Saturday snippets: June 23rd 2018

By | Category: Travel news

Eastbourne Pier whose owner has bought Hastings Pier from the receivers

Last year the body running Hastings Pier went into administration so the pier was put up for sale by the receivers. They have now sold the pier – despite local campaigners trying to raise the money – to the existing owner of Eastbourne Pier, Sheikh Abid Gulzar. Hastings Pier has had a chequered recent past having been badly damaged by fire in 2010 as readers might remember. Since then locals banded together raised over £12 million in lottery funding and the pier won the RIBA Stirling Prize in 2017. Now the pier will probably have a charge for admission just as Eastbourne Pier has.

If you are planning to drive in France during the summer do remember that as from July 1st, the speed limit on dual carriageways or two-lane highways to drops to 80km/h (50mph) from 90km/h. the government has introduced the measure in the hope that a slower speed limit will reduce the number of road deaths.

One of the biggest tourist draws in Rwanda – the chance to see gorillas. Image ©Rwanda Development Board

Rwanda says there has been a large increase in the number of UK travellers choosing te country as a holiday destination. Visitor numbers grew by 21% last year, compared with 2016, with over 16,000 business and leisure travellers going from the UK to Rwanda in 2017. This increase comes before the impact of the shirt sleeve signing deal with Arsenal makes any impact and is probably due to the introduction – a year ago – of the RwandAir direct service from Gatwick to Kigali. The country is promoting all three National Parks at Akagera, Nyungwe and Volcanoes as well as Lake Kivu and the capital Kigali. General experiences that it is supporting include a wide range of wildlife, kayaking, cycling, as well as stunning scenery across the country.

For some years, Magaluf on Mallorca has been trying to get rid of a summer reputation it has a place of drunken and partying Britons and Germans, Calvià  – the local council – has now decided to take another step in its clean-up campaign. It will ban free alcohol offers and put a limit on the amount people on all-inclusive hotel packages can drink. But why just all-inclusive holiday makers?  What is concerning to both the local authority and holidaymakers is that gangs are now preying on drunken tourists which is persuading some potential holidaymakers to not even consider the town.

the Norman Foster building

The National Botanic Garden of Wales, which seems to pop up regularly on BBC’s Bargain Hunt, has opened a British Bird of Prey Centre, housing 20 native birds of prey including hawks, falcons, kestrels, kites, buzzards and a golden eagle. It is now one of the few places in the UK to see a golden eagle flying, with two displays each day as well as a daily owl show. Most visitors will still go to see the vast array of plants (over 8,000)  and the impressive Norman Foster Glasshouse and to wander the 568 acres of gardens, complete with café and playground.

Two years ago today, the UK voted for Brexit. In terms of our holidays it seems that, despite the fact that we are only about nine months from leaving the EU, most Britons believe that Brexit is having no effect on their holiday plans. That is the claim from travel insurance comparison site who polled over 2,000 people shortly. 63% of Brits believe Brexit will have no impact on where they travel and 57% of respondents will be taking their next holiday in mainland Europe.

In the Fuerteventura town of Corralejo next month is the Fiestas del Carmen. This is a time when the town’s population is trebled or more by visitors from other islands and international visitors who come to see the hundreds of flower embellished boats. The boats are adorned in this way to honour the patroness of the town, Lady Carmen. A statue of the religious figure is paraded through the local towns, accompanied by traditional music and Canarian songs, until being placed on a boat for a sail around the harbour. An age old tradition, the festival and its patroness are believed to bring good luck to the fisherman of the sea, which makes a great experience for the whole family to enjoy.

the sands at Pendine before the racing starts

Pendine Sands is hosting its annual Hot Rod Racing Festival next weekend. It celebrates the many world land speed records broken there in the 1920s but, even today, it is still used by aspiring speed record enthusiasts. The fastest run at the Hot Rod Races so far goes to Jim Henshaw and his L8/R Model A roadster pickup. Powered by a small block Ford, the car stormed its way to an incredible 127.80mph in 2017, giving Jim the title of ‘King of the Beach’. It may sound as though it is a day just for petrolheads but it certainly isn’t as I found out to my surprise last year. It’s just a good, fun day out! To watch the races it costs nothing but there is a fee for parking on the sands.

Continuing the anniversary of women receiving the vote, Westminster Hall in London will be running a free xhibition called Voice & Vote: Women’s Place in Parliament. Running from the 27th of June until the 6th of October it will include immersive and interactive tech, rare historic objects, pictures and archives which will reveal the story of women in Parliament, from the campaigning, protests and achievements to where we are today and how we can continue to make change. It is part of Vote 100, the year-long celebration of women’s voices in Parliament that will explore the contribution and impact of women on Parliament over the last 200 years.

According to the Financial Times, some Marriott Hotels in the US are installing the Amazon’s  Alexa, in hotel rooms. In a non-exclusive deal, Alexa will be added in rooms to enable guests to use room service, housekeeping and providing concierge advice.  Given the publicity that Alexa generated when it was revealed a few weeks ago that an Alexa installation was passing conversations had by a couple in Oregon with someone else. Before I stayed in any hotel room, I think I would want to categorically know that the bug in Alexa that caused this download of a private conversation had been fixed.

Finally, in flight news there are more strikes this weekend on Air France and its subsdiaries. If you haven’t already checked, contact them to make sure your flight is still flying. Turkey is back as one of the most popular holiday destinations of 2018. The Turkish airline SunExpress has launched four new routes from Luton to Antalya, Ankara, Bodrum and Gaziantep with the flights to Ankara and Gaziantep being the only direct flights to operate to these destinations from the UK.

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