Saturday snippets: 25th October 2014

By | Category: Travel news
Taiwan's Oh! Bear

Taiwan’s Oh! Bear

In just over a week’s time, on November 3rd, the new Metrolink service from Manchester Airport will open more than 12 months in advance of the planned date. This nine mile extension to the network runs from St Werburgh’s Road stop in Chorlton through Sale and Wythenshawe to the airport.

Next weekend on November 1st, the Taiwan Tourism Bureau (TTB) will be at Bluewater Shopping Centre in Kent to publicise the country, its culture, food and tourism opportu nities for visitors. It does so on the back of the fact that there has been an increase of 39 per cent of British arrivals in Taiwan up until the end of August compared to the same period last year – making the UK Taiwan’s largest outbound market in Europe. The TTB will introduce shoppers to ‘Oh! Bear’ – Taiwan’s newest tourism ambassador. Based on the Formosan black bear, the life-sized mascot and his dance troupe will be on stand from 9am until  to share destination information and brochures. Shoppers will also be given the opportunity to win two tickets to Taipei and a private nine day tour around the island.

The Royal Pavilion in Brighton has received a £5.8 million investment from Arts Council England. A refurbishment of the Grade I Brighton Dome Corn Exchange is in the pipeline alongside renovations to the Grade II Studio Theatre. Plans include a new café, viewing gallery, more seating, a dedicated creation space, more facilities and a service tunnel linking the venues.

Tourism is such an important economic powerhouse that everybody want to get in on the act. The Australian tourism minister – Andrew Robb – even has his family owned restaurant appearing on Tourism Australia’s “Restaurant Australia” website. This $A40 million, 18-month Tourism Australia campaign targets us amongst other countries so that we might consider a food holiday in Australia. More than 80 of the world’s leading food and wine people but not any of us at Just about Travel or Just about Food – will be flown to Australia to sample featured restaurants. The minister says that he had nothing to do with the family restaurant appearing on the site as he does not get involved any more in the business.

Lots of new air routes to tell you about this week. British Airways has announced that it will fly to new destinations next year. They are Crete and Rhodes in Greece, Cagliari in Sardinia, Funchal in Madeira and Las Palmas in Gran Canaria, Seville in Spain and Bodrum and Dalaman in Turkey. Meanwhile easyJet will launch a new service from London-Luton to Naples (from the end of November 2014) and will also fly from London-Luton to Rome in summer 2015. Jet2.com will fly from Manchester to Turin as from December 2014 and will also introduce a service from Belfast to Rome as from 5 April 2015. From 14th December, Air Europa – the Latin American specialist and only European airline flying to Bolivia – will add a fourth weekly frequency to Santa Cruz from London Gatwick via Madrid.

WOW air

WOW air

A few months ago, I write about the low- cost airline, Norwegian Air, providing direct flights from Gatwick to destinations in the US. Now it has a low-cost rival in the shape of Iceland’s WOW air which will link Gatwick to both Boston and Washington DC but this time you have to hub in Iceland at Reykjavik. But it is offering flights at £99 one-way which makes up for the inconvenience of having that Icelandic stopover. They plan to add a flight to Baltimore (about 50 miles from Washington DC but having a fast Amtrak service right into the heart of the capital city.) Tickets went on sale last Thursday.

Blackpool Airport is no more having been placed in liquidation two weeks ago. But local MP’s are still hoping a buyer will turn up and are trying to postpone  the sale of some of the assets of the airport by the liquidator. The sale is planned for before Christmas so the MP’s don’t have much time.

Monarch Airlines has announced that passengers on its flights will now be able to use their smartphones and tablets from the moment they step on the aircraft until the time they get off except on Boeing 757’s which are being phased out next month. Travellers will be able to use these devices when operated in flight mode; phone calls or text messages – which involve signals being transmitted or received – will not be allowed.

The new WWI Visitor Centre in Nieuwpoort  in Belgium opened to the public on 17 October  with a range of permanent displays and temporary exhibitions. Its first exhibition showcases the experiences and bravery of the second daughter of the Earl of Denbigh, Dorothie Fielding, who held a relatively unique role during the war, as a driver for the French and Belgian armies. She was also the first woman to be awarded the Military Medal.

Just a reminder to you all. The clocks go back an hour tonight as British Summer Time ends.

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