Saturday snippets: 17th November 2018

By | Category: Travel news
hump back whale

The hump-back whale sanctuary on the coast of the Dominican Republic is a a tourist attraction

The Dominican Republic – one of Britain’s favourite Caribbean destinations – says that 4.1 million visitors went to the country in the first seven months of 2018, up 5.9% on the same period in 2017. It won’t surprise you then that there are another nine hotels under way which will provide an additional 2,800 rooms for visitors. That is on top of the 498 roomed resort in Punta Cana (the most popular overseas holiday destination in the country) this month.

To encourage us to take our skiing holiday in Switzerland, the country has launched Kids4free. The idea is just what the label says. Kids (up to 12 years of age) get the chance to ski and snowboard for free for 6 days in Switzerland. In total 44 winter sports resorts support this initiative. From 7 November, adults can enter a competition on Myswitzerland.com for a child up to 12 years. Winners can use the 6-day ski pass within the winter season 2018/19. The closing date to enter is 2 December and winners will be informed by 7 December and can use the 6-day ski pass at any time during the 18/19 winter season, starting 22 December 2018.

how many holidays do you take a year?

More from World Travel Market about UK holiday habits. From their research they say that 51% of us have holidayed at least twice this year. WTM claims that this is the first time in a decade that the majority of us have taken more than one holiday. It also says that 7% of us went on four or more holidays this year which suggests that either we are taking shorter but more often breaks, that we have more leisure time or that retirees are taking advantage of their extra leisure to swell the numbers.

Traditionally holidays are about relaxation, lounging around and soaking up the sun but recent evidence for elsewhere suggests the city break has overtaken the beach holiday to become the most popular form of holiday. WTM build on this by suggesting that sightseeing is the top activity whilst we are on holiday followed by cultural experiences. Maybe we are becoming for more active on our holidays nowadays and the fight for the sun lounge is happening less and less!

For those who still like beach holidays you might remember that Thomas Cook introduced a charge which would guarantee you a sun lounger. How successful it has been hasn’t been revealed by Thomas Cook but more WTM research suggests that the overwhelming majority of us would refuse to pay the reservation sum for a sun lounger. In fact WTM says that only 5% would be willing to cough up the fee and a further 5% thought they might. If fewer of us are taking beach holidays then maybe there will be more sun loungers available for the rest of us and we won’t even have to consider paying an additional charge to reserve one.

empty deckchair

Would you pay to reserve a sun lounger or deckchair? Image © Dan Sperrin

Last week I flew from Cardiff to Sydney via Doha. The launch last May of the Qatar Airlines service has given those of us living hundreds of miles away the chance to fly long-haul without having to trek up to Heathrow or Gatwick to catch a flight. That often meant that a hotel stay over because there is little opportunity using public transport to arrive in time for check-ins. A few months ago, the Chairman of Qatar Airlines said that he was concerned about the numbers using the service. On my Thursday flight there were just over 150 on the flight which I would have thought was reasonable. More of interest to both the airline and the airport were some of the comments I heard. A couple who had used the service before to fly via Doha to Adelaide said that the service removed the hassle of messing around (not their actual words – I’ll leave it to your imagination) with having to schlep all the way to Heathrow and be treated like cattle in the local market!

Staying with the airport, I have no patience and am very critical of the time it gets through airports. So I am happy to say that I caught the 5.30 am hotel bus to the airport which left at 5.35 am and, by 5.44, I was sitting in the departures lounge having gone through baggage drop and airport security in those nine minutes. Heathrow and Gatwick can’t match that and there aren’t many anywhere else either. Now I know why I like smaller airports.

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