Colors: Yellow Color
Colors: Yellow Color

As the UN's Year of Sustainable Tourism draws to a close, 2017 has been dominated by stories of 'over tourism'. If we are to do better in 2018, Responsible Travel believes we need to empty our 'bucket lists', move on from the habit of ticking off popular experiences and seek out brave, alternative adventures.

Justin Francis, CEO Responsible Travel, “2017 marked a turning point in tourism, with local communities and tourists complaining about the negative impacts of too many tourists. Dubbed 'over tourism', this irresponsible tourism has become an issue in the Orkneys, Venice and at least 20 other reported destinations.

“It is up to all of us as travellers, travel companies, destination managers, writers and travel lovers worldwide to help carve out a new destiny for tourism by listening to local people.

“This is about a total change of mindset for all of us. We need to free ourselves from the restraints of crowd-following and bravely seek out our own alternative adventures. We have seen an increase in this type of travel at Responsible Travel. Ultimately, this is where the magic of travel really lies.

“I hope the holiday stories we hear next summer are not riddled with incensed locals, intrusive tourists and indifferent governments but instead, stories of local people feeling a genuine sense of benefit and of travellers feeling enriched and inspired by the adventures and encounters they've had.”

Responsible Travel encourages travellers to seek alternatives to the usual hot spots and instead consider different destinations and activities, away from the crowds.

Virgin Holidays UK, who have an ever-growing business footprint in the Maldives and Indian Ocean region, held their Annual Awards Ceremony on 5 November 2017 in London, in conjunction with World Travel Market 2017.

At the ceremony, OBLU by Atmosphere at Helengeli won the highly acclaimed Gold Award for the Best Hotel – Indian Ocean 2017, within their entire Indian Ocean portfolio. The award was based on post-stay customer feedback amongst all their featured properties within the Indian Ocean.

This award is a remarkable achievement for OBLU by Atmosphere at Helengeli and an amazing recognition of the resort from a major world tourism contributor in Virgin Group. OBLU by Atmosphere at Helengeli has also just celebrated its 2-year anniversary since opening.

Operated by the fast-expanding homegrown hospitality brand of the Maldives, Atmosphere Hotels & Resorts, OBLU by Atmosphere at Helengeli has just captured the imagination of the discerning European traveller, with over 86% of its clientele coming from United Kingdom and Europe.

The core philosophy of Atmosphere Hotels & Resorts is the 'The Joy of Giving' and at OBLU Helengeli, this is visible in all the offerings, with an all-inclusive and all-encompassing holiday plan.

OBLU Helengeli is positioned as a Four Star Superior resort, just 50 minutes away by speedboat from the Male International Airport in North Male Atoll. It's famous for its wonderful house reef, in addition to the fantastic offerings on the island. OBLU Helengeli has additionally just claimed second place worldwide, in the recently published Dive Travel Awards UK 2017. OBLU Helengeli was the only resort in the Maldives to achieve this distinction within the Top 10 Dive Locations in the world.

Single people nationwide, it’s time to ditch your dull dating destinations and opt for something a little ‘deeper’.

Celebs Go Dating relationship guru, Lady Nadia Essex, has named The National Sea Life Centre in Birmingham y as one of the ultimate first date venues for those looking to make a splash when it comes to love.

Nadia says: “It can be hard to think of new fun places and experiences to go on a first date. The Sea Life Centre is the perfect place to impress as you're creating standout, fun memories that are truly special and will then hopefully last a lifetime.”

The 34 year old from Chelsea added: “It also shows your date you are cultured, a very attractive trait, and that you're into more than just drinking and clubbing; though the latter can be fun. If you are looking for a long lasting and fulfilling relationship, then you need a variety of fun shared experiences that don’t involve alcohol.”

Chris Coventry, from Birmingham’s underwater attraction, explains why his aquarium is the perfect place to find romance.

“Firstly”, he says, “we have plenty of fascinating creatures to look at and talk about, easing you out of your shell. No more awkward silences or sitting there staring at each other whilst you desperately try to think of something to say.

“The low lighting really sets the mood and creates a relaxing atmosphere, plus it helps if you’re…image conscious. What’s more, if you’re nervous, research has shown that fish and water are calming*, plus you’ll be walking around, so you can channel that anxious energy.”

