Colors: Yellow Color
Colors: Yellow Color

Foreign holidays remain a top priority for Europeans despite economic and security worries, tour operator Thomas Cook have said, reporting a 40 percent jump in bookings to Greece and signs of a recovery in travel to Turkey and Egypt. “Customers’ appetite to go abroad on holiday this summer is good across all our markets,” CEO Peter Fankhauser said. “After a slow start to the season and a tough year in 2016, we are seeing early signs that customers are beginning to go back to Turkey and Egypt,” he added. Egypt’s tourism industry, a crucial source of hard currency, has suffered in the years of turmoil that followed the mass protests, as well as from the suspected bombing of a Russian plane in Sinai in 2015, which killed all 224 people on board. German market researcher GfK said in a report last month that German holidaymakers’ bookings for trips to Egypt in the upcoming summer season were up 91 percent from last year, but still 23 percent below pre-uprising levels. Thomas Cook, which unnerved investors in February with a cautious outlook, said that while it was seeing some pressure on profit margins due to more competition, strong demand for summer holidays meant it was on track to profit forecasts. Analysts expect the group, which arranges holidays for around 20 million people a year, to report full-year operating profit of around £327 million ($412 million). It said summer bookings for the group were up 10 percent compared to a weak period last year. Tourists turned their backs on previously popular resorts in Turkey and elsewhere in the Eastern Mediterranean last summer because of concerns about security, leaving Thomas Cook scrambling to find more hotel rooms in Spain and Portugal. It said it had expanded its capacity in Greece this season, while smaller destinations such as Cyprus, Bulgaria, and Croatia were also becoming popular. The Spanish market was more competitive however, it said, and it was focusing on selling higher-margin holidays rather than chasing volume growth.

International tourist arrivals to the European Union increased by 4% in 2016, reaching almost 500 million or 40% of the world’s total. This preliminary result is included in the first release of the ‘European Union Short-Term Tourism Trends’, a regular monitoring of EU tourism by the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) in the framework of the cooperation with the Directorate-General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs (DG GROWTH) of the European Commission (EC).

Despite many challenges facing Europe in 2016, tourism has once again shown extraordinary strength and resilience, reinforcing its contribution to economic growth, job creation and social wellbeing in the European Union (EU-28).

The 28 countries of the EU boasted a solid growth in international tourist arrivals of above 4% in 2016, exceeding the world’s average growth rate, and increasing by 21 million to 499 million. 2016 was the 7th consecutive year of sustained growth for the EU-28 following the 2009 global economic and financial crisis, with 107 million more tourists than the pre-crisis level of 2008.

“Tourism is today one of the key pillars of the EU strategy for jobs and inclusive growth. UNWTO is very pleased to be working alongside the European Commission in monitoring international tourism trends, advance product development and sustainable tourism in Europe”, said UNWTO Secretary-General, Taleb Rifai.

There are many offers for camping and caravan holiday lovers in Cornwall this summer and with places like Crantock Beach and Newquay just a car ride away, plenty of fishing lakes, outdoor pools, activity centres and golden-white beaches provide a perfect setting for families, couples and singletons to enjoy the county’s coast.

Available to you are a wide array of award-winning 5-star holiday park that you can read about as they regularly appear in the press, with reviews from international national and regional newspapers, magazines and mum bloggers.

Many of Cornwall’s best beaches are within easy reach, as are lots of Cornwall’s most popular attractions – like parks with mini golf, cafés serving breakfasts, snacks and evening meals and shop selling locally produce, food, toys and gifts.

Cornwell is blessed with a superb location, with everything you need for that perfect holiday break.

Already famed for being the culinary capital of the Caribbean, the Cayman Islands is now set to boldly go where no Caribbean island has gone before and become a new hub for space tourism.

Nestled in the western Caribbean, south of Cuba and west of Jamaica, the Cayman Islands is home to delicious cuisine, rare flora and fauna and the famous Seven Mile Beach with its powdery white sand and crystal clear waters. With over 365 different scuba diving sites many visitors will have explored the incredible underwater world of the islands, but now they will be given the chance to see them from a whole new perspective whilst up in space.

Plans have been approved to develop four major rocket launch pads along Seven Mile Beach allowing visitors to enjoy the highlights of Grand Cayman before heading off above the earth's atmosphere and into space.

