Saturday snippets: 1st October 2016

By | Category: Travel news
roller coaster at Blackpool

a new roller-coaster for Blackpool Pleasure Beach

Last week I mentioned that Europa Park in Germany has won an award, Best Amusement Park Worldwide for the third consecutive time,. The owners are the Mack family who also develop rides. Now Blackpool Pleasure Beach has announced that it has commissioned Mack to build a £16.25m rollercoaster for opening in 2018.. The roller coaster will have two powerful thrusts of acceleration during the ride.  And riders will experience the same levels of G force as felt by the driver of a Formula 1 car. To be called Construction 2018, it will reach heights of 88.5ft with drops of up to 82ft and it will travel at up to 80 kilometres per hour.

Remember the hubbub a while ago when it was found that some retailers at airports were not refunding VAT to passengers to which they were entitled?  Now the Airport Operators Association and the UK Travel Retail Forum have issue a code of practice (click here to see the code) which, in their words, is to ensure greater transparency on how customers benefit from the VAT relief concession for airport retailers. They will require airport retailers to provide a clear explanation to all customers on how the VAT benefit is used and on when and why customers are required to present boarding passes and also to report to the UKTRF on how they implement the Code. The code will be available within stores and on their websites.

now you can use Apple payon webcan be used to buy tickets

now you can use Apple Payon Web to buy tickets

easyJet, announced that customers can now use Apple Pay on Web for bookings made on easyJet.com. Apple Pay is already available on an iOS mobile app but now customers will also be able to confirm their booking via easyJet.com on their Apple iPad or Apple Mac Those using the airlines website will see a ‘Buy with Apple Pay’ button on the checkout screen and will then be able to select the card of their choice and authorise a secure payment via Touch ID fingerprint recognition. If the customer is on an Apple Mac there will be a seamless hand-off to the customer’s iPhone where they will use Touch ID or their Apple Watch to authorise the payment. No card details need be entered.

According to Travelzoo’s latest survey, respondents in the UK along with Canada, China and the US say review sites have the most influence on their final decision about where to book a holiday yet in Germany they are the least influenced by the sites. Canadians and Germans value travel agents more than any other nation polled but in the UK only 2% say they are influenced by travel agents. Only 35% of Britons say that they would book their travel by mobile and that could be due to the fact that Difficulty viewing the holiday information via smartphone is the top concern.

Qatar has revised its tourism visa scheme which gives you the chance of a longer free stopover there. The new transit visa structure now allows passengers with a minimum transit time of five hours in Doha to stay in Qatar for up to 96 hours without the need to apply ahead of time for an entry visa. The Qatar transit visa is free of charge and available on arrival in Doha to passengers of all nationalities, upon confirmation of onward journey and completion of passport control procedures.

Next Wednesday, the new building housing part of the Museum for Art, Architecture and Technology (MAAT) opens in the Portuguese capital of Lisbon. The other part, which is housed in the Tejo Power Station, opened last month so now the complex will be complete a mixture of twentieth century industrial architecture and strikingly modern twenty-first. On the opening day, there will be a twelve hour extravaganza of exhibitions, entertainment, music  and talks. If you plan on visiting it in the future be warned; it isn’t open on Tuesdays.

Jamaica more UK a cruise ship off Ocho Rios in Jamaica. Can Jamaicans persuade cruise passengers to spend more ashore?

Jamaica more UK a cruise ship off Ocho Rios in Jamaica. Can Jamaicans persuade cruise passengers to spend more ashore?

In Jamaica they have established a National Cruise Council to strengthen their hand in attracting more cruise ships to dock and to persuade cruise passengers to spend more. The amount of money that a visitor who books a hotel and stays onshore is considerably more than a cruise passenger who doesn’t need accommodation or meals if they wish. So cruise passengers buy tickets to attractions, go on tours or just walk around. Their money largely stays with the ship. Jamaica is realising what many other countries have done. Getting the cruise ships to dock is the first part of the business. Getting passengers to spend onshore is a much bigger challenge!

Anyone who has visited terminals 1 and 2 at Dublin Airport will know they are as different as chalk and cheese. Two is modern, well cared-for and roomy whereas one is old-fashioned with threadbare decoration and seems grubby because it has been a long while since it had a makeover. Now Dublin Airport has announced that some improvements will be carried out and these started a week last Monday. There will be new floor tiles in the departure area as well as wooden and tiles on the walls as well as the removal of ticket desks to create more light and space. The arrivals hall is already undergoing change but will this be enough? Some of terminal one is so old fashioned that a complete closure such as the one at Heathrow when terminal two closed to be reopened after a complete rebuild might be a better option than just tinkering with floors and ceilings.

Staying with Dublin Airport, the planning permission granted to the airport for expansion runs out in just a years’ time. Will something happen before the deadline?  The Irish government has announced that a review will take place which will consider a third terminal but the airport says it does need one according to the Irish media. Meanwhile work on the third runway goes ahead.

Westonbirt Arborteum where the leaves are just beginning to change

Westonbirt Arborteum where the leaves are just beginning to change

Westonbirt Arboretum which is set in 600 acres of woodland in Gloucestershire is just beginning to to reveal the foliage display that you might expect from an arboretum that contains 6,000 different trees. To get a different perspective on the colours try the view from the new Treetop Walkway which is thirteen metres high into the canopy.It might be better to wait a week or two until the display is more widespread.

There is still no end in sight to the Gatwick/Heathrow choice. Gatwick, however, has said it has new evidence that discredits the findings in the Airports Commission Final Report. The Commission’s claim that Gatwick would not serve 42 million passengers a year until 2030, or fly to 50 long haul destinations until 2050 (with a second runway)  is wrong since both were achieved this year – 15 and 34 years ahead of projections, respectively. Will this have any effect on government decision-making?

Finally, today is the beginning of National Champagne Week – another celebration that I had no idea existed. In a lifetime, it has been calculated by the organisers that a person will open 633 bottles of bubbly to celebrate special occasions. Say a person lives to be 80 and doesn’t start drinking till 18. That means each person drinks about 10 bottles a year. Except someone is drinking more than that because they have my share as I don’t care for the stuff and much prefer a Chablis- the drier the better!

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