Saturday snippets: 14th April 2018

By | Category: Travel news
aerial image of Maldives

Looking down on the Maldives where more Britons are deciding to visit © Ayada Maldives

The Maldives has seen a 9.3% year-on-year increase on the number of UK travellers who visited the country in February 2018. For the first two months of the year visitor numbers from the UK were slightly more at 9.4%. But worldwide arrivals are even higher – up 19.2% this February compared to the same month in 2017. Mohamed Haris, MD of Maldives Marketing and PR Corporation said, “The UK is one of the Maldives’ most important long-haul inbound markets, representing over 7% of total visitors… With several new tourism developments including a new runway and terminal being built at Velana International Airport and 23 new resorts scheduled to open by 2019, our tourism infrastructure is continuing to expand which will provide visitors with even more choice when visiting the Maldives.”

On Monday, April 16th, the Sir John Monash Centre in Villers-Bretonneux near Amiens will open. The centre tells the story of the Australian soldiers on the Western Front in France and Belgium during the First World War and is named after the commander of the Australian forces, a gifted man who was an engineer as well as a soldier. 2018 also marks the centenary of the end of WWI which will see a special programme rounding off the last four years of commemorative events, research projects and ceremonies that have taken place in all four corners of France.

We are just under a month away to one of the biggest music festivals of the calendar.  The Dresden Music Festival in the east of Germany lasts for 32 days starting from May 10th and has over 1,500 artists playing in 22 different venues around the city. . Headlined “Mirror”, it will explore how music influences our individual existence and society and feature inter-nationally acclaimed artists, including Héléne Grimaud, Daniel Barenboim, the London-based Hofesh Shechter Company and innovative chamber music quartet Brooklyn Rider.

Azore cliff and ocean

a view from a cliffside in the Azores.

The tourist authority for the Portuguese owned Azores in the Atlantic Ocean says that there was a surge in UK visitor numbers to the islands in the last quarter of 2017. UK numbers grew by 14.6% in comparison to the same period in 2016. Azores has also seen a rise in length of stays with overnight UK visitors up 17.4% for room nights. This year the numbers will be even higher because as readers know, introducing a new air service always boost numbers and this year Ryanair, will operate from Manchester to Ponta Delgada, the capital of São Miguel from June to October.

It appears that, over the Easter period, Italy saw an increase in international visitors. The Italian Government Tourist Board -ENIT – says that over two-thirds of the tour operators that it monitors reported an increase in booking to the destination compared to last year. It says that growth is coming from offers combining different types of accommodation such as hotels and train-hotels along with food and wine tourism, religious tourism, and cruises but good results are also being seen from lesser-known and off-the-beaten-track destinations.

You will have seen on the news that it hasn’t been a good week for travellers to and in Germany and France. In Germany public workers at airports went on struck causing Lufthansa to cancel about half its flights and in France, Air France aced strikes over two days. Unfortunately it continues. There will be more strikes affecting Air France the 17th, 18th, 23rd and the 24th of April as well. Only Air France and Joon are affect by this industrial action but remember that there are rolling strikes affecting other workers over the next few months and to which Just about Travel drew your attention. Some long-haul flyers changing flights in Paris are being moved onto partner airlines if they persist with airline employees.

Those planning a Greek holiday this year can now visit the historic Eupalinos Tunnel on the island of Samos. Dating back to the sixth century, the tunnel is regarded as one of the greatest engineering achievements of ancient times. It lasted for a thousand years before time caught up with it and it fell into disuse but has now been restored. It is part of the Pythagorean archaeological site which has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1992. For the first time, visitors can now see the whole of the area including the Heraion of Samos – a large sanctuary dedicated to Hera, the goddess of marriage, women, childbirth and family.

Do you know what Jordanian cuisine tastes like? Nor do I. If I expected it to be like Lebanese I might be surprised. So a move by the Jordan Tourism Board to inaugurate the first ever Jordan Food Week  is a welcome attraction for visitors to Jordan.. It takes place in Abdali, Amman between the 18th and 22nd of this month and is a week-long national celebration of Jordanian cuisine and culinary traditions,  It will feature more than 200 food artisans, chefs and farmers from across Jordan selling and showcasing their locally-made products. Perhaps the tourist board would like to consider holding a similar but smaller event in the UK to introduce us to Jordanian cuisine and the holiday opportunities there just like, Thailand and Indonesia, Italy and France have done.

image of Disneyworld -Kissimmee

Florida as many of us visualise it

If you are shopping in Manchester this weekend, those of you with an interest in Florida might want to pop along to the Arndale centre where Visit Florida are running an “an immersive video experience showing different destinations and attractions.”  It will show is available in Daytona Beach, Emerald Coast, Fort Lauderdale, Martin County, Sarasota County and St. Pete/Clearwater as well as sample attractions at SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment and Walt Disney World Resort. Open both today and tomorrow, those who attend stand the chance of winning a £10,000 holiday in the state. This is for a maximum of four people staying seven nights and with a hire car thrown in as well.

In India, the state of Kerala saw a nine year high in tourist numbers last year. Inbound visitor numbers rose 10.94% last year to 15.7 million from 14.2 million, in the previous year. Using the tag line “God’s own country” (what do Yorkshire people think of this?)  the state has been heavily promoting ayurvedic wellness spas, and massage centres and beaches.

now Tenerife is promoting medical tourism

Tenerife will launch “Tenerife Medical Destination, which will promote the island’s medical tourism. It says that visitors to Tenerife can benefit from a range of quality medical, surgical and wellbeing treatments at very competitive prices, due to the island’s tax incentives. Treatments available on the island include therapeutic recreation and rehabilitation, dentistry and cosmetic surgery, and aesthetic or cardiovascular treatments. Wellness treatments are also available, these include yoga and meditation, as well as beauty treatments.

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