Saturday snippets: February 6th 2016

By | Category: Travel news
the new play area. Image © Passenger Terminal World

the new play area. Image © Passenger Terminal World

The airport in Alicante is the one used by holidaymakers heading to Spain’s Costa Blanca. Forty per cent of all travellers through the airport are British most being families enjoying the nearby beaches. That means a lot of young children that could get stroppy waiting in the airport. On floor 2 of the airport, there is a newly opened children’s playground for children up to six years’ old that might remove some of the waiting angst. It has a slide, swing set, table and chairs, climbing area and rubber safety flooring. Whilst children play there are two panels near the slide which show The Little Mermaid and The Ugly Duckling and parents can download educational applications that guide children through the stories and provide different gameplay possibilities.

On Tuesday, an ABTA spokesman appeared on ITV’s Good Morning Britain to defend the travel industry over why prices for holidays are higher in school holiday time. Supply and demand was his answer but Piers Morgan was having none of this and continually interrupted. This is always a sore point with holidaymakers who feel aggrieved about the double digit increases that the same holiday can cost in the holiday period. Some even felt sorry for the industry as Morgan’s hectoring continued! After the programme ended, the spat continued on Twitter with Morgan calling the industry “greedy.”

In the category of “interesting” surveys this week comes one from British Airways Holidays. Apparently those of us earning an annual salary of £15,000 will take an average of three breaks this year, while those who earn £55,000 will take seven. Can someone on just £15k really afford three holidays a year. But maybe these holidays are just weekends away. The same survey says that 16-24 year olds will go away the most times in a year, averaging five trips, compared to three for over 55s and that the majority of Brits will spend seven days researching before booking. That’s a lot of research.

Barbados and Liverpool

Barbados

Last year, Barbados recorded its highest ever number of long-stay arrivals last year with an increase of 13.7% to 591,892 with Brits providing the largest group of visitors. Over a third of all visitors to the island are Brits and our numbers rose by a smidge over 14%. Part of the reason for the group was additional direct flights. Cruise ship arrivals recorded a much smaller increase at just 5% but that is still well above the World Tourism Council’s average figure for growth last year. It wasn’t the only country to see more visitors from the UK. Greece saw an increase of 14.6% for the first eleven months of the year which is almost double the overall increase in tourist numbers.

During the week, there was a debate in the House of Commons on regional airports. Initiated by Catherine McKinnell, MP for Newcastle-upon-Tyne North (where Newcastle Airport is located) nineteen MP’s spoke as well as the Minister for State for Transport. Most of the time was spent talking about APD and the yet-to-be-made decision on expansion in the south east of England. Little was spent on where overseas visitors wanted to fly into just where we fly from. No MP for Wales turned up for the debate and it was largely Irish and Scottish MP’s who plugged their areas and the need for connectivity to Heathrow. Although few said it, it was obvious that those speaking largely spoke for expansion at Heathrow.

Continuing the parliamentary theme, a few weeks ago I asked why airline ticket prices hadn’t fallen. In the House of Commons, Mike Freer MP asked the government the same thing. The answer from Robert Goodwill at the Department of Transport was that the industry tended to purchase aviation fuel in advance by entering into long-term hedging contracts but that if the present low price continues, there should be an effect. Sorry minister, that answer isn’t good enough. A lot of those contracts should be ending and even allowing for that, not all 100% of the fuel required is usually hedged.

Herm, Jethu and the Humps

Herm, Jethou and the Humps

Herm, Jethou and The Humps (a collection of sandbanks off the north-east corner of Herm), part of Guernsey in the English Channel, have been formally designated as a Ramsar site under The Convention on Wetlands. The new site joins the Bailiwick’s three existing Ramsar sites in Guernsey, Alderney and Sark. The status gives international recognition of the special environmental, cultural and heritage characteristics of wetlands to ensure the conservation of key-species and habitats. Whilst Ramsar status does not confer any legislative protection, recognition of an area contributes to the long-term conservation and wise use of an area. Evidence of this is provided by Alderney which has promoted its Ramsar site heavily using ideas such as “Puffincam” and “Gannetcam” and has led to the development of the Living Islands initiative.

Bali is a hugely popular destination for Australasians but getting to it has been cumbersome for many years. It has been a long while since the Indonesian airline, Garuda flew into the UK but that changes from March 31st. The airline will provide the only non-stop service to the Indonesian capital of Jakarta with seats on sale later this month. Then it will be a quick change to a domestic flight on to Denpasar on the island of Bali.

Miami Beach jst ne of the places passengers flying into the airport will be travelling to.

Miami Beach jst ne of the places passengers flying into the airport will be travelling to.

easyJet has opened a new base at Venice’s Marco Polo Airport and will start expanding links from there to other destinations. It started with a new link to Edinburgh which began on Wednesday with four flights a week. Next month, from March 23rd, the airline will start a direct link from Bristol which will also be four times a week.

Finally, Miami International Airport ended 2015 in grand fashion by welcoming its 44- millionth passenger of 2015, shattering its previous annual record of 40.9 million set in 2014. MIA kicked off 2016 with more statistical fireworks when it set a new single-day passenger record of 159,217 on January 2, 2016, which topped the previous record of 155,620 set just two week prior on December 19. Los Angeles saw over 42 million visitors in 2015 which must have brought sighs of relief that the slump in visitors of a few years ago has been reversed.

 

 

 

 

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