Friday, 28 February 2014

New US-Australia flights

United Airlines is to start non-stop flights between Los Angeles and Melbourne, Australia, as from October, subject to regulatory approval.

The airline will fly the route six times weekly with Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner aircraft. Flying times will be approximately 15 hours, 45 minutes westbound, and 14 hours, 35 minutes eastbound.

Go Holiday news

Land, Touch and GO

Orlando International Airport is the first to offer international travellers from visa waiver countries the option to 'land, touch and go', using SITA's Automated Passport Control (APC) kiosks to self-process for faster US border clearance.

Ten biometric APC kiosks are now available for US citizens, Canadians and visa waiver travellers to complete their customs declaration form on a touch-screen, have their passports scanned and fingerprints and photograph taken prior to, and in preparation for, their interview with the US Customs and Border Protection Officer. The pre-processing these kiosks perform significantly reduces the time to complete the clearance process.

The kiosks are complimentary to use and do not require registration in advance; however, travelers must have previously entered the U.S. and have fingerprints on file with CBP. They are designed with the passenger experience in mind. They have intuitive, user-friendly interfaces, clear instructions and feedback, combined with quick proactive adjustments for each passenger including adjusting automatically to their height.


Go Holiday news

New holiday homes for 2014

WEST COUNTRY cottage specialist Helpful Holidays’ 2014 brochure features almost 600 places to stay with a marked increase in properties across Exmoor, Devon’s South Hams and Cornwall plus a selection of thatch cottages on Dartmoor. Ranging from retreats for two up to country houses sleeping a maximum of 47 guests, most have stunning views out to sea or across lush countryside. Prices are from £175 up to £5,995 for a week’s stay.

Among the new places to stay in Cornwall is Castle View on the north coast at Port Isaac, which was made famous as the setting for the Doc Martin television series. It sleeps eight and has views out to sea.

Near the end of England in a wooded lane towards Lamorna Cove and on the bank of the valley stream is a small granite-built detached cottage, which sleeps just three. Aptly named Birch Studio, this idyll was where artist SJ ‘Lamorna’ Birch worked and drew his inspiration. The high beamed ceiling has a large skylight.

HH’s charity for 2014 is the Marine Conservation Society.

www.helpfulholidays.com

Go Holiday news

Europe’s best small town is …

Ribe, the oldest extant Danish town, has been named Europe's best Big-Time Small Destination in a poll of more than 46,000 people by Globalgrasshopper.com.
Devised to give smaller towns and cities due recognition, the awards were open only to towns of fewer than 100,000 inhabitants. The vote took place across 36 European countries and used social media information as the judging criteria

Arundel and Winchester (England), Conwy (Wales) and Portree (Scotland) were shortlisted but failed to make it into the top ten.

Go Holiday news

Thursday, 27 February 2014

Travel matters..........

‘Travelling is the ruin of all happiness! There's no looking at a building after seeing Italy.’ –Fanny Burney

What shall we do today?

TIME on holiday is precious and shouldn’t be wasted researching what to do each day. People booking a break with West Country self-catering cottage agency Helpful Holidays gets a free booklet packed with ideas for days out plus discount vouchers for 84 major attractions. The  What Shall we do Today?  guide is sent to holidaymakers before their stay, so that outings can be planned in advance.



The booklet features variety of places throughout Devon, Cornwall, Somerset and Dorset including gardens, historic houses, castles and family adventure parks, as well as wildlife and activity centres. Almost all the leading West Country attractions have included special offers.
                                        
Popular with holidaymakers is the calendar of events, which includes larger festivals as well as the more quirky and historic customs that make the West Country a fascinating place to visit. It also lists farmers’ markets, walking trails, pubs, restaurants and award-winning beaches in each of the four counties.



Go Holiday news

Real ale, the Florida way

With the surging popularity of craft beer currently attracting 7.8 million drinkers in Britain, those with adventurous pint-drinking-palates will be pleased to hear they can enjoy the beer revolution in sunnier lands, too.

St. Petersburg/Clearwater is the centre of Florida's booming craft beer renaissance, connecting the Sunshine State's oldest, newest and most highly regarded craft breweries together in a Craft Beer Trail.

The beer geek's answer to California's wine country, the trail is an hour-long drive end-to-end and offers unique brews to sip at 14 independent breweries; the largest concentration of breweries in Florida.


Go Holiday news

Travel matters..........

