Virgin Atlantic to offer London Heathrow – Sao Paulo service from March 2020, announce codeshare with GOL to serve 37 destinations

The UK- based Virgin Atlantic and Brazilian domestic carrier GOL have announced a new codeshare agreement allowing customers to connect from Virgin Atlantic’s brand new London Heathrow – Sao Paulo service onto flights across Brazil.

GOL will offer connections to 37 destinations across the country, including Brasilia, Rio de Janeiro and Recife. Virgin Atlantic and GOL are also planning to expand their codeshare further with the addition of flights to Argentina, Chile and Uruguay, in addition to a reciprocal frequent flyer programme expected soon.

Flights from London Heathrow to Sao Paulo and onward, went on sale on September 10, 2019. Available for travel year-round from March 29, 2020, Virgin Atlantic will fly daily from London Heathrow to Sao Paulo on a Boeing 787-9. The flight will depart London Heathrow at 22:30, arriving Sao Paulo at 06:25; and on return, the flight will depart Sao Paulo at 16:25, arriving London Heathrow at 07:50 hours.

Juha Jarvinen, Chief Commercial Officer at Virgin Atlantic, commented, ‘We’re delighted to announce our codeshare agreement with GOL. Brazil is such a rich and diverse country and we’ll be able to offer seamless connections for customers from our brand new London Heathrow to Sao Paulo service onto 37 destinations across Brazil. With flights on sale from Tuesday 10th September 2019 and the first flight on 29 March 2020, customers will soon be able to enjoy Virgin Atlantic’s signature service to South America’s largest country.’

Eduardo Bernardes Neto, SVP Sales & Distribution at GOL, commented, ‘We’re delighted to partner with Virgin Atlantic ahead of its arrival into Brazil next year. GOL offers a leading route network and high quality service and we’re thrilled to be able to connect even more customers thanks to our new partnership with Virgin Atlantic.’

Virgin Atlantic’s codeshare will offer travellers a range of destinations – the popular leisure favourites include surfer hotspot Florianopolis, the Amazon jungle via Manaus and the beautiful coastline of Recife. For business travellers, connections include the Brazilian capital Brasilia, Rio de Janeiro and industrial hub Curitiba. Both airlines offer Wi-Fi and inflight entertainment across their fleet.

Virgin Atlantic announces new service to Sao Paulo from Heathrow

Virgin Atlantic has announced that it will launch flights between London Heathrow and Sao Paulo, Brazil in 2020.

The daily service – the 11 hr 55 min flight – between London Heathrow and Sao Paulo Guarulhos International Airport is Virgin Atlantic’s first to the South American continent. Sao Paulo is the commercial capital of Brazil and one of the largest cities in the Americas for multinational companies to have offices, and will enable Virgin Atlantic to expand its offering to existing corporate customers.

The airline will operate a Boeing 787 aircraft boasting Virgin Atlantic’s Upper Class, Premium and Economy Delight, Classic and Light offerings.

Flights to Sao Paulo are on sale later this year.

Juha Jarvinen, Virgin Atlantic executive vice president – Commercial, commented, ‘2019 marks the start of a new phase of growth for Virgin Atlantic as we work to become the most loved travel company. Sao Paulo represents an incredible opportunity for our business, and we’re very excited to be flying to a brand new continent for the first time. There are a significant number of corporate customers, and multi-national businesses, located in this Powerhouse of South America who can now enjoy the Virgin Atlantic experience on this busy international route.’

‘But it’s not all about business – I’m also thrilled to introduce an exciting new destination to our leisure customers. Sao Paulo boasts numerous cultural institutions such as the Museu de Arte, has a rich architectural history, and acts as a gateway for leisure travel within the rest of Brazil and beyond. This is a prime opportunity for Virgin Holidays who are busy securing a range of ancillary partners and diverse accommodation options for those customers seeking a full-service holiday offering.’

Virgin Atlantic is set to become the founding member of a new, $13bn transatlantic joint venture with over 300 daily transatlantic flights and 96 non-stop transatlantic routes, alongside Delta, Air France and KLM as well as launching new services from London Heathrow to Las Vegas, Manchester to Los Angeles and London Heathrow to Tel Aviv.

Foreign Office warns Brits over Brazil football protests

The UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), the British government department responsible for the welfare of British citizens overseas, has issued a warning for travellers to the main cities in Brazil.

The FCO has updated previous advice in the light of escalating protests in the South American country, which in some cases has resulted in violent confrontations between police and protestors. The semi-finals of the Confederation Cup football competition, which is currently being contested at venues around Brazil, are expected to be occasions of particular focus for protestors. The first semi-final is due to take place at 4 pm today in the city of Belo Horizonte, while the second is scheduled for tomorrow, Thursday June 27, in Fortaleza.

