SLOVAKIA, PRETTY AS A PICTURE
UK tour operator Mountain Paradise, in conjunction with renowned wildlife & landscape photographers Chris Weston & Chris Coe is introducing new photography workshop holidays to Slovakia’s High Tatras. The 7 day landscape photography master class takes guests to the best, carefully chosen locations in the Tatry Mountain Park to find unspoilt landscapes, breathtaking mountain views, majestic waterfalls and hidden, emerald coloured lakes. 7 days of photographic indulgence with full board accommodation in Chalet 21, return flights from London Luton & Manchester to Kosice and 5 days of photography workshop, with prices from £945.00 per person. www.mountainparadise.co.uk
HIGH AND LOW TATRAS OPENS FOR SKIING 2008/9
With fresh snow having fallen over Slovakia’s High and Low Tatras, coupled with investment in snow making and skiing infrastructure that now tops 33 million euros in just two years, Slovakia’s ski slopes in the High and Low Tatras are open for guests, with conditions reported to be good and all lifts now operating.
This season sees the resort of Tatranska Lomnica in the High Tatras re-open with 11 million euro face-lift in time for the 2008/9 ski season. The expansion includes the addition of a further 4.9kms of pistes, the creation of Slovakia's longest piste at 6.5km, a new 4 seat chairlift, new snowmaking equipment, a new kids school and ski area, new ski rental facilities, night skiing and a new apres ski bar.
The close proximity of the slopes at both Jasna in the Low Tatras (Slovakia’s largest ski area) and the resorts in the High Tatras to Poprad international airport, just 2 hours flying time from the UK, gives skiers minimal transfer times of around 20 minutes to the High Tatras and just over an hour to the Low Tatras, making Slovakia one of the most viable ski weekend destinations in Europe, for British skiers.
HANDS UP TO VOLUNTEER IN SLOVAKIA
Slovakia has been chosen as the destination for a new `Volun-tourism’ holiday from Hands Up Holidays (www.handsupholidays.com) who specialize in “meaningful luxury volunteer vacations that blend a taste of volunteering with amazing sightseeing”. Managing Director Christopher Hill said “my wife and I visited Slovakia in Autumn 2008 and were very impressed with the quality of hotels and the tourism infrastructure that’s already present. We’ve linked up with wildlife holiday experts stunningslovakia.com to offer their bear watching tours as part of a 10 day holiday to discover Slovakia’s historic villages, mountains and wildlife”. The new `volunteering’ holiday from Hands Up Holidays will start in May 2009 with a fully guided itinerary suitable for couples, individuals and families. www.handsupholidays.com
MORE ROOMS AT THE INN
A new 179-room hotel, `Express by Holiday Inn’, close to Bratislava airport, will open early in 2009 as Bratislava continues to see an increase of British guests of around 15% year on year. A second new hotel, the 4* Hotel Falensteiker, close to the Old Town approach to the New Bridge, will also open at the start of 2009, adding another 165 rooms.
Slovakia’s capital, Bratislava, is easily accessible from both Bratislava International Airport and Vienna airport (45 minutes by Danube, an hour by car), which between them welcome British flights from Stansted, Luton, East Midlands, Edinburgh, Bristol, Birmingham and Manchester.
`PARTYSLAVA’ for NEW YEAROver 100,000 people partied in the New Year in 2008 on the streets and in the squares of Bratislava with around a fifth of that number being visitors from overseas. So lively have the celebrations become that Bratislava has now been dubbed `Partyslava’, a name it’s planning to live up to for New Year 2009.
The Main Square is at the heart of the festivities, together with the neighbouring Hviezdoslav Square in front of the opera house and along the embankment along the River Danube between Nový Most and Starý Most bridges. Live concerts from the very best of the local rock and pop scene are held in the Main Square and from early evening, the area in front of the National Opera House becomes a large dance floor with DJs playing various genres of music.
The party culminates with tens of thousands of locals and visitors making their way to the Danube embankment to welcome in the New Year with a huge firework and light display, launched directly from boats floating on the Danube following a countdown of the last few seconds of 2008. www.bratislava.sk
New year in Bratislava
INNTRAVEL OFERS NEW WALKING TOUR IN SLOVAKIA
Inntravel, who specialize in walking, cycling, skiing, horse-riding and touring holidays for `individuals who like to take their time to get to know a region’, have introduced Slovakia to their 2009 programme for the first time.
The company, who features holidays in Europe and North America, has added the new 7 night self-guided walking holiday with an itinerary that takes guests on walks through the Low and High Tatras Mountains and the Slovensky Raj National Park.
