Saturday snippets: 29th of September 2018

By | Category: Travel news

Last Wednesday, three of the greatest cricketers of all time were honoured in Bridgetown, Barbados, Sir Frank Worrell, Sir Clyde Walcott and Sir Everton Weekes. The three of them transformed West Indies cricket in two ways, the first by ending the white dominance of players and the second by playing some thrilling cricket. Worrall became captain and later a Senator. Walcott might have been the best batsman of his day and was the first non-white chairman of the International Cricket Council whilst Weekes – who is happily still with us – might also have been the best batsman. The trio – now known forever as the three W’s – made as big an impact on the game as Bradman did a generation earlier and Grace , forty years before that.  The Commonwealth Plaque Trust unveiled a blue plaque for the first time in the Commonwealth at a ground-breaking and historic occasion at the Kensington Oval, Barbados. That will attract not just cricket fans but tourists as well to the Oval where so many great Barbadian and West Indian teams have played.

Dublin Port Authority is very modest. It must be because last week it was named Port of the Year in the Seatrade Cruise Awards. Yet it has not mentioned the achievement on its website whereas most ports have issued press releases even if they came second or just became finalists. It won of the Caribbean island of Martinique and Quebec in Canada. Over 150 cruise ships will make a stopover in Dublin this year and the goal of the authority is to double the number of cruise ships visiting. Tomorrow, for example, the MS Albatros docks for the day bringing with it over 800 predominantly German passengers who have been cruising around the British Isles s have passengers on P&O’s MV Columbus which docks on Monday but with twice as many passengers.

Readers will remember the volcanic eruptions that erupted on Big Island in the Hawaiian Islands during the summer. Mt Kilauea seems to be much quitter so the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park has reopened to visitors. There is no molten lava to see any more which was one reason some people tried to visit during the eruption,  This park is one of the biggest tourist attractions in the islands so its closure has affected tourist number. The effect of the volcano can be seen by the fact that the Halema’uma’u crater has doubled in size. Not all the park is open. Some hiking routes and the Thurston Lava Tube are still closed but the website will give an up-to-date summary of the restrictions.

Olduvai Gorge © Tanzania Tourist Board

In Tanzania, the greatest international contribution to the economics of the country is tourism ($2 billion pa) and attracting more tourism is a key government policy plank. But will tourism be hit by the introduction of a new security levy to be imposed as from next Monday? All international passengers will then have to pay an additional $5 and domestic passengers, $2 per flight. The money will be used, the government says, to improve airport security. If you have already booked a holiday or flight chances are that you will have to pay the levy. From October 1st, the levy will probably be included in your airline ticket price but do check with your airline or tour operator. In additional exiting international travellers must also pay a $49 departure tax.

If you are holidaying or plan to holiday in Vietnam and also intend to drive whilst you are there you should be aware of ne w regulations in the country. From this month until 28 March 2019, the holders of UK issued International Driver’s Permits or UK domestic driving licences will be allowed to drive cars or ride motorbikes in Vietnam. After 28 March 2019, British visitors wishing to drive cars or ride motorbikes in Vietnam will need to present both their UK domestic driver’s licence and a UK issued International Driver’s Permit.Celebrating its silver anniversary this year, Eurochocolate (the website is only in Italian) is one of those events that chocoholics have on their bucket list. Not to make that once in lifetime visit but to be visit it time and time again. Lasting ten days from the 19-28th of October in the Italian city of Perugia, there will be tastings, workshops and some unbelievable chocolate “art” and “constructions” for want of better words.

A while ago, Just about Travel mentioned parking problems for visitors near Glenfinnan Viaduct – a place that featured in the Harry Potter films. At the time, visitors had few places to park and therefore took to parking along the roadside despite the dangers this caused and the inconvenience to locals. The existing fifty place carpark was totally insufficient. Now the council has decided to create a new place to stop. This car park will  have space for just over a hundred cars as well as space for ten coaches. Will that alleviate the problem when it opens next Easter or will even more tourists come to watch as the Jacobite steam service powers over Glenfinnan Viaduct on its way to  – not Hogwarts – but Fort William.

The V&A Dundee. Image ©
Hufton Crow

27,201 people turned up in the first week after the opening of V&A Dundee the museum has said. The opening 3-D festival saw 22,600 people for concerts and light shows. V&A Dundee are hoping for 500,000 visitors in year one. Given that hundreds of journalists, travel writers and bloggers attended the two-day press launch and that they came from around the world, half a million seems a reasonable forecast. If it achieved 500,000 visitors it would make it the 16th most popular attraction in Scotland. The two leading attractions – both with over two million visitors – are the National Museum and Edinburgh Castle.

Last Thursday was World Tourism Day which was “celebrated” under the theme of ‘Tourism and the Digital Transformation’. I received good wishes from Estwatini (formerly known as Swaziland) which, at the same time, announced a new website. The Caribbean Tourism Organization and the US Virgin Islands used the opportunity to remind us what digital technology has done and can do for tourism. The Seychelles talked of sustainability but did I hear anything from the UK or Ireland? Not a dicky bird!

Finally, Visit England says that a survey of 300 accommodation providers in England shows that half stated their visitor numbers from mid-July to the end of August were up when compared to the same period in 2017.  92% of the responders said they were confident about their business performance during the time frame and 67% reported good or very good advance booking levels up to the end of next month. The increase in bookings during the summer holiday period came from both domestic and overseas visitors.  The survey also asked 250 visitor attractions in England about their performance during the summer. More than half, 54%, said visitor numbers were up compared to the previous year.  From January to May this year Brits took 16.2 million holiday trips in England, on par with the previous record set in 2009.

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