The football tournament has been targeted by protestors who are critical of the amount of money that the country is spending on hosting the Confederation Cup, the forthcoming FIFA World Cup and the 2016 Olympic games, while they allege that public services, including transport and education, are being starved of funds. Four people have already been killed in the violent protests, which started as a modest demonstration in the city of Sao Paulo against an increase in bus fares. Now millions of angry Brazilians are taking to the streets, with the authorities warning that two further mass rallies are planned for 4 pm today, one in the city of Recife and the other in the nation’s capital, Brasilia.

The FCO has warned Britons travelling in Brazil, ‘You should avoid all protests and demonstrations. Monitor local media, follow the guidance of local authorities and expect some disruption to travel.’

 

UK’s FCO advises on travel to riot-torn Brazil

The UK government’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), the department responsible for the welfare of British citizens overseas, has issued updated travel advice for UK residents that are planning to visit Brazil.

The new advice comes in the wake of recent violent protests that have erupted in a number of major Brazilian cities. Sao Paulo was the latest city to witness the violence, following similar incidents that had already affected parts of the cities of Rio de Janeiro and Belo Horizonte.

What started out as a low-key protest over a 10 percent fare increase on many of the South American nation’s buses, quickly became a more general and enflamed demonstration against the cost burden that the country is shouldering as it prepares to host both the 2014 FIFA World Cup and the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympic games. The demonstrators apparently feel that more money should be spent on education, and transport. The level of protest escalated and the BBC has reported that business outlets have been vandalised by protestors wearing masks, who fought with others that were attempting to stop the violence.

The FCO’s statement on the demonstrations says, ‘Some of these have turned violent. You should avoid all protests and demonstrations. Monitor local media, follow the guidance of the local authorities and expect some disruption to travel.

‘If you intend to visit a British Consulate, please check before travelling as some opening hours have been disrupted.

‘Levels of crime and violence are high, particularly in major cities. You should be particularly vigilant before and during the festive and Carnival periods. Bank card fraud is common.’

Brazil welcomes British invasion

An increase in visitors to Brazil last year was spearheaded by British travellers, according to recently released figures.

The Brazilian Ministry of Tourism released the data, showing that 155,548 British nationals visited the South American hotspot last year, an increase of 4 percent on the previous year. The British invasion was part of a record-breaking year for visitors to Brazil, as the country welcomed a total of 5,433,354, a 4.5 percent increase on the previous year.

In addition to Brazil’s dramatic and varied landscapes and tropical climate, visitors are arriving to sample the growing excitement as the country prepares to host a number of major sporting events over the next few years. The first of these is the FIFA Confederations Cup, which will be hosted by a number of Brazilian cities later this month. That competition is seen as a warm up for the 2014 FIFA World Cup that will be staged in Brazil next year, and the 2016 Olympic games that will hit Rio de Janeiro in three years’ time.

Such is the current demand for tourism to Brazil, which is only likely to increase as these events draw closer, that 109 new hotels, resorts and hostels are in the process of construction across the twelve cities that will host next year’s World Cup event. The demand for accommodation in Brazil’s most popular centres has seen hotel prices rise to become among the most expensive in the world, a situation that the government is attempting to address. To this end it has reduced taxes and electricity tariffs for tourism accommodation by 32 percent.

Flavio Dino, the president of the Brazilian Tourist Board, Embratur, commented, ‘The Federal Government is committed to keeping costs down by taking measures including reducing taxes and electricity. We are also urging the private sector to keep prices fair before the major sporting events.’

Brazilians are New Year party favourites

The nationality that the rest of the world wants to party with at New Year are Brazilians, according to the findings of a recent survey.

The survey, which was carried out by Badoo.com, a social network site that has 168 million users in more than 180 countries, and which claims to offer a platform for chatting, dating, and meeting new people, was conducted with 17,000 people from 17 countries. It asked which nationality the rest of the world would most like to share their New Year celebrations with. Brazilians emerged as the clear favourites, followed in order by Americans, Spaniards, Italians and French. Belgians and Swiss took the bottom two positions.

Reuters quoted Badoo director, Louise Thompson, as saying, ‘This seems harsh on the Swiss and Belgians, but I can understand that most people would rather celebrate New Year’s Eve on a beach in Brazil than by huddling against the cold in northern Europe.’

The Brazilian city of Rio de Janeiro celebrates the New Year with a massive firework display above Copacabana Beach, and over one million revellers take to the streets in Brazil’s largest city, Sao Paulo.

