Saturday snippets: 19th September 2015

By | Category: Travel news

Sydney Harbour BridgeThis week my column comes from Sydney in Australia as I shall be here for the next few weeks preparing some stories and visiting relations. Expect then, a biased towards Australian stories for a while!

Let’s start with culture because the tourist authority for NSW, Destination NSW, says cultural tourism is on the rise with the state attracting almost 6.5 million overnight cultural visitors in the year ending March 2015, a significant 5.6% increase on the previous year. During the year ending March 2015, NSW welcomed 4.5 million domestic and almost two million international travellers who attended a theatre performance or concert, visited a museum, art gallery or festival, a historical or heritage building, site or monument.

Grayson Perry who seems to pack galleries wherever his exhibits appear will have a show at the Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) called – in typical Perry style – Grayson Perry – My Pretty Little Art Career which opens on the 10th of December and runs for six months. The MCA has built quite a reputation for intriguing exhibitions and I will never forget the exhibition they hed about Kylie Minogue which involved hundreds and hundreds of her CD’s.

This is the start of National Cruise Week. Earlier this year, the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) Europe announced that the growth in the market was at an all-time high in Europe. And in the UK cruise holidays declined by just under 5% whilst overall growth in Europe rose by just half a percent so that does that mean that our love affair with cruising is peaking? Ocean cruising, perhaps, but river cruising is expanding. Last weekend’s Cruise Show at the NEC in Birmingham seemed as busy as ever and next week’s in Manchester is gearing up for crowds as well.

Two more cruise-connected stories. Liverpool has won the destination of the year award at the annual Seatrade Cruise Awards. One of the reasons given for the city winning was that it had made substantial moves to promote cruise tourism. And you might remember that we mentioned the competition to rename the new Hurtigruten ship. The new name is Spitzbergen and over 15,000 entered. I don’t think one of Just about Travel’s readers won as the winner was from Norway.

Leipzig celebrations

Leipzig © Michael Bader

Leipzig’s annual Festival of Lights is fast approaching. To be held on October 9th, it celebrates the “Peaceful Revolution” which brought about the fall of the BerlinWall and the demise of communism in many eastern European countries. Many historic locations in and around Leipzig bear testament to the revolution such as the Memorial Museum in the “Round Corner” (Stasi Museum) and the Stasi bunker in Machern, along with exhibitions such as those at the Leipzig Forum of Contemporary History and the city has a new tourist leaflet that will help guide you to and around these sites.

A brand new Contemporary Art and Concert Hall, arlberg1800, will open for winter 2015-16 in the resort of St Anton am Arlberg in the Austrian Tirol. At a time when we are celebrating 150 years since winter tourism probably began in earnest, this cultural attraction will offer visitors the opportunity to get an overview of the region through the language of art and music and specially curated exhibitions. The new arlberg1800 will open on 4th October 2015.

Some airline news and, for once, some good news for the passenger. Starting last Monday, Etihad passengers on Economy Value and Economy Freedom fares will be entitled to two pieces of baggage at 23kg per bag – a total allowance of 46kg. This is compared to the previous allowance of 30kg. In premium cabins on certain routes, the allowance has been increased from 40/50kg to two pieces of baggage at 32kg per bag.

This winter, Flybe will expand flights to Germany. The airline will double flights to Hanover, with twice-daily flights from Birmingham and Manchester, launch a new Southampton – Düsseldorf route, and increase capacity on routes from Birmingham to Düsseldorf and Stuttgart and Manchester – Düsseldorf. For next summer, Air Canada will operate a service three times a week next summer from Toronto to Glasgow which will start on June 13 and run until September.

Spotting the birds from a previous Legoland show

Spotting the birds from a previous Legoland show

At Legoland near Windsor in Berkshire, there is always a finale to the summer season and, this year, it takes places over three weekends in October – 17/18, 24/25 and 30/31. There will be a pyrotechnic performance perfectly choreographed to a ninja inspired soundtrack, where guests will join LEGO Ninjago heroes Kai, Lloyd, Cole and Jay in a pyrotechnic battle against the evil Morro and the cursed realm. Plus there will also be lots of Brick and Treat fun across the Resort with the chance to meet Frankie the friendly Monster and his not so evil side kick Lord Vampyre.


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