Luxury Hotels Worldwide

Archive for September, 2008

Dubai ‘grows’ thanks to tourism

Tuesday, September 30th, 2008

Dubai is rapidly emerging as a leading tourist destination, it has been reported.

Long-inhabited by western workers, the United Arab Emirates’ largest city is now benefiting from money invested in the tourist industry, says the Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA).

ABTA spokesperson Francis Duke explained that Dubai had as a result been transformed from a desert state into one of the world’s fastest growing cities.

He said: “Dubai is really four and five star upwards when it comes to its tourism offering.

“It is totally an example of where a lot of money and a lot of resources have been ploughed into the tourism products.”

Developments in Dubai reflect general rises in the number of visitors to destinations in emerging economies, the World Tourism Association has announced.

The association claims the market share of developing countries had grown to 40 per cent of worldwide international arrivals in 2007, up from 34 per cent in 2000.

ABTA represents more than 6,000 travel agencies and 850 tour operations throughout the British Isles.

New liner for cruise operator

Monday, September 29th, 2008

A cruise operator is in negotiations with manufacturers over plans to build a luxurious new ship, it has been claimed.

Regent Seven Seas plans to unveil the 800 passenger liner by 2011, with a whole-deck spa a central showpiece, reports Travel Counsellors.

According to Regent president Mark Conroy the ship is targeting high-end consumers such as those who pay for premium cabins on standard cruises and seek first-class travel options.

Speaking at the UK Cruise Convention, he indicated that finalised plans may be in place by next month.

Regent marketing manager Celia Albert said the company’s pricing structure was no more expensive than other competitors in the market.

Meanwhile, Travel Counsellors reported a rise of 100 per cent on Regent bookings for 2009, with many customers constructing their own itineraries from the numerous travel routes available.

Company liners visit more than 300 ports on all six inhabited continents, with its liners built to cater for several hundred guests.

Easier access to the Dominican Republic

Saturday, September 27th, 2008

Travelling to the Dominican Republic will be made easier with the introduction of new flight routes to the Caribbean island.

Despite the popularity of the topical island’s resorts with holidaymakers, access to the south of the island currently relies upon a transfer from Antigua followed by a cross-country commute, Travel Connect reports.

Flights between St Lucia’s Hewanorra Airport and Dominica’s Canefield Airport will launch on Monday 26th May after tour operators, keen to maximise the market potential of the tourist industry, gave their backing.

The Dominican Republic ministry of tourism says the country has “dazzling landscapes, exotic cuisine, and a remarkable variety of arts and entertainment options”.

Pioneering explorer Christopher Columbus, who visited the island in 1492, described Dominica as “a beautiful island paradise with high forested mountains and large river valleys”.

Visitors to the island may encounter beaches, waterfalls, rainforest and unique wildlife and participate in activities such as hiking, golf and various water sports.

The country is home to more than nine million people and two dozen national parks.

Tourists flock to Bulgaria

Friday, September 26th, 2008

Bulgaria expects to welcome seven per cent more foreign tourists during 2008, the president of the state agency for tourism authority has announced.

Anelia Krushkova of the Bulgarian State Agency for Tourism (STA) made the announcement yesterday at the opening ceremony of the summer season held at the St Constantine and Elena resort, reports Xinhua.

The Eastern European state, an EU member since January 2007, has signed agreements with Iran and the Czech Republic to help attract more tourists, while a similar deal is close to being reached with South Korea.

Bulgaria’s tourist industry has taken off since the fall of communism 18 years ago.

Popular tourist attractions include the Alexander Nevsky Cathedral in Sofia, Golden Sands beach on the Black Sea coast and the Pirin National Park which is a world heritage site.

Recent STA predictions states tourism revenues in Bulgaria would almost triple by 2013, representing a 25 per cent annual average growth rate.

Emerging economies popular with Brits

Tuesday, September 23rd, 2008

Destinations in emerging economies are becoming increasingly popular with British tourists, says a leading travel association.

A spokesperson for the Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA) has claimed UK tourists want a different type of holiday experience and more are heading to destinations in developing countries such as China, Brazil and Vietnam to fulfil their expectations.

ABTA’s Francis Tuke said mid and long-haul destinations were where the largest amount of industry growth had taken place over the last few years, with traveller numbers rising by over 200 per cent.

He added that emerging economies were becoming so popular because they are exciting, exotic, fast-developing and “so have tourism infrastructure in place”.

Meanwhile, research carried out by the World Tourism Association revealed the USA continues to maintain its position as the world’s largest travel and tourism economy in the world.

China is considered the highest ranked emerging economy on the list for the 2008 study, which considered 176 countries, sitting in second place ahead of Japan and Germany.

Travel firm publishes clubbing guide

Monday, September 22nd, 2008

A new guide has revealed Europe’s hottest clubbing destinations– with few surprises at the top of the charts.