Australia will be among the first countries to celebrate the New Year, with a firework display around its famous Sydney harbour. Then 2013 will be welcomed in a succession of countries and across all continents as the midnight deadline moves around the globe. London will commence its celebrations a full 11 hours after Sydney, and New York’s revelries will begin five hours later still.

 

Rio.Mobi provides info on Brazil’s hottest city

Travellers to Brazil’s most popular city, Rio de Janeiro, can now benefit from a free mobile travel guide, Rio Mobi.

Rio.Mobi, which was created by mobile web development company, World Mobi Group Ltd, enables travellers visiting the city to access a wealth of useful information, free of charge, at the touch of a button. The up-to-the-minute tool is claimed to be quick to download and easy to use, and provides instant information on Rio’s tourist attractions, sports attractions, accommodation, shopping, restaurants, transport and nightlife. It also has a handy currency converter and translation tool, as well as providing contact information for travellers in need of emergency assistance – be it police, ambulance or a lost credit card.

The new guide has been launched as the city gears up to host the FIFA World Cup in 2014, and the Olympic Games in 2016, so its information on sporting venues will become increasingly pertinent over the coming months and years.

Despite being recently cited as one of the most expensive cities in the world for hotel accommodation, Rio is quickly growing in popularity as a tourist destination. Visitors are drawn by the famous Copacabana and Ipanema beaches, Sugarloaf Mountain, the giant statue of Christ the Redeemer, and the city’s famous nightlife. The annual carnival is a world-renowned event and takes place next year between Saturday 9 and Tuesday 13 February. Not a time to visit for those wishing to avoid the crowds, as an estimated two million revellers take to the streets each day!

New Holiday Inn Express Opens in Brazil

Holiday Inn, a brand of hotels that is part of British-based InterContinental Hotels Group, has opened its new Holiday Inn Express Maceio Ponta Verde, located in the Ponta Verde beach area of Maceio, Brazil.

The 160-room hotel is decorated with artwork and folk-art themed crafts made by local artisans, which are blended with the cultural heritage of the area in a contemporary and elegant style.

The property features amenities, including free high-speed wireless Internet connectivity; four meeting rooms, totalling 1,614 square feet of event space; an outdoor pool; a fitness centre; and a business centre.

Alvaro Diago, the chief operations officer for Latin America and the Caribbean, InterContinental Hotels Group, said, ‘We are delighted to continue to grow the Holiday Inn Express brand in the North-eastern part of Brazil by opening a hotel in a city like Maceio, well-known year-round for its powdery, white-sand beaches, emerald green waters, fabulous water sports and laid-back charm.

We are devoted to continued expansion in the Brazilian market, while maintaining our pledge to offer guests the highest quality services.’

Ricardo Lopez, the vice president of sales and marketing for Latin America and the Caribbean, InterContinental Hotels Group, said, ‘This new property exemplifies IHG’s goal of finding the right opportunities to introduce the Holiday Inn Express brand in destinations with a strong demand for high-quality yet affordable hotels.

Holiday Inn Express is designed to offer a comfortable, uncomplicated, fresh and modern experience at a great value for both leisure and business travellers. We are confident this hotel and the brand’s strong value proposition will provide an excellent opportunity to continue to build guest loyalty and reach new customers.’

Top five carnival and Mardi Gras festivals around the world

Although Carnival and Mardi Gras are synonymous with Rio de Janerio in Brazil and New Orleans in the United States, the festival has its roots elsewhere. French for “Fat Tuesday,” Mardi Gras is a major tourist attraction in any city where it is celebrated.

HotelTravel.com Chief Information Officer Olivier Dombey said: “This is traditionally a wild event known for its flamboyant costumes, festive balls, loud music, and all-night partying, but it actually draws its cultural origins to rituals and traditions that date back thousands of years.

For travelers suffering from a case of Carnival and Mardi Gras fever, here is a brief overview of the top five festivals on the planet:

New Orleans Mardi Gras

For anyone in North America, New Orlean’s Mardi Gras is the big daddy of all carnival events. This celebration dates back to the 1730s soon after the city was first established. It has its own unique traditions of “Krewes,” “Big Chiefs,” and, of course, the throwing of beads. To find out how the action unfolds and where to wine and dine, read through HotelTravel.com’s “Mardi Gras: ‘Phat’ Tuesday’” event article. For the best hotel deals in town, also look through New Orleans Hotel Promotions starting from as low as US$45 per night.