Categorised as a `grade 2 – 3’ (ie. Including mountain walking and some days up to 20km), the itinerary is a three center discovery holiday, with two nights at the Hotel Fim in Jasna, three nights at the Hotel Amalia in Nová Lasná and 2 nights at the Hotel Flora in Cingov. An optional add-on stay in Bratislava at the start or end of the holiday is offered.
Prices start from £448 per person, based on 2 sharing a double room on a half board basis, with rail transfers between the various centers. Guests are provided with maps and detailed walking notes outlining the routes each day. For more information visit www.inntravel.co.uk
AQUACITY PROVIDES UNIQUE PISTE TO POOLS OFFER
With one of the fastest transfers from passport control to piste to be found anywhere in the world, Slovakia can claim another superlative, the fastest descent from pistes to pools, from frozen water to geothermal water.
Award winning AquaCity resort is welcoming skiers with a daily free bus transfer service to the High Tatras, allowing skiers to enjoy the slopes and return to bask in bubbling warm water in a choice of 14 geothermal pools and a spa center that includes saunas, inhalation rooms, massages and for those who can’t get enough of it, a real snow room.
A three night stay at AquaCity in January 2008 costs from £331 per person, including return Sky Europe flights from Luton, transfers, free entry to AquaCity’s geothermal waterpark and spa, free ski bus to the slopes and half board accommodation in the 3* AquaCity Seasons Hotel. Europe Travel Services tel 0845 2703800 and www.aquacityresort.com
For further details of the above articles contact Mary Stuart-Miller, director of the UK Slovak Tourist Office
WE INVITE YOU to VISIT US AT WORLD TRAVEL MARKET Stand EM 5060
And to join our ON STAND PARTY from 5 – 7pm, Tuesday 11th November
A selection of the top news stories about Slovak tourism, October 2008
SLOVAKIA WELCOMES 14.5% MORE BRITISH VISITORS, 68% MORE IRISH
In the first 6 months of 2008 Slovakia welcomed 14.5% more British visitors, up from 28,400 to 32,500 incoming Brits between January and June 2008 and 68% more Irish, with 4,887 Irish guests traveling to the country during the same period. UK Director of Tourism, Mary Stuart-Miller, said, “Slovakia is the fastest growing tourist destination in Europe. The country is welcoming significant numbers of new visitors from Britain and Ireland for the first time, following a century of tourism that has welcomed visitors predominantly from its immediate neighbours in the heart of Europe”. UK Slovak Tourist Office tel: 0844 700 5100
NEW 5* HOTEL for BRATISLAVA
A new boutique hotel, the 5* Hotel Albrecht, opened in Bratislava on 21st October, featuring twelve, individual rooms, each with vast plasma screen TV’s, L’Occitane cosmetics and king-sized beds. The hotel also houses the gastronomic Restaurant Albrecht and a luxurious spa, with a 15m massage pool, Finnish sauna, Ayurvedic and Thai treatments. Room rates start at 154 euros / night. www.hotelalbrecht.sk Tel: 00421 267 200 091
SLOVAKIA NAMED AS WORLD’S TOP `GREEN’ TOURIST DESTINATION
Slovakia swept the board in the first World Travel `Green’ Awards held on 15th October, its flagship green water park and spa, AquaCity Resort, Poprad, picking up trophies for `Europe’s Leading Green Resort’ and the `World’s Leading Green Resort’.
Slovakia was the only destination in Europe to be cited for Green Awards, with much of the recognition and praise spotlighting the Caribbean, South America, Africa and Asia.
Graham Cooke, Founder and President of World Travel Awards said “This was our first Green Awards and clearly demonstrated that Europe’s mature destinations such as Spain, France and the UK are dragging their feet over the growing consumer demand for sustainable and more socially aware travel products. They have much to learn from the passion and enthusiasm of emerging destinations such as Slovakia.” www.aquacityresort.com
SLOVAKIA, EUROPE’S MOST EXCITING NEW SKI DESTINATION
Work to create Slovakia’s longest ski piste, new lifts, new infrastracture and new snow-making equipment is on target at Tatranska Lomnica in the High Tatras, where an 11 million euro investment will see a dramatic facelift for the resort when it re-opens on December 6th 2008. Owners Tatry Mountain Resorts say the close proximity to Poprad airport, with four times weekly winter flights from the UK, will make Tatranska Lomnica the most exciting new skiing destination for British skiers, at some of Europe’s most affordable prices. Lift passes are up to a third cheaper than many mainstream European ski resorts, as is the cost of staying in Slovakia, for British visitors. www.vt.sk
SLOVAKIA HELPS BRITISH HEROES
AquaCity resort in Poprad, Slovakia, is making its own unique gesture to British servicemen by welcoming ten families of soldiers and airmen most critically injured in world conflicts, such as the Afghan war. The Slovak resort will host the families in the coming 12 months, at no cost to them, in an initiative co-organized through the British charity `Help for Heroes’, which seeks to generate recognition and support for wounded servicemen. The first servicemen, from the army and RAF, were present at AquaCity during a visit by the Queen and Prince Philip on 25th October.
