Colors: Yellow Color
Colors: Yellow Color

Heathrow Airport is set to close one of its runways within the next week as air traffic throughout the world drops dramatically – due to the Covid-19 epidemic.

 

The air hub in the west of London – which has two runways - is set to use just one strip for landing and take-off operations as a statement said; 'to increase resilience for staff, passengers and cargo during the coronavirus crisis”.

 

A spokesperson for Heathrow Airport said: “Although we are looking at significantly fewer flights at the moment, Heathrow will remain open for as long as possible so that we can continue to play a crucial role in helping to secure vital medical goods during this unprecedented epode.

 

A BA spokesperson said: “Our colleagues have a done a brilliant job keeping vital routes open to reunite customers with their family and bringing in supplies to our hospitals factories and shops”.

 

As Britain’s largest airport, it is part of International Consolidated Airlines Group SA

 

As per the UK government’s furlough scheme, staff at the airport will be paid 80% of their pay plus 80% of their allowance.

 

Heathrow Airport will alternate use of each individual runway on a week-by-week .basis.

 

The travel industry has taken a massive hit with airlines – around the world - suspending schedules.

 

 

 

 

These troubled times will pass and although no-one is certain when that will be, Ski Abruzzo can confirm that their lodging partners in Italy have said there will be no price increases next winter. In addition, Ski Abruzzo guests can cancel any booking up to 60 days before departure without penalty. In other words, deposits will be refunded.

Roccaraso is Italy's fifth biggest ski area with over 100 km of linked piste and 800 metres of vertical drop. It also has one of Europe's most comprehensive snowmaking systems An average of 350 cm of snow falls each winter for a ski season that lasts from December until April.

easyJet has many flights to Naples from London and elsewhere and the transfer time from Naples to resort can be as little as 90 minutes. Popular with Italian skiers for many years, Abruzzo offers a genuine Italian skiing experience as yet untouched by mass tourism.

Skiers looking for modern ski lifts, well-groomed pistes, abundant snowfall, family-run hotels with tasty Italian food and very competitive prices should consider Abruzzo for their next holiday on the slopes.

During the week, the slopes are, in general, blissfully quiet. The price of a lift pass is very competitive. For example, a five days pass, high season in Roccaraso is roughly £170, with reductions for children and seniors.

Getting to the slopes is easy – SkiAbruzzo.com's programme includes hotels that offer complimentary door-to-door ski shuttle services exclusively for their guests.

Half term holidays to Roccaraso have become more popular with each year as the word gets around that prices in Abruzzo are not inflated at all for the February half term week 

easyJet, Europe’s leading airline, have welcomed the announcement by its partner Wright Electric on its engine development program for its flagship 186 seat electric aircraft, named Wright 1. 

Wright is engineering electrical systems at the megawatt scale which will be necessary for commercial flight for its 186 seat electric aircraft. It is building a 1.5 MW electric motor and inverter at 3 kilovolts. These components will form the powerplant of Wright’s revolutionary Wright 1 aircraft and move towards aiming to pave the way for a future of zero emissions flight in Europe and worldwide.

Wright also announced that it is moving its headquarters to Albany, New York, to take advantage of the world-class engineering talent there.   

The motor development program is the next step towards building its narrow body class aircraft. Wright will be simultaneously conducting aerodynamic tests on its fuselage, which will inform the propulsion design. The company expects entry of service of its flagship Wright 1 in 2030. 

Johan Lundgren, CEO of easyJet, commented: “This is another crucial step for our partner Wright Electric to move towards the introduction of commercial electric aircraft and it is exciting to see their ambitious timeline for testing and entry into service”.   

Wright Electric CEO, Jeffrey Engler, added: “We are dedicated to bringing low-emissions 186 seat electric planes systems to market. Wright Electric’s mission is to make commercial aviation greener, and our megawatt engine program is the next step in making our mission a reality.” 

