Saturday snippets – November 23 2013

By | Category: Travel news

the ever-popular Spanish, Canary Isles

Nearly all countries to which British and Irish holidaymakers are going are reporting increases in the numbers of us visiting them. Is it due to those places becoming more attractive? Is it due to better tourism marketing or is it all down to improvements in the economy here and us feeling more confident about travelling and holidaying again?

Spain is, of course, our big destination wish. This year they have seen a 7% increase in visitors from our shores and we still account for nearly a quarter of all visitors to Spain. This year just in August alone British and Irish visitors will be responsible for a €2 billion contribution to their economy. Maybe that’s why economic forecasters are saying that Spain will emerge from its economic malaise soon which may help those with villas and flats that they are trying to sell. Ibiza has done even better. There, visitors from our countries are up over 9%

Iceland is proving to be a popular destination for us to holiday in this year. According to the latest figures from Promote Iceland, British tourists to Iceland made up one quarter of the total number of visitors to the country in October. So far this year, Iceland has already had around 700,000 tourists, which is 111,000 visitors up on the same period in 2012, signifying an increase of 19 percent.

Poland is another country that has announced they have seen more of us visiting them this year. According to the UK director of the tourist board, Bogdan Becla, a lot of it is due to the fact there are so many direct connections between regional UK/Irish airports and different cities in Poland. As part of that could be the fact that its the low-cost airlines that are largely responsible for the flights so Poland is seen by many as a cheap destination to visit.

Tunisia - away from the coastal resorts

Coming on top of a large increase in visitors last year, Tunisia seems to be heading to another record year. As of just a month ago 370,000 of us had travelled there. Most are families and it is, of course, package holidays in the main resorts that they book. But about 100,000 – a sizeable number in anyone‘s terms – are exploring the desert, the markets and the interior of the country which is about as far away in culture and lifetsyle as you will get in the beach resorts

But its not just overseas destinations that are doing well from our visits. An extra 7% of us are going to the Isle of Man due in part, says the tourist board, to its marketing emphasis on outdoor activities available to visitors.

The Dreamland theme park in Margate is to be opened to the public for the first time since 2006 – but not until 2015. The funfair is home to a Grade II* listed, wooden roller coaster and historic rides from other fairgrounds around the UK are also being restored for the park. The park, once home to Europe’s largest big wheel was bought by Thanet District Council from the former owners by compulsory purchase earlier this year. If you want to help, the trust who will oversee the renovation is looking for people to get involved over the next year.

Whilst one is scheduled for re-opening another attraction closes. Last weekend saw the closure of The Public in West Bromwich in the Midlands. Opened only in 2008 at a cost of £72 million The Public will now become a sixth-form college after yet more money is spent converting it. Despite having companies based there – presumably all paying rent – the local council felt it couldn’t continue to fork out £30,000 per week subsidising it despite the fact that 380,000 visited it in the last year. It seems to me that someone needs to look at the maths behind the whole business. £72 million is a lot to pay in the first place when Margate’s Turner Contemporary cost £17.5 and Wakefield’s Hepworth, £35 million.

Tate Britain

If you are at a loose end in London today then consider visiting Tate Britain. Although the new Tate Britain was revealed last Tuesday today there is The Tate Britain House Warming Party, a free day and evening of celebratory events, DJs, performances and sound installations.

During the week, some of Britain‘s top bosses said that politicians should stop dithering and decide on growth at airports in the south east of England. Whatever moans might be heard in the regions, London and the south east is still the hotbed forbusiness activity and where a large, mobile population with cash to spend ants to fly from. It‘s also where overseas visitors want to come, at leastv to start with. I‘ve written before about whether more capacity is needed given the availablility at Stansted and Gatwick but I do agree wth the business people about politicians and the one gene they all seem to posses – an abilty to procrastinate, dither and worry about just their own seats. The number who will stand up- when in power – and decide can be counted on the fingers of one hand.

Christmas Market in Rothenburg

In Germany the magazine, Der Spiegel, reported that some German Christmas markets were closer to amusement parks and that some of the 1,500 markets ( and I thought we had a lot at 400+) were tacky. It suggests that if the trend continues then the millions of visitors who go to Germany just for the markets will go elsewhere. It quotes Kurt Stroscher, the man who brought the Christmas market to Birmingham ( and no one of the biggest in the world with five million visitors each year) as saying that if you want the traditional markets head to the east of the country. For the ones with funfairs, head to the west.

Serbia has announced that it launch a campaign designed to persuade us to holiday in their country next summer. It is the first time that they have ever launched a UK campaign.

The Turkish based airline, Pegasus, has added sushi to its in-flight menu. It says you can now pre-order from more than 20 choices ranging from mushroom ravioli to prawns, and from schnitzel to a selection of salads. And now sushi. Any chance of a kebab?

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