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2016 promises to be an exciting year for travel with some exciting hotel openings, major anniversaries, and new flight routes.


Second Hard Rock Hotel in Europe opens in autumn 2016 
Set to be one of 2016’s most anticipated hotel openings, Europe’s second Hard Rock Hotel will open in Tenerife in autumn 2016 in time for winter sun holidays, following the successful launch of Hard Rock Hotel Ibiza in May 2014. The five-star beachfront Hard Rock Hotel Tenerife will sit on the Canary Island’s sunny southern coast near Adeje and will feature two striking towers totalling 624 rooms and 266 suites. For some of the best views of the island, the rooftop sky lounge bar, located on level 17 overlooks some of Tenerife’s most impressive scenery, from the majestic Teide; Europe’s highest volcanic cone and Spain’s tallest mountain, to the lesser known Canary Island of La Gomera. /

Guernsey enhances accommodation offering with stylish boutique hotel: Ziggurat
Moroccan-inspired design hotel, Ziggurat, is adding a fresh and fashionable choice to Guernsey’s accommodation offering for the first time, as well as new nightlife options with a Middle Eastern restaurant and trendy cocktail lounge. Sitting in a privileged position above the island’s capital of St Peter Port and offering unbeatable views over its historic harbour and out to sea, Ziggurat has 14 individually designed bedrooms, most with a balcony or terrace, and is ideal for both holidaymakers and business travellers who are looking for a warm and intimate place to stay on the island. At the heart of the property, the Moroccan-themed lounge and restaurant are open to the public and feature a large south-facing outdoor terrace, where individual heated beach huts allow guests to continue to admire the spectacular sea views throughout the colder months. The stylish hotel will help to attract a younger crowd to Guernsey and adds a sophisticated touch to a peaceful weekend away on the island. Rooms at Ziggurat are priced from £70 for a single room, including breakfast.

New hotel to open in Atocha, Madrid
Ayre Hoteles, part of Palladium Hotel Group, is expanding its Madrid offering with the launch of Ayre Hotel Atocha – a brand new four-star hotel located right in the heart of the city. Opening in spring 2016, Ayre Hotel Atocha will be conveniently located directly opposite Atocha train station. The 206 room, 14,500 square metre four-star hotel will include 14 suites, three dining concepts, a gym, multi-functional meeting and events rooms and private parking. The exquisite interiors have been designed by world-renowned Barcelona based interior design company Lázaro Rosa-Violán with elegant, contemporary spaces that match the cosmopolitan spirit of Madrid.

The Santo Maris Oia Luxury Suites & Spa open in Santorini in April
The Metaxas Group is set to open The Santo Maris Oia Luxury Suites & Spa in Santorini in April 2016. Situated in the picturesque village of Oia, The Santo Maris Oia Luxury Suites & Spa will have 44 suites and four villas and has been designed in the traditional Cycladic style offering guests a view to one of the world’s most spectacular sunsets across the Aegean Sea.

New Thomas Cook property SENTIDO Thassos Imperial
Along with their new flight route to Thassos, Thomas Cook is opening the luxurious SENTIDO Thassos Imperial for summer 2016. Located on one of the best and most tranquil beaches in Thassos – Pachis Beach, the hotel boasts a spectacular on-site spa, three restaurants and four bars for its guests to fully indulge in a Greek experience.

Thomas Cook launches new boutique brand Casa Cook
For 2016 Thomas Cook launches a new boutique brand with the May opening of ninety room Casa Cook, Rhodes, attracting a new audience to this much loved travel brand. Located in the beautiful hillsides of Kolymbia and tailored for those in search of a stylish home away from home, the hotel is a fusion between the local destination and the lifestyle requirements of the discerning traveller. As part of the growth of the brand which will see a further three hotels by summer 2017, each Casa Cook hotel will have its own personality and be as individual as a home with its own design story reflecting the local environment, culture and lifestyle.



New flight routes open up Central America to UK tourists
Central America is becoming more accessible to UK travelers with the launch of the first non-stop flights to Costa Rica from the UK and increased air connectivity between Central American countries. In May 2016, British Airways begins a non-stop service from London Gatwick to the Costa Rican capital, San Jose, which follows the inaugural direct flights by Thomson Airways to the northern city of Liberia in November 2015. The new direct flights have not only made travel to Costa Rica easier, but also open up onward travel to the rest of Central America from the UK. New flights and the opening of airfields close to tourist spots allow visitors to experience beaches, archeological ruins, mountains and the cultural diversity that define the whole Central America region, in just a few days. Return fares with British Airways from London Gatwick to San Jose, Costa Rica, start from £687 in World Traveller, including all taxes and charges.

