London and Paris launch new campaign to end US vacation procrastination

London and Paris have come together for the first time in tourism history in a bid to end US millennial vacation procrastination, according to a release by London and Partners.

The move comes as a new research found that US millennials are putting off activities compared to any other generation. From getting up in the morning to checking something off their bucket list, American 18-34 year olds are hitting the ‘snooze’ button on their life more than their Generation X and baby boomer counterparts, it said. The most common things that millennials put off include getting up when the alarm goes off as well as calling parents.

More significantly, more millennials are reportedly putting off taking a vacation from work (43 percent) and doing something on their bucket list (55 percent) than any other generation. For 35 years+, 36 percent put off taking a vacation from work and 49 percent put off pursuing things on their bucket list respectively, it said.

Following the findings of the research, London and Paris have come together to encourage people to travel, as only 1 in 10 millennial Americans (eight percent) having visited both cities, while over seven out of 10 (72 percent) have expressed a desire to visit both destinations as part of one vacation. Visit London, Paris Tourist Office and Eurostar are now promoting a campaign which urges US travellers to make #oneepictrip now to discover over 177 Michelin restaurants, 325 museums and galleries, 371 theatres and over 490 nightclubs across the two European capitals, separated by a short rail journey of just over two hours.

Laura Citron, chief executive of Visit London said: ‘Vacation procrastination seems to be a very real problem, with more people than ever putting off taking a break to check experiences off their bucket lists. We want to change that.

‘We know that once people experience London and Paris, they fall in love and want to visit again and again to discover more. Just over 2 hours apart, whether it’s enjoying an Instagrammable afternoon tea at Sketch in central London or hovering over Paris in Ballon Generali; riding down the Champs Elysees in a sidecar with Retro Tour Paris, or zipping up the Thames in a speedboat rib, visitors can flit easily between the two European capitals and uncover all they have to offer.

‘These are destinations that have inspired some of the most prolific minds in the world, from Shakespeare to Monet and that passion and vitality can be felt by all that make the journey.’

Pierre Schapira, Chairman of Paris Tourist Office said: ‘Let’s keep things simple: 2 incredible cities, 2 different cultures, a little more than 2 hours apart by Eurostar. If you’re someone who wants to get the most out of life, why pass up the opportunity to experience London and Paris in one go? With so many experiences on offer, you’ll need a whole lifetime. So, don’t wait! Start checking off those bucket list must-dos now.’

Ryanair launches 2017 schedule in Edinburgh, Glasgow and Liverpool

Ryanair, the Irish low-fares airline, has launched its record Edinburgh summer schedule for 2017, with five new routes to Barcelona G, Ibiza, Milan, Porto and Vigo, as the airline expects to grow its Edinburgh traffic by eight percent in 2017 to over 2.5m p.a.

Ryanair’s Edinburgh 2017 schedule will see more frequencies to sun destinations for summer holidays, including five new routes to Barcelona Girona (twice weekly), Ibiza (twice weekly), Milan (five weekly), Porto (twice weekly) and Vigo (twice weekly); new summer routes to Warsaw (thrice weekly) and more flights to Palma (twice weekly), Rome (five weekly) and Tenerife (five weekly). The schedule will operate 38 routes in total, delivering 2.5m customers p.a.

In Edinburgh, Ryanair’s Michael O’Leary said: ‘We are pleased to launch our biggest ever Edinburgh Summer 2017 schedule, which includes 5 new routes to Barcelona G, Ibiza, Milan, Porto and Vigo, and a new summer route to Warsaw which will deliver over 2.5m million customers p.a. and support 1,800* jobs at Edinburgh Airport.

‘Customers can look forward to even lower fares when they make advance bookings for summer 2017. As our recent guidance confirmed, Ryanair expects average fares to fall by between 10% to 12% in the 6 months to March 2017. There’s never been a better time to book a low fare flight on Ryanair and we urge all customers who wish to book their summer 2017 holidays to do so now on the Ryanair.com website, where they can avail of the lowest fare air travel to and from Edinburgh.

‘To celebrate the launch of our Edinburgh summer 2017 schedule we are releasing 100,000 seats for sale across our European network from just £19.99, which are available for booking until Monday (12 Sep). Since these amazing low prices will be snapped up quickly, customers should log onto www.ryanair.com and avoid missing out.’

The Irish airline has also announced its Glasgow summer schedule for 2017, with four new routes from Glasgow International to Lisbon, Palanga (Lithuania), Valencia and Zadar (Croatia), and a new route from Glasgow Prestwick to Barcelona G; six new summer routes to Alicante, Brussels, Gran Canaria, Lanzarote, Malaga and Sofia and more frequency to Berlin.

