British Airways Invests £100 Million To Set A New Standard For First-Class Travel

British Airways’ new First took off February 10, 2010 on a Boeing 777 bound for Chicago, The Windy City.

British Airways Invests £100 Million To Set A New Standard For First-Class Travel

The airline has invested £100 million in its flagship First brand drawing on its rich heritage to create an exclusive experience based on classic design and understated luxury.

The airline’s Coat of Arms with the motto ‘To fly to serve’ is a core feature and the 1920s pioneering era of luxury flights is captured through motifs such as Cyril Kenneth Bird’s ‘Care in the Air’ character.

The design of the new cabin is inspired by premium British automotive brands. At the heart of its quink blue and cream design is a redesigned suite featuring an enhanced bed – wider with a new ‘intelligent’ mattress and the finest 400-thread Egyptian cotton bed linen.

British Airways frequent flyer, actress Rachel Weisz, said: “For style, stellar service and complete luxury, it doesn’t get better than British Airways’ new First cabin.”

British Airways’ head of customer experience Mark Hassell, said: “We have contemporised First and created an intimate private jet experience onboard. We have resisted gadgets and gimmicks and focused instead on simplicity and quality. Every feature has been carefully considered and researched to ensure we are giving our customers what they want.”

Each individual suite has its own personal wardrobe, a leather-bound writing desk that converts into a dining table, a new 15″ in-flight entertainment screen and a buddy seat to enable customers to dine together. The lighting and electronic blinds can be modified to reflect mood and time of day.

Customers have precision control over their seat position thanks to an innovative seat control unit that replaces the switches, allowing them to activate the bed position and pneumatic panels to support the head and lumbar positions.

A new premium service style has been developed for cabin crew to ensure world-class service for customers who can eat, sleep and work whenever they want to.

Luxury, quality and attention to detail are also exactly the 5 star qualities customers can expect to find from British Airways’ luxury holidays. The airline recently launched its quarterly magazine, The Collection devoted to premium holidays including New York, a route that will see its First cabin enhanced over the next 18 months and ties in perfectly with the opening of the new Trump Soho hotels in downtown New York due to open in April 2010.

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Hotels.com Finds Wear The Trousers When It Comes To Making Holiday Decisions

According to new research f r o m Hotels.com, leading hotels accommodation website, women undoubtedly ‘wear the trousers’ when it comes to making holiday decisions.

One in four wives and girlfriends take sole responsibility for choosing the finer details of a holiday, according to the findings.

But whilst the ladies are busying themselves with organising the getaway, the men are steeling themselves to foot the bill. Of the 360 UK couples polled, 25% admitted that the holidays are paid for by their partner.

In contrast, the research showed that just 12% of guys in a relationship take the lead when it comes to organising holidays and only seven per cent of women are happy to flash the cash and pay for the break.

The research drilled down further into the holidaying habits of couples, showing that even if women don’t take full responsibility for the trip, almost half (43%) make sure they have the final say on the accommodation selected. It would also seem that holiday chivalry is alive and kicking as 46% of men pick up all the bills whilst away, despite the choice of restaurants and bars frequently being a joint affair.

For married couples, the seeds of holiday decision-making power are sewn early. Nine per cent of brides-to-be admit they plan their perfect honeymoon alone. Over a third of women (35%) also confess they wouldn’t trust their partner to book their dream holiday, whilst 76% of gentlemen polled admit they would put total trust in their partner’s decisions regarding a dream getaway.

Women’s reluctance to let men in on the holiday decision making process clearly stems f r o m bitter experience as 69% of women who are no longer married or in a relationship are adamant they wouldn’t trust a future partner to book a holiday. One in ten women also confessed that on occasion when they had put their trust in their partner it resulted in an argument.

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Book Car Hire Early to Avoid Disappointment and Rising Prices Warns Carrentals.co.uk

Leading price comparator Carrentals.co.uk is warning anyone with Easter travel plans to book their car hire early to avoid paying over the odds, with the lack of availability being experienced by car hire firms leading to rising prices across the board.

Book Car Hire Early to Avoid Disappointment and Rising Prices Warns Carrentals.co.uk

Carrentals.co.uk is reporting a 13%* rise in the average price of car hire in Geneva for Easter this year, in comparison to the prices quoted for rental over Easter 2009.

