EUROTUNNEL's announcement of yet another delay in the planned opening of the Channel tunnel could not have come at a worse time, as the company prepares to market the project to potential customers.
Originally scheduled to open in June 1993, the date had already been put back to October 1993, and this week was fixed for December. But even if the tunnel does open at the end of next year (and given previous delays, there must still be some doubt), a shortage of rolling stock means the shuttle service will be running at a much-reduced frequency, initially one per hour compared with the planned service every 15 minutes.
British Rail and SNCF high- speed through-trains from London to Paris and Brussels will not be operating a full service until July 1994. However, SNCF's TGV service from Calais to Paris will begin next May, offering a 90-minute connection.
The main beneficiaries of the delay will be the ferry companies, who will now have even more time to prepare their survival strategy.
Latin American pass
THE Brazilian airline Varig (071-629 9408) and Aerolineas Argentinas (071-494 1001) have combined to offer an air pass which allows travel to four South American countries: Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay.
The 'Mercosur' pass allows travellers to purchase up to six coupons, with two stops permitted in each country. Reservations must be confirmed 14 days before travel; the pass allows a minimum stay of 10 days and a maximum of 30.
A journey from Recife to Salvador, Buenos Aires, Montevideo, Rio de Janeiro and back to Recife costs pounds 295.
FROM 27 October to 16 December and, next year, from 5 January to 6 April, one-way car charges on Inter City's Motorail service (0345 090700) start at pounds 25. The rate applies on Motorail journeys from London Euston to Aberdeen, Carlisle, Edinburgh, Fort William and Inverness - and between Bristol and Edinburgh. Car driver and passengers travel at the advertised Motorail fare. For example, from Euston to Edinburgh the one-way fare for a driver is pounds 55 for a day journey including first- class travel and breakfast on the train; the fare is pounds 60 for overnight travel in a shared sleeping berth.
TO CELEBRATE its 40th anniversary, Le Talbooth restaurant near Colchester (0206 323150) is offering a weekend for food and wine lovers. The package, which costs pounds 175 per person, includes two nights' accommodation and dinner at Le Talbooth, lunch at the Pier at Harwich, dinner at the Terrace and a wine tasting at Lay & Wheeler's Wine Market in Colchester.
UNTIL the end of the month, Monarch Airlines (0582 398333) is offering lower fares on its services from Luton. Midweek departures to Alicante, Mahon and Malaga are reduced to pounds 95 (weekend flights from pounds 105 return). The new saver fares offer a maximum stay of one month and a minumum of a Saturday overnight. For flights to Tenerife on Tuesdays and Fridays, superpex fares cost pounds 159 return.
THE ROYAL Association for Disability and Rehabilitation has published the seventh edition of its guide to international travel and holidays. This includes information and advice about arranging a holiday, with sections on transport, insurance and health matters, and lists of voluntary and commercial organisations providing services of interest to disabled people and international hotel groups. Holidays and Travel Abroad 1993: a guide for Disabled People is available for pounds 3.95 (including postage and packing) from 25 Mortimer Street, London W1N 8AB.
HF HOLIDAYS (081-905 9556) is offering a 'Walking for Women' holiday in its autumn and winter leisure breaks brochure. The walks are led by women just for women. A two- night package at Coniston from 20 November costs pounds 79 full board.
DURING the Christmas period, Trailfinders (071-937 5400) is offering a return fare from Heathrow to New York for pounds 226; over the same period, return fares to Miami, Chicago and Dallas will cost pounds 276, and to Los Angeles pounds 296.