Posted by: jowanderer | January 1, 2008

40 travel trends and tips for 2008

December 29, 2007

40 travel trends and tips for 2008

The Travel News Editor of The Times pulls together everything you really need to know about travel in 2008

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Diver sitting amongst fish at the bottom of the Ocean


Argentina is the place to go in South America, according to South American Experience which says the country is “excellent value”. There are now six pesos to the pound; the rate was about 1.4 pesos in 2002. However, British Airways ( still has no plans to up its heavily booked, four-times-weekly flights. Rather than head south to Pat-agonia, visitors will start to look north to regions such as Salta and Jujuy. A new range of boutique properties is luring foreigners to these dramatically arid northwestern provinces.

More long-haul: Britain’s biggest-selling long-haul tour operator, Kuoni, predicts that Bali will bounce back next year. Advance bookings are up by a quarter. Cazenove & Loyd predicts a boom in Brazil, while Bales Worldwide expects Japan and the Galapagos Islands to do well. Cox & Kings tips the Middle East, especially Jordan. Details: Kuoni (01306 747001,, cazenove&loyd (020-7384 2332,, Bales (0845 0570600,, Cox & Kings (020-7873 5000,

Egypt: a whole new holiday resort is opening – Port Ghalib on the Red Sea. The resort will consist of a five-star hotel complex, and will have flights to Marsa Alam with Thomsonfly from Gatwick every Wednesday. Activities will include tennis, use of “the second largest saltwater palm-oasis swimming lagoon in the world”, diving, desert safaris, camel treks, windsurfing and quad-biking. Thomas Cook offers a week’s B&B from £599. Details: Port Ghalib ( Egyptian State Tourist Office (020-7493 5283,, Thomas Cook (0870 7505711,, Thomsonfly (www.

China rises: The Olympics, which begin on August 8, will encourage tourists to explore some of China’s lesser-known regions. “We’ve been getting advanced bookings for Guilin and Yangshuo,” says Wendy Wu of Wendy Wu Tours (0844 4993899, “But I think the star will be the stunning Nine Villages Valley [Jiuzhai-gou] in Sichuan. Since the new airport opened there in 2005, it’s had about two million visitors a year, but only 2,000 are Westerners.”

Taiwan too: China might not like it, but Taiwan could benefit from tourism on the back of the Beijing Olympics next year. The first Rough Guide to Taiwan, which is not officially recognised as a country by China or by Britain, is just out – and the Taiwan Tourism Bureau hopes to lure visitors coming to see the Games who want a second centre for their holiday. Taiwan’s lively capital Taipei and mountainous interiors are among its attractions. Details:

Adventure travel: Holidays on the edge will get even edgier in 2008. To stay one step ahead of the Joneses try mountain biking in Kyrgyzstan(, skiing in Kashmir (, tanning in the Anda-man Islands (, meeting remote tribes in Angola ( and exploring Colombia ( Remember to check travel advice from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

Take off to Tel Aviv: Thomsonfly already flies to Tel Aviv, and bmi starts a new route from Heath-row on March 13. Return bmi tickets from £243; Thomsonfly from £139. Details: Thomsonfly (0870 1900737,, bmi (

Bet on Macau: a string of new five-star casino hotels has opened in Macau, the former Portuguese colony connected to the Chinese mainland, which now wants to be known as “the new Vegas”. And with flights to neigbouring Hong Kong, which is only a short ferry ride away, from about £300 return on Oasis (, the gambling HQ of the Far East is easier to reach than ever.

Dive deep: a new “holiday world” is emerging: underwater. Micronesia and Western Samoain the Pacific Ocean are popular with Dive Worldwide, which has a ten-day trip in which you can see a fleet of Second World War battleships off the shores of Truk in Micronesia, from £1,835pp. Details: 0845 1306980, www.dive

Camping in Florida: tents and mobile homes specialist Eurocamp offers camping holidays in Florida in the US for the first time – the company specialises in France and Spain. Lodges, “kabins” and “recreational vehicles” are available, with customers able to travel between different sites to get a broader view of Florida than from a traditional family package. Details: 0844 4060456,

Singapore fling: In September, Singapore will host the first Formula One grand prix to be held at night, with more than 80,000 spectators expected to see if Lewis Hamilton can win. In March, Singapore will beat London with the world’s highest obervation wheel, the Singapore Flyer, which will reach 165m (541ft) above ground, compared with the London Eye’s 135m. Details:,

Comfort on the Inca Trail: Lodges with en suite shower rooms and outdoor hot-tubs have opened along the Inca trekking trail to Machu Picchu in Peru – meaning no more slumming it as a backpacker. Original Travel ( offers a week-long break, with one night in Lima and six nights in the lodges, from £2,450pp, flights and meals included.

