Saturday snippets: 5th May 2018

By | Category: Travel news

Kew Gardens

After five years of very necessary refurbishment the Temperate House in Kew Gardens re-opens to the public today. The instantly recognisable building is the world’s largest Victorian glasshouse and home to about 10,000 plants from temperate climates ie frost-free areas on the planet. Some of the plants are so rare they don’t exist in the wild anymore so the work Kew does is of international significance. For most of us though, Kew is just a pleasant place to be on a sunny bank holiday weekend.

According to ABTA, (Association of British Travel Agents) as many as two in five people (38%) – 9.9 million Brits – who travelled abroad in the past 12 months have holidayed without the right travel insurance or even none at all. The new research says 22% of people reported travelling on some holidays completely uninsured in the past 12 months and 27% failed to tell their insurer about pre-consisting conditions which would invalidate most policies. Cost is the reason given by 29% as the reason for not having it. If that is the case, a cheaper policy option has to be found but if people are using this an excuse when talking to researchers perhaps the government should consider a cheap insurance option as being compulsory when booking an overseas holiday or trip.

Staying with a Kew Gardens type theme, one place you might fancy visiting this bank holiday weekend is Castlewellan Arboretum and Annesley Garden in County Down, Northern Ireland. Described by some as having the best collection of plants and trees on the island of Ireland, it has recently been awarded a plaque by the International Dendrology Society to honour the work done here. Like many gardens up and down our countries at the moment, the late flowering due to long winter has meant that there is an array of colour to see.

The Ferrens in Hull

The finalists for the £100,000 Art Fund Museum of the Year Award 2018 have been announced. They are Brooklands Museum in the Surrey town of, Weybridge; the Ferens Art Gallery in Hull; Glasgow Women’s Library; the Postal Museum in London; and Tate St Ives in Cornwall. The winner will be announced on 5 July. There is no Welsh or Northern Irish museum in the running this year.

Mallorca is one of the preferred holiday destinations for Britons, Irish and a host of other Europeans.  One of the attractions is the waters surrounding the island. To highlight their importance, on 1 June 2018, Cat Friend  and  Valerie Bisbal will be attempting to become the first people to circumnavigate the Mallorcan coastline, by stand-up-paddle board.  It is a charity event to raise  10,000 for marine conservation charity Asociacion Ondin, a non-profit organisation dedicated to conserving and preserving the biodiversity and marine-life in the Balearic Sea. The pair expect take about 21 days for the journey.

The launch this week of the Qatar Airways direct flight from Cardiff to the Qatari capital, Doha has more than unusual significance for both readers and Wales. Firstly it may encourage more people with easy access to Cardiff to use the flights to hub in Doha for connections to the Far East and Australasia instead of travelling to Heathrow or Amsterdam. Secondly, providing the flights are commercially viable and are still running down the years, it vindicates the decision of the Welsh government to invest in the airport. For a nation not to have an airport – and Wales really has only one of any significance – would be a significant political and nationalistic problem so a lot of hopes are riding on the success of this Qatar Airways service.

Airbnb made a rather cheeky offer to the American government last week claiming that if US government employees stayed at Airbnb registered properties rather than hotels, the government would save about $400 million a year. Unusually, there wasn’t an immediate response from the government nor its Twitter –holic president who just happens to own a number of hotels!

Fewer international visitors went to the USA last year yet, Brand USA, the destination marketing organization for the United States, says that a study by Oxford Economics, shows that it made “significant contributions” to the country. Since 2013 (FY2013) Brand has increased international visitation by an incremental 5.4 million travellers who spent $17.7 billion, generating a total economic impact of $38.4 billion, and supported an average of 51,580 incremental jobs per year. Even in 2017, Brand USA is supposed to have generated 1.16 million incremental international visitors to the United States. So in 2017 the downturn would have been even greater if not for the efforts of Brand USA or am I missing something?

purse with money

Will you be spending less?

Will you be spending less in the future? According to a report by the financial services firm Deloitte, spending on holidays over the next few months will be ‘significantly below’ last year’s level. It says that people planned to spend a lot less than last year in the next quarter with increases only in costs on playing sport and attending live sports events. This doesn’t necessarily suggest that holiday spending will be cut as the research doesn’t include what we might spend during the summer holidays.

Yesterday, May 4th was Star Wars Day. You can see why but for some readers I shall point out that May the force be with you is close to may the fourth be with you!! Visit England used the day to say that the actor Peter Cushing – who appeared in the first of the film franchise will be honoured with a blue plaque at his home in Croydon. The plaque won’t be unveiled until July but why should that spoil a PR opportunity two months in advance.

Margate - beach with donkeys

anyone for a donkey ride on the beach at Margate this weekend?

On this bank holiday weekend, the weather seems to have been more generous than is normal for a bank holiday so people will be out enjoying themselves rather than staring at raindrops on window panes. Temperatures in the south east of England could reach the mid twenties or beyond.  Check our events’ listings to see what is happening near you and enjoy yourselves if you can! One place that may not be so inviting unless you are prepared for it is the Scottish Highlands. Snow fell recently and it expected to be a little icy the higher up you walk this weekend!

Finallly if you think that some of our airports are busy take a look at some OAG (the airline and airport research company) research which says that the busiest air route in the world is between two South Korean destinations, Seoul the capital and Jeju an island holiday resort. In the year ending February 2018, some 65,000 planes flew that route. The busiest international route was between Singapore and the Malaysian capital of Kuala Lumpur and the busiest European route was between London Heathrow and Dublin. The figures are calculated by looking at the number of aircraft timetabled to fly not the total number of passengers. 6.5 million people flew the Hong Kong-Taipei in Taiwan route probably making that the busiest in  terms of passengers.

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