News: Skye's the limit; Online advice; South Seas caution

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The Independent Travel

The Woodland Trust and Talisker Whisky are offering people a rare chance to trek across the Isle of Skye with the explorer Sir Ranulph Fiennes. The Talisker Trek is a two-day guided adventure from 5-7 May, which aims to raise funds to plant a quarter of a million trees in Britain over the next three years. From a base camp at the foot of the Cuillin Hills, Fiennes's fellow adventurer Tom Avery will teach trekkers the survival and navigation skills needed to complete the weekend and how to tackle the challenges the island holds. There are 200 places and entry costs £500 per person. Details: taliskertrek.co.uk

Online advice

A new online resource has been launched to allow like-minded independent travellers to pool advice on destinations. Diytravel.co.uk is, literally, a do-it-yourself website, offering 15,000 competitively priced hotels in those places most visited by British travellers. Members are encouraged to write reviews, which fellow users then compare with the author's personal travel profile to put the experiences into context. The site also has its own grading system, HotelRank, which lists the best deals available. Details: diytravel.co.uk

South Seas caution

The Foreign Office is advising people to be aware of the increasingly tense security situation in Fiji. The archipelago's government is involved in a stand-off with the military because of changes to the constitution following the coup of 2000. The Fijian tourist authority has issued a statement stressing tourists are in no danger, but the FCO is asking visitors to avoid large crowds. The destination is popular with UK honeymooners and is estimated to attract around 300,000 tourists a year. Details: fco.gov.uk

BA Cost cutter

British Airways is slashing prices and rebranding its regional carrier CitiExpress as BA Connect. Central to the restructure will be a reduction in ticket prices by up to 40 per cent, with restricted and non-changeable fares scrapped in favour of fully flexible tickets. The service offers 50 routes to 32 destinations across Europe. BA Connect will offer fares from £25 one way, while BA Connect Plus will offer airport lounge access and seat selection at the time of booking. Connect Plus prices will start from £110 one-way. Bookings for the new service can be made from 1 February. Details: ba.com

ABTA Trouble shooter

The Association of British Travel Agents (Abta) has launched its revamped code of conduct. Developed in collaboration with the Office of Fair Trading, benefits to those consumers dealing with Abta members will include access to low-cost dispute resolution and a disciplinary committee to deal with members whose services do not come up to scratch. Some 947 complaints went to arbitration last year, 80 per cent of which were won by the customer. Abta receives about 1,000 complaints a year from customers of non-members, but is powerless to act. Details: abta.co.uk

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