Lonely Planet forecasts: The guidebook publisher highlights two big themes in travel for 2008: travelling to Muslim countries and seeing endangered wildlife. It recommends visiting “countries of the crescent” such as Brunei, Mauritania, Tunisia, Turkey and Uzbekistan to “debunk [the] myths and stereotypes” surrounding Islam. Trips to see endangered animals – often helping to contribute to projects to protect wildlife – include seeing Komodo dragons in Indonesia, Siamese crocodiles in Vietnam and giant armadillos in Bolivia. Other far-flung “hotspots” for the year ahead – mentioned in Bluelist: The Best in Travel 2008(Lonely Planet, £15.99) – include Bhutan, Nicaragua and Papua New Guinea. City breaks are recommended in Bologna, Miami, Thessaloniki in Greece and Vienna.


Cool in Liverpool: “It’s happening in Liverpool,” is the slogan plugging the European Capital of Culture 2008 – or “O Eight” as it’s known locally, James Collard writes. But what is happening? Well, just as the cruise liners call in again on what was once the world’s leading port, so in the next 12 months a raft of big marquee events make special guest appearances in the city, beginning with the Turner Prize at Tate Liverpool (to January 13) and culminating with the MTV Awards at the new Liverpool Echo Arena next November. Bigger draws will be the Gustav Klimt show at the Tate, and all those lovely Manets and Van Goghs on show at Art in Age of Steam, over at the Walker. Both will be blockbusters and are timely reminders that Liverpool has the best museums outside London, housed in splendid buildings built in the city’s mercantile heyday.

Those shows, plus the lively Biennial (which helped secure culture capital status) represent the high art offering. On the pop front, MTV speaks to Liverpool’s rock aristocracy. The year also turns up the perfect sporting weekend when the Tall Ships’ Races start from Liverpool Docks just as the Open Championship tees off at the Royal Birkdale (this is, after all, Britain’s Golf Coast, offering the marriage-saving combo of great golf courses and cool boutique hotels). Those races will be a moving prospect: the Mersey filled once again with masts of sailing ships. More nostalgia anyone? Ringo performs at the opening, Macca plays Anfield, Simon Rattle conducts “the Phil”, and our leading actors tread the boards at the Everyman. But 2008 will also be a celebration of Liverpool today and a future that looks bright. Details:,

Live in Leeds: City breaks to Leeds are recommended by VisitBritain, the UK tourist board, on the back of the £1.5 million refurbishment of the Leeds Art Gallery ( where the Victorian Tiled Hall has been restored and a new caf� and shop has opened.

London Saatchi: Alternatively, the Saatchi Gallery ( is moving from County Hall to larger premises on Sloane Square in London, opening “early” in the year. The first exhibition will be on contemporary Chinese art.

Stoke art: Meanwhile, a new gallery displaying Wedgwood ceramics and a collection of fine art including works by Stubbs and Reynolds will open later this year at the Wedgwood Museum in Stoke-on-Trent. Details: British Museum (, National Gallery (

Stylish self-catering: people will turn their backs on old-fashioned cottages and look for sleeker ones, according to the self-catering specialist Hoseasons. Flat-screen tele-visions, hot-tubs and chauffeur services are on offer at a selection of its newest properties in Shropshire, Oxfordshire, Yorkshire and Devon. Details: 0844 8471176,

Surf’s up in Bournemouth: an artificial reef is due to be completed off the shore of Bournemouth next summer, doubling the size of its surfing waves. See


Sing for Serbia: Belgrade is putting on the Eurovision Song Contest in May next year, and if recent host cities are anything to go by, it can expect a mini tourist boom. In the past three years Helsinki, Athens and Kiev all benefited from a rise in tourism thanks to Terry Wogan’s favourite contest. Belgrade, which was recently included in a Top 10 of lively nightspots in Europe by Lonely Planet, hopes the event will help to put it firmly on the tourist map. Details:

Rediscover Italy: Italy lovers who want to escape the crowds should go to the new “hot spot” picked by Real Holidays, an Italy specialist: Basilicata, a strange, beautiful, bleak strip of land between Puglia and Calabria. “Everyone from Sugs of Madness to Helen Mirren has heard of Puglia and Calabria. But Basilicata, despite being just as alluring, is cloaked in mystery,” said Philip Davies of Real Holidays. A week’s half-board at a room in a former monastery is from £294pp next summer, flights and car hire extra. Details: 020-7359 3938,