Ryanair to open new Corfu base in 2016
Ryanair recently announced it will open a new base in Corfu from April 2016 with one aircraft based in Corfu and 11 new routes to various destinations in Europe, including a twice weekly flight to Birmingham and added flights from London Stansted (from four to five) and East Midlands (from one to two), which will deliver 300,000 customers per annum thus doubling their Corfu launches new routes to Crete, Rhodes Kefalonia and Zante

2016 will see and Jet2Holidays’ biggest ever growth at Edinburgh Airport for summer 2016 with 12 new destinations, including Crete and Rhodes, plus exclusive routes to Kefalonia and Zante.

More specifically, the new Greek routes for 2016 from Edinburgh include twice-weekly to Crete (Heraklion), launching on 27 May 2016, weekly to Kefalonia, launching on 25 May 2016, weekly to Rhodes starting on 25 June 2016 and twice weekly to Zante starting on 31 May 2016. Moreover, and Jet2Holidays will also launch a new route from East Midlands Airport to the stunning Greek island of Kefalonia.

Thomas Cook adds new Greek destination Thassos in 2016
Thomas Cook has added new direct flights to the island of Thassos - “Greece’s best kept secret” - to its Summer 2016 programme. Thomas Cook will offer holidays to Thassos from May - September 2016 with two flights a week departing directly to Kavala, Thassos, on Thomas Cook Airlines every Friday from London Gatwick and Manchester.

BA launches new routes to Greece: Chania in Crete and Kalamata in the Peloponnese
British Airways will launch two new routes from 30 April from London Heathrow to Greece in summer 2016. The A319 and A320 aircraft will fly to Chania in Crete on Wednesdays and Saturdays from £111 return, while flights from Heathrow to Kalamata in the Peloponnese will run on Thursday and Saturday and start from £93 return per person.


Victor Hugo Festival to commemorate the 150th anniversary of Toilers of the Sea and pay homage to the Channel Islands’ maritime heritage
Guernsey will celebrate the 150th anniversary of the publication of Victor Hugo’s ‘Toilers of the Sea’, with the Victor Hugo in Guernsey Festival from 2 –10 April 2016. The world-famous novel was inspired and set in Guernsey where Hugo spent 15 years in exile from 1855. The Festival will explore some of the historic events that influenced the book and celebrate Victor Hugo’s life and works. The Festival will include exhibitions, paintings, talks, walks, films, performances, photographs and a one-day Seminar from four of the World’s authorities on Hugo, his life and works. More information: /

Alaska recognises 2016 centenary of the US National Park Service 
Ahead of the 2016 centenary of the US National Park Service, America is inviting the world to discover the meaning of the great national parks by embracing the anniversary with a range of specially planned events and park developments. A new Huna Tribal House for Glacier Bay National Park is set to open in 2016 with a new traditional Huna Tribal House in Glacier Bay National Park. The Alaska National Park Service is also planning a programme of Artists in the Parks, including art displays and a classical concert series starting in Fairbanks in October 2016 and hopefully following suit in Anchorage. New ranger led hikes at Denali National Park open in 2016 venturing tourist into a new section of Horseshoe Lake Trail, located just before the entrance area visitor centre, creates a loop around the small, scenic lake. More information:

400 year anniversary of the discovery of Cape Horn to be celebrated in 2016
Cape Horn was discovered by Dutch navigators, Jakob Le Maire and Willem Schouten, in 1616. They were the first people to sail to Cape Horn through its notoriously treacherous waters and named the point ‘Cape Hoorn’ after the town of Hoorn in Holland, where they were born.Expedition cruise company, Australis, is the only company to offer trips to the magical Cape Horn at the very southerly tip of South America. As it is inaccessible any other way, Australis is delighted to be able to showcase a fascinating slice of history throughout 2016 as Cape Horn reaches the 400 year anniversary of its discovery.

Australis offers three to seven night itineraries travelling around Cape Horn, from September to April. Itineraries typically start in either Ushuaia (the southernmost city in Argentina) or Punta Arenas (the southernmost city in Chile) and sail through Patagonia’s glacial channels before reaching Cape Horn. On tendering at Cape Horn, Australis passengers are taken ashore by small zodiac boats to Cape Horn to explore the island and meet the Chilean naval officer who lives in the lighthouse and cares for the island. Whilst on board guests can hear about the discovery of Cape Horn and its important role in the history of shipping.