Sir Royston Hopkin KCMG, chair and managing director of Spice Island Beach Resort received two prestigious honours at his recent 75th birthday celebration – the 2020 Six Star Diamond Award from the American Academy of Hospitality Sciences (AAHS) for the 7th consecutive year and a Six Star Diamond Award from the organization for Oliver’s, a first-time recognition for the resort’s fine dining restaurant. Joseph Cinque, chairman and CEO of AAHS, attended Sir Royston’s party to personally deliver the awards honouring Spice Island Beach Resort’s owners, management and staff members as Grenada’s premier all-inclusive luxury resort.

“We are very proud to start the New Year with news that Spice Island Beach Resort has been honoured once again with the AAHS Six Star Diamond Award for the resort as well as the first Six Star Diamond Award for Oliver’s restaurant,” said Sir Royston. “We constantly strive to achieve the excellence required in the luxury travel sector to earn these distinguished awards, which represent our dedication to providing the highest levels of customer satisfaction,” he added.

TUI, the world’s largest holiday company and the UK’s number one holiday provider, are delighted to announce that holidays to Sharm El Sheikh will be back on sale tomorrow (November 7) with a flight from Birmingham Airport for winter 2019 breaks and additional flights added in the summer.

Sticking with its commitment of offering more flexibility and choice for its customers, those living in the Midlands will benefit as TUI will reintroduce holidays to the Egyptian resort town.

The holiday company are to giving customers the opportunity to return to the stunning Red Sea resort.

The area was always a firm favourite due to its breath-taking scenic landscape, year-round dry climate with hot summers and warm winters as well as its long stretches of beautiful natural beaches and clear, calm seas. The resort is also widely popular with those seeking water sport activities such as scuba diving and snorkeling in the famous coral reefs.

Resorts including TUI Magic Life Sharm El Sheikh and Reef Oasis Blue Bay along the beautiful Red Sea coast will be on sale, with more hotel announcements in the pipeline.

Mark Hall, Director of Product and Destination Experience TUI UK & Ireland said “At TUI we’re committed to offering our customers an outstanding choice of holidays across the globe. Sharm el Sheikh was always a hugely popular destination and I am delighted to confirm that we are reintroducing the Egypt favourite to our Winter 2019 and Summer 2020 programmes.

“In response to customer demand, our first flights will operate from February 2020 and our resorts are all looking forward to welcoming our customers back with a smile”.

The return to Sharm El Sheikh gives customers even more choice of high-quality winter sun and summer breaks.

Birmingham Airport’s Aviation Director, Tom Screen, said: “It is great news that TUI UK, a popular brand with our customers, has announced it will be reinstating its Sharm El Sheikh service in February for Midlands travellers. TUI has recognised the popularity of this Egyptian destination which will give customers a great choice for both the winter and summer periods.”

Research released by leading tourism trade association UKinbound and Canterbury Christ Church University shows that the Government’s proposed post-Brexit immigration reforms have the potential to severely destabilise the tourism industry in the UK, putting at risk an industry that contributes £145 billion (7.2% of UK GDP) to the UK economy and £5.9 billion to the West Midlands.

The research includes a survey of West Midlands tourism and hospitality businesses, undertaken by Canterbury Christ Church University with Qa Research, which highlights the critical impact that the Government’s proposed immigration reforms could have on the sector post-Brexit. The survey shows that:

  • 52% said that the proposals would impact negatively on their ability to continue to operate
  • 70% believe that the proposals would impact negatively on their ability to expand
  • 74% believe that the proposals would impact negatively on their ability to remain competitive
  • 50% of tourism businesses cited the limited domestic labour market as the key reason for the continued need for EU workers

This new evidence-based research will help the tourism and hospitality sector to respond to consultations about future immigration policy when the UK leaves the European Union and free movement ends.  It draws from a wide review of evidence, analysis of national workforce datasets and primary research with UK businesses through an online survey and in-depth interviews. As the tourism and hospitality sector is widely known to have a higher than average reliance on EU workers, the research provides a critical lens through which to view the potential impact of a national skills-based immigration system on the sector.

