OSKA Travel offers holiday package to Turkey from Bournemouth

UK’s OSKA Travel, a specialised tour operator with a focus on cultural roundtrips in the Mediterranean region and central Europe, will be offering holiday packages to Turkey from Bournemouth Airport this year, the airport said in a release.

Two holiday options will be available from Bournemouth, including a seven-night all-inclusive holiday to a 5-star hotel from £449 per person, or a one-week escorted tour around the Turkish Riviera, staying in 4/5 star hotels on a B&B basis from £249 per person.

Paul Knight, managing director of Bournemouth Airport, said: ‘We are delighted to welcome OSKA Travel to Bournemouth Airport. Their holidays offer excellent value for money and I’m sure they will prove to be really popular with our passengers. We’re looking to provide more options and services for customers using our airport and this will extend our connections further into Europe.’

Andreas F. Forsthuber of OSKA Travel said: ‘We are really excited to add a regional airport such as Bournemouth to our portfolio. At KENBA Group, the owner of OSKA Travel, we have handled more than 80,000 passengers from six different countries in 2012 and 2013.

‘We are really looking forward to welcoming guests from Bournemouth Airport in Turkey – and we are sure they will love this tour. It might well be their first, but it will definitely not be their last trip’.

With its rich history, Turkey offers a fascinating glimpse into the past, but also presents its guests with a range of good restaurants, traditional markets and a lively nightlife.

OSKA also offer ‘Escorted Tour’ holidays for those who want to explore the region. Holidaymakers can travel through the Taurus Mountains and visit Pamukkale, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Visitors can also experience a typical carpet village, the preserved ruins of Parga, or enjoy a sightseeing tour of Antalya.

Flights depart from Bournemouth Airport on April 10, 17 and 24, the airport said.

Prestwick Airport to operate new Turkish charter flights

Prestwick Airport in Scotland has won its first new flights after it was acquired by the Scottish Government last month.

According to a report by the Scotsman, no-frills carrier, Oska Travel, will operate Turkish charter services to Antalya in March. The charter flights from the airport come after Holidays4U ended services to Dalaman in Turkey about two years ago.

Oska, which operates 25 European routes from Prestwick, will operate three return flights in March for the week-long trips, which included tours of Kemer, Pamukkale, Tavas and Perga.

Prestwick Airport spokeswoman, Paula Horne, said: ‘We are delighted to have secured these Oska Travel tours from Prestwick this March.

‘It allows us to put yet another Mediterranean destination on our departure board, emphasising once again that Prestwick is Scotland’s low-cost gateway to year-round sunshine.’

Andreas Forsthuber, director of Oska Travel owners, the Kenba group, said: ‘We are very excited to add Prestwick to our portfolio and are also delighted to offer a one-week voyage of discovery to the fabulous Turkish Riviera.

‘We are convinced Scots will love this tour.’

Chief executive, Stuart Patrick, said: ‘Despite assurances that it would happen, we have as yet had no reply from the Scottish Government regarding a meeting to allay our concerns about the negative effect on Glasgow Airport of the Prestwick purchase.

‘In buying Glasgow Prestwick Airport, the Scottish ministers now have a direct stake in the performance of the airport industry in the Central Belt of Scotland.

‘We are concerned that this may have detrimental effects on the performance of Glasgow International Airport.’

The announcement came as Glasgow Chamber of Commerce renewed its call for a meeting with ministers over the airport sale.

The Scottish Government took over Prestwick for GBP1 after New Zealand owners, Infratil, threatened to shut it following a major reduction in passenger numbers. The government had said that it will be focusing on working for the airport’s successful future.

UK Foreign Office extends warning on Turkey

The UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has repeated a warning for travellers intending to visit Turkey.

The latest warning from the FCO has been issued with the expectation that further demonstrations are to take place in cities across the country. There have also been reports that riot police have entered Istanbul’s Taksim Square, a main focus point in the two-week-long demonstration. The BBC has reported the use of tear gas and water cannon by the authorities, despite Turkey’s prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, having agreed to a meeting tomorrow with organisers of the protest.

The FCO has warned that two major pro-government rallies are scheduled to take place in Ankara and Istanbul this Saturday and Sunday (June 15 and 16) and in a statement it said, ‘Further demonstrations remain possible in cities across Turkey, week commencing June 10. Police may continue to use tear gas and water cannons to disperse protestors. We advise British Nationals to avoid all demonstrations.’

