The Eiffel Tower is the World’s Favourite Landmark

A new Hotels.com poll of more than 10,000 travellers from around the world has found that the Eiffel Tower has topped the Taj Mahal, Statue of Liberty and Golden Gate Bridge to be crowned the World’s Favourite Landmark.

The iconic Parisian tower was named the greatest structure by nearly one-in-six (16%) travellers from five continents included in the survey, well-ahead of its nearest rivals, St Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City, Rome and India’s Taj Mahal, which came a distant second and third place with just 9% and 8% of the vote respectively, according to leading accommodation website Hotels.com.

Three American icons – the Golden Gate Bridge, Empire State Building and Statue of Liberty – made up the remainder of the top six spots, each sharing 7% of traveller’s votes. London, meanwhile, missed out on the top ten altogether as Big Ben made eleventh spot and the London Eye came in at number 12.

Alison Couper, Communications Director for Hotels.com, said:

“This survey shows that the pull of famous landmarks is so strong that many people travel to a place especially to see them. These buildings really do have a hold on our imaginations.”

Hotels.com research showed that over six in ten (60.5%) of UK travellers have travelled somewhere just to see a specific landmark building.

However, while the Eiffel Tower is a clear winner among travellers globally, British tourists are far more divided about their favourite landmarks around the world.

Although the Parisian monument came out on top in the list of Britain’s favourite blockbuster buildings, it was only a single percent ahead of St Peter’s Basilica. The Taj Mahal, Golden Gate Bridge and Empire State Building all followed closely behind securing 8% of the vote each.

Hotels.com found that buildings have the most sway over intrepid Spanish travellers, 83% of whom said that they had visited a city simply to take in the splendour of its architectural icons. A similar proportion of Italian travellers (80.4%) said they had made trips to take in one landmark building.

Alison Couper, concluded: “This shows that a city really is defined in tourists’ minds by its iconic buildings and, with the falling cost of travel and hotel prices both at home and abroad, there has never been a better time to visit a few of the world’s greatest buildings to fill up a photo album or two.”

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Hotel Nikko San Francisco Earns EPA’s ENERGY STAR Award

Hotel Nikko San Francisco has earned the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) prestigious ENERGY STAR. This is the national symbol for superior energy efficiency and environmental protection. Qualifying for the ENERGY STAR requires rating in the top 25% of facilities in the nation for energy efficiency.Commercial building that earn the ENERGY STAR use an average of 40% less energy than typical buildings. By managing energy usage in strategic ways across our entire organization, here at Hotel Nikko San Francisco we have improved our energy performance and made cost-effective improvements to our building. To earn the ENERGY STAR, Hotel Nikko San Francisco has taken numerous actions.

Being the only hotel to receive its sixth consecutive award, Hotel Nikko San Francisco expresses its success by taking numerous steps to better the environment and embrace going green. These steps include: use of low-flow toilets which use air pressure to assist in the flushing of the toilet. This allows the hotel to save 2.1 gallons of water with each flush. This amounts to over 2 million gallons of water being saved every year. The use of compact/ screw in fluorescent lighting, allows for saving energy. Along with these savings the hotel also recycles paper, cardboard, bottles, cans and wood pallets. All unused food is composted nightly, minimizing waste.

Donations of old useable towels are donated to charity, not only keeping the waste level down, but also helping those in the community. The use of “green cards” allows guest to participate in the going green movements.

Guests have the option of requesting whether or not they want their linens cleaned. Cutting down the number of times cleaning sheets takes place allows cutting the hotel’s water usage in half. Ventilation fans have Variable Frequency Drives installed cutting down electricity usage as well.

We are proud to have been rewarded the ENERGY STAR and will continue to strive to uphold our recognition of being one of the most energy efficient hotels.

For more information about Hotel Nikko San Francisco, please visit:
http://www.hotelnikkosf.com/

For more information about Energy Star Award, please visit: http://www.energystar.gov.

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Emirates Boosts Australian Luxury Travel Market

Emirates has announced that only two months after its soft opening, Wolgan Valley Resort & Spa, in the iconic Greater Blue Mountains, has been recognised as one of the world’s best luxury resorts.

The Emirates Hotels & Resorts property has been included as a member of the exclusive Leading Hotels of the World portfolio. Only five Australian properties hold this membership status to date, with Wolgan Valley the second only in New South Wales.

As the world’s foremost authority on hotel assessment and grading, the Leading Hotels of the World serves as the benchmark for the luxury hospitality industry, and only accepts its members following a rigorous and anonymous inspection process to arrive at the elite worldwide list. Just 450 of the finest hotels, resorts and spas around the world are included.

With sister property Al Maha Desert Resort & Spa in Dubai already a member, Emirates Hotels & Resorts now has both its properties included in the prestigious luxury hospitality portfolio.

