British Airways reveals top destinations this summer

British Airways has revealed some of the most popular holiday destinations for travellers this summer – one of the busiest ever with the airline reported to have carried over four million customers across its network in August alone.

The list of top destinations includes long-haul destinations such as New York, Los Angeles, Dubai, Singapore and Hong Kong. Short-haul destinations like Malaga, Nice, Amsterdam, Edinburgh and Glasgow are also featured in the list of hotspots for UK holidaymakers over this past summer break.

Sean Doyle, British Airways’ Director of Network and Alliances, said: ‘This year British Airways is offering its largest network schedule for 10 years, with flights to 211 destinations across more than 75 countries. Next year we’re confident new additions to the British Airways route map like Pittsburgh and Nashville, alongside Santiago, where we’ve recently increased the number of weekly flights, will be among our most popular destinations, as well as some of the traditional hotspots we’ve seen this year.’

The airline also said that customers were into the holiday spirit more than ever this year, with 212,000 bottles of wine consumed across all British Airways flights in July, up three per cent on last year. Meanwhile, those in Club Europe or Club World and First consumed 105,000 bottles of Champagne, up five per cent. British Airways also allows customers to pre-order from a range of 13 complimentary special meals for specific dietary requirements. While nearly 37,000 ordered were vegan meals – up 32 per cent on the same period last year, nearly 5,000 meals were low-calorie, it said.

With flights available 355 days in advance, customers can now begin planning their next summer getaway, the airline said. British Airways is now on a £4.5bn investment plan for customer service improvements, which includes new catering in Club World (long-haul business class) and World Traveller (long-haul economy) as well as refreshed lounges.

British Airways Holidays also recommends some of its most popular hotels in each destination including the Mandarin Oriental in Singapore, Atlantis The Palm in Dubai, Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach Resort & Spa in Los Angeles, and Le Meridien in Nice.

Travellers Prefer New Destinations

Travellers prefer new undiscovered destinations, according to a survey conducted by Virtuoso, a US-based luxury travel network.

The 2012 Virtuoso Luxe Report indicates that Italy and France remain top favourite destinations for travellers in search of luxurious vacations, while England makes it to the top five favourite destinations of affluent travellers. Virtuoso clientele have expressed a preference to discover unexplored destinations in Cuba, followed by Cambodia and Belize, marking a new trend for adventurous travelling in 2012, which was less popular in previous years.

The five most popular destinations for family travel in 2012, according to the survey, are Italy, England, Costa Rica, Hawaii (US), and Turks and Caicos; while the top motives affecting travel choices include the search for genuine experiences in new destinations; rest and relaxation; and personal enrichment; which were same as those in 2011.

While survey results show that international travel maintains its appeal to travellers, luxurious river cruises are also proving to be an emerging travel trend, after family and multi-generational travel, which remains the top vacation choice for the upscale traveller.

Virtuoso chairman and chief executive officer, Matthew D Upchurch, CTC, said, ‘The Virtuoso traveller continues to look for new resorts and destinations to visit, personal enrichment and tailored experiences from their travels. Whether it’s a desire to explore new lands, reconnect with loved ones or seek new adventures, Virtuoso advisors collaborate with their clients to plan the ultimate travel experience. The Luxe Report is an extension of that relationship and those ongoing advisor-client conversations.’

Bournemouth is UK’s best beach destination

The winners of TripAdvisors second annual Travellers’ Choice Beach Destinations awards have been revealed. Bournemouth was crowned the UK’s best beach destination and was the only UK finalist in the European top 10, where it took fourth place, beating every beach destination in Italy, France, Portugal and more.

Jersey’s St. Brelades was named the UK’s second best beach destination while Devon’s Woolacombe took third place.

“These awards recognise the UK’s and Europe’s best beach destinations, according to those that really matter – travellers themselves,” commented Emma Shaw, TripAdvisor spokesperson. “Bournemouth has long been a popular seaside resort and recent investment in the area has clearly paid off – not only has it been named the UK’s best beach destination, up from third place last year, but it’s also ranked ahead of almost every Mediterranean beach destination.”

Bournemouth takes top spot

Following its third-place finish in 2011, Bournemouth rose through the ranks to be named the UK’s best beach destination this year.  It was joined by two other Dorset destinations: Weymouth in 8th place and Swanage in 9th.

Bournemouth is currently undergoing significant improvement with some £11 million recently injected into the seafront at Boscombe. The area has seen the addition of new designer beach ‘pods’, water sports academies, and new bars and restaurants sitting alongside a newly refurbished pier.

Tobias Ellwood, MP for Bournemouth East, commented: “Those that live in Bournemouth have long known what a great town it is, but for it to be recognised by TripAdvisor’s travellers as the UK’s best beach destination really is a tremendous honour for the area.”

Cornwall claims almost half of the top ten spots

Home to three of last year’s winners, Cornwall triumphed again claiming four of the UK’s ten best beach destinations: St. Ives in 4th place, Newquay in 6th, Bude in 7th and Padstow in 10th.

