News: Canada gets cheaper; Nepal warnings

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Canada gets cheaper

Canada gets cheaper

This could be the best summer yet for British travellers aiming for Canada. A new airline, Zoom, has entered the fray, with low-cost flights from London and Glasgow to major Canadian cities. Its fares are so low that some departures have sold out. The airline has added flights from Stansted to Vancouver to meet demand.

In response to the new entrant, the long-established operator, Canadian Affair, has improved its offering on charters from Birmingham, Edinburgh, Gatwick, Glasgow and Manchester. Some flights to eastern Canada offer enhanced leg room, and the full range of departures is on sale as one-way flights, allowing more flexibility on departure dates and permitting "open-jaw" trips, eg flying out to Toronto and back from Calgary.

In August, Zoom has a fare of £366 return from Stansted to Vancouver, with limited availability. A typical corresponding fare is £478 on Canadian Affair. For comparison, BA is charging £776 for most dates in August; the best non-stop deal on Air Canada, through the website www.opodo.co.uk, is £737. Scottish travellers are seeing much more choice. In August, a flight from Glasgow to Toronto costs £308 return with Canadian Affair, or £406 on Zoom - but the latter company promises a fare-match with any other scheduled carrier.

Canadian Affair (08700 753000; www.canadian-affair.com)

Zoom (0870 240 0055; www.flyzoom.com)

* Canada-bound visitors will find it easier to access cheap domestic flights from this month. On 18 April the biggest no-frills airline, WestJet, is adding dozens of extra flights from the country's leading international gateway, Pearson airport in Toronto. Previously, most of its Ontario services operated to and from Hamilton. The airline will increase flights between Toronto and Vancouver from nine to 20 per week, and is introducing a six-daily flight shuttle between Montreal and Toronto. You can book online at www.WestJet.com.

Tourists could be terrorist targets in Nepal

Travellers to Nepal have been given an unusually specific warning that Maoist terrorists are planning to attack tourist industry targets in June. The Foreign Office warns of threats to "hotels, guest houses, lodges, trekking and rafting organisations" on 7, 8 and 9 June. It also says that the Maoists have made "specific threats against the business interests of a number of prominent Nepali families - these business interests include a number of the larger hotels in Kathmandu".

Foreign tourists have been involved - but not killed - in three terrorist attacks in Nepal this year. The FO advises against "all non-essential travel to Beni and Bhojpur, where the Maoists have recently attacked in large numbers" but has stopped short of adding Nepal to its no-go list.

In contrast, the US Department of State urges its citizens "to defer non-essential travel to Nepal" because of the threat of terrorism.

Even if the threatened terrorist action fails to materialise, travelling in Nepal could be tricky. Countrywide bandhs (strikes) have been called for 6-8 April and 10-12 June.

"Past experience of such bandhs has shown that most shops and businesses, particularly in the early stages of a bandh, will remain closed," says the Foreign Office. "Travellers within Nepal are likely to encounter difficulties if travelling by road."

Most transport shuts down during bandhs, but the Nepalese government has said it will provide an emergency shuttle between central Kathmandu and the city's Tribhuvan airport.

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