Tony Williams, Senior Vice President, Resorts & Projects, Emirates Hotels & Resorts said: “This is great news for Emirates Hotels & Resorts, and for the Australian travel industry. We believe that the opening of our Wolgan Valley Resort & Spa is significantly boosting the luxury travel sector in Australia, and we are delighted that Leading Hotels of the World has recognised our contribution.”

Even at this very early stage, the luxury spa resort scored high points across all areas of the inspection report, from room facilities and guest services, to housekeeping and food and beverage.

“As the sector grows, Wolgan Valley Resort & Spa will continue to partner with other Australian resorts of similar calibre in order to add further value to the international traveller experience,” Mr Williams added.

“The hotels within The Leading Hotels of the World collection cater to the discriminating traveller, where first-class service is the norm rather than the exception,” said Philip Ho, Vice President, Asia Pacific of The Leading Hotels of the World. “For Wolgan Valley Resort & Spa to be accepted as a new member demonstrates the resort’s true commitment to quality, consistency and personalised service.”

Heralding a new era of luxury travel in Australia, Wolgan Valley Resort & Spa has taken up a leadership role in hospitality as well as conservation. The conservation-based resort protects its surrounding habitats and indigenous Blue Mountains wildlife, while delivering the first-class standards, quality services and unique experiences, such as wildlife safaris in Australia, that are expected from luxury resorts.

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Rezidor Announces Opening Of A New Radisson Blu Hotel In Milan

The Rezidor Hotel Group, one of the fastest growing hotel companies worldwide, has announced the opening of the Radisson Blu Hotel, Milan in Italy. The existing hotel – originally opened in 2007 as the Chedi Milan – features 250 rooms and will be rebranded in the first quarter of 2010.

“Milan is a key market for us. The city is one of the world’s fashion capitals, and we are delighted to be present in town with our chic, contemporary and design orientated core brand, Radisson Blu,” said Kurt Ritter, President & CEO of Rezidor. The Radisson Blu Hotel, Milan is Rezidor’s second property in Italy – the company also manages the 232 room Radisson Blu Es. Hotel, Rome.

The Radisson Blu Hotel, Milan is located north of the city centre, within minutes of Milan’s two trade fairs. Its 250 rooms each offer an average size of 37 m2 and are decorated in an “Asia-meets-Italy” style designed by the reknowned Indonesian firm Jaya & Associates. Extras include elegant limestone bathrooms, flat screen TVs and free high speed internet access. Besides a restaurant and lounge bar, the hotel also offers nearly 800 m2 of meeting and conference space. Guests can also enjoy the spa and the indoor swimming pool.

Since its first opening in 2007, the hotel has received rave reviews from a number of publications. Fortune Magazine proclaimed it as one of the Best New Business Hotels in the World. The UK’s Daily Telegraph called it a “super-chic urban retreat” and Vogue UK proclaimed it as “the place to stay if you want to mix with the high fashion crowd in the Italian capital of style”. Under the first class and full service Radisson Blu brand, the luxury hotels sophisticated image will be developed further and brought to new heights.

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The Rezidor Hotel Group Expands Its Portfolio With Two New Park Inn Hotels

The Rezidor Hotel Group, one of the fastest growing hotel companies worldwide, expands portfolio with the addition of two new Park Inn hotels: The Park Inn Luxembourg City is scheduled to open in Q4 2010, and the Park Inn Abeokuta in Nigeria will welcome the first guests in Q4 2010.

The Park Inn Luxembourg City enjoys a prime location in the city centre of Luxembourg (which is linked to 30 cities via high speed train and is the gateway for the majority of visitors to Luxembourg). Located in one of the city’s most important retail streets, the hotel will have great visibility and easy access to the centre. Besides 99 colourful guest rooms, the new build property will offer a restaurant and bar, a meeting room, fitness room and parking.

The Grand Duchy of Luxembourg is located in the heart of Europe and has a population which is amongst the wealthiest in the world and, thanks to sustained economic growth, has seen a rise in highly-skilled expatriate workers. Luxembourg also hosts several key European Union institutions, including the European Court of Justice, the European Court of Auditors, and the European Investment Bank. Luxembourg also marks a new milestone for Rezidor, by being the 60th country where the company is present.

The Park Inn Abeokuta follows recent signings Rezidor has made in the emerging market of Nigeria – the group already develops hotels in the capital city Abuja and in Lagos. The city’s existing “Gateway Hotel” will be completely renovated into a modern Park Inn property with 173 guest rooms, a signature RBG Bar & Grill, meeting space including a ballroom and auditorium, a swimming pool, gym and shops.

“These signings further underline and strengthen the ambitious growth of our dynamic mid market brand Park Inn”, commented Kurt Ritter, President & CEO of Rezidor. “Launched in early 2003 only Park Inn today comprises more than 130 hotels with more than 24,500 rooms in operation and under development across Europe, Middle East and Africa”.

About The Rezidor Hotel Group
The Rezidor Hotel Group is one of the fastest growing hotel companies in the world. The group features a portfolio of more than 380 hotels in operation and under development with 81,700 rooms in 60 countries including luxury hotels in LondonLuxury Hotels in Dublin and Luxury Hotels in Rome.