A spokesman from the Cayman Aeronautics and Space Administration (CASA) said: “We are extremely excited to be the first Caribbean island to launch this type of tourism.

It is an ambitious project but one that we hope will really take off as a way to attract more people to experience these beautiful islands, both on and above the earth's surface.”

Don McDougall, Regional manager for the Cayman Islands Department of Tourism, Europe said: “We are always looking for new attractions to offer the thousands of holiday-makers that visit the Cayman Islands every year. Space tourism is something we have always been interested in and the sands of Seven Mile Beach provide the perfect platform for these launch pads.

The launch pads will also be a tourist draw in themselves as there aren't many places in the world where you can be up close to a rocket taking off.”

The project will take four years to complete with the first Cayman Space Tour taking off on 1 April 2021.

An ancient landscape, a language unchanged since King Arthur and countless examples of local folklore: Wales is positively overflowing with history, mythology, legendary people and places. In celebration of Visit Wales' Year of Legends, HF Holidays has created a list of impressive getaways.

Explore the historic Snowdonia National Park and visit picturesque Beddgelert, roughly translated as 'Gelert's Grave'. Steeped in legend, it was named after Llywelyn the Great's heroic dog who saved his baby son from a wolf, but was slain in an unfortunate case of mistaken identity. Stay at the charming Craflwyn Hall, a National Trust property nestled on the edge of Beddgelert village at the foot of mount Snowdon and enjoy guided walks straight from the doorstep.

With the Brecon Beacons National Park offering dramatic scenery it's no wonder it is home to some of Wales' most haunting legends. Stay at charming Nythfa House and go on a series of guided walks including one to to Llyn y Fan Fach, the lake at the bottom of Black Mountain home to the infamous Lady of the Lake.

Discover Northern Snowdonia's best kept secrets, like the Swallow Falls at Betws-y-Coed. Stay at Craflwyn Hall, just outside Beddgelert village, and explore the region on daily mini-bus tours, stopping off to explore on foot along the way. A highlight is the mighty Caenarfon Castle, a World Heritage Norman fortress famous for its legend of The Dream of Macsen Wledig (Magnus Maximus).

With ambitions to welcome 440,000 visitors a year by 2024, the government of Kuwait is pressing ahead with multiple plans that will see billions of dollars invested in projects and a further $1 billion budget earmarked to promote the Gulf state over the same period.

Plans are in place to establish a Supreme Commission for Tourism to initiate its tourism strategy as the country prepares to showcase at Arabian Travel Market (ATM) 2017, which takes place at Dubai World Trade Centre 24-27 April.

A number of mega-projects will share the multi-billion dollar development budget, including: Madinat Al Hareer and Silk City, a proposed mega-development in the country’s north; the expansion of Kuwait International Airport, reaching 25 million passenger per year capacity by 2025; and cultural attractions such as Sheikh Saad Al-Abdullah Islamic Centre.

Simon Press, Senior Exhibition Director, ATM, said: “Kuwait is evolving into a multifaceted destination with many things to offer both corporate and leisure visitors. The government is making huge investments at a crucial time for the country’s development and, in channeling significant funds into tourism infrastructure, leisure developments and lifestyle destinations, in the long-term Kuwait is telling the world it’s very much open for business.”

According to figures from the World Travel and Tourism Council, travel and tourism investment in Kuwait is set to rise 1.5% per annum over the next ten years to KWD135.6 million in 2027.

The latest Colliers International Kuwait Hospitality Market Snapshot, reports 70% of visitors arrived in Kuwait as corporate travelers in 2016, with the country’s leisure industry comprising only 6% of total arrivals - hotel performance declined 6% overall for the year as a result. Business spending also suffered losses, falling 2.4% over the course of the year.

Key hotel performance indicators showed slight declines in 2016 with ADR down 2.3%, RevPAR down 4.8% and occupancy down 2.6%.

Performance is forecast for strong recovery in 2017 with continued growth to 2026, reaching values of KWD501.3 million. Leisure travel spending is expected rise by 4.5% per annum to KWD1,939.1 million in 2026, following an annual growth rate of 8.7% in 2016.

Press said: “Kuwait is actively working to diversify its guest segmentation and that will be important to securing the projected levels of growth over the coming years. We expect to see a corresponding diversification in hotel stock as more leisure, health and wellness tourists discover the country’s unique offerings.”

