Something To Declare: Dengue Fever in South America; Newfoundland; Orca Wildlife Watching mini-cruise; executive jets for less
Saturday 03 April 2010
Warning of the week: Dengue Fever in South America
Outbreaks of dengue fever, the severe flu-like illness spread by daytime-biting mosquitoes, are claiming eight new victims every day in Argentina. That's according to FitForTravel, the travel health website provided by the Scottish NHS (fitfortravel.nhs.uk). The travel-medicine experts say that the main outbreak is in Misiones province, with 536 cases so far this year, and the other in Chaco province with 103 cases. In addition, "A small number of cases have been reported from Buenos Aires".
There is no immunisation against, nor treatment for, dengue fever: "Travellers must ensure that they use bite avoidance measures including insect repellents when visiting risk areas."
FitForTravel also warns about the re-emergence of dengue fever in Ecuador's Galápagos Islands (pictured above), which it believes is probably attributable to "the large number of visitors to the Galápagos" as well as some " intense rains in recent weeks".
Destination of the week: Newfoundland
Two months from today, Newfoundland reappears on the Heathrow route map. Air Canada (0871 220 1111; aircanada.ca) has served the provincial capital, St John's, on and off for many years. From 28 May it will be "on" again, with a daily service using a narrow-bodied Airbus A319 – the only such aircraft on a transatlantic run.
The flying time from London is barely five hours (and even shorter coming back). But since Air Canada has a monopoly on flights to Newfoundland, fares are higher than to more distant destinations such as Montreal, Toronto and even Vancouver – twice as far.
The lowest fare is £478 return, but during the peak months of July and August fares are around £700.
The summer-only service is currently expected to operate until 26 September.
Tip of the week: Holland via whales
The first "Orca Wildlife Watching" mini-cruise of the season from Newcastle (North Shields) to Holland is due to arrive this morning at IJmuiden, the port serving Amsterdam. DFDS (0871 522 9955; dfds.co.uk) has co-opted a wildlife officer from the whale and dolphin charity, Orca to be part of the on-board entertainment on the King of Scandinavia between now and September. Minke whales, dolphins and harbour porpoises are often seen in the North Sea, while birdlife includes the great skua, fulmar and kittiwake.
A mini-cruise costs £89 per person based on two sharing an en-suite cabin, and includes the half-hour bus transfer to Amsterdam. The schedule allows for five hours in the Dutch capital.
Bargain of the week: Executive jets for less
At last: a way to use an executive jet without breaking the bank. Business aviation involves plenty of "empty legs", such as a jet taking a high-flyer from London to Frankfurt but returning empty. Now, a Swiss company, LunaJets, has launched a website (lunajets.com) designed to fill those flights. This week, for example, it has offered a group of up to nine people the chance to fly from Istanbul to Biggin Hill (south-east London). The price of €12,500 may be daunting – but cheaper options are available. Four passengers could bask in luxury between Geneva and RAF Northolt (in north-west London) for €603 each. The corresponding one-way business-class fare on BA is almost €1,000.
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