The survey of UK tourism and hospitality businesses in the report also highlights how the reporting of the reliance of the sector on EU workers (approx. 10%) is extremely conservative and such national averages mask the realities of many tourism organisations. Over two-thirds of West Midlands businesses reported that EU workers account for up to a quarter of their workforce. Set against the results of the survey, the study shows that:

  • Shortages of ‘low-skilled’ labour are as damaging to the industry as ‘high-skilled’
  • The picture of skills needs is complex and the distinction between ‘high-level’ and ‘low-level’ skills at the centre of the Immigration White Paper appears to have little relevance to the reality of skills gaps and skills shortages across tourism and hospitality
  • The proposed salary threshold of £30k is significantly above the sector’s average salary of £23k for full time workers

Joss Croft, Chief Executive of UKinbound commented: “This timely research shows that the Government must listen to the tourism industry before committing to an immigration system that runs the risk of forcing businesses to close throughout the UK.

“Our tourism industry is vital to the UK economy and EU workers are crucial to ensuring that this success story continues.  We have a skills shortage in the UK, caused not least by low levels of language skills and a lack of interest amongst UK nationals in the sector.

“The Government must, as a first step, ensure that language skills are recognised as a key skills shortage and ensure that any future immigration system is rooted in what actually works and not in populist soundbites.”

Following on from the publication of the research, UKinbound and other industry associations are calling for:

  • Language skills to be added to the occupation shortage list and be exempt from immigration restrictions
  • If any salary threshold is proposed that it be regionally set to take into account lower salaries in key tourism hotspots
  • Quarterly independent reviews to ensure tourism sectors are not adversely affected

Dr Karen Thomas, Director of the Tourism and Events Hub, Canterbury Christ Church University commented:  “The uncertainties surrounding the Brexit negotiations and the consultation over the Immigration White Paper with the emphasis prioritising ‘highly skilled’ and ‘skilled’ labour migration, have intensified the concerns over the likely shape of the UK’s immigration system after the end of Free Movement.

“EU workers constitute a vital labour pool for tourism and hospitality businesses.  Our research demonstrates that national reporting of the reliance of the sector on EU nationals masks the realities of many tourism and hospitality businesses in terms of the scale of reliance, and the significant variations in sub-sectoral, occupational and regional experiences.  We have identified a wide range of factors which together with a higher than average reliance on EU workers places the industry in an extremely vulnerable position when faced with the end of Free Movement post-Brexit.”

Having begun their two-day strike following the ongoing dispute over pay and conditions, British Airways pilots actions have already seen tens of thousands of passengers being told not to go to airports - with the airline cancelling some 1,700 flights due to the disruption.

And, despite both sides of the argument - pilots' union Balpa and BA - saying they are willing to hold further talks, no date has been set, with the pilots scheduled to stage another strike on September 27. Balpa said BA management's cost-cuts and ‘dumbing down’ of the brand has ment that confidence in the airline has determinate. This countering BA chief, Alex Cruz’s, claim that investment in the operator had never been so big.

The union's general secretary, Brian Strutton, replied: "It is time to get back to the negotiating table and put together a serious offer that will end this dispute. "BA, Strutton said, “has lost the trust and confidence of pilots because of cost-cutting and the dumbing down of the brand with the management looking to squeeze every penny out of customers and staff alike".

Mr Cruz defended the airline saying it had never in its history embarked on such a big investment programme in services and training. He said that the airline was very much “more than willing” to return to talks with Balpa.

It is the first time in its history that BA pilots (around 4,000) have walked out with the action likely to cost the airline up to £40m a day.

West Park has received a TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence for the fifth year running, following floods of great reviews from visitors across the UK.

TripAdvisor awards a Certificate of Excellence to accommodations, attractions and restaurants that consistently earn great reviews from travellers.