Further, Ryanair has announced its Liverpool summer 2017 schedule, with three new routes to Bari, Barcelona Girona and Prague, two new summer services to Marrakech and Sofia, and more flights to Alicante, Faro, Gran Canaria, Palma and Warsaw. Ryanair celebrated the launch of its Liverpool summer schedule and new routes by launching a 100,000 seat sale at prices starting from £19.99, across its entire European network, for travel in October and November, which must be booked by midnight Monday, September 12.

London voted favourite UK city for sixth straight year

 

London has won two prestigious accolades at the annual Conde Nast Traveller Readers’ Choice Awards 2016, London & Partners said in a release.

The UK capital was ranked as the Best UK City for the 6th consecutive time, and Best UK City for Restaurants and Bars for the second consecutive year. The top five UK cities in that order include London, Edinburgh, Bath, Glasgow and Salisbury.

The results of the 19th annual survey are based on millions of votes submitted by readers of the Conde Nast Traveller magazine.

The awards comes as recent research from London & Partners, the Mayor’s official tourism body for London, found last year that international visitors made 18.7 million visits to the city’s cultural centres – nearly 1.8 million more than in 2012. A not-for-profit public private partnership, London & Partners aims to build London’s international reputation and to attract investment and visitor spend, which create jobs and growth.

London’s hotels have also won 12 of the top 15 UK Business Hotels awards, with the Soho Hotel winning silver for best UK Holiday Hotel. Three of the city’s spas also topped the UK Hotel Spas category, viz. The Spa at Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park, The Bulgari Spa at Bulgari Hotel & Residences, and ESPA Life at Corinthia Hotel London.

Julie Chappell, Head of Visitlondon.com, the official city guide from London & Partners, said: ‘These awards have come at a perfect time for London, as the capital is primed to stage yet another fantastic blockbuster season of culture – which is the main reason tourists visit the city.

‘London’s culinary scene and nightlife are clearly going from strength to strength, with cuisines from every corner of the globe, eclectic and traditional bars and pubs, and 65 Michelin-star restaurants to enjoy – it’s no surprise that Conde Nast readers have voted for the capital’s bars and restaurants’.

Separate research carried out by TCI Research, an UNWTO accredited company, on behalf of London & Partners, also revealed that London’s thriving tourism industry is set to continue post-Brexit, as two thirds of Americans who visited in the last two years have said that they will definitely return due to a more favourable exchange rate, London & Partners noted. American results are based on a representative sample of 509 respondents from the USA, men and women, aged from 18 to 65, who have visited London at least once over the past two years, it added.

bmi regional offers 50-seater jet for aspiring James Bonds

bmi regional, the UK-based regional airline, will offer aspiring secret agents private jets from £300 per person per day, ahead of the latest instalment from the world’ favourite spy in November.

Budding Secret Service agents looking for successful international exploits and secret stakeouts can hire a 50-seater jet aircraft from bmi regional for their own private use, which includes full in-flight service. bmi regional offers private charter of its 50-seater Embraer aircraft – decorated with a personal livery, if required – starting from £15,000 per day.

Based on 50 passengers travelling from a UK airport to a short haul destination like the south of France, Croatia or Switzerland, the cost stands at £300 per person including full in-flight service.

Flyers and guests can choose their own schedule, a UK departure airport and a short haul destination – and even have their own name, or an alias for undercover operations, on the aircraft exterior. The aircraft can fly and return within the day, while flyers may choose a classified trip to Cannes, top-secret mission to Milan or a National Security mission in Scandinavia.

Lee Rennie, Head of Charter at bmi regional, said: ‘We’re sure that many agents, diplomats and undercover operatives have hired bmi regional aircraft but further details are strictly on a ‘need to know’ basis. The comfort, convenience and cost of a private jet makes it an obvious choice for those on a mission, whether it be for business or pleasure.’

With over 70 years of flying expertise, bmi regional has significant experience in offering personalised solutions to suit private charter requirements. Full in-flight service with full bar service are included and are customisable to exact dietary or special requirements.

Brittany Ferries UK offers more pet-friendly holidays for 2015

Brittany Ferries has added more pet-friendly holidays for 2015 for UK holidaymakers.

The move comes as the number of pets travelling on Brittany Ferries has increased for the sixth year in a row. For 2014 they totalled 57,670, up almost five percent on 2013. To cater for this growing demand the company has expanded its range of pet-friendly hotels, campsites, gites, cottages and villas to over 800 in total.

And for travellers wanting to stay with their pet during the crossing, Brittany Ferries offer pet-friendly cabins travelling to both France and Spain. The cabins feature a hygienic, laminated floor and offer plenty of room for a dog basket, along with open deck walking areas.

