Destination News - Europe.

 
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New York, Geneva (AirGuide - Destination News Europe) Jan 15, 2012

American Airlines, British Airways, Iberia American Airlines, BA, Iberia Offer Fare Sale to Europe. American Airlines, British Airways and Iberia Airlines are discounting fares between the United States and Europe. Fares start at USD500 roundtrip, but taxes and fees are additional. Travel must originate in the United States. Fares are available through Jan. 24 and are valid for outbound travel through April 1, 2012. All travel at these fares must be completed by Sept. 26, 2012. Return travel black-out dates are June 14 through Aug. 14, 2012. Other restrictions apply. The special promotional fares are valid for travel between the U.S. and Europe Monday through Thursday; other days are subject to higher fares. Fares are valid for travel between the United States and United Kingdom Monday through Wednesday; other days are subject to higher fares. A Saturday night stay is required, and the maximum stay allowed is 180 days. Jan 11, 2012

ATP, Heathrow High Speed Rail 'key to UK competitiveness'. Plans to go ahead with the High Speed Rail network in the UK have won the support of travel management companies. Transport secretary Justine Greening yesterday approved plans for the linkwhich will be built in two phases, with the first seeing the construction of a new 140-mile line between London and Birmingham, scheduled for completion by 2026. Peter Muller, divisional managing director of ATP International said that the investment was Opositive newsO for business travel as the UK rail network currently lagged behind many parts of Europe as well as countries such as Japan. OBringing the UKOs services and journey times in line with other travel hot spots is key to long-term competitiveness,O said Muller. OA more advanced level of service and the speed to match rail options available on the continent should ensure great interest in the new route and could ease access across the rest of Europe.O The GTMC also praised the governmentOs move to approve the scheme which is known as HS2. Chief executive Anne Godfrey said: OIt is regarded as the most important infrastructure development for the UK business traveller. OWe are delighted that the project has got the go-ahead and for the complete Y network to have been approved, linking London, Birmingham, Leeds and Manchester and with the all-important direct link to Heathrow Airport.O Jan 11, 2012

Berlin Berlin Unveils Schedule of Events for 2012. Berlin will host over 1,500 events daily in 2012, from museum nights, and design festivals to symphonies, sports events, and outdoor fairs. The following list provides highlights from the annual events calendar. The Long Night of Museums (Jan. 28, and Aug. 25) features around 100 museums, presenting established and new collections, open their doors from 6 p.m. Saturday evening until 2 a.m. Sunday morning. Music, theater and culinary events will enhance the exhibitions. With one ticket, patrons get unlimited use of a shuttle bus service and admission to all participating venues and events. The 62nd Berlin International Film Festival (Feb. 9 to 19) attracted 20,000 film professionals from 116 countries in 2011, including about 3,900 journalists. With more than 300,000 tickets sold, the Berlinale is not only a film industry meeting. It also enjoys by far the largest audience of any film festival in the world. Up to 400 films, most of them international or European premiers are shown every year as part of the Berlinale's public program. For two weeks, art, glamour, parties and business meet at here. Carnival in Berlin (Feb. 12) brings more than 1 million spectators and participants to the Berlin Carnival Costume Parade. With an expected 3,000 participants in 100 groups, 60 floats, and numerous marching bands, the parade will start at 11:11 a.m., and move through the Western center of the German capital. More than 600,000 spectators, most of them in colorful costumes, line the streets every year to watch the parade and collect sweets. Festival Days at the Staatsoper Berlin (March 30 to April 9) highlight BerlinOs classical music calendar and will be presented at the Schillertheater and the Philharmonie in 2012. Highlights in 2012 will include the premiere of Alban BergOs opera OLulu,O directed by the renowned Andrea Breth, as well as two works of Richard Wagner -- ODas RheingoldO and ODie Walkure,O as the first and second parts of a new production of the ORingO cycle. General Music Director Daniel Barenboim will direct both operas, as well as three concerts at the Philharmonie with the Staatskapelle Berlin and the Filarmonica della Scala from Milan. The Berlin Biennale at Kunstwerke/Institute for Contemporary Art (April 28 until July 1) runs every two years and is dedicated to showcasing the latest works by a new generation of international artists and brings together numerous artistic and political positions. The Lesbian and Gay Street Festival (June 16 and 17) is the largest festival of its kind in Europe. Expecting some 45,000 visitors, the festival will again take place around Nollendorf Platz in Schneberg district, one of BerlinOs traditional gay stomping grounds. There will be information booths, culinary treats, performances, and lots of music and parties. On June 23, the city celebrates Christopher Street Day with glitzy costumes, fantastic wigs, and brightly painted faces. Berlin's Christopher Street Day will be celebrating its 34th anniversary in 2012. The popular event promises to attract hundreds of thousands of people to the German capital to celebrate equality and tolerance for gays and lesbians around the world. Jan 10, 2012

