Category Archives: Travel News

Unlimited internet in 50 countries

Tep Wireless has extended its reach to 17 more countries, offering global travellers unlimited, affordable internet access without the risk of running up extortionate mobile phone bills.

Tep Wireless’ coverage has now been increased so that users can remain connected starting from £4 a day when travelling to any one of the following countries: Brazil, the USA, South Africa, Singapore, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Australia, Bahrain, Israel, Kenya, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Russia, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and UAE.

The Americas, Asia, Africa and Oceania service from Tep is available to rent by country and is a complement to the existing European-wide service, which grants travellers uninterrupted service throughout Europe.

Whether they want to keep track of email, Facebook, Twitter or even stream music and video while travelling, Tep Wireless provides a much more cost-effective solution for travellers than established mobile carriers, putting an end to holiday horror stories about ‘bill shock’.

There’s no need to visit an internet cafe or pay for hotel wifi – users can connect to the web 24/7 via local 3G networks using their own computer, tablet or smartphone via the Tep Wireless pocket WiFi device.

Customers simply rent the device, get it delivered to them before they leave on their trip, and use it when abroad – avoiding the risk of being hit by an enormous bill when they get back home. Once the trip is over, they just pop the pocket WiFi device in the provided envelope and send it back to Tep Wireless.

Up to five internet-enabled devices can be connected to the pocket wifi which also tells you exactly how much data you’ve used in real time, so you’ll know if you’re getting close to your download limits. Users can choose to automatically top up their accounts when data is running low, or buy extra data in 1 GB chunks.

“Now that Tep covers more than 55 nations and territories worldwide there’s no reason to pay inflated roaming prices for internet access with limited usage while travelling abroad,” said Tomas Mendoza, Managing Director of Tep Wireless.

“With the additional coverage areas, we have increased data allowances to give consumers more of what they want, 24/7 connectivity. By offering the Tep Pocket wifi for rent in a specific country we are able to provide the best possible price for connectivity abroad.”

Pricing depends on the length of time the Tep Wireless pocket wifi device is rented for and the country the user is travelling to. The longer a customer rents the device, the more data is included and the cheaper it gets – see table below for new country pricing. There is also an unlimited option – perfect for those who want to stream videos and download music wherever they are – which costs an additional £4.95 per day.

For example, the price for a 15 day pocket wifi rental in any one of the 17 new countries will run to £55 with 2.5 GB of data included. Tep Wireless’ solution is much more cost-effective when compared to the International Data plans from Three and Vodafone, which will cost a customer £7,500 and £505 respectively for the same amount of data usage.

Add on Tep’s unlimited data plan for £4.95/day, for a 15 day trip, and total cost for unlimited mobile internet in any of the 17 countries offered will run to £129.25 or £8.62/day. So, for far less than Three, Vodafone or any other major UK network – see below below – customers can work, download or stream their way to more than 55 destinations with no data fears.

Mobile phone users in the UK face charges of around £6 per MB of data when travelling outside of the EU if they’re on O2’s network, and £8 per MB on Orange’s network. T-Mobile customers fare slightly better, with £10 buying 10MB, while Vodafone customers have to pay £15 per 5MB.

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Posted by on 02/10/2012 in Travel News


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iPhone mobile app launched called CarHirePro by Car Hire Assistant

Car rental price comparison site, Car Hire Assistant has introduced a new mobile “App” to allow users of the popular iPhone and iPad to easily compare prices on car hire. Named “CarHirePro”, this free app is available for download from Apple Store through iTunes by searching for “Car Hire Assistant” and more information can be found on the Car Hire Assistant main website.

Car Hire Assistant recognised that users want a convenient, fast and simple method to compare car rental prices on the move and this application does so in a fast and logical manner. Users can even use GPS to locate their nearest car hire centres.

In addition to searching for the best prices, users can book their hire in a simple 3 stage process and then review and/or amend their bookings using the CarHirePro application.

Car Hire Assistant can cater for users seeking a rental car in some 175 countries on 5 continents. And, with up to 550 rental operators searched, users can choose from over 30,000 car hire locations.

