Introduction of Ryanair May Lower Ukraine Hotel Prices for UEFA Championship

Hotel prices in Ukraine are expected to fall for the 2012 UEFA European Football Championship, with the introduction of Ryanair, an Ireland-based low cost airline, said the Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister and Infrastructure Minister, Borys Kolesnikov.

Ukraine is hosting the UEFA Football Championships, along with Poland, from June 8 to July 1, 2012. Ryanair intends to offer services to the Ukrainian cities of Lviv and Donetsk from its hub in France from May 2012. Fans will able to attend matches with Ryanair on a round-trip basis, removing the need to pay for hotel accommodation, and it is expected that hotel room rates will come down in price due to the decreased demand.

In an interview, Ukrainian minister, Borys Kolesnikov, said, ‘I think that this problem will be resolved by the end of April. First, we are completing an agreement with Ryanair on its entry to the Ukrainian market, and all fans will be able to calculate the cost of a flight for every match and stay in Ukraine. And the price will be in favour of aviation. I think that price will significantly fall from that moment. It takes three-and-a-half hours to fly from London to Donetsk, and a round-trip ticket will cost $300. England will play three group stage matches in Ukraine. That is, total expenditures would be $900, if you just fly for every match. If the price of a hotel room costs more than $200, then it would be a lot more expensive to live here for ten days. I think that this will quickly cool the ardour of our hotels.’

Earlier, reports have said that UEFA president and former footballer, Michel Platini, has expressed his concern at high prices for accommodation at Ukrainian hotels during the Euro 2012 European Football Championship.

Krakow soars in popularity for stag do’s

Demand for Krakow stag weekend packages has soared in recent months as football fans from across the UK look to tie their stag weekends to the forthcoming Euro 2012 tournament, with the England and Dutch teams confirmed to be using the city as a base during the games.

Managing Director of the Stag Company Rob Hill explained that whilst Krakow has always been one of the organisation’s most popular destinations, the demand in light of the summer tournament has been unprecedented.

“The majority of our customers love football and even those who don’t are keen to experience the same kind of ambience that was in evidence at the 2006 World Cup, with outdoor beer tents and sausage vendors and a great atmosphere all around. People are getting excited about the concept of a Krakow stag do in the summer,” he states.

The Brighton based organisation promotes sporting activities in and around the Polish city perhaps more so than other locations on offer, with white water rafting and clay pigeon shooting on offer. Hill senses that this mix has appealed further to those seeking an active Krakow stag weekend to tie in with the Euros.

“Absolutely. Our groups have expressed an interest in going white water rafting or paint-balling in the morning and then relaxing back in the city with some beers and watching the football on big screens in the afternoon. Then at night they are able to go to a casino, nightclub or on one of our guided bar crawls.”

The Stag Company are also actively promoting trips to another Polish city, Wroclaw, in the run up to June and are seeking to add 5-a-side football matches as an activity in these locations. They currently do so in a number of European destinations, including Barcelona and Prague.

The Stag Company offer custom-made stag weekends in approximately 80 locations across the UK and Europe and was founded in 2003. They are based in Brighton, Sussex.

First visit to Poland, her ancestral home delights Helena Lang, editor of Sainsbury’s Magazine

In the latest issue of Sainsbury’s Magazine, in store today, Helena Lang, editor, gives a personal account of her first family trip to Poland. In the issue, she reveals her thought-provoking experience of her father’s homeland, with its visual and culinary delights, made all the more poignant since her father left the country during the Second World War.

Whilst visiting Krakow and the south east of the country, Helena, who joined Seven as editor of Sainsbury’s Magazine in May 2009, discovered a nation steeped in tradition and fine food, but also a land full of surprises.

With an image in her mind born from sepia toned old family photographs, Helena expected to find a country laden with strife and hardship. Instead her initial impressions of the country came as a delightful revelation. The trip took in Krakow, where they stayed in the Kazimierz district, a visit to Auschwitz, a day in Wieliczka and trips to Zakopane and Tarnow.

Being an editor of a food focused magazine, gastronomic delights were not far from Helena’s mind, sampling Russian pierogi stuffed with cheese, delicious pork loin in a spicy tomato sauce, and incredible cakes and pastries, piled high with layers of puff pastry, crème patisserie, fruit syrups and dark chocolate.

Food was always going to be a major part of the trip. Helena’s paternal family were refugees in Britain after the Second World War and, like many immigrants, food and recipes passed down the generations were key to keeping their heritage alive in a strange new land. Regular family visits focused on traditional recipes including barscht (clear beetroot soup) with dumplings, bigos, a chunky polish-style cassoulet (a hearty dish with plenty of cabbage, minus the beans) and, of course, Jewish staples including rye bread, gherkins, dried meats, duck, dumplings, and dill on everything!

Helena’s holiday was arranged by Baltic Holidays which offers tailored itineraries and group tours in most of the Baltic States.

Helena Lang, Editor of Sainsbury’s Magazine, says, “I’m the first of my father’s children to visit the country, and to go with him and my English mother was an emotional journey for all of us.”

“I really fell in love with the place, you know a holiday has been successful when you start wondering if you can afford to buy a pied a terre there to escape to”, she added.

According to the Office for National Statistics, the Polish-born population is widely spread across the UK. In the year ending June 2010 they were one of the three largest non-UK born population groups in all countries and regions of the UK. London had 122,000 Polish-born residents, 23 per cent of the UK total.

Helena joined Sainsbury’s Magazine, from Source magazine, the customer title for the John Lewis brand Greenbee.com, where she had been the editor since 2006. She also worked as Robinson’s deputy on the title between 2004 and 2006, and also edited Hachtte Filipacchi’s Psychologies magazine ahead of its UK launch.