Saturday snippets: 20th October 2018

By | Category: Travel news

The cover of “The Secret Treasures of Saint Lucia” by Sara Grant.

Destinations should always try new ways of attracting visitors but many remain wedded to traditional methods. St Lucia is trying something a bit different. It has worked with children’s author Sara Grant to create a children’s story book entitled, The Secret Treasures of Saint Lucia.  The story for 7-11 year olds sees Jack staying at Coconut Bay Beach Resort with his parents when he meets Nyla, a volunteer with the Saint Lucia National Trust. When a mysterious treasure map appears, they must work together to discover the true secret of Saint Lucia. It is published by the St Lucia Tourism Authority in conjunction with Scholastic and Virgin Holidays. The book is available free in any of the 12 Virgin Holidays’ V-Room stores around the UK from 20th October. It will also be given out at Gatwick Airport, on selected Virgin Atlantic routes over the weekend of 20th-21st October.

The Aosta Valley in the heart of the alps is home to six world-class Italian ski resorts, Courmayeur, Cervinia, Champoluc, Gressoney, La Thuie and Pila. At Courmayeur, the Apetta ski lift was a long time ago and, since then, only freeriders have been able to enjoy the 2,750 metre Arp ridge on off-piste routes accessible from the Arp cable car. This winter, on-piste skiing will return to Arp with the creation of two new runs. The first is an approximately 700 metre red path, which gives access to a north facing slope and the second is a 600 metre long black piste with a gradient of 70% which, it is claimed, makes it very challenging.

If you want to win a million pounds, then you stand a better chance than winning the lottery by developing an electric plane capable of operating a schedule service. Do that and Heathrow will waive landing fees for a year which, the airport says, should be worth about £1 million. But you’ll face Airbus, Boeing, Pipistrel and Wright Electric amongst others who are all looking at developing a fully electric plane as opposed to a hybrid.

Advertsing Ibiza

If you are in Ibiza next weekend – luckily it coincides with half-term, then you can visit the Amorevore Food & Arts Festival which runs from October the 26th until the 28th. Designed to capitalise on the artisanal nature of the island’s suppliers, the festival will concentrate on three themes. These are, what the organisers call, Optimal Being, the Future of Heritage and new ERA. (Entrepreneurism, Regeneration and Activism.) Each is explored on a different day.. Craft bars, farmers’ markets and street food will be part of the festival and “chefs working sustainably will present culinary delights, with hands-on workshops, activities for children and adults and talks by international experts providing a unique platform for interactive learning.” And, being Ibiza, there will be plenty of music as well!

The Cypriot, low-cost airline Cobalt Air has stopped operating. Flying from Dublin, Gatwick, Heathrow, Manchester and Stansted, to Larnaca and Paphos, the airline told prospered after Cyprus Airlines went bust two years ago. History seems to have repeated itself. Because it is a foreign airline passengers won’t be covered by ATOL however if you booked a package that included a flight by Cobalt Air then you may be able to claim. If you paid by credit card you may claim against your card provider but debit card holders will probably be left out of pocket. The CAA advice can be found by clicking here.

Brittany Ferrie will have some new vessels on its cross channel routes next year. Image © Brittany Ferries

Brittany Ferries is warning that Brexit is already affecting them. This year there was a 2% year on year increase in passenger traffic but that bookings for next summer are on a ‘worrying downward trend’. The strongest performing route this summer was Cork-Roscoff, which saw a 9% rise in passenger traffic but that rise is partly due to there being more capacity. The Connemara route also saw a large rise – 12%  – on long-haul routes operating between the UK, Spain and Ireland. Yet the most popular route, that from Portsmouth to Caen  saw only a 2% rise. Plymouth-Roscoff traffic was down 1%, and Portsmouth – Cherbourg- saw a 9% drop but that was due – in part –to a shorter season for the high-speed craft, Normandie Express. Brittany’s CEO, Christophe Mathieu, said. “Family bookings for next summer already show a worrying downward trend, so today we sound the alarm. A poor deal, or perhaps no deal at all, could impact Brittany, Normandy and the Loire, regions that have benefited directly from the links we have established and the demand we have grown for Brits travelling overseas over the last 45 years.”

Finally, readers will be completely unsurprised to learn of the news today from both Which and BBC 5 Live that you can buy reviews! Yes, they have investigated the business of placing reviews on particular websites and found that there are companies which will create positive reviews –for a price. They have also found that some people are offered discounts for loading positive reviews, another big surprise for our readers. Find me a blogger who at some stage hasn’t been offered free accommodation for a positive review at some stage in their careers and they will be in a minority. It all goes to confirm what Just about Travel has written before. Look at reviews with a cynical eye. Many are genuine but any number may not be and no website can ever be 100% sure it has found the fakes and the paid fors regardless of how good their algorithms are.

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