- Discover the beautiful backdrop of Before Midnight with Sunvil Holidays
May 20, 2013 for Sunvil Holidays
The much-anticipated Before Midnight, the third in the cult film trilogy starring Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy, hits the big screen on 21 June. Filming took place in the southern region of the picturesque Peloponnese peninsula in Greece, an area that is rich in ancient ruins and unspoilt scenery.
- The Scrubba wash bag: What? When? Where? How? Why?
May 16, 2013 for Scrubba wash bag
Planned a summer camping trip? Booked an escorted tour or an extended adventure holiday? Perhaps a cruise is on the cards? Whatever this year’s travel plans entail, don’t depart without the Scrubba wash bag, the pocket-sized washing device that has now cemented its reputation as ‘the world’s smallest washing machine’.
- Not just a festival – Sign up for G! and get so much more
May 15, 2013 for Faroe Islands
Situated between the Faroe Islands’ lush valleys and the surrounding Atlantic Ocean is the tiny fjord-side village of Gøta, home to 400 people, all set to embrace the eclectic beats of the annual G! Festival, taking place on 17, 18 and 19 July. Stages will be erected on Gøta’s beach and football pitch, the surrounding green fields will turn into campsites and the villagers will throw open their doors to visitors…
- Japan’s Natural Galleries
May 10, 2013 for Inside Japan Tours
Feast your eyes on Japan’s little-known visual arts scene and the natural aesthetic delights of her islands and mountains: the unique Setouchi Triennale Arts Festival and two new itineraries from specialist InsideJapan Tours – the self-guided Japan Arts Trail and the escorted Historic Mountains Trail – provide the perfect introduction.
- New: Aurora Bubbles open in Nellim
May 8, 2013 for The Aurora Zone
The tiny, remote Finnish town of Nellim, a true Northern Lights hotspot, is now home to Aurora Bubbles – available exclusively from September 2013 via The Aurora Zone.
Reminiscent of something from a science-fiction movie, Aurora Bubbles are heated pods in the grounds of the Nellim Wilderness Hotel, each with a double bed and toilet area.
- Make the most of May and June with off-peak, pre-school hols through Classic Cottages
May 7, 2013 for Classic Cottages
Anyone with babies or small children is in a privileged position when it comes to summer holidays. Unlike those with school-aged children, they’re not stuck with peak-priced set dates, minimum seven-night stays and sharing treasured time off with the masses. Pre-school families enjoy affordability,
- Livingstone addition to the Robin Pope Safaris collection
May 3, 2013 for Robin Pope Safaris
Robin Pope Safaris, the Zambia and Malawi specialist safari operator, is excited to announce its takeover of Stanley Safari Lodge in Livingstone, Zambia. This beautiful and unique ten-roomed lodge is only three kilometres from the Victoria Falls. Its remote setting on a hill bordering the Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park
- Learn to snap the Autumn Lights on a unique photography tour
May 2, 2013 for Activities Abroad
This September, The Aurora Zone will be running ‘Autumn Aurora Photography’, a four-night tour of Jeris, in Lapland, where visitors learn how to capture the perfect Northern Lights photo. Throughout the tour, Antti Pietikäinen, a born-and-bred Laplander, will provide instruction.
- It’s all about location, says Spain-holiday.com
April 25, 2013 for Spain-holiday.com
When picking a property for a self-catering stay, it’s all about getting the location right. Spanish property specialist Spain-holiday.com now has over 7,000 properties on its books, so the choice is immense; from central city pads and beachfront apartments to traditional white-washed villages and rural haciendas.
- Croatia’s Adriatic Coast – a new family holiday from Activities Abroad
Croatia’s Adriatic Coast has been confirmed as the location for the fourth series of the popular fantasy television series Game of Thrones (out in 2014). It is also the setting for Activities Abroad’s brand-new family holiday which takes place in Novigrad, a small fishing village on the Adriatic coast.
- Marmotte Mountain appoints Travel PR
April 24, 2013 for Martmotte Mountain
Travel PR is now representing Marmotte Mountain, a luxury, boutique ski and cycling tour operator. Based in the French Alps, Marmotte Mountain offers three options – Tour de France-themed cycling holidays in July, luxurious ski chalet accommodation in the Chamonix Valley in the winter months and summer chalet holidays.
- Perfume making, wine tasting, shorts breaks and honeymoons on a floating boutique hotel
April 18, 2013 for Essential Sailing
Upmarket yachting specialist Essential Sailing has late availability in May, with exclusive use options for honeymooners/couples and three and four-night short breaks now available – perfect for sailors and non-sailors alike.
- Northcote is Pride of Britain Hotel of the Year 2013 – and two new members join the consortium
April 17, 2013 for Pride of Britain Hotels
Pride of Britain Hotels, the consortium of 44 privately-owned independent British hotels and spas, is proud to announce that Northcote in Lancashire has been named as Pride of Britain Hotel of the Year 2013. Situated on the edge of the Ribble Valley, this tucked-away region of rural hamlets and breathtaking countryside is an area of outstanding natural beauty
- For expert advice on Italy, seek out Sunvil Discovery
April 16, 2013 for Sunvil Discovery
With a diverse Italy programme that has been in operation for an impressive 34 years, Sunvil Discovery certainly knows its stuff when it comes to all things Italiano. The independent Italy specialist features flexible fly-drive, rail and tailor-made itineraries to the most beautiful regions of this captivating country. It prides itself on its bespoke service and handpicked accommodation…
- Gothenburg and West Sweden – Summer 2013
April 10, 2013 for West Sweden
The latest selection of inspirational new holiday ideas and travel news from Gothenburg and West Sweden – including crayfish parties on the archipelago, new canoeing weekends in Dalsland, the Way Out West music festival and relaxing summer escapes.
The Day of the Herring, 6 June
Swedes go crazy for herring, especially on Sweden’s west coast where it’s an important part of the region’s history.
- Charitable chariots across Europe – it’s not too late to enter a team!
April 4, 2013 for Travel Trade Crusade
Why not join teams from across the travel industry for a fund-raising road trip across Europe? Crossing five countries in just three days, Travel Trade Crusade promises to be an unforgettable experience.
Kicking off in Calais at 9.00am on Friday 12 July, teams will compete to reach the finish line in a variety of vehicles ranging from ‘sheds’ (worth no more than £500) to ‘shrines’ (super or classic cars).
- Nosh and Chow restyles Stockholm’s social scene
for Berns Hotel
Newly-opened in Stockholm, Nosh and Chow is an innovative, upmarket townhouse opened by the city’s trendsetting Berns boutique hotel. Tables are extremely hard to come by – but Berns guests can easily reserve, and charge meals back to their hotel room…
- Venice In Peril Spring Lecture 2013 – Sponsored by Kirker Holidays
for Kirker Holidays
Specialist tour operator for discerning travellers, Kirker Holidays is once again sponsoring the annual Venice in Peril Spring Lecture. This year’s event takes place at London’s Royal Geographical Society on Tuesday 16th April…
- It’s not too late for an Easter escape!
March 28, 2013 for AITO - Association of Independent Tour Operators
Think you’ve left it too late to book an escape over the Easter period? Not so. There’s still availability on the following holidays – departing soon – offered by members of the Association of Independent Tour Operators (AITO*)…
- Hotel breaks fit for man’s best friend – from Pride of Britain Hotels
March 22, 2013 for Pride of Britain Hotels
Luxury hotels and dog-friendly service don’t always go hand-in-hand but, to coincide with National Pet Month (1 April-6 May), here are some suggestions from Pride of Britain Hotels, which will appeal to the very finest four-legged friends…
- Late Availability for Easter – chocolate on a luxury yacht in Lanzarote
March 20, 2013 for Essential Sailing
Enjoy balmy spring sailing along Lanzarote’s unspoilt south coast together with delicious Easter treats. Wake up to Eggs Benedict and homemade Nutella with fresh croissants on Easter Sunday and take part in an Easter egg hunt on board. Guests can also indulge in homemade chocolaty treats over the Easter weekend ranging from tiramisu and chocolate truffles to gooey flourless chocolate fudge cake, chocolate brownies…
- Uncover the glorious gardens of the Azores – new expert-escorted tour from Sunvil Discovery
for Sunvil Discovery
Garden enthusiasts seeking an early summer escape need look no further than the enchanting mid-Atlantic archipelago of the Azores. New for 2013, a seven-night small group tour of Sao Miguel – ‘the green island’ – promises horticultural highlights galore, led by renowned plantsman and Azorean specialist, David Sayers.
Inspired by the success of the 2012 ‘Azorean Garden’ exhibit…
- West Sweden bucket-list – exciting must-do activities in the region
March 19, 2013 for West Sweden
1. Set off on a lobster safari
The region’s shellfish is among the tastiest in the world because the delicacies grow slowly in the cold, clean waters. Set out to sea with an expert fisherman to learn how to catch and prepare the ’black gold’ of the sea – lobsters! Finish in style by enjoying a mouth-watering lobster feast. Lobster not your thing? There are mussel, oyster, crayfish and prawn safaris available, too…
- Sunken cities, Tom Cruise and a new EU member – family summer holidays from Activities Abroad
March 14, 2013 for Activities Abroad
As the summer holidays approach, there’s the annual conundrum of how to keep the whole family happy on holiday. Family-activity holidays specialist, Activities Abroad, has this down to a T. With destinations ranging from Borneo to Bulgaria, activity-packed itineraries and an age-matching service to guarantee your children will find like-minded companions, there’s no need for kids’ clubs…
- Swim with humpback whales in the Dominican Republic
March 8, 2013 for Naturetrek
In a new tour for 2014, Naturetrek offers an incredible experience: the thrill of being in the water, swimming and snorkelling with humpback whales.
Every year, about 3,000 humpback whales leave their northern summer feeding areas in Cape Cod, the Gulf of Maine and beyond, and begin a 2,500-kilometre journey to the tropics where they will spend the winter. Many head for the Caribbean’s West Indies; the largest of their breeding grounds…
- NASA specifies Autumn 2013 as peak time for Northern Lights
March 5, 2013 for Activities Abroad
It’s been well-documented that the ‘Solar Maximum’ – the summit of the sun’s 11-year cycle of activity, which translates into the best and most frequent Northern Lights – is about to occur. And now the absolute peak of this cycle has been identified: NASA says it will be autumn 2013. This is a revised prediction: the US government agency had previously forecast May 2013, but the optimum date is now expected to fall around six months later.
- The ultimate year to experience Africa, you presume?
March 1, 2013 for Robin Pope Safaris
You presume well! 19 March 2013 marks the 200th anniversary of the birth of David Livingstone – explorer, writer, missionary and medic – and specialist operator Robin Pope Safaris has three extraordinary trips that retrace his footsteps
Fascinated by Africa, and considerate of its peoples, Livingstone spent 30 years there and, by the time he died, it was estimated that he had travelled over 46,000km across the continent…
- Boutique Retreats appoints Travel PR
Travel PR is delighted to announce that it is now representing Boutique Retreats, which offers an impressive portfolio of luxury self-catering properties across Cornwall.
Boutique Retreats bridges the gap between high-end hotels and traditional holiday rentals with a selection of superbly-appointed dwellings, home stays and farm stays suitable for couples, families and larger groups.
The retreats have a serious ‘wow’ factor…
- Inspired by the British Museum’s Pompeii exhibition?
February 27, 2013 for Peter Sommer Travels
- Retrace the exhibition back to Italy on an archaeological cruise with Peter Sommer Travels
The much-awaited exhibition ‘Life and death in Pompeii and Herculaneum’ runs from 28 March – 29 September at the British Museum in London.
First see the exhibition; then visit the sites for yourself, with cultural and archaeological tours specialist Peter Sommer Travels. Cruising the Amalfi Coast explores the region’s archaeological highlights, whilst travelling aboard a traditional wooden gulet…
- Charitable chariots across Europe – the UK travel trade unites for a great-fun, fund-raising road trip
February 26, 2013 for Travel Trade Crusade
Up for it’ teams from across the travel industry come together this summer to raise money for a wide range of worthy causes, as the first-ever Travel Trade Crusade sets off across Europe. Traversing five countries in just three days, the charity road trip starts in Calais at 9.00am on Friday 12 July and finishes with a big end-of-rally party in Amsterdam on Sunday 14 July. What happens in between is anyone’s guess as the teams – many in fancy dress (including their cars!) – compete against each other to tick off a number of as yet undisclosed challenges along the way.
- New – Spend a day spotting Wild Flowers on a French Alps walking trip
February 25, 2013 for On Foot Holidays
Brand-new for 2013, walking specialist On Foot Holidays is offering clients on its Chamonix and the French Alps trip an exciting new extra: the chance to spend an ‘Alpine Flora Day’ seeking out unusualand beautiful wild flowers. Focusing on the Chamonix and Contamines-Montjoie valleys, Alpine Flora Days will be available (as an add-on to the walking holiday itself) throughout late spring and summer, with the optimum period being late June – late July.
- AITO Operators and AITO Specialist Travel Agents reveal first of many speakers at Dubai conference
February 21, 2013 for AITO - Association of Independent Tour Operators
AITO is delighted to unveil the first of many high-profile speakers anticipated at its summer overseas conference (Dubai, 14 -17 June 2013)
Sponsored by the Dubai Department of Tourism & Commerce Marketing, Emirates – the award-winning airline – and Sofitel, the conference will offer the 100-plus member agents and 120 member tour operators of AITO the opportunity to meet up and to discuss the biggest issues currently affecting the travel sector.
- Sunvil Discovery launches 2013 real Italy & Sicily brochure
February 19, 2013 for Sunvil Discovery
Italy specialist Sunvil Discovery has launched its 2013 real Italy & Sicily brochure, featuring a comprehensive range of handpicked accommodation, flexible fly-drives, rail and tailor-made holiday options.
For the first time, Sunvil Discovery is offering three themed itineraries designed to soak up the unique and the unusual in Sicily…
- The Aurora Zone launches brand-new Finnish Lapland tour
February 15, 2013 for The Aurora Zone
With nearly all of its Northern Lights trips this winter now full, The Aurora Zone has launched a brand-new holiday to create some much-needed extra capacity.
It’s based at Muotkan Maja, a new wilderness lodge in remote Finnish Lapland – all thick, snow-covered forest and fells buried in powder, with the added charm of local reindeer which will often wander down to meet and greet new visitors. The area’s lack of artificial light pollution equates to a very high chance of seeing the Northern Lights…
- Book the brood into a family-friendly British bolthole
Being a parent doesn’t have to mean saying goodbye to a luxury hotel break. Pride of Britain Hotels‘ consortium of 44 independently-owned luxury hotels has a number of child-friendly properties that still manage to be an indulgent treat for mums and dads..
It’s a bug’s life in Devon
Family-owned since 1896, Thurlestone in South Devon is the perfect baby-friendly bolthole…
- Get your tick facts straight as Tick Bite Prevention Week looms, says charity Lyme Disease Action
February 14, 2013 for Lyme Disease Action
With Tick Bite Prevention Week (24-30 March) – organised and funded by charity BADA-UK – on the horizon, UK-registered charity Lyme Disease Action rules out some of the common myths and misconceptions surrounding tick-borne Lyme disease.
I’ve always heard of ticks, but is it something that I really need to be concerned about?
There’s no need to be afraid…
- Outstanding new South West self-catering properties with quirky added extras… through Classic Cottages
February 13, 2013 for Classic Cottages
The hottest properties have a habit of being snapped up not long into a new year by the savvy and super-organised. Classic Cottages, the UK’s leading independent cottage holiday company, with over 700 coastal and country properties across Cornwall, Dorset, Devon and Somerset, has just added a number of superb new properties to its portfolio…
- Newly launched – yoga holidays (and more) in Marrakech in March
for Healthy Options
Had enough of the cold, damp, depressing weather? Craving a Vitamin D boost with some blue skies and sunshine, but don’t want solely to flop around a pool? Travel specialist Healthy Options (www.yoga-in-the-sun.co.uk) has the answer with its new series of five-star hotel-based week-long trips to Marrakech in March. Running on four consecutive weeks, and departing on Saturdays, you won’t have to wait long for your healthy dose of sunshine – and, from £875 pp (excluding flights), these seven-night trips, with plenty of extras included, won’t break the bank either.
- Get Beneath the Surface… of Vietnam
February 12, 2013 for Inside Vietnam Tours
Specialist in travel to Japan, InsideJapan Tours, has launched a sister holiday brand, InsideVietnam Tours. Providing in-depth levels of country expertise consistent with the ‘Inside…’ aims and aspirations, InsideVietnam Tours offers itineraries – escorted and tailor-made – and experiences that get beneath the surface of the country.
- Giant Otters in Peru’s Manu National Park – follow the BBC on a brand-new tour from Naturetrek
February 7, 2013 for Naturetrek
This Saturday’s instalment (8 February, BBC2, 8pm) of the BBC’s Natural World series focuses on the Amazon rainforest’s giant otters. Filmed by Charlie Hamilton James in collaboration with the Frankfurt Zoological Society, the episode follows Diablo, as his unusually-large family of six cubs (the largest ever recorded) grow up in a jungle lake in south-eastern Peru’s Manu National Park.
- Didn’t have a white Christmas? How about a white Easter?
With Easter Sunday falling on 31 March this year, the relatively early Easter weekend is the ideal time to squeeze in a snowy trip, before the white stuff melts for summer.
March’s longer days and milder temperatures make Arctic activities all the more enjoyable, too, meaning you can pack in more activities each day. With there being less cloud cover at this time of year, you’re still in with an excellent chance of a Northern Lights-sighting, too. Lapland activity holiday specialist Activities Abroad and its new adult-only brand, The White Circle, have trips this Easter which will appeal to all ages.
- Sunvil Discovery launches 2013 Portugal & Madeira brochure
January 30, 2013 for Sunvil Discovery
More suggested itineraries than ever before and eight new properties Tailor-made specialist Sunvil Discovery launches its 2013 real Portugal & Madeira brochure, packed full of handpicked accommodation and flexible itineraries to the lesser-known areas of this beautiful country.
The unspoilt Alentejo region goes from strength to strength, with new Winter and Spring short breaks at real value-for-money prices and new tempting itineraries, including the recently-waymarked coastal Rota Vicentina walking trail plus a fascinating ‘Pousadas of the Alentejo’ fly-drive from the dramatic coast in the west to the majestic mountain ranges close to the Spanish border in the east. Further new itineraries include ‘A Luxurious Break on the Lisbon Coast’ and ‘Madeira: The Pearl of the Atlantic’.
- Discover the real Greece with the real specialists
January 15, 2013 for Sunvil Holidays
Expert operator to Greece, Sunvil Holidays, has launched its 2013 real Greece brochure – its biggest and best yet. Real Greece features a range of alluring accommodation, from luxury hotels to seaside self-catering options, on lesser-known islands and off the beaten track – all awaiting discovery.
New additions for 2013 include ‘Boutique Greece’. Historic luxury properties, of the type more commonly found in rural Italy and Spain, have begun to pop up in some of Greece’s remoter and most beautiful areas.
- Walk tick-aware, advice from Lyme Disease Action – Take steps to avoid ticks whilst walking this year
January 14, 2013 for Lyme Disease Action
Walking – a resolution for 2013 or an ongoing interest? Either way, spare a thought for ticks as you don walking boots and traipse the countryside this year.
From city strolls – complete with picnic in the park – to stomping across fields, and from hiking in the wilderness or leisurely pub walks, charity Lyme Disease Action warns all walkers to be tick aware as they set out on foot, whether walking in the UK or abroad whilst on holiday. (NB ticks are found throughout the UK, North America and across Europe).
- AITO unveils Dubai as the host destination of its summer overseas conference 2013
The biggest issues affecting the independent travel sector will be addressed at the conference in June 2013 – taking place in one of the world’s fastest-developing destinations
AITO operators and AITO Specialist Travel Agents are delighted to announce that their summer overseas conference will take place in one of the world’s most extraordinary and dynamic holiday destinations – Dubai (14 -17 June 2013).
- Expert Africa now offering Kenya
January 9, 2013 for Expert Africa
Safari specialist Expert Africa has launched its new 2013-14 brochure including, for the first time, a Kenya programme.
Using the unrivalled knowledge of the team’s newest recruit, Richard Trillo – longstanding author of the Rough Guide to Kenya – Expert Africa has cherry-picked the best options available in Kenya today. Its new Kenya programme will be further expanding throughout 2013; check out Expert Africa’s website (www.expertafrica.com/kenya) for the very latest additions.
- Voyages Jules Verne launches World of Wonders 2013/14
January 8, 2013 for Voyages Jules Verne
North Korea, the ‘600-Mile Nile’ and ‘Mysteries of the Maya’ are among the new escorted tours awaiting discovery
Voyages Jules Verne has launched the latest edition of its popular World of Wonders brochure, covering departures until April 2014.
- Spoiling spas – relaxing breaks from Pride of Britain Hotels
January 3, 2013 for Pride of Britain Hotels
Whilst Christmas and its build-up is all very exciting, December can too often be all go. Come the New Year, you may feel the need to slow down and relax…
So, for anyone feeling fraught and frazzled, here are five luxury pampering spa breaks with Pride of Britain Hotels
- 2013: an eye-opener and a toe-dipper
January 2, 2013 for GIC - The Villa Collection
A new way to get to Greece, a Peloponnese secret, the introduction of Cyprus, 11 glorious new properties, and an airline of first-rate repute at your service
Greek villa specialist GIC The Villa Collection launches its 2013 brochure this week. Over 44 years the team has worked happily and tirelessly to build up the UK’s most admired portfolio of superlatively-situated, fabulously-secluded, luxuriously-appointed villas in areas of Greece untouched by time.
