What’s hot: February 2016

By | Category: Travel tips & opinions

Just About Travel tells you what’s hot (and what’s not) in the travel world, right now

Gay friendly travel
Former TV producer, Darren Burn, has set up a website for gay holidaymakers, after some awkward experiences while abroad. Gay travellers can now book flights, accommodation and everything in between at www.OutofOffice.com. The site, which launched last month, also provides information on the laws in each country it covers. OutofOffice isn’t just for gay travellers though. “By implication, gay friendly hotels will also be welcoming to straight couples. We want to be an inclusive company that books excellent holidays, regardless of people’s sexual orientation.”

All hail Heathrow

More capacity at Heathrow?

Heathrow has promised direct links to more exotic and far-flung destinations as it seeks to beat Gatwick and win backing for a third runway. Elvis fans will be able to make straight for Memphis where the singer’s former home, Graceland, is located while Tennessee bound travellers could fly direct to its capital Nashville. Elsewhere Ecuador’s capital, Quito, would also be served by a flight. Heathrow spokesman, Nathan Fletcher, commented: “Expansion will mean connecting to the world’s fastest growing cities, which is pivotal to Britain’s economic plan. And with direct flights it will open the world up for holidaymakers as well as business people to experience the culture of these flourishing destinations.”

Encompassing white sandy deserts on the southern coast, breath-taking highlands in the Altiplano and lush jungles in the interior – not to mention the famous Inca City of Machu Picchu – Peru is a land of extremes. It’s a cliche we know but there truly is something for everyone. Little wonder then that Peru is a top pick for travellers…
What’s more, Paddington Bear’s homeland is about to become more accessible: BA is launching a thrice weekly service direct Gatwick to Lima flights from 4 May, cutting travelling time to 12 hours 30 minutes. It will be the first non-stop flight from the UK to Peru for more than 30 years.

Monet’s masterpieces

If a man is tired of paying bed taxes, he might not visit at all

Art fans will to flock to The Royal Academy (www.royalacademyorg.uk) this February for the exhibition of Painting The Modern Garden: Monet to Matisse which opens on January 30.The new exhibit examines the role of gardens in the paintings of Claude Monet and his contemporaries and brings together more than 120 words, including 35 by Monet himself as well as rarely seen works by Paul Klee, Gustav Klimt, Joaquin Sorolla and Wassily Kandinsky.
More a music fan? You’ll want to check out the Rolling Stones’ first ever major exhibition which opens at the Saatchi Gallery from 5 April. Expect a interactive tour through the band’s incredible 50 year career.

Making time for Tahiti
Plans are under foot to build what is being billed as “the biggest tourist development in France” following a £1.67bn deal between officials in Tahiti and Chinese developers. The South Seas island, part of French Polynesia, has approved plans for the Tahiti Mahana Beach resort. The 130 acre development is expected to be completed by 2022 and will encompass five hotels, a marina, a mall, apartments, an aquatic park, casino and luxury shops. Tourism minister Jean-Christophe Bouissou, clams the development will create thousands of jobs.

Running in Iran
Attention all (male) runners. Iran has launched its first marathon open to international runners. The ‘i run Iran’ race is limited to 400 male participants (women are banned from taking part) and takes place on 9 April 2016. The race starts in Shiraz and need in Persepolis. Interested? Tour packages – including race entry etc – are available at iruniran.com

Escaping to Egypt

Egypt,Will new tomb attractions make us book to travel to Egypt

In the aftermath if the Sharm-el-Sheikh air crash in October, tourism to and in Egypt has all but dried up causing the country to hire an international security consultancy to assess its airports. The security initiative has been welcomed by British ambassador John C who chains that the security initiative demonstrates  Egypt’s desire to make its airports a “model of safety” for the world. However the tour operators aren’t so optimistic with Thomson Airways extending flight cancellations until March.

Holiday scams
The Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA) says it has seen an increase in the number of consumers reporting fake hotel and flight booking websites and has warned that we all gave being defrauded when booking our breaks online. Eeek!
Warning signs that a website might be fraudulent include flight or holiday prices that are considerably cheaper than those offered by competitors, poor quality logos on the homepage, negative reports from other customers and a refusal to accept payment by credit card. Any Just About Travel readers who have been the victim of a travel related fraud, can call a cybercrime adviser on 0300 123 2040

British Airways
BA is being sued by a passenger who was injured after a bag fell from an overhead compartment. Writer Wayne Herbert, 45, said he suffered “searing pain’” and “saw stars” when the rucksack containing a laptop, smashed into his head and neck. The north Londoner was taken off the US bound plane on 28 October and assessed by a paramedic but wasn’t taken to hospital. Mr Herbert has now instructed solicitors having received a ‘derisory’ compensation offer of air miles, and then of £500. Mr Herbert’s complaint comes after a man was seriously injured by a falling bag, on a British Airways flight bound for Bangkok.

South African visas
South Africa is being urged to “accelerate” changes to its visa rules after it emerged that approximately 10 families a day were being prevented from flying to the country, from Heathrow alone. The draconian rules was introduced back in June in a bid to tackle child trafficking and require parents to present original birth certificates in addition to letters of consent from non travelling parents. The rules have had a devastating effect on family travel to the country. For the latest news and views, visit www.southafricahouse.uk.com

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