14 December 2012

End of the World Flights Out

Flight search site SkyScanner has reported that there has been a significant increase in one-way flights to cities deemed “safe” from the Mayan Doomsday prophesy.

05 November 2012

Recent Poll Shows Support For Third Heathrow Runway

Organisers of the World Travel Market (WTM) recently conducted a survey that found tourism chiefs favoured the expansion of Heathrow Airport’s property, instead of the opening of a new airport.

The WTM is a summit of tourism chiefs that meet to discuss the state of the tourist trade around the globe and make plans for the future. Today sees the launch of the 2012 summit in London.

29 October 2012

Hurricane Sandy Assaults US East Coast

For all of you who follow the latest news, you know that we had to cover Hurricane Sandy this week. It’s a storm the likes of which the East Coast of America hasn’t seen before. 

Some more southern states, like Florida, are used to hurricanes and other storm patterns, but the upper East Coast (where New York, Connecticut, New Jersey, Rhode Island and Massachusetts reside) will bear the brunt of the largest storm they’ll have seen in years.

On top of this, meteorologists believe that Hurricane Sandy could merge with a storm pattern coming in from the west, resulting in a ‘Frankenstorm’. The name isn’t all that great, but an apt description of the amalgamation of these two weather fronts.

22 October 2012

Luxury Break for Two from Mosaic Holidays Competition

Luxury tour operator Mosaic Holidays have started their first ever Facebook competition. With support from the Jordan Tourist Board and Marriott Hotels, the prize is a fantastic trip for two down to Jordan.

A beautiful and historic country, the lucky winners will be staying in the 5 star Marriott hotel on the Dead Sea before moving to the equally fabulous Marriott in Petra. The stay includes flights, hotel bookings and transfers and will also give you the chance to explore the wonderful Rose City itself. We have previously written an article about just how beautiful it is.

You can find the competition on Facebook on the MosaicHolidays Facebook Page. It just requires a funny or adventurous story that you’d like to share. Once it’s submitted, you’ve got to get people to vote for it! The most votes wins, so make sure you get your friends involve (if you enter) and make it entertaining enough that strangers will love it.

15 October 2012

Travelodge Financial Restructuring Complete

With the arrival of new owners to the budget-hotel chain, taking over from Dubai International Capital with a debt-for-equity swap, the company have announced a restructuring to potentially halve their bank borrowing.

Creditors agreed to the terms in a Company Voluntary Arrangement that cut the company’s total debt from £635 million to £329m. This is with £235m written off completely and £71m repaid by the new owners. The repayment date has been extended to 2017, with an interest rate of 0.25% above LIBOR until the end of 2014.

03 October 2012

Britons Call for Air Passenger Duty to be Scrapped

A campaign to get the APD removed or at least cut from flights out of Great Britain was launched this summer. At the moment, British tourists are paying the highest amount of tax for their flights in the world. It also affects any visitors to the UK on their return flights.

Britons that visit the website www.afairtaxonflying.org are encouraged to enter their name, postcode and email address. The site will then send an automated message to that individual’s local MP communicating disapproval of the level of tax paid by British fliers.

More than 200,000 people have so far sent an email to their MP with a desire to consider lowering or abolishing the tax added onto flights. Michael Gove and Vince Cable have received the most complaints about the issue, having received 1,224 and 1,171 emails respectively.

David Cameron, Prime Minister, has already had more than 500 constituents contact him about the issue ahead of further rises in APD planned within the next 12 months. 80,000 non-UK residents have also expressed their displeasure with the UK Treasury.

The current APD on travel out of Britain has been accused of limiting families from flying abroad, discouraging tourists from flying into the UK and even the decline of tourism to countries heavily reliant on the travel industry, like the Caribbean.

A family of four travelling to Europe must pay £52 in tax. Flying to other countries can cost even higher amounts. To travel to the Caribbean will add £324 in tax and those visiting Australia are hit with a £368 worth of APD. These costs double if tourists wish to travel in premium-economy or above.

With the UK having the highest rate of APD, far more than the rest of the world, support for the campaign is growing. A review into the impact of APD was called for in Parliament after more than 100 MPs signed an early-day motion in June.