West Park has also made the TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence ‘Hall of Fame’ in recognition of five consecutive years of consistently high ratings from travellers.

West Park is around 18 hectares, includes a beautiful lake and a stunning landscaped green space within a ten-minute walk of Wolverhampton city centre. The park is considered to be one of the best, unspoilt examples of a Victorian park left in England and is Wolverhampton's premier open space.

West Park along with East Park, Bantock Park and Pendeford Mill Nature reserve, is also a Green Flag award winner for being one of the best green spaces in the world.

Councillor Steve Evans, Cabinet Member for City Environment at City of Wolverhampton Council said: “We are absolutely delighted to see TripAdvisor has awarded West Park with a Certificate of Excellence.

“We are really proud of all our parks and play areas in Wolverhampton, they are well-loved by our residents and West Park attracts many visitors to our city.

“I’m so pleased to see visitors have taken the time to provide us with their feedback, telling us about their fond experiences and sharing their memories of their visit.

“This is a well-deserved recognition of all the hard work that goes into providing clean and green spaces and I would like to thank the efforts our officers, volunteers and friends of our parks who continue to maintain our city’s beauty spots and making these awards possible.”

To announce the launch of Qatar Airways flights to Langkawi, Malaysia, Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive, His Excellency Mr. Akbar Al Baker, hosted a press conference today at the Four Seasons Hotel Kuala Lumpur.

The press conference was attended by Qatari Ambassador to Malaysia, His Excellency Mr. Fahad Mohammed Kafoud, Chief Minister of the State of Kedah, Dato’ Seri Mukhriz Tun Mahathir and Chief Executive Officer of Langkawi Development Authority (LADA), Dr. Hezri Bin Adnan.

The new service to Langkawi, starting 15 October 2019, is part of the airline’s strong expansion plans in Southeast Asia and marks Qatar Airways’ third destination in Malaysia after Kuala Lumpur and Penang. Qatar Airways will initially start with four-times weekly Langkawi tag services via Penang with an increase up to five-times weekly services from 27 October 2019 on its state-of-the-art Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft, featuring 22 seats in Business class and 232 seats in Economy class, with spacious cabins and specially-designed interiors.

Forested hills, stunning white-sand beaches and glimmering turquoise waters are among the reasons why travellers enjoy Langkawi Island, an archipelago of 99 picturesque islands surrounded by the azure Andaman Sea on Malaysia’s west coast. Known as ‘the Jewel of Kedah, Langkawi is home to lush tropical rainforests and mangroves rich in flora and fauna. Furthermore, the island was listed among Travel + Leisure’s 50 best places to visit in 2019.

Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive, His Excellency Mr. Akbar Al Baker, said: “Langkawi is one of the most highly sought-after destinations in Malaysia and I am certain our flights will help increase accessibility and boost inbound tourism to this beautiful archipelago. With five weekly flights to Langkawi, our service offers a gateway for passengers to travel and experience Langkawi’s magnificent offerings. We also aim to offer greater connectivity for passengers travelling from Malaysia to our extensive global network of over 160 destinations. Our new flights reflects our commitment to growing our presence not just in Malaysia, but in Asia as well.”

Chief Minister of the State of Kedah, Dato’ Seri Mukhriz Tun Mahathir, said: “I’m thrilled to know that Qatar Airways’ service expansion now includes the magnificent Langkawi as this will definitely lead to greater opportunities not only for Malaysia’s burgeoning tourism industry, but for Kedah as well. Qatar Airways’ service to Langkawi will soon bring the world right to the doorstep of the island, allowing them to experience the Langkawi UNESCO Global Geopark in all its majesty.”

Chief Executive Officer of Langkawi Development Authority (LADA), Dr. Hezri Bin Adnan said: “The launch of Qatar Airways’ direct services to Langkawi certainly bodes well for the island and goes in line with our plans of further cementing its position as an international tourist destination. Not only that, it also augurs well for Langkawi’s economy and tourism industry as we get ready to welcome visitors from across the globe to experience the island’s distinctive culture and scenic views at one of the finest tropical gems in Malaysia.”