‘In Italy, for 30 years under the Borgias, they had warfare, terror, murder and bloodshed, but they produced Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci and the Renaissance. In Switzerland they had brotherly love, they had 500 years of democracy and peace - and what did that produce? The cuckoo clock.’ – Orson Welles

Wednesday, 26 February 2014

A fortnight down under

THE LATEST figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics shows that arrivals from the UK were up 6.8 percent in 2013 compared to 2012. Tourism Australia (TA) plans to build on that growth in 2014 by promoting the destination as an achievable holiday in as little as two weeks.
TA says that inspiring consumers with two-week itineraries which are rich in diverse experiences but don’t involve taking on all the whole country will help move Australia off the ‘wish list’ and on to the ‘shopping list’.”
An example itinerary could include five days in Sydney, two days in the Blue Mountains and six days living the Aussie coastal lifestyle on the Great Barrier Reef.
A campaign promoting Australia as a two-week holiday destination to Brits has been planned for April.
www.tourism.australia.com
Go Holiday news

Strong £ boosts holiday budgets

POST OFFICE Travel Money reports that thanks to the strong £, people planning holidays abroad could have more than  £100 extra to spend when changing £500 into foreign currency … if  they pick their destination carefully.

Sterling has risen year-on-year against all of the Post Office’s top 40 holiday currencies and by at least 10 percent against most of them.  As a result holidaymakers will be quids-in in all the most popular overseas destinations – including transatlantic hotspots and Far Eastern favourites.

Transatlantic travellers visiting the Caribbean will have most to gain in Jamaica where the powerful pound will buy 28 percent more Jamaican dollars than a year ago.  Plummeting prices in island restaurants mean local costs are down as well.

Closer to home, the best deals will be for city break holidaymakers planning trips to Russian cities or to Prague and Budapest, the cheapest cities in the Post Office City Costs Barometer. The Russian ruble has dropped in value by over nine percent since the beginning of 2014 and is currently worth 29 percent less against the pound than last February, giving visitors £113 extra cash when they change £500.  People planning trips to Prague will have just under £62 extra cash from a £500 currency exchange.

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First Tweed Ride......

BIKES ON THE BORDERS    Cyclists of all ages and abilities will descend on the Borders this June for the first ever Tweed Ride – a celebration of the valley and the fabric. The ride, which takes place on June 8 as part of TweedLove Festival – a Homecoming Scotland 2014 event – will follow a gentle 10-mile route through the scenic Tweed Valley and is designed for all members of the family, no matter their age.

Participants are encouraged to come decked out in tweeds and other period clothing, with old-style bikes more than welcome.

To find out more, log-on to www.tweedlove.com


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Vienna tops list again

VIENNA ACCOLADES   Vienna was named the world’s most livable city for the fifth time in a row by international consultants Mercer. The accolade was just one of the top rankings taken by Vienna in the latest crop of international comparisons. The Austrian capital came out third in the European Smart City Ranking, and was crowned the most popular city for culture in the Best of GayCities among gay and lesbian travellers.


Go Holiday news

Tuesday, 25 February 2014

More to amuse the weary traveller /3......

For everyone who has ever had an evaluation - just remember, it could have been worse.
These are actual quotes taken from Government employee performance Evaluations somewhere in the world:




11. "He doesn't have ulcers, but he's a carrier."

12. "He brings a lot of joy whenever he leaves the room."

13. "He's been working with glue too much."

14. "He would argue with a signpost."

15. "When his IQ reaches 50, he should sell."

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Turkey extends e-visa deadline

Late Breaking news .....TRAVELLERS visiting Turkey this summer will no longer be obliged to apply for an electronic visa before they travel after authorities agreed to postpone the introduction of the new system until the end of the year.

Although the e-visas are already up and running, they had been due to replace the existing visa-on-arrival system entirely from April 10. However, ABTA - the travel association - had been urging the Turkish government to extend the transition period to prevent holidaymakers being caught out.

"We have received official confirmation from Turkey's London embassy that the transition period of the e-visa process has been extended until December 31,” said an ABTA spokesperson. "This means that during the transition period from now until December 31, Turkish visas can be obtained both online and at the port of entry.”

Whether purchased online or at an airport kiosk, the cost of multiple entry visas - which are valid for 90 days - is £10 per person. Visitors buying an e-visa, however, must pay by credit or debit card.

Go Holiday news

GET ON YOUR BIKE!

