Saturday snippets: May 20th 2017

By | Category: Travel news

According to the ONS (Office for National Statistics) in 2016 more Britons than at any time since before the economic crash travelled abroad. 70.8 million of us made visits overseas, 8% more than in 2015 and costing us £43.8 billion. As it was also a good year for staycations it suggests that those living in the UK felt comfortable in their ability to splash out on holidays to the degree they did. Holidays were the most common reason for travel abroad in 2016, followed by visits to friends or relatives. The average length of stay has remained constant since 2011 at around 10 nights.

Spain is still the most visited country by UK residents – 14.7 million visits in 2016, a jump of 13% from 2015 and a record total. Visits to Spain were mainly for holidays (88%). Spain, France, Italy, the Republic of Ireland and the USA, in that order, remain the top five most popular countries for UK residents to visit, accounting for 49% of all visits abroad and approximately 46% of total spend abroad. Visits to Poland went up by 19% to 2.4 million, of which 71% were to visit friends and family. But the effects of terrorist activity were noticeable. Although France remained in the top five of destinations visited. Visitor numbers dropped from 8.8 million to 8.5 million. Turkey also saw a drop from 1.5 million to 1.1 million but that may reverse itself this year after Thomas Cook noted a rise in bookings to bothe there and another terrorism affected country, Egypt.

In 2016, 20.5 million visitors went to the Texan city of Houston according to figures compiled by research group TNS Global and the State of Texas Of that number just 3.2 million were international visitors and of that number 2.2 million came from the neighbouring country of Mexico.  It all goes to show just how much the American market can expand and why Brand America is trying to persuade us to visit the USA.

Aphrodite Rock in Cyprus

Aphrodite Rock,near Paphos in Cyprus, will be another destinated visited by more Brits in 2017

Cyprus saw just under 100,000 visitors in the first three months of 2017 and is hoping for more than the 3.2 million arrivals who visited the country in 2016, the same number of international visitors that went to Houston. The UK is important to Cyprus as 40% of its arrivals travel from the UK. So far it looks as though more UK and Irish visitors will head there this year. In its update of passenger bookings, Thomas Cook said that Cyprus is one of the best sellers and they are seeing an upturn in demand.

With the bank holiday soon upon us, Margate will be a busy destination partly because the new additions to Dreamland will be opening. More vintage rides have been added to the, modern art installations open and a new live stage, situated next to the Grade II * listed Scenic Railway will open. Other new additions include The Boardwalk alongside the Grade II listed menagerie cages, The Slide Bar, Tree Top Bar and Teddy and Betty Land – a brand new area with rides and entertainment the youngest of kids. The town will also have its Mod and Sixties Festival on as well as the Margate Meltdown.

In Lincolnshire at the Tattershall Lakes Country Park the UK’s biggest inflatable Aquaglide aqua park has opened just in time for half-term. It includes a floating assault course, a trampoline, a human catapult, a cyclone, Kaos – which is a big pillow that blasts people into the air  and the UK’s only volley ball court on water.   Tattershall Lakes already offers cable wakeboarding, kayaking, paddle boarding, water skiing and jet skiing making it one of the most wide-ranging water parks. But activities aren’t limited to water-based ones. There are also hover boarding; land zorbing; target archery; raft building; cheerleading; laser tag, Balanceability bikes; body zorbing; waterwalkerz; and cycling.

Next weekend also sees the National Trailboat Festival at Moira Furnace on the Leicestershire/Derbyshire at the same time as the annual Moira Canal Festival. The Canal Festival aims to raise awareness of, and money for, the restoration, extension and maintenance of the Ashby Canal. At this year’s festival, there will be a boat parade and a range of family entertainment around the banks of the Ashby Canal including the Coldstream Foot Guards 1815 and its realistic living history village, and armoury and combat displays. Visitors will also enjoy a spectacular performance and mystifying show from Van Buren, Member of the Magic Circle. There will be music, with an assortment of bands and singers over the weekend, Morris dancing on Saturday, an RAF Dakota flypast on Sunday, fun for the children, live steam train rides, a variety of stalls and demonstrations, classic cars, historic engines and boats including the boat parade.

Stories recently have told of touts in Spain encouraging holidaymakers to take action against hoteliers for stomach illnesses. According to the Foreign Office, touts have now been seen in Portugal, particularly in the Algarve. It warns holidaymakers that they should only pursue a claim if they have genuinely suffered from injury or illness and that if you make a false or fraudulent claim, you may face legal proceedings in the UK or Portugal.

Image © Disney

Walt Disney World Resort’s Animal Kingdom will become home to Pandora – The World of AVATAR from 27th May. As Animal Kingdom’s largest ever expansion, the Avatar-inspired land (pictured) will feature floating mountains, bioluminescent rainforests and a Banshee flying attraction, with new after-dark entertainment. Visitors can also experience a splash at Universal Orlando Resort, as new water theme park, Volcano Bay, opens on 25th May 2017. Volcano Bay will feature 18 water-based attractions in which guests can utilise a TapuTapu™ wearable device to reduce wait times for rides.

The Canadian transport minister, Marc Garneau, has introduced a bill giving Canadians a passenger bill of rights similar to those rights enjoyed by American and European citizens. Why it has taken Canada so long to introduce passenger rights I don’t know. The bill sets out what airlines must do during long delays on the tarmac, it insists that children must be seated near one or other parents, minimum compensation if a flight is overbooked but it isn’t expected that any of this will come into force for another year.

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