Saturday snippets: July 22nd 2017

By | Category: Travel news

BRICKLIVE © Mikael Buck.

Earlier this week in London, LEGO families were spotted. They were there to publicise BRICKLIVE the UK’s largest LEGO exhibition, which is at the London Excel from 27th – 30th July. Apparently, each model took 36 hours to put together and they have over 150 bricks to form each sculpture. BRICKLIVE will be touring the UK, visiting Glasgow – SEC 20th – 23rd July, Belfast – Titanic Exhibition Centre 3rd – 6th August and Birmingham – NEC 26th – 29th October. Ticket prices are from £21.75 for a standard admission, or £16.75 for a family ticket.

Staying with LEGO appeal, Marwell Zoo in Wiltshire will have the Great Brick Safari. Over 2 million LEGO® bricks will be used to make over 80 s sculptures representing 25 animal species, Among them will be a 1.5 tonne elephant, a life size Bengal tiger and a trio of Giant panda cubs. Other sculptures will be inspired by Marwell Zoo’s own diverse collection of animals, with a red ruffed lemur, a warthog and a mob of meerkats all featuring on the trail.

It is reported that the Electric Railway Museum based near the old Coventry Airport site may have to close this coming October unless a new site can be found.  Where they currently are is to be redeveloped as Jaguar/Land Rover technology park so they have to move. But where? So far, the museum hasn’t found a suitable site. Housing the largest private collection of electric trains in the UK including those commuter trains I used to catch from Havant when I was a kid, battery-electric locomotives and underground carriages, the collection will be redistributed if no suitable site can be found in the next month or so.

Drunken behaviour in particular holiday destinations has been a problem for years. In the Balearic Islands, it has grown to sufficient proportions for the head of tourism in the islands to call for the Spanish government and airlines to ban alcohol sales on flights to the islands and in its airports. Ryanair has already banned passengers from taking alcohol on all its Ibiza flights from the UK but will the airports on Ibiza, Mallorca and Menorca be willing to lose the revenue they get from bar sales?

Ljubljana, Slovenia,

Slovenia says that, in May 2017 almost 363,000 tourist arrivals were recorded, which is 7% more than in May 2016. The overseas tourists who generated the most overnight stays in Slovenia were Austria (more than 88,000 or 15%), Germany (13%), Italy (9%), the UK (5%) and the USA and Russia with 4% each. Hotels are still the preferred option for accommodation with two-thirds of overseas visitors settling for those rather than 10% in campsites and 5% in private accommodation.

It seems to have been many years since I have written about credit card charges. They were always a sore point with consumers who wondered why they should be charged for paying with their money. Now the government has announced that an EU law will take effect from January 1st 2018 and you will not be charged for using Amex, Mastercard, Paypal or Visa credit cards. At the moment a charge of about 2% is fairly widespread in the travel industry. If you are charged after that date, go to your local Trading Standards office and complain.

It is more than a beach resort – waterfalls near Antalya waterfalls. Image © Mohammed Reza Amirinia

That people seem happier about returning for the holidays to Turkey gets support from Jet 2 which has added a further 70,000 seats on its flights by bringing forward the dates when theywere due to begin or by adding additional flights. For Antalya, for example, capacity will increase by 115%. With flights from eight airports in the Midlands, the north of England and Scotland as well as Stansted, the tourist authorities in Turkey must be hoping that this marks the return of the good old days when Britons flocked to the country.

Next weekend is the Winchester Science Festival, three days of science from talks to comedy to hands-on activities. On Friday 28th July there is a special focus on events and activities for children and their parents during the daytime that includes Jon Chase who is best known for his science raps. The main theme has to be to encourage children to become interested in a subject that still deters many.

Readers will probably not be surprised at survey results from Citybase Apartments which says that cheap deals are the number one influencing factor on Brits choosing a holiday destination, with the local attractions and personal recommendations closely following. Just over a quarter of responders said that cheap deals and discounts were the deciding factor. Almost the same number though selected the importance of day trips and activities. Personal recommendations an online reviews were considered the next most important.

Carlson Wagonlit Travel, a business travel supplier has announced in its 2018 Global Travel Forecast that airfares will rise by 3.5% in 2018 and hotel prices by 3.7%. Obviously the forecast was developed before fuel prices began to decline again. Secondly, airlines are adding more seats suggesting airlines see a stronger growth but many economies are struggling to grow, I would be a bit more optimistic that fares weren’t going to increase in Europe next year, if at all and that would be good news for travellers and holidaymakers.

“knight” splinters a lance during jousting this week at Arundel Castle © Goldfish Photographic

Next week, Arundel Castle in West Sussex will host its yearly international jousting tournament. It is the longest competition of its kind in the country lasting from the 25th until the 30th of July. This year the eight competitors from England, France, Norway and Poland take part and are required to wear full plate armour, in-keeping with the 15th century authenticity of the event. This can weigh up to 35 kilos. As an added challenge, each jouster will only meet their steed for the contest in the moments before their first joust, and will rotate through a selection of horses throughout the week.

Unity Temple which was built in Oak Lawn – a suburb of Chicago is claimed to be a defining point in the career of the world famous architect, Frank Lloyd Wright. It was one of the first public buildings in America to feature exposed concrete and is Wright’s greatest public building of his Prairie era. After closing for some time due to substantial restoration work, Unity Temple has reopened to the public. Tours around buildings Wright built are popular with tourists so expect to see this one on the lists of excursions offered by tour operators

Tighter security measures were introduced on flights to the USA this week. If you are flying to the US over the summer, airlines are recommending that you check in three hours before the flight in order to have sufficient time to deal with the procedures. Have all your electronic devices toward the top of your carry-on luggage because this is what security personnel will be closely looking at.

Finally, the bans on passengers travelling with laptops in their hand baggage to the USA on Kuwait Airways, EgyptAir, Royal Air Maroc, Saudia and Royal Jordanian have all been lifted meaning that there is no airline or airport where you cannot take laptops as part of your hand luggage.

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