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Good afternoon. This is what happened in the world of travel this week: Friday 20th May 2022

Greetings from London. It’s starting to get warm here in the capital. Lush green parks are filing up with office workers sitting among the buttercups for lunch and the pavements are spilling over with pub drinkers as the sun pours down in the evenings. On Tuesday temperatures peaked at 27.5C (81.5F). Thank you Mother Nature. So far the weather in the UK this week has been as good as being on holiday including sensational Santorini. We’re now reaching for the suntan lotion rather than the hand sanitiser.
And talking of holidays, the papers are still full of exciting ideas about where to go.
What’s hot right now, other than London? Here are this week’s travel headlines.

Strawberries and cream!

Are staycations off this year: Ice cream and fish and chips at the seaside are the perfect ingredients for a UK holiday. But as it stands petrol prices are rising and this is going to continue. This week the AA revealed high fuel costs are putting motorists off taking a road trip, which could impact the UK tourism recovery. Their survey showed that 10 per cent of the 2,932 polled said record high petrol and diesel prices had influenced their decision to leave the car at home and a book a flight this year. The Daily Mail had the story.

As for flying: Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary predicted the price of holidays would get more expensive during the summer months because demand for flights to Europe was so high. This echoed what we reported last week when Tui warned there would be no last-minute cheap deals this summer as they’re almost sold out. Speaking to Radio 4’s Today programme, Mr O’Leary said: “It seems to us that there will be higher prices into that peak summer period because there’s so much demand for the beaches of Europe and those price rises are going to continue.” Here’s the story in The Sun.

Planet beach: The way to a Briton’s heart is with the sun so there’s no surprise that beach holidays are the top choice for many. According to ETC, which monitors European travel, it’s the Mediterranean we’re heading to. Spain, Italy, France, and Greece, are our favourites. Data specialists Cirium looked at the wider global picture for UK travellers and found our most popular holiday hotspot is Turkey – with 3,017 flights this year, which is up from 2,243 BC (before Covid in 2019). Greece then Morocco come in second and third.

Air smiles: Travel has gone from zero to 100 since borders reopened. Willie Walsh said flights had already almost doubled from 2021 – and we’re only in May. He forecasts that air travel could recover a year early, in 2023 rather than 2024. The former British Airways boss and now director general of the International Air Transport Association (Iata) also spoke about recovery in Southeast Asia saying that Singapore was now leading the region while Hong Kong remained “effectively off the map” due to restrictions. The Strait Times had the story.

Sustainable travel: For passengers wanting to reduce their carbon footprint, London City Airport has pledged to bring forward its net zero ambitions to 2030 – that’s 20 years ahead of its original 2050 timetable. To reduce its carbon emissions, it has eight years to phase out gas for heating its buildings, ensure all its vehicles are electric and eliminate single-use plastics. Here we reported on how different countries concerned with global warming are planning to reach net zero. 

Yes you Cannes: Hollywood decamped to the south of France this week for the 2022 Cannes Film Festival and the famous La Croisette dazzled with limos, film stars in expensive jewellery, and Champagne soirées in its grand hotels. But if you go after the glamorous event, this old fishing village still gleams and is a fashionable spot to explore the sparkling Côte d’Azur. Here’s what we got up to when we went to the Cannes Fizz festival!

Cultural gong: Italy is hoping that Opera will be officially recognised as part of its cultural heritage this year. It has applied to Unesco to join its collection of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity list. Other examples that have made the list include Flamenco in Spain, Yoga in India, watchmaking in Switzerland and the Mariachi in Mexico. Last year we reported how Unesco had added Singapore’s hawker culture to its list of global treasuresAFP had the scoop. 

Must watch: Sir Michael Palin is back on our screens, heading off the beaten track once again with a special tour of Iraq, ITV announced. He’ll be on a 1,000-mile journey, following the course of the Tigris river from eastern Turkey to the Persian Gulf. The toll of war means the country doesn’t attract many travellers. We reported when its borders reopened last year. There’s lots to see with dramatic landscapes with hot deserts in the south west and snow-peaked mountains in the north. But most importantly, it’s home to some of the world’s oldest historical sites, many of which are Unesco listed. The highlight is the once mighty city of Babylon with its Hanging Gardens. The three-part series is due to air later this year.

She turned up: On Tuesday, the Queen officially opened London’s newest rail line, the purple Elizabeth Line, at Paddington Station. She never actually went underground because TFL insist it isn’t an underground line, which has caused contention with London Tube lovers as today it’s been added to the iconic London Underground map. Fans are also cross with TFL for naming the new line, the Elizabeth Line when no other tube line has the word line after it. Looking bright in yellow, Her majesty didn’t seem to mind as she topped up her Oyster card before leaving by car. The Elizabeth Line introduces 10 new stations and 26 miles of new tunnels. MailOnline has all the details. The new £18.9 billion line will shorten travel times across London. Trains will start running from Tuesday 24th May and operate Mondays to Saturdays. Here’s our wrap on the history the Tube.

Next day: As the excitement grows each week in the build-up to the long June bank holiday weekend to celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, two London Underground stations called a 24-hour walkout. When thousands of people are expected to pour into London, the RMT Union announced strike action at Euston station and Green Park – the closet to Buckingham Palace and the Mall – on Friday 3rd June, in a row over bullying. It will impact the Jubilee, Piccadilly, and Victoria lines. The BBC had the news.

Royal cities: Eight new cities have been created in honour of the Queen’s 70th Jubilee anniversary. And for the first time an overseas territory, Stanley on the Falkland Islands has been granted city status. Also Douglas on the Isle of Man will become the first and only city on the island, just off the coast of northwest England, in the Irish Sea. In England, the towns that became cities include Colchester in Essex, Doncaster in South Yorkshire and Milton Keynes in Buckinghamshire; in Wales, Wrexham in Clwyd; in Scotland Dunfermline in Fife; and in Northern Ireland, Bangor in County Down. Congratulations to all. The announcement came from the Cabinet Office. We feel some weekend trips coming up!

Diamonds? Champagne? No, travel!

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