Colors: Yellow Color
Colors: Yellow Color

Nearly one in three skiing holidaymakers have bought insurance early to beat the risk of a Brexit fallout hitting their plans, new research1 from award-winning data analytics company Consumer Intelligence shows.

Around 30% of regular skiers say they bought travel insurance earlier than usual over concerns that the UK’s planned departure from the European Union on 29th March could mean disruption at resorts.

Consumer Intelligence’s research found nearly half (45%) of skiers expect to have to pay more for travel insurance after Brexit.

And the study also found that Brexit could have even more profound long-term effects on the UK’s £2.9 billion a year ski holiday market.

The Association of British Insurers is warning that in the event of the UK leaving without a Withdrawal Agreement the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) which entitles UK tourists to state-provided healthcare will no longer apply.

Holidaymakers questioned by Consumer Intelligence say they may vote with their skis – around half say they will consider resorts outside the European Union following Brexit with 25% looking at trips to North American for snow.

Around 36% of those considering leaving the EU behind say worries about increased medical bills or access to EU medical services are the main reason for looking outside the EU post-Brexit.

John Blevins, Consumer Intelligence insurance pricing expert said: “Buying travel insurance when you book a trip makes sense as it provides cover against cancellation or for not being able to ski when you get to a resort.

While Brexit uncertainty may have played a part it is encouraging that so many are buying insurance early so will be covered in the event of any issues.”

 

The first of these annual awards will be presented at IATA’s 75th Annual General Meeting and World Air Transport Summit to be held in Seoul from June 1 to 3

Qatar Airways has partnered with the International Air Transport Association (IATA) for the launch of the ‘IATA Diversity & Inclusion Awards’, which promote greater gender diversification in the aviation industry.

The airline has committed to supporting the awards for the next 10 years, as it recognises the need to encourage women to succeed and excel at all levels of the industry.

IATA has created three categories of awards- ‘inspirational role model’, ‘high flyer’, and ‘diversity & inclusion’ team.

Each category comes with $25,000 in prize money payable to the awardee or their nominated charity working on diversity and inclusion projects.

Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive and chair of the IATA Board of Governors (2018-2019), HE Akbar al-Baker said, “Qatar Airways recognises the need for wider diversity in the workplace, not just in our airline but across the industry as a whole, which is why we are delighted to have this opportunity to reward individuals and teams who are going against the trend and proving that diversification is the way forward for aviation.

“We see this as a long-term project and look forward to working hand in hand with IATA for the next decade continuing to encourage greater inclusion and diversification in the airline community.”

Alexandre de Juniac, director general and chief executive officer, IATA, said, “Aviation is the 'Business of Freedom'. The essence of aviation is building a global community by connecting people, businesses and cultures across great distances. Ten million people work in the aviation industry to make this happen.

“It is important that this workforce reflects the amazing diversity and inclusion that it fosters in our society. By launching these awards, we want to recognise and celebrate the great work that is being done to take the industry into the future.”

Nominations for the awards are open on the IATA website from February 26 to March 31. They will be judged by an international and independent panel of experts.

The first of these annual awards will be presented at IATA’s 75th Annual General Meeting and World Air Transport Summit to be held in Seoul, South Korea from June 1 to 3.

The ‘inspirational role model’ award will be presented a female (30+) who holds a senior position within the industry who has had a significant impact on the aviation agenda through her strong contribution to business delivery, as well as her ongoing support of promoting diversity. This award is open to all female participants in the aviation industry.

The ‘high flyer award’ is designed to recognise a female under 30 who has started to grow their career, and is demonstrating thought leadership in the industry through their inspirational work. This award is open to all under-30 female participants in the aviation industry.

The ‘diversity and inclusion team award’ has been created to give recognition to an airline that has seen a tangible change in their diversity as a result of the work they have been doing in diversification and inclusion.

This award is open to all IATA member airlines.

Holiday parks and campsites around the UK generate £9.3bn in visitor expenditure and support 171,448 full-time employees, a major report reveals today.

The independent report, titled ‘Pitching the Value,’ is the first time holiday parks and campsites across the UK have been analysed to show the value of the sector to the nation’s economy.