- Spanish properties with sensational views
From prime city-centre apartments to swish cliff-top villas, you can be assured of a room with a view at one of these stunning Spanish villas and apartments
With over 6,600 properties on its books, Spain-holiday.com continues to be the leading Spanish property specialist when it comes to holiday rentals. Here are just a few examples of properties that boast some of Spain’s most magical vistas
- AITO Know-It-All : new tours and announcements from AITO members
December 27, 2012 for AITO - Association of Independent Tour Operators
Here’s the latest round-up of new tours and announcements from the Association of Independent Tour Operators (AITO).
- Ffestiniog Travel offers Portillo Rail Journey packages
December 21, 2012 for Ffestiniog Travel - Unforgettable Rail Journeys
Missed Michael Portillo’s incredible Great Continental Railway Journeys or simply want to see it again? Good news – BBC Two is repeating this popular series over five consecutive nights, starting on Monday 31st December at 4.30 pm (full broadcasting schedule here).
- Decks To Die For…
for Expert Africa
Safari specialist Expert Africa offers a selection of lodges and camps with decks to take the breath away:
Ngorongoro Crater Lodge, Tanzania
Ngorongoro Crater Lodge has various outdoor decks which overlook the bowl below, ranked as one of the world’s greatest wildlife areas
- Northern Lights at Easter – new holiday from The Aurora Zone
December 19, 2012 for The Aurora Zone
2013 offers a rare overlap of Easter and the Northern Lights-viewing season. Taking advantage, The Aurora Zone is offering a brand-new trip over the Easter weekend.
Encompassing all of the best bits Lapland has to offer, the five-night Aurora & Snow Village Easter Adventure promises an action-packed array of activities. Taking advantage of the milder climes and longer daylight hours in April, you’ll zip off on a snowmobile trip to Lainio Snow Village, home to an Ice Restaurant and incredible ice sculptures, and then undertake a full-day husky safari, taking the reins at the head of a team of dogs. The remaining days promise a 10km reindeer safari through serene and snowy Lappish forests, and the chance to try classic Scandinavian pastimes such as cross-country skiing and ice fishing. A free day is also included, with the option of a complimentary shuttle to the ski resort of Levi, around 20 minutes away.
- Had enough of the cold?
December 18, 2012 for Kirker Holidays
Kirker’s latest brochures offer heart-warming holiday temptation in India & Spain
As the winter weather continues to keep us guessing in the UK, there’s never been a better time to dive between the covers of Kirker’s latest India and Spain brochures and start planning next year’s tailor-made long-haul trip or sunny short break. Each of the dedicated brochures from the specialist tour operator for discerning travellers is brimming with suggestions for unforgettable holidays to these diverse destinations – ranging from introductory itineraries for first-time visitors to single and multi-centre options created for clients with specific cultural and geographical interests in mind.
- New carrier comes to Gatwick for Greece specialists Sunvil Holidays and GIC The Villa Collection
Greece specialist Sunvil Holidays and its sister company GIC The Villa Collection have jointly announced the introduction of a new airline for their Greece programme in summer 2013.
- Borealis & bunny rabbits? 2013 offers rare chance to see Northern Lights at Easter
December 11, 2012 for Activities Abroad
Exciting news from The Aurora Zone: in an excellent example of astrological pre-planning, 2013 will offer a rare treat indeed – a very high chance of seeing the Northern Lights over Easter.
- Late availability in Lapland, plus a brand-new January trip with The White Circle
December 10, 2012 for Activities Abroad
New January dates and availability with The White Circle – new, adult-only Lappish holiday expert
- Sunvil Discovery launches its biggest Scandinavia programme to date
December 6, 2012 for Sunvil Discovery launches its biggest Scandinavia programme to date
2013 brochure features new itineraries, destinations and properties plus an extended winter programme
- Spanish wildcats & South America’s ‘Big Five’ – Naturetrek introduces six new tours for 2013
December 5, 2012 for Naturetrek
Naturetrek introduces six new tours for 2013
Always on the look-out for new destinations and yet more of the world’s top wildlife experiences to offer its clients, Naturetrek has just added six tours to its 2013 programme – from watching wildcats in the Spanish Pyrenees to spying South America’s ‘Big Five’
- AITO Inspiration – winter sun holidays
December 4, 2012 for AITO - Association of Independent Tour Operators
Bored of the grey skies, rain and drizzle? Here are some of the greatest winter sun holidays available with members of the Association of Independent Tour Operators. Aboard The Shongololo Express in South Africa – from £3,699 pp with Ramblers Worldwide Holidays
- Kirker expands its Italian collection – numerous new properties for 2013
November 30, 2012 for Kirker Holidays
Characterful hotels for discerning travellers added in Lake Garda, Venice, Verona, Tuscany & Umbria.
- Pride of Britain Hotels welcomes two new members: The Grove, Narberth and Lewtrenchard Manor, Devon
November 27, 2012 for Pride of Britain Hotels
New this month to Pride of Britain Hotels, the consortium of 44 privately-owned independent British hotels and spas, are two very unique hotels – The Grove, Narberth, set in glorious Pembrokeshire countryside and Lewtrenchard Manor, which is located in a secluded Devonshire valley.
- Exciting smews* – Naturetrek launches brand-new Beginners’ Birdwatching Tours programme for 2012-3
November 26, 2012 for Naturetrek
New for 2012-3, Naturetrek has launched Beginners’ Birdwatching Tours, a programme of ten trips aimed squarely at amateurs.
- AITO SUSTAINABLE TOURISM AWARDS –
November 23, 2012 for AITO - Association of Independent Tour Operators
Green action from the original green pioneers
AITO (the Association of Independent Tour Operators) has green credentials going back to 1988 – that’s an impressive 24 years of consistent green thinking, lobbying and action. Having a Sustainable Tourism (ST) policy, following AITO’s own ST guidelines and appointing an ST manager are prerequisites for AITO membership, so seriously does the association take all things environmental.
- CELEBRATE DAVID LIVINGSTONE’S BICENTENARY WITH EXPERT AFRICA
November 22, 2012 for Expert Africa
Five trips to experience Africa, Livingstone-style
19th March 2013 marks the 200th anniversary of the birth of David Livingstone – explorer, writer, missionary and medic. Fêted by some as “Africa’s first freedom fighter” and by many for his anti-slavery campaigns, Livingstone was one of the first Westerners to make a transcontinental journey across Africa.
- Peter Sommer Travels announces five new expert-led tours for 2013
November 21, 2012 for Peter Sommer Travels
Peter Sommer Travels announces five new expert-led tours for 2013
Cultural and archaeological tour specialist Peter Sommer Travels has introduced five new itineraries for 2013, including new tours in Turkey and Greece, a brand-new gulet cruise which combines the two countries in the south-east Aegean, plus a new take on the company’s signature Alexander the Great tours.
- AITO announces 2012 Travel Writer of the Year awards
AITO today announces the results of its 16th Travel Writer of the Year awards. The three award categories – Travel Writer of the Year, Online Travel Writer of the Year and Young Travel Writer of the Year – were presented at the AITO Meets the Media event held at the Millennium Gloucester Hotel on 20 November.
- Christmas as it should be, with Activities Abroad
November 20, 2012 for Activities Abroad
- Picture your typical snow-globe scene and it’s likely that Father Christmas, reindeer and snowmen will spring to mind. Enjoy all of these, plus a white Christmas – a definite when it comes to Lapland – on these three new Yuletide tours, all still with availability this winter.
- Great Little Breaks’ 1st birthday (b)looms
November 16, 2012 for Great Little Breaks
28th November marks one year since Great Little Breaks launched, enabling people to book incredible value short breaks across the UK complete with activities, attractions, excursions and treats – plus plenty of alluring added value – all included in the price. And as their birthday cake candle is blown out, their newest partnership, with The Great British Florist, blossoms.
- New Year’s resolution trips with Discover Adventure – healthy holidays in 2013
November 15, 2012 for Discover Adventure
New Year’s resolution trips with Discover Adventure – healthy holidays in 2013
Make 2013 a year to remember by taking on a bucket-list trekking or cycling challenge – and raise money for charity at the same time if you wish
Stick to your New Year’s resolution and do wonders for your fitness and self-esteem levels by embarking on a once-in-a-lifetime expedition offered by Discover Adventure, the leading specialist in trekking and cycling challenges worldwide for charitable fundraising.
- AITO Specialist Travel Agents’ domestic conference 2013
A comprehensive programme of activity is planned for AITO Agents’ annual gathering of independent agents and operators
AITO Specialist Travel Agents is delighted to unveil the programme for its domestic conference 2013 – taking place at the prestigious Chesford Grange Hotel in Warwickshire on 12-13 January 2013.
- Fancy writing the next BAFTA-winning comedy or swapping a job in the city for a candle-making career?
November 13, 2012 for The Watermill at Posara
See yourself as the next Agatha Christie, penning the next BAFTA-winning comedy or swapping a job in the city for candle-making?
While its focus remains on painting and creative writing courses, The Watermill at Posara will be branching out in 2013 with a calendar that includes TV script-writing, candle-making, batik painting and more.
- Kirker Holidays launches first-ever dedicated brochure to France
November 8, 2012 for Kirker Holidays
New destinations for discerning travellers include the Camargue, Corsica and the Champagne town of Épernay
Specialist tour operator Kirker Holidays has launched its first-ever dedicated brochure to France. Brimming with suggestions for short breaks and multi-centre itineraries to all four corners of this fascinating country, the new brochure features a number of new destinations alongside classic Kirker city, coastal and rural options.
- AITO Specialist Travel Agents unveil Just a Drop fundraising campaign to improve lives of 6,000 Ugandan villagers
The UK’s leading independent travel agents announce partnership with the international water aid charity ‘Just a Drop’ at World Travel Market 2012
Independent agents’ association AITO Specialist Travel Agents is set to raise £20,000 over six months in aid of Just a Drop, which will enable three villages in Uganda to be provided with boreholes, supporting and improving the lives of over 6,000 people.
- ‘Short stories abroad’ with Voyages Jules Verne
November 7, 2012 for Voyages Jules Verne
Latest Classic Resorts & Weekends brochure features three to nine-night trips, from North Cyprus to the Northern Lights
Specialist tour operator Voyages Jules Verne has launched the latest edition of its popular Classic Resorts & Weekends brochure. Covering departures until December 2013, the colourful new brochure offers a tempting selection of competitively-priced ‘short stories abroad’ – each from three to nine nights in duration – to popular destinations in Europe, Africa and the Middle East.
- The Scrubba wash bag appoints Travel PR
for Scrubba wash bag
Travel PR is delighted to announce that it is now representing the ScrubbaTM wash bag, also known as the world’s smallest washing machine.
Created by Australian entrepreneur and backpacker Ashley Newland, the Scrubba wash bag is the ultimate solution to the laundry woes of adventurous travellers, backpackers and hikers, with its innovative yet supremely simple way to wash clothes while on the go.
- Christmas card writing, festive house parties and Twixmas treats with Pride of Britain Hotels
November 6, 2012 for Pride of Britain Hotels
Book a stay at one of the Pride of Britain Hotels, a consortium of 44 privately-owned independent British hotels and spas, and you can be sure to experience some superb hospitality this autumn and over the festive season. Here are just a few of the options, but for a full list visit the late booking availability and special offers online.
- Gothenburg and West Sweden – Christmas breaks and new tours for 2013
November 2, 2012 for West Sweden
Here’s an overview of inspirational new holiday ideas and travel news – from a festivity-filled break in Gothenburg to new walking trips in Dalsland’s lake district, hotel openings and plans to expand the famous Shellfish Journey
- AITO Agents welcomes two new members
October 26, 2012 for AITO - Association of Independent Tour Operators
AITO Specialist Travel Agents is continuing to add to its membership, with the acceptance of another two new members – Hampshire-based Roger Walker Travel and Leicester-based Millington Travel.
Founded in 1998, Roger Walker Travel offers an extensive range of holidays around the world alongside its own ski tour operating business. The independent agent prides itself on providing personal customer service, including hand-delivering travel documents and helping clients with online check-in.
- Sunvil Holidays launches new 2013 Cyprus brochure
October 25, 2012 for Sunvil Holidays
Sunvil Holidays, the UK’s longest-established specialist operator to Cyprus, launches its 2013 brochure, packed with a diverse selection of unique and authentic properties across the island. Currently the only dedicated Cyprus brochure to offer year-round accommodation rates, Sunvil continues its commitment to family-run and owner-managed properties to give independent travellers a true insight into the Cypriot way of life.
Choose from a range of five-star properties such as the luxury Thalassa Boutique Hotel & Spa (p.41) on a small peninsula above Coral Bay, through to converted village houses like the pretty stone-built Eveleos Apartments (p59) in Tochni, or charming community-run accommodation such as Casale Panayiotis in the Troodos mountains.
- Learn a new skill with Pride of Britain Hotels
Combine photography, fishing, sailing and Christmas cooking with a stay at one of these luxury and boutique hotels
Think of luxury hotels, and sumptuous cotton bedding, hearty breakfasts, excellent hospitality and the odd Michelin-starred restaurant may come to mind. Stay at one of the Pride of Britain Hotels and you’ll find all this, but many give you the chance to experience something different, too.
- Japan – the ultimate winter destination Snowscapes and ice festivals in the north contrast with white sandy beaches and warmth in the south
October 24, 2012 for Inside Japan Tours
With each winter, Japan becomes a little better known for its supreme snow conditions, which can last from November to as late as April across northern Honshu and Hokkaido. Not so well known is the wildlife that revels in the winter wonderland of the Rising Sun. Pretty much unknown outside Japan are the diving delights around the sub-tropical islands in the south, where winter temperatures rarely dip below 20°C.
- Three, two, one – action!
Get active on Portugal’s finest untouched coastline, the Costa Alentejana
From Tróia in the north down to Zambujeira do Mar in the south, with superb coastal paths, country trails, a shining surf and proud Atlantic cliffs backing unspoiled beaches, the Alentejo coast is up there with the best for outdoor activities, from hiking, surfing and biking, to kayaking, golf and yoga.
- Spectacular Sevillian views, Scandinavian style or an artist’s country retreat
- Book ahead to snap up the latest properties in Spain-holiday.com’s expanding property portfolio -
With over 6,600 properties on its books, Spain-holiday.com continues to be the leading Spanish property specialist when it comes to holiday rentals.
- Propose, say “I do” or honeymoon in Lapland with Winter Weddings
October 23, 2012 for Activities Abroad
As the name suggests, Winter Weddings does just that – it arranges weddings in Lapland (primarily Finland) and also in Sweden and Iceland “during winter”. However, the specialists don’t just stop there. They also arrange proposals and honeymoons for couples looking for an alternative way to celebrate inside the Arctic Circle.
- Seven ways to experience Lake Malawi
October 22, 2012 for Robin Pope Safaris
Lake Malawi is on more lifetime wishlists than it’s not, and no wonder why. A mirror-flat, sparkling surface that stretches across more than 20% of what is arguably Africa’s friendliest country, it’s certainly seductive. Throw in an exclusive beach lodge offering languor and lively activity in equal measure, and this is wildest-dream territory. Only legendary safari operator Robin Pope Safaris could have brought such style to this lakeshore.
- Wonderful winter escapes for discerning travellers from Kirker Holidays
October 19, 2012 for Kirker Holidays
Make the most of the colder months with a festive short break to one of Europe’s Christmas Markets or an unforgettable Northern Lights experience
As dark evenings and cold mornings become an everyday occurrence for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere, there’s a decision to be made. Hibernate until spring, or seize the opportunity to indulge in everything that’s wonderful about this time of year. Specialist tour operator for discerning travellers, Kirker Holidays believes in making the very most of the winter months, fully embracing the season with a tempting selection box of seasonal short breaks.
- Classic Cottages unveils 2013 brochure and secret West Country hotspots
for Classic Cottages
The UK’s leading independent cottage holiday company, Classic Cottages, today launches its new Directory 2013 brochure of over 700 coastal and country properties across Cornwall, Dorset, Devon and Somerset.
The brochure is accompanied by Classic Cottages’ quarterly publication – Notes & Stories – a heart-warming journal with personality that delves into the hidden gems of the West Country. It captures the company’s in-depth local knowledge, uncovering the best little-known places and activities – from a cute coastal café that serves up the freshest seafood to the UK’s largest rural film festival, plus picturesque circular routes for walkers, joggers or cyclists and fascinating historical attractions.
- AITO Inspiration – winter-based activity holiday ideas
As the weather gets colder and the days begin to get shorter, banish those end-of-summer blues with the latest inspirational ideas for winter-based activity holidays from members of the Association of Independent Tour Operators (AITO, www.aito.com).
A mush for husky lovers – Northern Sweden from £1,333 pp with Sunvil Discovery
Explore snowy Swedish Lapland in the company of man’s (and woman’s) best friend. No ordinary dog-sled tour this; a four-night Silence of the Winter husky experience is fully hands-on. You’ll learn how to lead, mush and care for the dogs as well as witnessing some of most spectacular winter scenery in Northern Europe. Priced from £1,333 pp (two sharing) the trip includes return flights (London) to Kiruna via Stockholm, transfers, four nights’ full board (two at Pine Tree Lodge in the rural hamlet of Kangos, two in a wilderness cabin) and excursions. Call AITO* member Sunvil Discovery on 020 8758 4722 (www.sunvil.co.uk).
Winter fairytale in Germany – from £945 pp
- Quick – go on a European walking holiday while there’s still time!
October 16, 2012 for On Foot Holidays
Autumn may have tightened its grip here in Britain but, on the continent, other European countries are determinedly hanging onto their warm climes. Before the foggy, fireside months take firm hold everywhere, then, how about a late-autumn hiking trip? European walking-holiday specialist On Foot Holidays – which offers self-guided trips in unusual corners, or unusual takes on classic destinations – recommends these routes for a late-October or early-November seven-night saunter:
- Biodiversity on the Costa Alentejana
October 10, 2012 for Biodiversity on the Costa Alentejana
The Alentejo’s troiaresort sets an excellent environmental example
A deluxe destination with biodiversity at its heart, the Costa Alentejana’s troiaresort on the eponymously named peninsula – a short ferry ride from Lisbon’s Setúbal – is a unique retreat for nature lovers, couples and families who appreciate luxury but who also care about the environment.
Tróia peninsula, wedged betwixt the Atlantic Ocean and the Sado River estuary, is home to more than 600 different species of wildlife. The landscape – made up of dunes, scrubland and a tidal salt marsh area – provides the perfect habitat for 233 varieties of flora, including two endemic species of juniper – juniperus turbinate and juniperus navicularis.
- Loos with a view – Holidays Please names five of the world’s most scenic
October 8, 2012 for Holidaysplease
Take in the sights while you tinkle at these incredible water-closets
Relieving yourself is an important part of daily life, but you needn’t always settle for a bog-standard lavatory. Certain loos around the world come blessed with sensational views – and here are Holidays Please’s five most scenic spots for those personal pit-stops:
- Kirker’s new Cultural Tours & Music Holidays brochure 2013
October 5, 2012 for Kirker Holidays
New escorted options take discerning travellers from Tuscany to Tenerife, alongside several new additions to Kirker’s exclusive music festival selection
Specialist tour operator for discerning travellers, Kirker Holidays has launched the latest edition of its Cultural Tours & Music Holidays brochure, covering destinations in the UK, Europe and the USA. Filled with escorted itineraries to occupy the most ardent aficionado until November 2013, the new programme encompasses a variety of specialist subjects – from archeology and architecture to horticulture and history – as well as general interest tours, plus 22 short breaks and holidays aimed at music enthusiasts.
- Maximise the Maximum with The Aurora Zone
October 1, 2012 for The Aurora Zone
2013 should bring the Solar Maximum’s peak… but when’s the very best time to see the Northern Lights? 2013 is supposedly going to bring the peak of the current Solar Maximum, the part of the sun’s cycle when its energy is at its highest. ‘Supposedly’ because solar physicists are getting their telescopes in a right twist on this subject, and not everyone agrees. But most of the leading lights (sorry) – including NASA – do concur that next year is the likeliest time. The Solar Maximum brings an increase of sunspots, and that in turn causes coronal mass ejections (CMEs). When a CME hits Earth, it travels down magnetic field lines and collides with atoms.
- Dog-friendly cottage breaks in the West Country – now’s the perfect time to go!
for Classic Cottages
As beaches with seasonal dog bans open up access again, there couldn’t be a better time for a pooch-friendly cottage stay in the South West…
Many of the West Country’s most popular beaches are off limits to dogs for half of the year, closing from Easter Day until 1 October at selected beauty spots from Porthcurno to Portland.
As the beaches re-open to welcome our canine friends, why not take advantage by staying at one of Classic Cottages’ dedicated dog-friendly properties across Cornwall, Devon, Dorset and Somerset? Here guests and their four-legged friends are in for a real treat – surrounded by acres of land where dogs are free to roam, and with countless beaches, cliff walks and dog-friendly pubs right on the doorstep.
- Droitwich-based MD, Vivienne Hudson-Findlay, makes it to Businesswoman of the Year Finals
September 26, 2012 for Great Little Breaks
Vivienne Hudson-Findlay, the delightful face and driving force behind hotelshopUK.com and Great Little Breaks – the country’s leading UK accommodation and short break specialist – is in with a fighting chance of winning this major accolade, now celebrating its 30th year
Everything about Vivienne Hudson-Findlay, MD of Droitwich-based hotelshopUK.com, shouts success. Highly capable and hugely charismatic, Vivienne’s drive and ambition has made a considerable impact on the hotel industry over the past 33 years. And now this is being recognised by her peers: she’s been singled out as one of six finalists who’ve particularly impressed the selection committee of the Businesswoman of the Year Awards.