Despite the FCO’s warning, Turkey’s Ministry of Culture and Tourism has said that tourists are safe to visit the country, with a spokesperson saying, ‘There are currently no problems being experienced with either transport or security in Istanbul or any of our tourism regions and thus every sort of touristic activity is carrying on as normal. Flights in and out of Turkey have not been affected by these events and are running as scheduled.

‘The Turkish Ministry of Culture and Tourism continues to take every precaution regarding the safety of visitors to the country.’

The demonstrations, which were originally in protest at Turkish government plans to build on Taksim Square’s Gezi Park, have now adopted a wider agenda against perceived government authoritarianism and restrictions on sales of alcohol.

FCO issues warning for UK travellers to Turkey

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), the government authority that is responsible for providing assistance for British tourists overseas, has issued a travel warning for UK citizens intending to visit Turkey.

The warning comes in the wake of a wave of anti-government demonstrations that have been taking place over the weekend with escalating violence both from the protestors and the law enforcement officers. With in-excess of 1,700 people arrested during protests that have spread to 67 Turkish towns and cities, the FCO has advised all British nationals that visit the country to avoid any areas where demonstrations are taking place for their own safety.

The major cities of Istanbul and Ankara have witnessed the bulk of the violence, which first broke out on Friday. The police have responded to missiles thrown from the crowds and the burning of cars with tear gas and water cannons. As a result of the violence, the Turkish Doctor’s Association said that its members have treated in excess of 484 wounded protestors.

An update of the FCO’s travel advice that was issued on Saturday said, ‘Following recent demonstrations in Istanbul and other cities in Turkey, in which police used tear gas and water cannons, the possibility of further demonstrations remains high. We advise British nationals to avoid all demonstrations.’

The protest grew out of an initial peaceful gathering in Gezi Park, Istanbul, as a demonstration against the park being developed to create a shopping centre. However, as the protest gained momentum it was joined by large crowds, angry at the government’s increasingly authoritarian stance, perceived as Islamist, and which has also seen recent restrictions on the sale of alcohol.


Indulge Your Family with Holidays in Cyprus and Turkey

There’s nothing like giving the whole family something to look forward to. With these fabulous five star hotels in Cyprus and Turkey, there’s something for every member of your family to enjoy. Why not book a holiday with your loved ones and make memories that will remain with you all forever?

The Hotel Elysium, Paphos

This five star wonder is situated on a Mediterranean beach, looking out onto a blissful, blue paradise. Perfect for the whole family, it boasts a fabulous spa with some divine all-over-body treatments, a diving school, car rental, a hairdressing salon, 6 restaurants, and several top range shops amongst other exciting facilities.

With a choice of many types of room, from deluxe rooms to family suites, maisonettes, studios and villas, there is space to make every family happy on holiday. There are plenty of amenities, including LCD TV, luxurious bathrobes and slippers, and complimentary toiletries.

Find out more about Elysium Hotel, Paphos at Jet2holidays.com

Four Seasons, Limassol

With its 20th anniversary in 2013, the Four Seasons is a five star hotel in a class of its own. The pinnacle of luxury, this hotel has 304 rooms, 6 restaurants – several of which are award winning – and 4 bars, while its placement on a superbly clean Blue Flag awarded beach makes it extra special. It also hosts a spa facility featuring seaweed body masks and anti-ageing treatments, and a fully equipped sports and fitness centre.

With accommodation featuring luxury en suite facilities, huge LCD TVs, wireless internet, play stations, baby monitoring devices and private balconies, the Four Seasons is fully aware of the needs of a family and there is plenty of room – the more, the merrier!

Find out more about Four Seasons, Limassol at Jet2holidays.com

Hilton Resort & Spa, Dalaman

If you’ve ever fancied living in the lap of luxury, Dalaman’s Hilton Resort is it. For family indulgence, a lovely open suite with its own private balcony could be just the ticket.

Dining in style is at the fore with a variety of restaurants, including the TAO, with contemporary Far Eastern and Asian meals, all day dining at the Pianoforte, Italian delicacies to be enjoyed at the Alize and a fine rooftop bar for the evenings.

Not only is there a well-equipped fitness centre and a top range spa, there are many other activities available to guests including horse riding, water skiing, and of course, swimming in the Dead Sea is a highly therapeutic activity, recommended for centuries by travellers.

Find out more about Hilton resort & spa, Dalaman at Jet2holidays.com

These hotels can be booked through a number of travel operators, including package deal specialists Jet2holidays. There’s no excuse not to!

Brits head to Turkey as tourism booms

Ranked the sixth most visited country in the world by the UN World Tourism Organisation, Turkey Holidays are becoming increasingly popular with worldwide travellers. Given the current economic climate, it comes as no surprise that more and more tourists are choosing to travel to Turkey, thanks to its affordable lifestyle, lively culture and pristine beaches.