Playing host to a recent episode of Channel 4’s Streetmate and featuring in the top ten dating locations on, the aquarium really does offer something different if you’re looking to dive in.

Chris adds: “First impressions are everything these days, so the location for your date could be the difference between sinking or swimming.

“There may be plenty of fish in the sea, but if you meet someone you really like, you’ve got to get it right. If it’s all gone swimmingly, the city centre restaurants are right next door – and if it’s really gone well there are hotels too! However, if your date needs ditching, please don’t push them into the shark tank!”

It's now only six months to go until holidaymakers can set off on one of Le Boat's new boating trips in Canada. However, the excitement of the new continent launch should not overshadow the surprises in store for those looking to venture into the waterways of Europe this year: two stylish new river boats have been added to the popular Venetian lagoon and the Canal du Midi regions. Another of Le Boat's changes sees bases remain open on Sundays to further improve its slick operation and grant its guests further cruising freedom. Finally, Le Boat has introduced an ownership programme so those who have enjoyed life at the helm can buy their own luxury vessel and avoid the usual hassles of maintaining and mooring a boat. Please continue reading for more information.

Le Boat arrives in Canada Le Boat has established itself as Europe's largest operator of self-drive boating holidays, and now, in May 2018, the company is opening its first cruise destination outside of Europe: Canada.

The 16 million Canadian dollar investment (approximately £9.5 million) will open up the scenic waterway of the Rideau Canal World Heritage Site to holidaymakers on the 10th anniversary of its UNESCO designation. Given that the waterway intersects numerous conservation parks, it's little wonder that nature-lovers flock to the area to witness its abundant wildlife, from sunbathing turtles to resident blue herons and sleeping river otters holding hands as they float down river. Travelling by boat allows holidaymakers to explore the region at their own pace with Le Boat's new Smith Falls base serving as a portal to the natural beauty of Ontario.  For those who wish to get a flavour of Canada's city life and its friendly citizens, there is Ottawa, Montreal and Toronto all within reach of the base. All this is possible from the comfort of one of Le Boat's premium vessels since all cruises will be available on the new Horizon fleet.

New Horizon 5 boat Following the sell-out success of the first Horizon boat in 2016, Le Boat is expanding the fleet year on year with new waves of premier standard Horizon cruisers; 2018 sees the introduction of the largest Horizon to date. The new Horizon 5 will be built to the same high spec as the original innovative cruiser, but with en-suite cabins to sleep up to 12 people. It will be available for all Canal du Midi cruises which is Le Boat's most popular cruising region for families. With so much space on board and so much to discover, why not bring the whole family including the dog?

With ever-increasing appetites for luxury travel, people are searching for more inventive and drastic ways to be able to splash out on certain aspects of their holiday.

Travel agent Florida4Less has found that holidaymakers’ creative budgeting is letting them experience things that would normally be out of their reach, with people prepared to do without comfortable beds or meals out so that they can afford extravagances in other areas.

People like Nicola Bamforth, a 24-year-old veterinary receptionist from Barnsley, who spent three months travelling around Australia, New Zealand and Asia with her boyfriend David.

As adventurous souls, Nicola and David wanted to take part in as many excursions as they could. Something that, even though they’d saved for the previous year, wouldn’t normally have been affordable for them.

Nicola said: “We wanted to make sure that we could experience as much as possible, so we chose to save money on food and alcohol while we were there. The money we saved allowed us to hire a campervan to drive from Sydney to Cairns, swim with turtles on the Great Barrier Reef, sail for two days across Whitsunday Islands, visit Hobbiton in New Zealand and body board down the sand dunes!

“We did drastically cut back when it came to eating and accommodation. We stayed in hostels and cooked our own food. We didn’t once touch alcohol while we were travelling. I wouldn’t change the experience for the world though, because it meant that we had some incredible once-in-a-lifetime experiences.”

Meanwhile, Rosie Kelly’s dream of travelling around Japan, a country with famously expensive internal transport, wasn’t going to come without some radical savings.

The communications officer from Bristol used a budget airline for her arduous 14-hour flight, which halved the cost of a typical long haul return fare to the country, saving around £250 on each ticket.