GET ON YOUR BIKE!   Want to watch folks racing around tracks on motorbikes? Here’s your 2014 calendar of classic motorcycle club events in England and Wales:
 
Pembrey – April 19/20
LLanelli, Carmarthenshire
Tel: 0844 693 0106
 
Lydden Hill – May 17/18
Wootton, Canterbury
Tel: 01304 830557
 
Anglesey Trac Mon  – June 13/14/15
Ty Croes, Anglesey  
Tel: 014078 11400
 
Brands Hatch  –  July 5/6th
Fawkham, Longfield, Kent
Tel: 01474 872331
 
Donnington Park – August  8/9/10 
Castle Donnington, Derby  
Tel: 0844 693 0106
 
Cadwell Park – September 6/7
Louth, Lincolnshire
Ticket hotline:  0843 453 9000
 
Snetterton, – October 11/12 
Thetford, Norfolk
Ticket hotline:  0843 453 9000

Snetterton, Brands Hatch, Oulton Park and Cadwell Park are all part of the Motorsport Vision Group and offer a range of other activities  including  track days, track experiences, plus other car and motorcycle racing events. Donnington Park has a motor sport museum featuring famous F1 cars. Lydden Hill is the home of UK rally cross, and has track days and testing sessions. Pembrey in South Wales also offers a range of additional experiences including driving, flying, motorcycling, and hot air balloon flights.  In North Wales, Anglesey’s Trac Mon has a car and motorcycle events during the year.


Go Holiday news

Pure Grenada

GRENADA RE-BRANDED  Grenada has unveiled a new destination brand in a move aimed at repositioning the island as a major Caribbean destination for tourists.

The new brand tag-line Pure Grenada will form the underpinning for the island's new marketing focus, positioning the island as "off-the–beaten path," and a haven for the discerning travel explorer.


Go Holiday news

Monday, 24 February 2014

Hey! - It's a universal law.....

Law of  Close Encounters;

The probability of meeting someone you know increases dramatically when you are with someone you don't want to be seen with.


Go Holiday news


Calling all Bird watchers..

Slapton Ley in South Devon with its world renowned Field Centre is the largest natural lake in the South West and a haven for hundreds of rare species of birds and animals. Easter is a particularly good time to visit when young are being born and migrant birds appear, and with this in mind Toad Hall Cottage is offering some great value Easter breaks at a range of cottages in the area.

Slapton Ley is a freshwater lagoon separated from the sea by Slapton Sands beach. The lake, along with its surrounding marsh and woodland, is a National Nature Reserve and Site of Special Scientific Interest … and a delight for bird watchers and wildlife enthusiasts of all ages.  Slapton Ley Field Centre runs a calendar of free guided walks around the reserve.

Toad Hall Cottages has a number of properties in nearby villages.



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Oxford-Jersey Flights......

OXFORD-JERSEY FLIGHTS    Marking 30 years of Channel Island travel this year, C.I. Travel is re-instating its popular summer service between London Oxford Airport and Jersey with weekly flights starting on May 10 through to mid-September. Flights will be operated by Channel Islands-based Blue Islands and served by 46 seat aircraft.

Flights start at £179 per person.

The route will appeal to people Oxfordshire, the South Midlands and the north western Home Counties who can now fly from Oxford without the hassle of going to Birmingham or one of the London airports.

Go Holiday news

Best Brand

TUI Travel, owner of  Thomson and First Choice, has been rated the most valuable brand in the travel and tourism sector in the Brand Finance Global 500 league table 2014. This is the second year in a row TUI Travel has featured as sector leader, climbing 22 places this year in the overall global list.

Go Holiday news

Sunday, 23 February 2014

Travel matters …

“Vacation used to be a luxury, but in today's world it has become a necessity.” – Author Unknown

Dining Out.....

Eating out… is most often cited as a preferred holiday experience for Brits abroad, according to a survey by travel search site Momondo. Eating out at restaurants was mentioned the most times when asked which of 12 cultural activities Brits most liked to do when on holiday.


Go Holiday news 

Lewis and Harris has been named...........

TOP ISLAND Lewis and Harris named as Europe’s best holiday island in a TripAdvisor survey.  It also beat rivals in Thailand and Chile to be included in a list of the top five islands in the world.
TripAdvisor compiled the list based on opinions of travellers.
Lewis and Harris, in the Outer Hebrides, is Scotland's largest island. Lewis forms the northern part of the island, and Harris the southern part, although both are often referred to as if they are separate islands.
Europe’s top 10 islands, according to TripAdvisor
1. Lewis and Harris, Scotland
2. Naxos, Greece
3. Gozo, Malta
4. Orkney Islands, Scotland
5. Milos, Greece
6. Cephalonia, Greece
7. Santorini, Greece
8. Capri, Italy
9. Mull, Scotland
10. Paros, Greece


Go Holiday news

More Go Greek

A record 12.7 million foreign tourists travelled to the main Greek airports last year, up by 10.8 percent on the 2012 total.