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Cheap Flights Engine Skyscanner Traffic Spikes 283% As Flyglobespan Collapses

Travel search site Skyscanner has already reported an 283% rise on searches for cheap flights on Flyglobespan routes and expects to see traffic increase further as news of the airline’s collapse spreads and affected travellers scramble to find replacement flights.

Flyglobespan went into administration last night (16th December 2009), cancelling all flights.

“It’s terrible news for the 3,400 stranded passengers, for the 90,000 people who have paid for flights with the airline and for Flyglobespan employees” said Barry Smith, Skyscanner co-founder and Business Director.

“It’s been a disastrous week for the airline industry what with the BA Xmas strike announcement, which saw a peak in searches for flights to New York and now this. Skyscanner is assisting affected passengers by helping them to find replacement flights.”

“Searches on Flyglobespan routes have already gone through the roof and will continue to rise over the next few days. We saw a 269% rise on user traffic for XL Airline routes following its collapse in September 2008; the spike on Flyglobespan routes has already overtaken this.”

According to a statement on Flyglobespan’s website, customers who have booked a flight through Globespan Airways Limited operating as Flyglobespan are unlikely to be covered by the ATOL scheme.

Customers who have paid by credit card or Visa debit card should contact their card issuer in the first instance to determine whether they can claim a refund.

Skyscanner has set up a dedicated help page offering links to alternative flights on all Flyglobespan routes.

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New Radisson Blu Hotel Opening In Cairo, Egypt

Rezidor Hotel Group has announced the opening of one of its most eagerly awaited flagship hotels, in the Egyptian capital, Cairo.

The new Radisson Blu Hotel, Cairo Heliopolis, is the company’s very first in this amazing city and signals the groups continued strategic expansion into emerging markets. This opening takes Rezidor Hotel Group’s operating portfolio in the Middle East & Africa up to 36 hotels and 9,000 rooms.

The new Radisson Blu hotel is situated in the elite district of Heliopolis, which is often referred to as Cairo’s “city of luxury and leisure”. Dating back to late 19th Century, this suburb was created for Cairo’s rich and famous, boasting a wide variety of highly sought after private and recreational clubs. Located just 10 kilometres from Cairo’s teeming city centre, Heliopolis is a mere 2 kms from the international airport making the new Radisson Blu luxury hotel an ultra convenient base and an oasis of a destination in its own right.

Heliopolis was built at the end of the nineteenth century, when Cairo’s massive population explosion created a huge demand for luxurious accommodation within easy reach of the city. Modern visitors flock to enjoy the fantastic range of restaurants, leisure facilities and nightlife – plus the cool and stylish ambiance – which seems a million miles removed from Cairo’s mayhem, noise and bustle. A mix of modern development is lightly superimposed on a dense and impressive bed of history.

The Radisson Blu Hotel, Cairo Heliopolis is one of the most exclusive addresses in this most exclusive of districts. Heliopolis is the home of Egyptian President and his impressive palace. It is also home to many of Egypt’s most desirable, up-market leisure and sporting establishments, including the luxurious Heliopolis Club, which dates back to 1905.

This new addition to the Radisson Blu portfolio has 427 stylish guest rooms and 60 luxurious suites, with all the modern amenities expected of a world-class hotel. The hotel has 7 stylish meeting rooms, featuring a large and elegant Ballroom – spanning 416 msq; two ultra modern breakout rooms, of 64 msq and 51 msq, along with an excellent range of facilities and equipment, making it the ideal location to host events. There is also the award winning Italian restaurant and bar FILINI, glamorous 1122 Lobby Bar, all-day MIX restaurant with its fusion of Oriental and European cuisine, and the panoramic Nine Pool Bar. Hotel guests and locals can expect the very best of all culinary experiences in Cairo.

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Survey Says Latin Lovers Most Likely To Play Away When Travelling

A travel survey by leading budget accommodation provider HostelBookers.com has found Brazilians to be both the most narcissistic travellers and most likely to cheat on a partner whilst away. The research, responded to by over 10,000 budget travellers during November 2009, showed that 61.1% of Brazilians considered themselves and their compatriots to make the best lovers, with 15.4% of the Brazilians surveyed admitting to infidelity whilst on holiday, compared to a global average of just 9.9%.

Other nationalities that were particularly convinced by their nation’s credentials in bed included Norwegians (53.3%) and Portuguese (52%), whilst the Germans were least attracted to fellow citizens with just 21.2% opting for themselves as the best lovers. Americans were also modest, with just 25.1% believing their compatriots to make the best lovers.

The least faithful travellers after Brazilians were hot-blooded Italians (11.2% admitted to cheating) and Viking descendents in Denmark (10.8%). Across the Oresund Bridge however, fellow Scandinavians Sweden proved to be sticklers for fidelity, with 74.4% remaining faithful. The travellers least likely to cheat are the Antipodeans, with 79% of Kiwis and 77.4% of Aussies claiming never to have cheated whilst travelling.

