Saturday snippets: 13th January 2018

By | Category: Travel news

The 14th Slapstick Festival takes place in Bristol from the 25th – the 28th of January. It is an annual celebration of silent comedy and brings guest comedians, experts and film historians together in 25 unique events of a celebration of classic silent and visual comedy. It is the 100th anniversary of the first Buster Keaton film so that will be celebrated along with a tribute from Lee Mack to Laurel and Hardy and from Lucy Porter to two long forgotten femail comics, Constance Talmadge  (sister of Buster Keaton) and Betty Balfour.  Just remember that if you get to close to an attack you may be taking part in one of the routines. You have been warned!

Avid skiers might be enthused by a metre’s snowfall but this is a case of too much snow. In the middle of the skiing season as we are, there is more snow in parts of Europe than there has been for twenty years yet skiing is no advisable in some resorts. In France nearly two metres of snow fell in 36 hours in parts of the Savoie area. You will have seen news reports that people were trapped in the Swiss resort of Zermatt. Tignes in France has also seen massive amounts of snow.  Avalanches are a real possibility hence the curtailment of skiing.Whilst things improved towards the end of the week, large amounts of snowfall are forecast for this weekend. If the forecast is right, there may be little skiing in some Swiss resorts this weekend.

some of the Terracotta Army

Terracotta Army, Weinan, Xian

You don’t have to go near to the Chinese city of Xi’an this year to see the Terracotta Warriors. They – or some of them at least – are coming to the World Museum in Liverpool from February to November. It will be the first time in thirty years that they have been seen outside London for more than 30 years. This will be very popular and possibly a sell-out so if you plan on going it is advisable to get tickets as soon as possible.

Leipzig is a German city that many have heard of but far fewer have visited. One reason for music lovers to visit the eastern German city this year   is because the famed Gewandhaus Orchestra is celebrating its 275th anniversary meaning the orchestra around at the time Bach was the city director of music. Over 500 composers are linked to the town and the orchestra will be showcasing some of the works during the anniversary.   Four weeks of special performances (18 Feb to 23 March 2018), including a gala concert on 11 March 2018, will mark the occasion.

image of Taj Mahal

The Taj Mahal. Image © Frederic de Poligny

According to the Indian Express, the number of visitors allowed to see the Taj Mahal will be capped at 40,000 per day and visitors will only be able to stay for up to three hours. According to the Archaeological Survey of India, between 35,000 and 40,000 people normally visit the attraction but at weekends and public holidays it can rise to 70,000. A week after the announcement was made there is still no news on when these restrictions will be brought in and there is certainly nothing on the online ticket website about it. Just about Travel has contacted the Agra authorities for clarification but has had no response so far.

Los Angeles welcomed 48.3 million visitors in 2017, setting a new tourism milestone for the seventh consecutive year. The record figure is a million visitors higher than 2016. International visitor numbers rose by 0.9%, higher than the nation saw as a whole but way down on the average calculated by the United Nations World Tourism Organization of 4%. The UK was forecast to have a drop in numbers of 4% but instead there was an increase in British visitors of 2% with 370,000 of us visiting the Californian city. This is partially put down to  increased seat capacity from the U.K. to Los Angeles increasing by 8% year-over-year, with the arrival of new, expanded and seasonal services from United Airlines, Norwegian Airlines, Thomas Cook, British Airways and Virgin Atlantic.

Flying lanterns in Pingxi – Taiwan image © Sheng-fa Lin

The Lantern Festival in Taiwan attracts hundreds of thousands of international visitors each year. In 2018 there will be the 29th annual festival and will be held in Chiayi, a historic city with a on the edge of the mountain landscapes of Alishan National Park. The festival moves to different places each year but the continuing theme is always Taiwanese cultural traditions. Adding to the festive atmosphere are spectacular light, dance and music shows as well as Taiwanese street food which make the festival one of those annual events that people return to time and time again. This year the festival will run from the 2nd – 11th of March.

According to a study by audit, tax and consulting firm RSM 51% of us now describe ourselves as ‘cost- conscious’ buyers when it comes to spending on clothes, homeware, technology, beauty and eating out.  That doesn’t seem to apply to travel since 25% said that they had spent more on holidays in the past 12 months, with the same proportion planning to increase their spend on travel and tourism this coming year. “We’re seeing the rise of the experience economy,” said Ian Bell, partner and head of travel and tourism at RSM. “Whilst our research illustrates the emergence of cost-conscious consumers as the economic squeeze on living standards intensifies, today’s consumers still want to spend big on brag-worthy experiences whilst showing more restraint on everyday necessities.”

For the second consecutive year, Cornwall Airport Newquay down in the south west of England has been named as the fastest growing airport in the UK. It handled 453,795 passengers in 2017 and celebrated its best-ever December, recording an 18% year-on-year growth primarily due to the Christmas flights to/from Birmingham and a doubling of services to Manchester over the festive period. What Al Titterington, the MD of the airport, really wants is a link to Heathrow and he hopes that, following Heathrow’s recent announcement in the reduction of domestic charges, that this might become a reality in 2018.

panoramic view of Heathrow

Heathrow showing, to the north, where a new runway might go

Not only has Cornwall Airport Newquay something to shout about so has our biggest airport, Heathrow. During 2018, 77,989,000 passengers passed through its terminals, up 3.1% over 2016. For those living under the flightpath there was also good news as it was also announced that the airport’s noise footprint was at its smallest recorded level in 11 years with 15% fewer households affected by noise, as a result of working with airlines to encourage the use of quieter aircraft. Night time jet movements also decreased by 32% in 2017.

Increasingly popular for short breaks and as a hub at which to change from regional flights out of the UK to international flights to the USA and Canada, Iceland’s Keflavik airport saw a 28% increase in passengers last year. The airport, which is close to the capital Reykjavik, handled 8.8 million passengers in 2017, nearly two million more than the previous year. With another fourteen city links planned in 2018, the airport could exceed eleven million passengers in 2018 meaning passenger number swill have tripled in a little over three years.

 

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