According to the car hire comparator, some of the most popular destinations for Easter bookings this year are Alicante, Faro, Rome and Tenerife , with Brits keen to make the most of the bank holiday weekend.

Gareth Robinson, managing director of Carrentals.co.uk, says: “Over the past twelve months car rental firms have struggled to obtain funding f r o m the banks, making it very difficult to maintain fleet sizes, as there has been no money available to purchase new or replacement cars. This is reflected in the higher prices we are seeing for some of the most popular destinations for Easter this year – a trend we expect to see continue into the summer.

“We would advise all travellers planning an Easter escape to book their car hire as soon as possible to guarantee the lowest prices and a wider selection of vehicles to choose f r o m. Using a comparator website also allows customers to see the most competitive results f r o m a range of different companies all in one place, making it easier to find best deal.”

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Kuoni Report Proves Holidays Can Change Lives

Kuoni, the luxury travel operator, has published its latest report on what really happens in the hearts and minds of the British public when on holiday. The report shows over 50% of all life changing decisions are put into action following a decision made on a holiday, proving that holidays can change a person’s life.

Kuoni Report Proves Holidays Can Change Lives

Joanna Edmunds, Managing Director, Kuoni UK, said: “Kuoni has been at the forefront of producing travel trend reports for decades. This year we wanted to better understand the emotional journey of holiday-makers and we examined the role of holidays in this new context. We looked at the personal discussions and decisions that take place on holidays and how these shape peoples futures. The results are exciting. They prove that holidays are more than a break from the daily routine: they can be truly life changing.”

The lifestyle report has been examined by leading psychotherapist and health writer, Christine Webber. Christine said: “This report shows that having a holiday is not just about sun and leisure and visiting new and exotic locations. It demonstrates that we use the vacation to great effect in order to plan improvements in our day-to-day lives.

Many people feel that they just don’t have the time in their normal busy and pressurised schedules to reappraise their lifestyles, or to talk to their partner about relationship issues that worry them. Once away from the daily grind, such individuals often feel that they are able to get a more healthy perspective on their lives, and they can then set about planning to change those aspects of them that they’re not happy with.”

The 24-page report reveals that the hottest topics to talk about while on holiday are work/life balance (41%) and getting fitter/healthier (39%). Interestingly the more one earns the more these percentages rise: 70% and 58% respectively.

36% talk about their love life with 34% actually deciding to take action and spice it up when they get home. It seems the younger generations talk about this subject even more at 57%.

74% of Brits surveyed said a romantic getaway can make or break their relationships. This is especially true when it comes to women with over a quarter believing that a holiday might help them re-ignite the flames of love and over a third said a break helped them get re-acquainted with their partner.

70% of people surveyed said their primary reason for a holiday was to escape from work and again, this figure rises to 80% for higher earners. And 72% of Brits agreed that it was “even more important to have a holiday during a recession”

Bosses should also be prepared in case their employees come back with more than just a tan. The report found that 28% of people returning from a break actually decide to take action on changing their job.

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Hotels.com And Expedia Launches New Dublin Office

Hotels.com and Expedia have announced the opening of their new Ireland office which is located in Dublin. This latest opening will mean that the Irish hotel supply relationships for both brands, Hotels.com and its parent company Expedia Inc – the world’s leading online travel company, will now both be run from this new office.

The new move is part of Hotels.com’s continued commitment to the Irish market to provide locally based ground support for its Irish partners across the travel and hospitality sector. The Dublin office will be home to the new Irish market management team who will now be based in the Irish capital for the first time.

Senior Market Manager, Orla Lee, will oversee operations throughout the country but will also maintain a specific focus on Dublin, Galway and Belfast. Orla will be supported by Market Manager Veronika Beckers, who will take on responsibility for regional Ireland, and Revenue Specialist, Elizabeth O’Connor.

Seamus MacCormaic, Director of Market Management for UK and Ireland, Hotels.com and Expedia, commented: “Ireland is incredibly important to Hotels.com and Expedia both as a destination and a market. We are pleased to be in a position to open this office, giving locally based support to our hotel partners throughout the country and continuing to build Ireland as a destination for our customers across the globe.”

