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Silence please!  

January 05, 2024

Last year Venice narrowly escaped being put on the UNESCO’s list of heritage sites in danger, due to the damage being done to its delicate ecosystem by overtourism. So it announced a limitation on large cruise ships entering the Giudecca Canal and this year, on 29 days between April and July, day-trippers to the city will have to pay a €5 entrance charge.

But as it heralded in the New Year, Venice was still desperately worried by the prospect of a repeat of last year’s massive tourism flows, which are not expected to be put off by the €5 entrance fee. So now it has banned tourist groups of over 25 people (about half a full tour coach) and the use of loudspeakers.

Issue solved? We don’t think so. Groups of up to 25 are still too big for the lagoon city, and its little islands of Murano, Burano and Torcello. And, while we do welcome the loudspeaker ban, we trust tour companies will invest in individual headphones and not expect tour guides to out-shout each other!   

Published in Editorial

Qatar Airways is to resume its Doha-Venice flights from 12 June 2024, operating seven flights a week with a Boeing 787-8.

A welcome return for the Doha-Venice

The daily flight will take off from Doha at 09:00, arriving in Venice at 14:20, and will return from Venice at 16:50, landing in Qatar at 23:10. The return of this route is part of the 2024 network expansion that will also include Hamburg from July. The Doha-Venice route is expected to see strong demand from destinations such as Japan, China, and Australia.

“A leading gateway for international travel and connectivity”

“As this year draws to a close, we present new and exciting travel opportunities for 2024. From the resumption of connections with Venice to the inaugural flight to Hamburg, Qatar Airways and its hub, Hamad International Airport, continue to position themselves on the map as a leading gateway for international travel and connectivity,” said Qatar Airways Group CEO, Badr Mohammed Al-Meer.

Published in Transportation

citizenM, the hotel and lifestyle brand revolutionizing the hotel industry, has opened its first Italian hotel on the banks of the Tiber river.

Affordable luxury in the heart of Rome

With its concept of affordable luxury, the Dutch brand has opened citizenM Rome Isola Tiberina on the Lungotevere de' Cenci, a few steps from the Tiber river, the Jewish ghetto and Trastevere, and not far from the Pantheon, the Roman Forum and the Colosseum. The 5-floor building has been carefully renovated from commercial use into a modern hotel that blends the city's heritage with the brand's unique style. In fact, the renovation work has preserved the large windows typical of citizenM hotels around the world, offering guests a strategic vantage point over the city, the river and the Tiber Island.   

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An artwork with 80 different colours

With citizenM Rome Isola Tiberina the chain brings to Italy a revolutionary approach to hospitality, based on the concept of "luxury at an affordable price,” with rates for the 162 rooms starting at €159. Fundamental to the brand is its commitment to art, through collaborations with established and emerging artists. For the new Rome property the brand commissioned UNO, a Rome-based artist who created an extraordinary artwork entitled Look Up, 2023 which is a tribute to the city of Rome. The 402 sqm ceiling on the ground floor has been hand-painted in more than 80 different colours, while the interior features a selection of works by Italian artists.  

“We hope this is just the first of a series of new openings in Italy”

Robin Chadha, chief marketing officer of citizenM says "With the citizenM Rome Hotel Tiberina we bring a breath of fresh air and innovation to one of the world's most popular tourist and business destinations. With our unique formula we see ourselves as protagonists of this "new Renaissance" of Roman hospitality. We hope this is just the first of a series of new openings in Italy.”   For information: www.citizenM.com

Published in Hospitality

Ita Airways has unveiled the new Piazza Vincenzo Bellini lounge at Catania airport, marking the fourth lounge opened by the airline in Italy.

A brand-new lounge for premium passengers

In the check-in area before the security gates, the lounge is dedicated to Business Class passengers, Executive/Premium cardholders of the Volare loyalty program, Elite Plus Skyteam customers departing on an Ita Airways or Skyteam airline flight, and Sac VIP Cardholders. Qualified customers can relax in the lounge before heading to the nearby Fast Track security gate. Operating from 5am to 9pm daily, the lounge offers a self-service bar and buffet service and passengers can wait for their flights in the seating or work areas which have Wi-Fi connection.

ITA  Lounge Piazza Bellini inauguration

“A high-level experience for passengers”

 “The new lounge meets the growing demand of passengers who want exclusive services and reflects SAC's continuous commitment to guaranteeing leisure travellers and those traveling for work a high-level experience,” said Nico Torrisi, SAC’s CEO.

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International and intercontinental destinations

“Catania is one of the main destinations of Ita Airways, on which we operate 15 daily flights -  eight to and from Rome Fiumicino and seven to and from Milan Linate,” said Andrea Benassi, general manager, Ita Airways. “In our development strategy, Sicily is very important and we have focused on it since we launched. We want to contribute to connecting Sicily with Italy and with the international and intercontinental destinations in our network through Rome Fiumicino and Milan Linate airports.”

Published in Transportation

Immediate Upgrade is the new ITA Airways service for customers who want to purchase an upgrade to a higher travel class online.

Online upgrades to a higher class 

From 72 hours before flight departure, passengers already in possession of an economy class or premium economy ticket will be able to use the new service to upgrade and access the services and comforts of a higher class (business or premium economy). On the day of departure at check-in they will receive the boarding pass for the new class.

The upgrades are done online

The customer can access the service through the ITA website by making an offer for the amount they intend to pay to fly in the superior premium economy or business class. They will receive an e-mail confirming their offer and, a further e-mail with possible confirmation of the successful completion of the offer and the upgrade. The original ticket will remain valid and at check-in they will receive the boarding pass for the superior, premium economy or business class.