- Three Pride of Britain Hotels Scoop Prestigious AA Awards
September 25, 2012 for Pride of Britain Hotels
Pride of Britain Hotels, the consortium of 44 privately-owned independent British hotels, had three reasons to celebrate at last night’s 2012 AA Hospitality Awards.
Two Pride of Britain Hotels members were awarded the ultimate achievement for UK hotels – AA Hotel of the Year. The Torridon, an impressive Victorian former hunting lodge set in 60 acres in the Scottish Highlands, won the prestigious AA Hotel of the Year – Scotland. And AA Hotel of the Year – Wales was awarded to member Bodysgallen Hall and Spa, a magnificent country house hotel in North Wales with views of Conwy Castle and Snowdonia.
- Moor up and mingle amongst Manrique’s legacies
Upmarket yachting specialist Essential Sailing is expanding its programme in the Canary Islands by launching holidays in Lanzarote for the first time during winter 2013. Perfect for sailors and non-sailors alike, the week-long itineraries provide plenty of time to explore the island’s often over-looked cultural attractions as well as stunning lunar landscapes and sheltered bays.
Featuring art made entirely from lava and lava bubbles, visionary artist and architect César Manrique’s house and art gallery in Tahiche is testimony to how nature can turn into a work of art in its own right.
- AITO and AITO Agents’ overseas conference 2012: the survey results
September 20, 2012 for AITO - Specialist Travel Agents
Annual conference in Madeira receives overwhelmingly positive feedback
Following the second annual joint overseas AITO and AITO Agents’ conference in Madeira, Portugal (14-17 June, 2012), a survey has revealed that over half of the delegates found that the destination exceeded their expectations.
Sponsored by the Madeira Promotion Bureau, the conference was held in Madeira’s Capital, Funchal, and saw an engaging mix of big-name speakers, group panel discussions and an array of networking opportunities.
- Discover Adventure unveils new European city marathon walks
The leading specialist in trekking and cycling challenges worldwide for charitable fundraising, Discover Adventure, has launched four new trekking trips that take in some of Europe’s most exciting capital cities.
Following the success of the 26-mile London Stadia Trekathon – which takes walkers past many of the venues from the London Olympics – Discover Adventure has decided to repeat the format in four popular European cities – Amsterdam, Barcelona, Paris and Edinburgh.
Led by highly experienced leaders, the new 26-mile city treks are a truly unique way to explore each capital, carefully designed to take in ‘must see’ and lesser-known sights in a short amount of time. The treks take place on one day of a weekend trip, giving participants the chance to relax in the city too.
- The launch of a new-look Latin America brochure
for Sunvil Traveller
Sunvil Traveller – real Latin America restyles its portfolio for the more independent and free-spirited traveller
Sunvil Traveller – real Latin America is pleased to launch its new brochure, carefully restyled and redesigned to make the complexity of planning a Latin American trip an inspirational pleasure from day one. Now more compact in size, the new brochure is easier to browse through and it contains considerably less text, which has been carefully honed by Sunvil Traveller’s expert team to deliver key decision-making facts for each country featured in an easy-to-grasp format. Most of the images have been captured by Sunvil Traveller’s team on their own in-depth annual trips to the continent – testament again to the breadth of their personal knowledge and experience.
- Family Fun in the Land of the Rising Sun
September 19, 2012 for Inside Japan Tours
InsideJapan Tours’ new family focus
Bright lights in big cities; courteous people and clean streets; bullet trains and cable cars; animation and wild animals; futons on tatami flooring and Japanese kimono; make-your-own pancakes and all-you-can-eat ice cream parlours; fireworks and festivals; Geisha and gizmos; awesome architecture and mammoth department stores; mountains, jungle and tropical beaches, and a whole load more. Japan is a fascinating destination for any family. There are activities to suit all ages and, contrary to common belief, the experience doesn’t have to be expensive.
- Time for tea with Pride of Britain Hotels
September 13, 2012 for Pride of Britain Hotels
As autumn days draw in, there’s nothing quite as quintessentially British as a good afternoon tea. Partake in this great tradition at one of the Pride of Britain Hotels which, all privately-owned and individual themselves, offer different afternoon tea experiences, too. From teas fit for gentlemen and Winnie-the-Pooh-themed menus to the perfect, lavish London treat – there’s something for everyone, whatever happens to be your cup of tea.
- Expert Africa names the best African treehouses
for Expert Africa
Including a brand-new option at Beho Beho, here are safari specialist Expert Africa’s favourite African treehouses:
Bush Night, Beho Beho, Tanzania
Just opened, Beho Beho’s new fly-camping experience – what they now call their bush-night stays – sees guests overnighting up in the trees. After a two-hour bush walk through the Selous Game Reserve (Africa’s largest), the experience promises a hot shower, cocktails, a campfire dinner and a proper bedroom with en-suite bathroom and flush loo
- Premium credit cards hit small businesses and will increase cost to consumers of buying holidays
It seems those exciting-sounding credit cards offered by the banks, offering a range of enticing benefits including money back, free travel insurance and all those desirable-sounding bells and whistles, are not the good-news story they initially seem to be.
They could actually push up the costs of buying ALL goods and services for ALL consumers, claims holiday specialist group The Association of Independent Tour Operators (AITO, www.aito.com).
- Get ready for the winter Aurora-hunting season, 2012/13
September 12, 2012 for The Aurora Zone
Experienced Northern Lights holiday company, The Aurora Zone, advises travellers to book now to avoid disappointment for what it predicts will be its busiest winter yet…
After a tremendously successful 2011-12 season, The Aurora Zone has announced an expanded range of Aurora-hunting itineraries in Finland, Norway and Sweden. It is also introducing new trips to Iceland. In spite of almost trebling its capacity, the specialist Northern Lights operator is already reporting high levels of interest and near sell-outs up to six months in advance.
- Naturetrek releases new 2013 brochure
September 11, 2012 for Naturetrek
Wildlife specialist Naturetrek’s exciting new 2013 brochure contains 14 new tours, including four new UK options.
Those 14 new offerings (see factsheet below for details) include a spring birdwatching trip to Sicily, a ‘Killer Whales & Northern Lights’ tour of Iceland, puma-watching in Chile, a visit to India’s little-known Satpura National Park and an exploration of Baffin Island in Canada.
- Ffestiniog Travel launches 2013 Rail Holidays of the World
September 5, 2012 for Ffestiniog Travel - Unforgettable Rail Journeys
New brochure adds several European itineraries alongside perennial train travel favourites
Specialist rail operator Ffestiniog Travel has launched its new Rail Holidays of the World 2013 brochure, packed with a tempting selection of escorted and tailor-made journeys across the globe. Holidays featured in the brochure are divided into three collections, offering something for every type of train traveller:
Grand Rail Tours - for those looking to explore the world by rail and enjoy a fulfilling mix of culture, leisure, like-minded company and comfortable accommodation during the journey.
Connoisseur Rail Tours – for those with a specific passion for railways who wish to indulge this enthusiasm within the framework of a refined and relaxing holiday.
Signature Rail Tours – provide the flexibility to travel anytime, anywhere in the world. Trips can be tailor-made for couples or groups who have a specific itinerary in mind, including accommodation and guided sightseeing en route, as well as all rail arrangements.
- Watch out for ticks in these green and pleasant lands
- A warning from charity Lyme Disease Action to all country sports fans
With the shooting season almost fully underway in the UK, country sports enthusiasts up and down the country will be getting ready to enjoy the great outdoors.
Whatever the activity – be it shooting, fishing or riding – sporting aficionados are likely to be familiar with landscapes such as heather moorlands, bracken-rich spaces, grassy riverbanks and wooded shooting estates. They may not, however, be so familiar with Lyme disease and the fact that all these areas are prime habitats for ticks. Lyme Disease Action warns people to look out for ticks this coming season.
Stella Huyshe Shires, Chair of the charity Lyme Disease Action, contracted Lyme disease in Devon and says, “Many will be familiar with removing ticks from gun dogs or pets, but not all would know what to do if they had a tick on themselves. It’s important for people to remember that, wherever your dog goes, you also – by and large – go too. Whilst we don’t want to put anyone off enjoying countryside traditions…
- Gothenburg and West Sweden Autumn Newsletter 2012
September 3, 2012 for West Sweden
New holiday inspiration and travel news – from the chance to go on a lobster safari during the renowned six-week autumn Shellfish Journey festival, to sea kayaking along the west coast, plus a press trip opportunity, a new hotel and restaurants in Gothenburg and a preview of the festive season… Witness the Shellfish Journey Attention seafood fans! West Sweden’s famous Shellfish Journey will once again take place this autumn/fall, kicking off at the start of the lobster season (first Monday after 20 September every year, i.e. 24 September- 4 November 2012). The shellfish in West Sweden is among the tastiest in the world – especially during this time when the water is cooler and the delicacies come closer to shore. As well as eating your way through the ‘big five’ of the seafood world – lobster, mussels, oysters, crayfish and prawns – learn how to catch and cook them on an exhilarating seafood safari. Sample Shellfish Journey packages: New for 2012, set off on a seafood safari along the sheltered Gullmar Fjord, fishing for Gullmar Prawns; they differ from the common prawn…
- AITO Know-It-All
August 29, 2012 for AITO - Specialist Travel Agents
New tours from AITO members
Cachet Travel will complete its Canary Island collection from November, with the addition of Fuerteventura and El Hierro. This will make it one of the only UK tour operators offering tailor-made packages to all seven main islands in the Canaries, as well as the tiny isle of La Graciosa just off Lanzarote. www.cachet-travel.co.uk
Discover Ltd is hosting a 140km route or a 60km route charity cycle ride in Marrakech next April for Moroccan NGO, Education For All. Riders climb up through the High Atlas Mountains to the ski resort of Oukaïmeden (Ouka), which sits at 2,624m above sea level. www.discover.ltd.uk.
Explore has launched two new ‘Limited Collection’ tours that take in winter festivals. The new 14 day Sapporo Snow Festival tour in Japan also visits Kyoto, Yudanaka – home to the famous ‘snow monkeys’, and spends a night in a seventh century Zenko-ji temple complex. Meanwhile the 11 day Harbin Ice Festival and Chinese New Year also includes tickets to Hong Kong’s New Year Parade, where customers can watch from reserved seats. www.explore.co.uk.
- Naturetrek releases new 2013 brochure
Brand-new trips to Sicily, Sri Lanka, Chile, Iceland and Islay & Mull
Wildlife specialist Naturetrek’s exciting new 2013 brochure contains 14 new tours, including four new UK options.
Those 14 new offerings (see factsheet below for details) include a spring birdwatching trip to Sicily, a ‘Killer Whales & Northern Lights’ tour of Iceland, puma-watching in Chile, a visit to India’s little-known Satpura National Park and an exploration of Baffin Island in Canada.
Elsewhere, the vast array of existing trips includes butterfly-viewing trips to Hungary and Greece; birding tours from Sri Lanka to Florida; jaguar-watching tours in Brazil; flora-themed visits to Kazakhstan, Norway and Ecuador; whale-watching in West Greenland and Monterey Bay; tours observing bears in Spain and Finland; and other itineraries themed around snakes, snow leopards, wolves, dragonflies, red pandas and much more.
In total, Naturetrek now offers around 350 tours to nearly every corner of the world. That includes the ever-expanding range of UK trips, which takes in the Shetland Isles, the Scillies and the famous Somerset Levels starling murmurations.
- USA road trips: Get ‘On The Road’ with Vacations to America
The classic Fifties novel, On The Road, has been given the Hollywood treatment, with the film version set to hit UK cinemas on 21 September – starring Kristen Steward, Sam Riley and Garrett Hedlund.
Written by Jack Kerouac in 1957, this semi-autobiographical novel defined the iconic Beat Generation of post-World War II writers, poets, drifters and jazz bands. The story follows Salvatore ‘Sal’ Paradise and his new friend, Dean Moriarty, as they road trip back and forth across the USA, including New York City, Denver, San Francisco and New Orleans.
Follow in their footsteps – or create your own unforgettable self-drive itinerary – with USA specialists, Vacations to America. Renowned for its epic road trips, Vacations to America offers a fantastic selection of classic and lesser-known fly-drive adventures, with destinations including New England, The South, California and The West.
Each itinerary includes a unique range of handpicked accommodation, such as quaint country inns and boutique hotels – as well as driving directions, maps and travel guides.
Richard Wimms, Managing Director of Vacations to America, says: “Nowhere does a road trip like the USA does. It’s an easy destination to drive around and visitors are literally spoilt for choice when deciding which route to take”
- Sumo giants, Chelsea skills, baseball home runs & Formula 1
August 24, 2012 for Inside Japan Tours
InsideJapan Tours provides the ultimate fix for sports fans
As the nation continues to bask in the glory of Olympic gold, specialists in travel to Japan,InsideJapan Tours has come up with some experiential travel ideas featuring similarly special sporting moments. Tailor-made packages, including tickets to one of the annual sumo tournaments, the FIFA Club World Cup, baseball games or Formula 1, are sure to keep that winning feeling alive as well as offering a cultural look at sport in Japan and the country’s impeccable organisation of major sporting events.
Sumo in Tokyo, Osaka, Nagoya and Fukuoka
Grand sumo tournaments, often attended by members of the Imperial family, take place over a two- week period, six times a year (in January, March, May, July, September & November). See the up and coming wrestlers compete at the beginning of each day, with the big guns headlining during the afternoon and early evening. Ancient ceremony is integral to sumo and customs are strictly adhered to at the beginning and end of each fight; ring-side seats are often Japanese floor cushions and traditional lunch boxes (bento) and green tea or beer are always on sale.
- Billiards breaks – follow Harry’s cue abroad with Holidays Please
Showing his balls by playing strip-billiards while in Las Vegas, Prince Harry has inadvertantly lent a whole new sexiness to cue sports.
If you want to have a go at some billiards yourself while on holiday – be it poolside pool, snooker after snorkelling or carom billiards in between cookery classes – luxury specialist Holidays Please offers several hotels which fit the ‘bill’ and offer billiards facilities. As hunky Harry showed, billiards can be an enjoyable holiday pastime for everyone – with or without your clothes on.
All of these resorts combine billiards facilities with bliss-out luxury:
- Smugglers’ Cove, St Lucia: A 45-acre all-inclusive resort, this Caribbean paradise throws in numerous watersport options, health and fitness options galore, a Samsarati Spa, seven pools, a top-quality racquet club and all manner of island excursions to complement its billiards experience, which is obviously the main reason why you’ll be visiting… Prices from £1,475 pp on an all-inclusive basis*
The Aventura Spa Palace, Mexico: Soon to be renamed as the Hard Rock Riviera Maya, this resort is positioned in the heart of Riviera Maya and features 1,266 rooms, all of which have a Jacuzzi. Suites also have extraordinary views of the Caribbean, which is just a few minutes’ walk away.
- Autumn hues in Tuscany: watercolour painting and memoir-writing courses at The Watermill at Posara
August 23, 2012 for The Watermill at Posara
Autumn late-availability and press trip possibilities
Four courses at The Watermill at Posara still have availability this autumn. Suitable for all abilities, courses are held at the beautiful, picture-perfect, restored 17th century grain, chestnut and olive mill in rural, north-west Tuscany. Using the local surroundings as inspiration – with trips out into the countryside and to nearby villages – guests enjoy superb regional food, such as gorgonzola soufflés, risotto with pears and parmesan, amaretto mousse ice cream and homemade tiramisù.
1-8 SEPTEMBER 2012
Laraine Simpson – watercolours, oils, pastels and other media
Laraine likes to encourage her students to appreciate the relationships between line, tone, shape and colour. Her main areas of interest are the human form, landscapes, architecture and horses.
15-22 SEPTEMBER 2012
NEW: ‘How to write your life story’ with British author Jo Parfitt
If you have a story to tell, but don’t know how to, Jo Parfitt – author of 27 non-fiction books – should be able to help. During this memoir-writing course, guests learn how to write compelling stories based on their own experiences and turn them into a publishable memoir.
22-29 SEPTEMBER 2012
David Taylor – watercolours
Australian artist David has received more than 100 awards for his watercolour paintings.
- Calling all solo travellers!
August 22, 2012 for Voyages Jules Verne
Voyages Jules Verne launches new selection of No Single Supplement itineraries
Specialist tour operator Voyages Jules Verne has expanded its popular No Single Supplement programme with the addition of several new itineraries. Presented in a colourful pamphlet, as well as on the company’s award-winning website, the latest selection covers departures from September 2012 to December 2013 and includes a tempting mix of short and long-haul destinations in Europe, Africa, India, the Middle East and the Far East.
One of the first UK travel companies to introduce a dedicated selection of tours for the solo traveller, Voyages Jules Verne continues to innovate in its approach to this increasingly popular type of holiday. Far from being a ‘singles club’, its No Single Supplement arrangements ensure that clients wishing to join a trip independently may do so without paying extra for their own room – whether travelling entirely alone or wishing to join groups of friends or couples for a memorable break.
No Single Supplement places are now available on selected departure dates of the following popular Voyages Jules Verne tours:
Music on the Danube – A mini-cruise to Vienna, Budapest and Bratislava featuring full-board accommodation on the MS Vivaldi, sightseeing and a special music programme in each city.
- Another string to Great Little Breaks’ travel trade bow
August 20, 2012 for Great Little Breaks
UK short breaks specialist, Great Little Breaks – offering UK getaways with all sorts of added extras and treats – is cementing travel trade links apace and this week announces its partnership with well-known Midlands-based independent agency Carrick Travel.
Great Little Breaks will provide Carrick Travel with five exclusive offers each week to sell via its eight travel agencies: Leamington Spa, Cheylesmore in Coventry, Kenilworth, Stratford-upon-Avon, Bourton-on-the-Water, Chipping Norton, Evesham and Pershore. These special deals will cover a broad range of escapes, including Great Little Gourmet Breaks, Great Little Family Breaks, Great Little Explorer Breaks and Great Little City Breaks.
Launched in November 2011, Great Little Breaks saves its customers up to 70% on packaged trips around the UK, including 3-star to 5-star accommodation, rail travel and car hire where appropriate, tickets to attractions and events, and usually adds much-appreciated extra value – for example a gourmet dinner will be thrown in, or a spa treatment, a bottle of fizz or a cream tea on arrival at the hotel.
Carrick Travel, established in 1974, is owned and managed by Tina Nason and Tracey Carter. Their team of expert travel advisors has an excellent reputation for really listening to their clients’ requirements and imparting their specialist knowledge accordingly.
- See more of the world’s ‘HighLights’ with Voyages Jules Verne
New affordable alternatives introduced for Ecuador & the Galapagos, Iceland, India, Russia and Uzbekistan Specialist tour operator Voyages Jules Verne has launched the latest edition of its HighLights brochure, featuring a range of Limited Edition itineraries to destinations in Europe, Africa, the Far East, the Middle East and South America. The brochure, which is also available online, includes several new tours – to Iceland, Russia, Uzbekistan, Northern India and Ecuador & the Galapagos. Introduced for the first time at the end of last year, these cost-conscious tours distil Voyages Jules Verne’s main World of Wonders programme into shorter, more affordable options of between seven and 11 nights’ duration. Reflecting the challenging economic times with which many travel enthusiasts are currently faced, the HighLights itineraries have proved to be particularly popular, retaining as they do the essential sights, sounds and atmosphere of the destinations visited, whilst being kind to one’s pocket and annual holiday allowance. New to the ‘Highlights by Voyages Jules Verne’ collection for 2012/2013 are: In Europe: HighLights of Uzbekistan – this seven-night tour immerses travellers in the ethnic and cultural melting pot of a country that boasts a remarkable historical and architectural legacy. Sightseeing opportunities include visits to enigmatically-named places such as Ulugbek’s Observatory, the Ark Fortress and the Summer Palace of Emir. Price is from £1,145 pp*.
- Holidays Please now offering the ‘Caribbean Crawl’ – see ten islands in 30 days
We’ve all heard of pub crawls – now who fancies a Caribbean island crawl, packed with pina coladas, fantastic resorts, perfect beaches and exotic scenery? For those with sufficient amounts of sterling, sun cream and diary space, fly-and-flop specialist Holidays Please has dreamt up a ten-country, 30-night ‘Caribbean Crawl’ costing a mere £12,567 pp (two sharing) – and there’s not a cruise ship in sight. Here are the details: Start in Barbados – three nights’ all-inclusive at Turtle Beach Resort Located in six acres of tropical gardens beside a mile-long beach, this elegant all-suite resort has various freshwater pools, including a whirlpool. Facilities include a beach concierge service, non-motorised watersports, a fitness centre and floodlit tennis courts, while the nightlife of St Lawrence Gap is only a few minutes away. Transfer to Grenada – three nights’ room-only at Coyaba Beach Resort With traditional Caribbean design creating a unique holiday getaway, Coyaba Beach Resort is perched on the edge of Grand Anse Beach, one of the Caribbean’s best for natural beauty. Exuding comfort and chill-factor, the resort also boasts a fitness centre, pool and dive centre. Transfer to St Vincent – three nights’ all-inclusive at Buccament Bay
- The Watermill at Posara announces its 2013 line-up of painting and creative writing courses
August 17, 2012 for The Watermill at Posara
The Watermill at Posara announces its 2013 line-up of painting and creative writing courses
Five brand-new courses, both painting and creative writing – including The Watermill’s first crime fiction writing course – have been announced for 2013.
Suitable for all abilities, courses are held at The Watermill, a beautiful, picture-perfect, restored 17th century grain, chestnut and olive mill in rural, north-west Tuscany.
