Saturday snippets: 17th March 2018

By | Category: Travel news

Niagara Falls in 2017 – illuminated for St Patrick’s Day

Today is, of course, St Patrick’s Day. And as the world knows by now, the Irish go out of their way to persuade other destinations to colour themselves green. Once again, Niagara Falls will be illuminated by green light from 9pm until 1am on both the Canadian and American side of the falls. Amongst the other buildings illuminated will be the Sydney Opera House, Empire State Building, the Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro, the London Eye, the Colosseum in Rome and the Leaning Tower of Pisa. But this will be nothing compared to the green that will be in Dublin if the Irish beat England this Saturday afternoon and win the Grand Slam!

Slightly concerning is some research from Jestcost which claims to show that some cabin crew are nervous about flying. They asked 388 British cabin crew aged 18 and over about their careers, all of whom had held their job for at least 12 months and were required to fly both long and short haul journeys on a regular basis. 15% were not confident in the air and considered themselves to be “nervous flyers.” When I fly I should like to a crew made up of the 85% please.

tulips in spring is what the Keukenhof means to most people.

Zambia is trying to diversify its economy and tourism is the way chosen according to the tourism minister. The biggest tourist attraction has to be the Victoria Falls which are largely to be found in the country although they sit on the border with Zimbabwe. It also has every one of the “Big 5” animals that tourists tend to have in the bucket lists – lion, leopard, rhinoceros, elephant, and buffalo.  Like neighbouring countries, Zambia is emphasising sustainability and environmental protection as it develops it’s the tourism infrastructure. Zambia’s most famous wildlife reserve, the South Luangwa National Park, was declared the world’s first sustainably managed wildlife reserve by the United nations World Tourism Organization. The advantage of visiting Zambia is that because the country is behind others in developing tourism you get to see a country as it is rather than how it has been developed for tourists.

Keukenhof, one of the biggest flower tourist attractions in the world opens next week for the 68th time. Opening on the 22nd March. I imagine there will be the usual number of British coach parties travelling across the North Sea to the festival which is held not far from Amsterdam’s Schipol airport. During its eight weeks it will welcome over a million visitors from across the world to see – primarily – the tulips but the rest of the flowers as well. A hundred flower bulb growers are supplying bulbs to the park and five hundred flower growers are participating in the flower shows. The theme this year will be romance in flowers.

Cuba

Already in 2018 Cuba has declared that it has seen its millionth tourist of the year. The main markets supplying visitors to the Caribbean country are Canada, France, Germany, Italy and the UK. Because of the on/off policy pursued by the USA, American tourist numbers are still low. Last year, Cuba welcomed 4.7 million visitors and is targeting more than five million for 2018.

In Valencia, Easter celebrations – as in other Spanish cities – begin early. Maritime Holy week runs from march the 22nd until the end of the month and includes a solemn procession representing the Passion of the Christ on Good Friday; throwing old crockery from the window as a symbol of cleansing on Holy Saturday; and a parade celebrating the Resurrection through the streets on Easter Sunday. Traditional Easter cakes will be available including the ring-shaped ‘mona de Pascua’, the fluffy ‘panquemao’ and the rich ‘coca de nueces y pasas’.

Pontcysyllte Aqueduct

Three Welsh landscapes have been handed a £5.5 million from the Heritage Lottery Fund. The Gwent Levels, the Clwydian Range and Dee Valley in North Wales as well as the Elan Valley in Mid Wales have received the funds to create almost 4,000 training and volunteering places. Each is a major tourist attraction and the addition of more volunteers  should enable more visitors to benefit from the attractions. The Elan Valley in mid Wales, which attracts 154,000 visitors a year, will receive more than £1.6 million. Meanwhile, the Clwydian Range and Dee Valley in north Wales will receive £1.3m for the Our Picturesque Landscape project – which aims to help preserve the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct and Canal World Heritage Site. The Gwent Levels, in south Wales, had the biggest share of the cash with more than £2.5 million for the Living Levels Partnership – which aims to protect the areas wildlife.

Scarborough’s Rotunda Museum

Scarborough Museums Trust has commissioned a new book on the history of its Rotunda Museum. But it needs your help. It is calling on residents and visitors to provide their first-hand experiences and memories of the Rotunda to help bring the book to life. The book is being produced to mark the 250th anniversary of the death of William Smith, who became known as the ‘Father of English Geology’ due to his pioneering work in Geology during the early 1800’s and who, in 1815, he produced the first geological map of Britain.  The museum, believed to be one of the oldest purpose-built museums in the world still being used for its original purpose, opened in 1829. Writing the book is Dr Stuart Davies and he is calling out for people’s personal recollections to enliven the dry details of official records. If you think that you might be able to help, please email Jim Middleton from Scarborough Museums Trust at jim.middleton@smtrust.uk.com. Alternatively, you can email Dr Davies directly at swdavies2016@outlook.com.

In airline news, Loganair is to launch flights between Carlisle and Southend, Belfast City and Dublin as from June 4. They will be the airport’s first commercial passenger flights since 1993.The idea behind the flights to Dublin is to attract those travelling to the USA as it is possible to clear US immigration checks there. It is also replacing the Ryanair service as from the 28th of October and will link Derry/Londonderry and Glasgow airports. This month, Bristol becomes the latest city to operate a direct service to Valencia. Launching on 26 March, Ryanair will operate twice a week, on Mondays and Fridays From May the 22nd, Qatar Airways is to relaunch flights from Gatwick seven years after withdrawing. It will also launch flights from Cardiff in May.

Finally, I want to mention the death of Harry Goodman. For those who never came across the name, Goodman was the person who transformed the package holiday industry in the 1980’s building up a company called ILG which owned brands like Club 18-30, Intasun, Enterprise as well as owning the airline Air Europe. When it collapsed in 1991 it was the biggest holiday company in the UK and he had developed the model of owning the airline and the tour operator so that he could offer cheaper rates. A number of his employees joined, ran or set up holiday companies so that ten years later, the holiday industry was like an old ILG old boys club!

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