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Places news continued...Transport newsPan European web siteThe European Travel Commission (ETC) has unveiled a new Pan European web site, built by ETC´s technology partner Ama- deus in conjunction with the international travel marketing alliance Travel Consul. The new website guides potential travellers on a journey, beginning with inspiration about a European holiday to planning the trip and sharing ideas. “The visiteurope. com portal is a state of the art platform that will engage a new generation of digitally sophisticated travellers and drive themto action”, said ETC’s Marketing Manager Miguel Gallego. He explained that the new portal is the result of nearly 20 years of online experience and extensive research conducted over the past two years.Robert Patterson, Vice President of Content and Social Strategy at Travel Consul´s MMGY, explained how the new site was developed. “Our storytelling provides momentum for travellers seeking a pan- European experience that goes beyond the mere recitation of historical facts”, he said. Making use of full width images and a minimal menu structure, the portal offers an immersive, user friendly experience where inspirational imagery does all the talking. With a balanced mix of pictures and small content modules within a grid system, the smart portal design allows users to see a wide range of information, spanning over 30 different countries, within a single page. The user journey is choreographed according to themes, to ensure visitors progressively discover more and more that is of real interest to them.The new site is optimised for mobile devices and is located at www.visiteurope.comin its beta version in English. Further language versions in French, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish and Japanese will follow before the end of the year.North of EnglandSally Balcombe, Chief Executive at Vis- itBritain said: “VisitBritain welcomes the Deputy Prime Minister’s announcement of £10 million from the Regional Growth Fund to support the development of a coordinated tourism strategy to promote the North of England. We stand ready to use our global network and links with international customers and travel trade to be a delivery partner. This money will en- able Northern tourist destinations to build on their recent success - visitors spent 16% more in the north of England in 2013 than in the previous year - and encourage more international visitors to explore and enjoy all that this region has to offer.”The Jungfrau regionNew to the 2014/15 winter season in the Jungfrau region, Snow Fun Kleine Schei- degg has been introduced for beginner skiers and snowboarders and those that just want to have fun in the snow. Kleine Sc- heidegg is located 2,061 metres above sea level and offers visitors some of the most spectacular and arresting views of the Eiger north face, Mönch and Jungfraujoch.First time skiers and snowboarders will feel like they’ve conquered the mountains as they look out over the scenery from confi- dence-building terrain. The gentle slopes are served by a covered magic carpet for easy beginner access. Other activities such as snow tubing, sledging and snow biking are also available. www.jungfrau.chSnow Fun Kleine ScheideggHEaTHrow HELpErsHeathrow has now introduced the next generation of passenger service - Heathrow Helpers. Based through- out the airport, passengers are able to identify the caring crew by their purple uniforms and invaluable tool belts. Each tool belt will contain the necessary equipment to respond to the most popular passenger requests, including cuddly toys to keep young children happy and technology charg- ers for business travellers.The dedi- cated team cover over 38 languages between them. www.heathrowairport.comaLiTaLia downsizEsReducing the employment force was one of the more unpleasant and dramatic condi- tions in an agreement signed between Alitalia and Etihad Airways to sell 49% of its stakes to the UAE based airline. After announcing a big partnership with Abu Dhabi based Etihad Airways, Alitalia, the largest Italian airline, plans to fire 994 employees. this was reported by the Italian news agency Adnkronos.According to a document signed by the airline’s management and three of the four labour unions representing the rights of transport workers, the airline will cut down on 879 ground crew, 61 pilots and 54 air stewards. According to La Stampa newspaper, Alitalia had already cut down on 700 employees who either voluntarily resigned or reached retirement age.The contract is aimed at recapitalisation of Alitalia which experienced losses of about €1.7 billion.Etihad will pay €560 million making it Alitalia’s largest shareholder. €300 million will be paid by other shareholders while another €300 million will be received from Italian banks.The remaining amount will be recovered by restructuring Alitalia’s debt. The airline took it up on itself to lay off more than 2,000 employees with only 950 having accessto retirement packages or employment in other available vacancies.BirmingHam airporTThe airport has completed a new purpose-built transit and transfer facility, providing passengers with the UK’s fastest and most efficient option for onward con- necting flights. The new facility delivers an airside conection that allows passengers to transit and transfer within the airside environment in under 45 minutes.The Airport has invested £200 million on airfield and terminal facilities in recent years, to attract more long haul flights. The new facility means airlines now lookingto fly into the lucrative centre of the UK’s booming manufacturing region can also benefit from the domestic and European markets served by Birmingham’s network.Birmingham Airport’s Chief Executive Officer, Paul Kehoe “Our aviation develop- ment team, headed up by William Pearson, stands ready to talk with airline partners about codeshare and through-ticketing opportunities to open up new and existing direct and transfer connectivity.”porTugaL raiL pass LauncHEdComboios de Portugal has launched a new product, the ‘Portugal Rail Pass’, for short and long-haul travellers. This new rail pass will allow tourists to travel the whole coun- try by train, using only one ticket.All Comboios de Portugal trains in Portugal can be used including long distance, re- gional and urban trains. Visiting Porto and the north and then travelling south through Aveiro and Coimbra to the Lisbon region, through the Alentejo region and onto the Algarve, has never been easier.The Portugal Rail Pass is available in either a three or seven day option. It provides unlimited train travel throughout Portugal, to be used within a month, starting from the date of purchase.The three day pass costs €109 (approx £84) for 1st class and €73 (approx £56) for 2nd class, per person. The price for the seven days option ranges from €179 (approx £139) to €129 (approx £100). Child passes are also available and costs 50% less than the guide price above. www.cp.ptOn the Road issue 217Page 6Heathrow Helpers

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