Saturday Snippets: 4th April 2015

By | Category: Travel news
Cromer Beach in North Norfolk will be one of many hoping for a bumper number of us to travel there this Easter

Cromer Beach in North Norfolk will be one of many hoping for a bumper number of us to travel there this Easter

The Easter weekend began with blustery winds and rain down our way. Luckily the forecast for the remaining three days –and indeed, all, next week – is better with sunshine and warmer temperatures. Destinations and resorts will be happier although not with Patrick McLloughlin the transport secretary who is quoted as saying not to travel by train this Easter due to all the engineering shutdowns. How does he expect many of us travel? Crawling on our hands and knees? When will the rail network wake up to the fact that the rail system is an important and busy necessity for many holidaymakers and day-trippers and plan accordingly? And when will the tourist industry start mentioning this to Network Rail?

Although 1.8 million people have flocked abroad, about a fifth from Heathrow, more of us might use that airport next year because Heathrow is cutting the charges it makes to airlines. If – and who knows – the airlines pass the saving across to us passengers, then fares might drop between £5 and £10, even more if airlines reduce fuel surcharges as their hedging contracts will be ending soon. The airport has also cut the prices charged for domestic flights by £10 per passenger in order to try and boost UK internal flights using the airport.  Last month, the airport pledged to open more routes to domestic destinations if it is allowed to expand and build a third runway. You don’t imagine that the cuts have anything to do with that campaign for a third runway do you?

According to the RAC, over four million of us have taken to the roads for our Easter breaks so domestic attractions are hoping for a bumper weekend. A little while ago, a new website,, was set up to provide visitors with information about the range of towns and locations across the country associated with Magna Carta. These include major tourist destinations, such as the British Library, cathedrals, including Lincoln, Salisbury Saint Albans and Durham, to small towns and villages that all played an important role in securing Magna Carta almost 800 years ago.  St Albans Abbey, for example and now a cathedral, was the location of the first meeting in 1213 which ultimately led to the sealing of the Magna Carta (in 1215).  At the core of the website are six geographic tourist trails, each covering different aspects of the Magna Carta story to provide visitors with two to three day itineraries. The trails are designed to be self-guided, but a number of tour operators can also book elements of the trails for incoming visitors.

colombiaAlthough Spain might be the most popular destination for us to visit over Easter and, indeed at any time, other places are receiving more us holidaying there. Colombia in South America has announced that UK visitor numbers increased by 28.5% in 2014. There were a total of 32,212 UK tourist arrivals last year compared with 25,063 in 2013. The huge increase has built on the success of 2013 which saw a 13.8% year on year increase in UK visitor numbers. The growth was not limited to the UK market with 2,879,543 holidaymakers from around globe descending on Colombia in 2014, up 11% on 2013. Every month in 2014 saw a big jump in UK tourist arrivals into Colombia with April and August enjoying the most dramatic surge. April was up 49.3% year on year while August was up 28.9% year on year.

Cancun is a firm favourite with British and Irish holidaymakers and they also saw an increase in holidaymakers. Last year it received over 4 million visitors up by 7.5% over 2013. The UK made 93,049 of that list but when you consider that only 202,276 visited Cancun you can see that Brits make up just under 50% of all European visitors. Much of the increase might be put down to the additional flights that were available for passengers. In 2015, there are fewer new flights but the destination is hoping that new attractions will still lure us there.




Oman is one of the prettiest paces in the Middle East and, in my opinion, much more interesting a destination than glitzy Dubai. Inbound tourism from the UK and Ireland grew by 4.4% and 3.6% respectively in 2014 to a total of over 147,000. Of the total figure of 147,085 visitors from the UK and Ireland, 139,362 originated from the UK and 7,723 from Ireland. In case you think that most of the travellers might be business visitors, the tourism ministry says that 72% of the visas issued to Brits were for leisure visits.

Although the number if us taking cruises dropped slightly last year, we are travelling further to enjoy this type of holiday. New Zealand’s popularity as a cruise destination has skyrocketed in the last few years, with cruise passenger numbers in 2014 almost 80 per cent higher than they were five years ago. More British tourists are embarking on cruises to New Zealand, with a 25% increase in cruise-related tourism from the UK in the last five years. 125 cruises are expected to dock in the ports of New Zealand this year bringing  200,000 passengers.

Have you ever taken a walking tour once you have reached your destination? I have done just one and thought that not many people participated. How wrong I am – at least where Manchester is concerned.  Manchester Guided Tours, the largest operation of its kind in the city and last year showed nearly 80,000 visitors around the Greater Manchester conurbation. The season for walking tours begins properly at Easter and includes things like cycling trails, clock tower tours, pub walks, ghostly walks, art tours and canal cruises to name but a few and continues until the end of September when fewer tours are available over the winter period.

Many people are visiting Georgia as part of the US Civil War anniversary. One house not connected with the civil war and which has just opened is worth a visit though. The nineteenth-century Hardman Farm, in the north of the state is recognised for its gazebo-topped Indian mound, the main house and dairy barn. The elegant home features a 19th century parlour, and many furnishings are original, including lighting fixtures. The farm’s main house, built in 1870 by Captain James Nichols, is a grand example of Italianate architecture and was originally known as “West End” because it was at the west end of the Nacoochee valley.

the fuel surcharges we still pay help getting away should be cheaper now that APD has been reduced for some

the fuel surcharges we still pay help getting away should be cheaper now that APD has been reduced for some

Finally, a reminder to all of you taking overseas flights. From April Fool’s Day, there are are only two bands of taxation. For journeys over 2,000 miles, economy class passengers will pay £71. For journeys up to 2,000 miles – which includes most of the popular European and North African destinations – the rate remains at £13. From May 1st, no child under 12 will have to pay APD. In Northern Ireland, there is no APD allowing the province to compete with the Republic where the tax was abolished last year.








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