Saturday snippets: 9th of July 2016

By | Category: Travel news

Elephant_and_BabyThis week in Malawi some 500 elephants were being moved from Liwonde National Park to Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve. Why? Because in Nkhotakota there are less than 100 elephants left there when, not so long ago, there were 1,500. Poaching and habitat loss have sent numbers into serious decline. Bit in Liwonde and Majete reserves, poaching has been curtailed. New security and anti-paching patrols have been set up in  Nkhotakota and the hope is that the herd will increase in numbers giving Malawi another destination that will be able to deliver what tourists want – the sight of wildlife in large numbers.

Many of us will be hiring cars as we holiday this summer. Car hire comparison sites have been accused of not indicating the true prices that we could end up paying. Now the Competition and Markets Authority have said it wants to see a ‘drive-away price’ displayed before customers agree to the purchase. Sites must provide transparent prices, including all mandatory and optional charges, to customers trying to find the best deals. As well as that the sites have to reveal the fuel rules ( fill-up or leave empty) and one-way fees. They have until January 2017 to bring their sites up to the new requirements which means we still might be in for an unpleasant surprise hiring cars via comparison sites this summer.

Petra in Jordan

Petra in Jordan

ExtraJORDANary is the strapline that the Jordan Tourist Board is using as it persuades us to holiday there this year. They have just launched a new campaign costing half a million. According to Adel Amin of the tourist board, “The campaign’s focus is to showcase our majestic country and inspire people to visit, as well as extend support to, our trade partners,” “The campaign highlight’s Jordan’s most special places, including Petra, the Dead Sea, Wadi Rum and Aqaba, and aims to create desire and intrigue through a captivating headline and stunning visuals”

The US is noticing a downturn in the number of international visitors and that was even before the Brexit vote. The US Travel association says that it is due to a combination of factors including the strength of the dollar. But in the week or so before Brexit the pound reached £1.50 against the $ so there are other reasons as well. With the vast (compared to other destinations) cash at its disposal, it looks as though money can’t necessarily buy visitor numbers. I wonder whether every destination performance that is down will be blamed on Brexit and economic uncertainty. I never realised that the UK was so powerful!

From a different source also comes gloomy news. The research company, Euromonitor, predicts there will be 2.3 million fewer visitors to the UK over the five years up to 2020 following the Brexit vote. It says that EU source markets, such as Ireland, Germany and Spain along with the US would experience the sharpest forecast change in volume. However, a pound slump after Brexit would help to entice visitors to the UK. France is the UK’s biggest and robust source market, with 3.7 million visitors to the UK in 2015. It says that Germans and Americans are less likely to travel to the UK. It doesn’t say what the impact will be on our travelling habits.

Durham Cathedral

Durham Cathedral

In two weeks’ time, Durham Cathedral starts its Open Treasure exhibition experience. Open Treasure will open the doors to previously hidden spaces within the cathedral cloister, representing some of the most intact surviving medieval monastic buildings in England and home to the best-preserved monastic library in the British Isles. The story of these remarkable buildings will be told through the creation of a new exhibition space which will begin in the fourteenth century Monks’ Dormitory and end in the Great Kitchen.

Can it really be true that more than a quarter of us have lied or over exaggerated about a bad experience on holiday, with one in eight threatening bad reviews to get what they want? According to research by, 23% have lied about or exaggerated a bad experience; 13% have threatened to leave a bad online review; 10% have refused to pay a bill and 8% have lied about a special occasion, for example saying it was their birthday, honeymoon or anniversary. The most likely lie was along the lines of ‘there was a hair in my food’, so the complainant could get a discount or a free meal, with 31% admitting to this ploy. Almost a quarter (22%) lied about the cleanliness of their room; 14% have lied about noise disturbances and 9% have lied about developing food poisoning on holiday. When asked what they had hoped to achieve through their lies or threats, 47% of the relevant respondents said it was to ‘save money/get a discount’ and 38% said it was to ‘receive some kind of upgrade’. Over half (51%) said their devious actions had been successful. If this is true, I don’t think I want to associate where Brits holiday in the future.Beatrix Potter

As many readers will know, this year is the 150th anniversary of the birth of Beatrix Potter, the writer of Peter Rabbit and many other animal children’s books. Usually associated with Cumbria where her house was left to the National Trust she also had relatives who lived at Melford Hall in Suffolk, also a National Trust property. Previously unknown drawings by her have been found there during cleaning work. Four line drawings were found hidden inside books. They will go on display when an exhibition, – Beatrix Potter’s Melford – opens on 13 July. That should increase the visitor numbers. At Long Melford, you’ll also find the toy that might have been the inspiration for Jemima Puddleduck.

Miami celebrates its ninth annual Miami Spa Month with over 40 of the destination’s world-renowned luxury spas participating this year. Spas and wellness tourism have become big business in recent years and Miami has been attracting increasingly high numbers to join in on the special month. But it doesn’t actually last a month but two. During July and August, there will be discounts of up to 50% in these forty places.

At the Entente Cordiale Cultural Centre in Hardelot, not far from Calais, an Elizabethan theatre opened last week. The wooden building seats 388 and has the main architectural characteristics of the English Elizabethan theatre, with all the requirements of a 21st century cultural facility. But why in France where Moliere, a century later ruled supreme? The Elizabethan theatre was built at the very heart of Shakespeare country in France. This has become even more obvious since the rediscovery in 2014 of a lost First Folio of the bard’s work in Saint-Omer, just a short distance from the Channel. The irony is that the theatre opened on the same day the UK voted to leave the EU.

the islands of Vietnam

the islands of Vietnam

The YHA (England and Wales) has decided that it will allow dogs to stay with their owners at Youth Hostels that offer camping and cabins accommodation. That adds another sixty locations to the number of places that dog owners can now find accommodation. It’s not free. Dogs will be charged £5 a night, But there will be no charge for dogs where owners choose to bring their own tents and use the pitch up facilities available at 31 Youth Hostels throughout England and Wales. All dogs must be  micro chipped and fully vaccinated to ensure the safety and wellbeing of other animals and guests the dogs must be on a lead at all times, including external areas.

Finally, Vietnam is extending its visa exemption program for UK, French, German, Spanish and Italian passport holders for single-entry stays of up to 15 days, until 30 June 2017. 4.7m people visited the country in the first six months of 2016, a 21.3% increase on last year’s figures. Part of this rise may be due to easier visa facilities but a further reason must have been the introduction of the daily service by Vietnam Airlines direct to the country from Heathrow

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