A four night trip with Australis costs from £934pp including accommodation, sea transportation, all meals, open bar on board, shore excursions and on board entertainment.


Wendy Wu Tours reports surge in Japan bookings
Asia specialist operator has seen a surge in Japan bookings with forward bookings up 350% year on year. Ben Briggs from Wendy Wu Tours says, “Japan provides real, authentic tradition and values that are not seen elsewhere. In the rush for the tourist dollar and fast modernisation, some countries have placed less emphasis on upholding traditional values and customers. Japan has realised this is one of the key reasons to visit”.

Wendy Wu Tours also reports the rise of multi country tours. Two-country ‘Angkor to the Bay’ tour which visits Cambodia and Vietnam is up 35% for 2016 whilst three-county ‘Grand Tour’ which visits Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam is up 70% for 2016. “Travellers want to maximise their time whilst abroad” says Briggs. “If they have the opportunity to visit a second or third country in one trip, then they want to do it.”

Unsurprisingly Burma continues to grow in popularity with forward bookings for 2016 up 200% year on year.

Macs Adventure tips Patagonia, Dordogne and Scotland as hot destinations for 2016

The self-guiding cycling and walking specialist Macs Adventure is tipping the South American region of Patagonia, which spans Argentina and Chile, as a hot destination for 2016 following a customer survey. The poll found that the remote area was rated the number one ‘dream destination’ for adventure holidays. The tour operator now has now introduced three spectacular trips for the region in 2016. The six-night Torres del Paine W-Trek in Comfort trip with four days of trekking; the 11-night Patagonia Explorer and the 13-night tour Patagonia in Style. All include spectacular trekking taking in views of granite peaks and ends-of-the-earth glaciers together with evenings trying out the tango and the world-class wine.

Inspired by the stunning scenery of the Perigord Nord region of the Dordogne, Macs Adventure has carved out four unique, self-guided walking holidays in this popular region to form tranquil routes which take in stunning views from quiet, off-the-beaten track hilltop villages. Neil Lapping, Chief Adventure Officer said: “The Dordogne is the perfect balance of being tourist friendly enough, whilst very much retaining its own unique authentic culture & charm. The people are friendly and helpful, the food absolutely wonderful, and the landscapes and villages just perfect.”

Meanwhile, the tour operator has seen an increased interest in Skye and neighbouring Scottish islands. Skye was used for a location for Michael Fassbender’s film of Macbeth and has also been rumoured to be a backdrop for the new Star Wars: The Force Awakes blockbuster. Bookings for the tour operator’s rail and hike holidays has increased three fold in 2015 compared to 2014 – with the most popular being the West Highland Line. As a result, the tour operator has expanded its portfolio for 2016 and new trips include the stunning seven-night Luxury Highlands & Isle of Skye Rail & Hike, for £1995 per person, which combines steam trains and castles.

Bike & Boat sell out
To reflect demand, Macs Adventure introduced 14 new bike & boat trip itineraries in 2015 and many of them have sold out already for 2016.This style of holiday uses comfortable river barges as a floating hotel as cyclists’ cabins follow them along the route. It means that if cyclists don’t want to take to the bike every day, they can hitch a ride and cruise on the boat. Evenings are spent either on guided tours around that day’s local city or on board enjoying a three course meal in the company of other cyclists. All the routes follow flat, mostly traffic-free routes along the rivers, the most popular of which include the Danube – taking in the historical cities of Budapest, Vienna and Passau – the Loire, and Moselle, while the route from Venice to Mantova takes in Renaissance jewels as well as the stunning nature reserve of the Po Delta.

Neil Lapping, Macs Adventure said: “Journeys by bike & boat are a great introduction to a cycling holiday, and provide a unique way to travel. You’ll spend time with like-minded holidaymakers but have plenty of scope for independent adventure too, plus it is the most relaxing way to do a cycling trip – perfect or anyone who’d love to try out an active holiday but might be a bit concerned about fitness or navigation. Popular bike & Boat routes include the Tulips in Holland which due to limited dates will sell out soon!” See more at



Images from left to right:

1. Abriendo Mentes, Costa Rica, Copyright
2. Nuevas Esperanzas, Nicaragua 
3. Vidarte Space, Brazil