Two-timing Danes were also the most liable to have one-night stands whilst travelling. 41.9% confirmed that they’d indulged in one-off quickies, way above the global average of 31.6%. The only nation to come close was nearby neighbour Sweden (38%), whose travellers were presumably not cheating on their partners in the process. Least fond of such antics were the Poles, with 60% denying having had one-night stands abroad, followed by 56.2% of Americans.

British travellers were found to be less likely than average to cheat on partners when travelling (just 8.7%) and amongst the least likely to try one-night stands (49% spurning them). The UK was also only moderately convinced of its citizens’ sexual prowess (only 40.5% believed Britons made the best lovers). The biggest foreign advocates of UK lovers were nearby neighbours Ireland (6.8% put the British at the top of the list), France (6.7%), Sweden (6.1%) and fellow Commonwealth members Australia (4.4%) and Canada (3.8%).

David Smith, chief operating officer of HostelBookers, said, “It’s interesting to see that, by and large, budget travellers remain faithful when abroad, with under 10% cheating on their partners. It could be that they are too busy experiencing the destination they’ve travelled to or that the time they spend in their accommodation is taken up using all the facilities that hostels and budget hotels offer nowadays.

It’s also revealing to see what different nations think of each other’s prowess as lovers and their propensity to ‘play away.’ It’ll be a useful reference for anyone with Brazilian or Danish partners who are planning to head off on a budget break,” Smith added.

HostelBookers features more than 16,500 hostels and budget properties in over 3,000 destinations across more than 150 countries, and is the only website in the industry not to charge a booking fee – its lowest price guarantee means that prices are on average 5.1 per cent less expensive than other well-known hostel booking companies.

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Heliski.com Unveils New ‘Heliski Finder’ Resource

Heliski.com, an online resource for heli-skiing and heli-boarding enthusiasts looking to plan the helicopter skiing trip of a lifetime, has unveiled their new “Heliski Finder” tool to help potential clients browse over 40 heliski operators around the globe.

Heliski.com Unveils New 'Heliski Finder' Resource

Visitors to Heliski.com will notice improved functionality with the introduction of the Heliski Finder tool, which gives heliskiing and heli-boarding fans a way of viewing different operators by geographic region on an interactive map. This is an invaluable tool as travel, accommodations, terrain and group make-up are important aspects for manyhelicopter skiers trying to choose among the over 40 heliskiing destinations. Having the interactive map helps illustrate not only where various operators are located, but also how close they are to city centers, major roads and highways, etc.

The Heliski Finder tool has many other capabilities beyond the map as well. A click on one of the individual operator beacons will take visitors to a custom page with a wealth of detail on their services. The information available includes but is not limited to: location, terrain description, standard pricing and packages, pricing for extra vertical, guests per helicopter, daily trips per group, helicopter type, nearby lodging and dining options, seasonal weather conditions, nearest airports, and unique features and amenities.

Heliski.com CPO (Chief Powder Officer) states, “As heli-skiing continues to experience an explosive growth in popularity, the need for a centralized database offering detailed information about the multitude of operators now available had become critical. However, presenting this information in an interactive and visually appealing manner that is easy to understand is also a challenge. After months of development, we are very proud to make the Heliski Finder available to individual and groups who are looking to empower themselves with the information to plan and book the heliski adventure of a lifetime.”

Some of the operators, mostly located in Canada, that can be researched through the Heliski Finder include: Canadian Mountain Holidays, Mike Wiegele Helicopter Skiing, TLH Heliskiing, Skeena Heliskiing, and Purcell Helicopter Skiing.

Whether you’re looking for a remote and wild experience, or something more luxurious and laid-back, the Heliski Finder can help you custom-build a heliskiing or heliboarding experience that will leave you counting the months until you can come back and do it all over again.

About Heliski.com

Heliski.com represents most Canadian heli skiing operators and many in Alaska and worldwide. Additionally, you will never be pressured or harassed by Heliski.com. A trip through Heliski.com does not require a premium cost and will probably save you money! Heliski.com also provides get real, objective information and recommendations on helicopter skiing operators. We’ve been there, skied that. We have skied with many of the operators, and can give you firsthand knowledge and advice. By representing so many operators, Heliski.com has no vested interest in any operator, and will provide honest and unbiased information.

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North America’s Top New Year Destinations

2010 is gonna be a New Year’s Eve like you wouldn’t believe! Skyscanner presents North America’s most-searched/most-popular destinations for welcoming in the New Year!

Using the magical technology that we have here at cheap flights search engine Skyscanner, we’ve collected flight search data from our website to find out where Americans and Canadians are most-interested in going to celebrate this New Year’s Eve…

London
New Year’s revelers in the capital enjoy a choice of bars, clubs and fireworks along the river Thames, at Alexandra Palace Park or one of many other displays. Fans of 007 can get shaken (but not stirred) at the Bond Ball at Kensington Close Hotel; clubbers can dance till moon down at the Ministry of Sound party at the O2 and for family fun. With good flight deals to London over the festive period it’s not surprising that the English capital came out at number one!

