Saturday Snippets: 18 January 2014

By | Category: Travel news

cruising off Anglesey

It seems that Anglesey can’t keep out of the news these days. After the three-year stint by Prince William and the publicity that brought to the island, Halon salt has just been granted protected status by the EU and now more cruise passengers are likely to visit. Germans in particular are coming and estimates are that 13,000 passengers will disembark and visit this year. If you happen to live in the area and speak German you could become one of the tour guides. Forty jobs are available at Cruise Wales and training begins next month.

Last Monday Germanwings – an airline normally considered a low-cost or no-frills one – began flights from Heathrow. It provides flights to both Hamburg and Berlin-Tegel three times a day at prices that are cheaper than those offered by Lufthansa and British Airways. Does this mean that Heathrow will now encourage the likes of Ryanair and easyJet to set up there?

A sign that not all airports are under pressure comes from some Scottish airports which show that they had a bumper year in passenger numbers last year. Two airports had their highest passenger numbers ever. Edinburgh had almost 9.8 million people in 2013 – the highest number on record for a Scottish airport and Aberdeen had nearly 3.5 million people passing through the airport last year. Glasgow enjoyed its busiest year since 2008, with 7.4 million passengers. Not such good news for Prestwick or Inverness where “challenging” times exist.

no-frills come to Heathrow

The recent storms were unpleasant for many but they have revealed some hitherto unseen sights that might become tourist attractions in the future. Newgale in Pembrokeshire was badly hit by the storms but the shifting beach has revealed the remains of 10,000-year-old trees. Last weekend’s clean-up revealed Remnants of the ancient woodland which formed part of a forest. In Porthcawl on the south coast of Wales and a popular seaside resort, two Georgian cannon were discovered by people walking their dogs. And they are substantial. One is three foot long and the other, five. They will be conserved and pla ed in the local museum. In Aberystwyth the remains of a bath house dating back to 1810 was found following the collapse of the town’s seafront Victorian shelter.

Meanwhile, across the channel, the 19th Century schooner Sunbeam was washed ashore on the coast of County Kerry more than 100 years ago with no loss of life. It could be seen peering from the sands of Rossbeigh Strand for over a century but the storms washed up the boat onto the sand dunes. Press reports say that the National Monuments Service in the Republic is moving to protect the shipwreck from souvenir hunters after it was washed up.

Over in Guernsey, they are preparing to celebrate the centenary of one of their most visited attractions. Guernsey’s ‘Little Chapel’, which is thought to be the smallest chapel in the world, measures just nine feet long by five feet wide. Those only a few people can visit it at any one time. Its walls are made up of thousands of fragments of china, seashells and pebbles. How the chapel came to be built is interesting. An exiled French monk, started building the Little Chapel in December 1913, to emulate the sacred grotto at Lourdes. He demolished it himself following criticism and a second was destroyed when the Bishop of Portsmouth could not pass through the doorway. (too fat?) The third version, which was officially finished in July 1914, is the one you will see today.

3.54 million visitors from around the world arrived in Israel in 2013, a new all-time high in travel to Israel, says Haim Gutin, Israel Commissioner for Tourism, North and South America. The US provides the largest number of visitors whilst the UK is number four. The month of December 2013 also set a new record high, with the arrival of 24% more tourists (visitors who stayed more than one night) than in 2012. Cruise travel to Israel also increased in 2013 with the arrival of a record 257,000 cruise visitors.

Excavations at Abydos, 70 miles north-west of Egypt’s famous Valley of the Kings, have revealed the existence of a cemetery, thought to be the final resting place of up to 16 mysterious pharaohs. It seems surprising in theis day and age that an entire cemetary on this size can still be found. Could it be enough to re-ignite interest in travelling to Egypt’s traditional tourist areas as sopposed to the beach resorts? This could be a boon for the tourism authorities particularly if tours are allowed to the areas so that visitors can watch as they excavate.

The Holiday Show opened in Belfast yesterday marking the first of the consumer travel shows of the year. Next weekend it will be Dublin‘s turn and in London will be the Adventure Travel Show at Olympia and Destinations in Manchester.

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