Saturday snippets – 9th November 2013

By | Category: Travel news


I couldn’t start today’s snippets without mentioning that twenty tourism ministers from across the world met at the World Travel Market to discuss tourism as a driver of economic growth. ExCel stuck out in London’s Docklands is where the WTM is held. Where did the ministers meet? The Tower of London. Is there a subliminal message there about where politicians should be sent?

A ferry company is to launch a third ship to increase services between Anglesey and the Republic of Ireland. Irish Ferries currently operates eight sailings a day between Holyhead and Dublin on its ferry the Ulysses and high speed craft Jonathan Swift. The 500-passenger Epsilon is now being chartered to provide two additional departures per day each way. The additional services will start from next month.

It would be a strange week if there was no Ryanair story and this time there are two. The first is that the ebullient head of the airline, Michael O’Leary has suggested her might retire in a couple of years time. Coming on top of his thought that customer service will be a major content of the airline in the future, may be he sees no role for himself as the airline alters?


Or it could be down to the fact that the airline announced that profits would be down this year. Coming just before easyJet announced an increase in the number of passengers that it carried and the owners of Britsh Airways and Iberia (IAG) said that profits were up €370 million over the same period last year, is this the end of our “love” affair with Ryanair? And by “love” I mean that we booked as the fares were sufficiently lower to make us tolerate the service they provided.

Arundells, the former Salisbury home of ex-prime minister Sir Edward Heath has been given permanent planning consent it to stay open and it’s debts have been paid off by one of the trustees. Under the new plans, the first floor will also be opened up allowing visitors to see his study which contains his desk. That once belonged to another prime minister, David Lloyd George.

San Francisco has a new tourist attraction. You might have come across the story of the Google barge moored in the bay. Is it a floating data centre as suggested by some or the equivalent of our GCHQ where all those images it has taken around the world will be kept? One newspaper even suggested it was a big party boat. Google said that it was an “interactive space where people can learn about new technology.”

Google's tourist attraction © By and Large LLC.

Tourist officials say that it will attract about 1,000 tourists a day. Is that all? Hardly worth all the effort. Maybe it will be used for something else after all.

Pauline Latham – MP for Mid Derbyshire – wants cycle routes through the national parks to be joined up so that more people can use them, especially if the routes go through a world heritage site. No response from the government one way or the other but given the appeal and growth of cycling, Ms Latham, could be on to a winner.

Which is something the government isn’t onto at the moment. The Magna Carta celebrations which will be held in 2015 have been a muted affair as far as government assistance. Lady Boothroyd – the ex speaker of the House of Commons – fired a broadside at them in the Lords this week. No parliamentary celebration of the signing is planned that involves actually having one of the remaining copies on show. A number of Lords weighed in with support and the event will be considered. Back in 1215, the barons were objecting to tyrannical government in the form of King John and for not taking into into account people’s wishes. Seems vaguely familiar to me.

In Scotland, Selkirk and Kirkudbright are spending £4.5 million regenerating the conservation areas of the towns. Grants will be made available to historic buildings but won’t be forced on their owners. In Ankara – the capital of Turkey – the Mayor of one of the suburbs, Hamamonu, has transformed the run-down area so that today it is a popular tourist area. Local councillors would do worse than study how it was achieved.

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