Hotels.com currently has more than 70 sites across the world offering an unbeatable choice of more than 110,000 quality hotels, B&Bs and serviced apartments in hundreds of destinations.

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The World’s Biggest Spenders: Tourists Who Splash The Cash

Flight comparison site Skyscanner investigates which countries like to flash their cash the most when they travel – the Germans are in the lead, but China is hot on their trail. With the world economy apparently on the road to recovery, tourism will play a huge part in many countries’ income and competition is high to capture the biggest share of that market. International tourism is on track for a rebound with growth of 3-4% projected for 2010 – a welcome recovery after 2009’s slump.

But when it comes to international travels, who spends the most and where should travel and tourism organisations be targeting their marketing budgets to attract the big spenders?

At number one, it’s the Germans who spend over $90 billion a year on their travels, a disproportionate amount compared to their population which numbers just over 80 million, less than a third of the next biggest spenders – the USA, who splash $79.7 billion a year on holidays. Known for tipping big in restaurant and bars, Americans certainly know how to spend.

In third place it’s the UK who splurge $68.5 billion to escape the UK on cheap flights each year. No doubt the lure of sun and sand plays a huge part in the mass exodus, with Spain by far our favourite holiday escape. This is also backed up by recent Skyscanner stats, with cheap flights to Malaga topping the most popular searched in January. France, which is also the world’s most popular country in terms of tourist arrivals, empty their wallets of $42.1 per year, whilst the Chinese spend $36.2 billion annually on their travels.

China is part of a new force of international tourists. The country’s huge economic boom over the last decade has created a new middle class and with travel restrictions now a distant memory, more and more Chinese are taking advantage of their new found wealth and travelling the world – normally in tour groups.

Italy, Japan, Canada, Russia and the Netherlands made up the rest of the ten big spenders list.

Barry Smith, Skyscanner co-founder and business director commented:
“It will be very interesting to see how tourist spending changes since the downturn. So far, the latest figures show that only the Japanese spent less on international tourism than the previous year. China is fast rising, spending 21% more on their global travels, and are likely set to grow even more. Meanwhile, it’s the Germans who remain the world’s biggest spending tourists, and there would have to be significant change for anyone else to catch up with them.”

1. Germany – $91.0 billion (+2%)
2. USA – $79.7 billion (+4.4%)
3. UK – $68.5 billion (+4.4%)
4. France – $43.1 billion (+9.6%)
5. China – $36.2 billion (+21.4%)
6. Italy – $30.8 billion (+4.9%)
7. Japan – $27.9 billion (-7.9%)
8. Canada – $26.9 billion (+8.4%)
9. Russia – $24.9 billion (+11.8%)
10. Netherlands – $21.7 billion (+9.2%)

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Warner Leisure Hotels Corton Coastal Village Awarded 4 Stars

The Warner Leisure Hotels owned Corton Coastal Village has been announced as receiving the coveted 4 Star Holiday Village award by The English Tourist Board.

While the receipt of this latest accolade has been thoroughly welcomed, it came as no surprise to Warner Leisure Hotels that it would be congratulating Corton Coastal Village, on winning the coveted 4 Star Enjoy England Quality Rose Award. The Warner Leisure Hotels village is set atop the Suffolk cliff-top, which provides panoramic views of the North Sea and direct access to the seafront via a Cliffside staircase.

The Enjoy England Quality Rose assessment scheme gives a clear indication of accommodation standard, cleanliness, ambience, hospitality, service and food. Corton Coastal Village now matches her sister site, Gunton Hall Coastal Village, also in Suffolk. This means they can jointly celebrate the recognition of their excellent high standards throughout both properties. To add to this recognition of Corton’s success, the coastal village resort was also awarded the David Urquhart Travel ‘Premier Collection’ and the ‘Good Hospitality’ 2009 awards achieving the highest ratings for food, friendliness, excellent décor and facilities; the result of continual monitoring through customer satisfaction questionnaires.

Petrina Simmons, General Manager of both Corton and Gunton Hall Coastal Villages said “We are still celebrating our great news. This is such a fantastic achievement for the exceptional teams working at both locations. It’s a huge accolade and a tremendous recognition of what we offer our guests and visitors – Unique places to relax, with a range of optional daytime activities and evening live entertainment combining to offer exceptional holiday opportunities.”