To offer the widest possible choice, Car Hire Assistant includes searches of local and regional rental operators, in addition to well known brands such as Hertz, Avis, Alamo, Budget, Thrifty, Europcar, Enterprise, National, SIXT and Dollar.

The CarHirePro mobile app will allow you to do any of the following:

  • Select your current location
  • Choose which currency you want to receive the prices in
  • Search using simple and very quick entry function
  • Find your nearest rental location using in-built GPS
  • Ability to book online
  • Facility to amend and change reservations using the app

As an intermediary, Car Hire Assistant adds nothing to the rental price, users can search and book with the confidence of knowing they will receive a selection of the very best car rental deals, from local and national brands, without the fear of hidden extras or charges.

CarHirePro is a free application and available for immediate download.

Download the CarhirePro from iTunes App Store using the link below, or search for “Car Hire Assistant” on your iPhone or iPad. 

Download CarHirePro Mobile App


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Fly from Cardiff to Malaga

Spanish low-cost airline, Vueling, will launch flights between Cardiff and Malaga in Spring 2013, with flights priced from around £32 one way.

Vueling began operations from Cardiff earlier this year with direct flights to Barcelona, Palma and Alicante, operated by Airbus A320 aircraft for the summer season.

Compare car hire at any of the above destinations with Car Hire Assistant, the car rental, price comparison site. Compare the prices of local rental companies as well as the major brands such as Europcar, Sixt, Avis, Hertz, Budget, Dollar and Thrifty.

iPhone users can download Car Hire Assistant’s new iPhone App for Car Hire free from iTunes


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World Travel Awards announces 2012 Africa winners

World Travel Awards has unveiled the leading travel brands in Africa for 2012.

South African Airways, Abercrombie & Kent, &Beyond, Avis, Travel with Flair and Mantis Collection were among the organisations named the finest in their field by voters.

Morocco’s continuing rise up the global tourism order was acknowledged with it emerging victorious in several blue-ribbon categories.

The ancient medina of Marrakech saw off tough competition from the likes of the Kalahari Desert (Namibia), Kruger National Park (South Africa), Mt. Kilimanjaro (Tanzania) and Cape Town (South Africa) to win the coveted title of “Africa’s Leading Destination”.

Properties in Marrakech also enjoyed top honours.

Amanjena was voted “Africa’s Leading Luxury Resort”, while the Royal Mansour was named “Africa’s Leading Hotel” in a category that included The Palace of the Lost City (South Africa), Fairmont the Norfolk (Kenya) and Grand Hyatt Cairo (Egypt).

Nations across the continent shared in the travel triumph.

Hilton Cairo Zamalek Residences (Egypt) was voted “Africa’s Leading New Hotel”, while Magical Kenya was named “Africa’s Leading Tourist Board”.

South Africa enjoyed a significant share of the accolades.

Notable winners included Saxon Boutique Hotel, Villas & Spa (“Africa’s Leading Luxury Hotel”), The Blue Train (“Africa’s Leading Luxury Train”), Ellerman House & Villa (Africa’s Leading Luxury Villa), Fairmont Zimbali (“Africa’s Leading Tourism Development Project”) and Shamwari Game Reserve (“Africa’s Leading Safari Lodge”).

The comprehensive WTA programme, hailed as the ‘Oscars of the travel industry’ by the global media, highlights and rewards those travel brands that have made the greatest contribution to the industry in quality, innovation and service, over the past year.
WTA president Graham Cooke underlined the depth and quality of the travel and tourism sector across Africa.

He said: “Our winners are drawn from the breadth of Africa, reflecting how the outstanding natural attractions of the continent are being complimented with a growing portfolio of luxury facilities.

“I am sure these organisations will fare strongly in our Grand Final, which takes place in New Delhi, India on December 12th 2012.”

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Posted by on 20/09/2012 in Travel News


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Two tier immigration checks at UK airports on the cards

In a move certain to anger equality campaigners, the UK Border Agency has told parliament it is working on plans to allow “high-value” travellers preferential treatment at airports.

Passengers viewed as valuable to either airlines or the UK economy could be offered the service, which is already available to business class travellers.