Trinidad & Tobago Carnival

The Trinidad & Tobago Carnival is one of the most popular events of its kind in the Caribbean. It is famous for “Soca”, a drum and percussion-based Caribbean Calypso that gets participants and visitors grooving to the carnival beat. This festival truly has eclectic influences; find out all about it in HotelTravel.com’s “Trinidad & Tobago Carnival the Ultimate Rave” event feature. For the lowest rates around, scroll through Port of Spain Hotel Promotions that start from US$129 per night.

Rio de Janero Carnival

Rio de Janeiro Carnival is Mardi Gras’ “Mecca” in a country where almost every city or town organizes its own festival. There are way too many events on in Rio to list here; better to read through HotelTravel.com’s “Rio Carnival: Pure, Unadulterated Hedonism” event article. Rooms are still available, so make sure to check out HotelTravel.com’s Rio de Janeiro Hotel Promotions to find rates from US$49 per night.

Sydney Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras

Get your “gadar” on, as the Sydney Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras is considered by many the top event of its kind in the world. Pop diva Kylie Minogue, the unofficial queen of the Sydney Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras, is returning to the event for the first time in years. Read all about it in HotelTravel.com’s “Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras: Sydney Style” event article. For hotel deals throughout the three-week festival, look over Sydney Hotel Promotions with rates starting from only US$24 per night.

Goa Carnival

The Goa Carnival draws on its colonial Portuguese roots but has morphed into a very local and unique festival. To learn all about it, read HotelTravel.com’s “Goa Carnival Brings Partying to the Streets” event article and then discover Goa Hotel Promotions for last-minute rates starting from as little as US$11 per night.

The luxurious Insólito is a blend of brazil´s culture, nature and design

Located in the famous beach retreat of Búzios, Insólito is built on a rock outcrop over the beautiful Ferradura Beach. The former fishing village Búzios is a peninsula with 26 dreamlike beaches, 160 km northeast from Rio de Janeiro, and is also called the Brazilian Saint-Tropez.

In the middle of flourishing nature, it offers its guests an exclusive, breathtaking and privileged view as well as equilibrium between comfort, culture, social and environmental commitment.

The hotel’s 20 rooms are based on themes that enhance Brazilian artists. The rooms and suites serve as an exhibition for uniquely designed pieces, which make reference to music, photography, literature, art, nature, history, fashion and Negro culture.

The original architecture of the hotel’s houses is peculiar to Búzios. Built between 1992 and 1998 by the celebrated architect Otavio Raja Gabaglia, the houses are built on a model that integrated them with nature.

The reforms performed later strengthened the idea of communion between architecture and nature. The interior space was renovated in 2006, by the carioca architect-decorator Luiz Fernando Grabowsky, to modernize Insólito’s installations.

Increasing the size of the windows, the multiplication and modification of the terraces integrated the construction ever more with nature. In 2007, the landscape gardener Anouck Barcat joined the team to modify the external areas of Insólito taking into mind the same view. Typical Brazilian material, such as wood and Portuguese stone, were given preference, together with the beautiful local native flora.

In order to support sustainable development model initiatives, artisans or socially responsible companies were called in. The decoration signed by the owner, Emmanuelle Meeus de Clermont Tonnerre, is the high point of this project.

Enamored with Brazil, Emmanuelle transformed the hotel into a true art gallery. The hotel features timeless decoration, where furniture from the 50’s mixes with modern pieces, works of art by Brazilian artists and artisans blend.

The sophisticated restaurant offers a delicious culinary trip and the opportunity to explore the flavours of a Franco-Brazilian fusion. There are two spaces in the restaurant: a lounge on the swimming pool deck with a view over the sea, and a large indoor room with a wall of blue tiles hand-painted by Laura Taves.

The “parilla” is a traditional Latin American barbeque where food is cooked out in the open in front of guests, allowing them to soak up expert tips on the different cuts of meat and how to cook them best, as well as being further immersed in Brazilian traditions.

A unique vertical garden produced by São Paulo company Quadro Vivo functions as a living frame to the kitchen and outline for the bar, designed by architect Luis Fernando Grabowsky.

Between the beach and the garden, the Insólito Beach Lounge covers an area of 3,000 m², beside the hotel, thus providing direct access to beautiful Ferradura beach. In the middle of the garden, there are various charming comfortable covered decks to protect the holidaymakers from the sun.

The relaxing boutique hotel offers guests three choices pools; one with fresh water, another with heated water and the final with seawater. At the Insólito Wellness Center one can indulge in spa treatments and Indian rituals and enjoy the beautiful surrounding nature.

This charming boutique hotel retains the personal relaxed atmosphere of a private home and guarantees ultimate luxury and leisure at the same time. Thanks to its charm and refinement, Insólito Boutique Hotel was elected as one of the best hotels in Latin America by the renowned guide Condé Nast Johansens.

www.insolitos.com.br/