This year, ATM will host a number of exhibitors from Kuwait, including the Ministry of Information – Tourism Sector, Holidays Arabia, Kuwait Hotel Owners Association, Kuwait Tourism and Services.

ATM - considered by many industry professionals as a barometer for the Middle East and North Africa tourism sector – witnessed a year-on-year visitor attendance increase of 9% to over 28,500 in 2016, with 2,785 exhibiting companies, signing business deals worth more than US$ 2.5 billion over four days.

ATM 2017 will build on its success with the announcement of an additional hall as Reed Travel Exhibitions looks to add to its record-breaking achievements of 2016.

With spring in the air and the long Easter weekend just around the corner, and as the days get warmer and the evenings lighter, sleep under the stars in a safari style canvas tent close to Brecon Beacons National Park, on the Welsh/English border.

This two bed tent sleeps four comfortably with room for two dogs; as well as offering a spacious living room and kitchenette with all the necessary amenities.

This fisherman's cottage, in the heart of popular sea-side town Whitstable, is just a moment's walk from the pebbled sea front.  The three bed cottage has a decked garden with a BBQ and Summerhouse which makes an ideal playroom for young children. Vintage shops, cafés and an abundance of art galleries means there's lots to do come rain or shine.

In the pretty English village of Wittersham, inland from the coastal town of Rye, Prospect Cottage is a lovingly converted barn full of character, with exposed beams and two guest rooms nestled in the eaves. Located a stone's throw from Hope Farm, guests of the cottage can attend the annual local Young Farmer's lambing day on Easter Sunday.*

Enjoy a themed spring break in the colorful Czech Republic’s capital city of Prague as the Bohemian city morphs into Easter Central.

At the heart of the activities are the city’s famous Easter markets. Between April 1 and 23, Prague’s annual Easter markets fill three of the city’s main squares: Old Town Square, Wenceslas Square and the Square of the Republic.

In Old Town Square, more than 90 wooden huts offer traditional Czech products, including beautifully decorated Easter eggs, wooden toys and puppets, lace, Easter decorations, glassware and jewelry. Others show how traditional foods are made while large hams are roasted on spits, sausages are barbecued, and cakes and pastries prepared. Plus, of course, there will be huts selling bottles of Pilsner and Budvar Czech beer.

The Easter cultural program that runs alongside includes music and dance performances, demonstrations of arts and crafts and children’s workshops.

After a day browsing the markets, guests can languish in the luxurious accommodation at the five-star Corinthia Hotel Prague, which has made the trip easier by offering a spring package for Easter adventurers.

Corinthia Hotel Prague guests will be welcomed with the traditional chocolate Easter eggs and a bottle of sparkling wine.

Birmingham Airport joins UK Airports Bristol, Edinburgh and Manchester airports by implementing BlipTrack queue management technology from BLIP Systems. The sensor-based solution helps the airport to improve resource planning and to ease travelers minds with accurate line wait times.

With more than 11 million passengers in 2016, the busiest year in the airports history, Birmingham Airport realised that they needed a solution to accurately measure queues and predict wait times. After reviewing several systems, the airport enlisted the expertise of software specialists Gentrack to implement the sensor-agnostic BlipTrack solution.

Birmingham Airport engaged with BLIP Systems, following a competitive tender process. During the evaluation of technological solutions, we met with a number of existing BLIP Systems´ customers, who had implemented BlipTrack in similar successful projects”, says Chris Wilson, Head of Terminal Operations at Birmingham.

Operationally, the airport uses, among other things, the data to monitor line density in real-time, which allows management to respond promptly and effectively to irregular operations and disruptions, such as opening additional lines. It enables the airport to comply with service-level agreements, and to evaluate and challenge key performance indicators with great accuracy. In addition, the live wait time information is shared with passengers on screens, to improve the travel experience, with hopefully more satisfied and recurring passengers as a result.

“The solution is used at the north immigration hall to measure and predict the wait time at the UK Border. The data really helps to understand the actual wait time for the border, and helps discussion with the UKBF (United Kingdom Border Force) planning team and resourcing plans for the future. By sharing the information on screens, we help reduce passenger frustration by creating realistic wait time expectations. It makes the passengers feel more relaxed and helps them to better plan the final elements of their journey as well as onward travel,” continues Chris Wilson.