Upgrade at the airport before departure

The upgrade is to be carried out at the airport, from two hours to forty minutes before the departure of their flight depending on the country of departure. The request is subject to availability of seats and meals and is approved on a first-come, first-served basis, at the discretion of the airline.

Published in Transportation

Qc Terme has changed its name becoming Spa of Wonders.

QC is looking to expand worldwide

The rebranding stems from the need to extend its concept of holistic wellness beyond the word Spa. And so, one of the main protagonists of Italian wellness changes its name to Qc Spa of Wonders. An important step, in line with an ambitious expansion strategy that, after New York, looks increasingly worldwide.

A new campus, spa, hotel and headquarters in Milan

On the horizon, the group's CEO corporate activities and development Francesco Varni, told the Italian daily Il Sole 24 Ore, is the construction of a campus next year in the western area of Milan. In addition to a spa and a hotel, it will also have the company's new headquarters. Since the summer a construction site has also been open in collaboration with Cdp for the redevelopment of the Terme Berzieri building in Salsomaggiore where a Qc centre will be inaugurated in the first quarter of 2025. Qc estimates to close 2023 with a total turnover of €150 million.

Published in Hospitality

The Apartments by Marriott Bonvoy brand is coming to Italy, to Courmayeur in the Val d'Aosta region. 

Premium serviced apartments sold on a turnkey basis 

The project, called Le Géant Courmayeur Homesuite, envisages the construction of 47 premium serviced apartments of different sizes, sold on a turnkey basis.  Owners will have the flexibility to use their units for their holidays, customising the experience according to their needs. During periods of non-use, the units will be managed under the Marriott Group's hotel management programme, offering travellers an independent stay with considerable living space and destination-inspired design.

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A full range of facilities including a concierge

Owners and guests will enjoy facilities such as a spa, an exclusive gym, a ski room, as well as a concierge and housekeeping service, a private covered car park, a charging station for electric vehicles and a lounge for relaxing and socialising. Completion is scheduled for the first half of 2025. The marketing has been entrusted to Dils, which manages innovative projects with its Living division.

Published in Hospitality

As governments and local authorities around the world battle overtourism, The Telegraph reports that residents from Athens to Barcelona, and from Amsterdam to Venice are taking matters into their own hands. 

There’s no denying that tourists who scribble on ancient monuments, are rowdy, jump into fountains and engage in other forms of antisocial behaviour are more a burden than a blessing. Added to which there is the massive demand for short rentals which is shooting property prices sky high and making it impossible for locals to find places to live in their own towns and cities. 

The crux of the problem is that tourists are not just a bother to residents - although who can blame Venetians for their campaigns against the monstrous cruise ships that enter their delicate canal system? - but how tourism is changing everyday lives. In Amsterdam a grassroots organization called “Stop de Gekte,” meaning stop the madness, patrols tourist areas and is pushing administrators to enact change. The issue, they say, is not just that tourists make destinations “busier than ever,” but that they are enabling “a constant amount of depravity.”

Pamela McCourt FrancesconePamela McCourt Francescone
Executive Editor

Published in Editorial

British Airways will return to London Stansted skies with its BA CityFlyer division, starting on 18 May.

Weekend Embraer 190 regional jet flights

For the first time since the pandemic British Airways will operate flights to three Mediterranean destinations, Florence, Nice and Ibiza, from 18 May 2024. The flights will be operated at weekends with Embraer 190 regional jets, configured in the two service classes Club Europe (business class) and Euro Traveller (economy).

Florence flights on Saturdays and Sundays

In particular, on the route to Florence the schedule will take-off from Stansted on Saturdays at 14.15 with arrival at 16.30. On Sundays the departure is at 06.30 with arrival at 08.45.

The flights from Stansted will complement Cityflyer's main weekday business from London City, from where it serves a network of almost 30 destinations. 

“London Stansted serves more European destinations than any airport in the UK”

"London Stansted serves more European destinations than any other airport in the UK and these new services to Ibiza, Florence and Nice add to our network which now covers over 190 destinations in Europe, North Africa and the Middle East,- said Ciaran Brannigan, commercial director of London Stansted Airport. -I am confident that these routes will be very popular with passengers from London, Cambridge and the growing East of England region looking to go on holiday next summer.”

Published in Transportation

Heralding in a season of ecology and innovations for the Alto Adige’s Val d’Ega, for the seventh year skiresort.de has elected the Ski Centre Latemar as the overall winner in the category "Ski areas with slopes up to 60 km."

Part of Dolomiti Superski, the largest global ski association 

Skiers and snowboarders at the Ski Centre Latemar in the resort of Obereggen, can traverse approximately 50 kilometres of slopes across the three ski areas of Obereggen, Pampeago, and Predazzo without unfastening their bindings. Those venturing beyond the Alto Adige region have access to a total of 120 kilometres of slopes: with the Obereggen-Val di Fiemme ski pass providing entry to the nearby Trentino ski areas of Cermis, Alpe Lusia, and Bellamonte. Being part of the Dolomiti Superski, the largest ski association globally the Ski Center Latemar offers the opportunity to enjoy 1,200 kilometres of slopes with the Dolomiti Superski-Pass.

Long aperitifs at 2,094 metres asl

Among the new attractions for the 2023/2024 season, the most captivating is the Long Aperitif at the Oberholz, situated at 2,096 meters asl. Accessible via the historic chairlift of the same name, the charming refuge allows guests to sip various Spritz variations and enjoy finger food while observing the night sky of the Dolomites through picture windows. After the first event on Friday 29 December the event will be repeated on 5 and 19 January, 9 and 23 February, and 8 and 9 March, 2024. Lift tickets can be purchased at the ski pass office, and the €30 voucher includes the aperitif and the return chairlift ride.  For information: https://www.latemar.it/en/ski-center-latemar/

Published in Cities & Regions
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