CD Traveller tells you what’s hot and what’s not in the travel world. This month Hong Kong hits new heights with the opening of the Ritz-Carlton Hong Kong while London looks to welcome an influx of passengers ahead of the Royal Wedding on April 29
Europe’s oldest hotel group recent won the ‘best brands’ award in the category of ‘best service provider’. “During the survey, Kempsinki stood out in all areas relating to service”, said Sigfried Hogl, managing director of Gfk, a member of the awarding body. “The unique and decentralised nature of Kempinski’s strategy was recognised by those surveyed and that makes all the difference.”
All eyes are on London this month as Kate Middleton – crowned ‘Wait Katie’ by the tabloid press – finally gets to walk down the aisle. The St Andrews graduate will marry Prince William on April 29 at Westminster Abbey in a ceremony expected to be viewed by over a billion people all over the world.
The APD reprieve
The controversial Air Passenger Duty increase that was planned for November 2011 (adding as much as £240 to a holiday for four people to Florida) has been delayed. Chancellor George Osborne’s told the House of Commons that passengers would not have to pay the increase until April 2012 due to ‘hefty’ rises in the tax last year. The delay marks a victory of some sorts for the travel industry which has campaigned heavily for APD charges not to rise. Since 2007, APD has increased every year in line with inflation and is already up to 8.5 times more than the European average.
Hong Kong hits new heights
The Park Hyatt atop the SWFC in Shanghai has been the highest hotel in the world for the last two and a half years. But not any more… The Ritz-Carlton Hong Kong, which opened on March 29 on floors 102-112 of the International Commerce Centre in Kowloon, can now claim to be the world’s highest hotel. Guests can enjoy guilt ridden trips to the Chocolate Library and celeb watching on the open air terrace at Ozone – the world’s highest lounge. The title will be a temporary one though as the next contender is already taking place in Lujiazui (mainland China).
More and more families are downsizing their holidays in an attempt to save money. Research reveals that British holidaymakers are cutting 14 night trips down to 10 nights, while one week breaks are being reduced to four nights. There has been a 162 per cent rise in the number of people booking ten-night holidays so far this year, while the figure for four nights is up 50 per cent.
Meanwhile, many are giving up on the idea of a 2011 jaunt overseas completely. The number of trips taken by Britons abroad in the final three months of 2010 was down by nine per cent from the same period in 2009 and, worryingly for the travel industry, it’s a trend that looks set to continue through 2011.
A report by Which? Travel shows that some UK airports are failing to treat disable passengers properly. Which? Travel members with disabilities reported that while travelling through UK airports, they are often “abandoned like a piece of luggage” or else “passed around like a parcel”.
Travellers are advised to avoid travelling to Japan because of the powerful earthquake that occurred in March. While flights have resumed at almost all airports closed by the earthquake, strong aftershocks are likely for weeks.
London Olympics for tourists
A report by the Financial Times reveals that the capital’s hotels intend to raise their prices during the 2012 Olympic Games, with one hotel threatening to charge five times the normal tariff. Tourism chiefs are, rightly, worried that the price hike will deter people from visiting London during the Games.
As a result of the unrest in the Middle East, British Airways has suspended all services to Libya’s capital Tripoli until at least the end of the summer season. The decision follows Ryan air’s cancellation of flights in and out of an airport in nearby Sicily this week. The company said those booked onto flights over the affected period would be able to get a full refund, or claim the value of the ticket to another destination.
Chopsticks in China
An article in The Independent recently reported that “the Chinese use 45 billion pairs of disposable chopsticks every year which adds up to 1.7 million cubic metres of timber or 25 million full-grown trees”. Not only are the ubitqiuious wooden chopsticks bad for the environment but they could be bad for your health due to poorly monitored health regulations. The message? It’s time to start toting your own reusable chopsticks (Wal-Mart carries child sized and stainless steel versions for 10-30RMB) when travelling in China.