Go Holiday news

Saturday, 22 February 2014

Travel matters …

“Those that say you can't take it with you never saw a car packed for a vacation trip.” –Author Unknown

TOP COUNTRY

The Dominican Republic has been named  Top Caribbean Destination of the Year by Expedia.com. In 2013, the country increased room capacity, strengthened safety and security measures, modernized highways, and benefited from direct flights from major US cities.


Go Holiday news 

WHAT BRITS WANT ON HOLIDAY

British holidaymakers are craving something more surprising and a little out of the ordinary when booking their UK accommodation, according to research by Booking.com. More than three quarters of Brits would like to be able to stay somewhere a little more unusual when taking a trip in Britain.

The poll of more than 2,000 Brits highlighted how almost one fifth look for more adventurous stays close to home, with 19 percent saying that they like to enjoy something quintessentially British. When asked about what they look for in an alternative place to stay, 70 percent said they would be most excited about a stay in a castle or other historical building.

The little things could make the biggest difference when it comes to British holidaymakers booking their staycation. Ensuring it is cosy enough to distract from the typical British weather (27%) and being able to get hold of their home comforts, such as being able to make a cup of tea (10%), are among the most popular determining factors.


Go Holiday news

COMEDY IN THE WEST COUNTRY

Dartmouth’s 8th Comedy Festival – March 4-8 – is back in slapstick style, featuring Matt Harvey, Lucy Porter, Patrick Monahan and Sean Hughes in a series of sketches and shows at the harbour hoedown.  Blue Chip Holidays has fourteen properties available over the festival.

www.bluechipholidays.co.uk

Go Holiday news

Friday, 21 February 2014

Travel matters …

“Disneyland is the only people trap operated by a mouse.” – Author Unknown

Overseas visitors spent a record £21 billion.....

MORE VISIT BRITAIN   The UK saw record annual in-bound spend and record numbers of visits in 2013. Overseas visitors spent a record £21 billion in 2013, 13 percent up on the 2012 total. It is the first time the £20 billion mark has been passed. There were 32.89 million visits from overseas in 2013, six percent higher than the previous year.

Sandie Dawe, chief executive at VisitBritain said: “Not only have we managed to surpass the £20 billion barrier for the first time, but we’ve broken records for holidaymakers and visitors from key growth markets such as China and South Korea. International tourists are starting to see and do more across the country. Holiday figures are up across the whole of Britain with robust growth for Scotland, Wales, the rest of England and London.


Go Holiday news

Flood damage in Devon’s South Hams..........

Flood damage in the area has been minimal – with most of the flooding draining away at low tides – says Coast & Country Cottages. Only two of the agency’s portfolio of more than 430 luxury holiday homes were affected by wind and water damage.

The agency says that while there are problems with the rail link to parts of the South West, the vast majority of those visiting the area for holidays travel by car.


Go Holiday news

EXTRA FLIGHTS TO BARBADOS

British Airways has announced an increase from ten to 12 flights per week to Barbados. The extra flights will run from November 30 through to February next year. The increase reflects the island’s strong forward bookings.


Go Holiday news

Rise in visitor numbers ...........

BIG SPENDERS IN THE CARIBBEAN   The Caribbean recorded a rise in visitor expenditure in 2013 when compared to 2012, with the spending rate outpacing that of visitor arrivals for the first time in three years, according to figures from the Caribbean Tourism Organization.

Visitors to the Caribbean spent an estimated US$28.1 billion in 2013, up 2.3 percent over 2012.  This was fuelled by the accommodation sector, which recorded a 7.5 per cent rise in room revenues.  The Caribbean welcomed more than 25 million visitors last year, up from 24.6 million in 2012.


Go Holiday news

Thursday, 20 February 2014

Travel matters …

 “In Spain, attempting to obtain a chicken salad sandwich, you wind up with a dish whose name, when you look it up in your Spanish-English dictionary, turns out to mean: Eel with big abscess.” - Dave Barry

Cornwall and Falmouth are ready to welcome visitors....

WEST COAST BACK IN BUSINESS   Holiday property agencies in one of England’s leading resort regions say the worst of the disruption caused by this month’s storms is over and that Cornwall and Devon are ready to welcome visitors.

