The number of flights to the Caribbean will be cut by British Airways due to the rise of Air Passenger Duty tax. They will however be adding extra flights to Florida which although is not far away geographically does have 20 per cent lower APD.

British Airways have called for the government to scrap this unfair tax which sees UK travellers paying more than anywhere else and they say it’s a ‘destructive tax juggernaut’ and says the UK tourism industry suffers from the ‘heaviest tax burden in global aviation’.

Because of the way the tax system works BA have reduced the flights to the Caribbean because its expected that with higher charges less people will be travelling there. For example; a family of four of flying in economy class from the UK to the Caribbean pay £300 in APD whilst the same to Florida would only cost £240 in APD.

According to BA the amount paid in the UK is more than double what a family from Germany would pay and those travelling from France would only have to pay just £15. 22 of the EU countries don’t even charge travellers aviation tax so it’s not like legislation imposed by EU that is causing these high prices.

The Caribbean is worst hit because of the way the system works, countries are placed into band for the taxation and this is based on how far away the capital is from the UK. So travelling to the US to places like Florida or Hawaii is cheap even though further away, because Washington is closer to the UK passengers are charged less.

During the Caribbean Tourism Organisation (CTO) annual conference in St Maarten British Airways CEO Keith Williams told delegates that the strict tax regime was ‘jeopardising routes to the Caribbean’.

He said: “The Caribbean is a very important destination for us and we have a long and proud heritage of serving the region. However, we can’t deny the reality that demand is not as high as it has been. Taxation is most certainly a factor in this and sadly, a factor in our decision to reduce our frequency to the Caribbean next summer. It is no coincidence that our reduction in the number of services to the Caribbean is accompanied by a rise in services to Florida – another desirable holiday destination for UK sun-seekers, and a destination that is taxed at a rate 20 per cent less than the Caribbean.”

At the moment the government is conducting a review on APD with the results coming out in November however no one in the industry is sure there will be any reduction.


The state of Florida is home to some of the top attractions in the United States, such as Disney World, Universal Studios Orlando, the Kennedy Space Center, and The Everglades. Many tourists choose to visit the state while their children are on summer holiday. It is also a good winter destination, with most attractions remaining open.

The most important consideration will be the intended area in which to stay. It should be as close to the attractions as possible. This makes it convenient to travel to the attractions on the itinerary without having to spend a lot of time driving in heavy traffic. An ideal holiday rental should be no more than 20 minutes from intended destinations by car.

It is important to find out what the maximum sleeping capacity is for the rental. Usually, there will be at least one master bedroom intended for a couple, with additional bedrooms or sleeping facilities in the living area. There is also usually at least one full bath, with additional water closets.

These types of rentals are self-catering. However, individual amenities may vary somewhat. If the property is on a beach, it is a good idea to find out if beach gear is included. If not, beach towels, sand toys or other items can usually be purchased from nearby shops. You will also find full dinner sets with cutlery for meals. Some properties may provide food items for breakfast or other meals to help save guests a trip to the grocer.


Fuel regulations which will be coming into effect next month could have a damaging effect on cruises to Antarctica. From August the 1st cruise ships will be banned from using heavy oil in the region, which will mean that they will have to switch to using a more expensive form of fuel.

This will cause the cost of cruises to Antarctica to rise because many cruise lines will have to pass the cost onto passengers or stop sailing to the region altogether.

At the moment heavy fuel is commonly burned by the larger cruise ships, however the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) is introducing a ban on using and carrying heavy fuel in a bid to reduce the environmental impact of a potential oil leak. As of next month a switch to the more environmentally-friendly marine gas oil, will be made by all cruise ships, to the new fuel which is less polluting but more expensive.

According to tour operators, the new regulations will cost them millions of pounds extra each year and its thought that some cruise companies including Crystal, Princess, Regent Seven Seas and Oceania, will no longer offer cruises to Antarctica after dropping it from their brochures.

Carolyn Spencer Brown, editor-in-chief of CruiseCritic.co.uk says: “Antarctica used to be a once-in-a-lifetime destination and it was very popular five years ago – there weren’t so many environmental regulations at that time. But, like the Galapagos Islands, it is such a fragile environment so these new regulations are good news for Antarctica. The bad news is that prices are going to go up for passengers.”

