Saturday snippets: 12th May 2018

By | Category: Travel news

Abu Dhabi visitor numbers are growing thanks to new attractions such as the Louvre, Ferrari World and holding a grand prix

Will Abu Dhabi benefit from its airline’s – Etihad – sponsored team, Manchester City winning the English premiership title? It must hope so and that would build on a successful start to the tourism year. Abu Dhabi says that 1,289,537 people stayed at hotels in the emirate during the first three months of the year an increase of 10.9% over the same period last year. In March alone, 28,000 from the UK (an increase of almost a quarter) stayed in hotels. By 2021, Abu Dhabi is hoping that visitor numbers will have jumped to 8.5 million. UK growth is helped by the Etihad sponsorship both at Manchester City and the rugby club, Harlequins, which gives the emirate a high profile. Flying from Dublin Edinburgh, Heathrow and Manchester to Abu Dhabi also makes it very accessible for much of the UK and Irish populations.

It seems that the problems of taking children out of school in term time won’t go away. In Wales, if a parent takes a child out of school then a fixed penalty notice (they were introduced in 2013) is issued. But not every county issues them and in those areas where they have been a new report for the Welsh government suggests that the threat has no effect and parents are continuing to do so. So what to do? As the saying goes, answers on a postcard to the Welsh government please.

rome a city break destination

Colosseum in Rome. Here coaches seem to drop off or pick-up visitors all day. That may become a thing of the past.

This may be the last year that visitors to Rome can easily visit the centre by coach. The city is discussing the possibility of a new restricted area to be called Zona C. Within that area, there will only be allowed thirty coaches per day. A survey by ETOA – European Tour Operators Association –  says that 70% of tour operators will reduce the number of overnights in Rome itself and move it to outside the zone. That will have a knock-on effect on attractions and restaurants but, you could argue that that is what the city wants – fewer tourists. If the laws get passed next week, we’ll let you know what the new rules for visiting Rome by coach will be

A new tourist attraction in Dublin should open in July. Called the Vaults, it is on the site of the old Augustinian St John’s National School and will offer a series of theatrical sets with live actor led performances. The developers, Frontier Entertainment, say that the show will consist of “thrilling special effects, dark humour, moments of pure fun and lots of audience participation.” Don’t think of this as just a matinee and an evening performance. The Vaults will offer up to 30 shows per day depicting scenes and characters from 800 years of Ireland’s history. Each scene is played in a 360 degree theatrical set dressed with props, a range of lighting, and sound and special effects.

model of how Jerusalem once might have been

the model of old Jerusalem in the Israel Museum. Fewer Britons are visiting Israel

Israel says that 1.36 million tourists visited the country in the first four months of the year, up 25% over the same period last year. In April alone there were 408,000 visitors. The hope is that, with the Giro d’Italia cycling event having links with the country this year, more visitors would visit Israel. Of those visiting in April, more than half, came from Europe, especially France, Germany, and the UK yet visitor numbers from the UK fell 13% to 19,300 compared to April 2017. Outside Europe, the biggest source of visitor numbers was the USA from which over 80,000 people came in April.

Valencia and Madrid are just two of the latest Spanish cities that are considering caps on the number of days that private owners can rent out their lodgings. It isn’t only in Spain that politicians are grappling with the effects of the Airbnb impact. Brussels in Belgium is considering some action as cities in Italy (other than Florence, Rome and Venice), Portugal and Malta. In the USA, both Boston and New York are examining the impact of Airbnb and the dialogue between the company and the elected officials is getting heated with claims each other is using lies and possibly “fake news”.

Today, Aquatica opens at SeaWorld  Orlando. This new water park attraction has a 60-feet tall raft ride Ray Rush and a first of its kind combination of enclosed tube sections, an open-air halfpipe and large sphere. The manta ray-themed ride can accommodate up to up to four people in a single raft. Next year,  SeaWorld plans to open  Sesame Street land with daily parades, character meet-and-greets and wet and dry play areas.

Hawaii as many see it. The volcanic eruption is 200 miles away from where the majority of tourists go – Honolulu and Waikiki Beach

The US state of Ohio says that it saw an extra 7 million tourists visit the state last year over the previous year. In all there were 219 million tourist visits last year. The majority were domestic visitors and about a fifth of the total were overnight stays. From that you can see that, overwhelmingly, visitors were from other nearby states or from within the state itself. But overseas visitor numbers are up as well drawn to such attractions as the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland and the National Museum of the US Air Force at the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base near Dayton.

The eruption by Mt Kilaue on Big Island in the Hawaiian Islands has produced some astonishing images that we have seen nightly on television broadcasts. But is it deterring visitors from going there? On Big Island, the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park has been closed to visitors as from yesterday but some householders have been allowed to their homes.The tourist authority says that the islands are very much unaffected apart from the remote area on Big Island where the volcano is. Airports are open (one was closed for a few hours) and since most tourists go to Oahu (about 200 miles away) where Honolulu is, the only issue is whether the news stories deter people from booking.

In airline news, from next month Dublin will have a direct Cathay Pacific flight to Hong Kong. Because the flight arrives in Hong Kong at just after seven in the morning, those using the airport as a hub to change onto flights to Australia and New Zealand will be able to take advantage of the onward evening flights to spend daylight hours visiting the sites of the island. Emirates will fly from Stansted to Dubai from June 8th and Edinburgh to Dubai from the beginning of October this year. The airline already flies from Glasgow. This will enable those living in Scotland to avoid Heathrow when flying to the Far East, Africa and Australasia.

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