NEW 5* KEMPINSKI HOTEL FOR SLOVAKIA
The new, 5* luxury, 188 room Grand Hotel Kempinski High Tatras opens in March 2009 in the idyllic lakeside setting of Strbske Pleso 1351m above sea level on the lower slopes of the High Tatras. Reservations: 00 800 426 313 55 Europe, www.kempinski.com
BRATISLAVA CHRISTMAS MARKET
Bratislava’s Christmas markets open for business on November 28th when the city’s Christmas tree lights are switched on and hundreds of stall holders set up in the main square Hlavne Namestie and Hviezdoslavovo Square in the Old Town, right up until Christmas Eve. The accent is on traditional Slovak food, drinks, crafts and gifts, with stalls open from 10am to 10pm, to maximise shopping time. Europe Travel Services (tel 0845 2703800) offers a two night b&b stay in Bratislava for £121 per person, based on two sharing a room at the 3* Hotel Tatra, next to the Presidential Palace in the heart of Bratislava, including return airport transfers. Flights can be booked with www.skyeurope.com
NEW BEAR TRACKING TOURS FOR UK CLIENTS
A new tour that gives British guests the opportunity to observe and follow the lifestyle of the brown bear in Slovakia’s national parks is being launched by Stunning Slovakia, www.stunningslovakia.com. Slovakia is the most westerly European destination to provide a wild habitat for the brown bear, which are thought to number around 80 in the High Tatras alone. Stunning Slovakia’s 4 day bear watching `weekend’ includes a panoramic flight, a presentation of the bear tracking initiative and treks into Slovakia’s Tatry mountains, with accommodation in 4* Grand hotels. The weekend costs from around 630 euros, while a 7night tour costs from 1195 euros and includes a visit to the medieval towns of Levoca and Spisska Sobota and treks to seek the habitat of wolves, roe and red deer, marmots and chamois, as well as the bears. Further details from David Guthrie, 00421 52 428 5870, info @stunningslovakia.com
NEW SKI/SNOWBOARD ACADEMY FOR SLOVAKIA
A new Slovak ski and snowboard instructor academy is offering industry recognized instructor courses from 3 – 11 weeks in duration, costing up to several thousand pounds less than those currently available in Europe and elsewhere. Snowsports s.r.o’s courses will follow the SAPUL training requirements, an ISIA registered examining body with a global reputation, the equivalent of BASI.
Premium camps will be held in the High Tatras in the resorts of Strebske Pleso and Tatranska Lomnica, while regular courses are held in Skalka, where the Snowsport s.r.o.'s ski school is located. Examinations for the SAPUL B and C licences will be undertaken in Slovakia’s largest ski resort, Jasna.
Nicholas Carrington, whose company is marketing these instructor courses in the UK said “The SAPUL C Licence is equivalent to the BASI level 2 and the SAPUL B is somewhere between the BASI 2 & 3 licence. Also, no other course provider offers this level of training within just one season and at such good value. Our company also assists newly qualified instructors in their job search, through our worldwide network of ski schools and recruiters”.
Courses cost from around £1,999 for the 3-4 week course and £4,499 for the regular 11 week course, compared with typical costs for a BASI or PSIA course in Switzerland of £2,950 for 4 weeks and £6,500 for 11 weeks, while BASI charge from around £6,100 for similar courses in Europe. For details contact Nicholas Carrington at firstname.lastname@example.org or on 07739 720273
SLOVAKIA, EUROPES FASTEST GROWING TOURISM DESTINATION
Slovakia will be presenting itself as Europe’s fastest growing tourism destination when representatives from its nationwide tourism industry and from the Slovak National Tourist Board attend World Travel Market in November 2008. A press conference will take place at 2pm on 11th November in the Platinum Suite of the Press Centre, at which speakers will include Mr. Martin Horvath, Director of the Slovak Tourist Board and Mary Stuart-Miller, Director of the UK Slovak Tourist Board.
Martin Horvath said “Slovakia’s economy is booming, there’s a huge amount of investment in the tourism infrastructure, including new 5* Kempinski hotels opening in the High Tatras and in Bratislava in 2009, an 11 million euro investment in the ski resort of Tatranska Lomnica in time for the 2008/9 ski season and considerable investment in the hotels in both the Tatry Mountains and in the capital”.
