Vueling to fly Rotterdam-Barcelona route

rtmairportSpanish airline Vueling announced it will fly between Rotterdam (RTM) and Barcelona (BCN) airports from April 2015. Flights will take place four times a week: on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday. Flights are already bookable at The Vueling flights come on top of those carried out by Dutch airline Transavia (of the Air France-KLM Group), that connect the two cities four times a week already. The frequency of Transavia’s flights will be increased to 6 or 7 per week during summer 2015. The abundance of cheap flights between RTM and BCN will contribute to the growing tourist and business links between the metropolitan area of Barcelona (5,4 million people and the capital of independence-minded Catalonia) and the metropolitan region of Rotterdam-The Hague (2,5 million inhabitants and combining the largest port on the Atlantic with the political capital of the Netherlands).

Spanish group plans 230-room Rotterdam hotel

pakhuismeesterenSpanish-based Room Mate Hotels continues to strengthen its international expansion by adding 11 new hotels to its existing 18. The hotel chain will open new facilities in places like Istanbul, Bogotá, Rotterdam, Milan and Rome and reinforce others like New York and Barcelona. Room Mate Hotels will soon manage 29 hotels worldwide. In Rotterdam the chain will incorporate a hotel of 230 rooms in the well known Manhattan on the Maas district (Kop van Zuid). It will be decorated by Teresa Sapey, the avant-garde architect of Room Mate Pau in Barcelona. The ground floor will be devoted to a commercial area, offering Spanish products, among others. Continue reading “Spanish group plans 230-room Rotterdam hotel”

Steigenberger Group plans Rotterdam hotel

intercityhotelA new InterCityHotel is being developed within the immediate vicinity of Rotterdam Central Station. The project is scheduled for completion in 2017. The InterCityHotel Rotterdam will offer the very best level of comfort to leisure and business travellers alike. 180 rooms from the latest InterCityHotel generation, each of which will be at least 20 m² in size, will deliver a feel-good factor whilst conference facilities extending over an area of 440 m2 and featuring five rooms. A pre-function section will be available for meetings and events. Culinary needs will be served by a restaurant and a 162 m2 Bistro Lounge. Continue reading “Steigenberger Group plans Rotterdam hotel”

NH opens four star nhow hotel in Rotterdam

nhowrotterdamnhow Rotterdam opened its doors on January 10th 2014. The hotel resides in the mixed-use building ‘De Rotterdam’ designed by OMA/Rem Koolhaas. It is the third nhow hotel in the world after nhow Milan and Berlin. Located in the capital of architecture, this unconventional hotel is themed around forward architecture, art & urban lifestyle. The hotel is situated on the Manhattan-like Wilhelminapier at the Maas. It offers conference and meeting facilities, 278 rooms with spectacular riverside views, a skyline bar, food lounge and roof terrace. It serves business and leisure travelers, as well as the local community. Located at the Wilhelminapier, right across the center of Rotterdam, the hotel offers both business and leisure travelers an environment that encourages diving head first into all that the city has to offer. Continue reading “NH opens four star nhow hotel in Rotterdam”

Turkish Airlines to set up base in Rotterdam

rtmairportTurkish Airlines will open a second base in the Netherlands at ‘Rotterdam The Hague Airport’. As of 4 March seven employees of Turkish Airlines will be stationed in Rotterdam to handle the new regular services between Rotterdam and home base Istanbul.  Continue reading “Turkish Airlines to set up base in Rotterdam”

British Airways to fly Rotterdam-London City

British Airways plcBritish Airways will – due to growing demand – open a new route between Rotterdam The Hague Airport and London City Airport in March 2014. The new service will see a Saab SF-2000 turboprop aircraft (leased from Eastern Airways) fly up and down five times a day. The 50-passenger Saab SF-2000 will be replaced from September 2014 by a bigger plane, an Embraer 170, with a 76-seat capacity. The new route comes on top of a twice daily BA flight between Rotterdam and London Heathrow, that connects the Rotterdam region to the world via BA’s intercontinental services.

More Michelin stars for Rotterdam restaurants

wereldmMichelin has awarded several restaurants in the Netherlands with new stars for 2014. Though Rotterdam must still do without a Michelin 3-star restaurant ever since chef Cees Helder left Parkheuvel, the city can’t complain about a lack of culinary venues. Two restaurants gained a second Michelin star: Fred and François Geurds aka FG Restaurant, bringing the total of Michelin 2-star eateries in the city to three (the third one being of course Parkheuvel). Rotterdam now also boasts two 1-star restaurants. Besides Amarone, that maintained its star, Michelin awarded the Wereldmuseum‘s dining place one as well. In the Rotterdam region, De Zwetheul in Schipluiden kept its two stars, while Perceel in Capelle aan de IJssel and Hermitage in Rijsoord kept their single stars. Congratulations!