The government’s reaction remains to be seen.

photo courtesy of joshuapiano

26 September 2012

World Responsible Tourism Day set for November 7th

During the World Travel Market on November 7th this year, the World Responsible Tourism Day will bring attention to the problems of wildlife poaching still affecting endangered animals today.
Pairing with the World Tourism Organisation UNWTO, the WTM World Responsible Tourism Day is the largest and most far reaching initiative undertaken by the international conservation community.

Poaching has been a huge problem for many parts of Africa, South America and Asia, with some animals driven to extinction. This includes the white rhino, African elephants, white and Bengal tigers and many other animals hunted for their pelts or other materials such as claws, teeth or ivory.

For years the international community has attempted to preserve animals and their natural habitats while boosting the tourism industry. It used to be that safaris meant wealthy individuals going to hunt for various wild animals, but now it refers to observing the animals in their home environment.

The best example of the conservation effort begins with the Shamwari Game Reserve. Once a 2,000 hectare area plagued by poaching that reduced wildlife numbers to practically zero and ruined the ecology of the area, now it stands at 25,000 hectares of protected land where all animals once native to the Eastern Cape now thrive and live undisturbed. The success and sustainability of the Shamwari Game Reserve has meant that it has become a blueprint for other conservation projects throughout the world.

Anti-poaching and conservation groups believe that the best way to progress the effectiveness of these conservation projects is through education. The Mantis Group, a collection of boutique hotels and eco-escapes throughout the world, has a strong and committed stance on conservation-led tourism. Along with the International Anti-Poaching Foundation (IAPF), situated in Mantis’ Stanley and Livingstone Hotel in Victoria Falls, they have launched various projects to educate people about the effects and dangers of poaching. The IAPF also run various courses including; leadership courses, recruitment and deployment of anti-poaching teams, specialist courses in tracking/medicine, instructor courses and a volunteer programme where anyone concerned with the survival and conservation of the global wildlife can help out..

The Voices of Conservation is a separate project set up by Worldwide Experience, the education arm of the Mantis Group, and takes the education into schools. Children are encouraged to learn about breeding programmes and the endangered animals throughout the world.

 If you want to help out with international wildlife conservation, make sure that any safari holidays are properly accredited and are conservation-led tours. The organisations are always looking for volunteers and donations too.

17 September 2012

The Louvre Abu Dhabi Announces New Collection

The as-yet unopened Louvre Abu Dhabi has announced the purchase of a number of acquisitions to form part of the museum’s permanent collection. The actual works are expected to be announced in October.

This represents the most recent assets to be added to the museum, which purchased the rights to be associated with the Louvre name. Tourists will be able to view the new works during the Museum’s Talking Art Series event happening from 3rd October to 26th June next year. Sheikh Sultan Bin Tahnoun Al Nahyan, Chairman of TCA Abu Dhabi, said “We are pleased to share with the public the vast array of works acquired for Louvre Abu Dhabi, and allow for them to experience and interact with the museum’s content as we shape its collection and prepare for the opening,”.

The collection is hoped to inspire discussions about the works and the museum’s narrative before the official opening in 2015. This is a huge step forward in promoting the new Louvre Abu Dhabi to overseas tourists and history lovers. President-Director of the Louvre Museum, Henri Loyrette said of the series; “The Talking Art Series are an essential step in building awareness of the future museum and its collection, enriched by new, exceptional acquisitions”.

The new acquisitions include a wonderfully preserved pavement and fountain ensemble dating back to the early Ottoman period and a standing Bactrian Princess, thought to be from the end of the third millennium BC. The new acquisitions will be accompanied in the Series by a photography collection, which includes the most ancient known representation of a veiled woman, Ayoucha by Joseph Girault de Prangey.

During April 2013 there is another planned exhibition titled Birth of a Museum. A similar version of the exhibition will be shown at the Louvre Museum in Paris at the same time.