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FIFA 2010 By Road To South Africa From Nairobi

The World cup this season has been given much needed attention. Being in Africa definitely shows solidarity soccer brings to the World. While most people will be seeing it through the satellite television because of the almost impossibility of seeing it live, also the fact that most flights from / to Europe are either closed or fully booked for the most important dates, there is another alternative travel. Fans don’t have to miss out on the fun and adventure. In fact, in some cases some football teams may be practicing in Kenya and later fly to South Africa to play their matches then come back to Nairobi.

It’s indeed a privilege for such a country that also embraces other sports champions in the filed of athletics’-long distance running, rugby, volley ball, lawn tennis and table tennis, golf champions, motor cross, safari rallies and so many others coming up. Its now wonder Kenya has the love shape as it embraces many cultures and people making it the ideal business hub for East and Central Africa.

We have put up an adventures package that commences from Nairobi to South Africa via Tanzania, Zambia and Botswana and to South Africa. A lot of preparation has been put up in terms of accommodation which will be all camping most places and also in food, security and transport. Just get your flight in and out of Nairobi in the dates stated that you should be arriving and departing and then you are on your way.

Kindly, arrange for your VISAS to the countries and tickets for the matches. The accommodation will be around Pretoria. Please note the services are provided by a third party and we are only assisting in booking and having you get a seat to South Africa.. so get on board soonest possible. For more information please send email to claudia@cruzeiro-safaris.com or info@cruzeiro-safaris.com.
URL: http://www.cruzeiro-safaris.com/south-africa.

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Holiday Autos Has Launched A Fresh New Look And Feel To Its Website

Holiday Autos has launched a fresh new look and feel to its website this week. The site also includes improved functionality and many other new additions that aim to make booking with the world’s leading car hire provider easier and faster.

Holiday Autos Has Launched A Fresh New Look And Feel To Its Website

As well as a new Route Planner functionality which has been added to appear at the top of all content pages, the new website also features:

• A new top menu element detailing “other rental” options
• A relocated search engine with double calendars to increase the booking speed and
customer usability
• The option to select ‘one-way rentals’ by checking the “dropping off in a
different location” check box
• Newsletter subscription is now back on the homepage Holiday Autos won two new awards in January – Best Car Hire in the UK for the second year running at the Globe Travel Awards and Best Leisure Car Hire at the Irish Travel Trade News Awards.

The brand refresh builds upon the unique look and brand standing Holiday Autos has built up over the last 23 years and retains many of these elements. The new design combines findings f r o m customer usability testing, a fresh and contemporary look and delivers industry best practice into the design.

Stuart Nassos, Managing Director says “We are delighted to offer our customer improved functionality and believe our new look site builds on the site strengths and makes booking car hire a simpler process all round. We’ll be rolling out more enhancements over the coming weeks to help deliver a high end booking process for all customers”.

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Superbreak Increases Mystery Hotel Range

Superbreak has teamed up with a number of key hotel partners, eager to provide huge discounts on their prices, to provide greater choice in the Mystery Hotels range. Customers are offered cheaper rates but do not know the identity of their hotel until after they have completed their booking.

Superbreak Increases Mystery Hotel Range

Initially introduced to provide fantastic value for money in major airport locations, Superbreak now has more than 250 hotel offers in more than 80 key destinations throughout the UK, with further additions in key overseas destinations.

Key destinations in the United Kingdom include London, Edinburgh, York and Chester with hotels by major airports at Gatwick, Heathrow, Manchester and Glasgow. Overseas destinations include Rome, Dubai and Paris hotels.

The popularity of Superbreak Mystery Hotels has soared over the past 12 months, generating an additional 10,000 bookings in 2009 alone. This trend has continued into 2010 with Superbreak reporting a 180% growth year on year.

Ray Jones, Brand Development Director at Superbreak, said: “In the last eight months we have booked thousands of bed nights into our mystery hotels. For many, great value is the key factor when booking and they are not buying on a brand proposition alone. They know which destination they want to visit but are less interested in the hotel itself. We have ensured that customers can choose the star rating of their choice and then leave the rest a mystery until after they have booked.”

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Save Up To 15% On Car Hire In Cyprus This Summer!

With its scorching summers and beautiful beaches, Cyprus is the perfect summer get-a-way. Ideal for families, Cyprus has many hotels and family friendly resorts as well as four large and diverse cities.