Mary Stuart-Miller added “Slovakia has been slower to attract tourism business from destinations beyond its immediate neighbours than some other Central European destinations, but is now firmly focussed on bringing visitors from Britain in particular, as it looks further afield to attract tourist guests”.
NEW UK OFFICE FOR SLOVAKIA
The Slovak Tourist Board opened its first UK office in September 2008 to distribute brochures and information about the country to the public, the press and to travel companies, as well as providing training and information for reservations staff, fam trips for tour operators and press trips for journalists.
Martin Horvath, Director of the Slovak Tourist Board, said “Slovakia has excellent flying links with the UK from several of its major cities and a varied tourist offer, including historic cities, spas, activity holidays and winter sports. We’re looking forward to working with the British public, press and travel partners to welcome an increased number of British visitors to Slovakia”.
Mary Stuart-Miller, the newly appointed director of the UK Slovakia Tourist Office said “Slovakia is a new destination for many British travellers and greater awareness of its diverse offer will attract a lot of interest. As one of the youngest European countries, its emergence now as a tourist destination comes at a time of significant investment in its tourism infrastructure“.
For further details of the above articles contact Mary Stuart-Miller, director of the UK Slovak Tourist Office at the UK Slovakia Tourist Board: Tel: 0844 700 5100, Fax: 020 8584 2017.
QUEEN TO VISIT BRATISLAVA and HIGH TATRAS
The Queen and Prince Philip will visit Slovakia for the first time in October 2008, meeting with President Ivan Gasparovic, on October 23, followed by a visit to the High Tatras region. Their visit is expected to help highlight the country's tourism potential and to help put it on the map for British travelers.
NEW 5* KEMPINSKI HOTEL FOR SLOVAKIA
The new, 5* luxury, 188 room Grand Hotel Kempinski High Tatras opens in early 2009 in the idyllic lakeside setting of Strbske Pleso 1351m above sea level on the lower slopes of the High Tatras. Reservations: 00 800 426 313 55 Europe, www.kempinski.com
SLOVAKIA'S AQUACITY HOSTS FIRST WORLD GREEN TRAVEL AWARDS
The world's leading green resort, AquaCity Poprad, has been chosen as the venue for the world's first green travel awards with the World Travel Awards are held at the resort on 15th October 2007. AquaCity, which saves around 27 tonnes of CO2 each day be using geothermal water and the sun's energy to heat and power its hotels, waterpar, spa, restaurant, bars and conference centre, was the first World Travel Award green winner and its owner, businessman and visionary Jan Telensky, was awarded Green Travel Personality of 2007.
BRATISLAVA PREPARES FOR CHRISTMAS 2008
Bratislava's Christmas markets open for business on November 28th when the city's Christmas tree lights are switched on and hundreds of stall holders set up in the main square Hlavne Namestie and Hviezdoslavovo Square in the Old Town, right up until Christmas Eve. The accent is on traditional Slovak food, drinks, crafts and gifts, with stalls open from 10am to 10pm, to maximise shopping time.
NEW UK FLYING ROUTES into SLOVAKIA
Sky Europe (www.skyeurope.com) has increased its flying routes from the UK into Slovakia with the addition of a new three times weekly Manchester flight to the country's second city of Kosice (Mon / Weds / Fri), an additional flight each week from London Luton to Poprad (Sun) as well as to Kosice, brining the frequency up to four times weekly for both arrival airports, and a third daily flight at mid-day from London Luton to Bratislava.
NEW UK OFFICE FOR SLOVAKIA
The Slovak Tourist Board opens its first UK office this month and will be distributing brochures and information about the country to the public, the press and to travel companies, as well as providing training and information for reservations staff, fam trips for tour operators and press trips for journalists.
Martin Horvath, Director of the Slovak Tourist Board, said "Slovakia has excellent flying links with the UK from several of its major cities and a varied tourist offer, including historic cities, spas, activity holidays and winter sports. We're looking forward to working with the British public, press and travel partners to welcome an increased number of British visitors to Slovakia".
Mary Stuart-Miller, the newly appointed director of the UK Slovakia Tourist Office said "Slovakia is a new destination for many British travellers and greater awareness of its diverse offer will attract a lot of interest. As one of the youngest European countries, its emergence now as a tourist destination comes at a time of significant investment in its tourism infrastructure".
For further details of the above articles contact Mary Stuart-Miller, director of the UK Slovak Tourist Office on http://www.slovakia.travel/intropage.aspx?l=2
UK Slovakia Tourist Board: Tel: 0844 700 5100, Fax: 020 8584 2017.
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