Here are the five new courses in 2013:
• California-based Tom Schaller (1-8 June 2013) worked for 20 years as an architect and architectural artist and is now a full-time watercolourist.
• Artist Joanne Boon Thomas (8-15 June 2013) hopes to share her excitement at the unpredictability of watercolours, inspiring other artists to realise the hidden talents they possess.
• British artist Sue Ford (24-31 August 2013) will be sharing her extensive mixed-media skills, and aiming to stretch all students regardless of their ability.
• Bev Wells (14-21 September 2013) focuses on teaching a methodical step-by-step approach to watercolour painting and places a strong emphasis on colour.
• Popular thriller novelist Meg Gardiner will be leading The Watermill’s first crime writing course (5-12 October 2013), which will cover the essentials needed to write a bestselling thriller: from building up tension and creating a memorable villain, right through to getting your work published.
- AITO Agents welcomes another new member
AITO Agents welcomes another new member AITO Specialist Travel Agents is continuing to grow from strength-to-strength, with the appointment of another new member – Ultimate Destinations. Based in Chorleywood in Hertfordshire, Ultimate Destinations was established 20 years ago by Alan Haynes who wanted to utilise his many travel experiences to create a travel agency with a difference. Each of its eight team members – a mix of shop and home workers – has 20 years’ experience, with the agency specialising in cruise and luxury holidays, as well as corporate travel. Alan Haynes of Ultimate Destinations says: “We decided to join AITO Agents because I feel that Ultimate Destinations has a very similar ethos to AITO. Most of the holidays that we sell are with AITO members so I thought the next logical step was to join AITO Agents. “The role of the retail travel agent has changed massively. To succeed we have to work more closely with our business partners and AITO membership will assist us greatly in this.” Oliver Broad, Chairman of AITO Agents, says: “I’m delighted to welcome Ultimate Destinations to the AITO Agents’ team – our fifth new member in three months! It’s great to see a steady flow of independent agents recognising the importance of being part of AITO.”
- Cool camping in Cornwall
August 16, 2012 for Classic Cottages
Classic Cottages adds luxury camping to its portfolio
The UK’s leading independent cottage holiday company, Classic Cottages, is adding camping in style to its portfolio of over 700 gorgeous coastal and country properties across Cornwall, Dorset, Devon and Somerset.
Its two new super-trendy, gigantic safari-style tents – Hobie or Woody (each sleeping four to six – two bedrooms plus den beds in the living area) – are located in a blissful Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty on Chymder Farm, near Mullion on the Lizard Peninsula in South West Cornwall.
Anthony Skitt, Managing Director of Classic Cottages, says: “Guests will be treated to the finest camping experience. Be warned: if you like roughing it, this might not be for you!”
The spacious tents – far enough apart for privacy but also suitable for two groups holidaying together – are elevated on wooden platforms and equipped to a top-notch standard, including a wood-fired cooker that doubles as a heater if required, enamel crockery for eating indoors or out, quality sprung mattresses, linen bedding and the softest towels.
- Politicians, smugglers, sweet plums and Europe’s only desert
Late availability and sun-kissed autumn breaks with Spain-holiday.com
With over 6,400 holiday homes across Spain, the Balearic Islands and the Canaries, Spain-holiday.com offers far more than the average holiday villa. Apart from its glamorous beachside villas and historic city apartments, the company – now one of the most popular for holiday rentals in Spain– also includes castles, caves, mills and former monasteries on its ever-expanding books.
Here’s a selection of properties which still have availability this summer and autumn:
Copy the Camerons in Mallorca – from £117 pp David and Samantha Cameron have been spotted sipping coffee in the pretty Mallorcan town of Pollença this week. Sample the island’s many charms, which range from pretty coves to hilltop chapels, at Can Ferragut (property ref:14083), a four-bedroom villa that’s located between Pollença and the coast. The property is ideal for families or a group of friends and has a private pool, BBQ area and two sun terraces. In September, a week’s stay costs from €1050/approx £822 for the villa or £117 pp (seven sharing). Flights (Palma) extra.
- Majete Wildlife Reserve to become Malawi’s only Big Five park on 25 August 2012
August 15, 2012 for Robin Pope Safaris
Robin Pope Safaris is thrilled to announce that, on 25 August, Malawi’s Majete Wildlife Reserve will complete a remarkable transformation. The re-introduction of a lion population will once again give it Big Five-status – a boast no other park in Malawi can make.
The arrival of three lion – transported from South Africa by African Parks, in a project funded by Robin Pope Safaris – will complete Majete’s collection of the Big Five, the animal quintet by which all safari areas are today judged. The other four members are the African elephant, the Cape buffalo, the leopard and the rhinoceros; all have been re-introduced or reinvigorated in Majete, with leopards the most recent to return, in October 2011 and January 2012.
Located in southern Malawi’s Lower Shire Valley, the beautiful 70,000-hectare Majete was granted protected status in 1955, but suffered from extensive poaching in the ‘80s & ‘90s, losing huge percentages of its mammals. In 2003, however, the philanthropic African Parks Network agreed with the Malawi government to take charge of the park, which combines granite-topped hills, river valleys and lush forest. In an inspirational project, African Parks set about restoring, restocking and rehabilitating Majete to its former glory.
- A very special offer on the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express
August 13, 2012 for Kirker Holidays
Save up to £825 pp on a sublime short break to Venice this autumn with Kirker Holidays
High on every discerning traveller’s wish list, a rail journey on the iconic Venice Simplon-Orient-Express has become an eminently more achievable experience thanks to an exclusive offer from Kirker Holidays. Departing on a choice of dates in October, Kirker’s long-established relationship with the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express – and with the hoteliers with whom it works in Venice – has enabled the renowned city break specialist to be able to offer savings of up to £825 pp on three and four-night trips.
When it comes to celebrating a special birthday or anniversary in style, or simply treating oneself, there can be few journeys to match the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express. In an age where travel can often be synonymous with airport anxiety and being ‘all about arriving’, this luxurious train makes getting there, or coming home, an integral – and truly unforgettable – part of the holiday. Step on board and be taken back in time to a bygone era, travelling in elegant style whilst enjoying the highest standards of personal service. Feast on delicious cuisine in the stylish dining car and enjoy the company of fellow passengers in the convivial ambience of the understated bar carriage before retiring to the comfort of a private sleeper cabin.
- Beat the post-Olympic blues by ‘learning the Gold standard’
Five-star health & fitness company Illumanis launches a new ‘Train like an Olympian’ holiday
If you’ve spent the last two weeks addicted to the athletics, captivated by the cycling successes and hooked on the handball, the four years until Rio might seem like a marathon wait.
So, helping fulfil the nation’s newly-found sporting enthusiasm, five-star health & fitness company Illumanis – just launched this summer – will get you fit in a week with its brand-new ‘Train like an Olympian’ programme.
Not all of us have four years to train, so this week-long package offers a great alternative. And, if you’re inspired by our athletes and are now after abs like Ennis and the stamina of Mo, this training camp will not only help you achieve these goals, but will also give you an insight into how top-level athletes train and prepare for the biggest events of their lives.
Train like an Olympian, from £1,525 pp: Following a scientific approach to training, this week will get your body conditioned for high-performance training, and you’ll come away feeling fitter, stronger, faster and energised, with an easy-to-follow training programme for when you’re back home.
- Ionian Weddings launches in Italy
for Ionian Weddings
Award-winning bespoke wedding expert expands its elegant portfolio of venues across the Mediterranean
Having operated successfully within the bespoke wedding market across Greece, Cyprus and, more recently, Malta, Ionian Weddings has just launched a sophisticated new programme in Italy. Never far from sparkling Mediterranean waters, and always offering unusual venues, Ionian Weddings can now arrange magical wedding ceremonies along the spectacular Amalfi Coast and on the romantic island of Capri.
Choose from laid-back Sorrento with its pretty citrus groves, precipitous yet elegant Positano, clinging to the rocks, Amalfi with its narrow streets and steps leading to tiny piazze, or the serene hilltop village of Ravello. And those who thought they could only dream of getting married on Capri can think again. Remaining true to its core value of affordable luxury, Ionian Weddings can arrange ceremonies in relatively simple (but nonetheless lovely) venues or organise day trips to Capri from Sorrento, thus making dreams come true.
Ionian Weddings’ Director and co-founder, Jane Palikira, says: “Having lived and worked in Italy, I am fluent in Italian, I have a passion for the culture and I also have a broad spectrum of professional contacts across the country, so I am very excited to launch our new Italy programme.
- Three cheers for Yorkshire: Celebratory breaks with Pride of Britain Hotels
August 8, 2012 for Pride of Britain Hotels
At least ten of Britain’s 2012 Olympic medal winners, including the much-acclaimed heptathlete Jessica Ennis, hail from the beautiful county of Yorkshire. With historic cities, windswept moors and a celebrated coastline, there are many reasons to visit.
Pride of Britain Hotels, a consortium of 44 privately-owned independent British hotels and spas, has the following Yorkshire breaks available:
Hey Diddle Diddle in the Yorkshire Dales – one-night from £76 pp: Boasting 40 individually-designed luxury bedrooms, The Devonshire Arms is situated on the Duke of Devonshire’s magnificent 30,000 acre Bolton Abbey Estate, from where the children’s rhyme ‘Hey Diddle Diddle’ reputedly originates. The estate tests guests’ balancing skills – not quite at Olympic performance levels, though – with its famous 57 stepping stones across the River Wharfe. A one-night midweek stay costs from £76 pp (two sharing) and includes overnight accommodation in a Wharfedale bedroom, full Yorkshire breakfast, complimentary Pimms or ice-cream, use of The Devonshire Health Barn with indoor pool and free admission into Bolton Abbey Estate. Valid midweek until 30 September. Call Pride of Britain Hotels (0800 089 3929; www.prideofbritainhotels.com) to book.
- INTERVIEW OPPORTUNITY – PRIDE OF BRITAIN HOTELS
August 7, 2012 for Pride of Britain Hotels
Pride of Britain Hotels is a consortium of 44 privately-owned independent British hotels, providing superb hospitality to their guests.The collective turnover of the member hotels is in the region of £176 million per annum and they employ nearly 4,000 staff. Available for interview on topics relevant to UK travel and tourism are two of the best-known figures currently working within the UK’s hotel industry:
Peter Hancock – Chief Executive, Pride of Britain Hotels for the last 12 years, previously Group Publishing Director of Johansens, active member of several hospitality industry associations and professional after-dinner speaker.
David Morgan-Hewitt – Chairman, Pride of Britain Hotels & Managing Director of The Goring, London since 2006; David has been at The Goring for a total of 20 years. David is a Master Innholder and winner of the prestigious “Manager of the Year” award at the 2010 Cateys.
Celebrating its 30th anniversary this year, the Pride of Britain Hotels’ collection of properties spans the UK and is proud to be the official hotel partner to The National Trust. Admission to the group is subject to each hotel successfully passing an anonymous overnight inspection by a current member hotelier.
- Sunvil launches new “Holiday Offers & Late Availability” web portal
August 2, 2012 for Sunvil Holidays
Independent tour operator, Sunvil, makes it easier for travellers and travel agents to find a bargain via www.sunvil.co.uk
Travellers hunting for a good deal on their next holiday need look no further than Sunvil’s new Holiday Offers & Late Availability web portal. With holiday offers in 2012/13 for Greece, Cyprus, Italy, Sicily, Portugal, Madeira and the Azores, plus late availability deals for Greece and the Azores, Sunvil has something for everyone looking to make their holiday budget go further.
There are no extra costs or hidden fees when booking with Sunvil – just the basic 2% charge if paying by credit card – meaning that the price you see online is the price you pay.
Sunvil’s Managing Director, Noel Josephides, says: “We offer travellers honest deals which are fair to our suppliers and help promote sustainable tourism. This web portal is a useful tool for travel agents and travellers alike. It means that our offers are available 24/7 – interestingly, about 20% of our business for Greece now comes in online – but, of course, we still welcome calls to our knowledgeable reservations team from agents and consumers alike.”
- Rural, romantic, seaside and Christmas breaks with Pride of Britain Hotels
August 1, 2012 for Pride of Britain Hotels
Squeeze in a last-minute summer break, contemplate a cosy autumn retreat or celebrate Christmas at a Pride of Britain Hotel, a consortium of 44 privately-owned independent British hotels and spas, renowned for their superb hospitality.
The Pride of Britain Hotels website (www.prideofbritainhotels.com) provides a constantly updated list of late booking availability and special offers. The new Pride of Britain Hotels directory (2012, volume 2) has also just been published and includes new members Langshott Manor (Surrey) and The Dial House (Bourton-on-the-Water). Here are a few of the current breaks available:
Holiday at a Hampshire mansion – one night from £55 p: Just under an hour from London, Tylney Hall Hotel is a Grade II listed Victorian mansion set in 66 acres of rolling Hampshire countryside with indoor and outdoor pools, a spa and a herb-filled vegetable garden. The hotel is currently offering a Summer Holiday Break for families from £55 pp (based on four sharing a family room – valid until 2 September) which includes a goody bag of games for children. The hotel is also offering three nights for the price of two (from £220 pp, two sharing). Both breaks include overnight accommodation, full English breakfast, use of the leisure facilities and a morning newspaper.
- Tailor-made escapes for discerning travellers
July 30, 2012 for Kirker Holidays
Kirker Holidays launches new brochures for Southern Africa and North Africa & the Middle East
Specialist tour operator Kirker Holidays presents the new editions of its dedicated brochures to Southern Africa and North Africa & the Middle East. Offering tailor-made short breaks and holidays to fascinating destinations across both regions, the brochures also include a number of new hotels and sample itineraries that are sure to entice both first-time and repeat visitors.
After almost a decade offering holidays to these exciting parts of the world, Kirker’s credentials in creating unforgettable travel experiences for its discerning clientele need little introduction. From intoxicating city breaks in Marrakech, Beirut, Cape Town or Tel Aviv to wildlife encounters in the game reserves and national parks of the Eastern Cape, Kruger and South Luanga; from exploring the ancient civilisations of Egypt, Israel and Jordan to relaxing resort stays on the beaches of Oman, Mauritius and Dubai, Kirker Holidays can put together a tailor-made itinerary that perfectly reflects its clients’ particular tastes and interests, adding personal elements such as an English-speaking private guide to take travellers truly under the skin of their chosen location.
- The Faroe Islands’ Phelps: Pál Joensen, Olympic Swimmer
July 27, 2012 for Faroe Islands
Born in December 1990 on the Faroe Islands’ southernmost island of Suðuroy, Pál Joensen began to emerge as a top-class swimmer in 2007 at the World Aquatics Championships in Melbourne. During the early part of his career, Pál trained near his home in a tiny 12.5-metre pool before upgrading to a 25-metre pool with four lanes in the town of Vágur, where he still lives. Favouring 800-metre and 1500-metre freestyle races, Pál has been coached by Jón Bjarnason since 2006. He will be competing in the London 2012 Olympics. Yet, because the Faroe Islands exist under the sovereignty of the Kingdom of Denmark, this tiny 18-island nation, located 300 km north ofScotland, is not entitled to have its own Olympics team; hence Pál will compete on the Danish team.
Pal will be competing in the following Olympic events:
- Saturday 28 July, 400 metre freestyle (heats and final)
- Tuesday 31 July, 200 metre freestyle (heats and final)
- Friday 3 August, 1500 metre freestyle (heats)
- Saturday 4 August, 1500 metre freestyle (final)
Pál near his hometown of Vágur
For further information: www.paljoensen.com
- AITO Agents welcomes three new members
AITO Specialist Travel Agents is delighted to announce the appointment of three new members – Double S Travel, Cambourne Travel and Bailey’s Travel.
Based in Luton, Double S Travel was founded in 1985 and specialises in leisure, cruising and business travel. The agent has an array of awards under its belt, including being shortlisted/finalists numerous times for Travel Agent of the Year at the Travel Agent Achievements Awards.
Based in Milton Keynes, Cambourne Travel opened in 1974 and is a family-run business offering leisure and business travel.
And with offices in Leighton Buzzard in Bedfordshire and Wellingborough in Northamptonshire, Bailey’s Travel was founded in 1988 and prides itself on offering quality, impartial advice in a relaxed environment.
Steve Pattenden of Double S Travel says: “We decided to become an AITO agent mainly because our clientele has shifted from being predominantly mass market ‘bucket and spade’, to higher-end, tailor-made and niche holidays – typically what AITO operators offer.
Our choice of operator is important to us. Ideally they will not be owned by or linked to any of the ‘big boys’. We are getting a little tired of being courted when they need us and dropped when they don’t. We look for long-term, reliable relationships with the tour operators we deal with. AITO seems to be the ideal organisation as they share our philosophy and we look forward to establishing strong relationships with them.”
- Travel PR representing Robin Pope Safaris’ Malawi properties
July 26, 2012 for Robin Pope Safaris
Open since July 2011, Mkulumadzi is the first lodge in the Majete Wildlife Reserve, a park revitalised over the last nine years by the pioneering African Parks organisation, and now home to Malawi’s most exciting game, most of which is habituated and easy to spot. Once lions are introduced (via a project that is being sponsored by Robin Pope Safaris) to Majete in four weeks’ time (25 August), this will become the only reserve or park in Malawi to boast all of the ‘Big Five’. Mkulumadzi’s eight spacious chalets (each with private viewing decks) blend luxury and isolation in a romantic setting beside the confluence of the Shire and Mkulumadzi Rivers, shaded by giant leadwood and wild mango trees. Guests can cruise on the Shire River, dine under the stars, go on game drives and undertake walking safaris.
Meanwhile, Pumulani, which opened in 2008 and is set at the southern tip of Lake Malawi, comprises ten stylish villas with cooling grass roofs, an infinity pool and a restaurant high above the water. Meals can be served either there, on the beach, in the gardens or on each villa’s private deck. This being Lake Malawi, various watersports – such as snorkelling, waterskiing, diving and fishing – are on offer, while romance-minded guests can also sail off in a dhow. One popular experience is to walk a nature trail to a secluded beach, then kayak back along the lake shore. Pumulani provides the perfect beach add-on to a Zambian, Zimbabwean or Malawian safari, and works very well with Mkulumadzi on a two-centre itinerary.
- InsideJapan Tours & Virgin Atlantic launch a ‘Blog to Japan’ competition
Celebrating its 12th birthday this year, InsideJapan Tours asks bloggers to digitise twelve reasons to go to Japan
InsideJapan Tours and Virgin Atlantic are launching a competition for an imaginative and creative blogger, plus blogging companion, to win a 19-night trip to Japan. Celebrating 12 successful years of presenting this enigmatic country to travellers, InsideJapan Tours now invites potential first-time visitors to present their own 12 reasons or motivating factors to go to Japan, using innovative blogs, video, photographs and well-written copy. The winning blogger will be asked to blog their way across Japan and provide daily entries that feature heaps of visuals revealing the unique culture, land and soundscapes of The Land of the Rising Sun.
Says Co-Director Alastair Donnelly: “We established InsideJapan to make this ostensibly mysterious country more accessible to travellers from the west. We fell in love with Japan during our first visits, and we wanted to show other people what an inspirational place it is. Thankfully, for 12 years our clients have continued to return from their trips exuberant about their experiences, as can be seen from the live reviews page on our website. Via the ‘Blog to Japan’ trip, we hope to capture a first-time traveller’s reactions in real-time, via digital media, and use the material to inspire others to go to Japan.”
- Illumanis – a brand-new healthy way to holiday
July 25, 2012 for Activities Abroad
Aptly launched ahead of the sporting frenzy of summer 2012, Illumanis is a new luxury, five-star fitness-holiday company Offering five-star fitness holidays at a luxury spa resort in Turkey, Illumanis offers a proven route to weight-loss with an emphasis on education and keeping the pounds off when back home. A productive way to spend a week, seven well-structured programmes – great for both sexes – have now been launched, all led by experienced trainers and consultants. Rather than spending a week in the gym, knowledgeable instructors will get guests to make use of the great outdoors with circuits on the beach and runs up into the Taurus Mountains. Says Stephanie Eddy, Marketing Manager of Illumanis, “Hectic, fast-paced lifestyles are becoming more and more the norm, and often it takes a week away to kick-start a new regime. Illumanis is ideal for busy, time-sensitive people who are keen to shed the pounds and combine this with a luxury holiday in the sun. Not only can guests expect to lose up to a stone of body fat, but they’ll also learn how to adapt their routine once home to ensure that the hard work doesn’t go to waste.”
- Join the fun of the Faroe Islands’ Tórshavn Marathon
for Faroe Islands
An utterly unique run celebrates its tenth anniversary
From 30 runners in 2003, to 111 in 2011, the annual Atlantic Airways Tórshavn Marathon has built up significant local and also global participation over the past decade. Testament to this is the participation of four runners from the UK this year, plus several from Denmark, Germany and the United States.
Organised by the Bragdið Athletic Club, the 42.2 km Tórshavn Marathon, taking place this year on 2 September, is guaranteed to be one of the most scenically-memorable marathons one could ever have the pleasure of running. Starting in the tiny and quirky capital of Tórshavn, with its multi-coloured houses, grass roofs and ninth century buildings, athletes run through the town and then head out northwards. An enchanting landscape of lush slopes, waterfalls, lakes and volcanic rock follows, as runners continue on tarmac roads, across ten cattle-grids, over two 100-metre hills and past a serene and stunning fjord. The route leads through the village of Kaldbak, situated on the east coast of Streymoy, home to a population of 221 and connected by road as recently as 1980.