Sandwiched between Greece and Georgia, Turkey is often considered to be the crossroads of Europe and Asia and is famous for its lively Mediterranean culture and natural beauty. The picturesque Turquoise Coast is just what you’d expect – endless white sand beaches, luxury resorts and relaxing gulet cruises. With Dalman holidays more affordable than ever, there’s no time like the present to escape a cold winter and set sail along the Turkish coast.

The boom in Turkey’s popularity is largely due to countries such as Germany, Russia and the UK. In 2011, 2.6 million British tourists travelled to Turkey, with figures expected to rise even more this year – 2 million Brits had already visited the country by September 2012.

So just why are UK travellers flocking to Turkey? Compared to its European counterparts, Turkey offers all the postcard-worthy views and idyllic holiday lifestyle, but minus the hefty price tag associated with hotspots like Paris, Rome and the Greek Islands. With UNESCO heritage sites nestled amongst seaside villages, Turkey is full of historic charm – the impressive array of mosques are legendary masterpieces; the ancient cities full of local life; the centuries-old ruins largely left untouched.

Whether it’s a family holiday or a romantic rendezvous, Turkey has something for everyone, and every budget. To the west, Bodrum sits on the pristine Aegean Coast and is one of the most popular resorts in Turkey. Aside from the crystal clear waters, you can also find one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus, a tomb built in 350BC. Shopping is abundant, and haggling for bargains a given.

A little further south sits Dalaman – a region filled with mud baths, ancient ruins and traditional cruises. A popular destination for British sun seekers, Dalaman offers a luxury lifestyle with affordable prices. The ever-popular gulet cruises are a unique way to take in the Turkish Riveria. A single-mast wooden ship, a gulet cruise allows you to sit back, relax and let the crew do the hard work. Indulge in fresh seafood, sunbake the day away and take a dip in the turquoise waters.

So whatever is on your Turkish itinerary, you’re sure to have an amazing, once-in-a-lifetime holiday – after all, 2.6 million Brits can’t be wrong.

Enjoying Sweets Abroad

There are a number of dates throughout the year promoting variations of local, national or international Chocolate Day – as if we needed an excuse to indulge our sugar cravings! UK Chocolate Week is every October and there is even World Chocolate Day which took place on September 4th. Take a look at our guide to enjoying some of the best desserts, sweets and cakes in three of Thomas Cook’s most popular European destinations.


Last minute Turkey holidays are perfect for those of you with a sweet tooth. Turkish delight is probably the best-known sugary snack from the Middle East. These small, fragrant cubes of jelly are usually flavoured with rosewater, orange flower water or citrus fruit juice and heavily dusted with icing sugar. Turkish delight is served alongside coffee or tea in Middle Eastern households. Cinnamon or peppermint flavoured oils are sometimes used as an alternative to rosewater.

Baklava is by far Turkey’s favourite dessert. Eggs, olives, pistachio, and lemons are some of the ingredients used in this sweet treat. The final product is a delicious syrupy pastry snack. Aside from white-sandy beaches, breathtaking cliff-bound bays and lively nightlife, holidays to Dalaman offer some of the best baklava in the country.


Holidays in Malta have always been popular, due to the island’s many sunny days, expansive beaches and vibrant nightlife. It’s also a melting pot of cultures. With North African and Arabic influences from the south, Sicilian from the north, and Greek from the west, this diversity is reflected in its cuisine. Kannoli is perhaps the most famous Italian-influenced Maltese sweet. This very popular confectionery is shaped like a cylinder and stuffed with pieces of chocolate and fruit preserves. Figoll, delicious golden-brown biscuits stuffed with ground almonds, are also a local favourite.


Cheap holidays in Tunisia are very popular and with good reason; behind excellent beaches and low-rise hotels lies a country of great variety – green mountains, rivers, lakes and amazing weather. Tunisian desserts reflect this variety too. The most common is a simple plate of light, sweet and delicious seasonal fruit to cleanse the palate. There are also a multitude of honey, nut and pastry shaped sweets. Makroudh is a North African favourite; it is made with honey and has a date filling on the inside. Powdered sugar doughnuts topped with pistachios are also popular here.

Turkish tourism board corners award

The World Travel Awards 2012 has rated the Turkish Ministry of Culture & Tourism as Europe’s ‘Leading Tourist Board.’