Joy of the Bolshoi: The Bolshoi opera and ballet venue is due to reopen in Moscow in March after a £290 million refit designed “to rectify decades of Soviet interference and neglect” and “to restore the building’s legendary acoustics as well as its sumptuous interior and external façade”, according to Audley Travel. The restoration of the 230-year-old theatre has also involved the cleaning and repair of its beautiful collection of antique furniture, costumes and production sketches. Audley has eight-day trips from £1,600pp, including flights and Bolshoi tickets. Details: 01993 838200, Bolshoi Theatre (

Water world: Green travellers will take the train down to Spain to go to Expo Zaragoza 2008, below, running from June 14 to September 14, which has a “water and sutainable development” theme. Details:


Take a career break
The “meaningful travel” tour operator i-to-i ( predicts a growth in companies offering sabbaticals to weary employees – allowing them to go on longer trips to recharge their batteries. Bruce Haxton of i-to-i says sales for volunteering projects in Madagascar, Mozambique and Swaziland are doing particularly well. Deloitte, HSBC and First Direct are among companies that have given the go-ahead to employees taking breaks. “It’s all about staff retention and staff rewards,” Haxton says.

What’s your insurance limit? Insurance policies with higher single-article limits to cover expensive gadgets such as iPhones, iPods and lap-tops will become more widely available. Preferential ( leads the way with a “premium” policy that covers single items up to £750. An annual multi-trip policy is from £148.

Cruise news: Boxing, rock-climbing and recording a pop song are some of the activities on offer next year on cruise holidays, Caroline Hendrie writes. Cruise companies are reaching out to new customers with quirky extras. The American line Royal Caribbean is tweaking its new ship, Independence of the Seas, to suit British tastes. The 3,600-passenger sister ship of Liberty and Freedom is launched in May and will be based in Southampton for the summer. As well as a “flow-rider surf park” – in which fast streams of water allow you to “surf” – there’s a boxing ring, an ice-skating rink, a climbing wall and mini-golf. A four-night cruise to Cork is from £526pp. P&O Cruise’s new ship Ventura launches in April from Southampton, offering trips in the Mediterranean, and the Baltic and Atlantic islands: a week’s cruise on the 3,100-passenger capacity ship starts at £799. It will have a Marco Pierre White restaurant, a salsa bar and a casino. Activities include racing cars on a giant Scalextric track, juggling, and performing songs at a “Rock School”. The Queen Victoria, Cunard’s latest ocean liner, named by the Duchess of Cornwall this month, has fencing classes and private boxes in its Royal Court Theatre. Details: Royal Caribbean (0845 1658330,, P&O Cruises (, Cunard (

Keep your ski helmet on: There was once a time when wearing a ski helmet was looked upon with disdain, writes Mark Frary. Not any more. Helmet sales have risen sharply in the UK in recent seasons, driven by the introduction of lightweight but strong materials. Wearing a helmet isn’t like sitting with your head under an industrial hairdryer any longer. The introduction of cooler designs based on military chic and others incorporating iPod headphones and Bluetooth mobile phone connectivity has also boosted their popularity. In the United States, it’s a fair bet that more skiers will soon be wearing helmets than not. A recent survey by the National Ski Areas Association found that 40 per cent of the 139,000 people surveyed were wearing a ski helmet when interviewed, up from 25 per cent five years ago.

Rehab – Yes, yes, yes: Wellbeing breaks are all the rage – and not just with celebs. In:spa ( offers new retreats in Tuscany with yoga and “health gurus”. Trips Worldwide ( has a week in the Maldives from £1,215 that’s “the perfect tropical pick-me-up”. Or try a ten-day yoga and meditation course in Kenya in which you go on an “inner safari” for £1,800. See

More film tourism: Keira Knightley and Sienna Miller are the stars of the film The Edge of Love, the story of the complex relationship between Dylan Thomas, his wife Caitlin, and childhood friend Vera Phillips. Many of the scenes are filmed in Wales along the Pembrokeshire coast, in Carmarthenshire and in Swansea and Cardiff – which hope to attract more tourists. Another film with a UK setting is Brideshead Revisited, starring Michael Gambon, which has scenes filmed in Castle Howard, North Yorkshire, and Oxford.

