Saturday snippets: 15th August 2015

By | Category: Travel news
The Thai appeal

The Thai appeal

If you travel to Thailand you buy a visa which is valid for just one month. Now the government has announced that there will be a visa multiple entry six-month visas which is expected is to be a huge boost for tourism. It still awaits cabinet approval which is expected to be a formality and the visas should be available before the end of the year in time for the peak winter season. Last month Thailand received 2.6 million arrivals, up by 37% compared to 2014 hen numbers slumped because of the internal issues.. The country has set a target of 28 million foreign visitors for this year

One destination not often mentioned in Just about Travel are the Faroe Islands yet ahead f our a couple of forthcoming stores by Anna-Maria next month, it has been announced that the main airport there, Vagar has seen 164,486 passengers so far in 2015, a 10% increase compared to the same period in 2014. Visitors from the UK are up by 18% which must in part be due to the fact there are now direct flights by Atlantic Airways.

One of the best sights I ever had was seeing the sun rise over the Luxor Temple. Now Egypt has announced that achaeological sites in Luxor and Aswan will now be open from 06.00-23.00 in the summer season and 06.00-21.00 in winter. Lighting has been installed in all the main tourist areas so that the ruins can be seen bathed in light. The reason for all is is to try and boost tourist numbers to both cities in the wake of both a donwturn due to the overthrow a few years ago and Islamic fundamentalist threats.

As the football season rolls around, you might have noticed that Visit Florida, the state of Florida’s official tourist board has become the main sponsor of Fulham Football Club. It also has signage rights and will be featured on the Riverside Stand roof at Craven Cottage on the landing approach from London’s Heathrow Airport. The fact that Fulham’s owner, Shahid Khan, also owns the Jacksonville Jaguars in Florida may have played an influence and he has certainly been eulogising the state as a holiday destination this past week. With no hint of understatement he said, “I love Fulham and I love Florida, so naturally it brings me a lot of satisfaction to see two of my personal passions become one. VISIT FLORIDA has a great tourism and leisure story to tell in the competitive London and UK market, and I don’t think there can be a better way of communicating all Florida has to offer than through the power and following of Fulham Football Club. This will be an outstanding partnership. Plus, the kit looks fantastic.”

Now Fulham will be promoting Florida but don't forget the Kissimmee competition that starts on Monday

Now Fulham will be promoting Florida but don’t forget the Kissimmee competition that starts on Monday

Staying on the Florida theme, from Monday, the holiday resort of Kissimmee near Orlando – home to Disneyworld, Universal and all manner of attractions is running a competition that could win you what the tourist board calls a one-of-a-kind holiday. Emphasising the theme of either thrills or tranquillity, weekly winners will be chosen to receive a prize package to the brand new I-Drive 360 complex, home of The Orlando Eye. To enter, text either ChillsFL or ThrillsFL to 313131. Limit 1 entry per person, per day. For Eligibility, Official Rules, and complete prize details, visit The competition runs from August 17th until October 18 so winning will give an additional benefit if you are thinking of the half term holidays.

Do you remember when an airport was just a place to queue up, catch a plane and that was it? Then they became shopping centres as well. Now they have spas. The Collinson Group, owners of the Priority Pass lounges and ground-handlers, Swissport, has opened the first independent, shared-use lounge at Heathrow’s terminal 5. Called ‘Aspire, the Lounge and Spa at LHR T5’ is located at Gate A18. Priority Pass members will have access to the lounge as part of their membership and others will pay £35 (US$55) when booked in advance, or for £40 (US$62.50) at reception. Apart from the usual drinks, snacks and a quieter place to sit, passengers can use the ‘Bliss Spa at Aspire’, which for facials, manicures and pedicures.

If things are changing at airports, so might they be on planes in the future. Any development in economy passenger seats on aircraft seems to have concentrated on getting as much technology into them rather than getting extra comfort but one company, B/E Aerospace, has patented a new economy seat which will help those people who are taller than the norm. Marisa Garcia, writing in the online travel trade newsletter, Skift, says that seats can be adjusted forward for shorter passengers and children, making room for taller passengers behind them and that those shorter passengers and tots can benefit from slightly closer trays.  The story has some images showing how the seat might work.  What neither she nor B/E Aerospace says is when we might be able to use them.

Monarch Airlines__Aircraft flying over the clouds - low res-1Monarch Airlines has announced two new scheduled routes to Israel from Luton Airport. The airline will start flying to Tel Aviv (Ben Gurion Airport) and Ovda Airport (the main airport for Eilat) this December and tickets are on sale now. Flight time is five hours so it brings it in the range of weekend and short breaks. It comes on the heels of Ryanair announcing its first flights to Israel. easyJet already flies there.

Don’t forget that Plymouth hosts the annual British Firework Championships this coming Tuesday and Wednesday. Believed to be Britain’s most spectacular fireworks display this free event features six top pyrotechnics companies who set off four tonnes of fireworks over Plymouth Sound as they battle it out to become the British Fireworks Champion. 

Staying in the west country, Newquay airport in Cornwall which, a couple of years ago some people thought might close, has announced an increase in passengers. The numbers are still smallish but the growth so far – and in the future – has been helped by more people using the London-Gatwick service and the increase in scheduled flights to and from Manchester and Birmingham and new services to Dublin and Stansted.fireworks

When does a cruise ship become too big? Costa Cruises has announced that two new ships have been ordered for delivery in 2019 and 2020. Each will carry 6,600 passengers which is five times as big as the village in which I live. There will be 2,600 cabins on each of the 180,000 tonne vessels.

Finally, and with the last airport story of the week,  London City Airport is up for sale according to last weekend’s Financial Times. The owners who hold stakes in Edinburgh and Gatwick airports as well, think that market conditions make it ripe for sale. Will it mean anything for us passengers? Probably not.

Sorry, no odd or daft surveys this week. They were so biased, I wrote a main story about it instead!



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