Saturday snippets: 11 January 2013

By | Category: Travel news

Aberystwyth before the storms

Expedia.co.uk, part of the world’s largest online travel agent, might have named 2013 the year of the British Beach Vacation but will we flock to British beaches this summer. Having seen damage to many of our coastal resorts on the western side will they – and in particular Aberystwyth – be ready for British and overseas visitors to visit them? Will we have been put off by the sights we have seen and only think of each holidays abroad?

Media pictures of the prom in Aberystwyth being torn up caused the Welsh Natural Resources Minister, Alun Davies, to say that emergency funding was available for its repair. He told Ceredigion council to apply to ensure the promenade was fixed by Easter. Mr Davies described the wrecked seafront as the “jewel in the crown” of the county’s tourism trade tourist industry.”

Travelling towards Manchester Airport this week I heard a couple of train passengers considering the summer holidays. Why should I ever holiday in England one asked when Tenerife was warmer in January than it was in Scarborough in the summer? He was on the way to Tenerife for his first of six holidays of the year. Was he retired? was this boasting or bravado? Was he rich? No, he was a railwayman. They must get paid well or holidays in Tenerife are a bargain!

Up Helly Aa, is a hard to forget fire festival which takes place in Lerwick, Shetland, on the last Tuesday in January every year. It involves a series of marches and visitations, culminating in a torch-lit procession and the burning of a galley. This is followed by hours of performing acts and dancing in halls throughout Lerwick. The largest festival of fire in Europe attracts visitors from across the world and marks the end of Yuletide with the world famous thousand-strong torchlit procession, and the dramatic burning of a replica Viking Longship.

With Up Helly Aa almost upon us and Christmas all but a distant memory, Telextext Holidays claims that millions of Brits are now turning their attention to booking their 2014 holiday in a bid to banish those New Year blues! Agreed but they also say that a staggering (their word) 43 per cent of Brits suffer from Pre-Holiday Tension (PHT). We spend three years in total searching and prepping. (another word of theirs.) Teletext also say that 43 per cent self-diagnosed themselves as suffering from PHT. Obviously teletext have nothing better to do other than wast time on humorous research. Or do they really believe any of this twaddle?

Thailand’s tourism industry is starting to suffer from continuing unrest caused by anti-government protests, the BBC’s Jonathan Head reported from Bangkok earlier in the week.. Visitor numbers have fallen since protesters took to the streets in December. Last time, the unrest failed to really affect the main tourism resorts. This time it’s the same. For those who fancy Thailand expect some good holiday prices in the not too distant future when the unrest stops hitting the front pages of our newspapers.

A pub based in a former Victorian music hall has been given more than £1m to expand into underground floors and caves.The floors under the Malt Cross, in Nottingham, have had various uses in the past, including as a Victorian roller skating rink. Built in 1877, work begins in April and is expected to finish in September. The plan is to bring the Malt Cross and the music hall back to life. The lower floors would have allowed poorer people to hear, although not see, the music for free. The caves have been recorded since the 11th Century, when a Carmelite monastery stood on the site.

Newport in South Wales is not usually considered a tourist attraction. A few years ago when a cruise ship called there not one of the excursions arranged for passengers went into the place. But it is hosting a NATO summit this year at the Celtic Manor so one of the local MP’s – Paul Flynn – asked whether delegates would have the opportunity of seeing its attractions. Probably not. Whilst Visit Britain is heavily promoting Glasgow abroad as the site for the Commonwealth Games, I have seen nothing on why overseas visitors should come to Newport despite the fact – as Flynn pointed out –it has the Roman remains at Caerleon, the transporter bridge and Tredegar house

Up Helly Aa

We all know how expensive it can be to maintain the buildings that we as visitors like to see. Surprisingly though, for only £3 million 100 Church treasures can be preserved. Helen Goodman MP and Tony Baldry MP both agreed on the price and the achievement. So alittle – in comparable terms – can go a long way. Would that other heritage preservation was as cheap.

Would that the proposed Thames Garden Bridge would only cost as much. At £150 million it seems pricey so the government will kick in with £60 million leaving £90 million left to find. Lord Deighton, for the government, pointed out some benefits many of which are regularly trotted out by anyone proposing a new attraction like swelling visitor numbers but it remains whether any might happen. What it will bring to London – if it goes ahead – is a very unusual attraction so like the London Eye and Eros it should attract visitors the curious as well as the gardening fraternity.

Should Humberside Airport be renamed? Some people think that the 300th anniversary of the establishment of the longitude prize, which was set up by Queen Anne in 1714 means that the airport should be re-named something like John Harrison Airport in honour of the man who invented a clock that allowed accurate navigation. Why him? Why not any of the worthies who called Hull their birthplace like Philip Larkin, Andrew Motion or William Wilberforce? Isn’t it just better to have a geographical description so people know where airports actually are?

And talking of airports, Newquay in Cornwall is loss-making with the council having to cough up £3 million a year to keep it open. Now Cllr. Harry Blakeley has suggested it could be used as a rock concert venue and for kite boarding, Health and safety problems made it “very difficult” for the airport to host thousands of people at a concert, said one council cabinet member. At least Cllr. Blakeley shows he had some out-of-the-box thinking for using this place. Slightly more than other councillors. And if they don’t come up with ideas soon – or airlines for encouraging passengers – there will be no realistic passenger airport after Exeter in the south west.

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