Qatar Airways seamlessly connects passengers from Malaysia to more than 160 destinations across six continents via its award-winning Hamad International Airport in Doha.

The National Carrier of the State of Qatar has launched a host of exciting new destinations in 2019, including Lisbon, Portugal; Malta; Rabat, Morocco; Davao, Philippines; Izmir, Turkey; and Mogadishu, Somalia; and will add Gaborone, Botswana to its extensive network in October 2019.

A multiple award-winning airline, Qatar Airways was named ‘Airline of the Year’ for the fifth time by the 2019 World Airline Awards, managed by international air transport rating organisation Skytrax. It was also named ‘World’s Best Business Class,’ ‘Best Business Class Seat,’ and ‘Best Airline in the Middle East’.

The Tobago Tourism Agency Limited’s destination marketing campaign, “Tobago Beyond”, has been shortlisted in the International Travel & Tourism Awards 2019 in the “Best National Tourism Board Campaign” and “Best Destination Campaign” categories.

Presented by World Travel Market and supported by the United Nations World Tourism Organization, the International Travel & Tourism Awards are a global platform that recognizes and promotes excellence within the travel and tourism industry. The 2019 Awards Ceremony will take place on Tuesday November 05 in London, England.

The “Best National Tourism Board Campaign” award recognizes which destination showcased its vibrancy, culture and individuality through a consumer or trade campaign that leaves the viewer pushing the destination to the top of their bucket list, or wanting to return. The award for “Best Destination Campaign” looks at which destination’s campaign achieved volume and value growth in addition to encouraging visitation. The submitted campaigns were assessed using tangible metrics, including proof of audience engagement, budget, and obstacles and how they were resolved.

According to Nicole Smart, International Travel & Tourism Awards Organizer: “Our judges have been greatly impressed by the exceptional quality of entries, and those who are on the shortlist know they have reached a very high standard – they will be among the best in the world.”

Tobago’s submission, “Revitalizing Tobago Tourism”, outlined the aim of the “Tobago Beyond” campaign, which is to revitalize the international appeal of Tobago as a real challenger holiday destination for those seeking a Caribbean holiday. With limited resources in comparison to other Caribbean destinations, focusing on specific markets and traveler segments was a key part of the strategy.

The submission also indicated that all of the campaign’s KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) have outperformed, and resulted in double digit growth of arrivals in 8 months, with the last three months showing 22%, 29% and 40% growth respectively.

Commenting on the announcement of Tobago being shortlisted in the awards, Secretary for Tourism, Culture and Transportation, Councillor Nadine Stewart-Phillips said: “This accomplishment is another reflection of our continued commitment to advance the island's tourism sector. This is certainly testament to the fact that we are going in the right direction with respect to greater visibility for destination Tobago.

Since the launch, the ‘Tobago Beyond’ campaign has attracted tremendous local and international interest and has yielded substantial results. I am heartened that our efforts are being recognized globally and look forward to the continued positive returns this recognition will bring.”

Louis Lewis, CEO of the Tobago Tourism Agency Limited, also expressed his satisfaction with the news, stating: “We are honoured to be shortlisted for not just one, but two categories in these prestigious awards, due to the beyond ordinary marketing efforts of the Tobago Tourism Agency. Our intention has always been to enable Tobago to be a stand out destination in its own right using the island’s unique character and features to guide our creative and messaging exploration, and our recognition in these awards signify that our brand message is being received loud and clear.”

For families looking for a fun activity to do once the schools have broken up, Pets at Home is hosting a series of fun and free interactive pet workshops during the summer holidays. Taking place in stores across West Midlands, the workshops will educate attendees about how to look after animals as pets and are aimed at children between the ages of 5-11.

