Primera Air – Transatlantic Flights Suspended

Primera Air have suspended their transatlantic flights departing from Birmingham to New York and Toronto from the 21st June. The airline is blaming the cancellations on Airbus, citing delays with the delivery of their A321neo fleet.

Primera Air had already cancelled plans for flights from Birmingham to Boston in January, which had been due to commence this month. The first of their A321neo aircraft are operating out of London Stansted, Primera Air have pledged that these transatlantic flights are set to continue.

Virgin Atlantic – New Direct Service Manchester to Los Angeles & Increased Service to Las Vegas

From March 2019 Virgin Atlantic will be operating up to six daily departures from Manchester Airport to the USA and Caribbean.

The new direct route to Los Angeles will be operating 3 times a week from the 22nd May 2019. Flights to Las Vegas will increase from 2 to 4 times a week from the 31st March 2019, and Boston 3 times a week from 22nd May 2019.

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Travel Agency – High Street Closures

According to the latest report from Local Data Company (LDC), 679 travel agency outlets closed their high street premises in the UK during 2017.  Millennials tend to prefer the ease and convenience of booking online, whereas more mature travellers generally prefer the personal service of dealing with someone face to face. The trend of booking online is not new, but the speed with which these outlets closed last year, has been quite alarming for those involved in the industry.

Travel wasn’t the biggest retail sector to be hit, pubs were the highest effected with 747 closures, followed by banks with 711 branches.

Jet2 Which Travel Brand Winners

Jet2 – Which? Travel Brand of the Year 2018

Jet2.com and Jet2holidays have been awarded the “Travel Brand of the Year” in their Awards 2018.

Unlike other awards ceremonies, the Which? Awards are completely independent. A brand can’t put itself forward for a Which? Award and, as with their product testing, their judging is completely impartial.

The shortlist criteria includes customer service, value for money, improvement, innovation and breadth of offering and results from tests, satisfaction surveys and in-depth investigations all feed into our decision-making. To be in with a chance of winning, a company must have consistently excelled in its field throughout the year. The runners-up were HF Holiday, Premier Inn and Riviera Travel

This year’s award went to short-haul airline and budget holiday company Jet2. In a turbulent year for the airline sector, Which? Recommended Provider Jet2 Airlines has proved it’s possible to provide cheap tickets and good customer service. It was a similar story with Jet2 Holidays, with customers telling us they got a premium service despite the budget prices paid for their package holidays.

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Travel Sickness Scams – Tour Operators Fight Back

Both Jet2holidays and Tui have won court cases recently in Manchester against false holiday sickness claims.

Liam Royle was ordered to pay £6,000 to Jet2holidays by the Civil Justice Centre in Manchester. His ex girlfriend provided evidence that he wasn’t sick, as fraudulently claimed during their holiday in August 2015 at the Papantonia Apartments in Cyprus.

Jadeep Singh was ordered to pay £10,000 to Tui by Manchester County Court following his holiday sickness claim, after a stay at the Beach Palace in Cancun, as part of a wedding party in November 2015.

Hopefully these recent cases will deter anyone still tempted to pursue a fake sickness claim.

Ryanair

Ryanair – London Southend

Ryanair have announced a $300 million investment to base 3 aircraft at London Southend. The low cost airline will operate 13 routes to 8 countries from April 2019. Destinations mentioned include Alicante, Barcelona Reus, Bilbao, Brest, Corfu, Cluj, Dublin, Faro, Kosice, Malaga, Milan Bergamo, Palma and Venice.

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Royal Caribbean – To buy majority stake in Silversea Cruises

Royal Caribbean Cruises have announced plans to buy a 66.7% stake in Silversea Cruises, a deal valued at around US$1 billion. Manfredi Lefebvre will remain the executive chairman of Silversea, as will their CEO Roberto Martinoli, after the deal has been closed, which is due to be completed later this year, subject to regulatory approvals.

“Silversea is a the acknowledged leader in luxury and expedition cruising, two key markets that are poised for growth. Uniting our two companies presents an extraordinary opportunity to expand vacation options for guests and create revenue in strategic growth areas,” commented Richard Fain, chairman and CEO of Royal Caribbean Cruises, in a statement.

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Magaluf – Council to regulate all inclusive alcohol holidays

Magaluf has been hitting the UK headlines again this week, as the mayor of Calvía wants to crack down on the free and all inclusive alcohol offers in the resort, which is giving the area a bad name for drunken tourism.

Regulation plans started on the 1st February 2018, at the regional tourism meeting, attended by deputy mayor for Tourism, Antonio García Moles, general director of Tourism, Joan Mesquida, mayor of Calvià, Alfonso Rodríguez Badal, and the vice-president and regional minister for Innovation, Research and Tourism, Bel Busquets. Their aim is to restrict alcohol provided on all inclusive holidays to being served exclusively with meals. The council’s concern is that boozed up Brits are giving the area a bad name. The other downside of inebriated tourists is an increase in street crime, visitors worse for wear after a night out, make easy targets for personal theft. The measures follow a 49% drop in searches for the destination.

Norwegian – expand their winter Florida programme with a new route to Tampa

Norwegian have introduced a new twice weekly flight to Tampa in Florida, departing from London Gatwick from the 31st October 2018. In addition their Fort Lauderdale service will increase to three flights a week, and Orlando to four flights a week.

Barbados Hotel and Tourism Association

Barbados – introduce a room rate levy from 1st July 2018

The Barbados Hotel and Tourism Association (BHTA) has confirmed that a Room Rate Levy will be imposed in all hotels in Barbados from the 1st July 2018. The fee will be charged to customers on check out. This new tax is charged per room, per night and the classification of rating will be decided on by the BHTA.