Save Up To 15% On Car Hire In Cyprus This Summer!

With so much to do, from visiting Limassol Castle (Limassol) to the Tombs of Kings (Pafos), the easiest way to see everything, especially with the family, is to hire a car. Avoid disappointment and ensure you get the car you want, book early with holiday autos, now with up to 15% off all car hire in Cyprus.

Cyprus Car hire prices in Cyprus start from as little as £19 per day with pick up from Paphos airport.

Holiday autos has compiled an essential guide to visiting Cyprus, for more information and tips on car hire and holidaying in Cyprus please visit http://www.holidayautos.co.uk/car-hire/cyprus.htm

This offer is available on all cars and rental durations for bookings made before 28 February 2010. To book, and for more information visit www.holidayautos.co.uk

Save up to 15% on car hire in Greece this summer

Greece is the ultimate summer hot spot. There is something for everyone with its stunning beaches and islands, party haunts, bars and restaurants. On top of this there is guaranteed sunshine, so whether you want to island hop or drive up and down the coast, holiday autos make it easy with up to 15% off all car hire in Greece. Avoid disappointment and make sure you’re holiday starts smoothly by booking early with holiday autos.

Greece cCar hire prices in Greece start from as little as £27 per day with pick up from Corfu airport.

Holiday autos has compiled an essential guide to visiting Greece, for more information and tips on car hire and holidaying in Greece this summer visit http://www.holidayautos.co.uk/car-hire/greece.htm

This offer is available on all cars and rental durations for bookings made before 28 February 2010. To book, and for more information visit http://www.holidayautos.co.uk.

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13% Happy To Sleep With Strangers On Flights Says Skyscanner

13% of people would be happy to share a Skycouch with a stranger they met in queue, according to the latest poll from flight comparison site Skyscanner.

13% Happy To Sleep With Strangers On Flights Says Skyscanner

The Skycouch, which has been developed by Air New Zealand, works by converting a row of three airline seats into a bed. It is being heralded as the first ‘lie-down economy bed’, and the first major improvement in economy class travel comfort in 20 years. Three seats must be purchased together, with the third seat offered at a discounted rate. Each of the seats has a cushion that folds up from beneath and arm rests all tuck away, creating a flat mattress that will allow two adults to stretch out.

The seats on relatively cheap flights in Economy class have always lacked severely in comfort compared to their Business class counterparts but with this new innovation the gap has been significantly bridged for long haul flights such as cheap flights to Sydney from the UK.

73% of the people who voted in Skyscanner’s poll said that they would happily pay the extra for a Skycouch, of which 60.5% said they would only share with their partner. 25% said that they wouldn’t pay the extra and would rather save their money.

Nearly 500 people voted in the poll, and the overall results show that Air New Zealand’s innovation is a winner with long haul flyers and a lucrative move for the airline.

Barry Smith, Skyscanner co-founder and director said:

“We applaud Air New Zealand for making long haul flying more comfortable. We knew people would like the idea, but we were amazed that so many would be happy to share the Skycouch with a stranger they’d only just met at the airport. It could lead to new relationships blooming at twenty thousand feet, although Air New Zealand have stressed that Skycouches should not be used to join the ‘mile high’ club.”

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Stena Line Invests £200m In New Scottish Port

Stena Line has announced investment details of approximately£200m in a new ferry port facility at Loch Ryan in Scotland. A 28 acre site two miles north of Cairnryan has been chosen to locate the facility which will be constructed to accommodate a mix of travel and freight customers all year round. The investment also includes the addition of two large modern ferries when the port becomes fully operational on its Irish Sea service to Belfast Port.

Stena Line Invests £200m In New Scottish Port

Construction work at the new port is anticipated to take approximately 20 months, creating over 900 jobs, and will be completed by autumn 2011. A Harbour Empowerment Order (HEO) to allow the creation of the new port has just been approved by the Scottish Parliament. The new port facility represents the first in a number of projects across Scotland which have been assigned National Project status by the Scottish Government and will half the time it currently takes to turn vessels around.