The My Pet Pals workshops offer hands-on activities to educate the next generation of pet owners about keeping pets safe, happy and healthy. Children can expect to find out about the fascinating world of pets, with interactive games and ‘meet and greet’ sessions with Pets at Home’s friendly pets.

Kerry Boulton store manager at the Pets at Home Oldbury store, said: “Our My Pet Pals workshops are a fun way to give young animal lovers the chance to learn the importance of pet welfare. The workshops are hosted by our friendly and knowledgeable pet care advisors, who are on hand to ensure future pet owners are fully equipped with everything they need to know about owning a pet.”

Following the workshops, children are invited to enter the My Pet Pals Summer Challenges Competition, where they will be encouraged to complete an interactive activity book made up of exciting tasks to be completed over the summer for the chance to win a fantastic prize*.

The free workshops will teach children how to keep pets cool over the warm summer months, as well as how to become the best fish owner they can be. The workshops last approximately 30 minutes and take place every day in stores at 11.30am during the summer holidays.

Qatar Airways’ first ever passenger flight to Portugal landed at Lisbon Airport on Monday 24 June 2019, as the airline adds to its rapidly expanding European network. Operated by a Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft, flight QR343 was greeted with a water cannon salute on arrival.

Present on board the inaugural flight to Lisbon was the Portuguese Ambassador to Qatar, H.E Mr. Ricardo Pracana, and Qatar Airways Chief Commercial Officer, Mr. Simon Talling-Smith. They were met by VIPs including the Qatari Ambassador to Portugal, H.E. Mr. Saad Ali Al-Muhannadi and the Chief Executive of Aeroportos de Portugal Mr. Thierry Ligonnière.

Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive, His Excellency Mr. Akbar Al Baker, said: “We are delighted to launch direct services to Lisbon, the latest addition to Qatar Airways’ rapidly expanding European network. Lisbon is renowned for its extensive history and culture, boasting a rich artistic and gastronomic heritage. We look forward to welcoming business and leisure travellers alike on board so that they may experience this vibrant destination, one of the oldest capitals in Western Europe. The new route confirms our commitment to the Portuguese market and will provide passengers travelling from Lisbon access to Qatar Airways’ extensive global route network of more than 160 destinations around the world.”

The new daily direct services to Lisbon will be operated by the airline’s state-of-the-art Boeing 787 Dreamliner, with 22 seats in Business Class and 232 seats in Economy Class. Qatar Airways passengers travelling in Business Class can relax in one of the most comfortable, fully lie-flat beds in the sky as well as enjoying a five-star food and beverage service served ‘dine on demand’. Passengers can also take advantage of the airline’s award-winning in-flight entertainment system, Oryx One, offering up to 4,000 options.

The service opens up a world of connectivity for Qatar Airways customers travelling from Lisbon to destinations across Africa, Asia and Australia, such as Maputo, Hong Kong, Bali, Maldives, Bangkok, Sydney and many more.

Lisbon has also joined Qatar Airways’ air freight network, with the carrier’s cargo arm offering a total capacity of 70 tonnes to and from Portugal each week, and a direct connection to destinations in Europe, the Middle East and the Americas via Doha. In addition to this, Qatar Airways Cargo has a huge presence in neighbouring Spain with 47 belly-hold cargo flights to Barcelona and Madrid, including seasonal flights to Malaga each week. The carrier also operates 10 weekly Boeing 777 and Airbus A330 freighters to Zaragoza, providing more than 950 tonnes of cargo capacity to customers.

Qatar Airways currently operates a modern fleet of more than 250 aircraft via its hub, Hamad International Airport (HIA) to more than 160 destinations worldwide.

Lisbon is the fourth new destination to be introduced by the airline this summer following the launch of flights to Izmir, Turkey, and Rabat, Morocco, in May; with Malta at the beginning of June and Davao, Philippines on 18 June; followed by Mogadishu, Somalia, on 1 July; and Langkawi, Malaysia, on 15 October.