The new museum and it’s programmes are sure to make Abu Dhabi an even more desirable holiday destination, with many tour operators gearing up to incorporate the new Louvre in their excursions. Mosaic Holidays already offer luxury 4 & 5 star trips to the heart of Abu Dhabi, where you can see the Museum slowly coming together before viewing their Talking Art Series. They also offer many other activities to bury yourself in Abu Dhabi's rich culture and history, which you can find details about on their Abu Dhabi holiday page.

10 September 2012

Marriott International to open new Courtyard Hotel in Chile

Courtyard by Marriott, a hotel chain operated by the hospitality company Marriott International, have announced that they are planning on opening the first Courtyard chain of hotels in the South American country of Chile.

This comes after an agreement with Falabella Group, the largest retailer in South America boasting operations in Argentina, Chile, Colombia and Peru.

The planned 200 guest-roomed hotel will be placed adjacent to the Marriott Santiago, a 280-room hotel already operating in the area, amongst Chile’s business district with easy access to restaurants and bars in the city as well as the facilities in the Santiago.

The new Courtyard will feature more than 3,000 square feet of meeting space and recreational facilities, which include a swimming pool and fitness centre. The Courtyard chain is primarily targeted to travelling businesspersons, but can cater for families looking for luxury accommodation.

Marriott will open the Courtyard in Santiago with all of the features associated with the chain. This includes a relaxed, refreshing environment for travellers as well as the facilities to stay productive and connected on the move. The hotel will also possess some of the best views of the Andes Mountains.

While this is Courtyard’s first representation in Chile, Marriott International have several other chains in action around the country. The Santiago Marriott Hotel is already running in the business area and a 205-room Ritz-Carlton hotel also open in same city.

Marriott International additionally plans to open a 181-room Renaissance Santiago Hotel in 2013.

The Courtyard by Marriott Hotel will be opened towards the end of 2014 and with more than 900 hotels running in 37 countries, the Courtyard chain is the largest of all Marriott International brands. The company itself owns more than 3,700 properties located in more than 73 countries and territories across the world.

03 September 2012

Quirky Hoilday Ideas - Giethoorn

In the middle of Holland lies a small town called Giethoorn. It’s a small and quiet village that boasts stunning scenery and a peacefulness that you won’t find in many other places. The thing that makes this such a quirky place to visit is the fact that Giethoorn has no roads.

Well, nearly no roads at any rate. There are some basic main roads so tourists and residents can arrive/leave and get supplies but for the most part the town gets around by boat. Based by Molengat lake, Residents have built their houses in the lush banks surrounding several rivers.

The town offers the hire of ‘Whisper boats’, which are electric-powered crafts allowing you to drift your way around the village in peaceful silence. It’s really a relaxing and stunning experience.

Several caveats though, it is still a residential area and while they recognise that tourists are going to come and go there are still areas of the village that are private property and whose residents will not take kindly to you wandering up. It’s not too much to worry about, you’ll simply have to apologise and move back into the public streams and all will be well. Just don’t be surprised to have someone asking you to turn around. You’ll also have to respect the area like you would someone else’s property. Giethoorn’s primary attraction is its quiet and stunning environment. Littering or loud and raucous behaviour will be frowned upon and you could be asked to leave.

That being said, it’s a fantastic way to spend an afternoon, a whole day or even several (the village has a couple of B&B’s to stay at) and for those looking to relax away from the hustle and bustle of the main tourist areas can find a lovely and calm getaway on Giethoorn’s gorgeous waterways.

23 August 2012

Why Jordan is the Place to Visit in 2012

There are a multitude of reasons why Jordan makes a great holiday destination. The rich culture, the warm climate and all of the ancient history buried within its deserts and mountains. The most famous of Jordan’s historic locations, and the most visited tourist attraction of Jordan, is the beautiful stone city of Petra.

Described by poet John William Burgon as “a rose-red city half as old as time”, it is truly one of the most remarkable pieces of architecture in the world. It was discovered on August 22nd 1812 by Swiss explorer Johann Ludwig Burckhardt, 200 years ago this month and Jordan plan on celebrating its bi-centennial. Burckhardt’s trek through the Middle East to find the source of the River Niger is something of a legend. He was continually distracted by other goals, such as finding the lost city of Petra, and was a foreigner in a hostile land.