Christiane Barker, General Manager Holidays, commented: ‘With the ever-increasing costs of boarding kennels in the UK, it makes sense to take the family pet with you on holiday, particularly as many properties make no charge. Being less stressful for the pet and more fun for the family, it’s a win-win for everyone. It’s also worth remembering that if you book before 10th February, you can save 20% on the price of the holiday.’

Pet-friendly properties featuring in Brittany Ferries’ offer include Mobile Home in Village le Domaine d’Inly, southern Brittany and Gite in northern Brittany. Mobile Home is close to holiday spots such as the golden cliffs of Mine d’Or and the fishing port of Trehiguier, and features forest lands with a lake and its own horse riding centre. Gite is a three bedroom detached property, renovated with stone walls and terracotta floors, with a shower room and a lounge with inset fireplace. It also offers the bonus of available swimming in the Trieux River nearby.

The charges for a week in late July 2015 for two adults, two children and a dog with car is around GBP940.00, if booked before February 10, including return ferry crossings and cabins both ways.

Brittany Ferries offers a pet-friendly property search option on its website, as well as a section dedicated to pet owners giving hints and tips and information on the pet passport scheme.

 

UK holidaymakers urged to carry ATOL certificate

Holidaymakers in the UK are being urged to carry their ATOL certificate when setting off on their summer holiday.

Ahead of the summer holiday season, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) is advising passengers to make sure that they have easy access to their ATOL certificate when abroad. The certificate may be a paper copy, or as a document or attachment that could be accessed on a mobile phone or tablet device.

The advice comes as more than eight million passengers are expected to depart the UK for a relaxing summer break, despite the excellent weather at home.

The ATOL certificate authenticates that the holiday is financially protected and also confirms the agency protecting it. The authentication would imply that if the travel company fails, tourists will be refunded – or if already abroad, repatriated at no extra cost.

The ATOL certificate also explains what to do and who to contact if a travel operator fails.

Head of ATOL, Andy Cohen, said: ‘So long as you have an ATOL certificate you can rest assured your holiday is financially protected and, if your travel company collapses you will not lose out.

If you are yet to fly, we will make sure you receive a full refund and if you are abroad we will work to ensure you can finish your trip without disruption. It is important to take your ATOL certificate with you abroad, so you know what to do and who to contact, and you can continue to enjoy your holiday with the minimum of hassle.’

‘Many holidaymakers will be looking to snap-up a last minute deal with the hope of getting a cheaper price. However please don’t be too hasty and make sure you check the travel operator is ATOL protected and once booked you should receive an ATOL certificate immediately,’ he added.

By law, all holidaymakers buying an air holiday from a UK-based travel operator will receive an ATOL certificate. In case an ATOL holder collapses the primary source of funding is the Air Travel Trust (ATT), the CAA says in its release.

 

Thomson predicts the holiday trends for 2014

Holiday company, Thomson, is expecting millions of British holidaymakers to go online during the yearend to plan their 2014 vacation.

Looking ahead, Thomson has predicted the expected destination hotspots and emerging travel trends for British holidaymakers for the next year.

While Mediterranean countries like Greece, Spain and Cyprus remain popular destinations for Brits, Thomson is expecting demand for further away and less known holiday spots in 2014. In the last 12 months, one in five, or 20 percent of web searches, were for long-haul holidays, it said.

In 2013 bookings for Thomson and Thomson Cruise’s long haul destinations increased by 28 percent on the previous year, and this is expected to further increase for 2014. Based on past bookings data, the emerging destinations for Thomson & Thomson Cruises include Puerto Vallarta, Mexico; Khao Lak, Thailand; Croatia, Mauritius, Jamaica, Sochi, Russia, Panama, Ukraine, Montenegro and the Roatan, Honduras.

Planning weddings in sunny destinations has been another growing trend over the past decade, a trend that is expected to increase in 2014. Thomson saw an increases of almost 100 percent in the volume of traffic to its Weddings homepage in 2013.

Based on early booking patterns, Thomson predicts that the most popular months for weddings abroad in 2014 will be May and September, besides the traditional wedding months of June, July and August in the UK.

Greece, including its islands, is predicted to be the first choice for families looking for a refreshing and inspiring holiday break next year. Almost a quarter of Greek holidays sold were on a half board basis In 2013, and this is expected to increase in 2014, Thomson said, adding that it will increase its capacity by 9 percent across the country to meet rising demand.

Jeremy Ellis, marketing director at Thomson, said: ‘Understanding where our customers are going and why is key to us delivering the very best holiday experiences. 2013 has seen some interesting trends emerging so we look to 2014 with excitement as we use this knowledge to give our customers the high level of choice and service that they have grown to expect, for an even better holiday in 2014.’

