BA Announces Expansions to Asia and North America

British Airways, the UK-based airline, will be using its previous Bmi slots at London Heathrow airport for long-distance flights to Asia and North America.

In its new winter schedule, British Airways is continuing with its integration of British Midland International (bmi) airline with its main fleet, following completion of the merger procedures of the airlines earlier this year.

The airline has acquired 56 extra slots at London Heathrow airport as a result of the merger. 14 of these slots will have to be transferred to other airlines, as part of a concession with European Commission’s competition authorities.

The airline will be launching services to Seoul in South Korea from the airport, as well as to parts of North India.

Willie Walsh, chief executive of IAG, the parent company of both airlines, said, ‘Asia is an opportunity – particularly now we have flights at Heathrow through the acquisition of Bmi.

We are currently under-served in that market although we will not be looking to enter the intra-Asia market as we don’t think we have the expertise to do that. It would also be very expensive and probably loss-making.

Our focus is on serving growth markets from Asia into Europe. We are just about to start a route to Seoul and we plan to launch a number of new destinations in Asia.

Lots of airports are keen to see a BA presence and we are in dialogue with them. There’s a significant opportunity to increase our Asian presence in a profitable way – particularly with the delivery of the Boeing 787s next year.

We will further expand into the North American market – it’s always been very important for BA and it continues to be a market where there’s growth opportunity.’

Drew Crawley, the commercial director of British Airways, said, ‘We have a better product than the competition but we just haven’t gone out and told people about it.

We have great prices and we will be developing new price products which will make us even more competitive.’

Visit Birmingham Announces Festive Campaign

Visit Birmingham, the official agency for promoting tourism in Birmingham, UK, is launching a Christmas campaign to promote tourism during the festive season, in a partnership with VisitEngland, the official travel promotional agency for England; Retail Birmingham and London Midland, operator of rail services in the UK.

The new campaign, ‘Birmingham – Open for Christmas’, is promoting a festive break in Birmingham for Christmas and the New Year. The campaign is being run through regional advertising, door drops, and imaginative public relations, digital and social media marketing.

Emma Gray, the director of marketing services at Marketing Birmingham, the company which is managing the Visit Birmingham programme, said, ‘With the launch of the Frankfurt Christmas Market – the largest of its kind in the UK – just days away, Birmingham is very much ‘Open for Christmas’.

Birmingham is at its very best during the festive period. Working collaboratively with partners across the city, we have designed an innovative campaign which shines the spotlight on Birmingham’s unique Christmas offering including our acclaimed dining scene, fantastic family attractions, cultural gems and a world-class retail offer.

The campaign aims to showcase the city’s strengths as a visitor destination helping to attract additional tourists – not only during the festive period, but the year round – and build on the city’s record visitor numbers which have risen by 10% over the last six years.’

Jonathan Cheetham, the chairman of Retail Birmingham, the headline sponsor of the campaign, said, ‘As one of the most popular places to shop in the UK, Birmingham is the destination of choice for Christmas shopping. The city boasts a fantastic retail offer – shoppers can expect to find everything from independent outlets to flagship stores such as Selfridges and iconic retail centres including Bullring and The Mailbox.

The ‘Open for Christmas’ campaign is a national showcase for the city’s growing retail scene, designed to drive business in the city’s shopping area and boost the local economy during the important Christmas period.’

Hot Hotels Hotel Booking App Launched in UK

A new app by Hot Hotels is expected to alleviate the problem of occupancy in UK hotels, and will be able to match the guests with available rooms for the same evening, for a lowered price.

The new app is expected to help hotels fill in their vacant rooms at the last minute for increased revenue, at a decreased price.

The Hot Hotels app, which was initially launched in Spain in March of 2012, has so far been fairly successful, with around 50,000 download. It can be downloaded complimentary on iPhone, Android and BlackBerry operating platforms.

Conor O’Connor, the co-founder of the Hot Hotels app, said, ‘We’re incredibly excited to be launching the Hot Hotels app here in the UK, and having already proven so popular with hotels over in Spain, we’re looking forward to helping hotels in cities around the country fill unoccupied rooms.

The fact remains that one in four hotel rooms in the UK goes unoccupied every night, whilst many consumers can’t fork out the premiums often associated with booking rooms at the last minute. We aim to help both parties benefit- taking the headache away of trying to fill empty rooms and encouraging consumers to stay through reduced rates at the same time.’

According to recent research, the average price of a hotel room in the UK is £82, while usually one in four hotel rooms remain vacant each night. The new app is expected to cater to this market and reduce the number of available rooms in UK hotels.

Caravan Owners Opting For More Amenities

The caravan market in the UK is improving with the continued improvement of the caravan fleet, reports a recent survey of caravan resort owners.

Around 25% of existing owners at Park Resorts, a UK-based company that offers caravan holidays and caravan ownership across the UK coastline, have upgraded their caravans to install double glazing and central heating. The survey, conducted in 2012, suggested that such amenities often fetch a better price or rental of caravans, than reasons such as layout, price or size.

Sarah Vernon, the brand manager at Park Resorts, said, ‘The unfortunate fact of life in England is that it’s not always warm – even in the summer! That’s why we offer a wide range of new and used caravans for sale with double glazing and central heating included as standard, for new customers and existing Owners alike. In fact, we currently have a 30% sale on selected stock across our 39 parks, meaning more customers can enjoy warmer caravans for less!’

The caravan park operator has reported that bad weather in the UK has forced caravan owners to upgrade their vehicles in order to keep on enjoying vacations in spite of the stormy weather in the country in 2012.

The caravan company offers a range of caravans for sale at its coastal locations, charging from £19,995 for new ones, and £9,995 for used.

Park Resorts is partnering with ABI, to introduce the ABI Pure range of environmentally friendly caravan holiday homes in the country.

The new ABI Pure range of caravans are better insulated for preventing energy loss, offer dual flush in the washroom cisterns for lower water consumption; as well as controlled double glazing and central heating sustainable energy use. The ABI Pure also offers energy saving features such as energy-efficient bulbs, which use less energy than conventional light sources.

Enjoy wildlife holidays in Bangladesh

For the adventurous animal lover, travellers could certainly consider enjoying wildlife holidays in Bangladesh, which has a collection of pristine forests and natural reserves.

Bangladesh can be a good place for animal lovers because besides its impressive and diverse species, the nation also offers great weather and a unique cultural experience.

The most important wildlife attraction in Bangladesh is the Bengal tiger. Safaris have sprung up to cater to those hoping for a chance to spot one in its natural habitat.

Travellers can also take a speedboat entry into the Sunderban Wildlife Sanctuary, which is one of the world’s biggest deltas, and offers plenty of wildlife to watch and enjoy. The area hosts a national park that is famous for its mangroves, beaches and waterways. Travellers can see animals such as tigers, buffalos and wild deer, and there is a diverse array of sea life that includes sharks, dolphins, turtles and even crocodiles.

Medha Kassapia National Park in Bangladesh offers trekking and hiking, and those willing to take the view at their own pace would find the place quite interesting. Here too travellers can see tigers, crocodiles and wild bears and different reptiles such as pythons, lizards and turtles. Hyenas and monkeys are also frequently spotted.

Meanwhile, a visit to the Nijhum Dweep National Park brings you close to some of Bangladesh’s amazing wildlife havens. The area covers a cluster of islands that includes Char Muri, Ballar Char and Char Osman. Visitors can take a jungle safari or a bird safari. The park is a good locale to spot water-based species such as otters, dolphins and tortoises. There are also over 100 species of migrant birds.