She said: “The money we saved allowed us to travel a lot more than we otherwise could have done. We splashed out on rail passes which gave us unlimited travel throughout the country and we got to see so much! We made detours to Osaka, Kyoto, Mount Fuji and Hiroshima.

“I’d definitely do it again. We basically got the holiday of a lifetime for not much more than the price of a couple of weeks in the Spanish Sun!”

To help other holidaymakers experience a once-in-a-lifetime holiday without breaking the bank, Florida4Less has created a guide to luxury holiday cheating:

Fly business class - by booking a cheaper family room

Sharing a family room for large groups of people might not be the ideal situation, but the comfort, added extras and priority boarding of spending a long-haul flight in business class more than make up for it.

Enjoy juicy steaks and breakfast in bed by room service - by only drinking water

For those who prefer to spend on the accommodation, forfeiting cocktails, wine and fresh smoothies for the rest of the holiday is much easier when you can look forward to room service in a nice hotel. Steak for two and breakfast in bed is surely one of life’s best luxuries.

Fine dine every night - by staying at a no-frills hotel

If good food is really what you’re going for, then pack a glamorous dress or smart suit to enjoy the best restaurants at your destination. Staying at either a hostel or a cheap but clean no-frills hotel will free up your budget to enjoy them.

Book a five-star suite - by saving on flights

A massive comfortable bed, unbeatable location and extra luxuries really can make you feel special. Just be sure to book the very cheapest flights possible. They might be at an ungodly hour, take a little longer, or not have the benefits of travelling with a big airline, but it’s all worth it when you’re standing in a luxury suite.

Take an excursion to another city - by hunting out family meal offers

Renting a car and driving to the coast or another city for the day is a great way of exploring more of the region. To free up the budget, visitors to Florida especially can take advantage of ‘kids eat free’ offers at many restaurants. The food might be unadventurous, but there’s still a decent amount of choice.

Jon Moulding, director and co-founder at Florida4Less, said: “By being creative with what you choose to scrimp on, and taking it to extremes, it is possible to save enough to be able to splash out in other areas.

“As long as you’re happy to put up with sleeping in a hostel so you can enjoy fine dining every night, you can still leave feeling like you’ve had a luxury holiday.”

Following the mass influx of tourists that flocked to Idaho to witness the Solar Eclipse, the state is becoming more and more renowned as a must visit destination for the space gazing globetrotter. To celebrate Craters of the Moon's newly granted International Dark Sky Park Status - here are our top 3 Idaho picks that will have you seeing stars:

1.       Craters of the Moon

The International Dark-Sky Association has granted silver-tier International Dark Sky Park status to Craters of the Moon National Monument. This starry spectacle is a must see due to its distance from large cities and the low southern horizon looking out over the Snake River Plain. Once the sun sets, visitors can take in the most out-of-this-world night sky - and now recognised as a designated International Dark Sky Park, you can be sure there'll be no shortage of stars to observe.

2.       Bruneau Dunes State Park

Bruneau Dunes is the perfect destination for a road trip adventure. This state park boasts the highest single-structured dune in North America. In addition to the sandy waves, Bruneau is home to Idaho's largest public observatory. Climb the 470-foot dune, dune sled, ski and snowboard – but most importantly, gaze at the stars.

3.       City of Rocks

The City of Rocks National Reserve is another of Idaho's other-worldly experiences. The reserve boasts a plethora of natural beauty, from the rocks to the skies above them. As well as a haven for geologists, visitors are in for a treat once nighttime hits the City of Rocks. Tucked away from light pollution and at an elevated position the location makes for the most impressive stargazing. The illuminated night hits the rocky landscape, creating a contrast between the earth and the sky that simply can't be put into words.

Follow in the footsteps of Georgian and Victorian engineers, craftsmen and navvies at the Canal & River Trust's winter open days. This is a rare chance to see behind the scenes, venture to the bottom of a drained lock chamber, stroll along an empty canal and discover how modern-day engineers and conservationists care for 2,000 miles of historic waterways.

