Saturday snippets: 8th of December 2018

By | Category: Travel news

More than a third of Brits plan to spend less on Christmas compared to last year, according to the results of a new global survey of 23,000 families carried out on behalf of Ferratum, the international financial services company. It found that 37% of Brits are planning to spend less on Christmas this year compared to 2017, with 43% planning to spend the same and just 20% planning to increase their spend. Could this be true? Each year we say there will be fewer presents but it doesn’t happen. Each year the money comes and goes so I’m not sure that this research will be found to be true once those bills start coming in after Christmas.

On another Christmas theme, our largest tour operator, TUI, has been researching our knowledge of Lapland and found that about 10% of their responders had to consult the internet to see whether Lapland existed. Only 22% knew that Lapland was spread across parts of Finland, Norway, Sweden and Russia. Among the other quirky results that the company found was that 32% didn’t believe Transylvania exists and an even higher figure – 38% – don’t believe that Christmas Island exists either. But 7% believe Hogwarts exists, 6% think that Batman’s home Gotham City exists and 38% don’t know that  Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch is real. Next thing is they’ll be telling us that Father Christmas doesn’t exist either!

the Akropolis in Athens. It will have seen a rise in tourism numbers this year

Greece saw a tourism growth of 10.3% for the first nine months of the year thus seeing 26 million visitors. The number of international arrivals to October at Athens International Airport were up by 12.4% to 19.8 million visitors against 17.6 million in the same period last year, But it wasn’t only Athens airport that saw growth. Passenger growth at Mytiline grew by 43.9%,  Anchialos by 39%), Kavala was up 37.3%, Mykonos passenger numbers rose by 24%, at Samos growth was 22% and the same at Kefalonia.

There is a proposal to build a national football museum for Wales at Wrexham. Why there? Because Wrexham is home to the oldest football club in Wales and the third oldest in the world. The town is already home to the Welsh Football Collection, currently housed at Wrexham County Borough Museum it is planned that the national museum would be built as an extension to the existing building. But just because there is a plan doesn’t mean an opening date is available nor is there even a start date. That depends on money!

As a happy new year present, Japan is introducing a departure tax of 1,000 yen for every person above the age of two (about £6.50/€7.60/$9.30) which starts on January 7th 2019. All travellers be they foreigners or Japanese are liable for the tax. You won’t spot the tax necessarily because it will be included in your airline ticket. What you will notice is that airline tickets will rise to cover the tax. Originally the idea behind the tax was that it would be spent on tourism marketing, similar to the US ESTA revenue spend but the government was hedging its bets a few months ago.

The Eiffel Tower. looking at it from a safe distance is as much as tourists can expect today

At this time of year, visitors go to Paris for Christmas shopping and to visit the world-class museums and galleries for which the city is famous. For the fourth weekend in a row, that won’t be easy as 8,000 police are on patrol in the city against demonstrators. The Eiffel Tower won’t be open today and nor will many museums. Some shops on the Champs Elysees will be closed and any tourists venturing into Paris are warned to be careful and stay away from crowds. As of 7am UK time, the first arrests of the day have been announced. I make no comment on the rights or wrongs of the demonstrators but I do wonder what this is doing for Parisian tourism at a time when visitor numbers should be high

There is a lot of news about new air routes that start this year. Aer Lingus will introduce flights to Dubrovnik and Nice from Summer 2019, with the announcement coming on the day that the airline launches year-round services to Lisbon from the city. This commitment by Aer Lingus to Cork means that the airline will operate 20 routes from the airport next summer. It will also fly from Dublin to Minneapolis-St. Paul in the US state of Minnesota and Montreal in Canada as from July 8th next year.

More about Ryanair, this time about flights rather than complaints. Ryanair will have a new base at Southend airport from April 2019. It will fly next year to Alicante, Barcelona Reus, Bilbao, Brest, Corfu, Cluj, Dublin, Faro, Kosice, Malaga, Milan Bergamo, Palma and Venice. Dublin will get a twice daily service from Southend, while the other destinations will be served by up to five flights a week. With both easyJet and Ryanair operating from the airport as well as Flybe and Air Malta, the airport will probably be one, if not the fastest growing airport, in the UK next year.

Ryanair is to launch flights to the Greek island of Corfu from Liverpool next June. Starting from next April, Malta will be connected by Ryanair from both Cardiff and Exeter airports.  At the same time it will launch flights from Exeter to Malaga and Naples as well and have a flight from Manchester to Thessaloniki.  Wow Air will operate a seasonal route from Gatwick to Vancouver, Canada, starting in June 2019 – making it the first airline to offer low cost, long haul flights to Vancouver.

Bergen and its old town, one of the prettiest parts of the city

During 2019, Loganair will be operating four new routes from Edinburgh. There will be year round services to Bergen and Stavanger in Norway, Islay in the Hebrides (which will start in March) and a seasonal service to Guernsey which will operate from Mary until September. In addition there will be increased services to the Isle of Man.

El AL Israel Airlines will fly from Manchester to Tel Aviv as from May 26 and will operate three times a week to Ben Gurion, located between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.

Norwegian will no longer fly from London to Fort Lauderdale and Oakland from next March. Instead it will fly to Miami and San Francisco instead.

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