Something to declare: Mauritius; Africa for under £200; Australian diseases; East Anglia to Heathrow

 

 

Destination of the week: Mauritius

It's more than a Mauritius rumour: the multi-faceted Indian Ocean island is getting cheaper to reach, despite the 6,000-miles distance from London. British Airways has just shifted its service from Heathrow to Gatwick, and is selling non-stop returns on a wide range of dates for £745 return. But even that price is being undercut by Air Mauritius on its non-stop flights, typically £700 return from Heathrow, and by Emirates via Dubai – which this week adds an 11th weekly flight to Mauritius from its hub.

* From 24 January, Emirates' capacity from the UK to Dubai will increase. A third Airbus A380 "SuperJumbo" will be added to the Heathrow service.

Bargain of the week: Africa for under £200

Tunisia on £28 a day: that is possibly the deal of the winter. Britain's biggest holiday company, Thomson, is selling pre-Christmas holidays to the attractive North African Mediterranean resort of Sousse for £199, based on two sharing. The price includes the afternoon departure from Gatwick on Sunday, 11 December; coach transfers to the well-regarded Tej Marhaba Hotel (pictured) in Sousse; plus a week's stay, including breakfast and dinner.

Warning of the week: Australian diseases

Visiting Australia can be hazardous to your health, according to travel advice from the Foreign Office.

Anyone heading for the northern part of the country should be warned that dengue fever and Murray Valley encephalitis occur periodically. Several victims of the latter have died this year, including a Canadian tourist. Both are transmitted by mosquitoes, and the only protection is to avoid being bitten.

A recent outbreak of dengue in northern Queensland involved more than over 900 confirmed cases in and around Cairns and Townsville.

As dengue-carrying mosquitoes usually breed in urban areas, tourist activities in north Queensland – such as reef and rainforest trips – carry a low risk.

A final threat: "Since June, there have been several cases of hendra virus in Queensland and NSW. Spread by fruit bats or flying foxes, the virus is harmful to horses. If transmitted to humans it can cause respiratory illness, and in some cases death. In the current outbreak, the biggest in Australia, several horses have died and at least 30 people have been infected."

Biosecurity Queensland has quarantined infected properties, including a tourist destination west of Cairns, and is tracing people who may been exposed to infected horses.

Tip of the week: East Anglia to Heathrow

A new National Express coach link, route R250, connects Ipswich and Colchester with Heathrow, avoiding the complicated train, Tube and rail journey via central London. It also provides an additional link between Stansted and Heathrow. The service to Terminal 1 and 3 takes three hours from Ipswich (£27.20), half-an-hour less from Colchester (£25); Terminal 5 adds 15 minutes, and Terminal 4 half-an-hour to the journey time.

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