Saturday snippets: 2nd August 2014

By | Category: Travel news
Copan in Honduras

Mayan statue from nearby Copan

Did you know that Britons are the biggest provider of visitors to native American sites? More Brits visit than Americans. So a new resource should be welcome. In Alabama, and crossing into neighbouring Georgia, there is a new trail – the Creek Heritage Trail in the Chattahoochee Trace region. The trail will focus on regional Creek Indian culture, the causes and consequences of the Creek Wars, the saga of Creek Removal, and the transition of the Chattahoochee Valley from Creek domain to Old South heartland. Tours of the Chattahoochee Indian Heritage Center, located adjacent to Fort Mitchell, will follow.

Heading further south into central America, visitors to Honduras can now learn more about the country’s Maya heritage at the new Maya Museum of El Puente Archaeological Park in the town of La Jigua, just five kilometres from Copan, Honduras’ most important Maya site. The new gallery has an important collection of artwork from the Late Maya Classic Period (600-800 AD), distributed in four rooms. The opening of the museum was possible thanks to a US$12 million investment from the Japanese government


the Centennial Bridge across the Panama Canal

Staying in central America, the countdown to the Centenary of the Panama Canal has started. A programme of special events and exhibitions has been taking place throughout the country from the beginning of the year, and will culminate in a special ceremony on 15 August. . In August, five short films telling relevant moments in the history of Panama connected to the Canal will be on show. Finally, a special gala ceremony with musicals and theatre telling the story of the construction of the canal, the battle to get it back to Panama and its widening and deepening work, will be held on 15 August.

Over in  Macau today, they are celebrating the Feast of Maidens. Sometimes referred to as the Lover’s Festival, the feast falls on the seventh day of the seventh moon on the lunar calendar and has deep meaning for unmarried women. The festival celebrates the only day in the year when the legendary Heavenly Weaver can meet her lover, the Cowherd, over a bridge of birds spanning the Milky Way.  Many young, unmarried women in Macau will be looking to meet their loved one on this special feast day!  From the romantic to the memorable. In five days time there will be the Feast of Hungry Ghosts to appease the ancestors’ souls and all the forgotten spirits. People make small paper models of objects and then burn them with incense on the pavements of the streets or at the entrance door of their houses

The Taiwanese airline, Eva Air, is the latest airline to have moved across to terminal 2 at Heathrow. T2 passengers should benefit from easier and faster routes through check-in and a new auto-boarding system billed as the most streamlined experience in the world. The new three wave check-in facility – including quick and easy self-service kiosks, fast bag-drop counters and premium and full service check-in desks is reckoned to, reduce the average waiting time by 10 to 30 minutes.

Visitor numbers from Great Britain to Ireland have increased by 14% in the first half of this year says Tourism Ireland. This amounts to an additional 176,100 visitors) they are expecting this trend to continue as a new Ryanair flight from Manchester to Shannon Airport will operate this winter. More than 2 million people living in Manchester and Birmingham are hearing radio ads for the Wild Atlantic Way right now. The campaign is running during July and August – reminding potential holidaymakers living in and around both British cities why they should put this part of Ireland on their wish-list for a holiday or short break this summer. The ads are airing on popular radio stations like Capital FM, Heart West Midlands and Key 103, urging listeners to come and explore “Ireland’s most beautiful beaches, harbours and headlands”. The campaign also includes online advertising on popular leisure, travel and outdoor websites. Britain is the largest single market for tourism to the island of Ireland.

museum at Baksi

Baksi Museum

The Baksi Museum in Bayburt on Turkey’s Black Sea coast has been given the Museum of the Year Award by the European Council Parliamentary Assembly. The Baksi Museum displays contemporary art and traditional handicrafts side by side under one roof. Baksı is the former name of Bayraktar Village, and in Kyrgyz Turkish means shaman. Certain customs observed until recently by the people lead one to believe that in the remote past the village was fed by the shaman tradition. The reason the name ‘Baksı’ was chosen for the museum is that the word shaman has such significations as ‘healer’, ‘helper’ and ‘protector’, all of which sort well with the museum’s mission.

Leeds Castle - Jousting

jousting at Leeds Castle last year

From the 23rd of August until the end of the month a nine-day Medieval Festival comes to the 900 year old Leeds Castle, in association with The Royal Armouries.  There will be archery tournaments, a Knight’s and Princess School for children, Robin Hood Prince of Thieves, The Princess Bride on a big screen and historical guest speaker events. The Wars of the Roses Federation will bring living history to the lawns of Leeds Castle where a fully armoured joust will take place in a ‘Grand Tournament’ in a special ticketed event on 30-31 August.

When Govia Thameslink Railways take over from the First Group and run services to the station nearest toLuton airport, they have committed to run a minimum of two services an hour, 24 hours a day to Luton Airport Parkway seven days a week.That will c ertainly help passengers with those anti-social late evening and early morning arrivals and departures and is one way to get around the drop-off fee for just delivering passengers to the money grabbing airport!

Imagine your Korea is the new strapline that the Korea Tourism Organization (KTO) is using. It is being supported by a new promotion called “To:ur Imagination,” which includes the opportunity for you to visit the country for four days in the autumn. You can enter for your chance to visit Korea by August 31 at Eight winners will be selected at random to receive a four-day vacation for two. Winners will be asked to record videos of their journeys, and share them online.

Record numbers of international visitors continue to flock to South Australia. New figures released by the Federal Government show South Australia attracted 381,000 international visitors in the 12 months to March 2014, a 7.8% on the previous 12 months.  But visits from the UK were up 27.5% .

Some research from Thomas Cook claims that more than 30% of respondents say a break with a close friend helped make a relationship stronger or even saved their marriage and 40% of us miss our other half while we’re away. It also shows that just over 40% of us take at least one break away with our friends either abroad or in the UK every year. The most popular holiday with friends is a city sightseeing break (17%) or a relax on the beach (15%.)  A futurologist commented on these results about holidaying with friends called them “framilies” which – I hope – as a word never catches on. But his interpretation of the results is what really makes you wonder. He claims that complicated lives require a “greater number of different friendship groups”  and that “the more this happens, the less our partners are able to fulfil all our needs.” That should make for interesting conversation across the dinner table!


the south terminal at Gatwick – planes awaiting for baggage to be loaded?

It is rare that national newspapers cover tourism but problems that allow them to use the word “chaos” help. So the baggage issues at gatwick last weekend which seem to be caused by a shortage of baggage handlers at Swissport which is one of three handlers at the airport has blackened Gatwick Airport’s name as well. As this will be a busy weekend, the suggestion is to take important items and a spare change of clothing in hand luggage. Or you could be like some of us who have the patience of a gnat never to take hold luggage in the first place. You often save time and nothing goes astray. You also learn to pack just essentials because, surprising at it seems to some, there are shops in  just about any place you fly to!














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