Saturday snippets: 17th January 2015

By | Category: Travel news
Floridas Shell Key Beach

Shell Key Beach at St Pete’s

I start this week with an apology to all readers. I forgot to mention last week about National Bubble Bath Week. This momentous day was celebrated – apparently – on the 8th of January yet I missed it. As did everyone else it seems. Not one hotel , not one guest house sent in press releases urging us to book with them because they were throwing caution to the winds – and profits – and providing special bubble bath days in their establishments! Yet in an industry that is quick to notify me of trivia that wouldn’t bestir an insomniac, here was an opportunity missed. Instead I was told that cheese lovers’ day was approaching as was cable car day. But today in also the national day in Menorca, one of the UK’s favourite holiday destinations yet, again, nothing was sent publicising the fact. Sometimes you wonder whether destinations want to promote themselves.

This is unlike St Petersburg/Clearwater in Florida which is launching a large campaign in the UK to persuade us to holiday there. Called,, the campaign in conjunction  with  Virgin Holidays will be seen on our rail network as well as on London taxis, buses in both London and Manchester and on television. Slogans used will include “A Little Warm Sun Might Relax That Stiff Upper Lip”  which some might find amusing and others condescending, and “Every Day Is Sun Day” with a competition to win a getaway to the area. The campaign begins on Febraury 2nd.

Before that though, Visit Britain will be launching the next part of its campaign to attract more visitors. This time it is to send them into our countryside. Called “Countryside is Great” the promotion begins in New York and uses  Katherine Jenkins to woo potential visitors.

Monday is another celebratory day it seems. It is called Blue Monday say Monarch Airlines – and probably, others, This is better known, the airline says, as the most depressing day of the years so, in order to cheer its passengers up,  customers travelling from Birmingham, East Midlands, Gatwick, Luton and Manchester airports will be given golden envelopes containing special ‘Blue Monday’ tickets on all departing flights. The tickets will be hidden in the aircraft seat pockets and the lucky winner will be entitled to a pair of free return flights across Monarch’s scheduled network.

some of our most visited attractions are accessible like Hampton Court, others less so

some of our most visited attractions are accessible like Hampton Court, others less so

Today is also Disabled Access Day which seems to be day designed to encourage the disabled to get out and about including visit tourist attractions. Research by Revitalise, the disability charity,  says that it’s study of the UK’s most visited tourist attractions found that nearly two thirds of venues (64%) were not 100% accessible for wheelchair users. It also found that 3 out of 10 (27%) of the UK’s leading tourist attractions did not have essential accessibility information on their websites and only 17% had all their staff trained in disability awareness and that 65% of disabled people have decided against visiting a tourist attraction due to accessibility concerns or a lack of information.

You might have noticed that it has turned a bit colder so how do you fancy a night under the stars without the hassle of getting dressed? New Zealand’s South Island is now home to new sustainable Pure Pods in Little River, Canterbury. Made completely of glass from the roof to the floor, guests can sleep or gaze at the stars of the southern hemisphere skies. With sliding glass sides for hot weather and bio-fuel fires for winter months, the Pure Pod have a 360-degree views of the valley and the Pacific Ocean in the distance.

Another alternative is to stay indoors as much as possible. But if you are holidaying in New York, then this is the time for two-for-one Broadway Week tickets to 22 of Broadway’s top shows. Tickets are now on sale at for performances between 20th January and 5th February 2015. Launched in January 2011, Broadway Week is a biannual promotion designed to increase ticket sales during typically slower periods of attendance during the winter and autumn Last winter’s programme broke records, selling approximately 95,000 tickets.

I should also mention that London has it’s own version. the annual Get into London Theatre promotion is under way but instead of two for one offers, tickets are set at £10, £20, £30 and £40 each. More than 50 shows are involved in the promotion but avid theatregoers have booked out some of the most popular ones already.

bathers at hot springs

one of the many hot springs in Taiwan

You could also spend a lot of time in a hot tub or even hot springs if you go to Taiwan. With more than 100 hot springs across the country, Taiwan has one of the highest concentrations and greatest variety of thermal springs in the world. It is claimed that hot springs offer a number of therapeutic health benefits including increased metabolism, muscle soothing and healing, as well as improved blood circulation. Prices to enter for the day are pretty reasonable too. Located on the peak of Zhentou Mountain in the city of Tainan, the Guanziling hot spring is a mud spring rich in minerals and chemicals and costs from £8 for the day. The Sichong River ones are clear and odourless and costs £6 whilst the Beitou hot spring – one of the most popular – is just a bargain £1. Finally the Yangminshan hot springs, just 30 minutes from the Tiawanese capital, Taipei,  where a tour of the national park and the hot springs start from £30.

By the way, Monday sees the start of another special occasion. It’s World Travel Week. Did you know? Did your travel agent? If you are out shopping today, just galnace at the windows of travel agencies and see. My betting is that few – if any – will mention the fact. Now, you know more than they do!

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