Google Flights is the ultimate traveller’s tool

By Arnout Nuijt

rtmairportIf you are a frequent flyer you may have struggled more than once to find the information you wanted on the net when booking your next trip. Try for instance to find out from what airports you can fly to Perugia for that short holiday in Umbria. You would have to search databases like Amadeus or Expedia and type in various departure points to find out whether you can fly from there. But you would also have to try all days of the week for each departure and destination combination. Flight search works like that.  It’s a tedious and frustrating job. And then these travel sites hardly ever include budget airlines, something you will be definitely looking for. So, you search all of those sites as well and it will cost you an hour or so to find out all your flight options.

No longer. Continue reading “Google Flights is the ultimate traveller’s tool”

Africa tourism set for high growth, new jobs, and more investment than other regions

atlanticoSub Saharan Africa’s tourism industry is set to spur more economic growth for the continent and directly employ 6.7 million people by 2021, according to a new World Bank report. The report—Tourism in Africa: Harnessing Tourism for Growth and Improved Livelihoodssays that tourism accounted directly or indirectly for one in every 20 jobs in Sub Saharan Africa in 2011, and is one of the few industries on the continent in which women are well represented as employees and managers. Sub Saharan Africa is outpacing other regions in tourism growth.

The report examines the potential of African countries to improve and expand their tourism sector, and suggests that 33 of Sub Saharan Africa’s 48 countries currently Continue reading “Africa tourism set for high growth, new jobs, and more investment than other regions”

Weekend Break in Ouro Preto

By Arnout Nuijt

When you are in Brazil’s third economic center, Belo Horizonte, and you have a weekend to spare, there is a range of old colonial towns to visit. One of the most famous is Ouro Preto, or Black Gold, a historic mining center and former capital of Minas Gerais. Once nicknamed Vila Rica or rich town, it is now a Unesco protected site. Ouro Preto is located about a 100 kilometers south of BH, but a taxi ride will take – depending on traffic – around 1.5 hours. The first leg of the journey is along a great modern highway, the one that goes down all the way to Rio de Janeiro. The latter part of the drive is a winding road through a hilly, Tuscany like landscape.

At first sight Ouro Preto is magic. You will recognize the town immediately from the many pictures in Brazil’s tourist brochures or guidebooks, as it is a must to visit and one of the many highlights of visiting Brazil. Arriving feels like visiting an old friend. The town looks are smashing. Ouro Preto is a better preserved Portuguese town than any you can find in Portugal itself, or so it seems. Even the newer buildings are made in old colonial style, including a gas station.

Though Ouro Preto can be very busy with tourists in high seasons and on some Continue reading “Weekend Break in Ouro Preto”

City Brief: Sao Paulo

By Arnout Nuijt

Writing a City Brief about Brazil’s biggest city, its economic powerhouse and home of the country’s cultural, business and political elite, is not easy. São Paulo is simply to big to grasp, as is its impact on Brazil, South America and, no doubt, the rest of the world. The economic heart of the country beats soundly in this urban center of around 20 million people (10% of the national population). Within the city proper around 11 million people are residing. The city is the capital of Brazil’s most important state, also called São Paulo, that, if independent, would be part of the G20 by itself. In fact, the metropolitan region is among the world’s top ten mega cities. Yes, there are endless poor neighborhoods, where migrants from other parts of the country and their descendants slug it out, but you will also find some of the most luxurious and sophisticated housing estates in the world, home to Brazil’s elite. São Paulo is a so called global city. A trend setting Arts Biennial complete the picture.

There are several things you should know about São Paulo when you come down for business, which is the main reason people visit the city. First there is its amazing history, in which São Paulo, though no doubt the most dynamic region of Brazil, experienced a series of political setbacks though managed to get the upper hand in economic terms. For centuries São Paulo was a small colonial town, founded by Jesuit priests on the highlands behind Santos and São Vicente, two of the oldest Portuguese settlements on the coast. From the town groups of settlers fanned out in all directions to explore the interior.

In a very early stage some Paulistas (the nickname of people from São Paulo state, those from the city are called Continue reading “City Brief: Sao Paulo”

Weekend Break in Guarujá

By Arnout Nuijt

guarujahotelWhen you are visiting São Paulo for business you will inevitably get tired of your many meetings and not to mention the heavy traffic in this city of 11 million. Even when business goes well, you may need to unwind and relax. So, where to go when you are in an endless megacity like São Paulo? With a little effort you can get to the coast, where you have many options. But to get to Ubatuba or Ilha Bela, two of São Paulo state’s most wanted resort towns, just takes too long for a weekend. Driving down there costs at least four hours each way. As you will leave the city at the earliest on Friday afternoon and you will have to be back for your next week’s round of meetings by Sunday night, this is not a good option. So, in order to have maximum profit of your weekend, cut down on the travel time and head for Guarujá!

