Saturday snippets: 29th of March 2014

By | Category: Travel news
English tourism week

English tourism week

Let’s start this column with a competition.  Do you fancy a roundtrip flight to Nashville for the CMA Music Festival 2015 in Nashville? The full prize package includes roundtrip airfare to Nashville from London Heathrow with American Airlines, 5 night’s hotel accommodation at the Inn at Opryland from the 10th-15th of June 2015, 2 four-day CMA Music Festival 2015 tickets, plus an attraction pass to over 30 Nashville attractions such as Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, Grand Ole Opry, Ryman Auditorium and more.  Click here to go to the website with the details and rules. the competition remains open until 14th of April.

But today is also the start of English Tourism Week. So what is being suggested for the week ahead. Possibly the most ambitious is that of the Surrey Advertiser group of newspapers who suggest 70 different things to do in Surrey and North Hampshire. If you can’t find something out of 70 then you must be very finicky! Just about every county is publicising the week and their websites will have a list of what is happening in your local area.

One thing you could do is to go to the Isle of Wight and see the Swiss Cottage, in the grounds of Osborne House. This family holiday home for Queen Victoria and her family will open to the public on April 1st. Built 160 years ago, the Swiss chalet style house had been closed for some time due to restoration work.

Opened only a year ago, nearly 200,000 visitors have made the trip to the north east seaside town to see the Redcar Beacon. From the eighty foot tall tower, visitors have a view over the whole beach, town and the area. What I liked was the comment from the leader of the local council as reported by the BBC who said that visitors had come from as far afield as Australia and Abergavenny which makes it sound as though the Welsh town is almost over the other side of the world!

If you are planning an Easter break in Greece, you might like to know that, as from April 1st,  33 of Greece’s most popular museums and archaeological sites will be extending their opening hours and will be open to the public from 8am to 8pm, 7 days a week. Amongst the selected sites are the Acropolis of Athens, the temple of Poseidon in Cape Sounio, Ancient Olympia in the Peloponnese, the Archaeological Museum of Thessaloniki and the Palace of Knossos in Crete.  Check with the museums you wish to visit to see if they are opening late as a complete list of museums involved doesn’t seem available in one convenient place. Just about Travel will try to obtain one for readers.

The White Tower in Thessaloniki © K. Kousouni

The White Tower in Thessaloniki © K. Kousouni

Staying with Greece, we have already mentioned that it is becoming one of the most popular destinations for visitors this year.  Airports at Athens and Thessaloniki saw a significant increase of arrivals during the first two months of this year compared to the same period last year. International arrivals to Athens grew by 30.5%, reaching 263,761 thousand passengers compared to 202,057 in 2013 according to data provided by the Athens Airport, while arrivals to Thessaloniki saw an increase of 17.5%, reaching 118,926 thousand passengers compared to 101,177 in 2013, according to the Greek Civil Aviation Authority. This year, Greece is hoping that 18.5 million people will holiday in Greece.

Ireland has also seen an upsurge in visitors. It looks as though the number of holidaymakers and travellers going there is up by 14% from this side of the Irish Sea and Northern Ireland. Ireland is concentrating on promoting the Wild Atlantic Way, the Causeway Coastal Route, as well as on major events like Limerick City of Culture, the Grande Partenza of the Giro d’Italia and the Croke Park Classic, when the University of Central Florida takes on Penn State in their college football season opener.

As the Greeks and the Irish persuade is to holiday with them so do the Italians.  Called  – “Made in Italy” – a holiday made to measure for you –  the campaign began 10 days ago so you’ll see posters in all the major cities, in magazines and, of course, in travel agency windows.  The promortion is majoring on  seven different subjects: Culture & Wellness, Seas and Lakes, Art Cities, Mountains and Parks, Active Holidays, Undiscovered Villages, Milan EXPO 2015.

Newquay Beach in Ceredigion

Newquay Beach in Ceredigion

Back home, the floods may have receded but some destinations are suffering from fewer visitors than normal. With Easter fast approaching, they are working to tell us that they are open for business. Ceredigion council in mid Wales is spending £20,000 on a campaign both within Wales and the midlands to persuade us to travel to places like Aberystwyth which had some much damage to its seafront in January. Called ‘Discover Ceredigion and Cardigan Bay’ it will be running at the same tim as the big Visit Wales campaign urging us to holiday there as well.

In the House of Commons this week, Tim Loughton drew attention to the high cost of entry into cathedrals pointing out that, to get into Westminster Abbey,  “people need to take out a mortgage to access these days.” Couldn’t there be some discounting for local residents he asked as there was in some countries? He was told that the Church of England had has to fund all it’s cathedrals and  churches itself with no government assistance so charges had to be made to help pay for running and maintenance costs.  That still doesn’t explain why locals cannot get discounted or free entry as some bodies such as Cadw allow.


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