Short cuts

Hampshire A new guidebook publisher launches in the UK this month, with a range of 30 books and plans to produce another 45 in the next year. Marco Polo Travel Publishing, based in Basingstoke, is a new subsidiary of long-established German publisher MairDumont. Its ambitious plans fly in the face of market trends. The newly released 2012 Nielsen BookScan Travel Publishing Year Book shows sales of travel guides fell by more than 12 per cent in the UK last year, and by 35 per cent in the past five years. “It’s a bold time to be publishing a new series of travel guides,” said Stephen Mesquita, the report’s author.

Reykjavik Despite a population of fewer than 320,000, Iceland is to get its third international airline in June with the launch of Wow Air. The airline is currently recruiting cabin crew and has unveiled details of routes and the pink and white colour scheme for its two Airbus A320s. It will fly between Keflavik and 12 European destinations, including London, Paris, Berlin and Zurich. Perhaps aided by the lower prices that resulted from Iceland’s economic crash, tourism grew strongly in the country last year, with visitor numbers up 17.8 per cent.

Frankfurt Hilton has opened two hotels within the Squaire, a 660m-long, nine-storey, retail and office complex at Frankfurt airport. Hilton hopes that with restaurants, spa and shopping facitilies, the hotels (a Hilton and the cheaper Hilton Garden Inn) will attract leisure as well as business travellers.

Paris Star chef Alain Ducasse has opened a traditional Alpine restaurant in the courtyard of the Plaza Athénée hotel. Les Bancs d’hiver is a pop-up (or restaurant éphémère) which until March 10 will serve mountain specialities such as raclette and vin chaud beside an ice rink.

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