What’s hot: February 2014

By | Category: Travel tips & opinions

CD-Traveller tells you what’s hot and what’s not in the travel world. This month it’s good news for Hull and the cruising industry. Not so for New Delhi…


HOT

Hull

Literary giant, Philip Larkin, famously labelled Hull – his home for 30 years – a “dump”. However Hull has been awarded the 2017 City of Culture, beating Dundee, Leicester and Swansea Bay to the title. TV producer Phil Redmond, who chaired the judges said: “It was the unanimous verdict of the panel that Hull put forward the most compelling case based on its theme as ‘a city coming out of the shadows.’

France’s new high speed visa system

France’s new high speed visa system means that a Chinese tourist can now obtain a visa to France in 48 hours whereas it takes them seven days to obtain a visa that allows them to enter Britain. We need to review our approach to attracting the big spending Chinese – we want them opening their wallets in the UK – not across the channel.

Blind dates down under

Don’t fancy spending Valentine’s Day alone? Then schlepp to Sydney where on February 21, the unlucky in love will attempt to break the Guinness World Record for the Biggest Blind Date. More than 700 singletons will meet in the Sydney Opera House to have a matched up blind date before partying the night away.

London

The number of tourists visiting London surged by 20 per cent last summer, making the capital the world’s most visited city.
 Almost 4.9million overseas visitors descended on London between July and September 2013 thanks in part to Prince George of Cambridge’s birth, Andy Murray’s historic Wimbledon triumph and a prolonged spell of sunshine. International visitors also spent over £3.37 billion on shopping, hotels, restaurants and visiting attractions during the summer, up five per cent compared to the same time last year. “These incredible figures prove that London is without doubt the greatest city on the planet,” beamed Boris Johnson – London’s colourful Mayor.

Mexico

If you make just one trip in 2014, make it to Mexico. The para-cycling Track World Championships – the first major track event since the London Paralympics – are taking place there in April 2014. (“Finally something to train for. Mexico, the saviours of Track Cycling!” tweeted Great Britain’s Jody Cundy). Furthermore Mexico made it onto Lonely Planet’s recent Best in Travel 2014 countries list owing to exciting developments such as major new Maya museums in Merida and Cancun, a burgeoning art scene in Mexico City, the installation of Latin America’s longest series of ziplines on the rim of the Copper Canyon, a new breed of boutique hotels and a decrease in drug related crime. Go now – before the crowds catch on…

Cruising

Clearly cruises are no longer the preserve of the newly wed or nearly dead: a record 1.79million British holidaymakers booked a cruise last year, an increase of five per cent on 2012 figures. It’s a trend that shows no sign of abating: the global number of cruise passengers for 2014 is forecast to be 21.7 million, up from an estimated 21.3 million in 2013.

 

Bali

Purse strings still suffering in the aftermath of the festive season, but in need of some sun? Make a beeline for Bali. New research from the Post Office shows that the Indonesian island is the best destination when it comes to value for money. However if the thought of a long flight fills you with dread you could consider Portugal’s Algarve which was crowned the cheapest holiday spot in Europe. Other good value destinations include Prague in the Czech Republic, The Gambia, Bulgaria and Spain’s Costa del Sol.

 

NOT

Parking at the capital’s airports

London airports have the most expensive car parks in the world with Heathrow charging £12 to park for up to two hours at Terminal Four. Gatwick and Stansted aren’t far behind – they both charge £10 for a two hour stay while Luton charges £11. By contrast parking at New York’s JFK and Paris’ Charles de Gaulle airport costs £5.50 and £6.60 respectively.

 

AeroMexico

We may only be two months into 2014, but there’s already a contender for worst airline of the year – AeroMexico anyone? On a recent flight from Paris to Mexico City, the haphazard Mexican carrier, were unable to offer yours truly a vegetarian meal – despite my having ordered one at the time of booking and then reconfirming my meal a couple of days prior to flying. 12 hours is a long time to go without even a morsel of food… but it gets worse. On an internal flight from Mexico City to Cancun, AeroMexico managed to waylay our luggage. It took three days for the airline to locate and then return our bags. Will we be flying with AeroMexico again? Do you even have to ask…

 

Staying safe in New Delhi

A Danish woman was gang raped, beaten and robbed in the Indian capital of New Delhi after asking for directions to her hotel room. Government figures reveal that between January and October last year, 1,330 rapes were reported in Delhi and its suburbs compared with 706 for the entirety of 2012. The ordeal of the Danish tourist, 51, and others like her threatens India’s tourism industry and makes a mockery of the tourism ministry’s I Respect Women Campaign which was launched last year to reassure women.

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