Ten free open days will be held across the country, between November 2017 and March 2018, and are a great way for both adults and children to experience the hidden histories of Britain's much-loved waterways. If you're looking to inspire budding engineers, builders and architects then discover how 3 tonne lock gates are lifted out by huge cranes, skilled construction teams replace and reinforce tunnels brick by brick and canals are re-flooded for boat use to continue.

Each open day is unique and provides the opportunity for visitors to learn about the history and heritage of their area from the charity's skilled apprentices, heritage team, ecologists and engineers as they host free tours. The charity's army of passionate volunteers will also be on hand to share their unique knowledge of the waterways and surrounding area with visitors.

The open days are part of the Trust's yearly restoration and repair programme and in 2017/2018 £38 million will be spent restoring tunnels, bridges, channels and 250 lock gates across the country. Lock gate making and fitting is a skilled and traditional trade and one that remains essential to the waterways. Lock gates are constructed with tremendous strength to control huge water pressure and survive for a long time underwater. Each lock gate is hand-crafted by a skilled team of carpenters and made from British oak. A single lock gate can take up to 20 days to make and has a working life of 25-30 years.

Open days are free and will take place across England throughout the winter.

Voluntourism packages are now available to book on the Caribbean island of Dominica in a bid to help with the country's recovery following the destruction caused by Hurricane Maria in September. Packages are available to book with Cobra Tours for restoration of one of Dominica's premier tourist attraction sites – The Indian River and Cool Breeze Tours also offers packages to clear segment ten of the Caribbean's first long distance walking trail – the Waitukubuli National Trail. Discover Dominica Authority sees this as the first of a number of initiatives as we rebuild the Nature Island.

Voluntourism on the Indian River

The Indian River is a slow-moving river tranquil river, framed on either side by thick rainforest and wildlife from egrets to crabs, iguanas and hummingbirds. The site for filming of Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest, it is popular for rowing boat rides with a stop at 'Cobra's Bush Bar' for juice, snacks and 'The Dynamite,' the signature rum drink.

The Indian River Package is for five nights in either standard or superior accommodation and includes transportation to and from the site and three meals daily.

Voluntourism on Waitukubuli National Trail

The Caribbean's first long distance walking trail covers 115 miles of some of the best hiking in the Caribbean, spanning the communities of Scott's Head in the south, to the Cabrits National Park in the north.

The Waitukubuli National Trail package is suited for groups and individuals who can assist with clearing segment of the trail.  Specific skills needed include use of chainsaws, cutlass and other garden tools.

Anse Chastanet and Jade Mountain resorts in St. Lucia have earned another environmental accolade.
Travelife Gold Certification status was conferred on two of the world's best hotels in recognition of responsibly managing their socio-economic and environmental impacts.
Travelife is an international certification system, promoting sustainability within the tourism industry. It helps tour operators, hotels and accommodations to manage and monitor their social and environmental impacts, as well as communicate their achievements to customers. It is an easy to use sustainability system which provides members with a practical framework to improve their business.
To gain Travelife Gold certification, the resorts were assessed against 150 sustainability criteria, including environmental issues, such as minimizing the amount of energy, waste and water. The social criteria recognize positive actions for employee welfare, working with the local community and businesses, child protection and human rights. Properties must also demonstrate they are protecting local traditions and wildlife.
Both Anse Chastanet and Jade Mountain were created with environmental consciousness at heart and their efforts combine a strong commitment to the environment, sustainability, best practices and community support.
Jade Mountain and Anse Chastanet consistently top lists of the best hotels in the Caribbean and worldwide, particularly for their environmentally conscious approach and their romantic offerings. Most recently, readers of influential travel magazine Travel + Leisure voted Jade Mountain among the world's top 25 hotels and number two in the Caribbean, Bermuda and the Bahamas category. Anse Chastanet was not far behind, placing number six among Caribbean hotels. Last year, Jade Mountain also became the first hotel in the Caribbean to earn the prestigious LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Gold certification.

For hundreds of years Carphin House in Fife has been renowned for its hospitality and now it has opened its doors to visitors who can stay there on an exclusive-use basis.

The nine-bedroom house is beautifully decorated in light airy colours that naturally complement the original antiques, open fires and cosy atmosphere. The public rooms make the house ideal for house parties and boutique weddings with the option of in-house event planners to create the perfect event. Guests can even rent a hot tub for the duration of their stay.