Speaking about the future of cruising, Ms Spencer Brown says the old style of cruising in large ships will be replaced with trips in smaller, more environmentally-friendly ships that are already using marine gas oil, offered by companies such as Lindblad Expeditions, Abercrombie & Kent and Polar Cruises.

She added: “The old style of taking people into Antarctica was on board huge cruise ships that were so big they couldn’t get in close to the ice. Passengers never got off the ship. The smaller ships can pull up anchor and let people on to the ice. Passengers learn about the environment from specialist guides and are offered experiences such as kayaking around ice floes on such trips. It is the end of cruising in the Antarctic as we know it now but it’s not the end of cruising in the Antarctic – it’s going to be more expensive but more authentic and rewarding.”


Coming from the west, China is an assault on your senses, in the best way possible.  Visitors are guaranteed a crazy and wonderful adventure in this incredible country.  In the 20th century, much of ancient Chinese architecture was destroyed, but it is home to some incredible historic sites that are well preserved. 

The most iconic symbol of China, the Great Wall, has to be on your ‘things to do before you die’ list – it is simply incredible.  Trips to lesser-travelled parts of the wall are not for the faint hearted as a great deal of it is in a state of disrepair, and will require climbing at points.  However, once you reach those watch towers and look out, it is all worth it.

 

Great Wall of China

Great Wall of China

Picture courtesy of matt512

A more recent discovery of ancient Chinese history may just rival the Great Wall of China for marvelling at the ingenuity of humanity.  The great Terracotta Warriors found in the 1970s near Xi’an had been completely forgotten over the mists of time, and it is believed the 7,000 or so excavated figures in this massive site are the tip of the iceberg in terms of what still lies underground. 

Further inland yet again from Xi’an is Chengdu, home of the great symbol of China, the Great Panda.  These beautiful creatures are endangered but visitors are able to go to the Panda Breeding Centre here, and if you are willing to part with your cash, can even have a photograph taken with an incredibly cute baby. 

Wherever your journey takes you in China, you are bound to have an unforgettable time, and the treasures that this country holds will stay with you forever.

 


Eight hours south of Beijing by train is the UNESCO World Heritage site of Pingyao.  It is the largest completely walled-in, fully functioning town in the world with many of the original old buildings still standing. 

This was once the ancient financial hub of China, though know it feels as if you are very much walking on the set of a Kung Fu movie. 

Accommodation in Pingyao is like taking a wonderful, romantic step back in time.  Beautiful, traditional Chinese courtyard guesthouses abound here, giving holidaymakers a sense of total immersion in this living memorial to China’s rich past and amazing culture.

Tourists can buy one ticket that allows admission to all the main tourist attractions, such as the museum and bell tower that dominates the town centre in a diminutive way.

The financial museum is well worth a trip, with much of its original fixtures and fittings still intact.  Alternatively, a marvellous way to get round and get lost in the town’s traditional narrow streets is to hire a bicycle for the day and explore it on your own terms.  Like everywhere else in China, the food here is delicious.  Standards are high across the board in pretty much all the restaurants.  There is much to feast on here, for both famished stomachs and hungry eyes eager to catch a glimpse of the past in a speedily modernising China.


This is one of the few remaining islands in Thailand that retain the easy chilled vibe that attracted backpackers to the country in the first place.  Situated on the Andaman coast on the west of the country, Koh Lanta boasts some of the best beaches Thailand has to offer, not at the mercy of drastic tides, with warm, clear blue water all day long.

Koh Lanta is home to a large Muslim community and, as such, the sale of alcohol in some restaurants is restricted, the result of which is a chilled vibe bereft of hard core partiers – perfect if you have come to retreat on a quiet island for a couple of weeks to be at one with the sea. 

Additionally, Koh Lanta has not succumbed to the development boom, and the community ensures that strict building regulations are enforced, so the romantic image of a few huts on the beach is still true here.

If it is possible to tear yourself away from the lure of the beach, heading down to the old town is definitely worth the trek in a tuk tuk, up hill and down dale.  This is still very much a functioning fishing village but the Chinese influence is apparent.  A charming little town, and a little off the tourist track, this is one of the ever-decreasing gems in the unstoppable tourism machine that is Thailand.


Going on holiday to Asia can be a very rewarding experience if you have never been to the region.  The numerous attractions, diverse cultures, and the white sand beaches are just a few elements that make this part of the world worthy of exploration.  At the very least, a holiday in Asia will reward your with memories that will last a lifetime.  Here are six reasons why you should consider going on holiday in Asia.