On Wednesday (June 5) Birmingham Airport took part in ‘World Environment Day’ - the annual United Nation's campaign for encouraging awareness and action for the protection of the environment. First held in 1974, it has been a flagship campaign for raising awareness on environmental issues since this date.

Birmingham Airport recognises that it has a role to play in reducing its impact on the environment and outlines ways it will achieve this through its environmental plans. The Airport’s commitments extend to all employees, tenants and contractors on-site.

World Environment Day is an ideal catalyst for the Airport to again raise awareness of the environmental activities that are carried out by Birmingham Airport’s dedicated Sustainability team amongst the Airport community. It also aims to receive ideas and feedback from all staff on how collaboratively it can reduce its impact on the environment.

During the day, employees took part in competitions and quizzes and other enjoyable activities. A team of experts were on hand to promote staff travel, through the lift share scheme and the options for staff to cycle to work. Staff members also got to make a smoothie – powered by cycling on a bike to generate enough power to create their own healthy drink.

Nick Barton, CEO of Birmingham Airport said: “Birmingham Airport is very focused on its responsibility to the environment. Our Sustainability team’s mission is to ensure that our services and operations, where they have an impact on the local, regional and global environment, are mitigated for the protection of the environment.

“It was great to see many people from the airport community meet and engage with our Sustainability team and learn about our ongoing environmental plans to mitigate the Airport’s impact on the environment. This includes how we reduce the carbon footprint and single use plastics, keep our watercourses clean, minimise noise pollution and improve our recycling efforts.

“On a site that supports jobs for 8000 people, we want to inform them of the work we’re doing to reduce our impact and to show them ways to live more consciously - both at work and at home - to make a cleaner and safer environment.”

The mayor of the West Midlands has called for a direct flight between Birmingham and Mumbai.

Andy Street is petitioning both Air India and the Indian Government to install the route, with hundreds already backing his campaign.

It comes after the former John Lewis boss met India’s aviation minister last year to make the business case for the direct route.

Currently there is a direct flight between Birmingham and Delhi, but those wanting to travel to Mumbai from the Midlands need to make the 185km journey south to London Heathrow.

Jet Airways used to operate a direct flight to Mumbai from Manchester but this stopped when the airline collapsed.

Mr Street said: “The Midlands serves a large Indian community of nearly 500,000 people, with significant populations in Birmingham, Leicester, Northampton, Nottingham, Sandwell and Wolverhampton.

“I am really pleased there is an Air India flight to Delhi from Birmingham but if people need to go to Mumbai they have to travel to Heathrow. Given the significant business (Jaguar Land Rover, JCB, Rolls Royce, Bharat Forge, Pattonair and Bombardier to name a few) links between the Midlands and India, and the strength of the diaspora, there is strong demand for a direct flight between Birmingham and Mumbai.

“As well as the business case there is also the personal case, as the new route will allow thousands of families to reconnect far easier with family and friends in India.

“The Midlands and India have a wonderful relationship, but it is time we strengthened that with a new route.”

The mayor’s petition, which can be found on change.org, has garnered more than 930 signatures at the time of writing.

One of them, Petro Nicolaides, said: “I believe the links between the West Midlands and Mumbai for both trade and the diaspora are essential for both regions.

“The need and demand warrants a direct flight.”

Titiksha Shah added: “I am a regular traveller to Mumbai for business and would be very pleased to have a direct flight.”

To sign Mr Street’s petition, visit www.change.org/p/air-india-we-need-a-direct-flight-to-mumbai-from-birmingham

Travel expert Doug Lansky will keynote the Caribbean Hospitality Industry Exchange Forum (CHIEF) event at Hyatt Regency Miami, June 21-23, 2019.

The annual event, now in its fifth year, welcomes more than 400 hospitality and tourism professionals from the Caribbean and The Americas and features expert speakers and presenters on timely travel and tourism topics.

