Saturday snippets: 31st March 2018

By | Category: Travel news

 

Shipwrech beach in Zakynthos

Navagio Beach (Shipwreck beach) on Zakynthos in Greece.

Greece has said that during January and February this year, 3.85 million visitors (up 3.2% on the same period last year) passed through Greek airports.  More importantly, of that number, 972,537 were international visitors – a rise of 15.8%. Cold weather in the UK , northern and central Europe must have helped propel people to the more balmy climate that Greece had during those two months!

During the “great” Easter getaway on Thursday and yesterday, some fourteen million of us will have hit the roads. Some of us will have found it necessary to fill up with petrol at motorway service areas. Those that did might have complained at the prices charged compared to non-motorway prices. Now the Transport Secretary, Chris Grayling has announced that pricing of fuel at motorway service areas is to be investigated since it is invariably some ten pence per litre more expensive. The standard answer given by petrol companies is that motorway service areas pay more rent for prime space so they must charge more. Does any driver really believe that to be the answer? But like many, I know the places just off some motorways where you can get a cheaper fuel so haven’t had to stop at a motorway service area for years. Well at least not for fuel!

The amount of money spent by local authorities on attracting us to visit the West Midlands has jockeyed up and down according to information given by the Department of Culture etc. In 2011/2012 it was over £12, the following year it had dropped by over £5 million to just seven million. For the latest year for which there are figures it had only risen to a smidgeon over £8 million. I suppose this is down to local government having less to share out but since it seems accepted by all that tourism re-generates a local economy faster than any other type of investment you could be forgiven for wondering if West Midlands authorities appreciate this.

the pyramids of EgyptEgypt says that 61,481 Brits travelled to Egypt in the first two months of 2018, an increase of almost 40% compared to the same period last year. It says that this is due to the broader upward trend for the destination over the past year, with 319,388 UK citizens travelling to Egypt in 2017, an increase of 38%. The number of British visitors will remain high as the number of flights between the UK and the country will rise from eighteen, to twenty five in summer 2018. Linked with the new tourism campaign Just about Travel mentioned a week or so ago concentrating on promoting Hurghada, Egypt may get back to seeing the huge numbers Britons that once holidayed in the country, returning.

The world’s largest cruise ship, Symphony of the Seas, will enter service today sailing a one-off five-night preview cruise to Naples and Rome. But its official cruise programme starts on April 7th from Barcelona which will be its home port for the summer until it switches to Miami in November. The Royal Caribbean ship is 228,081 tons, can carry more than 5,500 passengers in 2,759 cabins and suites across eighteen decks. On 29 October 2015, the keel was laid. There are 2,200 crew – about one for every three passengers if the ship was absolutely full – and, to put it another way, is about three times the size of my nearest town and equivalent to a population of Brecon, Hunstanton or Oban.

Arc de Triomphe at night

Visitors are back in Paris – the Arc de Triomphe at night

Last year, the French capital – Paris – saw more than forty million tourists of whom 23.6 million stayed in hotels. That was an increase of 11% and marked the first time hotels recorded that figure suggesting the impact of the terrorist attacks in Paris the previous year was not putting off tourists from visiting. Encouragingly, the highest increase was of those staying in the inner suburbs of Paris rather than the outer ones.  

Cycling holidays have become more and more popular in the last decade probably due to the Olympics, the successful Yorkshire involvement with the Tour de France and the winning ways of our cyclists in competitions. For those holidaying in what is regarded as a sun and beach destination – Majorca – April 15th will be the final of the Six Day Cycling Series which ends in Palma. Cyclists from around the world compete and racing includes a men’s competition competing in teams of two across six days, a women’s event across three days and a best Under 21 talent event. Standard tickets are priced from €26.90.

The US state of Illinois is celebrating its bi centennial this year. In fact celebrations began last December.  Among the sixty events taking place one is an exhibition at the just re-opened Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield. (the birthplace of Lincoln.) Running until the end of the year, the exhibition is about the four presidents connected to the state; Lincoln, Ulysses S. Grant, Ronald Reagan and Barack Obama. Some of the exhibits on display are Ronald Reagan’s yearbook from his high school days in Dixon, the table where Ulysses S. Grant accepted Robert E. Lee’s surrender during the Civil War, an original draft of Barack Obama’s speech at the 50th anniversary of the Selma civil rights march, and the briefcase Abraham Lincoln used as president.

Losing a passport is top of our holiday worries

Three, the telecommunications supplier, has surveyed people to find out what is their largest source of worry about holidaying. Top of the list comes losing a passport but that is very quickly followed by people who worry about bad weather, losing their luggage and coming down with food poisoning. Only 27.9% of us are concerned about missing a flight and 22.4% of us are concerned about flight delays. In tenth place is losing their mobile phone. Maybe we aren’t so addicted to staying in contact when we are on holiday!

Staying with a holiday theme – it is Easter  after all – a survey from Marella Cruises  says children want their parents to ditch their phones, spend less time worrying about work and stop taking embarrassing snaps of them when they are on holiday. A poll of 1,000 6-12-year-olds found youngsters also reckon mum and dad spend too much time reading books by the pool instead of having fun and that they take too many naps. But the poll found children are most annoyed by parents who insist on making them wear excessive sun cream. Seems to me that is just good parenting.

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