Malcolm Bell, head of tourism, VisitCornwall, commented: “Cornwall is an iconic destination where our fantastic beaches are one, if not the major draw, be that to swim, surf, walk on or dine beside.”

Award winners were determined based on the most highly rated beach destinations by travellers in TripAdvisor reviews. Unlike any other honours, TripAdvisor Travellers’ Choice winners are based on millions of valuable reviews and opinions from travellers around the world.

For the complete 2012 Travellers’ Choice Beach Destinations winners and more reviews, opinions and candid holiday photographs, go tohttp://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/TravelersChoice-Beaches.

 

Reunion Island, more than just a tropical paradise

Reunion island is a gorgeous tropical paradise in the middle of the Indian Ocean. Usually tourists flock there for its protected lagoon, the mountains that are a UNESCO Heritage site, and the cultures, religions, and ethnic groups coming from all over the world who live in harmony.

The French island has a population of about 800,000, is east of Madagascar and about 200 kilometres (120 mi) south west of Mauritius, the nearest island.

The tropical island is one of the outermost regions of the European Union and, as an overseas department of France, is part of the Eurozone.

The Piton de la Fournaise, a volcano on the eastern end of Reunion Island, rises more than 2,631 metres (8,632 ft) above sea level and is sometimes called a sister to Hawaiian volcanoes because of the similarity of climate and volcanic nature. It has erupted more than 100 times since 1640 and is under constant monitoring.

Visitors to Reunion Island are used to seeing beautiful pictures of astonishing landscapes, white sand beaches, and participating in activities for nature lovers, from paragliding to surfing, hiking to dolce far niente (the sweet act of doing nothing).

Today, however, it is the level of infrastructure and equipment that meets the European standard that must but highlighted.

Reunion Island is a French, European island, where political stability and sanitary security will certainly satisfy tourists seeking a holiday in paradise.

When political and security problems are rising worldwide, this country that is considered as the “Indian Ocean Switzerland” is a shelter for tourism and tourists alike.

Top ten up-and-coming destinations

The top three emerging destinations for 2012 may surprise you: Sudan, Greenland and Mongolia.

Voted as top up-and-coming destinations in a recent survey, the unlikely locations are part of a list of ten.

As part of this years Readers’ Travel Awards, Wanderlust’s poll found a number of unexpected destinations on traveller’s wish lists. Including destinations that have seen recent political and social turbulence; Tajikistan, Pakistan, the Cook Islands, Taiwan, Lebanon and Fiji.

In last place was Iran, a destination it’s hard to imagine many tourists choosing to visit as tensions with the West continue.

However Wanderlust said that many adventure travel agents have already added some of these places to there lists. 

Editor in chief Lyn Hughes said: ‘The travel map is rapidly changing and our readers are certainly ahead of the crowd voting for some really unlikely destinations in the “emerging” category.

‘I totally agree with Sudan at top place in this category. I was lucky enough to discover this first-hand last year and experience its warm welcome, layers of history and few tourists. With more pyramids than Egypt it is a one to watch for the future especially as South Sudan opens up too.’

Also revealed the top ten countries to visit, Japan was high on the list despite last year’s natural disaster. New Zealand made third place and Burma in fourth despite being under an iron rule.

Other surprising destinations also made the top places to visit including Cambodia and Rwanda both have had troubled pasts.

Namibia, Laos, Madagascar and Argentina were also in the top ten as holidaymakers hunt for something different when travelling abroad.

Second place saw the peaceful Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan, a stark contrast to the rest of the top ten.

Hughes added: ‘If done responsibly, visiting countries after a disaster can be hugely beneficial for them. I really hope these results are indicative of support these areas will receive from travellers as they get back on their feet.’

Top cities to visit included Luang Prabang in Laos, followed by Japan’s Kyoto and Italy’s Siena.

 

Children’s top holiday destination… the Moon

The skies not the limit if you let your kids pick their summer holiday, destination of choice is the Moon.

When asked where they would like to take a trip to, the Moon was named by the majority of children as their ideal holiday. Closely followed by Disney Land and Narnia, the fictional world from the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.

The results come from a survey of British children aged three to eight by holiday website sunshine.co.uk.

The survey revealed both real and make-believe places in the top ten, following Narnia was Hogsmeade, from Harry Potter, and Hogwarts – Harry Potters school was seventh. Harry Potters imaginary world may be closer than some parents might think – with the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, now open in Florida.

Lapland took second place, with children desperate to meet Santa and his reindeer, and Winnie-the-Pooh’s Hundred Acre Wood to visit Winne, Piglet and Eeyore.

Another destination parents might struggle with was Pride Rock, the fictional kingdom Mustafa and Simba ruled in The Lion King.

The ninth holiday hotspot was Australia – possibly due to the fact it has featured in so many children’s films, including Finding Nemo.

The final destination of choice was Bikini Bottom, the underwater world of fictional character Spongebob Squarepants.

Sunshine.co.uk co-founder Chris Brown said: ‘Having four kids of my own, I know that mine would pick Disney over any destination, but it’s incredibly cute to see that so many selected fictional destinations and the Moon.’

