|(image courtesy Vail Resorts)|
Monday, 21 December 2015
Friday, 18 December 2015
Sunday, 13 December 2015
|Llewyn Peninsula, North Wales - will holidaymakers stay closer to home|
How will holiday prices move in response to recent terror attacks? There seems little doubt that in the immediate term capacity will be squeezed in the relatively few short haul sunshine destinations still perceived as safe, notably the Canary Islands. As I have already noted on this site, that’s likely to make last minute bargains harder to come by. According to the major tour operator TUI travellers are turning to long haul destinations such as the Cape Verde islands following the Sharm el Sheikh crisis. The bounce back in Greece looks likely to gather momentum next summer. But the big question remains whether general nervousness will depress the overall market beyond Christmas and into the New Year, persuading consumers to stay close to home and producing a downturn in bookings greater than the reduction in capacity created by the demise of Tunisia and the grounding of flights to Sharm el Sheikh. Some tour operators reported a sharp decline in bookings in the immediate aftermath of the Paris atrocities. It’s not possible to look at travel from the UK in isolation. Statistics show that sales of airline tickets from the US to Paris have plummeted. They were reported to be down 28% last week compared with the same period last year – though bookings to the rest of Europe have held up fairly well. The International Air Transport Association (IATA), whose membership includes the world’s major airlines, reports traffic to Europe from Asia is down. At the same time it says air fares worldwide fell by an average of 5% n he first eight months of this year. Low aviation fuel prices have been the main cause. According to Tony Tyler, director general and CEO of the association, fares are still “trending downwards” (the statistics also suggest that European passengers may be less likely to reap the benefit than those in other regions). Will that trend be accelerated by a reluctance to fly in the face of terror. It's just one more unknown. But whatever happens in the next few months history shows that tourism is remarkable resilient. Eventually, even from the greatest adversity, it recovers.
Friday, 4 December 2015
Will the rapid expansion of low cost long haul flights prove sustainable in the long term? Iceland's WOW is showing how it might, widening its catchment area any introducing new links with its trans-Atlantic flights from Reykjavik. The carrier's latest move was to announce the launch next May of flights from Bristol that will connect with its services to and from Boston, Washington, Toronto and Montreal. It will operate three round trips a week from the UK West Country airport. A recent survey showed that 83% of UK senior UK travel industry executives thought new low cost long haul operations would continue to be introduced over the next five years. But some expert observers question whether such expansion would be able to weather a sharp rise in aviation fuel prices, which remain low. They are currently less than half their peak level in the past seven years. A big spike would reduce the percentage savings budget airlines are able to offer. Aviation history is littered with low fare long haul operators which have come and gone. It is also worth noting that Ryanair, now the world's largest airline in terms of international passengers carried, has so far avoided the temptation to join the fray, limiting its operations to short and medium haul destinations.
Thursday, 3 December 2015
It was a big birthday this week for she who must be obeyed. I won't tell you how big - but significant enough to organise the party she had said she didn't want. So I booked a big country house in Herefordshire through Rural Retreats, an operator we had used previously, and summoned the family. It worked beautifully. There were 14 of us - eight adults and six children. Bearwood House and cottage, near the black and white village of Pembridge, slept up to 15 in seven bedrooms. There was a bathroom each for us - en suite in the master bedroom (naturally) and three families of four. The kitchen was well equipped, with an AGA, a conventional love, a microwave and a dishwasher - though kitchens in rental properties rarely match your own - and there was plenty of fridge space for the considerable quantities of champagne and white wine we had all brought. The house and separate cottage, which also contained an AGA, had been built on the site of a former barn. There was under floor heating downstairs (the upper floors creaked a bit). We were greeted by hampers full of essentials such as bread, coffee and free range eggs plus wine and excellent local cider. Rooms were low beamed and attractively furnished and there was a lot of artwork mourned the walls. There was wi fi, there were Wii games and a couple of TVs- and there was an outdoor hot tub. Sadly the wind howled and rain lashed the landscape. so an important plus point was the superb games room, where kids who might otherwise have felt frustratingly housebound by the atrocious weather could disappear and play pool, air hockey and table tennis. The Michelin starred Stag Inn at Titley was only a short drive away but we had so over stocked with goodies that there was little temptation to venture out. Hiring large properties such as this, popular with those celebrating similarly important milestones, isn't cheap. But you can't watch pennies when it's a special occasion, especially in the depths of winter. And I think that in the end, she who had opposed the very idea of a party was rather glad one had been arranged for her.
View from the house