What’s hot: September 2011

By | Category: Travel tips & opinions

CD Traveller tells you what’s hot and what’s not in the travel world. This month, Burma and British Airways’ two new initiatives get the thumbs up but the futureisn’t quite so rosy for Trip Advisor and the Travel Bookshop.

Hot
Fun and games in the square
With the London 2012 Paralympic Games less than a year away, the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games (Locog) is hosting international Paralympic Day on September 8. Head to Trafalgar Square for the chance to meet UK and international Paralympic athletes. Find out more about International Paralympic Day, the Paralympic Games and Paralympic sports at London2012.com

Burma
Tourists are booking breaks to Burma in their droves, following an announcement by opposition leader (and Nobel peace prize winner) Aung San Suu Kyi that the country’s 15 year tourism boycott is officially over. Tour company Explore says that Burma is now its fastest selling destination while Exodus and Imaginative Traveller have both unveiled new tours to the troubled country.

 

Lady Liberty
The Statue of Liberty is to close for a year on October 29 – the day after her 125th anniversary – to allow for £16.8m of further safety improvements to be made.  Fancy getting up-close and personal with Lady Liberty before she closes? Forget it. Tickets to get inside her crown have already sold out. However while the work will affect the interior of the New York monument, Liberty Island will remain open. For more, see statuecruise.com

Becoming a pilot
Ever dreamed of becoming a pilot? Well now your dreams, could become a reality. British Airways is offering £100,000 loans to those who want to fly, but have no experience. Britain’s national carrier needs 800 new recruits by 2016 and is hoping that the scheme – Future Pilot Programme – will encourage wannabe pilots put off by the £90,000-£100,000 cost of private training, to apply. Interested? You need five GCSEs (A*-C grades) including maths and science. If successful, you’ll begin paying back the loan once you’re working in the cockpit (approximately 18 months after the start of the training).

Fragrant flying
Word is that British Airways has launched a signature perfume, aimed at giving its planes a whiff of luxury! CD Traveller doesn’t know which notes the fragrance will contain (will it be a spicy, sweet or sensual scent?) but it is believed to be evocative of haute living.

Not
Phuket

A British tourist has died and another has been injured during Phuket’s heavy flooding. The popular Thai beach resort has experienced its worst flooding in eight years and after three days of torrential rain, emergency workers have revealed that they are struggling to cope.

TripAdvisor
TripAdvisor, the popular website which is owned by the giant internet travel agent Expedia, is not to be trusted. The Sunday Times recently revealed in its travel section, that many hoteliers were advertising for freelance writers to post fake favourable reviews while members of the CD Traveller team have been offered (and declined, we hasten to add) free meals by restaurants and restaurateurs  in exchange for positive coverage.

Service stations
Britain’s motorway stations still have a long, long way to go says Visit England. The tourist organisation rated every service station in the country in criteria including cleanliness, service and range of food. The results were less than glowing or as Visit England put it: “There’s room for improvement.”

Holidays
Hands up who loves a good holiday? That’s all of us then. Unfortunately our much coveted vacations can reduce our intelligence, says Professor Siegfried Lehrl of the University of Erlangen Nuremberg. “Fourteen days of complete rest can bring your IQ down by 20 points,” said the German academic. “Vocabulary shrinks and we even detect personality change.” The good news? Our IQ typically returns to normal after four days back at work.

The Travel Bookshop
Opened in 1979, The Travel Bookshop – made famous by Hugh Grant in the film Notting Hill – is going into liquidation and is set to shut its doors in early September. However last week writer Olivia Cole launched a campaign to save the store, saying that she would work in the shop for free, if a buyer can be found.  To date, no firm bids have been made but there has been a flood of support from celebrities including Alec Baldwin. The American actor, who starred in Notting Hill as Julia Roberts’ boyfriend, tweeted: “Sad news 4 everyone’s favourite bookshop from Notting Hill. Save the Travel Book Shop!!!”

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