Saturday snippets: 15th March 2014

By | Category: Travel news
fancy a museum to own?

fancy a museum to own?

In Myanmar – Burma – experts were predicting some 910,000 foreign visitors for 2013 as a result of a he easing of restrictions on visitors and the new perceptions about the country. In the end it was officially announced that more than 2 million had been recorded. The construction sector is now working feverishly to cope with the rising demand for accommodation suitable for meeting the needs of international guests. The country currently has 960 hotels, motels and guest houses, with a total of 36,500 rooms, but only 23 establishments are of four or five star standard. In the near future a further 2,000 rooms will become available.

Fancy owning a museum? That’s what a former Royal Observers Corps Nuclear Fallout Observation Bunker (Post 31 Group 8) could be. According to the estate agents, Bagshaws, the bunker is situated in an elevated position 125metres above sea level just off the A514 between Stanton by Bridge and Ticknall and adjacent to a bridle way which passes though Robin Hood Woods part of the National Forest and which leads towards Staunton Harold Reservoir. The bunker is part submerged underground and has access by a steel hatch and steel ladder which in turn leads to a lobby area, main room and a small area which we are led to believe was the toilet area. Some of the original fittings from the days of use are still in situ including a notice on the door and the remains of the telephone system. The present site is over grown but has a five bar gate with access onto the A514 and takes advantage of the superb views over Derby and the surrounding Countryside. At a guide price of £2-3,000 – yes that’s all – I think it will sell for more. Being small not many people can get in at once but given the surrounding countryside and views it will attract some people. At, say £2 a head, you only need 1,000 people a year and you could break even just opening at weekends and bank holidays!

It’s like waiting for a bus. Two come along at once. A nuclear bunker which cost the Government more than £30million to build and comes complete with a BBC recording studio is expected to sell for just £200,000. This bunker is on Cultybraggan Camp, west of Dundee and was built only in 1990 on a former POW camp. There is a hospital, canteen, kitchen and accommodation for 150. Sold by the MoD in 2007 it will be auctioned off later this month. Spread over two levels, there are 49 rooms with 27 of these on the top floor. Lower down would have been the living quarters. Anyone fancy a hotel development?

Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau announced that overnight visitors to Greater Miami and the Beaches for 2013 were a record-breaking 14.2 million overnight visitors, a +2.2% increase over 2012. Of these, a record 7.13 million were International overnight visitors, an increase of +4.4% over the previous year.

the Dylan Thomas trail in Newquay

the Dylan Thomas trail in Newquay

The Cardigan Bay coastal resort of Newquay was a place that Dylan Thomas liked to holiday. In this, his centenary year, there are lots of celebrations in Wales as Just about Travel has mentioned already. It was here that he developed and wrote many of his poems so there is a trail that you can follow that links the local landmarks with thomas. and after you’ve done that there is always an ice-cream, dolphin-watching, a spot of sunbathing or you can copy Thomas and adjourn to a local pub to help restore your inner self. Guided walks start in April.

For those who like an adrenalin rush how about a trip to Kansas City in the US? The world’s tallest, fastest, steepest water-slide is nearing completion in the Schlitterbahn Kansas City Waterpark, is due to open on the 25th of May, ‘Verruckt‘ (which translates from German to ‘Insane’ in English) is approximately 17 storeys high and boasts a descent speed of 65mph following a 264 step climb. Verruckt will join what the park describes as ‘a thrilling collection of water fun’ this summer complete with a Master Blaster uphill water-coaster with four tubing slides and chutes, two tubing rivers (including the world’s longest tidal wave river), 13 mini slides for kids, three relaxing beaches and a giant hot tub with a swim-up refreshment bar.

Last Tuesday, BBC Breakfast announced that they had requested details from English councils about how many people had been fined for taking their children out of school in term time. 34 councils responded and it appears that there had been a 74% increase in fines levied. But as one lady from Wakefield pointed out in the Beeb’s report, she had saved £1,500 on the cost of a holiday for her family by going away in term time. The fines had been just over £300 so she had saved £1,200. Pure economics. People will continue to remove their children from school when the fines are less than the savings. Interestingly in Liverpool, the report shows that there are fewer absences than before the new rules came in last September. Arguments for holidaying in term time and in school holidays have been rehearsed in Just about Travel quite regularly over the years. I see I have written six stories about it since 2009!

In yesterday’s Times the front page carried a story that a small ski operator, Mountain Base, said that if parents who holidayed with them in term time were fined they would pay the fines. Perhaps a nice offer but others would see it as inducing people to break the law. They probably don’t care. The publicity was worth tens of thousands of pounds to them. Who had heard of this company before?

the cenotaph in London

the cenotaph in London

The government confirmed this week that more than £5 million has been set aside to enable secondary schools to visit battlefield sites. Over the course of four years, every secondary school in the United Kingdom will be able to send at least two pupils to visit the battlefields of world war one. Lest this becomes just the male and female school captains, I would hope that more than just two get to visit where so many of our relations, fought suffered and died.

There has been rather a lot of news to carry in the last few snippet columns so my apologies for leaving out the answer to a question asked by Rosie Cooper in the House of Commons.  The government told her that train operating companies are required to have a disabled persons’ protection policy setting out the services they will provide for disabled passengers, including staff assistance and provision of an accessible taxi for anyone who cannot access a particular station.

Another significant question was raised by Stephen McPartland about train ticket refunds and whether they could be automatically made in the case of credit and debit card payers. He was asking about the new franchises and was told that all bidders were to “maintain a consistently high standard of ticket retailing service.” Not quite the same thing. It would seem sensible that all train operators automatically refund ticket prices or apply compensation in the case of credit card/debit card payers. Sensible on behalf of passengers. For the train companies, I bet they still rely on not that many people claiming!

National Ferry Fortnight begins today. I can’t fathom out how we are supposed to celebrate that. By jumping on a ferry to somewhere? By deciding on a ferry rather than a plane to get us away on our next holiday? Another publicity idea to just get us to remember that they are around is what I think the week is.

 

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