Something to declare: Bodrum; Sri Lanka; ski safety
Where to go, how to save, what to avoid
Saturday 21 March 2009
Destination of the week: Bodrum
A decade ago, Bodrum airport in south-west Turkey had only just opened; it serves Marmaris, the Datca peninsula and is also convenient because from May, travellers will have the choice of two competing scheduled airlines from London to the doorstep. From Gatwick, easyJet (0905 821 0905; easyjet.com) starts next month, and has fares from around £158 return.
Turkey's leading independent carrier, Pegasus Airlines (0845 084 8980; flypgs.com), is expanding its network with a new route from Stansted to Bodrum. Flights from 4 May are available starting at around £131 return.
Pegasus is also establishing a frequent link from Stansted to Ercan in the self-styled Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus – the portion of the island recognised by no country other than Turkey.
Because the entity is not recognised by the UK, all flights must touch down in Turkey; Pegasus will pause in Istanbul. Return fares start at around £223.
Bargain of the week: Sri Lanka
The conflict in Sri Lanka has had a serious impact on tourism, judging by the deals on offer for holidays on the island. Thomson Worldwide (0871 664 0273; thomsonworldwide. com) has a deal departing on 3 June, costing just £542 for a fortnight at the impressive Heritance Ahungalla, designed by the leading architect Geoffrey Bawa. The price includes non-stop flights from Heathrow with SriLankan, transfers and breakfast. The flights alone would normally cost around the same price.
If you want to travel sooner than that, and are prepared to transit via Bangalore on Kingfisher Airlines, Kuoni (01306 747002; kuoni.co.uk) has a week at the Serendib in Bentota for £607, including transfers and breakfast.
The Foreign Office currently warns "There is a high threat from terrorism in Sri Lanka. Fatal attacks have become more frequent."
Warning of the week: ski safety
Wearing a helmet while skiing or snowboarding could soon be a legal requirement. Québec, where Natasha Richardson's fatal accident occurred, was already considering making helmet wearing compulsory from next winter.
Italy led the way by making helmet wearing on the slopes compulsory for under-15s. Austria passed a similar law this year after a Slovak woman died in a collision with a German politician; she wasn't wearing a helmet and he was.
Details of the circumstances of Richardson's death are still unclear, and there is as yet no evidence that a helmet would have protected her. However, partly because of high-profile accidents, more people are wearing protective headgear; a recent US survey found that two out of five participants are wearing helmets, twice as many as five years ago. Far fewer Brits do; while helmets are quite cheap, they comprise another cumbersome piece of kit to transport.
There is a widespread perception that helmets are required only by hard-core skiers and boarders who are tackling tough off-piste terrain. Yet many of the victims are first-timers on beginner runs who lose control and then collide with a solid object.
Many skiers feel strongly that being legally required to wear a ski helmet is an infringement of their personal freedom. However, more safety laws are coming. Along with smoking bans on the slopes, Italy's Piedmont region is banning off-piste skiing for those who are not fully equipped with an avalanche transceiver, shovel and probe; transgressors will face a €250 fine and could invalidate their insurance.
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