Saturday snippets: 12th December 2015

By | Category: Travel news
Warmth and sun are attracting over the festive period

Warmth and sun are attracting us over the festive period

Gatwick Airport says that more of us will break the habit of arriving at our Christmas holiday destinations before Christmas Day by booking cheaper flights that depart on either Christmas or Boxing Day. Passenger numbers at the airport are expected to be 48% higher on December 25th than on Christmas Day 2014 with total traffic over the Christmas period more than 9% higher than last year. The airport says that, by flying on Christmas Day, fares would be 31% cheaper on Christmas Day than identical tickets on other days during December. For example, a 5.40pm Norwegian Airways flight from Gatwick to New York on Christmas Day currently costs just £239, compared to £329 24 hours later (a saving of 28%). Similarly, a flight to Miami will set passengers back £599 a week before Christmas, but just £329 on the day itself (a 45% saving). The biggest saving (66%) will be made by flying to Lisbon where a ticket on TAP or EasyJet will cost just £142.

Gatwick will have Cathay Pacific flying from it from next September. The airline, which already flies from Heathrow and Manchester, will operate to Hong Kong four times a week.

Malaysia has seen a decline in the number of visitors this year. 12.6% fewer European visited the country. Why? The tourism minister, Mohammed Nazri Abdul Aziz suggested it was due to natural disasters and competition from other countries. Nothing about the crash of two Malaysian Airlines Systems planes and one Air Asia flight which may have deterred some passengers. It doesn’t sound too hopeful for the future because he also said that his budget had been cut and wouldn’t be increased for 2016 Look at for some bargain offers from tour operators to entice us to holiday there next year.

Tunisia, on the other hand, had seen rising numbers last year and the same again until July when the attack on tourists in Sousse happened. Our two largest tour operators, Thomas Cook and Thomson don’t resume flights until March 2016 as the travel ban hasn’t ended yet. Officials from Tunisia are talking to the Foreign Office about lifting the ban. Once that happens, expect a promotions campaign in the UK as they try to attract some 400-500,000 if us to travel there in 2016.

Another country hoping for increased visitors in Jordan. Next year is the 100th anniversary of the Arab uprising as covered in the 1960’s film, Lawrence of Arabia. And landing charges have been reduced so there should be a small drop in holiday prices and scrapped 50 euro visa fee. Othercoutries in the Middle East hoping for a continued rise in visitor numbers include Lebanon which had a 19% increase in 2015, Dubai which hopes to see a million Brits visit next year and Abu Dhabi which hopes that the 17% increase in Brits visiting in the first half of 2015 will continue to rise in 2016

Will staying in the "Bubble" give us views like tis?.

Will staying in the “Bubble” give us views like tis?.

Iceland is yet another country that has had another bumper year in visitor numbers with a 28.2% year on year increase so far. Most visitors came from the USA with 199,150 American and were closely followed by UK visitors, with 163,606 visitors, a 28.7% year on year increase. This is likely to increase next year because of all the services announced by Icelandair and WOW. Although these flights from regional airports were announced as flights to the US and Canada, many of us will take advantage of them to have a stopover or holiday there.

Talking of Iceland, it will launch its first northern lights ‘Bubble’ on 9th January 2016, making childhood dreams of sleeping under the come true. The bubble shaped room located in the wilds of Iceland will have a transparent roof, opening up a new northern lights experience to visitors as they will be able to sleep directly under the mystical aurora borealis. The bubble will be the first of many to launch near Reykholt, 70km north of Reykjavik. The simple room has just one double bed and an outdoor bathroom nearby which I am not sure I fancy in winter! This rural area is free from light pollution offering the best chances to see the lights under clear skies. Overnight stays in the Bubble will cost from £99 per night.

Can Sydney handle another 980,000 visitors each year? That is the number of extra seats airlines are providing on flights the city over the next twelve months. There are new services by All Nippon Airways, American Airlines, Xiamen Airlines, Solomon Airlines, Indonesia AirAsia X, Hainan Airlines and Qatar Airways but are there enough new hotels to cope? Maybe all these new passengers are heading into the outback and staying elsewhere.

Croatia- tipped regularly for the last couple of years as a big destination for us

Croatia- tipped regularly for the last couple of years as a big destination for us

Visitor numbers to Croatia have substantially increased this year with the country exceeding its 2014 figure by September this year. Last month 191,000 tourists visited Croatia, an increase of 6% from November last year with Zagreb proving to be the most popular destination. With more flights from the regional airports into Zagreb, Split, Pula and Dubrovnik, 2016 is likely to be a good year as well.

With less than a fortnight to the great Christmas getaway, CheapOair has looked at the bookings made on its website and has concluded that Dublin looks to be the big destination winner this year. European breaks top the list of Christmas getaways for Brits. It tops the list of those flying out of London, airports, Edinburgh and Manchester. Those leaving Birmingham and Manchester have Amsterdam as their first choice but just about everywhere has Spanish sun destinations like Tenerife, Barcelona and Malaga high on their lists as well. Will anybody be left in the UK over Christmas?

or we can stay at home and give a warm welcome to incoming visitors

or we can stay at home and give a warm welcome to incoming visitors

If anybody is left then it seems as though visitors coming into the UK will get a warm welcome. According to Visit Britain’s ‘Britain’s welcome to overseas visitors’ report, 42% of overseas visitors said they felt extremely welcome, compared to 30% in 2012 and 19% in 2009. Overall, 89% of visitors surveyed said they felt extremely or very welcome in Britain.

Finally, does the rail revival continue? A petition was made to parliament this week to re-open Barlaston station in Staffordshire. There is already a station there which will need some refurbishment but it hasn’t been used for just over ten years. Trains to and from Crewe go through the station so the tip is that the station will re-pen from the introduction of the new timetable – possibly May 2016?



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