Just About Travel tells you what’s hot in the travel world this month
Record numbers of tourists are expected to visit the English capital this summer - partly due to affordable exchange rates and partly because of celebrations such as the Queen’s 90th birthday, and exciting new exhibitions like Vogue 100: A Century of Style at the National Portrait Gallery.
In other good news for the capital, London has been hailed the most talked about travel destination on Twitter. The word 'London' was tweeted more than 81 million times in 2015, which is more than Sydney, Tokyo and Rome combined. The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson commented: “With our unbeatable cultural attractions, outstanding dining and top notch shopping, it's no wonder that London is the most talked about travel destination on social media.”
Golfing in Egypt
The Egyptian Tourist Authority (ETA)recently host some of the world’s best golfers at the Red Sea Egyptian Challenge (20-23 April). The second tournament in the European Challenge Tour 2016 was be held at the Sokhna Golf Club in Ain Sokhna, a beautiful town on the western shore of the Red Sea's Gulf of Suez - and was shown on TVs across the world in what can only be a welcome boost for tourism to Egypt.
The once popular holiday destination attracted just 346,500 tourists in February 2016 compared to 640,200 the previous year, in the aftermath of bombings, a decade of political unrest and last year's plane crash in Sharm El Sheikh.
Love at first flight
Single and looking for love in 2016 but done with the usual dating websites and apps? Then new dating site, UPdates, is the name you need to know - so long as you’re cashed up. The brainchild of entrepreneurs, Léon McPherson and Gareth Thompson, applicants are screened and vetted thoroughly to ensure that ensure eligible singles with similar lifestyles can meet each other. Members are then flown by private jet to enviable locales where they can enjoy bespoke dates such as gourmet dining, wine tasting, river cruises and curated cultural experiences. For more information, visit www.up-dates.london
Touching down in Dubai
Dubai International Airport has overtaken London’s Heathrow to become the world’s third busiest airport in terms of international passengers. The Middle Eastern Hub leapfrogged Heathrow to claim third place behind Beijing (second) and Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson (first). The Delta hub, which saw more than 100 million passengers pass through its terminals last year, defended its title for the 18th year. However aviation insiders say it’s inevitable that Dubai will soon be the world’s busiest airport.
Planning a trip to Peru
Paddington Bear will be able to visit his Aunt Lucy a lot more frequently from now on thanks to BA’s new twice weekly (and three times in the summer months) direct Gatwick to Lima flights, which start this month. starting in May. While he’s there, the Marmalade loving bear might want to check out Mountain Lodges of Peru’s new cultural programme which allows guests to choose their own adventures each day. Need help planning your trip to Peru? Look to Lonely Planet’s new Peru travel guide - guaranteed to take you to the heart of Peru.
National Geographic Traveller will be regularly hosting Travel Geeks: Rush Hour - a new informal series of after-work get-togethers brings together experts, writers, readers and travellers in an open forum to talk about travel. The events are tailored to fit into participants' busy schedules - subsequently Travel Geeks: Rush Hour lasts for only one hour, during which guests can share a drink and join in with the lively debate.
The next event takes place on 3 May 2016 and is aimed at First-timers to South America. Future events include Expeditions: Arctic and Antarctic (7 June) and Walking and trekking (5 July). Tickets available now from natgeotraveller.co.uk/events
No more lugging luggage to the airport
Huzzah! The days of bags slowing and weighing you down are numbered thanks to AirPortr - a London based travel-technology company that delivers passenger bags within hours between London locations (homes/ hotels/ offices) and London Heathrow airport. Bags are either dropped off in the airport with an AirPortr, before being promptly transported to their London destination. Alternatively, bags are collected from any London location and delivered to the airport allowing travellers to make the most of everything the city has to offer. Even better? AirPortr has extended its service at Heathrow to include Terminal 4, so it is now available at all Terminals – arriving and departing.
Travelling with little ones over the May half term? Treat to this bright and bold journal (£8.99) from Lonely Planet Kids. Packed with writing topic suggestions, lists to complete, ideas for getting the creative juices flowing and lots more fill‐in fun, it’s the perfect way for young travellers to record their memories from a trip. There’s space to write, draw, collage, colour and complete – turning the finished journal into a wonderful scrapbook to treasure. It’s backpack friendly too…
Flying with Virgin America
The Virgin budget airline, which flies to 21 destinations in the US and Mexico and was launched in 2007, has been bought by Alaska Air.The Seattle-based airline has acquired Virgin America in a US$4billion deal, to become the fifth largest US airline vaulting over JetBlue Airways Corp, which also participated in the bidding for Virgin America.
Despite the cash windfall, Virgin founder Sir Richard Branson says he is saddened by the merger. The British billionaire wrote in a company blog: "I would be lying if I didn't admit sadness that our wonderful airline is merging with another.”
Minding the gap
Advertising mogul, Sir Martin Sorrell has clashed with student travel firm STA over the value of gap year breaks. Sir Martin, chief executive of WPP - the largest advertising agency in the world - claims gap years are too short to be meaningful and need to be "more focused and specific”. Speaking at the Varkey Foundation Global Education and Skills Forum in Dubai, Sir Martin said:"I don’t believe in gap years. Those [gap years] from what I’ve seen, that tends to be wasted."