Ibiza has been named’s number one resort for 2008, with many of the world’s top DJs again making a pilgrimage to the Balearic island.

Judge Jules, Pete Tong and Dave Pearce will be among the big names to excite revellers this summer with residencies on the island.

Magaluf, Mallorca is in at number two in the Clubbers’ Guide 2008, with Paul van Dyk, Tiesto and Eddie Halliwell all set to feature at the Palma Bay resort this year.

Agia Napa in south-eastern Cyprus takes  a respectable third place, with the Greek island of Crete following in fourth.

Guide promoters urge party-goers to “grab a glow stick, hit the dance floor and get into the groove”, describing the destinations as “some of the hottest clubbing resorts on the planet”

New London to Singapore flights announced

Sunday, September 21st, 2008

Passengers travelling to Singapore from London are to benefit from the introduction of a new A380, the world’s largest passenger aircraft.

The plans, announced by Singapore Airlines last week, will increase the number of services travelling on the route from seven per week to 11, with extra services being added on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays.

The carrier will receive its fifth A380 aircraft from manufacturers, Airbus, in late June, with services scheduled to commence on July 16th.

Huang Cheng Eng, Singapore Airlines executive vice-president for marketing and regions, said the carrier’s products and passenger experience had been very well received by customers, with passenger numbers on the route having been “exceptionally encouraging”.

“The deployment of another A380 on this route will cater to continual strong demand from customers travelling between Singapore and London,” he added.

Singapore is described as “a dynamic city rich in contrast and colour” with a “harmonious blend of culture, cuisine, arts and architecture” by the nation’s tourist board.

Vinotherapy centre opens in Hungary

Sunday, September 21st, 2008

A new vinotherapy spa centre has opened in the world heritage-listed Tokaj wine region in Hungary.

The spa, based at the four-star Andrássy Kúria Hotel, is designed to cash in on a new tourism trend of combining spa treatment and wine.

So-called vinotherapy is believed to have emerged in 1999 when the first centre opened in Bordeaux, France.

Located in Tarcal in the Tokaj foothills, around a two-and-a-half hour drive from Budapest, the hotel features 38 elegant rooms, two junior suites and a presidential suite.

The fully-operational winery provides tasting and cellar visits, with opportunities for guests to take part in grape harvests and learn all about wine-making, set against a backdrop of 35 hectares of vineyards.

Promoters describe the winery as “a great place to visit for both novice and professional wine connoisseurs”.

According to, Tokaj is blessed with an “ideal climate for winemaking”, and is unique because of the underlying soil conditions, stone-carved cellars and hundreds of years of wine growing tradition in the area.

New Zealand plans ‘green tourism’ chart

Sunday, September 21st, 2008

A new scheme to rank the environmental performance of tourist operators in New Zealand is to be introduced, according to a government minister in the country.

New Zealand environment minister Damien O’Connor says the scheme, which will see 2,100 Kiwi tourism businesses ranked according to their green credentials, will prove a pulling-point as the nation competes with neighbouring Australia for European, Asian and North American visitors, reports the Sydney Morning Herald.

Authorities believe the new scheme, set to be introduced in August, will reassure visitors from further afield who are concerned about the impact of long-haul flights on their carbon footprint.

Mr O’Connor said the new criteria will help the tourism industry meet the main goal of the New Zealand Tourism Strategy 2015, which is to be the leading contributor to a sustainable national economy.

“It also builds on the Labour-led government’s aim for New Zealand to be the first truly sustainable nation,” he added.

Meanwhile, the New Zealand tourism industry association chairman Norm Thompson has cited the credit crunch and increasing global competition as reasons for a drop in tourist visitors from several key markets in the 12 months to April 2008.

Some 11 per cent fewer tourists from Japan visited Kiwi shores during the period, with a two per cent decrease in visitors from the UK and a three per cent fall from the USA also being reported.

The travel guide series Lonely Planet rates New Zealand the second best value destination for tourists.

More tourists heading to Japan

Monday, September 15th, 2008

Some 8.3 million tourists took a trip to Japan last year, representing a 13.8 per cent increase on 2006 figures, as foreign visitors capitalised on rising domestic currencies and falling prices in the far-eastern nation.

The Japan National Tourist Organisation said 70 per cent of visitors were from other Asian countries, with record numbers coming from South Korea and China, while numbers of UK holidaymakers were also the highest ever, up by 2.5 per cent to 221,945.

A number of reasons were cited for the rise in UK visitors, including cheaper air fares, a strong pound against the Japanese yen and motorsport enthusiasts visiting the Formula 1 grand prix at the Fuji Speedway and the Tokyo Motor Show.

Officials say an explosion in pop culture has pulled in tourists, with many young visitors interested in the ever-growing fashion and electronics markets.

Japan is made up of four major land masses, surrounded by more than 4,000 smaller islands.

The only official language spoken in the country is Japanese, although English is taught in schools as part of compulsory education.