Saturday snippets: 21st October 2017

By | Category: Travel news

a sculpture by Orest Keywan

The world’s largest free sculpture exhibition, “Sculpture by the Sea“, is in the Australian city of Sydney from 19th October until the 5th of November. It is held out in the famous eastern Sydney suburb of Bondi and lasts for two kilometres. This year it comes of age as it celebrates its 21st birthday with more than 100 sculptures by artists from Australia and the world. One artist, Orest Keywan will be exhibiting for the 20th time demonstrating how popular it is artists as well as visitors.

Leeds-Bradford Airport has new owners, AMP Capital. The new owners say that there is a “clear opportunity for performance enhancement through tailoring and improving the customer experience.” The new CEO who joined in May this year, David Laws, is the ex- head of Newcastle Airport which, coincidentally, is also owned by AMP.

Tallinn Christmas Market © Allan Alajaan

One of the longest running Christmas markets is that held in the Estonian capital city of Tallinn. Held in the Town Hall square it runs from the 18th November to 7th January. The action takes place around a tall, sparkling Christmas tree which has been set up in the square since 1441, making it the first to be displayed in Europe. Unlike German themed Christmas markets, the Tallinn market has local Estonian delights such as black blood pudding and sour cabbage to ginger breads and hot Christmas drinks. Local singers and dancers will serenade the shoppers and tourists to encourage greater spending.

Recently Just about Travel mentioned the German airline, Eurowings, and how it was asking passengers and the public to decide which should be its new route from a shortlist it had drawn up. Now the Romanian airline, Blue Air, has gone a step further. It is asking passengers to help choose the next destination it flies to from Liverpool Airport. But this time there is no short listso you can select wherever you like provided its not Alicante, Bucharest, Rome, Milan, Bacau and Cluj-Napoca in Transylvania beacuse the airline already serves those places from Liverpool. Travellers who suggested the new destination eventually chosen by the airline will all go into a draw to win two tickets to their chosen destination. Travellers can submit their request on the airline’s website.

Aphrodite Rock in Cyprus

Aphrodite Rock,near Paphos in Cyprus,

Cyprus continues to see an increase in British visitors. They rose 8% in the first nine months of this year to reach 874,055 and Brits continue to make up the largest number of holidaymakers. But arrivals from the rest of the world were up by 14% to 2.5 million so the rest of the world is spotting the attractions of the island country.

According to some research commissioned by Virgin Holidays, Britons need to reach their early thirties before they really start to relax and truly enjoy holidays. (What have they done up until then? Not holidayed? Been bored? Too concerned with keeping up with work from their offices?) The research has found that experiences such as whale watching and helicopter rides are among the activities those in their thirties are most interested in, along with cultural excursions such museums and art galleries. But isn’t this the age at which many people have young families? Maybe the research only looked at singles and couples.

Whilst the eastern Mediterranean celebrates higher tourism numbers in those Caribbean islands hit by recent hurricanes, life is slowly returning to some normality. On the US Virgin Islands the airports on St. Croix and St. Thomas are now open to commercial flights, and one of the flagship hotels on the island of St. Croix, The Buccaneer, has announced it is accepting reservations for leisure guests arriving on or after November 1, 2017. Recently it has been providing accommodation for relief workers. On the British Virgin Islands, the airport is open and ferry services have restarted.

Anguilla – before the hurricanes hit the island

The Anguilla Tourist Board has also said that the destination is officially ‘open for business’ again and ready to welcome UK travellers.  They estimate that 30 small hotels, condominiums, guesthouses and private villas have already re-opened or plan to open ahead of the peak winter and Christmas season. In the British Virgin Islands, a curfew remains in force from 10pm to 6am but the airport airport is open to commercial flights and most sea ports are now open with ferry services resuming operations.

Last week at the ABTA shindig, (they have a big annual conference) Ben Bouldin, MD for Royal Caribbean International, said that over  1.9 million UK holiday makers took a cruise in 2016 and probably a similar number will in 2017. But the industry or at least Royal Caribbean, is attracting younger people. The company calls them ‘Generation Thrill-and-Chill’ and says they now make up 25% of all their UK passengers. They appear to be attracted by the chance to visit a number of destinations whilst also being able to relax yet experience fun and adventure along the way. The company forecasts that passenger numbers will grow by a further 63% over the next five years.

The October Festival in Salou

The Costa Daurada and Salou in particular have been very popular with British and Irish holidaymakers. If you happen to be holidaying there over the remainder of the half-term holidays there are a couple of festivals happening that you might want to visit. The October Festival begins on October 22nd when the streets of Salou will fill up with numerous leisure and festive activities, hitting its peak on the 30th, the day that the Division of Salou was granted. This also coincides with the New Olive Days which takes place from the 22nd of October until the 5th of November in Cambrils. Locally produced olive oil is available at special tasting events along with a community breakfast.

London Gatwick has achieved the busiest-ever September in its history, as 4.5 million passengers travelled through the airport, a 2.7% increase on last year. Much of this rise seems to have come about because of the long-haul flights that the airport has been attracting in the last year or so. Passenger numbers to Hong Kong are up by 64%, Tianjin in China by 28.4%, Lima in Peru by 15% and New York by almost 50%. But nearby favourites are also doing well with Paris seeing a rise of 30.7% in passenger numbers.

Concord – Image courtesy Aerospace Bristol

Le Shuttle says it carried a record number of passenger vehicles from mid-July to early September, some 563,750 cars, which is a 2% increase over the same period in 2016. Eurostar business was up 4% during the third quarter. It doesn’t look to me as though business has risen proportionately to the increase in tourism. It looks as though people are preferring to fly instead.

Last Tuesday the Aerospace Museum opened at Filton on the outskirts of Bristol. It was ere that many planes first flew including Concord. In the museum one of last remaining Concord’s is to be found and know instead of being exposed to the elements, it will sit in its new home.

 

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