Brian Moore, the departing head of the UK Border Force, said the distinction could be made at immigration control under the plans. It would be an extension of a priority queueing system tried out this year at London Heathrow Airport, under.

Under that system passengers from Australia, Canada, the US, New Zealand and other mainly old Commonwealth countries who do not need a visa to enter Britain were fast-tracked.

Moore told the Commons home affairs select committee earlier: “It is an idea that officials are discussing with port operators.

“It will then go back to ministers for them to consider whether and how it is going to be progressed. It is an idea that is being pursued.”

However, the idea has already been criticised in some quarters for perceived damage to UK equality, with poorer passengers suffering at the expense of those willing to pay.Compare Car Hire UK Airports

Compare car hire at all UK airports with Car Hire Assistant, the car rental price comparison site. Choose from local, national or major car rental operators, including Hertz, Alamo, Avis, National, Enterprise, Budget and Sixt.


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Tourism in China contributes more to GDP than automotive manufacturing

The travel and tourism industry in China is substantially bigger than automotive manufacturing and supports almost as many jobs as the mining sector. This is according to new research from the World Travel&Tourism Council (WTTC) sponsored by American Express, released today during a speech by WTTC’s President&CEO, David Scowsill, at the “International Tourism Industry Expo” in Guangdong, China.

The research, undertaken by Oxford Economics, shows that the sector’s direct contribution to China’s GDP is CNY1.2 trillion, which is 13% more than the contribution to the GDP of automotive manufacturing and larger than communications services and the education sector.

Travel and tourism’s total contribution to GDP in China was around 9% of total GDP. This compares to 8% for automotive manufacturing, 7% for education, and 5% for communications services.

With 62 million direct, indirect, and induced jobs in China, travel and tourism supports more jobs than the financial service sector’s 48.5 million.

The new research also showed that travel and tourism’s contribution to GDP is growing faster than most other sectors in China. It will grow by more than 9% over the next ten years, a faster growth rate than the total economy (7.6%).

Compare Car Hire ChinaIt highlights that travel and tourism is a significant source of exports for revenue for China. In 2011, visitor exports totaled over CNY 300 billion, which was 27% of all service exports and 2% of all exports (including goods and services).

The study also compared the effect of travel and tourism spending on GDP and the wider economy.

In China, CNY6.4 million (US$1 million) in travel and tourism spending:

• generates CNY8.9 million ($1.4 million) in GDP, which is greater than all studied industry sectors except for education

• generates CNY959,000 ($150,000) in the agriculture sector

• generates CNY425,000 ($67,000) of gross value added in the transport and storage sector

• supports 144 jobs, which is more than financial services (93 jobs), auto manufacturing (83 jobs), and communications services (83 jobs)

David Scowsill said: “These numbers are extremely significant. For over 20 years, the World Travel&Tourism Council has spearheaded global and regional analysis of the economic impact of travel and tourism. WTTC has now taken this research one step further and assessed the role travel and tourism plays in the economy of China in comparison to other economic sectors and also how this looks like on a regional level.

The results are extraordinary. Within our industry, we have always known that travel and tourism is a vast contributor to economic growth and job creation. These figures bear out just how significant our industry is for China, especially at a time where China’s manufacturing index hit a nine-month low, and as a result the economy shows signs of slowing, travel and tourism should be used as a stimulator for economic growth.”

Bill Glenn, President, Global Corporate Payments and Business Travel, American Express said: “With each release of regional data from the latest WTTC research, we continue to see the value that travel can bring to GDP, job creation, and other economic factors. We are pleased to sponsor this research and provide the industry with another valuable asset to use to promote the benefits of travel.”

At WTTC’s Global Summit in Tokyo in April, WTTC’s research revealed that travel and tourism’s direct contribution to world GDP of US$2 trillion or 2.8% is more than double the GDP of automotive manufacturing and one-third larger than the global chemicals industry. Travel and tourism generates roughly the same GDP as the global education and communications sectors, and about half that of the global banking and financial services industry.

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Posted by on 18/09/2012 in Travel News


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World Travel Awards winners revealed in Turks & Caicos

Leading travel brands from across the region have shared top honours at the World Travel Awards (WTA) Caribbean & The Americas Gala Ceremony 2012 hosted at Beaches Turks & Caicos Resort Villages & Spa this evening.