During his travels he had to disguise himself as a poor Syrian merchant to pass through areas of desert controlled by the Bedouins and other native tribes. Burckhardt tricked his way into the fiercely guarded site of Petra by pretending to be an Arab from India, wanting to make a sacrifice at the tomb of the Prophet Aaron. After his rediscovery, he went on to perform the pilgrimage to Mecca where he decided to stay for three months. Sadly, he died before he could find the source of the river, with the rediscovery of the city of Petra remaining his greatest accomplishment.

The anniversary of the rediscovery and increased awareness of Jordan’s history has seen a huge increase in the amount of tourists heading there and exploring the hidden city. The Arab Spring uprisings in the Middle East hampered the tourist trade a fair amount but Jordan was largely unaffected and more and more people are flocking back to take a look at one of the most recognisable World Heritage Sites UNESCO has to offer.

For those who are unfamiliar with the site, you may have seen in the film Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, as the entrance to where the Holy Grail was kept. It has appeared in many other pop-culture areas too, including Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen and books such as Agatha Christie’s Hercule Poirot murder-mystery Appointment With Death or Hergé’s The Red Sea Sharks, the 19th Tintin book. It’s coincidentally the 50th anniversary of the film Lawrence of Arabia, chronicling the life of T.E. Lawrence during his time with the British army in the Middle East, through countries like Syria (the modern-day Damascus), Iraq, Turkey and Jordan.

The most familiar image used throughout popular culture and tourist postcards is of Al Khazneh, known as ‘The Treasury’. It is the first glimpse of the lost city that greets you after walking through a great gorge known as Siq, flanked on both sides by 80m high cliffs. With the gorgeous rock formations along the cliff sides, the orange-bathed light and the knowledge that Petra was carved from the rock face itself, both introductory experiences to the landmark are overwhelming sights and something that people remember for the rest of their lives.

The abundant history of the country means Jordan is one of the most exciting holiday destinations in the Middle East, and if you like travelling in style then there are a wide variety of tour operators to choose from. A particularly luxurious experience of Petra is offered by Mosaic Holidays on their Luxury Petra Holidays page, with activities that range from touring through Wadi Rum, one of the most beautiful desert landscapes in the world, in a Jeep, staying in an exclusive Bedouin camp, to seeing Petra by night and star-gazing outings.

With a 4 or 5 star hotel option you can be sure to visit in style. You can even combine this to trips throughout the rest of Jordan, seeing other tourist hot-spots like the Dead Sea or the capital Amman. The recommended time to visit is in September/October or May/Jun as these are the times for the most amount of daylight with more ideal temperatures.

Jordan is certainly a luxurious and exotic destination far from the usual tourist hotspots in Asia, which makes it the go-to destination for would-be explorers and cultural connoisseurs and with 2012 playing host to several important anniversaries, now is the perfect time to take trip to Jordan.

13 April 2012

Tired of traditional resorts, or are you just looking around for an unusual place to sleep?

You should try one of these underwater hotels!

Poseidon Undersea Resorts:
Located in a Fijian lagoon, this resort is being built 40 feet underwater. Accessible by elevator, and fully pressurized, you’ll be able to spend 2 nights underwater, including various activities such as relaxing marine-focused spa treatments, swinging on a hammock built for two, or meditating under the gaze of only the moon and stars.

You can find several restaurants and bars; a dive shop, water sports center and retail boutique, or you could just enjoy the library lounge, the theater area or the conference room.
On the island beneath you’ll also find a nine-hole golf course, tennis courts, swimming pools and health clubs.

Located in Key Largo, Florida, it was opened 1986.
The front door is located less than 21 feet under water, so don’t worry you won’t need the scuba certification!

Previously used as a marine lab, the lodge features a 2 bedroom 1 bath retreat that can be rented for a night or more. In the bedroom is a 42inch round window, so you’ll wake up with a view at the maritime life.
The hotel also offers a scuba diving school. If you want to, you can stay a couple of days without even going to the surface. At day time you can take some scuba diving course and pass different diving certifications, or just dive around in the emerald lagoon in the company of their instructor.

