What’s hot: February 2013
CD-Traveller tells you what’s hot and what’s not in the travel world. This month, The Shard and Sri Lanka are hitting the headlines for all the right reasons, but trips to Thailand are in trouble
Getting out of town
After the wettest summer on record and in the wake of the recent snow chaos, we can’t wait to get away. Or so say Britain’s travel agents and tour operators. “The early indications are that bookings for 2013 are looking positive, despite a continued squeeze on household budgets. The majority of British holiday makers are reluctant to give up their annual holiday, even in tougher economic times,” says Mark Tanzer – chief executive of the Association of British Travel Agents.
A bid to rename Birmingham airport after Brummie rocker Ozzy Osbourne, is gaining steam. The scheme has been suggested following the success of Liverpool’s John Lennon and Belfast’s George Best airport. Here at CD-Traveller towers, we reckon Ozzy International has a certain ring to it.
Finnair has been hailed the world’s safest airline, by the Jet Airliner Crash Data Evaluation Centre. Air New Zealand and Cathay Pacific claimed second and third spot respectively, with British Airways coming in at 10th and rival, Virgin Atlantic, at 15th. China Airlines came bottom of the list.
Sri Lanka is the destination du jour – and not just because BA is to start flying from Gatwick to Sri Lanka come March. Visitors the island formerly known as Ceylon can expect palm fringed pristine beaches, treasured temples, verdant vegetation, brightly coloured saris, happy herds of elephants, and a welcome as warm as the weather.
The appetite of 50 plus travellers for unusual, adventurous holidays shows no sign of abating, according to a survey by Saga. 53 per cent of Saga customers aged 50 and over claimed that they enjoyed venturing to places they had never previously been, while 48 per cent of tourists aged 60-64 plan to holiday somewhere new in 2013.
View from The Shard
February 1 will see a new icon on the London skyline open its doors to the public for the first time. The View from the Shard – the visitor attraction at the EU’s tallest building – will offer visitors a whole new perspective on the capital. Tickets to the viewing platform cost £24.95 for adults and £18.95 for children and can be booked online at www.theviewfromtheshard.com
China in your hand
Travellers wishing to visit China’s capital no longer need to apply for a visa (costing £66 and taking four days to issue) – providing that is, they are staying for three days or fewer. The offer is part of a plan by the Chinese government to promote Beijing as a stopover destination. Southern sibling, Shanghai which currently permits visa free stays of up to 48 hours, is also offering 72 hour visa free stopovers.
Doctors have warned that there could be a shortage of typhoid vaccines after manufacturer Sanofi Pasteur recalled almost 90 per cent of its stock. Rival company, Glaxo Smith Kline, also suspended production of its Typherix vaccine in 2011.
Thinking about visiting Vietnam in 2013? Be prepared to fork out more for your tourist visa which has shot up from $25 to $45. Travellers also need to pay $20 for a letter of approval from the Vietnamese immigration authorities.
Following the death of a British tourist in a shooting on New Year’s Eve, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has revised its travel advice for Thailand and urged western tourists to Koh Pha Ngan to “exercise caution, especially after dark.” Since 2009, seven British people have been murdered in Thailand.