BERLIN, 23 February 2017: One year before its official launch in March 2018, the Berlin Travel Festival invites trade visitors and media to a preview at ITB Berlin.
This innovative festival format, part concept store for end-consumers and part niche trade fair for the industry, will be a new platform to connect, explore and learn, ITB Berlin officials claimed.
The preview will take place, 8 to 11 March, at the fairground’s Marshall-Haus, The highlight of the interactive exhibition will be a stage programme under the motto ’People, Places and Memories’. Read more
PARIS, 23 February 2017: Paris saw a drop of 1.5 million tourists in 2016 as fears linked to terror attacks scared off visitors, especially from China and Japan, figures showed Tuesday.
However, tourist numbers picked up towards the end of the year, suggesting the slump could be easing, regional tourism authority CRT said.
The number of international visitors to the French capital fell almost 9% in 2016, with numbers from Japan plummeting more than 40% and Chinese visitors down by more than 20%. Read more
VENICE, 21 February 2017: Tens of thousands of revellers in masks and period costume packed St Mark’s Square on Sunday for the “flight of the angel”, the traditional opening of the Venice Carnival.
On the 12th chime of midday from St Mark’s Campanile, Claudia Marchiori descended gracefully from the famous bell tower, attached to a wire 80 metres (260 feet) above the crowd that had gathered for one of the world’s most famous carnivals.
Dressed in a leviathan purple gown with orange wings, she sprinkled glitter and confetti to the tune of “Wicked Game”, the 1989 song by American rock musician Chris Isaak. Read more
HELSINKI, 20 February 2017: Visitors to Helsinki, the capital of Finland, can enjoy a traditional Finnish sauna any time of the year, but twice a year a special kind of sauna festival gets underway.
The 11 March event opens the doors to private saunas throughout the city for everyone to enjoy.
The sauna has traditionally been a social gathering place among Finns, yet most of the saunas in Helsinki these days are in private use only. Helsinki Sauna Day opens the doors to many private saunas for the public to enjoy. Read more
ISTANBU, 20 February 2017: A Danish tourist died on Saturday in a fall during a hot-air balloon sightseeing ride over a UNESCO world heritage site in central Turkey, Danish and Turkish officials said.
The Turkish transport ministry said the individual died after “falling from the balloon which made a hard landing because of strong winds”.
The balloon had been making its descent during a trip over the famed sculpted rock formations in Cappadocia in Nevsehir province. Read more
MADRID, 17 February 2017: Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy says he thinks a deal can quickly be worked out with Britain to defend the rights of British expats in Spain after Brexit.
“I am absolutely convinced that we will reach an agreement so that these people will not be affected by political decisions,” Rajoy told AFP in an interview this week.
Up to 1 million Britons are estimated to be living in Spain, many of them pensioners enjoying sunnier climes. Read more
FRANKFURT, 16 February 2017: German airline Lufthansa said Wednesday it had agreed to boost pilots’ salaries by 8.7% over four years, hoping to end years of disputes and costly strikes by air crew.
Pilots’ first pay increase will be backdated to 1 January, 2016 and the last is slated for 1 January, 2019, while the agreement will remain valid until the end of that year, Lufthansa said in a statement.
Pilots will also receive a one-off bonus payment of between 5,000 and 6,000 euros under the deal, or “around half a month of salary” per person, pilots’ union Cockpit noted in its own statement. Read more
BERLIN, 16 February 2017: Passengers should expect flight delays and cancellations at Berlin’s two airports Thursday due to a ground crew strike over pay, union officials announced.
The strike, which the Verdi union referred to as a “warning”, is scheduled to last from 1500 GMT to 2100 GMT. “Travellers will have to expect long delays and possibly also flight cancellations,” it said.
Lufthansa, Germany’s largest airline, warned passengers that up to 30 flights could be cancelled. Read more
LISBON, 16 February 2017: A record number of foreign tourists stayed in Portuguese hotels last year, official data showed Wednesday, boosting the economy after a punishing international bailout.
Tourist arrivals and all travel-related revenues, which account for around 10% of Portugal’s gross domestic product, have been growing since 2011, as security fears lure visitors away from rival Mediterranean sunshine destinations.
The number of foreign tourists reached 11.4 million, a 12.7% rise over the previous year when the number of arrivals hit a record 10.1 million, national statistics institute INE said in a statement. Read more
VENICE, 15 February 2017: The Carnival of Venice, which each year draws thousands of tourists and revellers dressed in masks and period costume, got under way in the iconic Italian city at the weekend with a stunning show staged on its famous canals.
The show, celebrating “the beauty, the sea and the vanity,” according to organisers, provided the grand opening for one of the world’s most celebrated carnivals, which will run this year until 28 February.
Some of the performers, sporting blue butterfly wings, appeared to be suspended in the air as gondoliers carried torches below. Read more