Saturday snippets: 31st January 2015

By | Category: Travel news
Nayarit river

Nayarit countryside away from the beaches

Readers may remember a story Just about Travel ran just overeight months ago saying that there would be direct flights from London and Manchester to Puerta Vallarta on the Pacific Coast of Mexico. This opened up, as tourist destination, an area that few Britons visited. Now it has been announced that Brits are the fourth largest source of visitors to the Riviera Nayarit, a destination that is not that far away from the airport and which Irene has covered for us. Mexicans, Americans and Canadians make up the overwhelmingly source of visitors but the fact that we are so far away from the area shows how important it can be to get direct flights to a destination. Mexico has been a popular destination for us for many years so will these mean that the Mexicans may look at having direct flights to other tourist destinations there?

Aeromexico, the national airline has announced that there will be two additional services to Mexico City from London this year giving five in all so they must see benefits in growing the UK market. Two years ago when I was in Puerta Vallarta, I asked the head of marketing whether they planned to introduce direct UK Mexico flights and he didn’t know. Now the airline seems to have us firmly in their sights. Tourism to Mexico has grown by nearly a third since the Puerta Vallarta and Mexico City links began and the airline carried 59,000 os to the country last year. As there are so many flights to Cancun as well, Mexico will soon be one of the most visited long haul destinations from the UK especially if more air links are set up.

In Greece this week there were news stories that the new government would do away with all-inclusive holidays saying that they damaged local economies. Now the new tourism minister, Elena Kountoura has said that“no action will be taken against all-inclusive products. On the contrary, a further quality improvement of all inclusive products will enhance the diffusion of the benefits of this specific tourism product in local markets and societies”.

Across the other side of the Pacific Ocean, Kyoto in Japan, will be running their Kyoto Restaurant Winter Special where visitors the opportunity to enjoy five-star Japanese food at affordable prices with 151 restaurants across Kyoto joining in the campaign.offering special menus. Visitors should look for the fixed price “Winter Special Menu” at participating restaurants, with price options ranging from ¥2,500 (c £14) to ¥15,000 (c £84), including tax and service.

The Bannockburn image from the Great Tapestry of Scotland

The Bannockburn image from the Great Tapestry of Scotland

The world’s largest embroidered tapestry – The Great Tapestry of Scotland – has gone on public display at Stirling Castle from today.  The 140 metre long tapestry will be displayed in the castle’s Great Hall. 1,000 people of all ages, spanning the length and breadth of the country, dedicate 55,000 hours of stitching to produce the tapestry. Using more than 300 miles of wool they translated Andrew Crummy’s designs into a colourful, skilful and textural depiction of the history of Scotland. Conceived by the author, Alexander McCall Smith, the tapestry depicts not only Stirling Castle but a number of other Historic Scotland run sites within the 160 panels including Calanais Standing Stones on the Isle of Lewis, Iona Abbey and St Andrew’s Cathedral amongst others. It will remain at Stirling Castle until March 8th.

In Lithuania next weekend, there is an event that is quite like anything you will see in the UK – a horse race on ice! Sartai Horse Racing is a traditional horse race on the icy lake Sartai at Aukstaitija National park, located near the small town of Dusetos. Every year this event attracts more than 50,000 spectators who gather to enjoy the annual trotter horse race, see the show of local performers and try some traditional Lithuanian food.

The news in the week that the Smithsonian from the US was considering have an outlet in London is good news for all those people who will never have the opportunity to visit Washington DC. The world’s largest museum and research institution could be heading to London as part of a multi-million dollar refit of the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. The Smithsonian has 19 museums – another is on the way this year – but, as far as I am aware , it doesn’t operate outside the US. The opportunity to see some of the 100 million plus items that it holds such as Dorothy’s ruby red slippers in the Wizard of Oz, space memorabilia and some of the vast American paintings it possesses will be a big visitor draw.. The focus in London would be America’s history and contributions to science. The new London cultural centre will be named Olympicopolis. 

the National Gallery

the National Gallery

In Cornwall this February, the lost garden of Heligan celebrates its 25th anniversary.  Not the 25th anniversary since the gardens began – that was 200years ago, but the time since it was re-found after years of neglect. These astonishing gardens have been on many television programmes – and, in some places they are as they were in August 1914 when gardeners and under gardeners left their jobs to join-up, many never to return from WWI. Five million people have already visited the gardens. Well worth a visit if you are down that way.

Finally, if you are visiting London next week and plan on going into the National Gallery in Trafalgar Square be aware that the  Public and Commercial Services has called a strike by its members. The gallery says that  it expects to remain open throughout the industrial action although all planned education events during the strike period will be cancelled so if your child has a school trip, that will be off.






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