A packed delegation of VIPs, senior tourism figures and international media travelled from more than 30 nations to attend the event, which was supported by Turks & Caicos Tourist Board and Scotiabank.

It was an evening of travel triumph for nations across the region.

St Lucia won the coveted title of “Caribbean’s Leading Honeymoon Destination”, Coco Reef Resort (Tobago) picked up “Caribbean’s Leading Hotel”, while Sir Richard Branson’s Necker Island (British Virgin Islands) was voted “Caribbean Leading Private Island”.

Buccament Bay Spa & Resort (St Vincent) nudged ahead of The Hotel Chocolat (St Lucia), Hotel Riu Palace Bavaro (Dominican Republic), The Magdalena Grand Beach Resort (Tobago) and Cofresi Palm Beach & Spa Resort (Dominican Republic) to win “Caribbean’s Leading New Hotel”.

Jamaica’s continuing rise up the global tourism order was acknowledged after it was named “Caribbean’s Leading Destination”.

In North America, Las Vegas saw off competition from New York, Miami, San Francisco, Montreal and Vancouver to win the coveted title of “North America’s Leading Destination”.

New York won the “North America’s Leading City Break Destination” title, while American Airlines was voted “North America’s Leading Airline”.

Meanwhile, Rio de Janeiro (Brazil) was voted “South America’s Leading Destination”, beating off stiff competition from the likes of Easter Island (Chile), Galapagos Islands (Ecuador) and Machu Picchu (Peru).

The WTA awards programme, hailed as the ‘Oscars of the travel industry’ by the global media, highlights and rewards those travel brands that have made the greatest contribution to the industry over the past year.

WTA president Graham Cooke underlined the depth and quality of the travel and tourism sector across the region.

He said: “Our winners are also drawn from the breadth of the Caribbean & The Americans and , reflecting the strength and depth of the region’s travel and tourism sector.

“I am sure these organisations will fare strongly in our Grand Final, which takes place in New Delhi, India on December 12th 2012.

“The ceremony has also served as a glittering spotlight for Turks & Caicos – a paradise nation that has welcomed a record number of tourist visitors over the past year.

“This is testament to its overwhelming natural attractions, its luxury hospitality facilities and its rich local heritage.”

Rising Caribbean star and the reigning Miss Bahamas, Anastagia Pierre hosted the show with American actor and comedian Walt Willey.

Some of the Caribbean’s finest vocalists, including Shawn Campbell and Elroy Simmons, performed to the packed audience.

Gordon “Butch” Stewart, chairman of Sandals Resorts International, added: “We are honoured to receive the highest number of awards in Sandals Resorts’ history.

“We always strive for excellence, and continue to invest in our product so that each year we can be proud to say we are the Caribbean’s Leading Hotel Brand.”

Other WTA Grand Tour 2012 regional heats include Dubai (UAE), Algarve (Portugal), and Singapore.

The winners of these legs will go head-to-head in WTA’s Grand Final, which takes place at The Oberoi, Gurgaon on December 12th 2012.

Ralph Higgs, director of tourism, Turks & Caicos Tourist Board, concluded: “The Turks & Caicos Islands Tourist Board congratulates the winners and the nominees for this year’s World Travel Awards.

“With another 30 nations represented at these awards, we hope that each of you will take a piece of our islands home with you, etched in your memory forever.

“Congratulations again and we do hope to see you here in the future as we celebrate and acknowledge the brightest and best in the global hospitality industry.”

World Travel Awards

WTA was launched in 1993 to acknowledge and recognise excellence in the global travel and tourism industry.

Now celebrating its 19th anniversary, it is regarded as the very highest achievement that a travel product could hope to receive.

WTA’s global media partner network includes International Herald Tribune, CNBC Arabiya, Newsweek, ASTA Network, National Geographic Traveller, Access New York, Travel & Leisure China, Khaleej Times, Trade Arabia, TTN, Trav Talk India, Publituris, ABTA Magazine, Outlook Traveller, Breaking Travel News, eTurboNews and Travel Daily News International.


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