Saturday snippets: 26th November 2016

By | Category: Travel news
image of a British Airways plane

BA’s headquarters to be demolished

There is something  ironic and appealing to my sense of humour in a story that The Guardian ran on Wednesday revealing that the headquarters of British Airways would have to be flattened to make way for the expansion of Heathrow. Willie Walsh, the CEO of BA’s holding company IAG, is quoted as saying, “We were never actually informed or advised by Heathrow that they intended to knock down our headquarters.” Did no one at BA/IAG think to look at the plans when they were published? What do people in his estates department or whatever it is called do?

Staying with airlines for a moment, why would anyone fly with Lufthansa?  The state of industrial relations between the airline and its employees resulted in the fourteenth strike in the last thirty months. Whether it is because of airline intransigence or union greed doesn’t matter a ha’penny toss to passengers. They want reliability, punctuality and service. At present they get none of these so I ask again. Why would anyone fly Lufthansa?

It does look as though summer 2016 was the year that we decided that beach holidays lost some of their sparkle. Anecdotal evidence had earlier suggested city-break holidays were the growth area for holidays last summer and then cam evidence at the World Travel Market suggesting that was so. Now from the 24th World Travel Monitor® Forum  which was held in Pisa comes a similar conclusion but this time the evidence suggests it is a pan-European result rather than just a British one. The monitor says that the number of sun & beach holidays stagnated, while touring holidays fell by 5% yet city trips went up by 15%.

Algarve -beach vista

Algarve in Portugal where more of us will holiday this winter

According to ABTA, winter holiday bookings are up 16% year on year. It says that 29% of us are planning to take a winter break, with winter sun the most popular holiday type. Those aged 25-34 seem most likely to be taking a winter holiday followed by those over 65. Of those planning a winter holiday, winter sun is the most followed by those seeking a city break, a UK break, a skiing holiday and then a cruise. Bookings to Portugal are up by 41%, Cyprus by 34% and Spain by a third. Further afield bookings to the Caribbean are up by 21% and Asia by 17%.

Florida says that 26.9 million people travelled to the state over the summer, up 5.1% on summer 2015. That might surprise some considering a Zika outbreak in Miami, (and now greatly contained) the shootings in an Orlando nightclub and a decrease in the value of the pound which might have hit the number of British travellers to the state. Initial figures suggests that 85.5 million have visited the state in the first nine months of 2016 which is the highest amount of visitors in any nine months in the state’s history says the state governor.

In October, Prince’s home and recording studio, Paisley Park in Minnesota, opened to the public. So popular has it been that it is expanding the tour of the production complex by offering new, themed fan experience packages so you see even more than on the previously held tours. The more extensive tour starts this coming Thursday, 1st December. On Thursdays, those who buy VIP tickets can record, if they wish,  live vocals over a short segment of a Prince song in the Studio B control room – the same studio where Prince recorded countless hits, including songs from Sign O’ The Times, Graffiti Bridge and Emancipation. Then they can take the live mix home with them on a USB which will make an unusual holiday souvenir and better than a postcard or fridge magnet!

Colorado

If Colorado means just skiing to you, then the tourist board plans to change your mind

If you use Whatsapp be warned. The messaging system is being targeted by scammers pretending to offer them the chance to win two free flights on Emirates. Completing a survey supposedly gives you entry if you share it with ten other Whatsapp users. You will end up with a premium message which will be charged to your mobile phone bill. There is no prize. Emirates is not involved and Whatsapp are investigating.

The US state of Colorado has announced that 2017 will be the Year of Summer Adventure.  Because the state is known for skiing, many overseas visitors don’t think of Colorado as a summer destination so the tourist authority will be plugging the idea and hoping to build on the 77.7 million visitors who went to the state in 2015. Cathy Ritter, Director of Colorado Tourism Office, said, “What many travellers don’t realise is that an incredible ski slope in winter becomes a world-class mountain biking route in summer; or that hot springs are just as delightful in the warm sun, and that the great outdoors of our state comes alive as the snow melt makes for thrilling white water rapids and that the landscape blooms with wildflowers – scenery perfect for a hike, cycle, kayak, canyoning or Zipline adventure.”

In November and December, Cambrils in Spain’s Costa Dorado hosts Jornadas del Romesco (Romesco Days), which is a fortnight celebrating Romesco sauce. Originating from Tarragona in Catalonia, the sauce is made from roasted red peppers and almonds, and can be served with many dishes. From 25 November to 11 December, restaurants in Cambrils will serve special dishes complimenting the sauce and provide cooking classes. This small coastal village just south of Salou will attract thousands to join the eating and fun whilst the festival is on.

For the first time that I can recall, one of the big tour operators is offering domestic holidays. Cosmos is only offering short breaks but if they are snapped up who is to say that the company won’t expand into seven and fourteen day breaks. It has come about because of the burgeoning staycation market. If sterling stays as low as it is at the moment, more of us will spot the difference and holiday at home so the move by Cosmos could be a smart one.

Does anything go smoothly? Might expansion at Heathrow be derailed because of aviation emissions? The Committee on Climate Change suggests that there will be a 15% rise in emissions which will break government targets. Now that the go-ahead has been given and politicians won’t really want to open this Pandora’s box again, I think you can probably agree that a way will be found to interpret emissions growth in a different way.

Finally there are lots of suggestions of how to cure altitude sickness. One seems to be to take Viagra. Apparently 364 pills were bought by the office of the president of South Korea last December which included 60 blue Viagra pills and the rest a generic version of the drug for her staff to ease air sickness. There seems to be no comment on whether the drug was used or how useful it was!

 

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