What’s hot: February 2011
CD Traveller tells you what’s hot in the travel world
Beijing’s Capital Airport
Beijing’s Capital Airport has officially overtaken London’s Heathrow to become the world’s second-busiest international air-hub, in a further sign of China rapid economic growth and expanding civil aviation capacity. Atlanta’s Hartsfield International in Georgia, USA, remains the world’s busiest airport with 88m passengers in 2009.
Schlepping to Santiago
Chile’s capital, Santiago, has been voted the number one place to visit in 2011 by The New York Times no less, only a year after an 8.8 magnitude earthquake wreaked havoc in the country. The Times praised Santiago for its new “modern museums, smartly designed hotels and sophisticated restaurants” declaring that in recent years the city has become “decidedly more vibrant.”
St Regis Lhasa Resort
With the opening of the St Regis Lhasa, the Tibetan capital has finally got its first international luxury resort. Expect to find all the opulence you’ve come to expect from St Regis – stylish décor, plasma TVs, high speed Wi-Fi, a world class spa and butler service – but with added Tibetan twists, including a mediation garden, a tea room serving vintage brews and locally sourced produce in the hotel’s restaurants. Perhaps the best bit, though, is the location: just 3km from Polata Palace and within walking distance of some interesting shopping areas, the resort is nevertheless set away from the main bustle. Until March 31, you can enjoy an opening offer of three nights for the price of two. Visit www.stregis.com/lhasa for more.
The Middle East
Middle East stopover destinations such as Dubai and Abu Dhabi have bounced back from the global financial crisis helped in part by the recently opened Ferrari World theme park. Located in Abu Dhabi, it features the world’s fastest rollercoaster at 149mph. Mubarak al Muhairi, director general of tourism, said: “The Ferrari park is a major leap forward in our leisure proposition as it has enormous appeal regionally and internationally.”
Ice as nice
Tis the season for Ice festivals…For a China classic, try the Harbin Ice Lantern Festival – best visited at night, when the ice sculptures are lit in electric blue, bubblegum pink and a whole cornucopia of other kitsch colours. But hurry – the festival ends on February 5. However the mother of winter festivals has to be Japan’s Sapporo Snow Festival. Teams from around the world amass in Sapporo to craft snow sculptures – some the size of multi storey buildings. Don’t miss the theme park, complete with huge snow slides and mazes.
The popularity of cruising looks set to boom according to a recent survey conducted by the Cruise Line International Association of its members and travel agents.
The industry’s enthusiasm is driven by the launch late last month of a new Disney ship in Florida late. Called Disney Dream, the new ship is equipped with the first rollercoaster at sea and is scheduled to sail three-, four- and five-night cruises to the Bahamas, from Port Canaveral.
It’s official: snowboarding is safer than skiing. A report for the National Ski Areas Association in the US by Rochester Institute of Technology reveals that while snowboarders are more likely to get injured, they are also around 30 per cent less likely to be killed than skiers. The report comes as tour operators predicted that 2011 could be a bumper year after the heavy snowfall since November prompted European and North American resorts to open early.
Chinese New Year
Can’t afford a flight to China? Panic not. You can welcome in the Year of the Rabbit and take part in Chinese New Year across the country. Riotous celebrations like lion and dragon dance teams will entertain the masses while firework displays look set to fill the sky with colour (and loud bangs).
The future for London’s museums looks wobbly: the Department for Culture, Media and Sport announced plans to end funding for the Horniman, Geffrye and Design Museums, along with five other ‘non national’ museums, by 2015.
The Design Museum is largely self funded, but the Geffrye in Bethnal Green will have to find three quarters of its income and the Horniman in Forest Hill will lose 85 percent of its income. “We are not panicking,” said a spokesperson for the Horniman, “We have been assured we will not be left to sink, but obviously this is an uncertain time.”
Bournemouth University tourism expert Dimitrios Buhalis claims that the tourism industry is not doing enough to meet the needs of disabled travellers. Buhalis, deputy director of the university’s International Centre of Tourism and Hospitality Research called on the industry to “take a more proactive approach to ensure that infrastructure and services are more accessible.’ CD Traveller’s verdict? Give that globally there are more than 650million people with disabilities, it’s time the travel industry took notice.