Speaking at the announcement hosted by Scotland’s First Minister Alex Salmond, Dan Sten Olsson, Chairman of Stena Line outlined the importance of the development to the future prosperity of Scotland. He said: “Today is a historic day for the people of Scotland and indeed Northern Ireland. The investment we have announced will provide Scotland with a first class port facility which underlines and enhances the port’s prominence as the third largest gateway in the UK. The link between Scotland and Northern Ireland provides a huge number of benefits for both countries.

Tourism and freight business between Scotland and Northern Ireland has seen significant growth in recent years and despite the current difficult trading conditions, we are confident that an investment of this magnitude will pay dividends over the medium to long term. We believe that working in partnership with the Scottish Government and their counterparts in Northern Ireland we will have state-of-the-art facilities that everyone can be proud of.”

Speaking at the announcement, First Minister Alex Salmond said: “This new development will safeguard and create 1,400 jobs and trigger significant investment in Dumfries and Galloway. I am delighted to welcome the decision to approve this project and Stena Line’s commitment and continuing contribution to the Scottish economy. The relocation of the port to the new Loch Ryan Port will also aid tourism with faster ferry crossings between Scotland and Northern Ireland and help the regeneration of Stranraer as a major marine leisure area. This is a significant day for transport and investment in Scotland, and today’s announcements highlight the Scottish Government’s continued commitment to working with investors to support jobs and the economy and to keep Scotland moving.”

In 2008, Stena Line opened a new £37m port facility in Belfast harbour, which First Minister Salmond attended. Stena Line is the largest ferry operator on the Irish Sea offering the biggest fleet and route choice between Britain and Ireland. Routes between Britain and Ireland for travel and freight customers include Stranraer -Belfast, Fleetwood-Larne, Holyhead-Dun Laoghaire/Dublin Port and Fishguard-Rosslare.

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Valentine in Old York, say Octopus Travel

Online hotel booker Octopus Travel is promoting the virtues of York as a Valentine’s destination.

With the recent increase in domestic short breaks as a consequence of the recession fallout, home-grown historical cities are finding a new audience, say the company, which has over 50,000 hotels worldwide available online.

York has a long, dramatic history, stretching all the way back to the Romans who first established the city – which they called Eboracum – as their northern stronghold in Britain. After a period of Anglo-Saxon government, the Vikings sacked York and claimed it for their own in 866AD.

The main attraction is York Minster, the grand cathedral that was developed over hundreds of years on the site of an ancient Roman fort.

A spokesman for Octopus Travel said: “York’s turbulent history is part of what makes it such a romantic destination. Strolling around the walled city and through York Minster is a great way for a couple to spend time together, plus it’s a really manageable size for seeing everything over a weekend, which makes it ideal for Valentines.”

With Valentine’s Day falling on a Sunday this year, short break bookings are expected to be higher than usual. Octopus Travel advise booking early for York hotels.

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Premier Airport-Transfer Service Harmony Cars Expand Their Services To Paris & Israel

Harmony Cars announce the extension of their services to cover Paris and Israel, offering clients more choice. They have also extended the currency in which to view and pay for their services to include the US. Dollar and the Euro.

Premier Airport-Transfer Service Harmony Cars Expand Their Services To Paris & Israel

Harmony Cars, already an established airport-transfer and chauffeur service provider in the UK are pleased to announce that they are expanding their expert services to two new destinations. 2010 will allow clients in both Paris (France) and Israel to take advantage of the same high quality, executive service that their current UK-based clients enjoy.

Paris – a city known for its elegant, ambient and thriving culture makes it one of the most loved cities in Europe. With famous landmarks such as the Eiffel Tower and the Arc D’Triumphe there are plenty of sites for tourists to see. Harmony Cars offers a service that will transport you in style and comfort to all of these destinations allowing you to take in the absorbing culture in a relaxed state of mind. Not only that but they will also transfer you from the airport to wherever it is you will be staying.

Israel – Also known as the ‘Holy Land’ offers its visitors a rich variety of historical sites as well as modern beach resorts meaning there is something for everyone. With Harmony Cars, you can expect a hassle and stress-free transfer service from Israel’s main airport to a destination of your choice.

In addition to offering these new and exciting services, Harmony Cars have listened to their clients and have further improved their website to suit their needs. Harmony Cars give you the option to view prices in Euros (€) or U.S. Dollars ($) in addition to UK Pound Sterling (£), allowing their clients from across the globe to easily establish the cost of their transfers with them. This new feature also ensures that their prices are even more competitive.

