Saturday snippets: 1st of September 2018

By | Category: Travel news
Edinburgh Fringe

fringe crowds in a previous year

You can judge that summer is over when the Edinburgh Fringe closes for another year and the Last Night of the Proms appears on television (its next weekend) along with those proms in the park. The Fringe is hard to comprehend. It’s just so big. This year the initial report suggests that there were 3,548 shows and 2,838,839 tickets were sold but that will probably be revised upwards as shows report their final numbers. I met one man who went for the first time and enjoyed himself even though he only saw four shows. He said that the atmosphere is what made it special and has already decided to go next year. Mind you, his daughter is studying at Edinburgh University and is in digs so he has a place to stay!

The Proms on the other hand is claimed to be the biggest music event in the world. If you add the number of performances, the number who attended concerts, the number who watched any of it on television around the world and the number who will attend the Proms in the Park then that will also reach millions. And millions.

With the last bank holiday over before Christmas, some destinations are now looking at selling us winter holidays. Broadly these split into two types –winter sports and winter sun ones. Quick out of the blocks is Thailand, one of the winter sun destinations, which starts a television campaign on Monday. The country, one of the top ten visited destinations in the world – has called the campaign, Open to the New Shades, and is supported by four tour operators – British Airways Holidays, Flight Centre, Kuoni and Thomas Cook. It runs on ITV, Sky, E4 and More4 channels for four weeks and you can expect your travel agent to be plugging Thailand as well.

South Africa.

Another winter sun destination, South Africa is sending a group over to visit five cities this month in order to persuade us to holiday there and this campaign is high-tech. I quote. “Using the latest brain-reading technology, the immersive experience will determine each user’s unique travelling style and personality profile – such as authentic adventurer, culture junkie or urban nomad – to create their ideal South Africa itinerary. The ‘Discover YOUR South Africa’ sensory experience will use EEG-reading technology to record the electrical activity in participants’ brains as they walk through a series of rooms that showcase the destination’s scenery, food & wine, culture, city life and wildlife highlights. Each participant will be exposed to a range of visuals, sounds, smells and tasting opportunities in each room that will stimulate their senses and emotions. Using the information gathered from these visceral reactions, the experience will determine their traveler profile and generate a personalized itinerary that best matches their results.” The group will visit Kingston (7th–9th September), Birmingham (14th-16th September), Cardiff (21st-23rd September), Glasgow (28th-30th September) and Manchester. (5th-7th October.)


image of Singapore skyline

Modern Singapore © Singapore Tourism

Singapore is the other destination that is promoting itself this coming few weeks. As part of its Passion Made Possible brand launch which was launched last year, the tourism authority has developed three further types of visitor that they call tribes. All seven of these “passion tribes” are Foodie, Collector, Explorer and Progressor, Culture Shaper, Socialiser and Action Seeker.  Based on these and around local 80 talents short films have been commissioned which will be shown around the world. They will become part of an overall campaign to persuade more Britons and Irish to travel there.

Lithuania on the other hand attracts visitors the year round with its city break appeal to Vilnius and Kaunas. It is a popular destination of Britons for weekend breaks as well as stag and hen do’s and has seen a 17% increase in visitors through its main airport in Vilnius this year. By the end of the year, the airport thinks that visitor numbers will exceed 4.5 million which will be up by about 24% over last year. The city also attracts Christmas market shoppers as well. Having direct flights from Birmingham, Belfast International, Doncaster/Sheffield, Dublin, Leeds-Bradford, Liverpool, Luton, Stansted helps swell the numbers of visiting British and Irish visitors.

The travel industry seems fairly set that holidaymakers and travellers are tech-savvy to the point where mobile phones are the key ordering device. It looks as though that may not be the case according to research from Rydoo (a business expenses management systems supplier) states that we are still sceptical when it comes to making purchases using the new-age mobile devices. Travel, however, beats out almost every other category.  Although the travel usage amongst all smart-phone users is high it could be a lot higher. What’s stopping us using smartphones more? Rydoo suggests that it may be because of concerns around privacy and security.

Festival Toute la Mer sur un Plateau. Image -Office de Tourisme, Granville

The hubbub between British and French scallop fisherman reminds me that one of the big festivals of the French calendar is nearly upon us. Taking place in Granville from the 9th of this month until the end is the Festival Toute la Mer sur un Plateau. (All the Sea on a Plate.) This is France’s number one shellfish port and is known to the French as ‘the Monaco of the North’. This seafood festival attracts around 55,000 visitors a year  which includes a lot of Brits. No less than 16 tonnes of seafood are brought fresh off the fishing boats for the occasion. The festival boasts markets, pop-up seafood restaurants, cooking demos, free tastings, folk music and entertainment but it is the seafood that fresh of the dock and simply but beautifully cooked that attracts me. the last two days of the month are the highlight of the festival. It takes about 90 minutes to drive from either of the ferry terminals at Cherbourg or St Malo. You can take the Southend-Caen Flybe service but the drive from the airport will take about 80 minutes.

Ryanair has reached agreements with its pilots in both the Republic of Ireland and Italy. For passengers this means that there may be many fewer cancellations than there have been over the summer. But there are potential strike disputes with pilots in some other countries which may affect flights from the UK and Ireland to those destinations.

Wizz Air is to launch three new routes from Liverpool John Lennon Airport to the Romanian cities of Bucharest, Cluj and Iasi. Starting at the end of October, flights can be booked now and start from £23 one way. Wizz Air will also fly direct from Doncaster Sheffield Airport to Budapest in Hungary  as from 29th October.  There will also be a service from Luton to the Red Sea resort of Eilat in Israel also starting on the 29th. British Airways will launch a service from London City to Rome from November 11th and add another daily service (making five in all) to Zurich route on week days. Ryanair has added six new winter routes from Luton. The routes will be to Alicante, Athens, Barcelona, Bologna, Cork and Malaga.


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