New York City
Times Square is the place to be in the Big Apple if you really want to experience the festive throng and the famed “ball drop”. Be prepared to make new friends from around the world and enjoy the charged atmosphere as the countdown begins. NYC on New Year’s Eve can be chilly, so wrap up warm and don comfortable clothing!

Orlando
You had better go dig your dusty Mickey Mouse ears, limited edition Tinker Bell suitcase, and party animal mentality out of the attic, because it’s almost time to usher in the New Year in Orlando! There are plenty of fabulous New Year’s parties that aren’t on Disney property, but the parks themselves go all out for the important night, so you won’t want to miss it! And with the availability of cheap flights to Orlando why not experience the Disney magic for yourself.

Los Angeles
Fans of dance music need to put a trip to LA into their New Year’s plans, because the intoxicating Together As One festival is set to rock the City of Angels into the next decade like no other gala could ever hope to do! Or, if you’d rather “see and be seen” among Hollywood starlets and the like, simply take your pick out of the numerous trendy hangouts that are hosting over-the-top soirees.

Paris
Regarded as one of the most colorful and exciting places to celebrate New Year’s, Parisians toast the nouvelle année with flutes of Champagne and papillottes – small chocolates which pop like firecrackers when opened. Head to the Champs-Elysees from where you’ll be able to soak up the seasonal atmosphere and get a good view of the Eiffel Tower, which explodes with light when the clock strikes twelve!

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Center Parcs Awarded 5-Star rating by Visit Britain

Center Parcs are delighted to announce that they have achieved Visit Britain’s 5-star rating for all 4 sites. Following visits from independent assessors in September and October 2009, Visit Britain reported impressive results.

Assessors noted excellent levels of service across all areas and exceptional standards of cleanliness were also recognised.

Visit Britain’s quality assessment scheme seeks to inform consumers of the quality of service and facilities they can expect from accommodation in the UK; the 5 star rating recognises an ‘exceptional standard, with a degree of luxury’.

The Visit Britain Resort Spa Accreditation has also been awarded to Aqua Sana for performing above standards that comply with the Waves of Excellence criteria. Accreditation is based on quality of service, ambiance, satisfaction with therapies and treatments, value for money, professionalism of staff and range of services available.

Graham White, Operations Director said:

“We are proud to have been again awarded 5 stars by Visit Britain under their quality in tourism scheme and the Resort Spa Accreditation. These are superb achievements and it is down to the dedication and enthusiasm of all colleagues at Center Parcs that we have received these ratings. Excellent service and a wide range of high quality facilities are a fundamental part of the Center Parcs experience and this is what has made us so successful for the past 20 years.”

For more information on the short breaks and weekend breaks on offer, visit the Center Parcs website.

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British Airways And Malaga City Make Plans For A Joint Future

British Airways online and direct sales manager, Keith Chuter, and Francisco De La Torre, the Mayor of Malaga Town Hall, put pen to paper this month, signing a letter of intent, making official their plans to further promote Malaga City in the British market. The letter lays the foundations of a two year agreement that will see British Airways use its online channels, to highlight the many flights available to Malaga from the UK, and further increase tourism to the city.

The agreement, set to begin in early 2010, will incorporate a two phase marketing, media and advertising campaign. Phase one will see British Airways expand its online channels, allowing it to strongly promote and sell Malaga. Two familiarisation trips will take place to highlight the city’s Picasso links, cultural and historic offerings, year-round events, fantastic gastronomy and prestigious hotels.

Phase two will involve the expansion of communication channels and development of advertising campaigns. The campaign will also see British Airways contract tours to the city, which will appear on the Malaga Turismo website, with a hyperlink to the British Airways website.

The agreement is scheduled to end in the Spring/Summer of 2011 however, if the campaign has been a great success it’s likely a further two year agreement will be signed.

British Airways currently operates 12 flights to Malaga from the UK every week and also offers a wide range of hotels, from the 3* value-for-money Atarazanas Malaga Boutique Hotel to the magnificent 4*+ Petit Palace Plaza ideally located in the historic centre. For added convenience, British Airways also offers car rental in Malaga.

It’s hoped this winning partnership with the Malaga Council of Tourism, will not only encourage more travellers to use the route but, will also encourage those visiting to explore the city and discover more about its rich heritage.

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BA Staff on Strike: Alternative Cheap Flight Options

Following the news of BA strike action, which will last 12 days, from 22nd December 2009 to 2nd January 2010, Skyscanner is helping worried passengers find alternative cheap flights.

The strike will be hitting Christmas and New Year travellers hard, coming at one of the busiest times of year for travel and disrupting plans for an estimated one million passengers, especially those taking flights to New York for the festive season.