- Sunvil rolls up its sleeves for Make Holidays Greener month
July 17, 2012 for Sunvil Holidays
The Sunvil Group – a collection of sustainably-minded tour operators – introduces a range of green initiatives across Greece for Make Holidays Greener Month and champions its owner-managed properties around the world
July is Make Holidays Greener Month, a consumer awareness campaign led by The Travel Foundation which aims to increase the ways that local communities can benefit from our holidays. A pioneer in the world of responsible travel, Sunvil unveils a range of initiatives to help develop sustainable tourism in Greece – from promoting local produce to donating items to orphanages – and reminds us of its eco-friendly work worldwide.
From its very inception in 1970, Sunvil Holidays has worked to establish long-term partnerships with its accommodation suppliers and local agents in the destinations it features. Driven by a passion to design sustainable programmes that have a positive impact on local communities abroad, Sunvil has developed an in-depth knowledge of every country it features, helping it to offer travellers an authentic taste of the real destinations it serves.
- SAVE ALMOST £2,000: WALKING IN ZAMBIA, EXCLUSIVELY WITH EXPERT AFRICA
July 16, 2012 for Expert Africa
Exhilarating to the point of addiction…that’s what walking with big game feels like if you’ve only ever seen animals from a safari vehicle. Expert Africa offers a safari experience in the South Luangwa – Zambia’s premier park – whereby the second person essentially safaris for free. Staying in at least two of Norman Carr Safari’s five well-established camps (Kapani, Kakuli and Mchenja, which offer a mixture of driving and walking activities; and Luwi and Nsolo, focusing almost solely on walking safaris), you’ll enjoy top-notch guiding, learn to sniff out elephants and to follow the tracks of hyenas.
You don’t need to be especially fit to walk in Zambia – the walks are about taking time to spot the signs of the wildlife and to learn how the ecosystems work. And you’ll be accompanied not only by a professional guide, but also an armed game scout, and often a tea-bearer carrying refreshments. Walks cater for a maximum of six guests, but between two and five is the norm.
- Best safaris by far (by individual, animal or activity)
July 11, 2012 for Wild About Africa
Wild about Africa – the UK’s leading small group safari specialist, known for its expertise – highlights the pick of its trips to suit a variety of situations, fascinations and aspirations.
Best for families…Safaris suitable for young children are hard to come by, but the Travel Tanzania Lodge Safari has no minimum-age limit (although Wild about Africa recommends it only for those aged 5+). Over eight days, families travel across northern Tanzania seeing plains game grazing and lions at rest in the Serengeti; ‘big tusker’ elephants roaming Ngorongoro Crater; and possibly rarer species such as gerenuk and fringe-eared oryx in little-visited Tarangire park. Stay in international-style hotels and lodges with buzzing restaurants.
Prices start from £2,322 pp (two sharing) including flights (London via Nairobi); transfers and transport; accommodation; guiding; park fees; and usually three meals a day. It’s easy to add on beach time in Zanzibar, post-safari.
- Challenge yourself with Discover Adventure’s new trips for 2013 and 2014
The leading specialist in trekking and cycling challenges worldwide for charitable fundraising, Discover Adventure, celebrates the launch of its 2013 and 2014 brochure of exhilarating expeditions.
Ranging from moderate to tough and led by highly experienced leaders, exciting new challenges in the brochure include cycling trips from Jaipur to the Taj Mahal in India, from Venice to Genoa in Italy and a Tour de France coast-to-coast journey through the Pyrenees, as well as a trek across North Africa’s three highest mountains.
The brochure features many more unique and classic trips too, from cycling The Great Wall of China and trekking through the Kalimantan jungle in Borneo to cycling from Land’s End to John O’Groats, hiking to Everest Base Camp or up Mount Kilimanjaro.
- Elegant gulets, Cappadocian cave culture and historical Istanbul
July 10, 2012 for Peter Sommer Travels
Why September’s ideal for a trip to Turkey with Peter Sommer Travels. Offering respite from the searing summer heat – yet with plentiful sunshine and seas warmed nicely to the mid-twenties – September’s an ideal time to try an expert-led cultural tour in Turkey. With the schools having gone back, archaeological sites will be quieter, making sight-seeing even more enjoyable.
Here’s a snapshot of September tours – both gulet cruises and land-based – all currently with availability:
A trio of Turkish gulet cruises: Glide through turquoise waters aboard a traditional wooden gulet this September, following itineraries put together by expert guides. Swim, snorkel and kayak in warm seas, anchor in secluded bays and visit archaeological sites accompanied by expert guides.
- Voyages Jules Verne re-launches iconic long Nile cruise
July 6, 2012 for Voyages Jules Verne
Latest World of Wonders brochure takes travellers on a cruise from Cairo to Luxor for the first time in over 15 years
Innovative specialist tour operator Voyages Jules Verne has launched the latest edition of its popular World of Wonders brochure, for departures until December 2013. Featuring a comprehensive collection of the very best cultural tours and inspirational journeys across Europe, Africa, the Middle East, the Far East, the Indian Subcontinent and the Americas, the new brochure notably includes an exciting return to some of Egypt’s most rarely-explored sites.
Long renowned for its Nile cruise programme between Luxor and Aswan, Voyages Jules Verne has welcomed the Egyptian government’s decision to re-open the northerly section of the river, between Cairo and Luxor, after more than 15 years. Thanks to this significant development, Voyages Jules Verne clients will once again be able to experience The Original Nile Cruise, a fascinating ten-night itinerary that sets sail from April 2013 – taking travellers from the Pyramids to Thebes on board the luxurious five-star vessel, MS Hamees.
- Embark on a Tour de France cycling challenge with Discover Adventure
July 5, 2012 for Discover Adventure
Inspired by the Tour de France (taking place now until 22 July) to set off on your own cycling expedition across France?
Discover Adventure offers a selection of Tour de France-themed cycling trips, ranging from moderate to tough and suitable for beginners who are prepared to train. And cyclists can heighten their sense of achievement by raising money for charity at the same time if they wish. Here’s a selection of Tour de France-themed cycling trips available with Discover Adventure:
Nine-day Pyrenees coast-to-coast cycle trip – NEW for 201: Cycle the mountains made famous by the Tour de France – celebrating its 100th edition in 2013. Journey across the Pyrenees, all the way from the Atlantic to the Mediterranean coast, setting off from France’s most south-westerly town, Hendaye, and finishing at Argeles sur Mer in the south of France. Conquer numerous steep cols every day, including the Col d’Aubisque (1709m high and first appearing in the Tour de France in 1910) and the famous Col du Tourmalet (2115m high).
- THE ULTIMATE GARDEN-LOVERS’ DESTINATION – THE LITTLE-KNOWN ISLANDS OF THE AZORES
July 2, 2012 for Sunvil Discovery
Sunvil Discovery, specialists to the Azorean archipelago for 22 years, offers year-round holidays to enjoy these verdant mid-Atlantic islands
The Azorean Garden (in the new World of Gardens area at this year’s Hampton Court Flower Show) showcases all that makes the Azores so special as a garden-lovers’ holiday destination.
Exotic flowers growing wild, basalt-wall-protected vines, steaming fumaroles, waterfalls and blue-green lakes; tree ferns, dramatic red-leaved cannas, naturally-heated pools and cerulean-hued hydrangeas in the hedgerows; agapanthus heads bobbing, fuchsias self-propagating in dry-stone walls, and colours from every part of the spectrum across the nine islands – all are part of the Azorean experience.
- The Prospectors’ Pub Crawl – a new offering from Expert Africa
June 26, 2012 for Expert Africa
Tour the bars of Bulawayo – in Zimbabwe – in the style of an early 20th century prospector
As unusual add-on experiences to safaris go, this one takes some beating…
Newly available through Expert Africa, the ‘Prospectors’ Pub Crawl’ comprises a walking (or, eventually, staggering) tour around the pubs and bars of Bulawayo – Zimbabwe’s second-biggest city. But this isn’t just a bland beer session in the name of alcoholic oblivion; far from it, in fact.
Instead, the guided, historical Pub Crawl will recreate the journey of 19th century prospectors as they returned to Bulawayo each day from the nearby gold mines. After handing over their findings for cash at the gold exchange, the prospectors then regularly embarked on a time-honoured route around town.
- ESCAPE THE OLYMPICS WITH HELP FROM HOLIDAYSPLEASE.CO.UK
Some of us can’t wait for the Olympics – we’re gagging for some Greco-Roman wrestling, hyped for the hurdles, desperate for a decathlon and anticipating archery like there’s no tomorrow. But there are also haters out there, awful anti-Games types who will be fleeing the country for as long as possible, muttering bad-humouredly even as they stow their bags.
For the latter sorts, a holiday destination during the Olympics needs to be considered carefully. Because, let’s face it, pretty much every hotel has a TV, and pretty much every TV will be showing the Games at some point. So, short of climbing Everest or deep-sea diving for two weeks non-stop, where can one go to escape this brouhaha? Long-haul specialist Holidaysplease.co.uk has the answers.
- Great Little Breaks hit the high street
Great Little Breaks, the UK’s newest short breaks specialist which offers UK getaways with added extras and treats, has linked up with leading independent travel agent, The Midcounties Co-op Travel.
The company’s first trade partnership will see its range of escapes, including Great Little Gourmet Breaks, Great Little Family Breaks, Great Little Explorer Breaks and Great Little City Breaks, sold in 42 high street branches of Midcounties Co-op Travel and via its website.
Great Little Breaks, which launched in November 2011, has agreed a deal to provide Midcounties with five exclusive ‘Best of British’ breaks each week with up to 70% discounts on packaged trips including hotel accommodation, rail travel where appropriate, tickets to attractions and events, and added value, such as a gourmet dinner, a spa treatment, a bottle of fizz and a cream tea on arrival.
- Pride of Britain Hotels welcomes Langshott Manor and The Dial House Hotel
June 21, 2012 for Pride of Britain Hotels
New this month to Pride of Britain Hotels, a consortium of 45 privately-owned independent British hotels and spas, are two very unique hotels; Langshott Manor, an enchanting Elizabethan manor house in Surrey, and The Dial House Hotel in Bourton-on-the-Water, which dates back to 1698 and is located right in the heart of one of the UK’s prettiest villages. Both hotels provide the exceptional service and attention to detail that Pride of Britain Hotels is known for and lead-in prices are as follows:
Langshott Manor – one night from £49.50 pp: Located in the beautiful Surrey countryside and set in three acres of immaculate grounds surrounded by an ancient moat, Langshott Manor is a rambling 16th century boutique hotel with 22 bedrooms.
- InsideJapan Tours redesigns the escorted experience
Introducing great value itineraries that still offer plenty of opportunity to get beneath the surface
Destination specialist InsideJapan Tours offers such a wide range of unique small group itineraries that choosing the right tour for the best value can sometimes be confusing. Taking travellers from the mountains of rural Hokkaido to the rainforests of Yakushima, each incorporates Japan’s ‘must-sees’ and ‘hidden gems’ as well as a multitude of cultural experiences guaranteed to give visitors an unforgettable experience.
To simplify the selection process, InsideJapan Tours has introduced four new small group tour categories and has made some of its itineraries more affordable. The new categories – Essential, Classic, Superior and eXplorer – also highlight clearly which elements are included in each tour, so that people can immediately see what they will get for their money.
- A Stars and Stripes Summer: jet off to the USA for the sunny season
Experience an epic summer holiday in North America this year with the USA specialists, Vacations to America
Whether relaxing in a slick rooftop bar in New York City, sunbathing on the snow-white sands of Florida’s beaches, trekking in Yosemite National Park or whale watching off the shores of Cape Cod in New England, there’s an abundance of awesome holidays to be had in North America during the summer.
And thankfully Vacations to America has them all covered with its extensive offering of fly-drive, escorted and tailor-made tours across all 50 USA states. The trips include a unique range of handpicked accommodation that it is often not possible to book direct from the UK and cover both classic and lesser-known routes and activities.
- Independent travel sector gathers at AITO and AITO Agents’ joint overseas conference 2012
The annual joint conference took place in Madeira in Portugal (14-17 June, 2012) and gave AITO tour operators and AITO agents the opportunity to address the biggest issues currently affecting the travel sector
Sponsored by the Madeira Promotion Bureau, the conference was held in Funchal, the capital of Madeira, and saw an engaging mix of big-name speakers from both inside and outside the travel industry.
Speakers included Deirdre Bounds – the successful ethical entrepreneur who started up a business from her bedsit and turned it into the world’s biggest gap-year travel company in just ten years, Allister Frost of Wild Orange – a marketing expert who discussed the psychology of consumers and Steve Keenan – the former online travel editor of The Sunday Times…
- AITO and AITO Agents’ joint overseas conference 2012 announcement
AITO All Stars revamp to give further financial benefits to all members
AITO Specialist Travel Agents announced a re-launch of its highly successful AITO All Stars incentive scheme at the AITO overseas conference in Madeira, Portugal (14-17 June, 2012).
The new AITO All Stars 2.0 incentive scheme will enable all agent members to earn ‘AITO credits’ that will be redeemable against their membership fee.
The incentive scheme involves an ongoing league table of AITO Agents that are achieving the best results when selling holidays offered by AITO Operators. The table is created by collating sales figures from around 30 participating AITO Operators in the scheme.
- A taste of Sicily – the secrets behind the cuisine with Sunvil Discovery
June 13, 2012 for Sunvil Discovery
Italy & Sicily specialist, Sunvil Discovery, unlocks Sicilian gastronomy with a range of cooking courses and a wine trail based in a selection of family-run agriturismos
Do you remember that scene in The Godfather where Clemenza teaches Michael how to make meatballs and spaghetti sauce? How about his sage advice: “leave the gun; take the cannoli”? New in 2012, Sunvil Discovery offers a range of cooking courses and foodie experiences to introduce guests to the real Sicily – without fear of crossing “the family”. Sicily is a cultural experience where to eat is to live – allow Sunvil to help unlock the secrets behind the cuisine and take a trip through 2,500 years of Sicilian history.
- Gothenburg and West Sweden Summer Newsletter 2012
for West Sweden
New holiday inspiration and travel news – from traditional Midsummer Eve celebrations on the west coast to new summer holidays and tours for 2012, foodie developments and a preview of the Shellfish Journey…
Celebrate Swedish Midsummer…
Take part in a very Swedish tradition by marking the arrival of summer there on Midsummer Eve (22 June 2012). After the country’s dark winters, this National Day is well deserved, with Midsummer Eve one of the lightest of the year and a magical occasion. Maypoles are raised in villages and cities across Sweden and everyone tucks into a traditional Midsummer feast, including pickled herring, boiled new potatoes with fresh dill, soured cream and red onion – as well as fresh strawberries and schnapps!
- June walking – head for Central Europe, says On Foot Holidays
for On Foot Holidays
With southern Europe getting too hot for hiking, and the mountainous routes not yet open, On Foot Holidays recommends that June walkers head for Central Europe. Here are some tempting June jaunts…
- Fall in love with Greece all over again…
From plush party pads for friends to perfect peaceful retreats for couples, GIC The Villa Collection has something for everyone seeking to rediscover the idyllic Greek islands
In spite of its recent economic struggles, and exaggerated newspaper reports telling us otherwise, Greece is still very much open for business this summer. Promising breathtaking scenery, great weather, fabulous food and friendly locals keener than ever to make your holiday a pleasure, 2012 is the perfect time to visit this enchanting country.
- The Best of British this summer with Pride of Britain Hotels
With Britain basking in a summer of pomp and pageantry, this is the year to enjoy the very best of British hospitality. Pride of Britain Hotels is a not-for-profit consortium of 43 privately-owned and expertly-run independent British hotels ranging from state-of-the-art spa hotels to historic mansions and country houses in some of Britain’s most beautiful locations, many within easy reach of National Trust* properties and other interesting sight-seeing options.
Here are just a few of the events taking place and special offers available around the UK at Pride of Britain Hotels this summer:
- High-profile speakers set for AITO & AITO Agents’ joint overseas conference 2012
This week’s conference will take place in Madeira in Portugal (14-17 June, 2012), offering AITO tour operators and agents the opportunity to address the biggest issues currently affecting the travel sector.
- AITO INSPIRATION: Escape the Olympics with AITO members
Missed out on Olympic tickets? Why not console yourself by escaping on one of these fabulous holidays, offered by members of the Association of Independent Tour Operators (AITO)…
- Essentially something for every occasion
May 31, 2012 for Essential Sailing
With flexible itineraries and a wealth of local knowledge, Essential Sailing’s luxury sailing holidays will appeal to all
Cruising the French Riviera and Italy’s Ligurian coast this summer, the high-end Beneteau Oceanis 50 yacht sleeps up to six guests – all in comfortable en-suite cabins. The professional crew will help you put together your own itinerary– whether this includes finding the most secluded bays for a swim, the best gelateria or the most impressive scenery to sail past.
Here are some holiday ideas to suit a variety of occasions and timeframes…
- Travel – how does it compare to 60 years ago?
May 30, 2012 for Holidaysplease
As HRH Queen Elizabeth II prepares to mark 60 years in the UK’s hotseat, she finds herself in a modern world of online check-ins, luxury lounges and in-flight dating services. But what was travel like in the 1950s, back when Her Majesty took over the crown? Long haul specialist Holidaysplease.co.uk (0844 463 2799, www.holidaysplease.co.uk) has been on a vacation down memory lane…
The average UK weekly wage…Even converted to ‘today’s money’, the average 1950s weekly salary is less than half of today’s figure. Then again, there was no council tax back then, house prices were tons cheaper and we all know bus fares used to cost SO much less…
- Book a post-Jubilee West Country break with the little ones
May 29, 2012 for Classic Cottages
Great value baby-friendly escapes in June with Classic Cottages
Fancy a peaceful holiday in the South West with your pre-school tots and have the flexibility to avoid the Jubilee weekend and summer school holiday rush?
During the quieter window in June, there’s greater availability and good value on many of Classic Cottages’ 700 coastal and country properties across Cornwall, Dorset, Devon and Somerset, including baby-friendly retreats that feature cots, highchairs, stair-gates, baby baths, changing mats and socket covers as standard.
- Gulets beyond Turkey, plus a brand-new culinary tour of Sicily
May 24, 2012 for Peter Sommer Travels
- Peter Sommer Travels’ two Italian tours
While Peter Sommer Travels’ roots may be in Turkey, its expertise in running cultural and archaeological tours also extends to southern Italy and Sicily, too.
Here, tours combine all the elements for which the company is renowned – expert guides, exceptional hospitality and immaculate attention to detail – with some of Italy’s most impressive sights and museums, as well as cuisine.
Unusual cultural and gastronomic experiences fill the itineraries of both tours, made possible by small group sizes and expert guides who possess a wealth of local, insider knowledge.
- Head west for less after the Olympics with Holidaysplease
May 23, 2012 for Holidaysplease
Britain is gearing up for a sizzling summer of royal regalia and sporting excellence, so it’s difficult to know when the best time to take a holiday will be, particularly if you’re also tied to school holidays.
Luckily the travel gurus at Holidaysplease.co.uk have done the legwork and pinpointed the best dates to travel, and the most cost-effective flight routes. Extensive research has shown that, if you’re planning to travel to America, Canada or the Caribbean, prices drop by about 25% a few days after the Olympic Games have finished, as the sample prices below show…
- Sunvil’s Edwardian riverboat, the Genevieve, joins the Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant
May 22, 2012 for Sunvil Holidays
On Sunday, 3rd June, Sunvil Holidays’ 98-year-old riverboat, the Genevieve, will join a thousand other vessels, including the Royal Barge, for the Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant – why not celebrate a special occasion on board this vintage motor launch with a group of friends?
A small part of one of the largest flotillas ever assembled on the Thames, the 40-foot vintage motor launch Genevieve (www.vintagethamescharters.com) will make the historic journey from Battersea to Tower Bridge in celebration of Her Majesty the Queen’s 60-year reign.
- Discover the Azores at Hampton Court Palace
for Sunvil Discovery
Sunvil Discovery and Azores Tourism join forces to host The Azorean Garden at this summer’s RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show
This year, Azores Tourism will host a garden at the RHS Hampton Court Flower Show (3-8 July) in association with specialist tour operator Sunvil Discovery (www.sunvil.co.uk/discovery). The Azorean Garden will be located in the new World of Gardens area, within which four destinations from across the globe will be represented – the Azores, Jordan, St Petersburg and Switzerland. Of all these destinations, the Azores is perhaps the least well-known, and the RHS show will provide the perfect opportunity for keen horticulturists and travellers alike to find out more about this unique archipelago.
- More Sangria in Spain for your sterling
May 18, 2012 for Spain-holiday.com
The Pound has hit a new three-and-a-half year high against the Euro, meaning good news for British holidaymakers this summer.
According to Claus Sorensen, CEO, Spain-holiday.com, “British holidaymakers can expect around 10% more purchasing power in Spain this year. Families travelling to Spain will get £47.41 more than last year when they change £500, while the price of a three-course meal with wine in Spain costs just £21 pp.”
Spain-holiday.com is the fastest growing holiday rental company in Spain with over 6,300 properties on its books.
Here are just some of the properties currently available…
- Tohoku – a little-known treasure trove
See two sides of Tohoku with InsideJapan Tours – discover its gems and try volunteering
Tohoku in northern Japan is probably better-known for the tsunami that devastated its coastline than for its inland rural beauty. Yet this largely unexplored region is a place of forest-clad sacred mountains and hot springs; it is dotted with ancient temples and steeped in history. Tohoku is also home to the utterly exquisite Konjikido, a gold-gilded shrine in the Chuson-ji Temple situated in Hiraizumi, a town with a history dating back to 866.
InsideJapan Tours has created a 13-night Tohoku Treasures & Volunteering trip designed to highlight the gems of Tohoku but also to encourage people to help with the tsunami recovery efforts. Imagine if all the seaside towns along coastline from London to Newcastle disappeared overnight: this is what happened in Tohoku.