‘Pitching the Value,’ which focusses on the economic impact of the sector together with the health and wellbeing benefits of such holidays, was carried out by Frontline Consultants on behalf of the UK Caravan and Camping Alliance (UKCCA). The alliance is an umbrella group comprising The National Caravan Council, The Camping and Caravanning Club, the Caravan and Motorhome Club, and the British Holiday & Home Parks Association.

Bob Hill, who led the UKCCA joint working group, said: “This is a groundbreaking report that clearly demonstrates the important benefits to the economy brought by the UK’s many holiday parks and campsites.

“Pitching the Value will help the industry attract more investment and ultimately improve opportunities for it to grow, develop and create new jobs. Our findings reinforce the importance of holiday parks and campsites to the country’s tourism economy. That will help us to improve holidaymakers’ on-site experiences and choice, which in turn will also attract more overseas visitors to these shores.”

Holiday park and campsite operators also support local communities through capital and operating expenditure, and wages. Nearly half of those companies and organisations that took part in the report cumulatively spend nearly £303 million per year in this way. The research also found they engage with local communities through support for events such as fundraising activities, participate in recycling and environmental initiatives, and promote healthy active lifestyles in the great outdoors through pastimes such as walking and cycling.

The four sponsoring organisations of the UKCCA own or are affiliated to 6,243 holiday parks and campsites across the UK with a combined total of 438,076 pitches. Those sites offer holidaymakers a diverse range of accommodation such as touring pitches for tents, caravans and motorhomes, rented holiday homes, lodges, and chalets, plus glamping units like tipis and yurts, together with a wide selection of on-site facilities.

Bob added: “We want to use this compelling evidence to ensure key influencers and decision-makers support the development and growth of our industry at a national, regional and individual business level for the benefit of our economy and for holidaymakers themselves.

 

Birmingham Airport employees, friends and family got together to take part in a midnight run down the runway, in aid of the Airport’s charity partner Acorns Children’s Hospice.

More than 120 participants took part in the run, braving cold and wet conditions at just past midnight to tackle the three kilometres of the Airport’s runway, which was specifically closed for the charity run.

Between them, they raised more than £15,000 to help pay for the vital services Acorns provides to life-limited children and their families across the Midlands.

Birmingham Airport has been a long-time supporter of Acorns and has used the Airport infrastructure to raise funds before - back in 2016, 50 employees raised £12,000 in a 100-foot charity abseil from the roof of the Airport’s headquarters, Diamond House.

Andy Holding, Corporate Responsibility Manager at Birmingham Airport, said: “We’ve partnered with Acorns Children’s Hospice for ten years and it’s a charity that’s become very close to the hearts of many of our employees. We knew people would be excited by the prospect of running the length of the runway – it’s not the sort of thing you get to do every day, after all.

It costs Acorns £7,000 a day to run their services and with the money we’ve raised we can pay for two days care - something we’re extremely proud to be able to do. I would like to thank all those who took part and all those who supported them with their sponsorship.”

Acorns’ Senior Fundraising Manager for Corporate and Community Amanda Smallman, said: “What a fantastic donation! The Runway Run has to be one of the most unusual ways for supporters to raise money for Acorns – and in freezing temperatures too. The determination and commitment of participants is wonderful. Thank you to everyone who took part, this money will make a real difference to the children and families we support.”

Airport CEO Nick Barton was joined on the runway by Richard Gill, who took the title of top fundraiser with an impressive total of £1,775, to hand over a cheque to Acorns Corporate Fundraising Manager Natalia Keene.

The interim budget presented today in India Parliament has elicited mixed reaction from industry leaders with the focus being on seeing how the proposals will be implemented.

Rajendera Kumar, industry stalwart and past Chief of the Hotel Federation, regretted that there was nothing for the hospitality industry yet again in the budget.

Ankur Bhatia, Executive Director of the Bird Group, said the budget was forward-looking and progressive but much will depend on the implementation of the promises made.

Peter Kerkar, Group CEO of Cox and King, felt that tourism can be a beneficiary off the tax exemptions and new areas and the northeast could get a boost.

Ritesh Agarwal, Founder of OYO hotels, said that it was a budget for New India and hoped the skill gap could be filled.

Mahesh Iyer, CEO of Thomas Cook, felt tourist spending will increase and new tier 11 and tier 3 destinations may come up.