‘I am pleased to say that after all the problems with the recent weather, Falmouth and the beautiful south coast are open for business as usual,’ says Martin Watson of  Creekside Cottages in Falmouth. ‘The roads are clear, and trains are running normally, so please come and visit our beautiful area of Cornwall.’

Creekside Cottages is offering a 30 percent discount on bookings during February half term and March.  


Go Holiday news

Sky News reports...Bristol centred earthquake

Sky News reports....A magnitude 4.1 earthquake has been registered centred three miles under the Bristol Channel.

A spokesman said: "It looks like there was an earthquake originating in north Devon at 13:21 so we are just analysing it."

The tremor is thought to have occurred at a depth of three miles (5km) and lasted several seconds.

The British Geological Survey (BGS) said residents reported their houses rocking and others described the quake as like a "heavy truck going up the road"
.
It was felt in areas including Dartmoor, Bristol, Taunton, Swansea, Llanelli, Barnstable and Gloucester, according to the BGS.

Robin Beer, on his Twitter page, wrote: "Anybody else feel the earth tremor just now?!"
Glenn Watts added: "Small tremor felt in Exeter, lasted five seconds armchairs wobbled as did the TV on its stand."

People in South Wales also reported feeling the ground shake. One Twitter user wrote: "Earthquake tremor in Wales today. We felt it in the building in Swansea."

Brian Baptie, from the BGS, told Sky News: "We get an earthquake of this size maybe roughly once every three years somewhere in the UK.

"It appears to have been felt fairly widely in Devon and South Wales.

"It is possible for earthquakes of this size to cause some minor, superficial damage, but we have no reports of that nature at the moment."

The European-Mediterranean Seismological Centre (EMSC) reported it was a magnitude 4.5 quake and was centred around the Exmoor National Park.

Gender battle for holiday choices

IT seems men want Mars and women Venus when it comes to choosing where to go on holiday. Research has revealed a battle of the sexes in terms of where men and women want to go on holiday in 2014 … so much so that it’s suprising men and women ever end up on the same holiday!

A survey by online travel agent Holiday Hypermarket found that men want to go to Turkey, Majorca, the Canary Islands, Egypt and Italy, while women fancy heading off to Thailand, the Caribbean, Florida, Mexico and the Maldives.

The same report suggests that the majority (58 percent) of women have booked the holiday for their family in 2014 though, so it seems men in the UK might be the ones compromising on the destination.

The findings highlight some other general trends. Men would opt for a European destination over and above a long haul holiday because they don’t like to travel for more than four hours. Women wouldn’t mind travelling for up to 12 hours to reach their
holiday destination.  Men feel ‘more at home’ when staying in short haul destinations and find going further afield ‘hard work’ on the plane.

Top five destinations for men:

Turkey –
Majorca
Canary Islands
Egypt
Italy

Top five destinations for women:

Thailand
Caribbean
Florida
Mexico
Maldives


Go Holiday news

Heathrow first for reducing delays and cancellations

A new system to separate arriving aircraft at Heathrow by time instead of distance will  cut delays and reduce cancellations due to high headwinds, says the air traffic control firm NATS.

In what will be a world first, the new method for organizing arriving aircraft is set to become operational at London’s biggest airport in spring 2015.

Traditionally, flights are separated by set distances dependent on the type of aircraft and the size of the spiralling turbulence – or wake vortex – they create as they fly. During strong headwind conditions, aircraft fly more slowly over the ground resulting in extra time between each arrival.

The introduction of a time-based separation method at Heathrow will help to maintain the landing rate and save 80,000 minutes of delay every year, halving the current delay figure while significantly reducing the need for airlines to cancel flights due to the affects of strong headwinds.

Go Holidays news

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Holidays for sun, sea and …

IN a survey by Expedia.com and Northstar Research, 80 percent of Americans said that holidays make them happier than marriages, religion, cats and birthdays. Eighty-two percent get more pleasure out of vacations than possessions, and 94 percent would give up at least one of life's "prized possessions," including alcohol, video games, chocolate and favourite clothing for an entire week in return for a single extra vacation day.

Vacations charge the American libido, according to the survey. Ninety-three percent report being at least "somewhat likely" to be intimate on holiday, while forty-eight percent say they are "more likely" to be intimate with their spouse or partner on holiday than they are at home. Seventy-seven percent report that vacations are important to the overall health of the relationship with their spouse or partner.

The single most prevailing charm of vacationing is the ability to do nothing at all. Seventy-four percent of Americans prefer relaxation to adventure on holiday, with four in ten citing "relaxing, doing nothing" and "not having a set schedule" as their favourite vacation feature.

