What’s hot: June 2017

By | Category: Travel tips & opinions


Kenya is ok
Kenya has moved to reassure holidaymakers that the country remains safe to visit in the wake of a spate of attacks on ranches by armed nomadic tribespeople. But the Kenyan Tourism Federation says that the recent violence, in part caused by a drought forcing pastoralists to invade private farms to find grazing for their animals, is “restricted to a few localities. No tourists were involved in the incident. The well-known wildlife conservancies and tourism facilities in the rest of Laikipia are not affected and remain calm and peaceful.”
Kenya’s security situation was last in the spotlight in 2013 and 2014 when the Islamist militant group Al Shabaab was targeting the country.

Say hello to the world’s largest cruise ship

Royal Caribbean’s newest vessel – Symphony of the Seas – will be the world’s largest cruise ship at 1, 188 ft long and 215 ft wide when it is delivered in April 2018. The 16 deck ship will weigh 230,000 GT (gross tonnage) nearly 3,000 more than the current record holder, Royal Caribbean’s Harmony of the Seas. The vessel will be equipped to carry 5,494 guests  and boast 2,775 guest rooms in addition to a bionic bar where drinks are served by a robot arm and seven themed neighbourhoods.

Destination Detroit
Rewind half a century and Detroit was the richest city in America. Then it spent decades decaying – frequently topping Forbes‘ list of ‘America’s Most Dangerous Cities’ – before staging a great American comeback. Make no mistake the Motor City is most definitely back on the travel map thanks to its burgeoning food and art scenes. Detroit’s exciting renaissance is captured in a new book – Detroit: The Dream Is Now: The Design, Art And Resurgence of An American City (£25; Abrams) by Vogue and Architectural Digest photographer, Michel Arnauid.

Cuba calling


Hands up if you fancy taking in some culture in Havana – Cuba’s can’t miss capital – and then soaking up some sun in Varadero, 70 miles east, without having hightail it back to Havana to head home? If, like us, your hands are in the air then we have some good news to share: Virgin Atlantic have debuted a new weekly service from Gatwick to Varadero, making the British airline the only UK carrier to offer a year round service to both destinations.

Middle seats on planes
Middle-seat syndrome, we’ve all been there – you can’t get out of your seat without climbing over someone or look out the window. However,a new design from Molon Labe Designs could change all this and make the middle seat the most desirable of all. The US company’s wider, staged middle seats have their own armrest and bigger TVs than aisle or window perches. If all goes to plan, they should appear on on planes in the next two years. www.molonlabedesigns.com

Kos you’re worth it

Holiday giant, Thomas Cook, has announced that it will open a second Casa Cook hotel next month on the Greek island of Kos. Compromising 100 rooms across one and two storey cubist buildings and a glitzy beach club, Casa Cook Kos is planning to temp travellers with attractive package deals that encompass flights, breakfast and half board options. Casa Cook Kos is being launched following the successful 2016 opening of Casa Cook Rhodes. There are plans in the pipeline for a second property in Kos, in addition to Casa Cook hotels in Greece and Spain.

Escaping the boss
You’d be forgiven for thinking that business-class flights represent a prime time to grab some shut eye or perhaps catch up on a few films you never got around to seeing in the cinema. However if you’re flying with Qatar Airways think again, for the Middle Eastern airline has unveiled a new design for its 777s where seats can be swivelled to create a private meeting space. Elsewhere lie-flats seats can be docked as a double bed. The new designs will be unveiled later this month.


British Airways is reducing legroom for economy passengers on short-haul flights so it can squeeze two more rows of seats onto its Airbus aircraft. Legroom will be reduced from 30in to 29in on A320 and A321 aircraft, giving passengers the same amount of legroom as on easyJet flights. BA says it is increasing the number of seats so that it can offer lower fares. “We will be flying to more than 78 shirt haul destinations this year, with fares starting as low as £39,” said a spokesman.

Checking out Clare College
Sir David Attenborough’s former college in Cambridge has been closed to the public after tourists entered dorms and climbed on the roof. An official complained: “They wander around posing for photos and making noise.”

Zipping to a zoo

Responsible Travel is living up to its name. The travel company has stopped selling holidays that include visits to zoos. A spokesperson for the online organisation said that “there is no longer any justifiable reason for keeping animals in captivity.”

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