Owner, Ruth Macallan, said:

“Carphin House has long been known for its hospitality and we want to extend a warm welcome to our guests and share this beautiful place with them. This is a stunning house in a beautiful and secluded area and I know everyone of all ages will enjoy using it as a home from home, whether it's a holiday for the extended family, a party to mark a special occasion, a corporate away day or simply a place to get away from it all.”

Carphin House is also able to set up gourmet getaways for its guests with private chefs on hand for those wishing to sample Fife's renowned food and drink. Caterers include Patrick Gilmour, East Neuk Cooks, St Andrews Events Catering, Heritage Portfolio and Derek Noonan. With distilleries like Lindores Abbey and breweries including Eden Mill close by, there will plenty of opportunities to taste the region's tipples too.

Amateur sleuths may also enjoy hosting their own Murder Mystery Weekend with experts, Blue Murder events on hand at the house to arrange everything for guests.

Set in parkland under the famous beauty spot of Norman's Law, visitors will enjoy the mature woodland, gardens and views down the glen towards the picturesque village of Luthrie. Visible through the trees, the triple chimney stacks of the house promise a hidden getaway whilst at the same time being extremely accessible. Carphin House is just an hour from Edinburgh airport and a short distance away from centres like St Andrews, Dundee and Perth.

The mansion was first owned by the Carnegie Family, and was designed and developed by famous architect Sir Robert Lorimer as a place for entertaining and wowing guests of the time, a tradition that the new owners are keen to continue.

LATAM Airlines Group has introduced a new gastronomic concept for economy cabins on its long-haul flights with durations of seven hours or more.

Passengers will receive a new menu with three options for lunch or dinner, which includes a hot dish, vegetarian or a lighter cold option, a drink service and a sweet snack. Two new breakfast choices are also available. In total, the company has created more than 300 new dishes, which will serve an average of 14,000 passengers on 64 flights each day.

The new menu will include Latin American, international and vegetarian dishes ranging from 'Ravioli stuffed with four cheeses with tomato sauce, pesto and mozzarella cheese' and 'Slow cooked rump of beef with truffle mash potatoes, sautéed mushrooms and grilled asparagus' to a 'cold dish of roasted chicken with rice salad and oats, soft curry dressing, cherry tomatoes and mixed leaves' accompanied by desert. Breakfast choices include a 'tortilla filled with cheese, sautéed mushrooms and cherry tomatoes', 'American pancakes with strawberries and cranberry compote' or ´a selection of fresh fruit or yoghurt.'

The new service will offer a selection of main dishes with increased portion sizes. New serving trays have been designed and implemented to provide a more convenient dining experience with built-in plates replacing small modular dishes on trays.

LATAM conducted test flights where passengers were surveyed about the general flight experience. Dining experience satisfaction scores improved by 28 percentage points with the introduction of the new food concept compared to the previous offering.

The new menus will be implemented on LATAM Airlines' network of flights connecting Europe to Latin America, including those operated by the Boeing 787, 767, 777 and Airbus A350 aircrafts. This new concept is already available on routes to and from Chile and will be rolled out across the company's international network by the end of 2017.

A generous contribution by British Airways to the Caribbean Tourism Recovery Fund of the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA) was gratefully received by its president, Karolin Troubetzkoy this week.
Speaking at World Travel Market in London, where the check was presented on behalf of British Airways and British Airways Holidays, Troubetzkoy warmly thanked the airline's representatives: "This is not just a handshake, this is a £25,000 handshake! On behalf of our Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association, we are extremely grateful!"
In addition to the contribution to the Caribbean Tourism Recovery Fund of CHTA, which represents private sector tourism companies, Troubetzkoy noted the British airline also presented an additional £25,000 to the intergovernmental Caribbean Tourism Organization for its fund.
The Caribbean Tourism Recovery Fund unites the Caribbean hotel and tourism industry with the noted Tourism Cares organization, which has helped to lead private sector relief efforts globally following crises. The fund invites tourism industry stakeholders and global allies to pool their resources in support of vulnerable areas of the Caribbean.
It focuses on islands directly affected by the hurricanes, complementing relief efforts and empowering the tourism sector to combine and leverage resources to help the region bounce back better than before.