1) The currency exchange rate works in the tourists’ favour here, so you will have a little more flexibility with your budget.

2) The majority of the tours and travel packages are reasonably priced and will fit into most budgets, while the different holiday accommodation rentals are reasonably priced.

3) China and India provide the international traveller with a great scope of world history, while many of the landmarks are considered as being wonders of the world.

4) For the best beach holidays, Southeast Asia is your best option.  Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Thailand are renowned for having the most pristine beaches in the world.

5) If you’re travelling with children, consider visiting Hong Kong, as they have just opened a Disneyland there.  You’ll also enjoy the Cantonese cuisine and the shopping venues.

6) Taiwan is another excellent choice for an Asian holiday destination.  The natural beauty of the surrounding areas results from the abundance of forests, mountains, and rivers that you will find no matter where you are exploring.


If you are looking for a holiday where you can visit numerous places of interest, experience different cultures and have your every need taken care of then you should look at taking a cruise holiday. You won’t have all the travel worries that come with making your own travel arrangements and you can get a great personal service, no matter what your needs.

There are really endless possibilities for your cruise holiday, so it can be quite hard to choose just one, let alone which cruise line to go for, so I would suggest doing plenty of research before you go. Online travel companies can offer plenty of information on cruise holidays, such as virginholidaycruises.co.uk who actually specialise in all types of cruise holidays, whether it’s just a cruise holiday, fly and cruise holiday or fly, cruise and stay holiday. Some cruise holidays aim to be more relaxing, so more time will be spent at sea but the cruise ships will have plenty on offer to help keep you relaxed during your trip. Others offer plenty of ports to dock in so you can visit as many places as you can and take in lots of new cultures.

There are cruise lines and holidays that have been specifically tailored for families with plenty of fun and entertainment available, as well as romantic holidays for couples which offer a personal service and also for single travellers which are made to feel part of a family and a larger travel group, so everyone is covered.


Already a popular destination for tourists from all over North America, Boston is becoming an increasingly popular place to visit amongst British tourists as well.  The quaint city, which is far more reminiscent of a large European city than the monolithic destination of New York with which Boston shares the East Coast of the United States, is full of distinctive low rise, colonial style architecture, much of which dates back to when America was still under British rule.

Boston is also now easier than ever to get to, with most airlines running daily flights to the city from the UK, and the relatively short flight time makes it a great location for even a short transatlantic break.  The city is also a good starting location for a tour of New England, the name given to the north eastern part of the United States which is famed for its stunning countryside, rustic charm and history.

One of the best ways to explore the city of Boston is via one of the Duck Tours – the name given to local tour operators who ferry people around the various sites in Boston via specially converted World War II era amphibious buses.

The fertile seas off the shore of Boston are full of marine life, and several boat tours are available which can allow tourists to go whale watching.  For those who prefer to view nature from dry land, the Boston Aquarium is one of the best in the world.  Meanwhile, sports fans will be able to enjoy a tour of one of the oldest and most well known baseball stadiums in the country – Fenway Park, home of the Boston Red Sox.

Boston Waterfront

Boston Waterfront

Pictire courtesy of Lindsay Sorensen

 


If you’re taking a Royal Caribbean cruise holiday around the Caribbean then you can now extend your holiday with a land based stay in Florida. So not only can you enjoy 9 or 13 nights cruising the Caribbean visiting exotic destinations such as Grenada, St Barts, US Virgin Islands, Barbados, Dominica, Mexico and St Kitts to name just a few, but then you can then extend the fun and the sun by adding a holiday to Florida on the end.

 

Universal Studios Florida

Universal Studios Florida

Picture courtesy of daryl_mitchell

Royal Caribbean offer a huge choice of cruises around the Caribbean on a number of their ships including their larger Oasis class ships, the Oasis of the Sea’s and Allure of the Sea’s. These are both large family boats which offer a wide range of activities, eating and entertainment for the whole family. You can then carry on the fun in Florida with a stay in Universal Orlando Resort, which has two theme parks, Universal Studios Florida and Universals Islands of Adventure theme parks.

If you don’t fancy been in the middle of the theme parks and want to explore more of what Florida and the surrounding area has to offer then you can choose to stay in and around Florida and Fort Lauderdale.