What’s hot: May 2017

By | Category: Travel tips & opinions

Just About Travel tells you what’s hot in the travel world right now

Holiday spirit

beach at Playa Juanillo

Can’t afford a trip to the Caribbean this year? Put the panic on hold, sunshine, for the folks at Virgin Holidays have come up with a way to help you recreate the Caribbean scene at home.  Step forward The Virgin Holiday Spirit – a new rum blend inspired by holidaymakers’ emotions that captures the spirit of the Caribbean. The Virgin Holiday Spirit is available to buy from V-Room retail stores nationwide at £59 a bottle.

Philadelphia Freedom
Philadelphia’s craft beer scene is booming. Need proof? From May onwards, the East Coast city will relaunch its Parks on Tap project – a mobile beer garden that will travel to 20 of the city’s parks for up-to five days at a time. Expect picnic benches, fairy lights, hammocks, toilets and a selection of the city’s finest brews, natch.

Making for Marseille
image of an Easyjet plane

This month, the JAT team are all making for Marseille, thanks to Easyjet’s newly launched flights to the French city that’s famous for its avon de Marseille soap. Soap shopping aside, plan a visit to the port to jostle with the fishermen and sample the region’s best craft beers at Fietje Cave a Biers, home to 10 draft choices. Flights from £29.99 one way at easyjet.com

Doing good in Tasmania
Fancy spending time in Tasmania, guilt free? Get au fait with Raleigh International which has recently added environmental projects to its Tanzania programme. Translation? You’ll get a chance to play your part in Tanzania’s reforestation programme, planting trees, creating tree nurseries and working with local communities to raise awareness of the issue of deforestation – in addition to trekking through the staggeringly beautiful Southern Highlands of Tanzania. www.raleighinternational.org

Qantas to offer free in-flight Netflix and Spotify

Australian airline, Qantas, has taken in-flight entertainment to new heights with the introduction of free Netflix and Spotify for passengers.
The Aussie carrier has negotiated a deal giving its customers free access to the usually paid for subscription services Spotify and Netflix, as well as the Australian TV app Foxtel. What’s more, travellers will retain membership for a brief time after the airplane lands, with Foxtel offering 30 day trials and Spotify and Netflix giving away 30 day trials.

A+ for Aeroflot
Aeroflot, the Russian carrier that was once famed for is lax safety, is now the most powerful airline brand in the world according to Brand Finance – a leading valuation and strategy consultancy. Vitaly Saveliev, CEO of Aeroflot, said: “Aeroflot is honoured to be named the world’s strongest airline brand. This recognition reflects not just our 93-year legacy as the No.1 air carrier in the world’s biggest country, but also our best-in-class service offering on domestic and international routes, the youngest fleet of any major carrier globally, and of course our marketing efforts.”

Low cost carriers

Argentina has long been on the bucket list of most travellers but reaching the South American giant hasn’t been easy (direct flights are scarce and expensive). But change is potentially in the air thanks to Norwegian which is looking into the possibility of flights from Europe to Argentine cities such as Mendoza, Cordoba and, of course, Buenos Aires by the end of 2017. Meanwhile Norwegian’s no frills Icelandic rival, Wow Air, has announced plans to launch affordable flights to Africa, Asia and South America. Got your passport?

Time out in Tenerife
Official figures released by the Tenerife Tourism Corporation show that the largest of the Canary Islands welcomed a total of 2,049,093 visitors from the UK last year – a 16.1% upsurge compared to 2015 – and the highest number ever recorded. Mr. Carlos Alonso, President of the Tenerife Island Government, says: “One of our priorities is to maintain the competitiveness of Tenerife as a leading European tourist destination. We have invested almost €100 million to improve the island’s infrastructure, including the refurbishment of tourist and coastal areas.” Tenerife welcomed a total of 5,596,764 worldwide visitors in 2016, a 7.9% increase on the previous year. Their average stay on the island was 7.54 days and their total daily expenditure was €121 per person. Satisfaction rates scored 8.69 out of 10 in 2016.

St Petersburg prepared for Chinese tourists

An influx of Chinese tourists is expected in St. Petersburg this year thanks to the 100-year anniversary of the October revolution. Local tourism board developed a special ‘Red Route’ which starts at the cruiser Aurora and ends at the Smolny Institute for Noble Maidens, where on October 25 the All-Russian Congress of Soviets was held. Here, the first Soviet government was formed headed by one Vladimir Lenin.
Visit Petersburg, the tourism board, has been promoting the route among potential Chinese tourists since the end of 2016. In St. Petersburg, there are over 200 accredited guides-translators ready to serve the Chinese clientele. The staff in several hotels that joined the China-friendly Program started learning Chinese and the rooms are being redesigned to provide more comfort to this group of guests. Such rooms are equipped with adapters for Chinese technology and double-beds are removed, since most Chinese tourists prefer single beds. To attract even more visitors from China, the visa process has also been simplified.


Checking out Cancun

Mexican tourism representatives are concerned about the country’s situation because 70 per cent of international tourists entering Mexico come via the Riviera Maya, Cancun and Monterrey where there is a large influx of foreigners. Cancun, however, has witnessed several cases of violence and Cancun tourism experts warn that it will impact the amount of visitors.
“The clashes that occurred in Quintana Roo and the killing that occurred in Monterrey will undoubtedly have an impact on the country’s tourism and these events will end up affecting the entire country,” said Armando de la Garza, Secretary of the Association of Hotels and Motels and Vice President of Tourism in the Chamber of Commerce.

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