Monthly Archives: August 2012

Asia Pacific sees further increase in visitor numbers

International Visitor Arrivals into Asia Pacific destinations during May 2012 showed a collective gain of three per cent year-on-year according to preliminary results released today by the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA).

This was the second consecutive month with a declining growth rate and heralds the impact of the various economic contagions across the globe.

For the first five months of 2012, the average growth in international visitor arrivals into Asia Pacific destinations was six per cent up year-on-year.

North America is showing a similar but more volatile growth pattern.

After registering a solid 12 per cent increase in foreign arrivals during March, the growth trend reduced to just 0.5 per cent in April and then contracted by one per cent in May 2012.

Canada and the USA managed to sustain positive growth of two per cent and one per cent respectively during the month but a contraction in international arrivals into Mexico for both April and May (down six per cent each month) has affected the overall sub-regional performance.

A slowing of intra-regional travel demand was the major negative factor along with a four per cent drop in UK arrivals.

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Posted by on 31/08/2012 in Tourism News


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Foreign and Commonwealth Office launches guide for young travellers

The Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) has launched Plan.Pack.Explore, a new travel guide for those planning a trip abroad.

Khalida Cox from the Know Before You Go team at the FCO said: “Now that exam results are out and people start considering a gap year, preparation can be daunting for young people and their parents – particularly if it is a trip away without family for the first time.

“Plan.Pack.Explore. helps travellers understand exactly what they need to do before they go away and provides essential information for parents in the run up to the big trip.

“The guide will also be invaluable for those who book last minute travel and need essential travel preparation advice quickly.”

The FCO is urging those planning a gap year to pick up a copy of Plan.Pack.Explore. to help avoid running into preventable problems overseas.

The guide contains a wealth of information from travel health advice to explaining exactly what the FCO can and cannot do if you get into trouble abroad.

It also includes guidance on getting the right visa and keeping your money safe, along with case studies and handy maps.

“Gap years should be all about having fun, exploring the world and hopefully enhancing your CV but if you are not prepared before you go away, things can go horribly wrong.

“Statistics show that over the last six months, one in four of 16-24 year olds travelled without insurance and only a quarter made health related preparations before going overseas.

“This leaves them at risk of facing really high bills for medical care or repatriation.”

Plan.Pack.Explore. is available in print, online and as an app available for iPad, iPhone (iOS5 and above) and Android devices.


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Average Briton spends 24 hours researching their holiday prior to booking

A study by one of the UK’s leading online independent travel agencies has revealed that the average Briton spends more than 24 hours looking for and researching holidays on the internet before they actually book anything; regardless of whether they book online or in a travel agency in the end.

It would appear that Britons put a lot of thought and research into their annual summer holiday, as research by a leading online independent travel agency has revealed that the average UK holidaymaker spends 24 entire hours trawling the internet to research and look for holidays in the run up to booking.

A poll from online travel agency formed part of ongoing research into the holiday habits and preferences of people around the UK; with this study having a specific focus on the research process before a holiday is booked. 1,049 UK adults took part in the poll and all of them had been abroad in the past year.

When asked to estimate how much time they spent per week researching holiday destinations and hotels online before they finally got around to booking their last holiday, the average answer was ‘4.5 hours’ per week.

They were then asked how many weeks it had taken them to decide on and book a holiday destination and accommodation for their stay, to which the average answer was ‘6 weeks’. When taking into account that the average respondent researched holiday destinations and hotels for 4.5 hours per week for 6 weeks before making a final decision; that equates to 27 entire hours sat in front of a computer screen searching for somewhere to go on holiday.

When asked what their most important requirements were for accommodation when carrying out their research, the top 5 answers were as follows:

·      Air conditioning – 77%
·      Sea View – 64%
·      Pool – 61%
·      Good food – 58%
·      Child-friendly – 53%

Chris Clarkson, co-founder of, said the following:

“Of course it’s important to make sure you’ve booked a holiday that’s right for you and that you know you’d enjoy, but you shouldn’t over-think things when searching for your next destination or hotel to visit. You can end up overcomplicating things by being too picky and then you just end up going round in circles.Compare Car Hire

“If you aren’t just returning to a destination that you know and love and are searching for somewhere new, ask family and friends for their recommendations and use that as inspiration. The most important thing is that you are getting the best deal, so it’s important to shop around or look for agents with a low price guarantee.”