Go Holiday news


Helpful Holidays grows in Cornwall

WEST COUNTRY cottage specialist Helpful Holidays has expanded its operation in Cornwall with the appointment of two additional local property managers. To meet the increasing demand  for self-catering holiday homes in Cornwall and to offer existing home owners a better local service, the new managers will cover the south and far west of Cornwall. The agency already has one property manager in North Cornwall.

Helpful Holidays is a recommended provider by Which? Travel, having come top in their members’ survey for cottage and villa bookings for 2012 and 2013. It also won the 2013 British Travel Award in the Best Cottage/Self Catering Booking Company with between 600 and 2,000 rental units (UK properties) category.


Go Holiday news

Story day at Ironbridge

CHILDREN’S writers, illustrators, poets and storytellers will be entertaining and inspiring families during a day of free events, activities and art workshops celebrating children’s literature at Enginuity and Coalbrookdale Museum of Iron in Shropshire’s Ironbridge Gorge on Easter Saturday … April 19.

The Pop Up Festival of Stories is free for all, including admission to Enginuity and Coalbrookdale Museum of Iron

www.pop-up.org.uk

Go Holiday news

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

More Americans to opt for self-catering

In a TripAdvisor survey in the US, 52 percent of respondents said they plan to stay at a self-catering holiday villa or cottage this year, up eight percent on the number recorded in 2013. The top three reasons travellers will choose a vacation rental over a hotel stay this year are: more living space (67%), lower rates than hotels (53%), and better amenities (50%). Ninety-four percent of respondents who have previously stayed in a rental said they were satisfied with their experiences.

"Travellers love vacation rentals for the at-home experience and amenities that make them ideal for family and group trips, not to mention the potential savings when compared to hotels," said Brooke Ferencsik, director of communications at TripAdvisor. "With the increased demand for vacation rentals, the best rental properties book quickly during the peak summer months; so travellers should plan as soon as possible to secure the best property for their needs."


Go Holiday news

Turkey sets date for e-visa switch

IN a move that might (or might not) make travelling to Turkey simpler, a new visa procedure will be in place from April 11. It means visitors will no longer have to queue at the airport to get a visa stamp. Instead, an electronic visa application system will enable people to obtain an e-visa online on www.evisa.gov.tr.  Visitors must fill in their details, make an online payment and download their e-visa up to 24 hours before travelling. 
The e-visa fee for UK passport holders is £27.99, which can be paid only by debit or credit card.
Arrangements are being made to also allow visitors to obtain e-visas from authorized airline offices and travel agents.
To apply for a Turkish e-visa, visitors must have passports that are valid for at least six months at the time of arrival in Turkey. 
For full details, go to www.evisa.gov.tr

Go Holiday comment

As anyone with a computer and an internet connection knows, e-things can make life simpler … yet also much more complicated. Under Turkey’s old visa system, you got off the plane, went through immigration and walked to a kiosk at which you handed over a £10 note (only clean, crisp, un-used ones were acceptable) in exchange for a stamp in your passport. Sometimes the queues were long, sometimes short. But the waiting times were never impossible because all the clerks in the kiosks had to do was take your cash and stamp your passport. As a process, it couldn’t have been simpler.

Getting a Turkish visa now will not be so simple for people who a) do not have computers b) do have computers but do not trust them to make payment card financial transactions safely c) do not have debit or credit cards. These people will have to ask airlines and travel agents to apply on their behalf, or use a friend’s payment card.

 Turkey’s ‘visa’ fee was and remains an ill-disguised tourist tax. I’ve no objection in principle to tourist taxes, but let’s not try to pretend it’s something it clearly isn’t. And let’s not try to fool people into believing that anything with an e in front of it is going to be easy.

David Kernek, Go Holiday editor


Go Holiday news

Northern Lights boost for Iceland tourism

Iceland has seen a record growth of 65.2 percent in British visitors in January 2014.
In January 2013, Iceland received 10,031 tourists from the UK, while in January 2014 the total rose to 16,576.

One cause of the increase might have been NASA’s prediction that conditions for catching the Northern Lights during the winter months of 2013 and 2014 would have been at their best in 50 years.

Líney Inga Arnórsdóttir, project manager for marketing at Promote Iceland commented:
‘Iceland is only 2.5 hours away from UK by plane and an increasing amount of airlines are offering direct flights.’

Go Holiday news

London-Luxor flights resumed...

