Saturday snippets: 11th April 2015

By | Category: Travel news

the_pyramids_giza_egypt_Although the Egyptian government had announced that from 15 May, all Britons not part of tour groups visiting the country would no longer be able to apply for a visa on arrival, it has changed its mind. The tourism industry in the country objected to the measure and must have put very persuasive pressure on the government because life will continue for travellers to Egypt from the UK as it currently is. Independent travellers can still apply for a $25 visa on arrival at Luxor, Cairo, and a free entry stamp at Sharm el-Sheikh.

CenterParcs, which readers will know is up for sale, has announced that it will open its first d location in Ireland. Sited at the 375-acre Newcastle Wood, five kilometres from Ballymahon, County Longford, and less than twenty miles from the M6 motorway, the complex will open in 2019 and have a capacity for 2,500 guests. The new development will feature up to 500 lodges, designed with families and the environment in mind, more than 100 indoor and outdoor activities, a spa, a range of restaurants and cafés and the Subtropical Swimming Paradise, with water rides and fun for all ages.

SS Nomadic at Titanic Belfast

SS Nomadic at Titanic Belfast

Hundreds of thousands of us have been to Titanic Belfast since they opened a few years ago. Now there is a new exhibit to see although “new” and “exhibit” hardly manages to describe a full size ship built 114 years ago. The 1,273 ton ship, SS Nomadic, was used as a tender to ferry passengers from the Titanic and its sister ship, Olympic into ports where the larger ships were too big to dock. the SS Nomadic has quite a history having served in two world wars and been a restaurant on the Seine in Paris. Restored and re-opened as an attraction in 2013, the Nomadic Charitable Trust has officially transferred SS Nomadic to Titanic Foundation Limited, the charity that also owns the Titanic Belfast visitor attraction.

Anything that relieves some of the tedium in passing through an airport is to be welcomed and Jet 2 has come up with a winner. In Benidorm – and only Benidorm so far, it has arranged that you can check your baggage in at your hotel in preparation for your flight home. People drop off their bags, with the Jet 2 holidays representatives in the hotel reception on the day of their flight, collect their boarding passes and then head off to the airport to relax, safe in the knowledge their bags are securely waiting on the aircraft for the journey home. This brand new service is currently being trialed at its top 10 hotels in Benidorm and I, for one, hope that it is a stonking success and copied not only at all Jet 2 destinations but by other holiday companies as well.

A survey conducted by the online beach specialist, On the Beach, suggests that people believe that holidaying abroad is cheaper than in the UK.  The survey of 1,000 British holidaymakers found that a massive 41% say they choose to holiday outside of the UK because they believe it’s cheaper than taking a holiday at home. The same survey revealed that although flights may not be needed for a holiday in the UK, only one in five believe it’s cheaper to holiday at home. Whilst many would expect the cost of travelling to a UK holiday destination to be less than the cost of travel to a foreign destination, 37% believe the overall cost of a holiday abroad is similar to a holiday in the UK. It looks as though the domestic travel industry has a way to go to demonstrate to us that this isn’t necessarily the case and that domestic holidays can be cheaper.

There are two Irish start-up flights to let you know about. Finnair has started a service between Dublin and Helsinki with a flight time of three hours. It will operates six flights a week between the two capital cities allowing passengers to hub in Helsinki and then connect with the airline’s flights to Asia. The service will also continue during the winter schedule from October through to March 2016. From April 27th you will be able to fly direct from Waterford to Birmingham on VLM Airlines. The airline had recently announced a direct Waterford –Luton service and that also starts on exactly the same day.

Many readers will be aware that Milan is hosting the 2015 Expo World Fair this year. But they also have a new museum which is due to open this month, the Museum of Culture. Just as there is an element of doubt as to whether the Expo will open on time, so there is some doubt about the opening of the museum. The architect, David Chipperfield, claims that poor quality material has been used and has asked that his name be disassociated from the museum. As for its contents, the museum could well become an essential stop on people’s visit to Milan.



Bermuda doesn’t tend to appear on many people’s holiday destination list because many feel that it is an expensive destination. The locals are doing something to change that and entice us to holiday there. This summer, travellers to Bermuda can reap their “Proper Rewards” at a dozen hotels as part of their holiday – with a £100 credit towards activities and hotel services for bookings made between April and 31 July 2015. The special offer provides visitors staying on the island between 1 May and 7 September with a £100 per booking credit towards a range of activities and services offered by participating hotels including a round of golf at an award-winning course, a massage at a leading spa, yoga classes on the beach, deep-sea fishing, diving lessons, jet-ski rentals and more. Famed for its pink coral sandy beaches and shallow crystal blue waters, the tourist board claims that it is also the shipwreck snorkelling and dive capital of the world.

It is just a month away until the Castle of Mey re-opens for the summer. As readers know, this was the home of the Queen Mother who restored it after buying it in 1952. This year, an exhibition links her family with WWI. Her brother, Fergus Bowes Lyon, was killed at the Battle of Loos in September 1915 and reminds us that families from every part of society suffered in the war. The castle will close for winter on September 30th.




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