Fortunately, when it comes to booking a rental car, there is no need to spend 24 hours trying to find the best deals. The Car Rental Search and Booking Engine employed by Car Hire Assistant includes 550 suppliers, in 175 countries with 30,000 locations. And, these can be searched in less than a minute. The best deals are summarised and booking is a simple 3 step process.

Car Hire Assistant adds nothing to the price of the rental car and using their service if free to the user.


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Etihad Airways cancels to flights to Syria

Etihad Airways has become the latest airline to suspended flights Damascus due to the deteriorating security position in Syria.

The flights, which had operated out of the UAE flag-carrier’s base in Abu Dhabi will be halted with immediate effect and until further notice.

“The safety of passengers and crew is paramount to the airline,” Etihad said in a statement.

Etihad Airways confirmed it would notify affected passengers and offer a full refund for unused tickets.

Air France, Turkish Airways, and Aeroflot are among the other carriers to have cancelled flights into the Syrian capital in recent days.


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American Airlines adds nonstop service between Miami and Roatan, Honduras

American Airlines announces it will offer nonstop service between Miami International Airport (MIA) and Juan Manuel Galvez International Airport (RTB) in Roatan, Honduras beginning Nov. 17. The new service will operate every Saturday using a Boeing 737 aircraft with 16 seats in Business Class and 144 seats in the Main Cabin.

“This new service to Roatan highlights our commitment to provide our customers the premier network in Latin America,” said Art Torno, American’s Vice President – Mexico, the Caribbean and Latin America. “Our customers now have even more destinations to choose from in this growing region.”

“The new American Airlines nonstop flight between Roatan and Miami will offer more options for local passengers as well as strengthen Honduras’ economy,” said Dr. Nelly Jerez, Minister of Tourism in Honduras.“Roatan is an important tourism destination and this flight will further showcase Honduras as a world-class destination for diving, ecotourism and adventure.”

“Roatan becomes the 114th destination served by American and our regional partner American Eagle® from Miami,” said Marilyn DeVoe, American’s Vice President – Miami. “And, it demonstrates our commitment to continue growing our Miami hub. This is the fifth new destination this year from Miami. We have already started service to Barcelona, Manaus and Seattle, and in November will begin service to both Asuncion, Paraguay and Roatan.”

Roatan will be American’s third destination in Honduras and the 10th in Central America. American currently offers seven flights per week between Miami and Tegucigalpa and 13 flights per week between Miami and San Pedro Sula.

To compare car hire in any of these countries, Car Hire Assistant, The Car Hire Price Comparison service compares prices in up to 175 countries and can interrogate as many as 550 suppliers. In addition, Car Hire Assistant offers additional services such as Car Hire Excess Waiver Insurance, Travel Insurance, a range of City Tours, Attraction, Events and Excursions, as well as Seaport, Airport and Hotel Transfer services.


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Car Hire Excess Waiver Insurance Protection

Have you been shocked by the amount of insurance excess your selected car rental company wants to impose on you? If the answer is yes, then you are not alone.

For those that are not familiar with this practice, the “insurance excess” or a rental contract is the amount that the hirer is expected to pay in the event of a claim. Even if the hirer has Collision Damage Waiver or Theft Waiver, this insurance invariably comes with a very substantial sting in the tail, in the form of an excess.

As competition between car hire companies has intensified and insurance premiums have risen, most operators have elected to keep the headline prices low by accepting a large excess from the insurers and then passing this burden onto the, often unsuspecting, hirer.

Of course, these rental companies are not naive; they also know that offering “waiver insurance” provides a new revenue stream. However, not content with just covering the true cost of the waiver, many rental companies charge a substantial premium for the insurance waiver. It is not unusual to see reports of the insurance waiver premium exceeding the entire cost of the hire car for the duration of the hire.

If hirers are not aware of the large excess prior to collecting the car, then they can expect to listen to a high powered sales pitch on the virtues of taking out the insurance. Remember, this is now a new revenue stream and, it may be a substantial part of their profit on the contract term. Nervous hirers may be too tired to argue or feel pressured into taking this expensive insurance, or having to face the prospect of shouldering the entire burden for the duration of the hire. Neither prospect is particularly appealing.