Egypt’s national carrier EgyptAir has re-instated its service from London Heathrow to Luxor International as a weekly Monday flight. The re-instatement comes on the back of a significant increase in demand by tourists and Egyptian nationals wanting alternative destination airports, with Luxor highlighted as a key entry point for Egypt.


Go Holiday news

Travel matters …

“A vacation is a sunburn at premium prices.” – Hal Chadwicke

Monday, 17 February 2014

Just to amuse the weary traveller / 2.........

For everyone who has ever had an evaluation - just remember, it could have been worse.
These are actual quotes taken from Government employee performance Evaluations somewhere in the world:





6. "He sets low personal standards and then consistently fails to achieve them."

7. "This employee is depriving a village somewhere of an idiot."

8. "This employee should go far, and the sooner he starts the better."

9. "Got a full 6-pack, but lacks the plastic thingy to hold it all Together."

10. "A gross ignoramus - 144 times worse than an ordinary ignoramus."



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Smart check-in for Virgin Atlantic

Virgin Atlantic passengers will be the first air travellers to experience the benefits of pioneering Google Glass and Sony Smartwatch technology when they arrive at London Heathrow airport. Concierge staff in the airline’s Upper Class Wing will be using wearable technology to deliver the industry’s most high tech and personalized customer service yet.

From the minute Upper Class passengers step out of their chauffeured limousine at Heathrow’s T3 and are greeted by name, Virgin Atlantic staff wearing the technology will start the check-in process. At the same time, staff will be able to update passengers on their latest flight information, weather and local events at their destination and translate foreign language information. In future, the technology could also tell Virgin Atlantic staff their passengers’ dietary and refreshment preferences.


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‘Most’ of Egypt still safe for tourists

Egypt’s tourism minister has repeated his assertion that civil and political strife are problems only in Cairo, and that the rest of the country is safe for foreigners.

‘The issues we continue to face on the path to democracy are focused solely in our capital’ said Hisham Zaazou during a visit to London. ‘Events in Cairo are being perceived as happening across Egypt, which is simply not the case. We will adopt a pragmatic approach of not promoting Cairo and focus on the rest of Egypt – Luxor, Aswan and the Red Sea. There’s one million square kilometres (386,000 square miles) of country beyond Cairo that is unrivalled in its appeal to UK visitors.’

In September 2013, 300,000 tourists visited Egypt, a drop of 90 per cent compared to September 2012.

Go Holiday news

New route to cut rail times

Passengers and businesses from the Thames Valley to the West Country and Wales are to get a boost to their transport links, after Network Rail announced plans for a preferred route for a new rail line from the Great Western Main Line with the UK’s only hub airport, Heathrow.

The Great Western Main Line currently runs from Swansea, through Cardiff, before going on to Reading and London Paddington. Under the new plans, rail passengers travelling from west of Reading will no longer have to double-back on themselves via Paddington. The new link means passengers in Cardiff and Swansea could have their travel times to Heathrow cut by up to 45 minutes and 53 minutes respectively, while those in Reading could have up to 27 minutes shaved off their journey.


Go Holiday news

Sunday, 16 February 2014

France-Malta flights

AIR FRANCE and Air Malta have signed a code-share agreement whereby Air France will place its code and flight numbers on flights operated by Air Malta between Malta and Paris-CDG and Orly, and also between Malta and Lyon. It will enable Air France to offer its customers 18 weekly services between the two French cities and Malta.


Go Holiday news

Travel matters …

“No man needs a vacation so much as the person who has just had one.” – Elbert Hubbard

Brits head for Germany

The German National Tourist Board is predicting that more people from the UK will be visiting Germany than ever before in the coming months. In 2012, the number of overnight stays to Germany rose to 4.5 million. Predictions up to 2020 point to a total of five to 5.4 million international overnight stays.

The prediction is based on an analysis of visitor trends and the most recent visitor figures of overnight stays by UK visitors.

Klaus Lohmann, director of the German National Tourist Office for UK and Ireland, said: ‘There will be even more reasons to visit Germany for a holiday in 2014. Along with various high-profile institutions in the UK, we will be celebrating 300 years of UK-German royal connections with our Royal Heritage route.’


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Gulf tourists flock to UK

VisitBritain reports that tourist numbers from the six Gulf countries – Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Oman, Bahrain –  in the first three quarters of 2013 were up by 10 percent on the same nine months 2012, and that their total spending was up by 11 percent at more than £1 billion.

