Saturday snippets: 2nd December 2017

By | Category: Travel news

Gingerbread Mania

Should you fancy a slightly different approach to the festive season how about having a long weekend in December visiting the Estonian capital of Tallinn. Why do I suggest this? Apart from being an attractive city that everyone should see, it also hosts Gingerbread Mania from the 9th of December until the 4th of January. Each year, hundreds of designers showcase the art of sculpture exclusively made from gingerbread cookies. Over 300kg of dough is used to make the unique creations which are often inspired by art history and famous artists.

The Spanish region of Catalonia is likely to have a new record in the number of UK visitors this year. Last year’s record of two million should be beaten as the number already exceeds 1.8 million and that is despite the independence issues which have dissuaded some holidaymakers from visiting Barcelona and the Costa Daurada.  The records might tumble again in 2018 as the region highlights the architecture, cultural heritage, museums and World Heritage sites of Catalonia as part of its Year of Culture campaign.

Taiwan landscape

sunset in Jinguashi in Taiwan may be one reason why more British tourists visited Taiwan last year

Another destination seeing a lot of UK visitors is Taiwan. From January until September 2017, 46,648 British tourists visited the country, a 6.5% increase on the same period in 2016. The UK market remains one of Taiwan’s largest outbound markets in Europe and has grown year-on-year since 2013. Part of the growth is due to more UK tour operators selling Taiwan (the number now exceeds 50) and will be improved even more next year when China Airlines reintroduces its direct service to the Taiwanese capital, Taipei, from Gatwick.

Whilst many countries are reporting record numbers of travellers visiting them , that cannot be said about the USA, Only Canada set more visitors to the States, everywhere else reporting lower numbers. The answer maybe the Trump affect as the two largest drops were from the Middle East and Mexico, two areas that have been the object of Mr Trump’s bile. It suggests that having a massive promotion budget cannot make up for negative factors.

the beach at Magaluf – not a whiff of anti-social behaviour here.

If you think that Magaluf on Mallorca is still a place where youth binge-drinking is rampant you are for a surprise. Since tough new measures were introduced to stem anti-social behaviour, the area has altered. Now instead of youngsters dominating, 78% of holidaymakers are outside that age group.  Now 70% of all holidaymakers are adult couples and families. So great has the shift in who visits Magaluf been that the local tourism board is now pitching itself as a family-friendly destination.

As from next year, Greece is hoping that all of its beaches will be accessible to everyone. All beaches will be fitted with boardwalks and sea ramps to make it easier for those with mobility issues to enjoy them. The work will be undertaken by local government rather than a central body so there is a chance the boardwalks will be ready for the summer season.

Yesterday was the deadline for any of the 32 London boroughs to submit their applications to be named London Borough for Culture for 2019 or 2020. Two will be selected, one for each year. The winner for 2019 will have less time to prepare as this is the first outing for the award. Twenty-two councils applied; Barking and Dagenham, Bexley, Brent, Camden, Croydon, Ealing, Enfield, Greenwich, Hammersmith and Fulham, Havering, Hounslow, Islington, Kingston, Lambeth, Lewisham, Merton, Newham, Redbridge, Southwark, Tower Hamlets and Waltham Forest. The winners – apart from the publicity – will get a million each and £600,000 will be made available for projects in six other boroughs that impress the judges. A decision on who wins will be made in February.

the plan for the new Land of the Tiger area showing how tigers will walk above the visitors

Chessington World of Adventures in Surrey will open a new enclosure for four endangered Amur tigers next Spring. What makes this enclosure different is that part of the enclosure introduces overhead trails meaning that the tigers will walk above the heads of visitors allowing visitors to get a completely different perspective on the animals. The four – called Olga, Tsar, Kalinka and Kyra – are part of the attraction’s Learn your Stripes initiative which aims to educate about the endangered Amur Tiger in an on-going series of activities and events and, at the same time, raise funds for the Chessington Conservation Fund to help protect tigers in the wild.

If you thought the Pokémon GO craze was over then you are mistaken. In the Tottori prefecture on the Japanese island of Honshu over 85,000 people gathered take part in a safari event along the sand dunes. This was about three times the number expected and is said to have generated many million for the local economy. Did the visitors appreciate the delights of Tottori or were they only interested in the game? This area has the only large dune system in the whole of Japan, two national parks and the largest village/town from an Iron age settlement that is about 2,000 years old. How many Britons visit Tottori when they go to Japan? Hardly any.

The effect of hurricanes on British islands in the Caribbean is only now being costed. Up until name the UK government has set aside £92 million for the region-wide relief effort. Now the eleven British Overseas Territories will receive a further £70 million and up to £300 million of UK loan guarantees to help those worst affected to access finance.

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