Saturday snippets: July 1st 2017

By | Category: Travel news

tal fins of British Airways planesToday the British Airways cabin crew strike begins. It is due to last until July 16th, The airline says that it expects to keep 99.5% of its flights going. So far just eight flights have been cancelled (largely to and from the Middle East) so, at least for passengers, it looks like a near normal service.  As ever in these situations, check the BA website for flight status before going to the airport just in case British Airways have more problems than they considered they would have.

The UK Foreign Office has said that in Greece and Cyprus there have been reports of an increase in holidaymakers being encouraged to submit a claim for personal injury if they have experienced gastric illness. It also makes it clear that if you make a false or fraudulent claim, you may face legal proceedings.  This touting has spread from Spain, where tour operators have sent people to watch out for them, to Turkey and now Greece and Cyprus. It is becoming an epidemic and it is time the British government did more than warn holidaymakers but take action against the claims companies using the touts.

Iceland

Iceland has launched “The Icelandic Pledge,” an online agreement inviting travellers to sign up to be a responsible tourist when visiting the country. The eight-point pledge encourages tourists to experience Iceland the way that Icelanders do by agreeing to a set of guidelines. These include directives such as ‘when exploring new places leave them as they are’, take photos ‘without dying for them’, to ‘never venture’ off- road, a direct call response to the total ban on off-road driving in Iceland, to adhere to allocated campsites when ‘sleeping under the stars’, to when nature calls, ‘not answer the call on nature’ and to be ‘prepared for all weathers, all possibilities and all adventures’.

For those of you who haven’t been to Orlando, there is a lot more to see than Disneyworld, Universal and the shopping malls. In the summer heat it is too much to walk and the bus service links only some of the main sites. Now City Sightseeing Worldwide has launched Orlando’s first hop on hope off bus service.  You’ll be familiar with their hop-on/hop-off buses going around cities like London and Edinburgh. Believe it or not there has been no such service until now in Orlando. The new 22-stop route connects all the main attractions.

It is the fourth of July celebrations in the US. Just about every place from the smallest to the largest has some sort of celebration but one of the longest occurs in Philadelphia. The WAWA Welcome America! Festival started on 29 June and lasts for eight days with 35 events and 350 performers. It wraps up on the day itself with an Independence Day Parade in the morning, followed by a Party on the Parkway in the afternoon. The day will end with a free concert along the Benjamin Franklin Parkway and fireworks in the evening.

Next Saturday. 8th of July, the London Korean Festival takes place at Olympia. It will mark the beginning of the UK half of a bilateral season of culture that will see an exchange of artists between Korea and the UK over the next 12 months. The festival will portray Korea’s traditions and there is also a Kukkiwon Taekwondo Demonstration Team, B-boy dance battles, and the drumming group TAGO, who performed a sold-out run of shows at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe last year. There will be traditional Korean food tastings, animation screenings, and you can even try out traditional Korean costumes, Hanbok. The day is free to enter and begins at 11 am with stage performances from noon that run until 5.30pm. In the evening there is a concert but this is a paid event.

Liverpool John Lennon Airport has issued its expansion plan for comment before finalising it and publishing the master plan later this year.  Those interested can lodge with comments on the plans by using the feedback form on the website, by attending a meeting at Hale Village on Saturday 8th July or by writing to the airport. Passenger forecasts indicate the potential to grow passenger numbers from 4.8 million passengers per year in 2016 to 7.8 million by 2030, and to 11 million by 2050 so the plan envisages a proposed expansion of the terminal building, additional car parking, passenger facilities including hotels, retail, food and drink services and a potential extension of the runway. The consultation lasts until the 24th of July.

As part of its expansion plans, Aberdeen Airport has opened its new arrivals area which provides incoming passengers with 50% more space in international arrivals, new passport control and baggage reclaim facilities. In July the domestic arrivals facility will open as well as a new executive lounge.

a previous Vivid Sydney show. Now comes an indigenous one superimposed on the Opera House

Usually Vivid Sydney, an art installation light show is one of the highlights of winter in the Australian city of Sydney. That has ended for this year but a new light installation which will be projected onto the Sydney Opera House has already opened. This is an animation telling stories about indigenous Australia. Lasting seven minutes, the show will start at 5.45pm local time and feature the works of five prominent indigenous artists into a permanent part of the city’s skyline. The show called Badu Gili, means “water light” in the language of the site’s traditional owners, the Gadigal people.

In the House of Lords this week, Lord Popat mentioned that three African countries – Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia – want direct flights to the UK but are unable to get slots at either Gatwick or Heathrow. He also said that Rwanda wanted seven slots but were given only three at Gatwick. These countries see the tourist potential of British visitors. I wonder how many other African countries are precluded by slot restrictions from flying to the UK? Must they all wait until Heathrow expands?

Under 25’s aren’t heading for the beach so much as cultural opportunities

What would appeal to  18 and 25 year old  holidaymakers? According to a survey from Uniplaces, a website for booking student accommodation, they are choosing to learn new cultures with 40% choosing cultural activities over outdoor/extreme sports (28%) and partying (17 When it comes to accommodation, the survey results suggest that Brits love the comforts of a hotel with a third preferring that over an AirBnB or a youth hostel. Finding the money to pay for the summer holiday, young adults in Britain are, surprisingly, not relying on the bank of mum and dad to fund their travel. While more than 10% of Europeans rely on family to fund their travels, just 2% of British 18-25 year olds do. Instead, almost 70% of Brits surveyed have jobs to fund their travels while an additional 17% use their savings.

easyJet has launched an Amazon Alexa skill that enables passengers to check their flight status.  Skills are Alexa’s in-built capabilities that enable users to interact with devices, like Amazon Echo and Amazon Echo Dot, using just their voice. easyJet customers can now start a conversation, by saying, “Alexa, open easyJet”, and the they would be able to check the latest arrival and departure information.  If you know your flight number you can ask for the live flight status but if you don’t know   that, as long as they you the departure airport and destination, Alexa will be able to help find it.

On Wednesday, Scandinavia lifted its ban on holidaymakers visiting Tunisia. That just leaves the UK as having an effective ban on holidaymakers travelling to the North African country where, only a couple of years ago, 500,000 of us used to holiday.  There is still no timescale for the government to lift the ban but the current state of emergency in Tunisia is expected to last until at least September.

Finally, if you had planned a weekend break or a holiday in Lithuania shortly then you may already be aware that, from July 14 to August 18, the airport for the capital, Vilnius, will be closed whilst the take-off and landing strips are renovated. Flights will be diverted to Kaunas which is about 60 miles away. Check with your travel agent or airline as to what arrangements will be made to take you from Kaunas to Vilnius.

 

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