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Saturday, 15 February 2014

Aer Lingus expansion takes off

AER LINGUS has launched its Boeing service from Shannon to Boston, marking the start of the airline’s transatlantic expansion. Its expansion plan includes new routes from Dublin to San Francisco and Toronto, as well as frequency increases on services from Shannon to Boston and New York.

Flights between Shannon and Boston will operate daily while flights to New York from Shannon will operate six times a week, starting on March 30. The increased frequency opens up additional connectivity to almost 40 cities in North America through partner airline, Jetblue Airways, allowing passengers to connect to cities such as Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Seattle, Philadelphia, New Orleans, Fort Lauderdale, Phoenix, Washington, Orlando, and Dallas.

*Aer Lingus Regional, operated by Aer Arann, has increased the number of routes offered from Shannon Airport to ten for summer 2014, with a mix of business, sun and city break options. New routes for summer include a twice-weekly service to Malaga and a daily flight to Bristol.

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Florida offer

Pre-book one of 17 featured Orlando theme park tickets from Attraction Tickets Direct this February and get a free ticket for the Outta Control Magic Comedy Dinner show. Throughout the show, children get free popcorn, pizza soda, and grown-ups get free beer and wine.

Valid for all new bookings made until February 28. For more information on offers and other attraction tickets, go to www.attraction-tickets-direct.co.uk, or free phone 0808 250 1441.


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Whatever happened to travelling light?

AS Britons book their summer holidays, research from Nokia suggests they might be planning to pack more than 10 million electronic devices, the equivalent weight of 20  jumbo jets … leaving little room for holiday essentials.

Despite the holiday ideal of travelling light, half of Britons are packing two or more electronic devices, excluding a Smartphone, when they travel. The growing dependence on numerous electronic devices forces 90 percent of travellers to check-in their bags if they take all the gadgets and clothes they feel they need, not to mention all the chargers and adaptors, leaving little luggage room for other holiday essentials.

The survey of more than 4,000 US and UK adults highlights the overwhelming pressure travellers feel to pack every device they own in order to stay connected to work. A quarter of those questioned admit to checking their work e-mails more than twice a day when on holiday, and one in 10 take their laptops to the beach.

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Take a walk in Sussex

2014 sees the launch of a Coast & Country walking festival – jointly organized by Eastbourne Borough Council and Wealden District Council – with walking tours around the town, the South Downs and the Sussex Weald.

With two weekends of activities set for September 27/28 in Eastbourne and October 4/5 in Wealden, the festival will encourage visitors to take up walking as a way of staying healthy while at the same time enjoying the beauty of this part of Sussex.

www.sussexwalkingfestival.org.uk

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Friday, 14 February 2014

Travel matters …

“Las Vegas:  all the amenities of modern society in a habitat unfit to grow a tomato.” – Jason Love

Cut price ticket to sail ...

No-frills services to France and Spain are to be started by Brittany Ferries next month. They include an 'economie' weekend service between Portsmouth and Santander in northern Spain and crossings between Portsmouth and Le Havre in France. Single fares for a car and two passengers start from £79 to France and £169 to Spain. The company says  the low-cost crossings are designed for customers who want to travel to France or Spain ‘at a very reasonable fare without the cruise-style experience normally provided by Brittany Ferries’.

Passengers will get limited dining options, carpet-free en-suite cabins and access to a lounge in which seats can be reserved for overnight crossings. There will be 12 pet-friendly cabins and two equipped for customers with disabilities.


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Heritage proves popular

A VISITBRITAIN survey suggests that heritage attractions feature most highly on the wish-lists of potential visitors. From a pre-defined list of activities, visitors from most of Britain’s major inbound markets ranked a visit to Buckingham Palace as their top choice. Countryside-based ‘dream activities’ such as visits to the Lake District, the Scottish Highlands and Snowdonia in Wales were ranked highly by respondents.

Eating in a cosy Welsh pub is ranked as the number one activity by Swedes, and the French put it in their top three dream activities to do in Britain.

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Radio-controlled models on show...


….tomorrow at the Fleet Air Arm Museum in Yeovilton, Somerset, which attracts a large following. In addition to exhibitors travelling from London and the South East, Cornwall and Wales, modellers will also be coming from Scotland. David Jack and Dougie Salmon represent Edinburgh Model Boat Club and will be displaying their models of WW2 warships.

Says David Jack: ‘I attend shows all over the country, but this one is the biggest and best, and the natives are quite friendly!’

More than 110 traders and clubs will be exhibiting radio-controlled and plastic aeroplanes, tanks and ships at show on February 15.



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