Saturday snippets: 24th of May 2014

By | Category: Travel news

AngryBirdsThorpeParkToday  Thorpe Park in Surrey unveils to the public its new Angry Birds themed 4D land experience. It starts in the high tech movie theatre surrounding and you become part of the action as rumbling chairs catapult you through a fast-paced adventure as the Angry Birds attempt to get their precious eggs back from the dastardly King Pig. Timed air gusts, water jets, leg ticklers, flashing lights, bubbles and smoke blasts will be sure to get pulses racing from start to finish! It doesn’t finish there; the new land also features the much loved Angry Birds characters coming home to roost on Detonator: Bombs Away – the Resort’s 100ft rapid drop tower ride – while ‘Red Bird’ and the ‘Bad Piggies’ go bump to bump on a brand new dodgems attraction, alongside themed retail and catering outlets. Sounds ideal bank holiday escapism.

Dauphin Island was named sunset captial of Alabama by its town council with the support of the Alabama Tourism Department.”We did public outreach,” said Dauphin Island Mayor Jeff Collier. “We felt that it would be a good tagline for us.” I’m not convinced. It almost sound as though the sun is setting on the island and, in common jargon,  that would mean it is all over for the place. I’m sure this isn’t what they had in mind when the idea was suggested though! If they just changed it to “spectacular sunset capital of Alabama” it would work so much better. Incidentally, why doesn’t the tagline appear on their website? Discarded already?

Yesterday, the Jamaica Tourist Board launched their ‘It’s a Jamaican Ting‘ campaign encouraging first to fourth generation Jamaicans to share short, personal anecdotes and pearls of wisdom highlighting the best things about being Jamaican, or what you love about Jamaica and its people.  The best answers in 15 words or less, sent by email to the Jamaica Tourist Board will be chosen to win a selection of prizes and shared on a ‘Team Jamaica’ poster which will be officially revealed at the JDUK conference in Birmingham in June. To take part and for the chance to be included on the Team Jamaica poster, entrants should send a sentence of up to 15 words or anecdote to by 30th May. Its also great publicity for a local drink bearing the same name!

I have mentioned recently that dragon boat festivals in Taiwan and Macau are coming up. In Hong Kong too, festival time is approaching (see Just about Travel tomorrow for more) but were you aware that Poland celebrated the event as well? This weekend, the Groteska Theatre in Krakow will hold the Great Dragon Festival, with the Dragon Family Picnic on the Saturday that will be held on the Vistula Boulevards next to the Dragon’s Cave in Krakow. There will also be a light and sound show on the Vistula River featuring large floating and flying dragons up to 25m in length and 15m in height. The Great Parade of Dragons on Sunday will bring together more than a thousand children from all around the country who will animate their own four metre high or even larger dragons that they have designed and built themselves.

Saga has been in the news this week because of its share flotation but I was more interested in some survey results it published. According to them, when going on holiday, 78% of holidaymakers pack their own suitcase, but nearly 5 million over 50’s leave it to their other half to sort out what needs taking.  Almost a third of men in the poll (29%) admitted that their partner packs their bags whereas only 3% of women said that their partners pack their items. The key answer was that, when asked the standard question by airport staff, 22% admitted that they hadn’t packed their own luggage. I hope the airport staff were understanding otherwise a lot of searching might happen. Isn’t it easier just to lie and say yes? And why doesn’t everyone just pack their own?  At least that way, you know what you’ve taken and you’ve only yourself to blame for leaving something out.

qatarEdinburgh is doing well in attracting new routes. Qatar Airways will operate to Doha five days a week from 28 May. It is one of six new direct routes starting this month connecting Scotland to Philadelphia, Chicago, Zurich, Verona and the Dominican Republic. A new non-stop flight between Edinburgh and Philadelphia is to be launched by US Airways next year. between May 23rd and October. United Airlines will operate five times a week service to Chicago from 23 May to 12 June, daily from 13 June to 2 September and four times weekly between 3 September and 6 October.

Flybe, Europe’s largest regional airline, will operate two new routes from Birmingham Airport this coming winter. A daily service to Hamburg and Oslo will start from 26th October until 27th March 2015. The airline will extend to year-round on six of the new routes it is operating this summer. Flybe will continue to operate up to 28 weekly flights to Cologne, Toulouse, Bordeaux, Florence and Oporto. Due to the popularity of its summer twilight flights to Reykjavik, it’s also moving this three times a week service to daytime flying, also with effect from 26th October. They have also announced a new daily flight from London Southend Airport to Rennes from 5 June 2014

easyJet is launching a new seasonal route from London Gatwick to Brest (July to September 2014).

Staying with airlines, Jet2 has launched a three-times a week direct service to Vienna from Manchester. It has also said that it will be launching flights to Bergerac in France, Fuerteventura and Jersey whilst easyJet is launching a new seasonal route from London Gatwick to Brest (July to September 2014).

When Ryanair’s annual results came out the spiel from their press office was all positive – at least in the headline and opening paragraphs. That’s not how the city saw it as it drew attention to falling profits compared to last year and a slower increase in passengers flying with the self –proclaimed world’s favourite airline. easyJet has had much more robust figures so has life for Ryanair peaked?  It says that, “we have worked hard over the last 6 months to improve customer experience.” Maybe it hasn’t done enough and passengers still remember how they were treated. It plans to introduce more features to attract business people. What about the rest of us. Or don’t we count. Like the old days then!

I couldn’t resist the story that you probably already know about. The satirical weekly, Le Canard Enchaîné, in its Wednesday edition broke the story that RFF, the French national rail operator gave the wrong dimensions for 1,300 railway platforms and, as a result, trains were built to wrong specifications and now can’t be used in some places.  Hundreds of platforms are being widened to handle the new trains. I bet the person who didn’t realise the width differences between old and new platforms is either working on very menial tasks or has left the company. His (or her) new CV might make interesting reading! Transport Minister Frederic Cuvillier blamed an “absurd rail system” for the problem, referring to changes made by a previous government in 1997. ImageGen.ashx“When you separate the rail operator [RFF] from the company [SNCF], it doesn’t work,” he told BFMTV. Now where else do you know that that has happened?

Finally, a word about one of Glasgow’s major tourist attractions – the Glasgow School of Art. Readers will know that yesterday fire broke out and it seemed that most of the Grade 1 structure and its unique contents might have been destroyed. The word now is that the fabric and many items have been rescued. Until people can re-enter the building, the true extent of the blaze won’t be known. If you have been inside the building, you’ll know that much of the interior was wood and I was struck by the large daubs of oil-based paint that had been deposited by generations of students. If most as been saved given the flammable nature, the fire service deserves a lot of credit and thanks from future students and visitors.



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