Eurostar Stops Ticket Sales for Amsterdam Route

Eurostar International, a UK-based high speed rail service between the UK and mainland Europe, has announced the suspension of its ticket sales for the London to Amsterdam, via Brussels, route.

Previously, Eurostar passengers were travelling to Brussels Midi and switching to high-speed Thalys or regular trains for the final journey to Amsterdam. In December 2012, the company launched the new Fyra service to replace the earlier slower trains, which has created a problem with the company’s ticketing system. Following this the company has decide to temporarily suspend selling tickets to Amsterdam, or any Dutch destination, through its website.

A Eurostar spokesperson said, ‘We are currently in discussion with both Thalys and Fyra regarding arrangements for travel between London, Amsterdam and beyond into the Netherlands. We hope to be able to offer an update on arrangements in the near future.

In the interim, our advice to passengers is to book tickets for travel between London and the Netherlands via Rail Europe.’

The company is also offering a twelve-day express sale until January 14 this year, for travel from January 17, to March 27, 2013. Around 150,000 seats are available for London to Paris, Brussels or Lille. Fares commence from £159 return for Standard Premier travel, with more space and meals included. Travel from London to any Belgian destination is available from £69 return in standard class.

Mary Walsh, the company director of communications for Eurostar, said, ‘We’re encouraging people to start the New Year in style with a great value city escape to Paris, Lille or Brussels. With our lowest fares available for travel up until late March, there is ample opportunity for passengers to indulge in a mini break on the Continent next year.’

British Airways Offers Complimentary Hotel Rooms for Visitors to UK

British Airways, the UK based airline, will be offering complimentary hotel rooms to visitors to the UK as part of its endorsement of the Big British Invite promotion, in partnership with VisitBritain, the official tourism website for Great Britain.

The airline is offering two nights complimentary stay to customers that buy a roundtrip airfare between the US and the UK. The offer is valid until March 31, 2013, for travel from January 9, 2013, to May 31, 2013. Hotel accommodation is offered by the airline for roundtrip airfares originating in the US, during the promotional period.

VisitBritain has invested £5m in its partnership with British Airways to persuade travellers to visit Britain for Christmas shopping and to avail of the January sales, with special offers from the airline company. The campaign is running until March this year.

Christopher Rodrigues, the chairman of VisitBritain, said earlier, ‘This summer has shown what the country can do when we are united in a common cause. This country showed passion, professionalism, drive and energy to stage the best ever Olympic and Paralympic Games. The test now is whether we can maintain this to create wealth and jobs through a major tourism drive.’

The ‘The Big British Invite’ campaign features typical British citizens inviting tourists to visit Britain and experience its scenic places and experiences. The ambassadors for the campaign include Alan Kingshott, chief yeoman warder of the Tower of London, and Ed Burstell, managing director of Liberty’s.

British Airways is intending to fly 20 new routes this winter season, with destinations including Zagreb, Monrovia, Belfast, Bergen, Amman and Seoul. Among the offers on these routes for travel until March 15, 2013, are New York (JFK or EWR) to Johannesburg, for airfares commencing at $990, and from New York (JFK or EWR) to Amman for airfares commencing at $799.

Sixt Opens Rental Outlet at London Gatwick Airport

Sixt, a European car rental company, has expanded its services in the UK by launching an outlet at London Gatwick Airport.

The company claims to be able to offer an exclusive portfolio of rental cars to its customers arriving at Gatwick, with rental models ranging from BMW, Opel, Volkswagen, Ford and Toyota to Audi Aston Martin, Ferrari, Rolls Royce, Bentley, and Mercedes, in all sizes, including small and mid-size cars, SUVs, premium vehicles, and minibuses.

London Gatwick offers direct access from the terminal to the car hire collection and drop-off points, avoiding the need for the shuttle bus that caters for around 92,650 business travellers and holidaymakers who pass through the airport every day.

Paul McLoughlin, the managing director for Sixt Rent A Car, UK, said, ‘Sixt are thrilled to be moving into Gatwick Airport. It’s an important milestone in our ongoing growth across the UK. Our goal is to make it as simple as possible for businesses and holiday makers to have access to a range of high quality, well specified vehicles backed by unparalleled service at affordable prices. We look forward to working with the team at Gatwick and providing their passengers with the ultimate mobility solution.’

Julia Gregory, the head of surface transport at London Gatwick Airport, said, ‘We are delighted to welcome Sixt to Gatwick. Sixt is well known for its innovative approach to customer service so we look forward to working closely with them to deliver an even better experience for our passengers.

As one of the few airports to offer direct access from the terminal to car rental pickup points, our aim is to double car rental usage and offer our passengers even more choice.’