Neelu Singh, CEO of Ezeego 1, felt that increased spending on infrastructure, roads, railways, and airports will boost travel.

 

With many consumers intent on becoming more eco-conscious in 2019, UK travelers may not appreciate the environmental damage and negative consequences of their ‘kiss and fly’ lift to the airport. Kiss and Fly is the practice of dropping-off and collecting a traveler from the airport, resulting in twice as many car journeys when compared with pre-booking off-airport parking.

As well as resulting in vehicle congestion and producing double the amount of harmful emissions, lifts to the airport also include the ‘hidden costs’ of the time and money spent by the family member or friend. To encourage travelers to become more mindful of their journey to and from the airport, Airport Parking & Hotels (APH) has therefore researched just the costs for kiss and fly drop-off fees at 23 of the UK’s airports, including London Heathrow, Manchester and Edinburgh. Available in the Know Before You Go Section of the APH website at www.aph.com/kissandfly, the research also highlights the extra miles kiss and fly trips result in.

Just five of the 23 airports researched allow drivers to drop-off passengers directly at the terminal for free, including London Heathrow and Cardiff. However, travelers should note that these airports may charge after a certain amount of time. For example, Cardiff Airport charges £5 for every 10 minutes parked after the initial 10 minutes. 15 airports permit the drop-off of passengers at the terminal for a fee, with the cost varying from £1 for up to 30 minutes at Exeter Airport to £3.50 for 10 minutes at London Stansted.

Friends and family should keep an eye on the time at Luton Airport since after paying £3 for the first 10 minutes at the terminal forecourt motorists are charged an additional £1 for each minute they spend in the drop-off zone.

Holidaymakers who are willing to walk a short distance can save on premium charges by choosing to be dropped off in short and long stay car parks, with 18 airports offering this for free. These include London Luton Airport, which allows up to 15 minutes for free in the mid-term car park, which is 10 – 15 minutes away by foot from the terminal building. Similarly, parking at Southampton Airport’s long stay car park is free for up to 30 minutes and the terminal can be reached in 5 minutes via a shuttle bus, which runs every 10 – 12 minutes. However, both Bournemouth and Bristol do not offer options for dropping-off passengers for free, even at short stay car parks.

For collecting loved ones from the airport, 14 airports permit collection of passengers from the terminal forecourt, with two allowing temporary parking for five minutes free-of-charge. Drivers at nine airports, including Aberdeen and Bristol, must collect travelers from the short stay car parks nearby, with the cost varying from free at five airports to £5.10 for up to one hour at Birmingham Airport.

Alongside monetary charges, kiss and fly journeys include ‘hidden costs’ for loved ones. For example, drivers heading to Birmingham Airport from the city centre can expect to spend a total of two hours on the road and pay around £9.60* in fuel costs for two return trips. When combined with two charges of £5.10 for each hour of parking at Birmingham Airport, the total cost for a kiss and fly driver comes to £19.80.

Nick Caunter, Managing Director of Airport Parking and Hotels said: “Those who ask friends or family to drive them to the airport may not consider that kiss and fly transfers to the airport are damaging to the environment and also to the time and wallets of their loved ones. APH offers airport parking at all major UK airports, allowing travelers to save the time and money of their loved ones and also reduce their impact on the environment.”

Fancy exploring Clonakilty with a food writer to learn more about the local produce of this vibrant Irish foodie hub? Want to enjoy a taste tour around a Willy-Wonka inspired garden where everything is edible from the topiary to the trees? All this and more is now possible on a new 'Gourmet Ireland' tour from Shearings Holidays.

Ireland is renowned for its hospitality, and at the heart of that is its food. The food scene in West Cork is built on authenticity, from time-honoured whiskey production techniques to heritage recipes and traditional farmers' markets. This new tour includes a range of excursions to ensure everyone gets a real taste of Ireland.

Highlights include:

Clonakilty food tour – this walking tour visits a wide range of food producers from meat, cheese, ice cream, beer, chocolate, bread and of course the Clonakilty Farmers' market. Food writer Kate Ryan will connect the group with people, places and stories that make the award-winning town such a foodie hub. And of course there are tastings along the way.

