With the Easter holidays on , Brits have been busy finalizing their travel plans for the holiday. This season it is estimated that an exodus of sorts of over Two Million Brits is expected to overseas tourists destinations. With the recession loosening its grip, people are more than willing to spend more money to make their holidays really special. While staycations are gaining ground on one side, foreign holiday ideas are also becoming popular in Scotland and the UK in general, thanks to the cheap flights to many European destinations like Spain.
The top five overseas destinations have been Paris, Amsterdam, Dublin, Milan and New York. People looking for longer-haul options are making the most of flights to Florida and the Dominican Republic. While the winter sports enthusiasts are heading to Geneva the ski gateway for Europe, others are exploring the romantic and cultural city breaks. Exciting packages and bargain deals are up for grabs and the mood among the tourist operators is upbeat.
Easter, which has always been considered as the harbinger of the impending summer season sets the right stage for the holiday makers to take a well deserved break. Heathrow airport will be catering to a surging crowd of over 5 million people while Gatwick and Stansted would be flying 250,000 and 175,000 tourists respectively. Even far off destinations like Egypt , Tunisia and Turkey have many takers and the flights to these destinations are fully booked this season. Enjoying a vacation has never been so good and interesting and people are making the most of it.
A luxury cruise is one of the most exciting things to happen in any Scotland holidays and for the budget travelers who cannot afford it, cruising by barge will be a good choice. Relaxing and rewarding, barge cruises is a green holiday option as it causes very little pollution unlike flights or long drives. It is catching up the fancy of the movie icons and the rich and the famous including the Hollywood stars Harrison Ford and Calista Flockhart among others .
There is an impressive line up of barge holiday itineraries on offer all over the UK- From the canal waterways of France, Italy, Holland and Ireland- the options are truly countless. You can explore the vast expanses of the waterways and the stunning spectacles around in these fully-crewed and catered luxury floating country hotels, which are some of the best remodeled classic working barges. With just eight to twelve guests on board, it will will be an ideal option for a close knit house party, a fun filled stag party or for a private charter. Apart from an exciting cruise, fine dine and wine options and daily shore excursions.
Check out the fabled Scottish Highlander, the barge that was built way back in 1931 as a river ship to carry grain, which was refurbished to be a riverboat hotel in 2000. The tastefully done up interiors well complimented by paintings of Scottish countrysides and plush leather upholstery and a well stocked bar would remind you of the plush milieu of a Scottish country house. Set out on a cruise along the Caledonian Canal between Fort William and Inverness through the Great Glen and the legendary Loch Ness. There is a well heated sprawling suite and three rooms with double or twin beds and an attached shower room with hot water and toiletries.
The best part is that barge cruises do not result in seasickness even for the uninitiated travelers as they travel at a gentle pace and get moored by night. During the cruise, there are countless things to do. You can steal a glance of some of the most stunning landscapes the Great Glen that fall in the cruise route , laze around on the deck or take a stroll along the tow path to take a closer look at the Caledonian canal, which is 60 miles in length and constructed in 1822 as a waterway for cargo and leisure ships bypassing the choppy and treacherous waters of the Pentland Firth and Cape Wrath of Scotland.
The cruise starts at Fort William or Inverness and passengers from Glasgow or Edinburgh can reach by train, which in itself is a visual feast that offers one of the most magnificent spectacles of pine forests, cascading waterfalls and lochs. Barge cruise holidays offer real value for your money and are convenient substitutes for the exorbitant luxury cruise holiday options
Edinburgh has enough reasons to cheer as it wound up the recession hit year of 2009 on a bright note as it was rated as the second best tourist spot after London. More than 80% of the hotel rooms in Edinburgh were sold out by November, which placed it well ahead of some of the other popular UK destinations including Liverpool and Cardiff. The average value of rooms sold in Edinburgh was also the second-highest in Britain, at £69.79 against London, which topped the list at £102.76 a room.
Edinburgh hotels recorded a steady increase beating the national trend of occupancy slump in many places across Scotland and England. The high profile Nato conference in Edinburgh held in November immensely benefited the hospitality industry of Edinburgh when most of the hotel rooms went up for grabs for several days together.
According to a survey conducted by PKF, a business and accountancy firm, Edinburgh had an exceptionally good year last year when it outperformed the rest of the country except London, which hit the first spot. The month of December has always been strong in Edinburgh thanks to the festive season of Christmas and Hogmanay festival, which draws scores of revelers from far and wide. 2009 also saw an exceptional phenomenon when most of the people chose to stay close to their homes due to the grounding of the Scottish airlines, which interfered with their overseas holiday plans. Edinburgh hopes to keep up the tempo of a good tourist season this year too as new hotels are being added to its already impressive list and old ones getting spruced up to attract more customers.
The largest holiday charter and budget airline of Scotland, Flyglobespan, has gone bust, leaving thousands of passengers stranded at various locations and scores of staff out of job. Thousands of British holidaymakers from all around the world scrambled to reach home for Christmas and New Year as they were caught unawares by this sudden development. It is estimated that over 100,000 passengers had booked Christmas breaks with the company and most of them complained that they have not received any compensation for the loss or any formal intimation about stalling the operations.
Most of the flights of Flyglobespan were operated from Glasgow, Edinburgh and Aberdeen serving the Mediterranean resorts though a few flights also flew to far off destinations like Florida and Egypt. The passengers who had booked flights are stranded in far away locations and most of the passengers have not received any formal communication from the airline, adding up to the chaos. Passengers who booked online using debit cards or over phone might lose their money as only credit card payments or those booked through ATOL-bonded travel are likely to get a refund
Though rumours about its bad financial position have been in the air since the last few weeks, the Edinburgh based airline company had denied the news, claiming that a major funding package is on the offing to salvage it from the financial mess. The financial deal, which was thought to have come from the corporate financing firm at New Jersey, Halcyon Investments Ltd, fell through when it failed to clear the regulatory approval of the finance firm.
All the flight operations of the airline would be stopped according to a spokes person of the Pricewater houseCoopers, which was appointed to administer the airline. Only a fraction of the employees will be retained till the airline company is formally wound up. Though it managed to make a profit of £1.2 million for 2008-09 after a loss making previous year, things somehow failed to fall in place. Earlier this year when it withdrew flights from Durham Tees Valley, citing economic reasons, many felt that the fate of this aircraft carrier was already being sealed. The economic slow down had hit the airlines badly in recent times and it was struggling to keep its operations afloat against the hard times and high fuel costs.