Saturday snippets: 4th Juy 2015

By | Category: Travel news
the cartoon I collected from a dustbin a few years ago. Tunisians will be hoping we still the country and want to holiday there.

the cartoon I collected from a dustbin a few years ago. Tunisians will be hoping we still love the country and want to holiday there.

Following the terrible atrocity in Tunisia, people can be confused by the attitude that tour operators are taking with regard to future booked holidays to the country. Some are allowing you to re-book summer holidays to another destination without penalty charges and some are allowing cancellations with a full refund. Others like Jet 2 are allowing passengers with bookings up to and including the end of October this year to change their bookings which is more generous than some tour operators have been in the past. Those offering Tunisian holidays all have different policies so do check with them as soon a s possible if you are affected.

For those planning on travelling to Canada in the future, you should be aware that under Canada’s Electronic Travel Authorisation  (eTA), citizens from countries other than the United States, who do not need a visa to enter Canada, will need to obtain online authorisation before flying to Canada, unless otherwise exempted. This new entry requirement is not mandatory until March 15th, 2016. However, beginning on August 1, 2015, eligible travellers will have the opportunity to go online and apply for their eTA. The earlier travellers get their eTA, the sooner they will benefit from knowing they have been pre-screened to enter Canada. A fee of $7 is payable for processing an application for an eTA  and the application must be made by means of an electronic system that is to be  made available by the Department (Citizenship and Immigration Canada/CIC)) for that purpose. An eTA is valid for a period of five years from the day on which it is issued to the applicant or until your passport expires.

photograph as much as you want but not with a selfie

photograph as much as you want but not with a selfie

Disney has now joined Sea World and Universal in banning the use of selfies at their attractions. The ban at its theme parks in Florida, California, Paris and Tokyo started this week. Disney had already imposed a partial ban, stopping the use of the extension sticks used for taking smartphone self-portraits on rides. This was holding up the operation of rides, the company said and it claims that selfie sticks have become a growing safety concern for both our guests and employees which it calls its “cast.” Visitors arriving with selfie sticks at the entrance will be asked to leave them at a storage facility or return them to their cars before being granted access. The White House in Washington DC allowed photographs but there is a selfie ban there as well.

Whilst there has been a small reduction in the number of us that are taking cruises, there is still betting on continued growth. From next year Boudicca, the Fred Olsen Cruise Lines’ ship will operate out of Falmouth in Cornwall for two cruises and Hull is planning to build a cruise terminal. To be built next to the aquarium, the council in Hull is looking for private sector developers to construct a cruise terminal and riverside berth on the Humber.

50 years of independence in the Maldives © Ayada Maldives

50 years of independence in the Maldives © Ayada Maldives

On the 26th July 2015 the Maldives will celeb rate the 50th Anniversary of its independence with events and festivities taking place nationwide. The Maldives became a British Protectorate in 1887, with the British pledging to protect the country from colonial expansion. This lasted for more than 70 years until on 26 July 1965, the Maldives gained their full independence. During the Independence Day celebrations, festivities will include school parades across the streets of the Maldives along with public feasts and special menus served in most local restaurants, as well as a replica of an ancient Maldivian village built on the island of Male. Set in the middle of the most densely-populated island in the Maldives, small palm-thatched houses, huts made of coconut palm trunks and traditional rope swings will take guests back in time and encourage them to admire the wealth of the Maldivian culture. Mr Mohamed Adam, Deputy Managing Director of Maldives Marketing and PR Corporation says Having already welcomed an increase in visitor arrivals from the UK, including an 8% increase in UK tourists during the first three months of 2015, we look forward to welcoming even more visitors from the UK during this exciting time and showcasing our cultural heritage.” 