Glengarriff, the Garden of Re-Imagination – enjoy a taste tour around this Willy-Wonka inspired paradise where everything is edible. There is the opportunity to taste rare edible delights from the pink flamingo tree to Dahlia tubers & barberries.

Kinsale - considered the gourmet capital of Ireland. Visit the Kinsale Farmers' Market and spend time enjoying the town.

There is also time to enjoy the Midleton Jameson Distillery Experience and visit Mizen Head - Ireland's most southwesterly point.

The Scottish Hotel Awards takes place annually to celebrate and encourage the achievements and successes of Scotland's hospitality industry.

Recognising people of excellence, hotels and guesthouses, the ceremony hopes to raise standards for the Scottish industry as a whole. This year, categories were extended throughout the awards to make room for a growing number of participating hotels.

Loch Melfort Hotel proved to be popular in the Argyll and Lomond region, taking home four awards at the ceremony hosted in Glasgow on the 15th January:

  • Best housekeeping team
  • Best pet-friendly hotel
  • Best accessible hotel
  • Best Operations Manager (Sam Erskine)
Owners Calum and Rachel Ross said “these awards reflect effort and dedication of the outstanding team of staff we have at Loch Melfort Hotel. We strive to achieve excellence in every aspect of our hotel, and we are proud and delighted that our team have been recognised for this”.

Birdland is staging a 'Birds Behaving Badly Week' to celebrate feathered friends over the February Half Term Holidays (16th- 24th February)

 

From blood-sucking songbirds and puking penguins to stinking storks and spitting swallows, keepers at the Bourton-on-the-Water wildlife attraction will reveal revolting facts about some of the world's baddest birds.

 

There will be toxic talks and terrible trails highlighting the horrible aspects of natural history and visitors will also be able to meet some real feathered fiends of their own during special meet the creatures' sessions.

 

“Despite their often angelic reputations, birds are definitely among the worst behaved animals on the planet with some truly disgusting table manners,” said Head Keeper Alistair Keen.

 

“The marabou stork urinates on itself in order to cool its legs, fulmar chicks aim projectile vomit at the face of any potential threats and oxpecker birds will open old wounds on cattle in Africa in order to drink their blood.

 

“Swallows and housemartins use their own spit to build nests and the lilac-breasted roller vomits on its own chicks to deter would-be predators,” he added.

With its combination of woodland, riverside and gardens, Birdland features more than 500 birds, ranging from the UK's only colony of king penguins and parrots to cassowaries and cranes in a mix of free-flying and aviary displays.

 

The spectacular 'Out of Africa' feature showcases the huge variety of birds found on the African continent.

 

Among the species on display are black-cheeked lovebirds, village weavers; famous for their extraordinary nest-building prowess as well as a flamboyance of flamingos featuring no fewer than 36 individual birds.

 

Other species include touracos, starlings, guinea fowl, exotic ducks and the impressive-looking southern and northern ground hornbills.

 

Plus don't miss the new Pandemonium of Parrots display showcasing these highly-intelligent and brightly coloured birds.

 

Famed for their mimicry skills and playful personalities this new integrated feature provides visitors with the chance to get close to over nine different species including rainbow lorikeets, rare golden conures and a range of macaws and cockatoos.

As the Caribbean tourism sector prepares to welcome the New Year, we look forward to 2019 with a sense of optimism, excitement and much hope. We are optimistic because we are seeing signs that the lows which Mother Nature imposed upon us during the latter part of 2017 into 2018 are being reversed. We are excited about our prospects because of the incredible turnaround that we are seeing in the most impacted destinations. And we hopeful that the progress of our member countries and supporters can continue unabated, to maintain the momentum they developed since the storms of 2017 when everyone rolled up their sleeves and got down to work to build an improved and more sustainable product.

We are pleased to report that tourism accommodations are being rebuilt and reopened, airports are receiving their full schedule of flights with the return of airlines in full force and the diverse product offerings within our destinations are being restored.

At the same time, increases in the number of available seats, positive messaging and promotions in the marketplace have enabled the unaffected destinations to register continuous growth. The demand among international visitors is strong and Caribbean nationals have continued their quest to explore and enjoy the pleasures of their neighbouring destinations.