Coinciding with the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development 2017, Nicaragua's public and private tourism sectors announced their commitment to sustainability at World Travel Market.

Her Excellency Guisell Morales-Echaverry, The Ambassador of Nicaragua, introduced a presentation by four of the country's private tour companies.

Ricardo Carioni, Head of Country Promotion, outlined Nicaragua's collaboration with a public programme for sustainable tourism, which has resulted in a significant increase in the number of sustainable travellers over recent years.

Three out of the only four Rainforest Alliance Certified Tour Operators in Nicaragua - Careli Tours, Solentiname Tours, Vapues Tours, plus  Detour Travel, recounted their personal journeys to sustainability with initiatives including: recycling, school education programmes, working with cooperatives, artisans and local families and protecting endangered species.

All four companies are members of TOPS (Tour Operators Promoting Sustainability) in Nicaragua. The organisation was founded by Immanuel Zerger, President of TOPS Nicaragua, in 2012 with a mission to promote green activities and CSR actions both environmentally and socially. In addition to six core members, TOPS supports smaller Nicaraguan tour operators to increase their knowledge and proactivity in tourism sustainability. They help develop good practices and train professionals involved in tour operation: guides, transport contractors, local community leaders and providers of food, handicraft, guiding, lodging and suppliers.

TOPS Nicaragua also cooperates actively with local communities all over the country in promoting local heritage, the consumption of local food and handicrafts and hiring local people as guides and assistants.

UNICEF reports that Nicaragua has a population of 5.1 million people, with 53% of the population under 18 years of age. Through education children can help to protect and nurture the environment, and also influence their families and communities.  In response, Careli Tours created the Eco-Schools project, together with Fondo Natura, an annual environmental and educational program. Axel Melchior, General Manager Careli Tours reported, “A month ago 300 children from two participating schools planted a tree in their school yards, while we taught them about the importance of conservation and climate change.”

Jan Jorg Stirk CEO & Founder Vapues Tours pioneered taking groups of travellers to live alongside rural communities in Nicaragua. “Rather than being traditional tourists, they can participate in the community´s daily activities, which in turn allow them to experience the real Nicaragua. The travellers report that what they get out these trips is a unique and unforgettable life experience.”

In addition, Vapues presents an annual "Sustainability Education" program with staff, providers and clients, as well as the immediate community. “For example, each year we go to a local primary school and engage in recreational activities combined with environmental and climate change awareness workshops.”  Stirk commented.

Immanuel Zerger, CEO & Founder, Solentiname Tours - Discover Nicaragua created the "Nicaragua Tourism Map - Traveling Sustainably“ featuring protected areas, private natural reserves, sustainable accommodation and 29 "Points of Life". Each "Point of Life" offers participation in tourism development to cooperatives, artisans and local families; often socially excluded, with low income and single mothers. “This is our way of involving the local community directly into the tourism chain.” Added Zerger.

This year Solentiname suggested staff become "Guardians of Biodiversity". Each one will take personal responsibility for caring and protecting an endangered species from the exceptional biodiversity of Nicaragua. In addition the company intends to plant 1,000 trees in a year to contribute to the production of oxygen and to mitigate climate change.

Laurent Richardier. CEO & Founder of Detour Viajes settled in Nicaragua 26 years ago. He is a French agronomist who decided to travel to Nicaragua in the 1990s while the country was recovering from a Civil War. Upon his arrival in the country, he began working with an NGO that sought to restore the local economy of the Juigalpa area, Chontales.

Nicaragua was awarded the Sustainable and Responsible Tourism Destination of 2017 in the U.K. by LATA”. The country is the 2nd fastest growing destination in the entire American continent, 8th in the world.  In total there were 1.5 million visitors in 2016, (with 16,923 coming from the UK) and a current 28.4% growth rate in 2017. It has also been classified as the safest country for visitors in Central America and the second safest in Latin America.

The Red Carnation Hotel Collection has received royal recognition for its commitment to training and skills development at a glittering reception in St James's Palace yesterday. Princess Anne presented Victoria Tollman, Executive Director of Red Carnation Hotels, with a Princess Royal Training Award 2017 for 'Establishing talent pipeline', recognising the success of the collection's Graduate Management Programme.