To find out more about Harmony Cars, or to look at their prices and executive fleet of vehicles, visit their website http://www.harmony-airport-transfers.com.

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Superbreak Announces Trend Towards UK Mini-Mooning

Superbreak reports that as the credit crunch continues to affect couples wanting to tie the knot, one solution appears to be to save on the traditional overseas honeymoon, with a few days in the UK instead, now referred to as the ‘mini-moon’.

Superbreak also found that there was a 15% increase in requests for upgrades to four-poster rooms (a common upgrade for honeymooners) in 2009 against 2008. In addition, it also showed a 5% decline year on year in airport/cruise port hotel stopovers booked by marrying couples, which would suggest that few people are choosing to travel overseas for their honeymoon.

Ian Mounser, Sales Director at Superbreak commented, “It seems that the mini-moon trend is actually taking off in the UK. With marrying couples increasingly conscious of expenditure, and seeking to save for their future, our analysis indicates that many couples appear to be more budget conscious and are choosing honeymoons of two to five nights duration, perhaps planning a full holiday in future years. As we head towards the key 2010 wedding season it will be interesting to see if this trend continues.”

Superbreak has a dedicated groups department, which is well placed to notice changing travel trends relating to customers getting married. It booked 500 hen and stag dos (which represents over 6000 customers) in 2009 alone and also specialises in booking marrying couples overnight hotels including airports and cruise ports and continually liaises with the bride and groom regarding hotels for friends and family coming to the wedding.

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Skyscanner Flight Trends January 2010

Top Ten
Spain dominated January’s search rankings, with five Spanish cities in the top ten. Faro and Dalaman also made the hot list, suggesting that sun and sand are still top priorities for British travellers, although the presence of
flights to London, New York and Amsterdam shows that city breaks are also popular.

Skyscanner Flight Trends January 2010

Medium and Long Haul
The most popular medium and long haul destinations searched for during January were:
flights to New York (7th), Bangkok (11th), Orlando (15th), Sharm el Sheik (24th), Dubai (30th), Sydney (36th), Johannesburg (43rd), Las Vegas (45th), Delhi (48th) and Hong Kong (49th).

Most Popular Countries
Overall, Spain remains the most popular country for British travellers, despite fears that less favourable euro exchange rates would lead to a switch to non-euro countries such as Turkey, which has three destinations in the rankings, including a high number of searches for
cheap flights to Dalaman. Despite being the UK’s closest neighbour, France is notably scarce in the top 50, with only one French city ranking, possibly due to the increased popularity of the Eurostar over flying.

Skyscanner Says
Barry Smith, Skyscanner co-founder and business director commented:

“Following a year of economic stress in 2009, we’re waiting to see which locations rise from the ashes of recession in 2010. Spain is still the top dog by a long shot, but Portugal, Italy and Cyprus have a significant slice of the market and Turkey and Thailand are nipping at its heels. Orlando should do well this year due to the opening of Harry Potter’s Wizarding World, and South Africa will also see a spike due to the World Cup.”

The following rankings are based on the number of searches for cheap flights during January 2010 on the Skyscanner website for UK departures.

January 2010 Top 10 Destinations
1. Malaga (Spain)
2. Alicante (Spain)
3. Tenerife (Spain)
4. Faro (Portugal)
5. Palma (Spain)
6. London (UK)
7. New York (USA)
8. Lanzarote (Spain)
9. Dalaman (Turkey)
10. Amsterdam (Netherlands)

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Warner Leisure Hotels Welcomes Strictly Come Dancing

Warner Leisure Hotels takes to the dance floor as Strictly Come Dancing grips the nation once again. Rather than just watch the dramas unfold from the sidelines, for those who are inspired to leave their sofas and experience the magic of the dance floor firsthand, Warner Leisure Hotels is launching the perfect experience.

Warner Leisure Hotels is delighted to announce their new exclusive collaboration with BBC Worldwide to launch BBC TV’s Strictly Come Dancing themed hotel breaks in 2010. Running from February to July, across five locations, guests can get up close and personal with some of their favourite Strictly stars as they bring the show to life – including Darren & Lilia, James & Ola, Brian & Kristina, Anton & Erin, Vincent & Flavia, Ian & Camilla and Karen Hardy. Joining the professional dancers will be Strictly Come Dancing judges Craig Revel Horwood and Len Goodman*.