- ‘The Autumn Lights’ – a new way to see the Aurora Borealis in 2012
May 10, 2012 for The Aurora Zone
Experienced Northern Lights tour operator, The Aurora Zone, introduces a new range of ‘Autumn Lights’ tours in Finland to coincide with the Solar Maximum
After a tremendously successful 2011-12 winter season, specialist Northern Lights tour operator, The Aurora Zone, announces an expanded 2012-13 season including a range of new Autumn Lights itineraries for travellers who would like to experience the Borealis, but without the snowy, sub-zero conditions of a Scandinavian winter.
With similar prospects of seeing the Borealis in September as in deepest winter, ruska (Finnish for ‘time of autumn colours’) lends a different perspective to the Northern Lights.
- Expert Africa relaunches website
May 9, 2012 for Expert Africa
Offering safaris, beach holidays and combinations of both, Expert Africa is known for its unrivalled expertise – and this new website retains that incredible depth of African knowledge, with reams of detail on hundreds of areas and thousands of properties. However, the new website also now offers a much-improved functionality, rendering it a truly indispensable resource for any would-be visitor to sub-Saharan Africa, if it wasn’t already.
Improvements include: easy-to-navigate tabbed pages; new at-a-glance accommodation and country summaries, so visitors can opt out of reading full reviews if desired; much bigger-sized images available in galleries; the option to have a parallel gallery of professional photographs*; customer reviews integrated thoroughly across the site with each property’s latest rating on display; a much-easier-to-use wish-list function.
- Jubilant Llandudno – Voted one of the UK’s top ten resorts by TripAdvisor
Fondly regarded as the “Queen of the Welsh resorts”, North Wales’ Llandudno has been voted one of the top 10 UK holiday resorts in TripAdvisor’s 2012 Travellers’ Choice Awards announced today.
Perfectly placed on the unspoilt North Wales coast, the town has a pristine Blue Flag beach and is the ideal destination for a nostalgic family break with Punch and Judy shows, donkey rides on the beach, sand castle building competitions and the longest pier in Wales. Llandudno was also the favourite holiday destination of Alice Liddell who inspired Lewis Carroll’s famous Alice books and first visited Llandudno when she was just eight years old. More recently, Prince William and Kate Middleton have been spotted there.
- Avoid the midsummer madness: think Alentejo
May 2, 2012 for Sunvil Discovery
Far from the madding crowds of the Algarve, the Alentejo region of Portugal has a tremendous range of options for travellers looking to recharge their batteries
Covering one third of Portugal – but with just 6% of the population – the Alentejo is a beautiful and vast region of magnificent plains (montados), cork forests, medieval hilltop towns and unspoilt beaches – perfect for travellers seeking genuine relaxation, and a great place to indulge the senses, too.
Gaze up at the stars of Lake Alqueva – UNESCO’s first designated Starlight Tourism Destination; visit the 19th century copper mines of Mértola and the Roman remains at Miróbriga; savour traditional desserts so delicious they bring out the sweet tooth in almost everyone; sample fine Alentejo wines – the region produces 47% of Portugal’s vino – or simply enjoy the transcendent silence and space of the montado.
- Unique white orca seen near Kamchatka – where wildlife specialist Naturetrek operates a tour
As if Kamchatka isn’t a unique enough destination already, an all-white orca has just been observed swimming near its shores. Scientists sighted this amazing creature, presumed albino, in April near the Commander Islands, east of the Kamchatka Peninsula.
Wildlife specialist Naturetrek (01962 733051, www.naturetrek.co.uk) runs a 16-day tour to Kamchatka which visits the Commander Islands. It’s easy to see why: few destinations are as exotic and alluring as the Russian Far East – what with its thermal springs, acid lakes, geysers, virgin forests, pristine tundra, coastal bays, flower-filled meadows and rumbling volcanic islands – and there’s an incredible array of wildlife there. The locals include more than a dozen species of auk, millions of breeding seabirds, the mighty Steller’s sea eagle, sea otter, fishing owls, brown bear and a wide range of cetaceans including orcas.
- AITO and AITO Agents announce inspirational keynote speaker for joint conference in June
April 27, 2012 for AITO - Specialist Travel Agents
The first of many high-profile speakers revealed for this year’s overseas conference (14-17 June, 2012), sponsored by the Portuguese National Tourist Office and the Madeira Promotion Bureau
The conference – which will be held in Funchal, the capital of Madeira – offers the 145 member tour operators and 100-plus member agents the opportunity to meet up and to discuss the biggest issues currently affecting the travel sector. They will also be able to pick the brains of a number of successful personalities both from within the industry and beyond.
- SOUTHERN AFRICA’S BEST BICYCLE OPTIONS – FROM EXPERT AFRICA. (Including safaris while in the saddle…)
for Expert Africa
On your bike! Safari specialist Expert Africa features several Southern African locations which offer the opportunity to cycle:
Zambia: Amid the lush Rift Valley, enclosed by steep escarpment walls, is Zambia’s South Luangwa National Park. Tafika Camp, located on the banks of the Luangwa River beside the park, offers one of Africa’s more adventurous cycling options: mountain-bike safaris. Bike rides usually leave after afternoon tea and consist of a small group – usually no more than four guests. The group’s led by a highly experienced cyclist-guide, and accompanied by an armed National Park scout.
- Keen to make your property pay…this summer and beyond? A capital idea from LondonsHolidayApartments.com
London is an all-year-round holiday destination. This summer alone, the capital gears up to celebrate three of the most iconic events in its recent history: The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee (2-5 June), the Olympics (27 July-12 August) and the Paralympics (29 August-9 September), and demand for accommodation is likely to be higher than ever. Short-term and holiday lets specialist, LondonsHolidayApartments.com can help property owners who want to let out their homes – during this period and beyond – to reach potential customers and generate valuable income.
Founded in 2011 by four London-based directors with backgrounds in residential sales and lettings, surveying, law and accounting, LondonsHolidayApartments.com offers accommodation options ranging from ultra-modern studio apartments in the city centre to large, comfortable family homes in the quieter outskirts – and is adding new properties to its portfolio all the time.
- Sunvil acquires Planet Holidays – a marriage of two specialists
April 23, 2012 for Sunvil Holidays
Sunvil Holidays is pleased to announce that it has purchased Planet Holidays Limited, the wedding and luxury hotel operator.
Says Noel Josephides, Managing Director of Sunvil: “One of the growth areas in the travel industry has been the arrangement of weddings overseas. Until now, Sunvil has simply passed on to specialists the many enquiries it receives from clients wishing to tie the knot whilst on holiday because it didn’t have the right technical expertise to handle weddings. Planet was the first tour operator to recognise the potential of this market and still remains one of the true specialists in this field. The two companies are, I believe, a perfect match.”
- Relive the spirit of the Ancient Olympics and take part in the Nemean Games, 2012
April 16, 2012 for Sunvil Holidays
23 June, 2012 brings the fifth Nemean Games – held every four years in the ancient stadium of Nemea. Free entry to all contenders; sprint the 100m in a traditional Greek tunic and be crowned a champion with a wreath of wild celery.
Located in the Peloponnese area of southern Greece, the Nemean Games – first staged in 573BC – have been brought back to life and are looking for international contenders. It’s free, and competitors enjoy not only the amazing experience of racing just as the athletes of antiquity did, but also a village feast in honour of the Games afterwards, with acclaimed Nemean wineries furnishing the banqueting tables with excellent local wines. To take part, visit www.nemeangames.org (applicants must register by 15th May latest).
- Spring and Summer in North Wales
Walking, spa, culture, lobster safaris, gastronomy and family breaks – all on offer at St George’s, Llandudno
Four-star St George’s in Llandudno, North Wales is the place to be this spring and summer. Situated on the seafront with glorious views of Llandudno Bay, as well as of the Great and Little Orme headlands, it’s an ideal base from which to explore the different activities on offer in North Wales. Here are just some of the activities on offer:
Seafood and Lobster safar: With a spot on the town’s elegant Promenade, and views of the bay from many of the bedrooms, Llandudno’s the place to be if you’re fond of seafood…
- Holidaysplease.co.uk names 10 most unusual beaches
April 4, 2012 for Holidaysplease
If there’s one thing Holidaysplease.co.uk knows about, it’s beaches. As a long-haul specialist which offers lots of fly-and-flop breaks, the company knows its Byron Bays from its Bora Boras, and its Oludeniz from its Tulums. It also knows about some seriously strange sandstrips – and here are the ten strangest of all:
1. Loango National Park, Gabon: The sprawling park extends to miles of pristine beach, enabling the strange, gape-inducing dynamic of elephants, buffalos, wild pigs, gorillas and ‘surfing hippos’ taking a dip in the ocean. The coast-side Loango Lodge is the best place to stay, although you’re probably advised to leave your own trunks at home and just watch these strange swimming spectacles from the safety of the shore.
- Land of the Lost Wolves? We’ll help you find some!
If the BBC’s Land of the Lost Wolves (Thursday & Friday, 8pm, BBC1) whets your wildlife appetite, Naturetrek has the answer. Follow its experts Stateside in the hope of seeing wolves on one of three holidays to western Canada, or head to Europe on a shorter wolf-focused break.
The wolf is one of the world’s most awe-inspiring mammals. Persecuted across the globe, it has been eradicated across much of its former range by man. While the BBC’s new series focuses on the return of wolves to Washington’s Cascade Mountains, wolf packs still roam across parts of Canada, and Naturetrek’s three holidays each offer a good chance of seeing this magnificent, yet elusive, animal.
- Summer on Suðuroy
for Faroe Islands
Home to an Olympic swimmer, wonderful for walks and where the first-ever Faroese flag can be found
Suðuroy, the most southerly of the Faroe Islands, has lots to offer those looking for a summer break that involves history, culture and raw nature. It is also the birthplace and home of swimming champion, Pál Joensen, who trained in a 12.5 metre pool on the island to be selected to swim in the London 2012 Olympics. Yet, because the Faroe Islands exist under the sovereignty of the Kingdom of Denmark, this tiny nation, located 300 km north of Scotland, is not entitled to have its own Olympics team; hence Pál will compete on the Danish team.
The Faroe Islands is, however, self-governing, with its own Parliament and flag…
- Take time out for National Family Week
Celebrating family life, and encouraging families to spend more time together, National Family Week is an essential reminder for all of society – and wholeheartedly supported by Great Little Breaks
Taking place from 25 – 31 August in 2012, this annual event – now in its fourth year – highlights the importance of strong connections within families. Everyone and every interrelationship is important: children, parents, grandparents, aunties and uncles, nephews and nieces.
With demanding schedules, it can be tricky to find quality time together…
- St Tropez? So passé – try Tróia in Portugal
April 3, 2012 for Alentejo Promotion Office (via Sunvil Discovery)
The Costa Alentejana’s Tróia Peninsula – a short ferry ride from Lisbon’s Setúbal – is flanked by the Sado River estuary and the Atlantic Ocean. This little-known wedge of paradise, blessed with 65km of uninterrupted talcum-powder-white sandy beach, is being developed as a sustainable but deluxe destination.
The Tróia Peninsula will eventually boast 17,000 beds in a range of residential villas, townhouses and high-end hotel accommodation with apartment options across four resorts facing the Atlantic. For now, the jewel in the crown is the 486-hectare Tróia Resort, built at the end of the peninsula, where nature and leisure facilities exist harmoniously for families, well-heeled holiday makers and second-home buyers to enjoy.
- City breaks and relaxing resort stays from Voyages Jules Verne
April 2, 2012 for Voyages Jules Verne
Latest ‘Classic Resorts & Weekends’ brochure features new itineraries in Albania, Egypt and Iceland
Innovative specialist tour operator Voyages Jules Verne has launched the latest edition of its popular Classic Resorts & Weekends brochure. Covering departures until April 2013, the brochure features 35 tempting itineraries – ranging in duration from three to seven nights – to destinations across Europe, Africa and the Middle East, including three new tours:
A Taste of Albania: enjoy a few days in the ‘Land of the Eagles’ on this three-night sojourn that explores the capital, Tirana, before venturing further afield to visit the picturesque museum town of Berat, the Corinthian city of Apollonia and the historic centres of Shkodra and Kruja. Price is from £495 pp*.
- PRIDE OF BRITAIN HOTELS APPOINTS TRAVEL PR
Travel PR is delighted to announce that it is now representing Pride of Britain Hotels, a not-for-profit consortium of 43 privately-owned independent British hotels. Celebrating its 30th anniversary this year, Pride of Britain members provide, first and foremost, superb hospitality to their guests.
The collection spans the UK and is proud to be the official hotel partner to The National Trust. Styles of property include castles, manor houses, country mansions, spa hotels, contemporary properties, stately homes, inns and even a cruise ship. Locations range from idyllic hideaways in coastal, waterside and countryside locations to stylish city establishments.
- Baby-friendly acccommodation – enjoy a stress-free break with Classic Cottages
for Classic Cottages
Let’s face it, holidaying abroad with a little one can be rather challenging – so new parents should consider the great advantages of a UK holiday cottage getaway…
Offering 700 coastal and country cottages in Cornwall, Dorset, Devon and Somerset, Classic Cottages’ website has a very useful baby-friendly option. With a single click, the search automatically shows only properties that have cots, highchairs, stair-gates, baby baths, bath mats, changing mats and socket covers as standard. It’s perfect for parents with babies and saves schlepping all that bulky baby paraphernalia into the car on top of the normal hefty baby or toddler luggage allowance.
- AITO Agents welcomes new member
March 29, 2012 for AITO - Specialist Travel Agents
AITO Specialist Travel Agents is delighted to announce its latest member – CBT Travel.
Based in Rossendale in Lancashire, CBT Travel is an independent, family-run travel agency that offers all types of holidays – from UK short breaks through to tailor-made worldwide itineraries. Founded in 1990, CBT staff members are all well travelled – each with an average of 14 years’ travel industry experience.
Lisa Mousley of CBT Travel, says: “’We made the decision to join AITO as it is becoming harder and harder to compete with the big tour operators’ online and direct prices…”
- “Greece is wide open for business”, say the Greek Gurus at Sunvil Holidays
for Sunvil Holidays
– Sunvil, the acknowledged Greek Guru for 40+ years, explains why the British love affair with this Mediterranean favourite should be as passionate as ever this spring, summer and autumn –
A place of ancient legends, classical art, healthy cuisine, superb beaches and so much more, the British have been enthralled by Greece for decades, with over two million UK travellers visiting the country each year.
Dudley der Parthog, Director of Sunvil Greece (www.sunvil.co.uk), says: “Greece is wide open for busines…”
- Naturetrek appoints Travel PR
March 28, 2012 for Naturetrek
Travel PR is delighted to announce that it is now representing Naturetrek.
The Hampshire-based tour operator is the UK’s leading wildlife and natural history tour specialist. Offering around 375 expert-led itineraries, Naturetrek takes small groups (anything from 6-16 people) to every continent and the many seas between them, from spring birdwatching in Armenia to classic African safaris in Zambia. The company has been in business for over 25 years, and its heritage includes many “firsts”, for example being the first UK operator to introduce tiger-watching trips to India. Around half of Naturetrek’s current range of trips focus on Europe, with tours frequenting its best corners (many of them little-known) for flora and fauna.
Specialities include birdwatching trips, botanical tours, bear, whale and tiger-watching…
- Time to rethink the British stiff upper lip? Holidaysplease.co.uk survey reveals Britons’ worst (and best) holidays habits
March 27, 2012 for Holidaysplease
An exhaustive survey of over 1,000 holidaymakers by long-haul specialist Holidaysplease.co.uk has revealed that we 21st century Brits are flirty, friendly, celebrity-obsessed and even a little soppy. Not to mention fond of petty theft and joining the mile high club! Here are some of the best insights garnered by Holidaysplease.co.uk’s research:
Secrets of getting a flight upgrade:
- Flirting with check in staff is the top tactic for bagging a free upgrade with 41% of people admitting to doing it.
- 12% of travellers admit they would flirt with check-in staff of the same sex if it meant getting an upgrade.
- Pretending to be on honeymoon (34%) and being a ‘nervous’ flyer (27%) are also popular tactics.
- 6% of travellers are even willing to pretend to be going to a funeral to get an upgrade!
- Walking holidays – for foodies
March 21, 2012 for On Foot Holidays
On Foot Holidays self-guided hikes not only offer great walking – they also offer excellent eating
Although it’s a walking specialist – self-guided hikes to quiet European corners, to be precise – On Foot Holidays is also a foodie expert… The basic premise is this: having undertaken a day’s great hiking and convinced yourself that this was terrible, insufferable toil, you undo all the good work by gorging on delicious nosh (and wine) each evening. All culinary options are diligently researched to guarantee quality. As with all elements of On Foot Holidays’ trips, the food is strongly accented towards local offerings: traditional delicacies, cultural variations, recipes passed down the generations, regional dishes, and so on.
Here are four On Foot tours with particularly strong and unique culinary offerings…
- Gothenburg and West Sweden Spring newsletter 2012
March 20, 2012 for West Sweden
New holiday inspiration and travel news, from Easter breaks on the west coast to the Nordic Championships in Oyster Opening 2012, new Taste of West Sweden restaurants and a preview of a Swedish summer… Easter escape ideas:
An old Swedish folk tale tells the story of an Easter witch who flies on a broomstick to Blåkulla island on Maundy Thursday and returns on Easter Sunday. Modern-day Swedes mark this story by holding bonfires along the majestic west coast (to scare away the witch!).
Easter celebrations in Sweden also involve dressing up as Easter witches, painting eggs and tucking into a typical Easter buffet of pickled herring, cured salmon, Jansson’s temptation (a traditional potato and fish bake) and spiced schnapps.
- Sunvil rolls up its sleeves for Climate Week – both at home (in the office) and abroad
March 13, 2012 for Sunvil Holidays
Sustainable tour operator, the Sunvil Group*, is joining in Britain’s biggest climate change campaign with a range of green ideas for travelling abroad – and it’s taking action in its offices, too …
Culminating in a week of activities, Climate Week showcases practical solutions from every sector of society. The Sunvil Group* actively supports this initiative – both in its wide range of holiday ideas and via a number of in-office ideas through which its staff can get behind the campaign.
Climate change is an international issue which the Sunvil Group* – as a holiday specialist to 24 countries – understands must be tackled on a global scale as well as a local scale. Here are some suggestions on eco-tourism and how to go green when travelling abroad – not only in Climate Change week, but whenever holidays loom.
- More than just villas – with Spain-holiday.com
March 9, 2012 for Spain-holiday.com
- Swap your holiday villa for something more unusual this summer, including palaces, caves and a lava-built house…
With over 5,600 holiday homes across Spain, the Balearic Islands and the Canaries, Spain-holiday.com offers far more than just your average holiday villa. Apart from its wealth of beachside villas and city apartments, the company – now the fastest growing company for holiday rentals in Spain – also includes castles, farms and former monasteries on its ever-expanding books.
So if you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to stay in a cave, or have wished you’d had a resort to yourselves, Spain-holiday.com has the answer…
- Berns means business
March 6, 2012 for Berns Hotel
Stylish event space in the Swedish capitalfor 12 to 1,200 delegates
Looking for a stylish, comfortable venue in a buzzing European city for your next business meeting, conference or product launch? Then look no further than the award-winning Berns Hotel in Stockholm (www.berns.se/en).
Named ‘Sweden’s Leading Boutique Hotel’ in the 2011 World Travel Awards, this iconic hotel offers delegates state-of-the art business facilities in the heart of the Swedish capital. As well as 82 stylishly-decorated bedrooms, Berns offers a great choice of meeting space, which can be easily adapted to suit groups of anywhere from 12 to 1,200 people. Planning a small corporate dinner?
- Sunvil Discovery: the essential key to authentic Italian and Sicilian wine, food and experiences
for Sunvil Discovery
All new in 2012, Sunvil Discovery introduces Sicilian agriturismo properties, plus a range of traditional cookery courses and a self-drive Sicilian wine trail – and why not let the train take the strain for travel on mainland Italy?
NEW: 21 agriturismo properties in Sicily: Fantastic for foodies who like good, honest food served on an ancient wooden table – think converted farmhouses, surrounded by hectares of agricultural land producing flavoursome, wholly organic wares including olive oil, cheese, cured meats and full-bodied Sicilian wine. Explore the countryside and get involved in harvesting – from grapes and olives in the autumn to oranges in December or lemons in March. Properties include:
- Live the American dream across the entire USA with Vacations to America
Specialist tour operator to North America now offers an extensive range of fly-drive, escorted and tailor-made tours that cover all 50 USA states
Hertfordshire-based and newly-rebranded Vacations to America has built upon its 25 years of experience offering holidays in New England, The Carolinas, California and Florida, to extend its holiday offering across all 50 USA states in its new 2012 brochure. There are seven key regions in the new brochure and on the new website (www.vacationstoamerica.com) – New England, Great Lakes and the North East, the South, Florida, California, the West and the rest of the USA and Canada.
- Staying put for summer doesn’t always mean you’ll stay safe
March 5, 2012 for Lyme Disease Action
- Charity Lyme Disease Action warns UK holidaymakers to be aware of ticks this summer
Even if you’re neither patriotic nor sporty, many of us will be tempted to spend parts of the summer in the UK, joining in with Diamond Jubilee celebrations and Olympic fever – or just watching it at home on TV.
You may think that a summer at home in the UK makes for a less stressful time: there’s no flight to miss, no language to learn, no nasty jabs required and certainly no malaria tablets to take. But those who holiday in familiar surroundings may not necessarily be familiar with ticks.