However, there is an alternative. Hirers can take out an independent insurance policy to cover the insurance excess. These policies can be purchased at any time and it doesn’t matter who the car is hired from. The policies normally operate on a “Pay and Claim” basis, where the hirer pays the claim and then claims it from the insurance company post hire.

Although benefits may vary between insurance companies, they will typically offer insurance of up to £2,000 per claim and also cover additional areas such as damage to tyres, windows, the roof or the underside of the vehicle. These polices are also more flexible, given they can be purchased for a day, the duration of the hire, or even a full year.Buy Car Hire Excess Insurance

Car rental price comparison site, Car Hire Assistant offers once such policy in association with specialist insurer, Odyssey Group. It is not necessary to rent a car with Car Hire Assistant to take advantage of the benefits offered by this insurance excess policy. It is completely independent of the hire.

As always, forewarned is forearmed. Prospective renters need to be fully aware of what is included in the price of the car and the lever of any excess they may be responsible for. It is then for the hirer to decide whether to accept the risk, purchase insurance direct from the car hire company, or to opt for purchasing a ‘standalone’ insurance excess policy.


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Seychelles leads the way in eco-tourism and conservation.

Eco is the buzz word in world tourism travels, and expectations are intensifying on destinations expected to be considered serious in that area. The Seychelles leads the pack in many areas in the field of eco-tourism and conservation.

Mr. James Michel, the President of the Seychelles Republic, has been one of the strong advocates for protection of the environment, and he has been personally involved in having over 50% of the total land area of Seychelles declared as protected reserves. This is no easy feat for a small island nation, but the island’s President has said that his government will be seen as good custodians for the natural wonders the mid-ocean islands of the Seychelles has been blessed with.

President Michel has recently named Prof. Rolph Payet as the island’s Minister responsible for the Environment. The enthusiasm of this new Minister as an environmentalist will help ensure that the Seychelles remains the jewel it is today. Prof. Payet is an expert in climate change and the problems of small islands states and sea level rise. He is a frequent speaker at international forums and was awarded a Nobel Peace Prize for some of his works.

The Seychelles conservation approach was highlighted by their Tourism Minister in discussions with the press in Brazil. He went as far as to explain the importance being placed on not only protecting the environment, but also on the new regulations being implemented to right areas where the islands had moved in the field of development. The island of La Digue in the Seychelles group was cited as an example by Minister Alain St.Ange, the Seychelles Minister responsible for Tourism and Culture.

“The Seychelles government wants the islands to not only retain the spectacular natural beauty it has, but wants to also regain grounds of areas we allowed development to gain an upper hand,” the Seychelles Minister said.

Minister Alain St.Ange explained that one area that is now the focus of attention on La Digue is transport, and this includes cars and pickup trucks. He said that President James Michel of Seychelles is personally monitoring progress in this area, as the island would lose its charm if the number of petrol vehicles on the island were not tackled to make way for eco-friendly, battery-operated vehicles. The Seychelles government has already made necessary arrangements through Minister Pierre Laporte, the island’s Minister responsible for Finance, to encourage the La Digue island inhabitants to move to eco-friendly vehicles by removing all duty on such imports.

“The Minister responsible for Transport, Minister Joel Morgan is working on the details and time tables for this move, and it is believed that this move is set to make La Digue island even more eco-friendly than it is today,” the island’s Tourism Minister said when answering questions from the press.Compare Car Hire

Seychelles believes that such moves as will be taking place with petrol vehicles on La Digue will enhance the island’s tourism industry and safeguard the investments in tourism made by La Digue islanders themselves.

Car Hire Assistant provides search engine and booking service allowing visitors to compare the prices of rental companies in up to 175 countries, including the Seychelles. In addition, car Hire Assistant offers a range of ‘travel extras’, including Travel Insurance, a standalone Car Hire Excess Insurance policy, Hotel, Seaport and Airport Transfers and a range of tours, attractions and other things to do.

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Posted by on 28/08/2012 in Tourism News


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