During their Warner break guests will develop their own dancing skills with tuition led by some of the top professionals from the world of dance. So for anyone taking their first steps, or trying to perfect more intricate dance sequences this is their chance to experience the moves as seen on TV and learn from the very best. The package also includes a spectacular ‘Strictly Showcase’ – a chance to watch beautifully choreographed dance displays and show-stopping routines.

The three or four night stays in five historic hotels across the UK, allows guests to be part of the show. Get involved with the glitz and glamour by dressing up and opting to take part in the ‘Strictly Come Dancing Comes to Warner’ competition – the perfect opportunity to show off their new skills and dazzle the crowds. These unique breaks give the chance to compete, judge, or simply sit back, relax and enjoy being part of the ‘live’ audience.

Warner Leisure Hotels’ head of creative entertainments, Sarah Dakin, said: “This exciting collaboration with BBC Worldwide and the Strictly Come Dancing brand will add spectacularly to the Warner Leisure Hotels popular dance break portfolio, bringing the show alive for both experienced dancers and those new to the floor. Ultimately we are offering our guests a unique experience to get up close and personal with both the glitz and glamour and their Strictly Come Dancing favourites.”

Via EPR Network
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Metrotwin.com by British Airways Celebrates New York in London

British Airways online community site, Metrotwin.com is supporting the Nat Finkelstein photographic exhibition at the Idea Generation Gallery in East London, which runs until February 14th and offers free admission.

Metrotwin.com by British Airways Celebrates New York in London

The exhibition which is entitled ‘F r o m One Extreme to the Other’ is a celebration of the life and work of Finkelstein, a photojournalist who is most remembered for his iconic and intimate documentation of Andy Warhol’s infamous studio – the Factory.

Nuria Garrido, British Airways innovations and digital executive said: “This is an inspiring exhibition to support and very fitting since Finkelstein is a celebrated New Yorker hosting his work in London – and Metrotwin.com celebrates all that is great and good about both capitals.”

Metrotwin.com is a travel website that selects the best things to see and do in two of the most dynamic hubs – London and New York, with recommendations f r o m expert bloggers and local communities. British Airways offers an extensive collection of high quality hotels in New York and London to suit all customers.

Nat Finkelstein was widely regarded as one of the most important photojournalists of modern times. His work now hangs in the permanent collections of leading museums and galleries around the world.

The British Airways/Metrotwin sponsored exhibition – Nat Finkelstein: F r o m One Extreme to the Other will be showing at the Idea Generation Gallery, 11 Chance Street, London, E2 7JB, until the 14th Feb.

Via EPR Network
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Skyscanner Investigates Countries with the World’s Lowest Marriage Rates

Flight comparison site Skyscanner has researched the top ten most unmarried populations in the world; places where holy matrimony is low priority and love is free.

Skyscanner Investigates Countries with the World's Lowest Marriage Rates

Those facing a lonely Valentine’s Day may do well to visit a country where the chances of finding other singletons are highest. Skyscanner has taken the liberty of investigating alternative destinations for those seeking romance this Valentine’s day and the international flight search site can be used to pin down some cheap flights to get there too.

Latin America seems like the best place to find love with six of the top ten most unmarried people in Central and South America. With hot weather, hot dancing and hot people, Colombia, Venezuela, Peru, Argentina and Panama are perfect for romance hunters.

Only two European countries made the love list; Slovenia, whose tourist board aptly runs the slogan ‘I feel sLOVEnia’, and the tiny Pyrenean principality of Andorra which is already a popular winter sports destination whose lively après ski scene has doubtless led to plenty of lovin’ – if just for one night only. The other bonus for love hunters in Andorra is its tax-free status, which means that at the very least, you’re guaranteed a cheap date. Andorra can be easily reached from France or Spain but with the abundance of cheap flights to Spain available from the UK this would be the recommended route.

The Middle Eastern countries of Qatar and United Arab Emirates also ranked in the top 10 and with cheap deals on flights to Dubai available year round this could be the perfect location for this year’s Valentine’s celebrations.

Via EPR Network
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