Arnhem will host the second Annual Street-Painting Festival from the 9-12th of July. Several renowned street artists will show their skills throughout the weekend and all the final artworks will be on display until 7 September 2015. Some will be the size of just a paving slab, others will be much, much larger. To mark the 125th anniversary of Vincent van Gogh’s death, the Dutch painter is the inspiration for this year’s festival and all the artists will use an aspect of his work, style or technique to honour him. The art works will be produced using only chalk. The first three days will be used to make the actual art, the final day of the weekend will be for the audience to enjoy and admire the art made.

Visit Guernsey Image Library: Pictures Chris George - Coast Media

Visit Guernsey Image Library: Pictures Chris George – Coast Media

It is just a month away to one of the most fun Guernsey events, the Torteval Scarecrow Festival which is held on the first weekend of August. Creative scarecrows of all shapes and sizes will line the roads, fields and gardens of south west Guernsey and families are invited to follow the Scarecrow Trail through the country lanes. The trail takes about an hour and a half to walk and walkers are provided with guides so they can tick off the scarecrows as they go along. In the past these have ranged from Jesus and his disciples to a vicar, Michael Jackson, astronauts, groups of fishermen and whole choirs!

The Americana Music Triangle is a new tourist destination that has been launched along a 1,500-mile stretch of highway that is claimed to be the birth of nine uniquely American genres of music — Blues, Jazz, Country, Rock & Roll, R&B/Soul,Gospel, Southern Gospel, Cajun/Zydeco and Bluegrass. Spanning more than 30 communities along the Gold Record Road” (the Natchez Trace Parkway, I-10, Highway 90, Highway 61 and I-40), the Americana Music Triangle is a collaboration of cultural attractions across the Southern states of the USA. Malcolm White, director of Visit Mississippi. “Our country’s musical tradition was shaped and moulded by the talented people of our state and the surrounding region. We not only have marked music trails telling of musical legends, their influences, and the history of area that gave birth to the blues, but we also make sure music remains a large part of our culture.

More capacity at Heathrow?

More capacity at Heathrow?

Heathrow has done well this week. Not only are they the preferred airport for expansion in the south east of England, they also beat Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris and Amsterdam’s Schipol Airport to be large airport (serving more than 25 million passengers a year) of the year in Europe. The airport also received the Eco-Innovation Award due to a range of measures that include the world’s largest single site car-share scheme and improvements to public transport provision. But the 47 year-old terminal one closed for ever. More re-development will take place there and maybe the airport is hoping that a new terminal one will be where the third runway might go.

Its rival, Gatwick, has also been in the news because it has had the busiest year in the airport’s history, with passenger numbers increasing 7.8% to 38.7 million. This will be small consolation for not being the preferred airport for expansion in the south east but the airport is relying on Conservative party divisions and the powerful objections by some cabinet ministers – and Boris and Zac – to boost their chances.

Other recent airport news includes the fact that Nantes in France will now have a direct service from Bristol over the summer. France’s sixth-largest city and the gateway to the Loire region will be served twice-weekly by bmi regional from Bristol Airport. The launch of the service is ideally timed for one of the city’s most popular events. During July and August, visitors can explore an artistic and poetic trail in the city: the six mile-long Voyage à Nantes Art Trail, which has 30 stops along the way, is filled with both temporary and permanent artworks. Wizz Air will start flight from Birmingham to Warsaw and Budapest from September. Both routes will operate twice a week.

SouthWest Train

trains – the fastest growing transport cost

In the House of Commons, this week an interesting snippet was given in answer to a question from Caroline Lucas MP. Data from the Office of National Statistics appears to show that motoring costs dropped by 14% between 1980 and 2014 but bus and coach fares rose by 58% and rail fares by 63%. All of these are above and beyond increases in inflation over the same period suggesting that public transport costs have been running away in comparison with us just using our cars. If you are wondering about how air fares compare over the same time, the bad news is that there are no comparable figures (why not?) but that the real cost of the average UK one-way air fare, including taxes and charges, covering domestic flights from 2010 to 2013 declined by 4%. As air prices rose last year I can’t imagine that the downward tilt has continued.


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