Keeping food local: Meals in UK hotels will improve as hoteliers use more local produce to give a better “sense of place” to guests and to alleviate concerns about “food miles” – when food is flown in from overseas to restaurants. Raymond Blanc of Le Manoir aux Quat’ Saisons ( in Great Milton, Oxford has imposed a three-hour flight zone for produce used in Le Manoir and keeps a book sourcing all produce used for every meal. “There are big changes in the public consciousness every 30-40 years, and the regions are going to be the new buzzword,” he says. “Proximity means food will be fresher with more flavour. I am very excited about the change. Gastronomy has sometimes been guilty of forgetting the primary rules of the stomach.”


In 2008, Bond will be 56, though forever young, and his creator, Ian Fleming, would have been 100 years old. To mark the centenary of Fleming’s birth on May 28, the Imperial War Museum in London will have an exhibition, sponsored by The Times, devoted to the parallel lives of the writer and his fictional creation, Ben Macintyre writes. Exhibits include Rosa Klebb’s flick-knife shoes and Odd Job’s steel-rimmed bowler hat, as well as Fleming’s manuscripts, personal letters and possessions. A new authorised Bond novel by Sebastian Faulks, entitled Devil May Care, will be published in May, and the second Bond film starring Daniel Craig will be released later next year. But 2008 will also see renewed interest in the travels of both Ian Fleming and James Bond. In 1959, Fleming was commissioned by The Sunday Times to write a series of articles on the world’s “thrilling cities”; the resulting tour took him to Hong Kong, Tokyo, Honolulu, Los Angeles and New York. The following year, he conducted a similarly idiosyncratic tour, through Hamburg, Berlin, Vienna, Geneva (where he met Charlie Chaplin) and Monte Carlo. Wherever Bond travels in the novels, Fleming had been there first, like Bond preferring casinos, low dives and expensive restaurants. Wherever he goes, to America and the Caribbean, to Switzerland and the Seychelles, to Turkey, Canada, Japan or France, 007 travels with an eye for the local attractions, female and otherwise. “If I ever married I would marry an air hostess,” Bond muses, as he jets off on another mission. Ben Macintyre’s book to accompany the Imperial War Museum Exhibition, For Your Eyes Only: Ian Fleming and James Bond , will be published by Bloomsbury next April. The exhibition opens on April 17 and runs until March 1, 2009.


Fly less: Foreign bucket-and-spade holidays will be “dead and buried” in 20 years, according to Jonathon Porritt, the Government’s environmental adviser. Porritt believes it is just a matter of time before people realise that “flying abroad four or five times a year is insupportable” as year-on-year emissions from planes are rapidly growing as a proportion of CO2 gases released. Porritt says that scientists agree that a 2C increase in the average world temperature is “dangerous” and “must be avoided”. At the moment, each Briton is responsible for 11 tonnes of CO2 annually, but this must reduce to two tonnes, he insists. This will mean fewer flights, more holidays in the UK, and greater use of trains. But Porritt also recommends using carbon-offsetting schemes as well as supporting the Travel Foundation, an organisation that runs wildlife projects and supports tourism that contributes money to local communities across the globe. Details: http://www.thetravel

Pick-me-ups: More UK hotels will offer free pickup services from local railway stations to encourage guests to use public transport. Carey’s Manor in the New Forest goes even farther by also giving 10 per cent off the “standard tariff rate” to “car-free guests”.

Cut the carbon: Next year brings the search for the carbon-neutral holiday, with Natural Retreats, which has nine sustainable log cabins set in 54 acres bordering the Yorkshire Dales, already saying it has a “zero carbon footprint”, writes Anna Shepard. It offsets the total amount of energy used by the cabins, as well as in its offices, by supporting tree-planting projects through For a truly green holiday, Saddle Skedaddle organises self-guided cycling holidays, and has seen bookings go up 60 per cent in the past year, which it puts down to improved infrastructure. “Everything is in place from cycle reservations on trains to finding bike-friendly pubs,” says Andrew Straw, its sales director. Coach travel is also predicted to grow. According to consumer research group Mintel, the market will increase by 23 per cent in 2008. Some new coaches used by boast reclining seats and wi-fi lounges.

Central America: The website is highlighting Nicaragua, where an eco-lodge on an organic coffee farm in the mountains – Finca Esperanza Verde ( – has already won Best Small Hotel in this year’s Responsible Tourism Awards. Details: Natural Retreats (, Saddle Skedaddle ( To find trains with facilities for cyclists, visit

Age of the train: In 2007 people thought about the environment but flew anyway. In 2008, given the continued improvements in high-speed rail travel to and on the Continent, more of us will ditch the plane for the train on short to medium-haul journeys. A new Dutch high-speed line (www.hsl will cut the time from Amsterdam to Brussels, and so, to London. Given the reduction in time across the Channel, and being able to link up to routes such as TGV Est (www.rail, as far afield as Frankfurt and Zurich, and with services starting from the UK regions via Kings Cross/ St Pancras, longer train journeys will become more attractive.