Lansky, a travel author and editor, is a tourism development leader who advises destinations and tourism companies in a number of countries on strategic branding, marketing, the visitor experience, industry trends and sustainability. His 20 years of writing experience spans publications ranging from National Geographic Traveler through The Guardian, Lonely Planet and Skift.

"We welcome Doug to CHIEF to share with us his insights on how hoteliers, tourism businesses and destinations in the region can adapt and implement strategies to improve their competitiveness in an ever-changing industry," said Frank Comito, Director General and CEO of the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA), producers of the annual event.

This year's lively and informative agenda focuses on tourism's trending topics, including adapting to new booking solutions, maintaining a productive environment in a multigenerational and diverse cultural workplace; what's hot and trending in food and beverage; what guests are seeking in a Caribbean vacation today; trends, opportunities and challenges facing businesses and the region over the next five years; and understanding guest diversity to more effectively market and maximize return on investment.

General sessions, which include speakers and panelists from top-tier travel brands, will focus on "Tomorrow's Talent Today: The Dynamics of Human Capital"; "Turning Imagination into Reality: What Guests will be Seeking in a Caribbean Vacation"; "Who's Got Umami and How Can I Get Some?" and "Cannabis to Crypto - Are you Ready for What's Next?"

The CHIEF 2019 theme is "Vision 2024: Embracing Change, Diversity and Growth", which looks at the future of the travel industry, its effects on the Caribbean and discusses how industry partners can work together to face the challenges ahead.

Comito adds that a hallmark of CHIEF is engagement: "Sessions are structured to be lively and fun, with a healthy interchange among panelists and the audience. This will invigorate participants and stimulate greater networking, one of the key benefits and objectives of CHIEF".

CHIEF is one of three CHTA events scheduled in June. Taste of the Caribbean, also taking place at Hyatt Regency Miami from June 21-25, 2019, features top culinary teams from more than a dozen Caribbean nations and territories as they compete for recognition and awards. In addition, CHTA shares their talent through its signature cultural celebration, entitled Caribbean305, to be held on Saturday, June 22, 2019 in Miami.

This year's CHIEF host sponsor is Interval International, while Platinum sponsors include Figment Design, Marketplace Excellence, MasterCard, OBMI and STR. Gold sponsors are 7 Pillars of Digital Marketing, ADA International, Arrivalist, Aruba - a Hewlett Packard Enterprise Company, Caymera International, Oracle Hospitality, SportsArt, TravelClick, Travel Relations, TravPro Mobile, Tropical Shipping, and WineSchool3.

Durban is the official host of the largest travel industry trade show in Africa, Indaba, that opened yesterday. Sibusiso Mngoma, Senior Manager, Information & Tourism Sevices at Durban Tourism wants African Tourism Board to hold its first conference in this multi-cultural showpiece of a global destination.

This was discussed in a meeting with African Tourism Board Vice President Cuthbert Ncube and CEO Doris Woerfel.

The Zulu Kingdom, or the Province of KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) in South Africa has a devout following throughout continental Africa. Nowhere else in the world will one find such a unique fusion of raw natural beauty, modern sophistication, cultural diversity and pulsating energy – all in the most breath-taking natural setting.

Durban has become the hub of Tourism with its diverse cultural products, a Province that has a rich cultural history.

African Tourism Board interim chairman Juergen Steinmetz commented from the U.S: “This South African multi-cultural city is the ideal place for all of Africa to come together and celebrate the beauty of the African continent as one destination. Thank you to our CEO and VP to open the doors for our young organization to get to know Sibusiso Mngoma and his team in KwaZula-Natal. We will certainly consider this generous offer.”

Cuthbert Ncube added: “Durban Tourism suggested to host us during the Month of September 2020 if we are ready, being the month of Tourism.”

Founded in 2018, the African Tourism Board is an association that is internationally acclaimed for acting as a catalyst for the responsible development of travel and tourism to, from, and within the African region.