Guarujá is a relatively large resort town on Santos Bay, built to accommodate Paulistana holidaymakers and rich folk who want to enjoy living on the beach. Depending on traffic, it’s a one to one and a half hour drive from São Paulo. A taxi will Continue reading “Weekend Break in Guarujá”

City Brief: Rio de Janeiro

By Arnout Nuijt

Rio de Janeiro may be on paper Brazil’s second urban and economic center after Sao Paulo, to many – and not just its inhabitants – the city is number one. With its 6,3 million cariocas (and no less than 12,6 million people in the metropolitan area), Rio is the capital of the State of Rio de Janeiro, home to around 16 million people. Set in a gorgeous scenery, Rio is one of the most beautiful cities in the world. The Marvelous City or Cidade Maravilhosa as the locals call their home, was Brazil’s colonial and later national capital from 1763 until 1960, the year when Brasília became the new federal government center. What followed was pure downturn for Rio, a process that was only revised by the recent oil and gas boom.

Some government agencies and state-owned enterprises however remained in the city. Among them were CVRD (now Vale, the world’s second biggest mining company), Petrobras, Eletrobras, federal investment bank BNDES and several military facilities (most notably the navy and air force HQs). The city has bounced back from decades of decay and is now a booming global business city again. On top of that Rio was picked as the host city for the 2016 Olympic Games, the first city in South America to do so.

Rio is now the continent’s center for oil and gas exploration, pharmaceuticals, media, creative industries, cultural events Continue reading “City Brief: Rio de Janeiro”

What should we do with the Benelux?

By Arnout Nuijt

logo_Benelux_topOn the last day of the previous year an interesting bit of news floated around in the Low Countries, but it may have been lost in the loud bangs of the New Year’s Eve celebrations. According to Luc Willems, deputy secretary-general of the Benelux Union, the Benelux would like to see a single market for mobile telephony in the three countries. The Benelux in 2013 will study the possibilities for creating such a single market, without roaming fees. That is of course good news for consumers as well as businesses, and it could also serve as a test for a similar move to a single EU market.

Yes, it has been a nuisance for years when, traveling between Belgium and The Netherlands (or between any two given EU nations), you loose your mobile connection the very moment you are crossing the border. While you wait for the text message coming in from the local provider saying that you are now on their network, you may wonder what it actually means to live in a EU single market. Once you have crossed the border – which is an increasingly diminishing concept within the EU, especially in the case of the one between Holland and Belgium -, the cost of your phone calls will rise significantly, because telecom companies say you are “roaming”.

Wow, after decades of deepening European economic integration and years of an EU single market, the ups and downs of the Euro Zone and a plethora of other treaties, telecom providers are still free to charge their customers more once they cross a border? Yes, somehow they can and they are getting away with it all the time… But where the EU has apparently not been capable of bringing change and helping its citizens and businesses to bring down cost, the Benelux has now taken an initiative. The Benelux, the Benelux, you are saying, yeah, I have heard about it, but do they still exist? Yes, they do, and they may be making a comeback of sorts. Continue reading “What should we do with the Benelux?”

More Growth for Rotterdam-The Hague Airport

Last year was a good year for Rotterdam-The Hague Airport. The regional airport on the northern edge of Rotterdam is steadily growing, adding more and more European cities to its destinations. Besides the fact that Rotterdam-The Hague Airport has become one of low-cost carrier Transavia’s hubs for holiday and regular flights throughout the year, it has also been adding a couple of routes from two of Europe’s main carriers: British Airways and Lufthansa. And more is still to come… Continue reading “More Growth for Rotterdam-The Hague Airport”

Cape Verde’s Unique Aviation Opportunity

By Arnout Nuijt

While the Cape Verde government recently announced the creation of a (government staffed) working group that has to find ways to attract more and cheaper flights to the country, two other aviation related news items – involving national carrier TACV – are worth mentioning. Firstly the Cape Verde press reported that TACV needs 50 million Euros to pay off its debt and secondly it appears that the two newly acquired TACV Boeing 737’s (bought to replace its ageing Boeing 757’s) do not have the sufficient range to fly fully loaded to and from its core destinations, such as Boston, Paris, Amsterdam or even Lisbon. The company is therefore planning to lease a Boeing 767 for its longer haul flights.

The latter is strange news. The most recent types of 737’s should have the right range for serving those destinations. In fact, the Dutch company Arkefly (part of the Tui group) operates 737’s on its Amsterdam – Boa Vista route, a flight that takes 6,5 hours, much more than the Praia-Lisbon route, and the planes are full. Arkefly also uses the 737 on its Amsterdam-Fortaleza route, though with a refueling stop on Sal Island. So, what’s wrong with the TACV planes? Is TACV trying to carry extra cargo on top of the passenger’s luggage? That might just not be possible. TACV is often painted in the Cape Verde press as inefficient and prone to mismanagement. Is this recent acquisition just another example and another missed opportunity for TACV? Let’s take a good look at the challenges that face TACV as well as the opportunities for the aviation industry in Cape Verde.  Continue reading “Cape Verde’s Unique Aviation Opportunity”