Luxury isn’t about gold taps; it’s about getting your own space, especially when flying. Premium business-class-only carriers Eos ( and Silverjet ( did well in 2007 – winning the battle for passengers against MAXjet, which collapsed earlier this month. And both BA and Virgin Atlantic have announced plans for future all-business-class services. Silverjet has just bought two more aircraft. Its chairman, Lawrence Hunt, has hinted that it may begin flying to Delhi, Johannesburg, Mauritius, Shanghaiand Los Angeles soon.

Budget Asia: Malaysia’s Air Asia X ( will, like Ryanair, charge for meals, blankets and checked-in luggage. Prices are not yet available for its Kuala Lumpur to Stansted and Manchester flights beginning in September, but you can still make use of Asia’s largest budget network: for example, it offers flights from the Malaysian capital to Bali from £27.


Whisper it quietly, but Ryanair is giving travellers something free, writes Steve Keenan,Times Online travel editor. Checking-in online for a flight to Krakow last week, I received priority boarding as a bonus – and at 6am at Stansted on a December morning, it was very welcome. With hand baggage only, a printed sheet of A4 with a barcode was simply scanned at security control. It meant we only had to turn up 40 minutes before the flight. The airport process will continue to be the focus of travel technology in 2008, with the International Air Transport Association agreeing plans for check-in by mobile phone. Passengers will receive boarding passes direct to mobiles or Blackberrys which will be read by airport scanners. There is a rush to develop use of the mobile, with enhanced customer profiling allowing more specific deals to be sent. Travel advertising will also arrive on your mobiles in 2008. On the internet, holiday firms are realising they cannot stand alone and hope to attract business by building platforms on social networking sites such as Facebook and MySpace. These sites, which also allow travellers to share travel experiences and ideas, are now ingrained in travel research: which is why Thomson, among others, has struck a deal with TripAdvisor to use its hotel reviews in order to appear more honest and transparent with customers. A Google-ComScore survey shows that more than 20 million travellers now research and book travel on the web – but that they are getting more fickle about brands. Big, bland sites that are difficult to use and offer only their own products are out. More video will be added to travel sites, including much more original content on Times Online. Our own travel shop bazaar has just launched, to be followed by the opening of our archive in the new year. Thought the internet has changed your travel lives? It’s only just beginning.


Space may be the final frontier, but we’ll all soon be going there… or at least reading about it. Virgin Galactic is unveiling its spaceships next year for trips as soon as 2009 – if you’ve got £100,000 to spare – and next May is scheduled for the publication of the world’s first guidebook for space tourists: How to Build Your Own Spaceship: The Science of Personal Space Travel by Piers Bizony (Portobello, £12.99), full of tips on how to prepare for your voyage.

Other new travel books suggest that we’ll be spending our holidays closer to home. Nigel Farrell’s An Island Parish: A Summer in Scilly (Headline, £7.99) is an intriguing look at life on the Scilly Isles. While in Real England (Portobello, £12.99) Paul Kingsnorth crosses the country taking the pulse of the nation, before Tesco-ification takes over.

Farther afield, there’s also an evocative book on being brought up in BotswanaTwenty Chickens For A Saddle by Robyn Scott (Bloomsbury, £10.99) – as well as an insightful journey round Poland in A Country in The Moon by Michael Moran (Granta, £14.99).

Sven Lindquist’s Terra Nullius chronicles a 7,000-mile trip across Australia, revealing the “shocking treatment” of Aborgines (Granta, £7.99). And Gregor Dallas uses the Paris Metro as the framework of Metrostop Paris: History From The City’s Heart (John Murray, £16.99).

John Gimlette steps back in time to retrace the journey of an American Second World War veteran through France, Austria and Germany in Panther Soup (Random House, £18.99), examining how dramatically these countries have changed since the war ended.

The TV travel journalist Stefan Gates has more weird and wild culinary adventures in In the Danger Zone (BBC Books, £15.99).

Cooler, Faster, More Expensive: The Return of the Sloane Ranger by Peter York and Olivia Stewart-Liberty (Atlantic, £9.99), is an unusual look at middle-class London life and offers an updated social lexicon, including “Chav Sloanes”, “Bongo Sloanes” and “Eco Sloanes”.



  1. How about Croatia : )

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