The awards acknowledged the quality of various tourist facilities in the country. For example, the award for Europe’s Leading Luxury Hotel was bagged by the Mardan Palace, Antalya and the Cornelia Diamond Golf Resort & Spa in Belek was awarded with Europe’s Leading Luxury Resort award. Angel’s Peninsula, Marmaris, bagged Europe’s Leading New Luxury Hotel award.

Over the years, Turkey has developed into a major tourist destination and is now ranked sixth in terms of the number of foreign arrivals. That foreign arrivals figure was 31.4 million in 2011, of which 2.58 million were from the UK. The figure for 2011 recorded a 50 percent increase compared to the previous five years.

Cities in Turkey also claimed various honours after being rated by international travellers. While the Turkish city of Istanbul was voted ‘Destination of the Year’ by readers of Food and Travel magazine, the resort town of Belek was named ‘Best Golf Destination’ at the Golf Journal Travel Awards. The TripAdvisor 2012 Choice Destination Awards rated Istanbul as the fourth best destination in Europe, and seventh best destination in the world.

Turkey, which enjoys universal appeal as a holiday destination, is also well regarded for its culture, culinary delights, wonderful climate, natural beauty and warm hospitality. The nation also hosts two Wonders of the Ancient World, 11 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, 352 Blue Flag beaches and 19 Blue Flag Marinas.

Commenting on the recent distinction, Turkey’s minister for Culture & Tourism said, ‘We are thrilled to have won this prestigious travel award during a year which has seen a number of awards for Turkey and unprecedented press coverage. It is also a year in which Istanbul is the European Capital of Sport and when the city became one of three short listed cities for the 2020 Olympics.’

Gambia and Turkey agree to work together on expanding tourism

The governments of Gambia and Turkey have agreed to expand cooperation to develop tourism in both states.

The agreement – signed by tourism officials from both nations – seeks to recognise the importance of tourism to develop economic development in the countries. The two nations also agreed to use tourism as a means to develop stronger ties.

After attending the signing ceremony, Gambia’s minister of Tourism and Culture, Fatou Mass Jobe-Njie, said that the agreement with Turkey would improve product and human resource developments as well as tourism investment in Gambia. She also noted that the collaboration would help the nation enhance its tourism offering with significant improvements in quality, saying that since Turkey and Gambia had common tourism offerings, experience from one country would help the other.

Ali Riza A-zcokun, Turkish ambassador to Gambia, said that with the signing of the agreement, Turkish visitors would have enhanced knowledge about Gambia and Africa in general.

Momodou Joof, permanent secretary at MoTC, said, ‘This MOU will provide the two countries opportunity to share experiences, knowledge and information in the area of tourism. The country is standing a chance to benefit in the area of product development, hotel gratification among other things in the field of tourism’

The understanding could lead to Gambia increasingly becoming noticed as a tourism destination for its beaches and culture.

Turkey Offers Travellers An Insight into Islam

A religious tourism package that allows travellers to gain an in-depth knowledge of Islam is being offered in Turkey.

While the title of the package, ‘Muslim for a Month,’ could possibly be viewed with cynicism by the religion’s devout followers, the package is nevertheless an attempt to provide visitors with a detailed insight into Islam, especially in its moderate and tolerant form.

The tours are the brainchild of Ben Bowler, who runs cultural exchange programmes and intends to take travellers, especially non-Muslims from around the world, to Turkish mosques and homes to experience Islam firsthand. Bowler said that the tourism initiative would allow people to be exposed to the virtues of Islam, a religion that has been the recipient of much negative attention.

Bowler, who has been conducting the tours for some time, said that people’s attitudes are altered once they learn about the religion in detail. He said, ‘People are very visibly moved. There are lots of tears. It’s a rich, multi-layered experience and people are coming out with changed ideas and changed perceptions-they are more aware of the positive side of the religion than before.’

Bowler said that the title of the tour programme was considered to be rather provocative by some, but he added that Muslims have been showing support because of its good intentions. He said, ‘It’s a provocative title, ‘Muslim for a Month,’ so we were bracing ourselves for criticism. There has been a little of that – Being a Muslim is for life, not just a month.’

The programme is being offered by Bowler’s NGO World Weavers. Tour participants are taught the basics of Islamic practice. They study Islamic history and calligraphy, and are allowed to pray in mosques and live and eat with Muslim families. Tourists will also have to undergo a day of fasting. The travel package is for 10 or 21 days, and travellers are put up in a 400-year-old Sufi lodge in Istanbul’s Eyup district. They will also visit the ancient city of Konya to visit the tomb of Sufi mystic, Rumi, and learn his teachings.