- 2012 AITO Member Media Contacts
AITO is delighted to announce the launch of the 2012 AITO Member Media Contacts directory. Sustainable Tourism and protecting the environment are integral to AITO’s ethos, and so this year we have decided not to produce a full member directory. The handy reference booklet will, however, point you towards the right person to answer any questions you may have about individual members – or the Association as a whole – both quickly and easily. To find out more about AITO’s 150 specialist tour operators, please visit the website at www.aito.com. A substantial revamp of the website will be launched in a few months’ time and will make it, we believe, the must-go-to site for information on specialist holiday companies and their huge range of holiday ideas and destinations.
- At a glance: Business facilities at Berns Hotel, Stockholm (Fact Sheet)
March 4, 2012 for Berns Hotel
Set in the heart of the Swedish capital, Berns offers stylish, comfortable facilities for business groups from 12 to 1,200 people:
Berns offers a variety of adaptable spaces suitable for business meetings, conferences and private events, including:
- The China Theatre (holds up to 1,249 people). A spectacular venue for large-scale presentations. From £5,500 per day excluding VAT.
- Stora Salongen (holds up to 800 people for a reception, 500 seated). Stockholm’s most distinguished banqueting hall, this venue would be ideal for a gala dinner or grand cocktail party. From £3,600 per day excluding VAT.
- The Kammarsalen (holds up to 180 people). A smart, modern amphitheatre for presentations and lectures. From £2,300 per day excluding VAT.
- Great Little Spring Breaks: Heritage & Explorer
March 2, 2012 for Great Little Breaks
Between the freeze of Christmas and the scorch of summer, spring is the most pleasing time to discover the UK – and to re-discover yourself
Leading short break specialist, Great Little Breaks – offering UK-wide getaways complete with activities and treats for just one eye-catching little price – introduces two types of break which are ideal for springtime: Great Little Heritage Breaks, visiting some of the most celebrated heritage landmarks; and Great Little Explorer Breaks, discovering regions on foot, equipped with maps, directions and packed lunches.
With the weather warming up and the evenings eking out, it’s safe to come out of hibernation and start seeing and doing again.
- Enjoy ‘Americans in Florence’ with Kirker Holidays
for Kirker Holidays
Cultural short breaks include tickets to the Palazzo Strozzi’s major new art exhibition from just £469 pp, with flights
Celebrate the start of Spring with a restorative visit to Florence where, from this Saturday 3 March, the Italian city so synonymous with art treasures welcomes a major new exhibition – tickets to which are included in a tempting range of short breaks from Kirker Holidays.
On display at the elegant Palazzo Strozzi until 15 July, ‘Americans in Florence – Sargent and the American Impressionists’ tells the story of the love affair between Americans and Florence through the eyes of the artist John Singer Sargent (1856-1925), who was born in the city.
- Voyages Jules Verne celebrates its royal connection
March 1, 2012 for Voyages Jules Verne
From Barnado’s boy to a lead role in the Jubilee flotilla,company founder Phillip Morrell continues to excel
As businesses large and small across the UK prepare to celebrate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, one London-based travel company is feeling particularly proud of its links to this summer’s big royal event.
Innovative specialist tour operator Voyages Jules Verne was founded in 1978 by Phillip Morrell, on board whose luxury cruiser – Spirit of Chartwell – Their Royal Highnesses The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh will lead the Diamond Jubilee flotilla on 3 June.
- Classic Cottages named one of top two self-catering companies in UK
February 29, 2012 for Classic Cottages
The UK’s leading independent cottage holiday company, Classic Cottages, has been recognised as one of the top two self-catering companies in the UK by consumer guide ‘Which?’
A survey of more than 2,600 Which? members, who named over 400 different agencies both in the UK and abroad, awarded Classic Cottages an excellent customer score of 89%.
Based in Helston, South West Cornwall, the company’s high customer score means that it is now one of only two self-catering companies in the UK to gain the accolade of being a Which? recommended provider.
- Sunvil rolls up its sleeves for Climate Week – both at home (in the office) and abroad
for Sunvil Discovery
Sustainable tour operator, the Sunvil Group*, is joining in Britain’s biggest climate change campaign with a range of green ideas for travelling abroad – and it’s taking action in its offices, too . . .
Culminating in a week of activities, Climate Week showcases practical solutions from every sector of society. The Sunvil Group* actively supports this initiative – both in its wide range of holiday ideas and via a number of in-office ideas through which its staff can get behind the campaign.
Climate change is an international issue which the Sunvil Group* – as a holiday specialist to 24 countries – understands must be tackled on a global scale as well as a local scale. Here are some suggestions on eco-tourism and how to go green when travelling abroad – not only in Climate Change week, but whenever holidays loom.
- Witness the iconic Olympic torch during a West Country cottage stay
February 28, 2012 for Classic Cottages
The Olympic torch is set for an epic once-in-a-lifetime journey across England in May 2012. Setting off from Land’s End on 19 May, the torch relay route will visit 1,018 places in 70 days, including an abundance of hotspots across the South West of England.
Classic Cottages – one of only two self-catering companies in the UK to be recognised recently by the Which? consumer guide for excellent customer service offered (see its 700 coastal and country properties across Cornwall, Dorset, Devon and Somerset at www.classic.co.uk) – picks some of its favourite destinations along the torch route below, recommending where’s best to stay nearby on the day.
- AITO GREEK OPERATORS DECLAIM HAGUE STATEMENT
February 22, 2012 for AITO - Association of Independent Tour Operators
The Association of Independent Tour Operators (www.aito.com) is upset at reports that the FCO is, seemingly, treating the whole of Greece as a war zone according to media reports.
Says AITO Chairman Derek Moore: “To say, as was reported yesterday, that Britons may be put at risk if the civil unrest in the country worsens, is alarmist to say the least and very far from reality.
“AITO’s specialist holiday companies working with Greece know the situation very well indeed, and they are unanimously reporting that there is no problem except in two very small, highly-contained areas – firstly, around Syntagma Square, by the Greek Parliament in Athens, and, secondly, in central Thessaloniki, Greece’s next largest city. This is nothing new – it’s exactly the same situation as the past three years.
- AITO WELCOMES EUROPEAN COURT OF JUSTICE RULING
A recent European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruling has confirmed that the obligation under the 1990 EU Package Travel Directive to provide the consumer with financial protection against the risk of the organiser’s insolvency amounts to a guarantee that the consumer will be refunded or repatriated in this situation. AITO believes that this ruling will dramatically affect both the tour operating and insurance sectors.
The ECJ gave its judgment on 16th February, 2012 in a case referred to it by the German courts*. This involves a claim brought by a German consumer against an insurance company which had provided financial protection insurance for the consumer’s holiday in accordance with the German equivalent of the UK Package Travel Regulations 1992.
- Costa Alentejana Tourist Board joins Travel PR
February 18, 2012 for Alentejo Promotion Office (via Sunvil Discovery)
Travel PR is delighted to announce that it is now representing Costa Alentejana, located in Portugal’s Alentejo region
Occupying one-third of Portugal, yet inhabited by just 6% of the population, the Alentejo, situated north of the Algarve, is beautifully unspoilt and gloriously peaceful. The Alentejo holds appeal for a broad spectrum of people, from families, wine aficionados and foodies, to honeymooners, nature lovers and those looking for a place to live in the sun.
The region’s coast, Costa Alentejana, is practically deserted and is mainly a National Park. The top half of the coast comprises 65km, no less, of uninterrupted talcum-powder-white sandy beaches.
- Fuerteventura… but not as you know it
- A brand-new activity holiday with Activities Abroad – for adults
- Watersports focus: surfing, stand-up paddling and sea kayaking in idyllic El Cotillo
Activities Abroad has launched a number of brand-new adult-only trips, including this week-long activity holiday on Fuerteventura’s lesser-developed north-west coast.
With an average sea temperature of 20°C and 10-11 hours of sunshine each day, Fuerteventura’s ideal for spending a week in, on and under the water. Avoiding the sprawling masses of purpose-built complexes, this multi-activity holiday is based in and around the small rural fishing village of El Cotillo, which still centres around its traditional harbour.
- Vacations to America appoints Travel PR
Travel PR is delighted to announce that it is representing Vacations to America, the specialist tour operator to North America which offers an extensive range of fly-drive, escorted and tailor-made tours across the United States.
The Hertfordshire-based tour operator has recently built upon its offering of holidays in New England, The Carolinas, California and Florida, with the launch of its 2012 brochure. The new programme now covers all 50 USA states, split into seven key regions – New England, Great Lakes and the North East, the South, Florida, California, the West and the rest of the USA & Canada.
Vacations to America offers a unique range of accommodation that it is often not possible to book direct from the UK including charming country inns, small luxury hotels and private villas.
- Tot & teen-friendly self-catering with Spain-holiday.com
February 9, 2012 for Spain-holiday.com
Spain continues to top the polls as the most family-friendly destination in Europe with its child-friendly restaurants, sandy beaches, eclectic culture and fabulous climate.
Spain-holiday.com, the fastest growing company for holiday rentals in Spain, features over 5,600 holiday homes across Spain, the Balearic Islands and the Canary Islands, with a huge choice of child-friendly properties to suit every budget.
- Rare, but that rare?
Charity Lyme Disease Action questions the number of cases of Lyme disease in the UK as Rare Disease Day (29 February) approaches
29 February 2012 marks the fifth international Rare Disease Day – an annual awareness-raising event co-ordinated by EURODIS (The European Organisation for Rare Diseases) and by rare disease national alliances across Europe. In Europe, a rare disease is defined as one with an incidence of less than one in 2,000 people (or 50/100,000).
- “The Islands of the Sheep and the Paradise of Birds”
February 8, 2012 for Faroe Islands
Land, sea and air experiences in the small and quirkily-formed Faroe Islands
The first settlers in the Faroe Islands were Irish monks, in AD 560. St Brendan was seeking ‘The Promised Land of the Saints’ and one of his stories told of a visit to the Faroes, which he called “The Islands of the Sheep and the Paradise of Birds”. Today, nearly 1,500 years later, the Faroes remain home to 70,000 sheep, 48,500 human beings and the world’s largest storm petrel colony; St Brendan’s name of long ago is still uncannily accurate in respect of these remote islands.
- Missed out on the Northern Lights this winter?
for The Aurora Zone
Book now for next season – likely to be the best for the next 20 years – with just a £100 pp deposit
As a successful winter season draws to a close, Northern Lights specialist The Aurora Zone is encouraging clients to secure their place on next winter’s tours now.
Says Alistair McLean, The Aurora Zone’s Managing Director: “The demand for Northern Lights hunting trips – a new concept this winter – has been so incredible that we want to ensure we’re fully prepared for even greater demand next season. Although the Solar Maximum – when the solar cycle is at its most virulent – occurs during 2012, the Aurora will remain near the peak of its intensity long into 2013, and even into 2014, so there’s still time to see this amazing phenomenon for yourself.”
- Activities Abroad launches 2012 family activity holidays brochure
February 6, 2012 for Activities Abroad
- Activity holiday specialist Activities Abroad adds six new tours including Montenegro, Fuerteventura, Borneo and Peru Activities Abroad’s new brochure includes six new tours – to Montenegro, Fuerteventura, Bulgaria, Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands, Peru and Borneo. It demonstrates Activities Abroad’s continued understanding of what makes a real family holiday. Founded 15 years ago, the specialist company has always catered for families who are keen to get the most out of their holidays.
- Swim with an elephant: a first in Mozambique from £2,702 pp with Expert Africa
for Expert Africa
Extraordinary in the extreme: last week an elephant swam and played happily in newly-opened Nuarro beach lodge’s bay, only a short distance from the beach (fantastic hi-res images available). Expert Africa’s MD, Chris McIntyre – who has travelled extensively in southern Africa over the past 25 years – has never seen an elephant in the ocean, and very rarely even heard of it, especially not in Mozambique where game parks have had a hard time historically. Stay in seductive rustic simplicity here in the Nampula Province, where there’s a strong focus on eco-tourism, a dive centre and dhow trips.
- AITO ON AIRLINE COLLAPSES
Spanair and Malev – two down in four days: how many more before Government will listen to the industry?
With ATOL Reform being debated this week in the House of Commons in front of the Transport Select Committee, and the airlines claiming loudly that they should be left outside ATOL regulation because “there is no need” for them to be included, AITO (www.aito.com) is interested to note two airline collapses in the space of just the past four days.
- Brush up your painting skills at The Watermill at Posara, Tuscany
February 2, 2012 for The Watermill at Posara
- Learn from some of the world’s best tutors -
Tuscany has long been associated with painting. Michelangelo was born in Tuscany, as was da Vinci, and the beautiful scenery, Mediterranean light and delicious food and wines continue to attract a talented mix of artists who come to The Watermill, all keen to pass on their painting skills.
Here are just six of the artists who will be teaching at The Watermill in 2012…
- AITO Specialist Travel Agents announce spring training roadshow
AITO Specialist Travel Agents is set to hold a product training roadshow across England this spring to update its membership base with important developments, including new operators, amongst members of the Association of Independent Tour Operators (AITO).
Taking place in London, Birmingham and North Midlands/Cheshire (from 13-15 March 2012), the training sessions will act as a useful refresher for delegates, assisting AITO Agents to continue to sell AITO product offerings – a collection of more than 140 specialist operators covering the world with an unrivalled selection of trips.
- See the best of The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel in India with Real Holidays
Visit the forthcoming movies fictional setting of Bangalore, or combine the filming locations of Udaipur and Jaipur with Indian specialist Real Holidays
Adapted from Deborah Moggach’s novel These Foolish Things and due out on 24 February, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel is a comedy starring Judi Dench, Tom Wilkinson, Maggie Smith and Bill Nighy as a group of retirees who are lured to live out their days in a recently-restored Indian palace hotel. This turns out to be the incomplete and decrepit Marigold Hotel, whose naïve young owner (Dev Patel) has run out of cash.
- First fly-camping in Zambia’s Emerald Season, from £2,775 pp with Expert Africa
January 31, 2012 for Expert Africa
If you’ve only experienced Africa when all is dry, you’ll be amazed by Zambia’s Emerald Season. A hugely underrated time to travel, not only is it the most spectacular period (the bush is lush and the air is crystal-clear), but also the best value. The legendary Robin Pope is offering a first this year: throughout April only, you can fly-camp in the Luangwa Valley, exploring by boat and reaching areas inaccessible to most as roads are often un-passable with the high waters. A seven-night trip is from £2,775 pp (minimum two sharing, maximum four) including flights from Heathrow to Lusaka, accommodation in very stylish camps, all meals (except overnight in Lusaka which is B&B), most drinks, safari activities, laundry and internal transfers.
- MINISTER OF TOURISM SCORES A BULLSEYE, SAYS AITO
January 27, 2012 for AITO - Association of Independent Tour Operators
Specialist tour operators welcome simplification of consumer financial protection methods required by the Package Travel Regulations, plus the proposal to allow the travel industry once again to sell insurance policies without FSA red tape
“A real breath of fresh air” is how AITO Chairman Derek Moore and Industry Affairs Director Noel Josephides jointly describe the “Smart Regulation and Economic Growth – Seizing the Tourism Opportunity” report just issued by Alan Parker, Chairman of the Tourism Regulation Taskforce.
- Thought the UK auroras were good? Take a look at what’s on offer in Finnish Lapland
January 25, 2012 for The Aurora Zone
The weekend of 21-22 January 2012 saw an extraordinary level of geophysical activity in the Earth’s atmosphere, with the Aurora Borealis glimpsed as far south as the UK and Ireland – but can the British Isles ever really compete with the light shows in Finnish Lapland?
Says Alistair McLean, MD of specialist Northern Lights company The Aurora Zone – a veteran Northern Lights hunter who’s currently in Muonio: “Last night I saw one of the best auroras in living memory and we haven’t even reached the Solar Maximum, which happens next winter.”
- NEW Luxury All-Inclusive Two-Night Break
Quintessential, cosy Cotswolds – £149 pp with Great Little Breaks
Short breaks often end up costing more than you think, and in tighter times, unexpected expenses are the last thing we all need. Great Little Breaks, leading UK short break specialist, recognises the need for single-price reassurance, and is growing its all-inclusive portfolio apace.
Actually worth nearly £400, this exclusive offer – new today – gives you two nights’ accommodation at the extremely appealing Frogmill Hotel in the undulating Cotswold hills.
- Exotic adventures for discerning travellers
for Kirker Holidays
Kirker Holidays offers tempting tailor-made itineraries across India, Sri Lanka and The Maldives Specialist tour operator Kirker Holidays presents the latest edition of its dedicated brochure to India, Sri Lanka and the Maldives. Appealing in equal measure for first-time and repeat visitors to this intoxicating region, the brochure contains tempting hotel descriptions and essential travel information as well as sample itineraries and themed sections on Indian Wildlife experiences and Luxury Trains.
- Expert Africa releases 2012-13 brochure
January 24, 2012 for Expert Africa
Safari specialist’s 2011-12 brochure includes emerging areas in Mozambique
Another impressive tome of knowledge, Expert Africa’s new 2012-13 brochure reinforces the company’s position as the Southern Africa specialist. New options are present across the brochure, but below are some of the most newsworthy additions, including Mozambique’s fast-emerging mainland and new options on Lake Malawi and in the Serengeti.
+Emerging: mainland Mozambique
2011 was the year that Mozambique’s mainland caught up with its islands. Gorongosa National Park was once one of Africa’s finest national parks. However, the civil war which raged through the 1980s and early ‘90s shattered its game populations. It’s been slowly recovering since, and now game densities are good and getting better. Elephant, crocodile and lion are increasingly encountered; it’s now an excellent safari destination for 2012.
New internal flights make reaching it much easier and from 2012, Expert Africa is offering walking safaris there via local camp Explore Gorongosa, whose safari tents have been greatly upgraded for 2012.
- PETER SOMMER TRAVELS APPOINTS TRAVEL PR
Travel PR is delighted to announce that it is now representing Peter Sommer Travels
Specialising in archaeological and cultural tours, gulet cruises and private charters, Peter Sommer Travels offers holidays across Turkey, Greece, southern Italy and Sicily.
Expert guides – predominantly archaeologists and historians – and small group sizes ensure that history is brought to life on fascinating archaeological sites, whether you reach them by water, foot or road.
- Japanese Culinary Coup
Masterchef winner and Japanophile, Tim Anderson, teams up with InsideJapan Tours to create a new food and travel experience
Any trip to Japan is a culinary adventure and InsideJapan Tours’ new 13-night Japanese Cookery tour, led by expert guide Liam Chawdhary and Masterchef 2011 winner Tim Anderson, will not disappoint.
In addition to an exploration of cultural landmarks, this tasty tour – with stays in cities, the mountains and on the coast – encourages participants to eat their way across the islands of Honshu and Kyushu, and provides the opportunity to glean a few of the secrets of Tim Anderson’s success.
- Sunvil Discovery announces its 2012 real Scandinavia brochure
for Sunvil Discovery
– Eclectic Sweden programme significantly expanded with new destinations, activities and properties –
Sunvil Discovery has just launched its 2012 real Scandinavia brochure, packed full of short break, fly drive and bespoke itinerary options to Sweden, Norway and the Faroe Islands – its most ambitious yet to celebrate its fifth year of high-quality and well-structured tours to Scandinavia. New destinations and new experiences provide an even broader range of options for travellers.
In Sweden, new adventurous ideas include the back-to-nature resort of Kolarbyn in the north-west corner of Västmanland and Luleå in the north: try hovercraft and ice road tours. 2012 also introduces the ultra-modern, feng-shui-inspired Hotel Avalon in Gothenburg.
In Norway, there’s an excellent balance of cosmopolitan city breaks contrasted with fjord and northern wilderness itineraries and The Faroe Islands (part of Denmark) remain an off-the-beaten track option, perfect for nature lovers, birdwatchers and walkers.
- Mark Desert Island Discs’ anniversary with your own paradise island break from Holidaysplease.co.uk
BBC Radio 4′s famous Desert Island Discs show celebrates its 70th anniversary on 29 January. Why not use the occasion as an excuse to visit your own paradise island on a fly-and-flop break? Upmarket specialist Holidaysplease.co.uk has compiled three of its favourites:
QAMEA ISLAND RESORT, FIJI
A spectacular sliver of an island, Qamea is six miles along but only 200m wide in places. Volcanic hills and lush valleys give way to coconut-palmed beaches, with just six small villages.
- Enjoy Two-for-One Swiss rail passes with Ffestiniog Travel
January 19, 2012 for Ffestiniog Travel - Unforgettable Rail Journeys
Rail specialist Ffestiniog Travel is pleased to announce that it will be offering two Swiss Saver Passes for the price of one, entitling travellers to unlimited journeys over four consecutive days on railways, boats and most alpine postbuses throughout Switzerland.
The offer applies to the four-day Swiss Saver Pass on departures from 1 April to 31 May and from 1 September to 30 November in 2012. A 50% saving is also being offered on all funicular and mountain railways, plus free entry to 400 museums in Switzerland.
- 2012 in Gothenburg and West Sweden
January 17, 2012 for West Sweden
Here’s an overview of new holiday inspiration and travel news in 2012, from crime fiction holidays to swanky new hotels, archipelago retreats, culinary experiences and music festivals.
Clarion Hotel Post in Gothenburg
The new Clarion Hotel Post in Gothenburg is set to open on 26 January 2012, and is a listed former Post Office from the 1920s which has been restored and extended into a sleek 500-bedroom hotel.
