Saturday snippets: 8th August 2015

By | Category: Travel news
panoramic view of Ljubjlana

Ljubljana – cpaital of Slovenia and short break destination

Slovenia is the latest country to announce that more Brits are visiting than ever before. For the first six months of this year, visiting Brits are up by almost a quarter. Now we are their fourth biggest market after Italy, Germany and Austria. So why are we going there? Numbers would have been inflated by the Slovenia vs England UEFA Qualifying football match in Ljubljana but having new flight connections between Southend and Maribor has helped make it easier for those in East Anglia to get there. Expect more suggestions to go there from your travel agents because last year’s ABTA (Association of British Travel agents) held its conference there so many travel agents will have seen the country for the first time.

A new snowmaking pilot project aimed at preserving the Horstman Glacier on Blackcomb Mountain in the Canadian province of British Columbia will be launched this winter, testing low-energy-consumption snowmaking guns in the Horstman Hut area to determine if a full-scale snowmaking system is an option to prevent further recession.  The project aims to help preserve Whistler Blackcomb’s summer glacier experience and improve early season access to glacier skiing and snowboarding during the winter.  Installation has begun with snowmaking anticipated to begin in early October.  The Horstman Glacier is one of two glaciers in North America to offer skiing and snowboarding and serves as a training area for ski and snowboard national teams from all over the world.

A costa Rican beach - one of the attractions for visitors from North America

A costa Rican beach – one of the attractions for visitors from North America

Costa Rica, as I have said before, is one of the Central America’s leading holiday destinations for North Americans containing the opportunities for both beach holidays and wildlife tours. Thomson Holidays had already announced that they would begin direct flights next year. Now British Airways has announced that they will begin a service twice a week starting next May and then three times a week next winter. Mauricio Ventura, Costa Rica’s minister of tourism said: “British Airways’ new service from Costa Rica to the United Kingdom is wonderful news and demonstrates the success of our strategy to attract premium airlines to our country.

After baggage rule changes at British Airways which I mentioned last week, Lufthansa has also announced changes. They have three price structures in economy now – Light, Classic and Flex. All fare options include one piece of hand luggage, snacks and drinks on board, a reserved seat at check-in from 23 hours before take-off, as well as Award, Status and Select Miles. The airline says that the various fare options differentiate themselves in the areas of free luggage, seat reservations, as well as rebooking and cancellations options and brings them into airlines such as Aer Lingus and Flybe who have similar policies. Read the small print before you book otherwise you may find that it costs you more fown the line when you suddenly remember you do need more baggage than you one thought!

Airbus has filed patents for a supersonic aircraft that would be able to fly from London to New York in one hour. This plane would be four times faster than Concorde. But would there be a demand? Probably yes amongst business people although the patent allows for a plane carrying just 20 passengers. That means the fares will be high but I take it that this is a prototype for larger planes. I’m all for this as my flight to see the family in Australia takes at least 21 hours. Doing it in three  or four would be a real boon. The downside might be the cost; the second downside is that a flight will be years and years away. But, unlike previously announced plans for supersonic passenger travel, this time it might come to pass

President Barack Obama last month issued a Presidential Proclamation making the Waco Mammoth Site in Texas a new unit of the National Park System. This paleontological site represents the nation’s first and only recorded discovery of a nursery herd of Columbian mammoths from the Ice Age, defined as 2.5million to 10,000 years ago. Visitors can view in situ fossils, including female mammoths, a bull mammoth, and a camel that lived approximately 67,000 years ago. Of the 24 mammoths uncovered to date, at least 18 were part of the nursery herd. As a result of an unknown natural catastrophic event, the entire nursery herd died at the same moment in time, which left the skeletons relatively intact, giving this site a one-of-a-kind opportunity to examine the matriarchal herd structure and behaviour of this extinct species.

Ryanair Business Plus

its customer service attracting more passengers the airline says

Ryanair says that it is the first airline to carry more than 10 million international passengers in a single month – July – which is about a million more than in the same month last year. It says that the three reasons are “our lower fares, our stronger forward bookings and the continuing success of our ‘Always Getting Better’ customer experience programme.” It also says that its customer service policy “continues to deliver stronger than expected traffic “ If it is proving to be so useful and important to the airline, its shame they weren’t customer-friendly years ago.

Just about Travel has always recommended that holidaymakers carry travel insurance but the latest information from Key Note suggests that that 22% of people went abroad without travel insurance in 2014, up from 19% just a year before. However, for the youngest travellers, 35% of those aged 16 to 24 and 36% of those aged 25 to 34 said that they did not take out insurance. Around one in four people aged 16 to 34 also said that they thought the EHIC (the European Health Insurance Card which entitles a bearer resident in the European Economic Area to the same level of treatment a local could enjoy from the state )meant they didn’t need insurance, while around one in five thought the UK government would foot the bill if they fell ill overseas. This isn’t the case. Do remember travel insurance before you holiday.

The first survey for the week comes from Voucherbox who say that research shows that people spend more money staycationing in the UK than by holidaying abroad. They claim that nearly three quarters of Brits say they are staying put this summer although I suggest that their study will disagree with reality. They also say that although Brits think that they will save money by staying in the UK, Voucherbox says that this is not the case. The typical cost of dinner in an inexpensive British restaurant will set you back £10 tey say but that it can half that in Turkey, Portugal and Croatia, where a meal can cost as little as £3.12. That assumes that Brits holidaying in the UK will eat out all the time and that will react as they do when holidaying abroad. That doesn’t happen which undermines any “research” of this sort”

from a previous balloon festival in Bristol

from a previous balloon feiesta in Bristol

From Teletext Holidays comes the second survey. It claims that some things are likely to die out over the next few years including sending postcards, using travellers cheques and taking a fortnight off for the main holiday of the year. They also see the end of popping into a travel agency and looking at holiday brochures although, personally, I think that has been forecast so many times and there is still no sign of its imminent demise. They also say that clapping when a plan lands is dying out although, judging by my last two flights, I wouldn’t agree.

You’ll have seen it on television already but the lasts another two days yet. The 37th International Balloon Fiesta has begun in Bristol with good conditions for the balloons to provide their spectacular aerial dancing as one person put it. There is still time to see the mass ascent of balloons which is scheduled for 06:00 and 18:00 today and tomorrow. Always a sight to appeal, you can see the balloonists from most high points in Bristol and the surrounding area.

The other events under way, of course, are Cowes Week and the Edinburgh Festival and its fringe. In Edinburgh over 300 acts can be seen over the next few weeks. It means, as well, that accommodation in Edinburgh gets very expensive. Remember that Glasgow is just an hour away by train, Falkirk a lot less so if you are going, give serious consideration to paying less by staying further away and commuting.

For those of you that will be using the rail system to get to Stansted Airport anytime over the next three weeks, bear in mind that – if you use the tube  – the interchange at Tottenham Hale will be closed. There will be a bus relacement service between Seven Sisters and Walthamstow on the Victoria Line but that will be slower than the tube so allow extra time or take the tube into Liverpool Street station and catch the train at the beginning of its run to Stansted.



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