BKWine BKWine Adds Two Destinations to Food and Wine Tours. BKWine, an operator of wine and food tours, added two new destinations in its 2012 program -- Champagne and Tuscany. The company is also offering two tours to Bordeaux. Britt Karlsson, co-founder of BKWine, said, ONothing else in the world of wine brings out the festive feeling as champagne does. But on this wine tour we will discover that champagne is so much more than a drink just for special occasions. It is above all a very exclusive and delicious wine.O Food and wine will be the center of attraction on the Tuscany tour. OThe wine always takes first place on our tours,O said Karlsson. OBut here in Tuscany the local gastronomy also has a front seat.O Clients will visit big-name wine producers as well as small, family-owned wineries. Bordeaux is making a return to the travel program in 2012 with two tours this year, one in May and one in September. Bordeaux is, as Karlsson said, Oa must for any wine-lover.O BKWine is a tour operator specialized in wine and food travel, offering about 30 tours a year to Bordeaux, Burgundy and Champagne, as well as the rest of France, Tuscany, Piedmont and several other regions in Italy, as well as Portugal, Spain, Croatia, South Africa, Austria and other wine countries. Jan 11, 2012

Brand g New era in gay travel. In 1986, the first all-gay cruise set sail out of New Orleans with 750 guests, thanks to Kevin Mossier, founder of RSVP Vacations. Because of the social climate of the time, during the height of the AIDS epidemic and socialized homophobia, Mossier saw a need to create a safe place for gays and lesbians to vacation. According to Charlie Rounds, who was one of Minneapolis-based RSVPOs early employees and later became part owner, the gay and lesbian travel market has evolved significantly since the 1980s. An enduring industry spokesman, Rounds received the International Gay & Lesbian Travel AssociationOs Lifetime Achievement Award last spring and has recently launched a new gay tour operator, Brand g Vacations, which encompasses what he calls a new era in gay travel. The new company has its finger on the pulse of a notable trend toward culture-focused vacation experiences that offer alternatives to large-scale gay cruises and resort buyouts. Brand g is one of 7 other LGBT tour operators chartering or organizing groups aboard boutique European riverboats this summer. Brand gOs full-ship charter of AMA WaterwaysO newest ship, the 164-passenger AmaCerto, features 2 nights in Prague, followed by a custom-tailored, 7-day itinerary down the Danube River that includes stops in Regensberg, Melk, Vienna, Bratislava, and ends in Budapest. He added that the average age of Brand g guests booked so far on the Danube riverboat is 48 years old, significantly younger than the 60+ demographic on mainstream European riverboat cruises. And while small-ship travel may be more conducive to quiet conversation and castle-watching, he notes that the ambiance on gay cruises is anything but boring. Rounds credits strong demand, as well as a close network of dedicated travel agents, for helping support the new brand, which is also offering 2012 land programs to Ireland (September) and Mexico City (October). Rounds plans to add cruises on the Mekong and Rhone Rivers, and a land program in Argentina in 2013. OWe want to promote great destinations that give full equality to our community,O he said, OMexico City is a great example of that [ETH] a fantastic destination with a vibrant culture, history, archaeology, and cuisine, and where gay and lesbian citizens enjoy equal rights.O Rounds is General Manager of Brand g Vacations and has set up Marketing and Reservations offices in Minneapolis. Brand g Vacations is wholly owned by The Mark Travel Corporation, which owns and manages such well-known vacation brands as Funjet Vacations, Southwest Airlines Vacations, and MGM Resorts Vacations. Jan 12, 2012

Cheapflights Cheapflights.com Readies for the Red Carpet. With less than 10 days to go until the kick-off of Robert Redford's world famous Sundance Film Festival, the film buffs here at Cheapflights.com, the online leader in finding and publishing travel deals, are all abuzz. To help everyone gear up for the 2012 movie season, we have compiled our Top 10 Film Festivals...

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