At the time of writing, BA had not yet released details of the flights that would be affected by the strike, but some passengers are already booking alternatives, not wanting to risk the chance of being unable to reach their families at Christmas.

“We’ve already seen an 11% rise in user traffic to Skyscanner since BA’s announcement of strike action. Right now, it looks like everyone is waiting for more information; no one wants to buy another flight unless they’re sure they have to.

“But there will be big search spikes once BA release details of which flights will be affected so it’s worth checking out the alternatives now in case your flight is affected” said Sam Baldwin, Skyscanner travel expert.

If you are looking for alternative flights, visit Skyscanner.net to see what your options are.

Skyscanner – never miss a flight

Since Skyscanner was founded in 2002, our mission has been to create the first website in the world to show every single commercial flight on earth – hence our slogan – never
miss a flight
.

By comparing hundreds of airlines and thousands of routes, we make it easy for you never to miss a flight deal. With over 600 different carriers and 670,000 different routes listed, we’re getting closer to this goal every day.

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British Airways Signs Up GB Hopefuls For 2010 Vancouver Olympic Winter Games

British Airways, the official airline partner of the London 2012 Olympic Games and Paralympic Games has signed up snowboarders Ben Kilner and Zoe Gillings – two of TeamGB’s best hopefuls for the forthcoming 2010 Vancouver Olympic Winter Games.

British Airways will support the athletes with flights to visit the world’s best snowboarding destinations, such as Vancouver, vital for training and competition. Ben and Zoe will also promote the BA Great Britons Programme a £500,000 travel fund offering flights for budding British talent.

Currently ranked the number one snow sport athlete in the UK and fifth in the world, 24-year-old Zoe Gillings from the Isle of Man, is no stranger to competing at high profile events. She competed in the 2006 Olympic Winter Games to secure 15th place and has since gone on to win a number of titles, including the highly coveted ‘British Olympic Association Athlete of the Year’ this year.

Speaking on the partnership, Zoe said: “International training is essential to maintain the necessary standard in snowboarding. I understand how important the BA Great Britons Programme is for budding talent to achieve their dreams, which I’m proud to be supporting.”

Fellow Briton, 21-year-old Ben Kilner from Aberdeen, Scotland, is also one of the UK’s best snowboarders. Ranked 23rd in the world, he recently achieved first place in the halfpipe at the British Championships.

Ben said: “My focus this year has been to master the halfpipe so I can challenge for a podium position at the Olympic Winter Games. The support from British Airways is crucial to the success of my training, as I need to fly to the best destinations for snow to practice.”

Luisa Fernandez, British Airways global sponsorship manager, added: “We’re very proud to support Zoe and Ben in their dreams and know they will do us very proud at the forthcoming 2010 Vancouver Olympic Winter Games. However, you don’t have to be a professional athlete to receive support from the airline – the BA Great Britons Programme is open to all levels and interests.”

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Rezidor Opens New Hotel In Rotherham

The Rezidor Hotel Group has announced the addition of its latest new hotel to its portfolio, the Park Inn in Rotherham.

“The addition of Park Inn Rotherham to our portfolio means that we have opened 35 new hotels and over 7,000 hotel rooms so far in 2009. This is our 88th Park Inn hotel, and we have additional 47 hotels under construction,” said Renu Snehi, Director Corporate Communication in The Rezidor Hotel Group.

The new Park Inn hotel in Rotherham is right on the city’s main business, in a city that is home to several of Britain’s biggest companies and industries.

Rotherham is a town that has blossomed in recent years, with a variety of bars, outdoor cafes, shops and a theater here. The city is located only 10km from Sheffield and 85km from Manchester Airport, in the Yorkshire area.

The new hotel is perfect for those looking for some action into their holiday. Nearby lies the exclusive Express Park extreme sports center, providing opportunities for adventure sports experiences and makes the hotel a perfect venue for meetings and conferences with common experiences or team-building as part of the journey.

The hotel can accommodate four flexible meeting rooms, with a total conference area of 204sqm. All meeting rooms are equipped with the latest audiovisual equipment, in addition to high-speed internet access. The hotel also has a 60sqm reception area and good parking facilities.

For days with a little extra time, the Park Inn Rotherham also has a state of the art fitness center and spa facility, with sauna and steam bath.

About The Rezidor Hotel Group
The Rezidor Hotel Group is one of the fastest growing hotel companies in the world. The group features a portfolio of more than 380 luxury hotels in operation and under development with 81,700 rooms in almost 60 countries including luxury hotels in London, Manchester and Edinburgh.

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It Pays To Shop Around As Top End Hotels Cut Prices

Hotels.com, the leading accommodation site, has encouraged travellers to shop around when booking their Christmas city breaks to secure a top end hotel for a mid end price.

