Luxury Hotels Worldwide

Archive for September, 2008

Single visa plan for south-east-Asia

Friday, September 12th, 2008

Thailand and the Philippines are to instigate moves to create a common visa for the south-east Asian region.

In plans designed to capitalise upon the growing popularity of the area among tourists, especially those from Europe, Oceania and North America, all ten member countries of the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN) would adopt the single visa scheme.

Philippine president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo said Thailand and the Philippines would join forces in pushing for realisation of the single visa when chairmanship of the association moves to Bangkok in July.

Approaching 30 million non-ASEAN tourists visited member states on vacation during 2007, which include Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Burma, the Philippines and Thailand.

It is hoped the moves will encourage more consumers to visit the region on extended breaks and allow backpackers greater ease of movement.

Last week Singapore Airlines announced it would increase the number of flights from London on its A380 airbus service, having witnessed impressive passenger loads from the UK over the past year.

Spain ‘still cheap’ for UK tourists

Friday, September 12th, 2008

A rise in British tourists visiting Spain is expected despite the pound flagging againstthe euro, a Spanish tourism chief has claimed.

Ignacia Vasallo of the Turespana Spanish Tourist Board said he believes the country will remain a popular tourist destination during 2008, reports the Majorca Daily Bulletin.

Predicting a two per cent rise in visitors this summer, he said Spain was still one of the cheapest eurozone destinations and claimed certain slight price increases were not going to turn people away.

He stated: “While the credit crunch may persuade British consumers to put off selling the house or buying a new car, it will not deter them from going on holiday this year.”

With 10.7 million tourists having visited Spain already during the first quarter of 2008, it appears the country may indeed be in for a bumper year.

Visitors to Spain can choose between laid back breaks at one of the many beach resorts along the country’s Mediterranean coastline, or cultural trips to historic cities such as Barcelona and the capital city Madrid.

Luxury villa opens in Turkey

Sunday, September 7th, 2008

A new luxury holiday villa has opened in Dalaman, Turkey, within an area of outstanding natural beauty.

Ten minutes from the town’s recently upgraded airport, the Dalaman Holiday Villa has private gardens, a swimming pool and room for six to eight people to sleep in comfort.

Close to beaches and local historic towns, the town in Mugla province is a haven for tourists seeking luxury vacations in fine accommodation.

Brilliant for families and groups of friends, a ten per cent early booking discount makes this fully air-conditioned luxury villa an even more desirable destination.

The villa comprises of three bedrooms, one of which is a double ensuite, one a double and one a twin, plus a bathroom, sizeable living room with TV, large modern kitchen and downstairs toilet.

Outside, in addition to the pool and shower there is a terraced area with BBQ facilities.

The strength of the pound against the Turkish lira at the moment is is one reason why UK holidaymakers may choose to take advantage of luxury travel opportunities this summer, especially with destinations in the eurozone set to prove more costly than previously.

World 66 travel guide says Dalaman has many shops, restaurants, bars and tea gardens and is growing quickly due to investment in the area.

Australia: Indigenous tourism needs integrating

Sunday, September 7th, 2008

The Australian tourist board plans to better advertise indigenous attractions after a report claimed visitors found it difficult to find out about them.

Visitors to the Northern Territory had “major issues” in discovering where they could meet with Aboriginal people, according to a Tourism Research Australia report released today, reports the Age.

Some 288 people were surveyed, with 77 per cent claiming they saw meeting indigenous people as being an important part of their trip to Australia’s northernmost state.

Australian Tourism and Export Council (ATEC) chair John King said problems regarding information and access could easily be tackled.

He said: “I think the indigenous tourism experience ought to be made part of the mainstream Australian experience and rather than it being almost seen as a marginal or an add-on.

“It really is at the very core of something that’s uniquely Australian that we can offer as a key part of the Australian experience.”

He added that problems were experienced in all states, not merely the Northern Territory, but by encouraging better partnerships with mainstream established businesses such challenges could be overcome.

The top Aboriginal experiences enjoyed by respondents who did discover them were cultural centres, museums, paintings and survival explanations.

Travel Australia describes the Northern Territory as the “real outback”, full of “intriguing and spectacular wildlife”.

Home to the cities of Darwin and Alice Springs, the state lists the crocodile-infested Kakadu national park and Uluru, better known as Ayres Rock, as famous attractions.

‘Ambitious’ resort plan for Vietnam

Sunday, September 7th, 2008

Plans have been unveiled for Vietnam’s most adventurous tourist project to date.

A US$4.2 billion luxury hotel and entertainment complex is to be built on the beaches of Ba Ria in the Vung Tau province of southern Vietnam.

Canadian developers Asian Coast Development (ACD) have been awarded the contract to build the 9,000 luxury resort, which will include a championship golf course and Las Vegas-style casino.

ACD chairman Michael Aymong said Vietnam was blessed with some of the most magnificent beauty in the world and the developers intended to respect this while also showcasing local culture.

He added: “The Ho Tram Strip will set the standard as a premier luxury destination in this beautiful country.”