- The Lawrences are back in Morocco
January 16, 2012 for Lawrence of Morocco
- Father and son team, Chris and Max Lawrence (founders of The Best of Morocco), have been tailor-making holidays to Morocco for over 45 years. This week they launch a new bespoke operation –
For anyone travelling to Morocco in 2012 – and indeed for the Moroccan people – the news could not be better. Chris and Max Lawrence, founders of what was, in their day, the leading specialist to the country (The Best of Morocco, which they sold at the height of its success in 2005), now introduce their new brand – Lawrence of Morocco – bringing back the old principles of expertise, surprising experiences and exhaustive attention to clients’ requirements. Hotels and other partners across Morocco are delighted by the Lawrences’ return (click here to see the extent of their joy) since they were, for many years, the most respected, trusted and expert UK operator to the country.
- Madeira, the Portuguese garden island gem, set to host AITO and AITO Agents’ joint overseas conference 2012
AITO operators and AITO Specialist Travel Agents are delighted to announce Madeira, Portugal, as the setting for their 2012 joint overseas conference
Sponsored by the Portuguese National Tourist Office and the Madeira Promotion Bureau, the joint conference will take place from 14-17 June 2012 and will see the two organisations come together on the popular Portuguese island to reinforce even greater links in the spirit of the Closer Ties scheme between AITO and AITO Agents.
- Cruise into 2012 with Voyages Jules Verne
January 11, 2012 for Voyages Jules Verne
Latest World of Wonders brochure features no-fly ocean cruising in Europe, escorted itineraries in Albania, Tanzania and Zimbabwe, and new Private Journeys Innovative specialist tour operator Voyages Jules Verne has launched the latest edition of its popular World of Wonders brochure. Joining the company’s impressive array of global guided departures, available until April 2013, are a number of new tours
- GIC The Villa Collection launches its inspiring 2012 brochure
January 10, 2012 for GIC - The Villa Collection
– An exciting new destination on the mainland, plus 15 new properties featured–
Greek villa specialist GIC The Villa Collection has launched its 2012 brochure, featuring an enticing selection of handpicked villas carefully chosen for either their private, get-away-from-it-all location, or for their stylish modern furnishings and close proximity to shops and tavernas.
- It’s official – going on holiday means you live longer
January 9, 2012 for Holidaysplease
Research from luxury online agency Holidaysplease.co.uk has revealed a startling fact: those who fly more live longer…
(… admittedly, only by, on average, a sixth-millionth-of-a-second. But they all count, right?)
Here’s the science, as provided by Holidaysplease.co.uk’s in-house science professor*. According to Einstein’s theory of relativity, the faster you travel, the less time you experience – and thus, technically, the longer you live. For example, consider twins who are somehow both destined to die on their shared 70th birthday. If one of them travels around consistently and extremely quickly all their life, then after 70 years they could end up having experienced 69 years and 364 days of time compared to their twin’s exactly 70 years, and thus would be due an extra day. They would die a day later than their twin purely by virtue that they travelled around a lot more quickly.
- Tie the knot on Aphrodite’s Island
for Ionian Weddings
Ionian Weddings introduces new and unique Cyprus wedding venues
Ionian Weddings, the award-winning wedding specialist for bespoke, stylish and unique weddings in the Greek Islands and Cyprus, is delighted to be launching several new and exclusive venues in Cyprus for 2012.
Cyprus is the third largest island in the Mediterranean and is the ideal wedding destination, with virtually guaranteed year-round sunshine and a breathtaking range of locations both on the coast and inland. Here are just some of Ionian weddings’ new venues which offer excellent value for money, too:
- AITO Specialist Travel Agents’ domestic conference 2012 set to be bigger than ever
January 6, 2012 for AITO - Specialist Travel Agents
Annual event will see the largest gathering of truly independent agents and operators in the UK travel sector
AITO Specialist Travel Agents announces a comprehensive programme of activity at what will be its biggest domestic conference yet – taking place at the prestigious Chesford Grange Hotel in Warwickshire on 14-15 January 2012. Says Oliver Broad, its Chairman: “I have to say that I am extremely delighted to see how popular this conference is proving amongst our members and their tour operator counterparts.”
- Sail into new waters in 2012
January 5, 2012 for Essential Sailing
Essential Sailing launches a new itinerary for 2012 to Italy’s Ligurian coast
Perfect for sailors and non-sailors alike, Essential Sailing combines sailing with gastronomy and sightseeing in three superb locations: Italy’s Ligurian coast, the Canaries (Tenerife and La Gomera) and the French Riviera. With a maximum of six guests on board at any one time, spend a week in the lap of luxury, being taken from place to place on a luxury 50-foot Beneteau yacht.
- Discover the real Greece with those in the know
for Sunvil Holidays
– Over 220 hand-picked properties across 31 islands and the mainland to choose from in 2012 –
Expert operator to Greece, Sunvil Holidays, has launched its 2012 real Greece brochure, featuring an enticing mix of holidays to the more authentic parts of this captivating country.
Sunvil Holidays’ 2012 Greece programme reflects all that is great about Greece including: traditional, working villages that retain their authentic flavour; beautiful, mountainous inland areas; a wealth of ancient sites on the mainland; small – and often owner-managed – cottages, apartments and hotels of character. Its 2012 programme is amongst the best, and one of the most varied, Greece offerings in the UK.
- IONIAN WEDDINGS JOINS ABTA
for Ionian Weddings
First-ever specialist overseas wedding planner joins ABTA – The Travel Association
Reflecting one of ABTA’s highlighted travel trends for 2012, forecasting an increase in weddings abroad, Ionian Weddings, specialist consultancy for weddings in unique locations across the Greek Islands and Cyprus, has become the first-ever wedding company to join the Association.
Ionian Weddings has seen a 25% increase in bookings so far for weddings in 2012 compared to 2011, with the number in Cyprus more than doubling year on year. Increased flights to Kefalonia and Kos will undoubtedly contribute to even more magical weddings on these beautiful islands during 2012.
- Weddings from £2,012 for the 2012 Olympics at the Hatherley Manor Hotel
Olympic fever might be taking over the country, but this could be to your advantage if a wedding is on the cards for 2012
From 27 July until 12 August 2012 (Olympic Games) – or until February if you get in there quickly – the 17th century Hatherley Manor Hotel will be offering weddings starting from the special Olympic price of £2,012. Continuing the theme, three levels of wedding will be offered – Bronze, Silver and Gold – all of which include both a daytime and an evening reception for 40 and 70 guests respectively.
- New European walks for 2012 from On Foot Holidays
January 3, 2012 for On Foot Holidays
Walking-holiday specialist On Foot Holidays has introduced two innovative new trips for 2012. A Côtes du Rhône trip introduces a different corner of Provence, while a Rhine Gorge tour provides an expert – and largely crowd-free – way to tackle the famous German waterway.
NEW: Côtes du Rhône, France
Forget the crowd-infested Luberon – explore a more varied and interesting corner of Provence
Ignoring the busy Luberon area, the little-visited Provençal region around Gigondas is the focus of On Foot Holidays’ newest walking trip. This seven-night, self-guided route circles around Mont Ventoux (the windy mountain), promising clifftop villages, strange conical hills, tiny Le Barroux’s impressive castle and gorgeous Roman bridges. You can even stay in the former home of the Marquis de Sade en route. And don’t worry: this being the Côtes du Rhône, food and wine are of primary importance to the walk . Each hotel boasts a good kitchen, though nothing tops a five-course gourmet experience in Gigondas itself : you can taste your way through tarte aux tomates, tiny quail, elaborate sorbets and a whole dairy’s worth of cheeses.
- A Japanese calendar of culture
InsideJapan Tours recommends when to go to Japan for new openings, festivals and fun January: See ancient sites, such as Kyoto’s Golden Pavilion Temple, sparkle with a dusting of snow or head to the Alps to watch snow monkeys bathe in hot spring pools; on Hokkaido, see the graceful Japanese red cranes perform dances as the orange sun sets over the pure white snowfields of Tsurui. 15 January – Nozawa Fire Festival, Nagano This intense celebration of health and growth brings heat to the snowy slopes of Nozawa, the country’s oldest ski resort. Fireworks and bonfires light up the village and the skies above whilst large amounts of sake are consumed by the locals and visitors alike. How to get there: The ‘Alpine Winter Culture’ self-guided adventure heads from Tokyo to the Japanese Alps for a nine-night trip taking in the exciting Fire Festival, visits the ‘Snow monkey’ of Yudanaka, stays in the atmospheric Zenkoji temple and the alpine castle town of Matsumoto. Costs £1,450 pp (two sharing), departs 9 January.
- Lapland beyond 25 December with Activities Abroad
Husky-sledding in Finnish and Norwegian Lapland – the perfect antidote to Christmas
You’ve feasted on turkey and you’re full of mince pies, the Christmas tree is about to come down and there’s a list of thank-you letters to be written. Throughout the post-Christmas lull, chances are that Lapland won’t be on your mind. But it really should be, according to Activities Abroad.
For many, Lapland’s idyllic landscapes will provide a welcome relief to the Christmas frenzy. All Santa-seeking families will be gone for another year, leaving behind a Lapland free from the crowds. Team up with a handful of huskies on a dog-sledding adventure, and you’ll find yourself getting fit and seeing Lapland at its very best – empty and enticing – as the days get longer and temperatures increase.
- Celebrate NYE twice in one night with Holidaysplease
December 23, 2011 for Holidaysplease
If you really, really like New Year’s Eve, how about celebrating it twice in one night this year?! Upmarket online travel agency Holidaysplease knows a way to do it. Celebrate NYE first of all in Auckland, joining the parties in Viaduct Basin. Then, on New Year’s Day, fly at 17:35 with Air New Zealand to Rarotonga in the Cook Islands; as you’re crossing the International Date Line, you’ll effectively be going back in time, and returning to 2011. The plane arrives in Rarotonga at 22:30, leaving enough time to leave the small airport, and head into Avarua to welcome 2012 all over again!
- Sunvil Discovery launches 2012 Portugal & Madeira brochure
December 21, 2011 for Sunvil Discovery
Eight new properties feature and the Alentejo region goes from strength to strength
Tailor-made specialist Sunvil Discovery has launched its 2012 real Portugal & Madeira brochure, packed full of accommodation options and flexible itineraries to the lesser-known areas of this captivating country.
Sunvil Discovery is pleased to announce that its exclusive flight to Beja in the heart of the Alentejo will continue – departing London Heathrow once a week – in 2012. Following the success of the flight and expanded Alentejo programme in 2011, a new section detailing what to do and see in this unspoilt region now features.
New properties include elegant manor house Casa do Sezim, set in its own vineyards just outside Guimaraes, European Capital of Culture for 2012, and the luxurious five-star Onyria Marinha Edition Hotel & Thalasso near Cascais, complete with golf course designed by Robert Trent Jones Senior that offers fantastic views over the Atlantic and Sintra mountain range.
- Race to Hatherley Manor for The Cheltenham Festival (13-16 March 2012)
Make Hatherley Manor your accommodation choice Join horses, jockeys and trainers for four days of exciting races at the world-famous Cheltenham Racecourse. Whether you’re attending Champion Day, Ladies Day or St Patrick’s Thursday – or the pinnacle of the entire jump racing season, the Cheltenham Gold Cup Day (Friday 16 March) – HatherleyManor provides good-value accommodation in an attractive setting.
- Kirker expands its Short Breaks selection
December 14, 2011 for Kirker Holidays
2012 brochure introduces new options in Belgium, Croatia, France, Greece, Portugal, Turkey and the UK Specialist tour operator for discerning travellers, Kirker Holidays, has launched the 2012 edition of its popular Short Breaks brochure. Featuring 70 cities and some 250 countryside and coastal properties throughout Europe and beyond, the 2012 brochure includes a number of new destinations.
- Stockholm’s Berns Hotel gears up for Millennium mania
December 13, 2011 for Berns Hotel
With Stieg Larsson fans on the edge of their seats as they await the film release of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo –in UK cinemas from 26 December – Stockholm is placed firmly on the wish list for those wanting to follow in the footsteps of their favourite characters.
Larsson’s Millennium Trilogy of thriller novels – which first hit book shelves back in 2008 – has already sold over 30 million copies worldwide, and David Fincher’s Hollywood version of the first title in the series looks set to be equally popular.
- STAFF COULD BE IN HOT WATER AS MOST BRITS BOOK THEIR HOLIDAYS DURING OFFICE HOURS
December 7, 2011 for Holidaysplease
Travel PR is delighted to announce that it is representing Holidays Please (www.holidaysplease.co.uk), an online travel agent specialising in four and five star long-haul destinations across the Indian Ocean, Far East, Caribbean and Africa. Holidaysplease provides a range of indulgent yet competitively priced luxury holidays aimed primarily at couples, with honeymoons being a particular speciality. The company’s Travel Advisors are some of the most dedicated and experienced in the business as they give their mobile and even home phone numbers to customers. Also many stay up until 11pm at night and work during their own holidays to service customers’ requirements. For example, one Travel Advisor worked up until 11pm to confirm bookings even though she was due to fly out on a personal holiday to Brazil the following day.
- Lyme Disease Action is awarded The Information Standard quality mark
December 6, 2011 for Lyme Disease Action
- The alternative airport lounge
November 30, 2011 for Holidaysplease
The alternative airport lounge – The Maldives from £1,847 pp With UK airports and immigration queues the topic of much discussion with the Home Secretary at present, why not enjoy one of the most scenic and uncrowded airport check-ins in the world? Male International Airport, in the Maldives, is calm personified: bare-foot pilots on its floating pontoons and picture-perfect views in all directions. It’s currently basking in 30-degree sunshine. Board a seaplane for a brief transfer flight to further-flung islands or, instead of an airport coach, hop aboard your private speedboat transfer service for the half-hour trip to Velassaru, a stunning resort on the northern tip of the South Male Atoll. Here you can wallow in beauty treatments and enjoy boat trips, tennis and dining by the water’s edge. Departing 12 December, a week’s stay costs £1,847 pp including flights (London), transfers and B&B through www.holidaysplease.co.uk/maldives (0845 365 6565).
According to Charles Duncombe, owner, Holidaysplease.co.uk, “The Maldives has gained in popularity over the past year, with bookings up 10%, as it is a true desert island paradise with excellent hotels and good flight links. In this hectic world where we have constant contact from every angle, there seems to be a desire for people to have a small window in the year where they are not generally contactable and can just relax without their phone going off, emails coming in, texts arriving and facebook/twitter messages landing, etc.”
Ends – 30 November 2011
For press enquiries or hi-res photography (including versions of those attached): Please contact Julia Farish or Richard Mellor, Travel PR, tel: 020 8891 4440, email: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
- The Aurora Zone: New Northern Lights & Sámi Cultural Heritage tours
November 29, 2011 for The Aurora Zone
- Great Little Breaks joins Travel PR
- Enjoy the world’s ‘HighLights’ with Voyages Jules Verne
November 23, 2011 for Voyages Jules Verne
- Kirker launches latest edition of its dedicated Spain brochure
November 21, 2011 for Kirker Holidays
- Kirker expands its Italian Lakes programme for 2012
November 18, 2011 for Kirker Holidays
- Göta Canal Steamship Company unveils its 2012 season
- Not your ordinary Santa holidays
– See Lapland as well as Father Christmas this winter with Activities Abroad Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without Santa Claus, and there’s no better place to see him than in Lapland. Getting away from touristy day-tripper destinations may involve a lengthier journey (tell the kids it’s a long way to the North Pole), but it does mean that, once there, it’s the real Lapland you’re visiting, that of Narnia-esque scenery and frozen landscapes – as well as Father Christmas’s home.
- Delve into Lapland’s white wilderness
– and meet Santa, or not, as you choose… Husky expeditions, snowmobile safaris and Father Christmas visits – a range of winter experiences for families (both young and old) and adults From magical winter wonderlands to the remote Arctic wilderness, Activities Abroad has a varied programme of winter holidays lined up for 2011/12, stretching across Norwegian, Swedish and Finnish Lapland – and right up to the Russian border.
- Delve into the secrets of the South West with Classic Cottages
November 1, 2011 for Classic Cottages
- West Sweden and Gothenburg – World Travel Market 2011 newsletter
October 31, 2011 for West Sweden
- ELMAN WALL’S TRAVEL INDUSTRY EXPERTISE RECOGNISED
- COSY WINTER BOLTHOLES: THE COTSWOLDS & NORTH WALES
- IONIAN WEDDINGS, THE PERFECT TRAVEL AGENT PARTNER FOR CLIENT WEDDINGS
October 3, 2011 for Ionian Weddings
- Now is the time to snap up Spain’s blissful villas
September 23, 2011 for Spain-holiday.com
- Paints, pastels and putting pen to paper in Tuscany
September 21, 2011 for The Watermill at Posara
- Sunvil Discovery ups its tailor-made game in Norway and Sweden this winter
September 15, 2011 for Sunvil Discovery
- Enchanting Austria: fairytales, magic tricks and happy memories
- AITO Specialist Travel Agents announce autumn training event
September 12, 2011 for AITO - Specialist Travel Agents
- AITO All Stars announces winners of luxury Caribbean fam trip
September 3, 2011 for AITO - Specialist Travel Agents
- Six months on: great savings in September and beyond
September 2, 2011 for Inside Japan Tours
- Faroe Islands Host Vestnorden Travel Mart, 13-15 September 2011
August 16, 2011 for Faroe Islands
- Art: just as you wouldn’t expect it in the South West
August 2, 2011 for Classic Cottages
- AITO Agents All Stars report staggering 40% sales increase in June 2011
AITO Specialist Travel Agents report an overall sales increase of 40% in June 2011
- Start autumn smoothly: float through France’s finest vineyards
Travelzest’s VFB Holidays, the river cruise specialist, invites wine lovers to cruise France’s most majestic rivers.
- 10 things you (probably) don’t know about the Azores
July 19, 2011 for Sunvil Discovery
Specks in the Atlantic Ocean, sub-tropical and untouched, are the nine islands of the Azores.
- Schools break up, but the summer’s no holiday for ticks
July 18, 2011 for Lyme Disease Action
- Voyages Jules Verne launches latest World of Wonders
July 15, 2011 for Voyages Jules Verne
- August availability from Explore:
- Cruise control: unpack, relax, float and be fascinated
- The Second Half of the Cultural Year
- Summer in Italy – the best-remaining availability from Real Holidays
- Make the most of the Marrakech Fare Wars
- A summer cottage getaway – it’s not too late to book!
June 8, 2011 for Classic Cottages
- Enjoy even more of Jordan with Voyages Jules Verne
May 11, 2011 for Voyages Jules Verne
- Göta Canal Steamship Company cruises into the summer season
- France specialist VFB Holidays gives the staycation a run for its money
- Book a bridalmoon – pre-wedding pampering with the girls
- Travelzest’s coffee-table collection
- Heaven away from the hordes
- Travelzest’s top five festivals for 2011
- Classically British holidays for British Tourism Week
February 28, 2011 for Classic Cottages
- Lyme disease warning issued as 2012 Olympic cycle route is announced
February 24, 2011 for Lyme Disease Action
- Sunvil Discovery expands its Portugal & Madeira programme
February 15, 2011 for Sunvil Discovery
- New Managing Director appointed for Classic Cottages
January 25, 2011 for Classic Cottages
- Affordable country house weddings without compromise
- Bright, bullish start to 2011 reported by AITO Agents
January 17, 2011 for AITO - Specialist Travel Agents
- Top winter travel experiences with Travelzest Holidays
- Expert Africa underlines its position as the Zimbabwe specialist
January 4, 2011 for Expert Africa
- Hotel that hosted Churchill opens new function suite
- Seasonal specials: Christmas & New Year getaways from Classic Cottages
December 6, 2010 for Classic Cottages
- A smörgåsbord for the senses: Sunvil’s new Scandinavia brochure
November 30, 2010 for Sunvil Discovery
- Kirker expands its hotel collection in India, North Africa & the Middle East
November 19, 2010 for Kirker Holidays
- Hallmark venue revealed for milestone AITO Agents conference
November 18, 2010 for AITO - Specialist Travel Agents
- Anderbury Hotels appoints Travel PR
- Göta Canal Steamship Company cruises named Best Experience in Sweden
- News from West Sweden and Gothenburg – Winter 2010
November 5, 2010 for West Sweden
- Explore introduces Experiential and Budget tour collections
- Lymelife sheds light on the debilitating effects of Lyme disease
October 26, 2010 for Lyme Disease Action
- Now’s the time for The Shellfish Journey in West Sweden
October 18, 2010 for West Sweden
- Explore launches Active & Discovery Programmes
- Let Ionian Weddings plan your perfect day….in the Greek Islands or Cyprus
September 29, 2010 for Ionian Weddings
- Explore goes ape for London’s Great Gorilla Run once again
- Forget Facebook – it’s face time you need with friends
September 23, 2010 for Classic Cottages
- Oliver Broad crowned AITO Specialist Travel Agents’ new chairman
September 16, 2010 for AITO - Specialist Travel Agents
- Tailor-made adventure trips across the real Latin America
September 7, 2010 for Sunvil Traveller
- Nepal to Nicaragua – five news tours on Explore’s 2011/12 Family Adventures programme
- The bare necessities for going nude
- PAN Parks joins Travel PR
- Christmas Day in incredible locations
- Culinary Adventures in Japan – The Way of the Stomach
June 1, 2010 for Inside Japan Tours
- Explore launches Slow Travel Movement
- Wilpattu, Sri Lanka’s best National Park, has re-opened
- The Traveller tells the History of the World in 10 tours
- What’s happening in Gothenburg and West Sweden in 2010?
January 12, 2010 for West Sweden
- Top of the Ops
- The latest news from Explore:
- Caribbean customised: a contradiction in terms?
- Quint-essential client counsel
- Slow food – new culinary cruises through the heart of Sweden