Top-end hotels (particularly those in the four-star category) have cut their prices harder than other categories, which means that the price difference between a three-star hotel and a four-star is less than it has been for years. The average cost of upgrading from a mid-range to a top class hotel is as low as £2 per night in Oslo, just £7 in Barcelona and £9 in Madrid and Mexico City.

The cost of a shift to a four-star hotel can bring huge benefits, with better facilities, often more central locations, great restaurants (for that all important holiday breakfast) and bigger rooms.

However, four-star hotels have struggled particularly in the downturn as travellers have continued to take their main holidays but have made other breaks a discretionary purchase and have trimmed costs – preserving their break but spending less on hotels. The response from many hotels in the four-star category has been to cut rates back harder than those in the three-star category, bringing the cost of upgrade down substantially.

Alison Couper, director of communications at Hotels.com says: “While many still want to head off on breaks over the autumn and winter, there is a sense that money should be saved wherever possible.

“However, we would counsel travellers to shop around and not to think that, just because a hotel has three stars over the door, they will save money – in many cases four-star rooms can be cheaper than three-star hotels, and the cost of an upgrade might be much lower than travellers think.”

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Cheap Flights Search Engine Skyscanner Reveals Top New Year Destinations

Travel search site Skyscanner reveals the most popular destinations that Brits are heading to for New Year.

The data, based on user searches on the cheap flights search engine, Skyscanner, threw up an intriguing mix of locations in sunny, city and even snowy destinations that Brits are travelling to for their New Year celebrations.

In the number one position, New York topped the bill as the most searched for destination – and was the only city outside of Europe to feature in the top ten. The big apple has long been one of the most famous places to see in the New Year, and the weakening US dollar and availability of cheap flights to New York may help explain its popularity.

In second place was Tenerife, a long time favourite for Brits seeking escape from the UK’s winter gloom. The church square in Los Cristianos hosts thousands of revellers waiting to pop their bottles of Cava – and like everywhere else, you’ll be able to join the locals “oohing” and “aahing” over the spectacular firework display if you grab some last minute flights to Tenerife soon.

Paris and Amsterdam ranked 3rd and 4th; London came in 5th, suggesting many British revellers will be ringing in the New Year on home turf – or that they are using London as connecting hub for onward travel.

Alicante and Malaga, also favourites of British holidaymakers appeared in 6th and 7th, making Spain the most popular country for Brits to celebrate New Year overall.

Edinburgh (home of Skyscanner) ranked 8th, suggesting that Hogmanay in the Scottish capital is still a big New Year destination for many in the UK.

Ranking 9th was Geneva, the massively popular ski hub, suggesting that a large proportion of Brits will be seeing in the New Year at one of the dozens of French or Swiss ski resorts that lie within 2 hours of the Swiss city.

And at number 10 was Irish capital Dublin, which is well known for its New Year’s craic drawing thousands of Brits each year.

Ranking based on flight searches on Skyscanner from UK airports for travel over the New Year Period 09/10.

Via EPR Network
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How To Avoid The US Embargo On Travel To Cuba, Myanmar And Syria

US foreign policy has banned competitors of HostelBookers from offering accommodation in Cuba, Myanmar (Burma) or Syria.

As a British-owned company, HostelBookers are not bound by this travel ban, and continue to offer the best in budget accommodation in these destinations.

Whilst traveling to these countries can present an ethical dilemma, they still have wide appeal for travelers. HostelBookers are answering this demand for a more unique travel experience with the best hostels in each destination.

Cuba

Cuba is utterly unique. Travellers staying in Cuba Hostels can discover a tropical island of palm-fringed beaches and water-sports, bars sultry with salsa beats, and crumbling colonial buildings.

The capital Havana is not to be missed, with streets of brightly coloured American Buick cars, psychedelic Che Guevara murals and cafes of old men, playing cards and smoking Cuban cigars.

Syria

Like much of the Middle East, Syria is a far safer and more cosmopolitan country than people realise.

In this vibrant country, ancient history mingles with everyday life – locals picnic beside ruined monuments, and the streets are a jumble of donkeys, bicycles and 1960s American taxis. Each city boasts citadels, relaxing hamman baths and ancient souk markets.

Syria is full of Unesco-listed sites, from the ancient city of Damascus (one of the oldest inhabited cities in the world) to the Greek ruins of Palmyra in a desert oasis. There are Damascus hostels, Aleppo and Palmyra, making backpacking around the country easy.

Myanmar/Burma

Travelling to Burma is an ethical decision for some travellers. Thanks to a tyrannical political regime, the country has been boycotted by the international community, and many backpackers wish to follow suit. But this land really is a world apart from the rest of South-East Asia, with streets of British colonial houses and steam-boats sailing down rivers.

The country boasts many mystical sights – from Bagan’s 4000 Buddhist temples resting on a river shore, to floating villages and peaceful monasteries at Inle Lake. Travellers can stay in Yangon hostels, a former capital with a major international airport and the Shwedagon Pagoda, the most important religious site in the country.