Regarding the cruise sector, most ports have been repaired and cruise calls have already returned to normal levels. Indeed, regional cruise visits grew in each month since May, with the region registering growth of 13.7 per cent during the May to September period and 17.1 per cent in the third quarter of 2018.

In October, the region launched a digital awareness campaign “The Rhythm Never Stops” on social media platforms such as YouTube and Facebook, coinciding with augmented airlift for the 2018/19 tourist winter season. Travel professionals and their clients received the message that the Caribbean is a resilient region with an unstoppable resolve to succeed and to keep on moving in the right direction.

For 2019, the outlook is bright for our destinations. We’re quite excited about declaring 2019 as the “Year of Festivals” in the Caribbean. Simply stated, there’s a rhythm to the region that cannot be replicated anywhere on earth. There’s no escaping the melody of nature, as gentle breezes and free-flowing fronds combine beautifully in perfect harmony; no getting away from the heavenly choruses of tides caressing magnificent world class beaches; no missing the cadence of our conversation, the tempo of our movement.

The Caribbean is a festival of rhythms and a home of festivals – music, art, literary, sailing, lights, food, rum, religious, dance – all with their own attractive rhythms.

The Year of Festivals will focus on the fascinating events that have become an integral part of the Caribbean tourism calendar. Festivals help to energize communities across the region, while giving visitors more reasons to enjoy our destinations.

Despite all there is to celebrate in 2019, we must also approach the New Year with a degree of caution since there’s still much work to be done. While preliminary data from our member countries revealed increased demand for travel to the vast majority of the 24 reporting countries, and despite a 9.1 per cent increase in arrivals in September 2018 when compared to the same month in 2017, overall our performance was still down in 2018. A third quarter decline of 3.2 per cent made this our best quarter, and the rate of tourist arrivals is now expected to slow to -1.0 per cent to -2.0 per cent - a definite sign that the tide is turning. Cruise passenger arrivals are projected to grow at an accelerated rate of around 6 per cent to 7 per cent.

Without doubt, our region is in a stronger position than it was a year ago. We are encouraged by the prospect of even greater collaboration with our partners in the industry, including the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association, the Florida Caribbean Cruise Association, and a range of travel professionals and industry partners who consistently offer Caribbean holiday experiences to their best clients. Our confidence is buoyed by the progress our region is making to combine its resources to bolster our competitive position internationally. The evidence is clear that a strong, unified Caribbean gives the region a global advantage which individual member-countries on their own have little chance of attaining. The success of our countries rests upon our ability to speak as a region with one strong voice.

On behalf of the CTO Council of ministers and commissioners of tourism, the board of directors, members and staff of the Caribbean Tourism Organization, I thank you for all your commitment, hard work and support in 2018, and wish you a New Year of rich blessings and prosperity.

Forget the doom and gloom attitude this Blue Monday (21st January), and turn what is believed to be the most depressing day of the year into an opportunity to spend quality time crying (with laughter) with friends and family at The Crystal Maze LIVE Experience.

From 21st to 27th January both the Manchester and London attractions will be encouraging teams to not only compete for crystals to secure extra time in the iconic dome, but search for special blue crystal shaped tokens hidden within game play too.

Eagle-eyed team members who manage to find the blue tokens during their time in the Maze will win a free crystal to keep and take home with them. The Manchester and London Mazes will each be placing these celebratory tokens into selected games each day during the Blue Monday festivities, but you’ve got to be in it to win it!

To shed even more light on this dark day in January, The Crystal Maze LIVE Experience has announced that a brand-new maze that will be opening in March in the heart of London, the West End. The new maze will feature 32 new games, is double the size of the existing London space and spread out over three floors so will allow for triple the number of players.

Based on the outrageously popular 90s TV show, The Crystal Maze LIVE Experience sees teams of up to eight people guided through the maze by an eccentric Maze Master.

Players get the chance to don retro satin bomber jackets before entering the maze and dashing through the Medieval, Aztec, Industrial and Futuristic adventure zones where they must complete a series of challenges against the clock.

The more challenges completed successfully, the more crystals the teams win and the more time they have for the final challenge, the iconic crystal dome. In this ultimate challenge, the team must work together to catch as many tokens as possible - a task made so much harder by the dome’s super-strength fans. The amount of tokens caught determines the team’s final position on the leader board.

