawesi and Bromo in East Java. The five locations would serve to host pilot projects for the development of other destinations in Indonesia.

The announcement elevating Sanur’s status will lead to the ministry conducting more research and direct monitoring activities related to tourism development in Sanur. A research and development programme is to be launched in 2013 and will continue for three years. Sanur, which was a fishing village some time ago, is a hot spot for nature lovers and businesses. It would now see the local communities being involved in the development of tourism.

With the region being declared as a strategic spot, local cultures and festivals would receive a boost from the tourism department. The annual Sanur Village Festival would be afforded much importance in new tourist itineraries. Further, new accommodation norms to be enforced in the area would have to comply with minimum standards set by the department. The area has also been declared free of beggars, scavengers and hawkers.

Ida Bagus Gede Sidharta Putra, chairman of Sanur Development Foundation (YPS), said, ‘A ‘huge wave’ of investors is now targeting Sanur and cluttering the area, because their buildings do not fit to our concept of a village. Business competition is also getting tougher. We have to protect local people and maintain our image as a quality destination. I couldn’t imagine if there was accommodation with hundreds of rooms on a 2,000-square-metre plot of land, like in Kuta. This area would be more crowded. Sanur has been chosen because it has been successful in maintaining its identity amid global challenges.’

Gambia and Turkey agree to work together on expanding tourism

The governments of Gambia and Turkey have agreed to expand cooperation to develop tourism in both states.

The agreement – signed by tourism officials from both nations – seeks to recognise the importance of tourism to develop economic development in the countries. The two nations also agreed to use tourism as a means to develop stronger ties.

After attending the signing ceremony, Gambia’s minister of Tourism and Culture, Fatou Mass Jobe-Njie, said that the agreement with Turkey would improve product and human resource developments as well as tourism investment in Gambia. She also noted that the collaboration would help the nation enhance its tourism offering with significant improvements in quality, saying that since Turkey and Gambia had common tourism offerings, experience from one country would help the other.

Ali Riza A-zcokun, Turkish ambassador to Gambia, said that with the signing of the agreement, Turkish visitors would have enhanced knowledge about Gambia and Africa in general.

Momodou Joof, permanent secretary at MoTC, said, ‘This MOU will provide the two countries opportunity to share experiences, knowledge and information in the area of tourism. The country is standing a chance to benefit in the area of product development, hotel gratification among other things in the field of tourism’

The understanding could lead to Gambia increasingly becoming noticed as a tourism destination for its beaches and culture.