Via EPR Network
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The Newly Constructed Hall D Now Accessible Both Day And Night From Radisson Blu Hotel At Toulouse Airport

With its stunning, airy, glass super-structure, the new Toulouse airport facility Hall D is a masterpiece of modern, eco-friendly and dynamic engineering. The new Hall D is built for the twenty-first century. There are pleasing check-in areas, concise flight information displays, fuss-free shopping malls, automated and secure baggage handling, and easy access to the aircraft.

Such a fantastic new facility deserves only the best when it comes to an airport hotel for Toulouse .

For any business traveller, the quality and facilities of the world-acclaimed Radisson Hotel group are no secret, but for anyone else desiring a touch of class, is there any other place to match? When that hotel is conveniently located close to a busy international airport, the rewards for discerning high fliers and leisure seekers are a double bonus.

Designed by the renowned architect Alain Marcot, the Radisson Blu is the airport hotel of choice in Toulouse . The elegant, imposing hotel offers guests a choice of 200 guest rooms, 18 Junior suites, 6 Executive suites and 1 Presidential suite. All the rooms are designed with pure quality in mind; the décor, the amenities and the comfort offered are world class and second-to-none.

The Radisson Blu Hotel in Toulouse has nine meeting rooms and a ballroom for high-level business meetings and social gatherings. No one need be out of touch, whether for business or pleasure, with free high-speed Internet access in all rooms as well as in the hotel lobby and general public areas.

The superbly appointed and stylish La Vie en Rose restaurant offers top quality dishes to satisfy the most discerning guests. With an intriguing open plan design, diners can, as the hotel’s own promotional material suggests, “…see how it can get behind the scenes” Before or after dinner, La Vie en Rose is the perfect place to unwind. Whether for an aperitif, a cocktail or a coffee, the comforts of the intimate bar area will soon drain away even the most stressed of feelings.

Perhaps one of the most striking features of the Radisson Blu H otel is its extensive open area, the Patio, fondly appreciated by regular guests. It is very easy to while away the time peacefully in the exquisite surroundings of the Patio with its charming ‘vineyard’ décor. The planted vines encourage an atmosphere of tranquillity, where drinks and snacks are available at any time.

Life at the Radisson Blu, the pace-setting airport hotel in Toulouse, is not all about relaxing and recuperating; there are also plenty of facilities for the more active. Guests can work out in the wellness centre, enjoy the whirl pool, sweat it out in the sauna or bathe in the hammam baths.

The Radisson Blu Hotel, of all the hotels in Toulouse, fits the bill for every reason you might wish for: easy access day or night to the city, stylish rooms in abundance, superb dining, relaxing lounges and bar, and easy, safe parking. And, of course, easy access day or night to the superb new Hall D at Toulouse airport.

Via EPR Network
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The Regent Zagreb Hotel Rated Number One by Tripadvisor

The Regent Zagreb hotel has been rated no 1 on the world famous and highly-trusted travel website Tripadvisor. This is great news for all the staff and management at the Regent Zagreb Hotel, who try so hard to ensure that their guests have a trouble-free stay with their every need satisfied. Millions of travellers have voiced their opinions on this well-respected website, so if you want advice for your trip to Croatia , go to tripadvisor.com. See what other independent travellers have said about the luxury hotel Regent Zagreb , then go and stay there and see for yourself! Of all the luxury hotels in Zagreb , the Regent Zagreb is without compare.

The Regent Zagreb is an elegant, centrally located luxury hotel in the heart of the Croatian capital, dating back to 1925. Originally it opened for use as a luxurious stopover by passengers taking the Orient Express train to Istanbul . Today this comfortable, five-star, luxury hotel in Zagreb offers guests an unrivalled service, with intimate and charming touches that will be fondly remembered for years.

From the moment you step into the atmospheric entrance hall, time will fly by. The welcoming attendants know exactly how to treat a treasured customer. Later on, for dining in style, why not choose between the elegant Emerald Ballroom or Zinfandel’s Restaurant, which provides a more intimate experience. For relaxation, check out the health spa or the hotel’s cosy bars and lounges. For business visitors there’s a conference centre, together with all the services one expects from a modern and stylish luxury hotel in Zagreb.

The rooms have luxurious beds and classically designed bathrooms, more than enough to induce a restful and restorative night’s sleep. When you stay in the Regent Zagreb luxury hotel, you are following in the footsteps of many famous guests like Orson Wells, Charles Lindberg and Woody Allen. Here in the Regent, you can feel the warmth and welcome that only Zagreb hotels can offer.

Tripadvisor has established itself as the definitive website for world travelers. It is theplace to explore and soak up the views of thousands of visitors, guests and travelers. You know when you visit Tripadvisor that the views expressed are reliable, trustworthy, often succinct and hard-hitting where it counts. Without direct obligations to sponsors and product managers, the Tripadvisor site can be browsed in the knowledge that opinions are genuine and helpful. So wherever you travel across the world, check out Tripadvisor first!

Via EPR Network
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