14 March 2012

The Worlds Strangest Beaches

When we think of a beach we tend to imagine a traditional white sanded beach with beautiful palm trees. However there are some great beaches around the globe which do not fit in this typical mold. In this article, we’ll take a look at some of these strange beaches with very unique features.

Punalu’u Beach

Punalu’u Beach is located in the Island of Hawaii. It’s relatively accessible and tourists can actually swim in the sea although it’s a bit rocky. The unique feature of Punalu’u Beach is the fact that its sand is colored black. The black sand comes from basalt and lava cooling in the water before it reaches the ocean.

Papakolea Beach

It’s another popular beach in Hawaii not because of its beautiful hotels and amenities but because of its sand. Instead of the traditional white sand you can find in Hawaii, Papakolea Beach features green sand. The sand’s color comes from Olivine, which is a mineral very common on the island. When the mineral and the sand mix it forms a green coloured beach.

Pfeiffer Beach

Located in Big Sur, California, Pfeiffer Beach is one of the most popular beaches in the state. It is highly accessible, has a wide range of recreational facilities and a unique sand color. Pfeiffer Beach often comes with pink sand in some areas and purple in some locations.

Hyams Beach

The Australian destination has a traditional seaside atmosphere and tourists can easily enjoy a good beach without the crowd. If you are looking for something more traditional the sand on this beach is white.

22 February 2012

Visiting the Most Unusual Islands in the World

Beautiful untouched beaches with leaning palm trees are usually the first things that come to mind when you think of a tropical island. They are a great place to relax with your special someone and soak in the sun.
But there are actually islands that go beyond the idea of attracting tourists; these are highly unique places that draw visitors because of their quirky and even scary features.
La Isla De La Munecas (The Island of the Dolls)
Just outside Mexico City is a small island called “La Isla De La Munecas”. The island is considered one of the creepiest tourist attractions in the world because it’s full of decaying dolls hanging from trees. It’s certainly a very scary place but it was never intended to be a tourist attraction. The dolls where placed around the island in remembrance of a young girls death in the area.
Jindo-Modo Land Bridge
Also referred to as the “Moses Miracle”, the land bridge is one of the top destinations in South Korea. In the same way the seas split in two to allow Moses and his followers to cross the water, the jindo-modo bridge emerges twice a year (May and June) creating a road 40 meters wide. The land connects the islands of Jindo and modo allowing their people to visit each other. It’s a natural phenomenon of the tides with myths mentioning people fleeing to Modo Island to escape from tigers that roam around villagers in Jindo.
The island-country is only 21 square kilometers and it’s considered as the 2nd smallest state after the Vatican. The island country is often called “the country that ate itself” because of excessive exploitation of its natural resources. Decades of mining and extraction of phosphorus affected more than 80 percent of the land.

02 February 2012

Unusual Winter Holiday Destinations

A winder holiday vacation often involves skiing, snowboarding and other adventure sports during winter. Aside from these activities, a holiday destination often involves a few days off in a beautiful winter hotel where guests can enjoy warm cozy room in the middle of snowy mountains. It’s a beautiful setting that can create lasting memories.
But for adventurers, a day or two skiing in a beautiful snow landscape is never enough. There are places adventurers visit during the winter season where they can experience something totally different.
Icebox Days (International Falls, Minnesota)
Celebrated every 3rd week of January, Icebox Days are an increasingly popular winter festivity in the northern part of USA. Activities such as frozen turkey bowling, different types of unique snow-based racing and the FYGBR or the Freeze Your Gizzard Blizzard Run are only some of the things you can do during Icebox Days.
Hovercraft Tour (Luleå, Sweden)
Luleå is a very popular tourist destination during the winter season. It’s the place people visit to experience the vastness of the sea in a completely frozen condition. The tour is done through hovercraft for safety purposes but guests will still have a chance to visit and walk in the water to experience extremely low temperature.
Seafood Safari (Grebbestad, Sweden)
Another popular tourist destination during winter in Sweden is Grebbestad where the town has a Seafood Safari. Think of this activity as a safari adventure but only in the sea and you get to enjoy different types of seafood especially lobsters. For the foodies, this is the perfect way to enjoy the holiday season.