The top 10 places for holidays were:

1.   The Moon
2.   Disney World
3.   Narnia
4.   Hogsmeade
5.   Lapland
6.   Hundred Acre Wood
7.   Hogwarts
8.   Pride Rock
9.   Australia
10. Bikini Bottom

Birmingham named ‘top place to go in 2012’

The New York Times has listed Birmingham as one of the must-see destinations for 2012.

An unlikely option as it’s rarely considered an obvious travel destination by tourists both overseas and in this country. However the 2012 Olympics means that Birmingham has been touted as an unlikely destination for curious Americans.

The US newspaper’s ‘45 Places to Go in 2012’ feature has placed the home of Cadbury’s and the Bullring at number 19 – a ranking that places it above the likes or Jordan, Dubrovnik, Vienna and Antarctica. 

Over the last 20 years the city has under gone a radical transformation, which has seen the development of Selfridges sleek and futuristic outline – which holds 15,000 sun-catching aluminium discs.

Selfridges design is now a predominant feature in the city’s skyline.

American visitors may also be impressed by the city’s Jewellery Quarter, home to independent artisans. Whereas the Mailbox and Brindleyplace offer new bars, restaurants and hotels – and are the 21st century face of the metropolis.

The local tourist authority is certainly bullish about the city’s charms.

Neil Rami, Chief Executive of Marketing Birmingham said “Birmingham has worked hard to improve its reputation as a visitor destination in recent years, by showcasing, amongst other attributes, our fantastic and diverse food”.

“Our Michelin star chefs and fine dining restaurant scene have catapulted the city into the culinary spotlight”.

He added: “As the only English city outside of the capital to be named in this high profile listing, Birmingham has every reason to be proud of the international attention its culinary scene is attracting”.

Jerry Blackett, chief executive of Birmingham Chamber of Commerce Group said “Birmingham’s cultural, entertainment and gastronomic attractions do now indeed compete with the very best – it’s official”.

Article by Charlee Greenhalgh

Top Five Winter Holiday Destinations Revealed

The top foreign holiday destinations revealed…

 

Tenerife and Geneva are shaping up to be the most visited destinations for Brits looking for a winter break, according to leading car hire comparison site carehiremarket.com. Based on car hire bookings to date for December 2011 and January 2012, fly drive holidays look set to be most popular in the largest of the sunny Canary Islands, Tenerife, and with holiday makers on the hunt for snow from the Swiss city of Geneva.

 

The other destinations in the top five prove that much needed winter sun is rather important to us chilly Brits, with the southern city of Faro in Portugal and Cape Town in South Africa also popular for car hire holidays. In addition, a pint of warming festive Guinness looks to be a draw, with the capital of Northern Ireland, Belfast, making it into the top five.

 

Compared to bookings during the winter months of 2010, it looks like popular destinations such as Spain and Greece are falling off the top of the league table. Palma de Majorca won first prize with Malaga and Alicante coming second and third in 2010. However, perhaps us Brits are becoming more adventurous with winter trips, leaving the summery Sangria and ancient Greek architecture behind.

 

“With forecasters warning of another big freeze this winter with Siberian temperatures and widespread snow, it’s no wonder that many Brits are looking to take to the skies and fly off to sunnier climes,” commented Andrew Shorrock, Product Manager at leading car rental comparison site carhiremarket.com.  “Although snowy Geneva is popular, our other top destinations offer hotter temperatures and winter sun and so far it looks like Brits are being a bit more adventurous in their choice of holiday.

 

We’ve already had lots of bookings from people looking for a winter getaway, who see the benefit of receiving great deals by getting car hire sorted well in advance. As the demand for winter fly-drive holidays starts to pick up, getting online and booking your car hire early will certainly help prevent disappointment, whether you are looking for sun and sand or a week on the slopes.”

 

Egypt attempts to bring back tourists

In an attempt to entice tourists back, following rebellion and violence in recent months, Egypt and Tunisia have begun promotional campaigns. These campaigns will show these holiday destinations as safe and attractive and hopefully instil confidence in tourists that have stayed away.

 

‘Welcome to the country of peaceful revolution’ is the slogan that Egypt has decided to use following a violent beginning to the year with protests against former president Hosni Mubarak.

 

The campaigns have been highlighted in the global trends report by market analyst Euromonitor International as part of the World Travel Market (WTM) opening today in London.

 

WTM chairman Fiona Jeffery said: ‘The speed at which the marketing campaigns have been launched demonstrates the importance the new democracies in Egypt and Tunisia have put on inbound tourism for their long-term economic future.

 

‘Tourism can help build up these countries’ new democracies and has the potential to do so across all the Arab Spring countries.’

 

Also named by the WTM 2011 industry report were up and coming holiday destinations for the coming years; Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mexico and Argentina (SLIMMAs).

 

Following investments in ‘infrastructure and natural beauty’ could see this group of countries overtake rival top tourist destinations Brazil, Russia, India and China.