Travellers seek happiness factor along side costs

Travellers are beginning to consider the ‘happiness’ factor as importantly as price when booking travel, Travel Mole has reported, citing a separate research report.

According to new research by World Travel Market, holidaymakers and travellers are demanding more comfort and added value to seek a higher ‘happiness score’. The WTM Global Trends Report 2013, commissioned in association with Euromonitor International, highlights the emerging trends in the global travel and tourism industry, and says that ‘happiness factor’ is now as important as price.

In the US, flight meta-search website, Routehappy.com, which was launched in April this year, provides flight Happiness Factors and Happiness Scores on a scale of one to 10 helping consumers select flights based on comfort and suitability.

Using “Flightpad,” proprietary Product Attribute Database, Routehappy studies airlines and airplanes globally combining traveller experience with low prices and flight availability.

Consumers can set their own happiness criteria, according to in-flight services, based on incentives such as ear-plugs, wi-fi, entertainment, leg room and other factors. The WTM report also says that smart phones and tablets will be the key customer service tool in travel within the next five years and that budget carriers will offer more ‘frills’ in the future in order to remain competitive.

“Our Happiness Score is very important to airlines. Why? Airlines are working hard to move away from air travel being a commoditised, price and schedule-only decision,” Robert Albert, Founder and CEO, Routehappy.

With more than 100,000 unique visitors at launch and over 30 percent of visitors returning in July 2013, the Routehappy site is a unique offering with the UK as the leading European source of demand. According to the report, the UK air transportation segment is expected to record two percent growth over 2012-2017, to reach £31 billion air travel retail sales by 2017.

Other transportation modes such as bus and cruising, as well as hotel and travel retail players, is likely to follow suit and adopt the ”Happiness Score? approach, the report said.

British traveller becomes youngest to visit every country

A British traveller has become the youngest person ever to travel to the world’s 196 internationally recognised countries, The Daily Mail has reported.

With the aim of visiting every country before 25 years of age, James Asquith, now 24, started travelling in 2008 when he was still a student. Over the five year period, Mr Asquith, from Stevenage, Hertfordshire, has spent £125,000 visiting 196 countries across the globe. He used university holiday time for his travels, and funded his tour with part-time jobs and by taking jobs in bars and hostels as he travelled.

‘Vietnam was the first independent country I went to and I spent nearly three months there,’ Mr. Asquith told the Daily Mail. ‘I also spent about five months in the US and Canada, getting to 27 states from Hawaii to Alaska.’

Mr. Asquith added: ‘I loved the adrenaline that went with it – but I always seemed to pick the worst timing to visit a lot of the countries.

‘I went to Libya three weeks after Gaddafi fell, Afghanistan two weeks after the terrorist bombings in Mazar-i-Sharif, but generally I just found a local and tried to get an insight into each country.

‘I spent most of my time in Libya with a local man showing me all the war damage, and in Iran I met the hotel owner’s son who was my age who gave me a great local insight.

‘The longest I spent anywhere was six months in Africa. I travelled overland from Senegal to the Congo and then over back up through the east.

‘There were lots of small countries and tricky border crossings, putting trust in some people that drove me as much as three countries a time.

‘But I haven’t finished yet – I’m excited about Tahiti, Easter island, and Antarctica all of which I am hoping to go to next year.’

British children seasoned travellers by 16

A survey has revealed that British children travel so extensively with their parents that many can be considered seasoned travellers by the age of 16.

The survey, which was carried out by France-based holiday resort operator, ClubMed, has revealed that by the age of 16 the average child has travelled 13,500 miles on trips to at least five different countries, and will have had the opportunity of sampling 35 different foreign dishes. According to the report, it is now commonplace for an individual to have visited 11 countries before being old enough to vote.

The figures are in stark contrast to those of just one generation ago, when children were only likely to visit four countries and travel an average of 2,471 miles. But the globetrotting exploits of the nation’s younger generation are not particularly good news for UK-based resorts, with modern children more likely to have visited Spain or France than Devon or Cornwall.

But while their close proximity means that neighbouring European countries are popular destinations for families with children, distance is by no means a limiting factor for a growing proportion of junior travellers, with the USA taking third place on the list of the most visited destinations, and visits to far flung and exotic destinations like Bali and Australia rapidly becoming less exceptional.

Club Med’s managing director in the UK, Laurent De Chorivit, was quoted in the Daily Mail, saying, ‘As well-known brands set up resorts in destinations further afield, exotic holidays are becoming more accessible to families. If the accommodation is familiar and reliable, and the food can be trusted, parents are more likely to take their children to less conventional hotspots.’