Saturday snippets: 20th January 2018

By | Category: Travel news
carnival in venice

Carnival time © Italian National Tourist Board

A week today sees the beginning of one of the most colourful festivals in the world. It is the Carnival of Venice, a time when the unique city dons masks and parties can happen anywhere on the islands. St Mark’s Square, the true centre of the party, is transformed into a continuous workshop of colours, masks, music and shows hosting Carnival’s traditional events such as “Flight of the Angel,” “Festa delle Marie” and “La Colombina”. Palaces throughout the city host grand masked balls for those who can afford them or even manage to find tickets on sale. Many tourists visit at this time of year just to watch the costumes which recalls a Venice more in keeping with the time of its famed composer, Vivaldi, rather than the present.

The decision to let the Bayeux Tapestry leave the Musée de la Tapisserie de Bayeux and come back to the UK for an exhibition is probably going to be the biggest tourist attraction since the Olympic Games in 2012. It seems likely that the British Museum will be the lucky host and rumours circulate that the exhibition will be in 2022. But will it happen? The 70 metre embroidery must be very delicate. Can it be carefully transported? That, experts have still to decide.

horse rider on Jamaica Half Moon Beach

Half Moon Beach in Jamaica

The Foreign Office has advised visitors to the Montego Bay are of Jamaica to be careful as the government cracks down on murders in the area. Luckily for tourists, most accommodation is in gated and all-inclusive resorts which are fairly secure. You are advised that if you go on excursions that you go with a registered tour operator on the island.

Last week, British Airways introduced an ‘exciting and expanded’ new World Traveller menu on its long-haul flights that, it says, will change every six months. Frankly, economy class seems to be overlooked by airlines who constantly talk of improving their business and first class offerings but rarely think of those at the back of the plane.  For BA, Carolina Martinoli, says: “Our customers tell us that when they’re taking a long-haul flight, great food and beverages make a real difference to them. “It’s a huge driver of customer satisfaction so we want to make sure we deliver a great experience…. Changes include pretzels with the welcome drink, a four-course meal with a bottle of water, a second light meal of a sandwich or pizza wrap, Magnum ice creams and snack boxes.” This doesn’t sound too different from what other airlines offer.

The BA announcement came on the day that it confirmed that seats in economy class on short-haul flights would not recline. Personally, I applaud this move as I can’t see why I should suffer from bashed knees and be unable to use a laptop because the person in front of me wants the seat so far back that I can’t open my laptop wide enough to be able to use it!

some of the Chicago skyscrapers.

Chicago says that visitors to the city in 2017 reached 55.2 million – a new record and 2.5 percent increase over the previous year. The increase of 1.4 million reaches the Mayor’s ambitious goal of 55 million visitors annually – two years early. Chicago hotels reported an overall annual increase of 6.3 percent.

The Arab News in Saudi Arabia has said that the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage announced last week that women aged 25 and over will now be allowed to travel to Saudi Arabia without a chaperone.  “The tourist visa will be a single-entry visa, and valid for 30 days maximum.

Another destination reporting record visitor numbers is the Cayman Islands. A total of 418,403 stayover visitors, an increase of 8.55 percent over 2016 and 1,728,444 cruisers visited the islands. The Caymans hope to encourage many more tourists in 2018 partially because of additional flights but also because of their “Worry Free Hurricane Guarantee.” Launched last June, the guarantee covers any cancellations made prior to arrival and compensation if vacation time is cut short because of inclement weather.  As soon as a hurricane is anticipated, guests may cancel their vacation at many of Cayman’s hotels and condos, with at most only a one night penalty for cancellations made up to 48 hours prior to check-in.

We are playing it safe when it comes to holidays – visiting the same destination four times, a study from Royal Caribbean International claims. Worries about the language barrier coupled with a lack of understanding of the currency and local customs means many of us prefer what we know than something new when it comes to travelling. One in ten of us will even go to the same resort 11 times.

Finally, yet more research claiming to demonstrate what we holidaymakers do. This time it is from Travel Republic and says that more than 20% of us have booked a holiday after watching a film. It says that the film that has most inspired us to jet off to sunnier climes, is Mamma Mia! (What will happen when the follow-up film opens next year?) Almost half of the adults polled said films often inspired their choice of holiday and 35% regularly add film locations to their bucket list of places to visit. After Mamma Mia!, the films that have prodded to take holidays have been The Beach, (which encouraged us to holiday in Thailand) the Harry Potter films, ( to go to the Scottish Highlands) The Hangover (to Las Vegas) and the Pirates of the Caribbean films which led us to book holidays in…the Caribbean!



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