Vietnamese prime minister Nguyen Tan Dung said he believed the Ho Tram project would prove to be a huge success and “open up various ongoing opportunities” for economic, commercial and investment co-operation between Vietnam and Canada in the years to come.

Las Vegas architectural firm Steelman Partner will design the 169-hectare Ho Tram Strip, situated 80 km to the south-west of the capital Ho Chi Minh City.

It is expected the project will take around ten years to complete, although parts of the resort will be open to the public from 2011.

Sicily ‘the up-and-coming’ region of Italy

Friday, September 5th, 2008

Better flight access is turning Sicily into the up-and-coming region of Italy, a property expert has claimed.

Rightmove director Justin Figgins said that greater numbers of tourists were heading to the Mediterranean island, drawn by “stunning scenery” and “a good climate”.

“Access to Sicily is improving all the time, and several carriers now offer daily direct flights from the UK and Ireland,” he claimed.

He added that “various activities” available to tourists make Sicily a year-round holiday destination -  including great beaches, two golf courses and skiing on Mount Etna.

The Italian tourist board lists the Roman site of Taormina, majestic monuments in the Valle dei Templi of Agrigento and the Eolian Islands as key places to visit.

According to property website, Sicily is increasingly popular with homebuyers as well as tourists.

The site reveals the region has seen the biggest annual rise in popularity in Italy, with property searches up by 185 per cent on the same period in 2007.

London attractions are a ‘must see’

Friday, September 5th, 2008

Visitors to London have been reminded of the vast range of tourist attractions on offer in the capital.

A spokesperson for city promotional site Visit London said tourists can benefit from a “breadth and diversity of things to see and do in the capital”, claiming the city has a balance of modern and historic attractions.

The British Museum was described as the most popular free visitor destination during 2007, followed by the Tate Modern and the National Gallery.

She added that the London Eye was the most popular paid-for attraction, with the Tower of London and Kew Gardens next on the list –”must-see” places in the eyes of many visitors.

Where holidays in the capital are concerned, it appears foreign tourists take longer breaks than those from the UK.

London Visitor’s Survey for the first quarter of 2008 stated around a third of overseas visitors stayed in the capital for eight or more nights, while a further 20 per cent staying for six or seven nights.

According to the study, only a quarter of UK holidaymakers spend more than three nights in London.

UK cruise numbers rise

Thursday, September 4th, 2008

Record numbers of UK tourists are taking to the high seas upon cruise liners, according to new research.

The Passenger Shipping Association annual report, published last night, has predicted passenger numbers will rise by 13 per cent during 2008.

It is also claimed the number of people taking cruises will increase from 1.33 million in 2007 to two million in 2012.

William Gibbons, director of the PSA, said there had been a “sustained boom” in cruising over the past decade, with the number of UK tourists taking a cruise holiday more than doubling.

“We expect to see that growth increase even further,” he added, revealing that there were 44 new cruise ships currently on order.

The PSA report also indicated that many consumers were repeat cruisers, with 28 per cent taking more than one holiday.

Now in its 50th year, the association represents both small and luxury cruise companies operating in the UK.

France still ‘top tourist destination’

Thursday, September 4th, 2008

France remained the world’s number one tourist destination in 2007, according to the nation’s ministry of tourism.

Keeping its position at the top of the charts ahead of neighbouring Spain, France welcomed almost 82 million visitors from across the globe, reports Reuters.

In a statement, the ministry said 62 million of the visitors made France their final destination, with a further 14 million stopping off en route to another country.

Some 46 per cent of the visitors were European, although a seven per cent rise was seen in the number of American tourists holidaying in France.

The country’s diverse physical and cultural landscape means visitors to France can choose between various types of breaks in the country.

While Paris is the cultural as well as political capital of France, many of the rural provincial towns are popular with sightseers.
The west of the country is popular with wine enthusiasts and skiers can choose from a range of winter resorts in the Pyrenees and Alpine mountain ranges.

Warmer climes of the south of France make the area popular with sun-bathers, with visitors to the Mediterranean coastline also able to spend a day in the casinos of land-locked principality Monaco.

Cuban tourism must ‘broaden horizons’

Thursday, September 4th, 2008

The Cuban tourism industry should aim to attract visitors from all over the world in order to continue its growth, it has been claimed.

Amir Girgis, economist at the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC), said it highly recommended Cuba targets the “entire global market” rather than focus on specific regions.

He added: “The rise of emerging markets creates a new source of travellers as well as travel destinations.

“Cuba should thus embrace globalisation and use it to their advantage.”

Meanwhile, the Cuban ministry of tourism has reported a 15 per cent increase in visitors to the Caribbean island during the first quarter of 2008.

Maria Elena Lopez, a vice minister of Cuban tourism, said the figures hinted at an industry recovery following a two-year slump.

The ministry also reported that the number of international visitors in 2008 reached the one million mark 22 days faster than last year.

A forum for business leaders in the travel industry, the WTTC works to raise awareness of tourism as one of the world’s largest industries.