British Airways tops list of best brands

British Airways (BA), the UK’s leading international carrier and one of the world’s leading global premium airlines, has topped the latest Superbrands survey for the first time.

The first travel company to top the list, BA beat more than 1,500 companies to top the annual ranking of brand strength in the UK. Based at London Heathrow with a fleet of more than 270 aircraft, BA flies to more than 70 different countries. In 2012 the airline carried more than 37 million customers, the airline says on its website.

The airline impressed industry experts and consumers for its ‘consistently strong performance’ and the residual goodwill from its association with the 2012 Olympics, according to Superbrands council chairman Stephen Cheliotis.

Mr Cheliotis said: ‘British Airways has always performed well in the survey but over the last two years its reputation has climbed to new heights, partly through the cementing of its successful ‘To Fly, To Serve’ positioning and the residual goodwill from its effective 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games association.’

Previous leader Rolex moved to second place after two years at the top, while Apple dropped from second place last year to 14th place.

Of the other leading brands, Google dropped downward from sixth to seventh place, while Microsoft slipped from third to sixth. Facebook, which made 14th place last year, completely fell out of the top 20, but Sony moved up from 25th position last year to 17th place. made it the top 20 for the first time in 13th place.

Meanwhile food brands Heinz and Kellogg’s retained their place in the top 20 at fifth and ninth respectively – joined by Cadbury at 11th, while Coca-Cola moved up from fifth to third.

Running since 1995, The Consumer Superbrands ranking is based on a survey of 3,000 adults who are asked to consider a selection of brands by the Centre for Brand Analysis.


Kuoni to organise adventure tourism in South America

Switzerland-based tour operator, Kuoni, has announced that it is planning to organise adventure trips to South America.

The company, which has already started marketing the concept, said that it would create holidays that are tailor-made to customers’ needs. The firm’s 21 retail stores and four partnership stores will offer bespoke advice, and plan adventure tours to South America, in line with the customer’s own preferences.

The firm said that its experienced staff, many of whom are also claimed to be seasoned travellers, would design the adventure tours from available itineraries.

Brazil is one of the highlights in the proposed itinerary. The company has suggested a 13-night independent itinerary starting in Rio. Destinations that would be included are Copacabana Beach, Sugar Loaf Mountain and the statue of Christ the Redeemer. After the initial sightseeing in the city, travellers can visit the Iguacu Falls and then go for a cruise on the Amazon river.

Another destination that is expected to be popular is Peru, where customers will have the opportunity to visit Machu Picchu, the lost city of the Incas. Another package, ‘Taste of Peru’, is a seven-night private tour, during which customers could visit Lima, Cuzco, the ancient capital of the Incas, and the Sacred Valley.

In Chile, the itinerary allows tourists to visit the Atacama Desert and the spectacular fjords and glaciers located in Torres del Paine National Park. Hikers will be given plenty of opportunity to trek in the spectacular terrain. Tailor-made holiday solutions are also available for visits to mystical, Easter Island.

Sarah Beckwith, market manager with Kuoni, said, ‘Kuoni launched the new Discover brochure in October 2011, bringing together the very best of Kuoni’s escorted tours and highlighting the opportunities for tailor-made travel, particularly in South America, to experience a true adventure, iconic sights and treasured moments. We hope this dedicated campaign will inspire our customers as these incredible and spectacular destinations are put under the spotlight.’


Six-mile walkway will give tourists bird’s eye view of Amazon rainforest

A British charity is building a pioneering science centre that will feature six miles of walkways – hoping to attract eco-tourists to the rainforest.

Tourists will be able to see spectacular views of the rainforest , and the science centre will be the research base for scientists from the Royal Botanic Gardens. The centre will also provide jobs for Brazilian tribes, according to the Sunday Times.

The impressive walkway project will be located in Roraima, a remote destination northeast of Brazil. It will be created by the same designers who built the London Eye and Kew Gardens treetop walk.

The walkway will help scientists study the canopy, whilst visitors will be able to enjoy a unique view from high above the jungle floor.

The two-year project is being co-ordinated by the Amazon Charitable Trust.

Robert Pasley-Tyler, a managing partner of the Amazon Charitable Trust, said of the project: ‘It will employ the local river tribe, giving them a way of making a living without destroying the forest, and also boost awareness around the world.

‘Visitors will also get to see the nearby pink dolphins and the giant otters before spending a relaxing day on a riverside beach.’

Destination Ecuador

Ecuador is located on the equatorial line in northwestern South America, bordering the Pacific Ocean to the west, Colombia to the north, and Peru to the south and east. Ecuador is the eighth largest country in South America, at roughly the size of the US state of Nevada.

Ecuador is 283,561 square kilometers in size and has a very diverse geography. Ecuador has four geographical regions: The Andes (La Sierra), the Amazon Rainforest (El Oriente), La Costa (The Coast), and the Galapagos Islands.

The Galapagos Islands are located around 1,000 kilometers west of mainland Ecuador. The volcanic islands have a subtropical climate and are marked by beaches and forests. During the Galápagos Islands’ dry season, which runs from June to December, the weather is cooler and windier. From October to May, the weather is warmer and there is frequently light rain.

The coast runs along the west coast and features low mountains, valleys, plains, mangroves, rivers, and rainforests. The coast has a tropical climate, and is hot and humid. The coast is cloudy, cooler, and dry from May to December, and hotter and rainier from January to April.

The Andes region, or central highlands, lying between the western coastal lowlands and the eastern jungles, consists of mountain ranges, foothills, and valleys. The two sides of the Andes, the Western and Eastern Andes contain 60 volcanoes with an average altitude of 7,000 feet, covering a distance of 400 km from the northern to the southern Andes. This is called the “Avenue of the Volcanoes.” Due to the altitude, the Andes region has cool, spring-like weather, with a great deal of sunshine. Temperatures vary throughout the day. The highlands are overcast and wet during the rainy season (October-May), and drier, with mild showers, common in the afternoon, during the dry season (June-September).

The Amazon region is east of the Andes, and it borders Colombia and Peru, and contains part of the Amazon rainforest, as well as rivers and rolling jungles. Three active volcanoes are located in Ecuador’s Amazon rainforest: Sangay, Reventador and Sumaco. This is the only country where three active volcanoes are located inside the Amazon rainforest, The Amazon is hot and humid, and receives a significant amount of rainfall year-round. The Amazon is the wettest from June to August.

Ecuador uses the US dollar as its currency. Natural landscapes make up a good deal of the land mass—the Amazon alone takes up about 50% of the land area.