Wizz Air recently relaunched a direct route to Romania’s second largest city, Cluj-Napoca from Birmingham Airport. To mark the occasion, an inaugural ceremony was held at the Airport where passengers and employees gathered to celebrate.

 

The 166 passengers departing on the 07:40 flight were greeted with a celebration for the new route which operates twice weekly on a Wednesday and Sunday.

 

Tom Screen, Acting Aviation Director said: “Officially welcoming this new Wizz Air route to Cluj-Napoca from Birmingham Airport is fantastic news. We are constantly working with airlines to ensure that where there is demand for a route we can provide enough choice to be able to meet it - whether this involves the introduction of additional direct services or an increase in the frequency of services.

 

“Cluj-Napoca is an exciting addition to our growing variety of direct services. Home to incredible architecture and gothic-style landmarks dating back to Saxon and Hungarian rule, vibrant nightlife and a wide range of forests and parks, Cluj-Napoca has something to offer everyone.

 

“We are pleased this route has been reintroduced and look forward to making the route a success for Wizz Air.”

 

Tamara Vallois, Head of Communications at Wizz Air, said: “We are happy to celebrate the commencement of an exciting new route at Birmingham Airport. Our newest route from Birmingham connects the city with Romania’s second largest city, the lively Cluj-Napoca, which brings an outstanding opportunity for the travellers who seek adventure to explore real Romanian hospitality and the vibe of Transylvania.

 

“Cluj-Napoca offers bubbling nightlife and historical sights, a perfect combination for a weekend trip to Central and Eastern Europe. We are sure that our UK customers will enjoy visiting this special city as well as Birmingham will get even more cosmopolitan with tourists visiting the region.

 

“We would like to thank Birmingham Airport and look forward to welcoming many passengers on board our sixth route from Birmingham.”

The UK is expecting a rise in overseas visitors during Christmas and into the New Year.

Forward flight bookings to the UK overall are showing a rise of 9% between Sunday 23 December 2018 and Saturday 5 January 2019 compared to the same period last year.

Forward bookings to the UK from China, the Middle East and the United States are particularly strong with all showing double-digit increases, up 44%, 59% and 27% respectively.

The increase in bookings from some of the UK’s most valuable long-haul visitor markets echoes a longer-term trend.

Forward bookings from the US to the UK for December 2018 to May 2019 are up 27% compared to the same period previously. The US is the UK’s most valuable inbound visitor market for tourism spend. Visitors from the US spent a record £3.6 billion across the UK in 2017, up 9% on the previous year. Visits from the US grew 13% to 3.9 million in 2017, the highest since 2000.

Bookings from China, the world’s most valuable outbound visitor market, are up 25% for December 2018 to May 2019. China moved into the UK’s top 10 most valuable inbound visitor markets last year with visits reaching a record 337,000, up 29% on 2016, and spend up 35% to an all-time high of £694 million. For every 22 visits from China, one job is created in the UK’s tourism industry.

Longer-term bookings are also tracking ahead from the Middle East to the UK, up 10% for December this year to May 2019. Visitors from the Middle East are some of the UK’s highest spenders. Visitors from the Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC) countries spent £2733 on average in the UK in 2017, more than four times the all market average of £625.

VisitBritain Director Patricia Yates said: 

“Tourism is one of the UK’s most valuable export industries and needs no trade deals to attract overseas investment. It is also a fiercely competitive global industry and people have a lot of choice. We want the UK to be the number one destination for global travellers so it is great to see forward bookings looking strong in the coming weeks and months from some of our most valuable long-haul visitor markets.” 

Tourism Minister Michael Ellis said: 

 

“The UK is one of the world’s must-visit destinations and the increase in forward bookings reflects the strength of our tourism sector. 

“We are committed to supporting this important industry and are progressing negotiations for a Tourism Sector Deal to drive long-term economic growth and investment in accommodation and attractions across the country.” 

VisitBritain’s global campaign ‘I Travel For…’, launched earlier this year, is shining the spotlight on unexpected experiences and less-explored destinations across the UK alongside its world-renowned landmarks and attractions telling the story of places, inspiring visitors to discover more, travel further and stay longer. The campaign is being refreshed with new content in Australia, China and Europe as well as in the GCC, India and the US.

