Thursday, February 28, 2013

Top Beaches in the World

The winners of the 2013 Travelers' Choice Beaches Awards have been announced. Based entirely on feedback from millions of TripAdvisor travelers, 276 winning beaches were named around the world.
Dedicated lists highlight travelers' favorite beaches in Africa, Asia, Caribbean, Central America, Europe, Middle East, the U.S. and more.

The Top 10 Beaches in the U.S. are:

1. Ka'anapali Beach, Lahaina, Hawaii
2. Siesta Key Public Beach, Sarasota
3. Gulf Islands National Seashore, Pensacola
4. Fort De Soto Park, Tierra Verde
5. Lanikai Beach, Kailua
6. Wailea Beach, Wailea
7. Assateague Beach, Assateague Island, Virginia
8. La Jolla Cove, La Jolla
9. Laguna Beach
10. Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve, Honolulu

The Top 10 Beaches in the World:

1. Rabbit Beach, Lampedusa, Italy
2. Grace Bay, Providenciales, Turks and Caicos
3. Whitehaven Beach, Airlie Beach, Australia
4. Baia do Sancho, Fernando de Noronha, Brazil
5. Flamenco Beach, Culebra, Puerto Rico
6. Playa de las Catedrales, Ribadeo, Spain
7. Lopes Mendes Beach, Ilha Grande, Brazil
8. Horseshoe Bay Beach, Southampton Parish, Bermuda
9. Eagle Beach, Aruba
10. Rhossili Bay, Swansea, Wales

Contact a Professional Travel Agent today to book your next beach vacation!

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Self-Boarding Trial at Heathrow Airport

Passengers in London Heathrow Airport's Terminal 1 are being invited to take part in a two-month 'self-boarding' trial in partnership with South African Airways in an attempt to improve the passenger experience through the use of technology. The self-boarding gates use biometric data to help passengers board their flight faster and more efficiently. When passengers reach the 'self-boarding' gate, they pass through an automatic electronic barrier which takes an infrared scan of their face. This information is checked against the biometric data that was taken at the check-in stage. When the two sets of data scans are successfully matched, the barrier opens and the passengers can pass through and board their flight.

The technology means that a passenger's identity needs to be checked by airline staff only once in the whole departure process, reducing the time it takes for passengers to get to their seats and ready for take off. It also allows airline staff to spend more time with those passengers who require greater assistance. The personal data is stored securely and will be destroyed at the end of the trial. So far over 300 South African Airways passengers have chosen to use the technology as part of their departure journey.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Hawaiian Airlines Begins Service to New Zealand

Hawaiian Airlines recently announced the addition of 31 seasonal flights between Honolulu and its three gateways down under; Auckland, which launches on 13 March, and Sydney and Brisbane, which launched in November. The new flights will add approximately 8,800 new air seats on the three routes during a peak travel period for Kiwi and Australian travelers. The extra flights also offer travelers in Hawaii and North America more options for visiting New Zealand and Australia at a beautiful time of year. Service connecting Auckland and Honolulu is being increased from three to four flights per week from September 19 to October 11, adding four extra flights to the schedule. Hawaiian is increasing its Sydney-Honolulu service from daily to 10 flights per week between September 11 to October 19, adding 17 extra flights to the schedule. Between Brisbane and Honolulu, Hawaiian is increasing from three to five flights per week from September 13 to October 14, adding 10 extra flights to the schedule. Travelers flying on Hawaiian between North America and any of its international destinations can take advantage of free stopovers in Hawaii!

Contact a Professional Travel Agent today to book your Downunder Vacation!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Egypt Moves to Restrict the Sale of Alcohol

Last week the Egyptian government, which has strong links to the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood, said it will no longer issue licenses to sell alcohol in some urban areas.  This includes the newly-built satellite cities on the outskirts of major population centers. Although the ban is unlikely to affect any key holiday destinations, particularly Red Sea resorts such as Sharm El Sheikh, it has raised some fears that growing conservatism could soon affect those travelers wishing to visit the country and enjoy a drink.

The Middle East and North Africa Travel Association, which promotes the region, said that financial realities would most likely discourage the Egyptian government from restricting the sale of alcohol further as tourism is vital to the country's economy. The Red Sea Riviera was deliberately created as a sort of tourist enclave, almost entirely separate from the rest of Egypt and with its own rules and lifestyle. It would be more likely to ban alcohol in the Upper Egypt resorts of Luxor and Aswan in the belief that tourists will continue to visit there whether there is alcohol available or not. While Egypt suffered from a sharp fall in overseas visitors following the Arab Spring, recent figures show that the country is beginning to bring in more tourists again.

Contact a Professional Travel Agent today to book your Egypt Vacation! 

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Jordan is First Middle East Country with Tourism Webcams

The Jordan Tourism Board and Earth Cam have teamed up to launch a collection of live streaming webcams, with views of some of the country's most treasured and visited locations. Earth Cam's webcams act as a virtual visual passport. Some of the things that can now be seen via webcam are; views of the Citadel in the capital city, Amman. Excavations at this site have uncovered Roman, Byzantine, and early Islamic remains. A second webcam takes viewers high above the busy city streets and delivers sweeping views of the always active capital. Another camera, located at the Dead Sea, holds the title of the lowest webcam on the planet. Included in the collection is the first webcam to deliver views of the ancient site of Petra, Jordan's most valuable tourism site. Earth Cam's Jordan webcams are available 24/7 at no cost. Experience Jordan with live views at

Thursday, February 07, 2013

"Child-Free" Seating Zone on Air Asia

Air Asia X, the long-haul branch of budget carrier Air Asia, is now offering a child-free seating zone on some of its flights. Beginning this week, kids younger than 12 years old are "strictly off-limits" in the first seven rows of economy class on most of the company's flights.  The airline operates flights between China, Taiwan, Japan, Korea, Australia and Nepal. According to the carrier's website, passengers can choose to sit in this 'Quiet Zone', which also features special ambience lighting, for the standard seat-selection fee of $11-$35.

The airline joins Malaysia Airlines, who recently banned all children under 12 from the upper-level economy deck in its Airbus A380s on the Kuala Lumput- London Route. Contact a Professional Travel Agent today to book your next Asian vacation!