Hundreds of companies applied for a Princess Royal Training Award from a huge cross section of industries in the UK, and were assessed against three Hallmarks of Excellence by the Princess Royal Training Awards Commission, which comprised of HRH The Princess Royal and seven leading figures in the business and training community.

Red Carnation Hotels was one of 40 UK businesses to achieve the prestigious standard in 2017, and the only hotel collection to be recognised. Major UK businesses including RBS, Barclays, and Waitrose, as well as Bluestone National Park Resort in the hospitality industry, were also recognised for successfully linking skills development needs to business performance.

Red Carnation Hotels' Management Programme (MP), which has evolved immensely over the past seven years, allows bright young professionals to immerse themselves in the hotel industry and ultimately take on junior management roles within the company. Over the course of two and a half years, MPs experience all aspects of hotel management, from housekeeping, to finance, front of house and reservations, and eventually select a department that suits them best and take on a management role.

Jonathan Raggett, Managing Director of Red Carnation Hotel Collection, said: “Every year, the calibre of applicants for our Management Programme has increased phenomenally, and this award truly recognises our training initiatives as industry leading. Our MPs learn valuable skills on the job every day, and develop into competent managers who fit our values and culture, and have a thorough understanding of our hotels and management principles. We believe it's our service proposition that sets us apart, and recruiting the right talent and nurturing their development is essential to achieving success in our business.”

Liz McGivern, Vice President Human Resources of Red Carnation Hotel Collection, said: “We're honoured and delighted to be recognised as a Princess Royal Training Award winner in 2017 amongst such well respected companies from a broad range of industries. The process for judging was rigorous, and we're so thrilled that our Management Programme has now been officially recognised as one of the best in our exciting and competitive industry. Thank you to everyone involved in implementing the programme, and to our past and present MPs who are truly our best ambassadors.”

Good news for smokers and nonsmokers alike: two more smoking lounges have just been added in the security (transit) zone of Terminal 2 at Frankfurt Airport. These comfortable, modern facilities are ideal for getting away from the hustle and bustle and enjoying a relaxed smoke before continuing one’s journey – after all, smoking is prohibited on all flights and everywhere else inside the terminals as well. Nonsmokers benefit too, because the lounges are equipped with powerful ventilation systems that prevent any smoke from escaping into the rest of the terminal building, including the directly adjacent areas.

Planned and designed in cooperation with Media Frankfurt GmbH, the two new smoking lounges increase the total in Terminal 2 to four. All of them feature a stylish decor and include comfortable seating to ensure a pleasant experience. They are never locked and can be used any time of the day of the night.

There are a total of 14 smoking lounges in Terminals 1 and 2. For more information, go to:

The airport’s operator, Fraport AG, is committed to serving travelers and meeting their individual needs and wishes, in keeping with the slogan “Gute Reise! We make it happen”. It therefore works nonstop to provide new services and facilities to make the already good customer experience at Germany’s largest airport even better.

Start 2018 on a high by seeing in the New Year in the British Airways i360 pod, 450ft above Brighton, singing Auld Lang Syne with a glass of Nyetimber sparkling wine in your hand.

At ground level, the British Airways i360 beach building will be decked in lights, and as you arrive at the start of the night our team will welcome you with a celebratory drink. After mingling for a while, settle down at your beautifully decorated table for an elegant five-course meal. The menu, created by our award-winning partners Heritage Portfolio, includes Braised Featherblade of Beef, delicious vegetarian alternatives and a melt-in-the-mouth Chocolate Globe to finish.

Before taking to the skies, hit the dance floor and celebrate the best of 2017 as our DJ rocks the beach building with current and vintage tunes.

At 11.45pm, you'll be handed a glass of Nyetimber sparkling wine as you board the British Airways i360 pod for an exclusive midnight flight.

Enjoy a moment of reflection as the pod glides gently up to 450ft and the night time views unfold around you. The excitement will build as you reach the top of the tower and start the countdown midnight: Happy New Year!

Back in the beach building, the party will continue with DJ music until 2am and a late bar.