VisitBritain promotes the UK internationally as a visitor destination as part of the UK Government’s global GREAT Britain campaign. The UK was ranked third out of 50 nations for its overall brand in the 2018 Anholt Nation Brands Index published in November this year, a position it has held since 2011.

Tourism is worth £127 billion to the UK economy, creating jobs and boosting economic growth across its nations and regions.

British Airways has today announced that it will fly from Heathrow to Islamabad, the capital city of Pakistan, from June 2, 2019. Tickets are on sale from today.

 

The route will launch as a three-per-week service, operated on a three-class Boeing 787 Dreamliner – British Airways’ newest long-haul fleet that is 20 per cent more fuel efficient than other aircraft and features larger windows, mood lighting and the latest inflight entertainment. Return fares start from £499 for World Traveller, £773 for World Traveller Plus and £1,799 for Club World.

 

Robert Williams, Head of Sales for Asia Pacific and the Middle East, said: “It’s exciting to be flying between Islamabad and Heathrow from next year, which we believe will be particularly popular with the British Pakistani community who want to visit, or be visited by, their relatives. On the route, customers will enjoy the very best in flying. Not only is it being operated on our newest long-haul aircraft, the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, but it will also be landing in to the new airport in Islamabad, which opened earlier this year.”

 

Thomas Drew CMG, the British High Commissioner to Pakistan, said: “I am delighted to be welcoming British Airways back to Pakistan. The launch of direct flights by British Airways between London Heathrow and Islamabad’s new International Airport is excellent news for both countries.

 

“The links between Britain and Pakistan are already extraordinary – from culture and cricket, to people, politics and education.  I see this launch as a vote of confidence in the future of those links – and, of course, a reflection of the great improvements in the security situation in Pakistan in recent years.  The return of British Airways will give a particular boost to our growing trade and investment links.  British Airways itself joins an increasing number of British companies doing business in Pakistan.  I hope too that it will allow more people from the UK to discover, like I have, what a beautiful country Pakistan is.   I look forward to using the service myself when flight start in June.”

The U.S. Virgin Islands Department of Tourism has embarked on a marketing initiative with Seaborne Airlines and Cape Air to promote new flights between San Juan and St. Croix, helping to meet the demand for travel to the island this winter season.

On Seaborne Airlines, the San Juan-St. Croix route will see an increase from two to three daily flights beginning on December 20, 2018. Then, on January 8, 2019, Seaborne will increase its frequency from three flights to six daily flights.

In January, Cape Air will start ramping up its operations to an average of six daily flights between San Juan and St. Croix, increasing the number of seats by about 50 percent.

The additional flights during the peak winter season will more than compensate for the 100 seats lost with the discontinuation of daily JetBlue Airways service effective January 8, 2019.

While passengers will no longer be able to fly to St. Croix on JetBlue's aircraft, flights can be booked via JetBlue through its codeshare relationships with both Seaborne and Cape Air.

The Department also announced it would be increasing its marketing of LIAT flights to St. Thomas with connections over Antigua.

Fun-loving 'madrileños' know how to party like there's no tomorrow and the Spanish capital is high in the ranks of European party capitals. Ginkgo Sky Bar, located on the 12th floor of the 5-star VP Plaza España Design, is one the city's hottest new spots and promises one of the most glamorous New Year's Eve events in the city.

Offering the perfect vantage point to enjoy Madrid's world-renowned firework displays, as well as panoramic views of the illuminated Royal Palace below, visitors can see in 2019 in a truly sophisticated Spanish fashion with a black-tie party until 4am with live music. An exquisite Spanish menu will include the 'lucky grapes' to enjoy the typical Spanish custom of consuming one grape on each of the twelve chimes of the clock at midnight.

The menu includes starters such as Iberian ham with crystal bread, tomato and extra virgin olive oil, 'Ginkgo style' Spanish potato salad with prawn carpaccio and Bluefin tuna tartar with fried eggs and potatoes, mains such as Galician tenderloin with pistachio or Monkfish with a festive orange marinade, and desserts of Spanish nougat and Christmas sweets. Wines include Rioja Melquior Reserva de Autor (Tempranillo, 2005), Rias Baixes Gran Bazán Ambar (Albariño) and Le Veuve Clicquot Champagne.