“Today, many airports display wait times to their passengers. Typically, this is done by measuring dwell times of people leaving the line. However, these “historic” times may not be accurate for those entering the line, especially if the number of people suddenly changes or more lines open up. BlipTrack combines and analyses both the number of people in line and the average throughput of the area. With these two measurements, accurate wait times can be displayed,” explains Christian Bugislaus Carstens, Marketing Manager at BLIP Systems.

The solution works by placing dedicated Bluetooth/WiFi sensors. The sensors detect mobiles devices, such as smartphones and tablets. By identifying the devices at multiple sensors, specific and accurate statistical information, such as travel times, dwell times and movement patterns become available, without interaction from the travellers.

“It´s been an excellent project with great support from the design, installation and technical team. The BLIP Systems´ team are a credit to the organisation and have helped the airport immensely, with data analysis and reporting. Moving forward, we have plans to continue the project to incorporate other areas, such as the southbound security and immigration,” ends Chris Wilson.

Internationally, more than 25 international airports use the technology, including Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam, JFK Airport in New York, Copenhagen, Dublin, Oslo, Geneva, Brussels, Cincinnati and Auckland. BlipTrack is also implemented in optimization efforts in road traffic in Portsmouth, Bangkok, Zürich and Stockholm. In recent years, the solution has been rolled out in train stations, ports, ski resorts, amusement parks, and at events all over the world.

For an Easter holiday packed with family-friendly activities, outdoor adventures in the fresh sea air, and a spot of culture, the Channel Islands Heritage Festival kicks off on 8 April, just in time for when the schools break up. Running throughout the Easter holidays until 10 May, this year's festival takes a 'Heroes, Myths and Legends' theme, celebrating the history of Jersey, Guernsey, Alderney, Sark and Herm, and looking at the tales that have drawn visitors to their shores for centuries. At just a short flight or ferry ride from the mainland, there's plenty to entertain visitors of all ages as they hop around the islands.

With the warmer weather on its way, now is the time to start thinking about a weekend trip in spring. The Tarn is a relatively undiscovered department in south-west France with an average spring temperature of 16°c – a perfect temperature for exploring the countryside. The area is home to a dramatic and varied landscape including expansive vineyards, rolling sunflower fields, beautiful hilltop villages, the winding Tarn River and the Aveyron gorges.

In the wake of the Tunisia attack inquest, there are calls from within the travel industry for major changes in tourist safety information, including the introduction of a new security 'kitemark' system for hotels, airports and venues all over the world. It comes on the day a new academic report on travel safety is published by global travel deals publisher Travelzoo. The white paper called “State of Play: The Impact of Geopolitical Events on International Tourism in 2017' was written in collaboration with Yeganeh Morakabati, Associate Professor at the UK's Bournemouth University and included research in nine countries.

Bahamian Minister of Agriculture and Marine Resources V. Alfred Gray has said that the pigs recently found dead on the cay were found to have died from ingesting sand. Minister Gray said a report from the chief veterinary officer in his ministry concluded that some of the pigs had “a good amount of sand” in their stomachs. The Minister concluded that in conjunction with the appropriate agencies, protocols will be put in place to govern the industry and protect the animals.

Japan – one of Asia's most enthralling countries - is proving to be this year's hot destination with Joanna Lumley contributing to inspiring travellers to a country full of captivating contrasts. The Easter period is at the heart of 'sakura' or more commonly known as cherry blossom season, where locals and tourists alike gather to view and celebrate the magical scenery around them. Usually sold out a year in advance, Wendy Wu Tours added extra 2017 dates in January, which have almost sold out. Whilst there is limited availability for 2017 travel, now is the perfect time to book for 2018. 

As well as being the world's largest raised atoll, Aldabra is also one of only two UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the Seychelles. After many years of being declared off limits by the FCO due to Somali pirates, Aldabra has recently been declared safe to sail to again. Yet apart from occasional brief visits by cruise liners, Aldabra can only be visited aboard the M/V Maya's Dugong.    

Amara, Oceanco’s newly designed and engineered 120-meter private yacht concept, designed in collaboration with Sam Sorgiovanni Designs was unveiled by His Excellency Saeed Harib, Secretary General of Dubai Sports Council, Vice President and Chairman of Dubai International Marine Club – Mina Seyahi, and Senior Advisor to the Dubai International Boat Show.