Saturday snippets: 8th October 2016

By | Category: Travel news
Mt Rushmore in South Dakota

Mt Rushmore. Image © NPA

This month sees the 75th anniversary of a famous memorial that most of us think has been around for a lot longer. Mount Rushmore in the American state of South Dakota celebrates its birthday on 31st October. Final work on the Mount Rushmore National Memorial carving was completed on that day in 1941 and today, the state uses that date to mark the beginning of tourism and economic growth in South Dakota. It showcases art on a grand scale perhaps seen to its best advantage in the Cary Grant film, North by Northwest, (yes, the one with the crop-dusting chase) when Grant and his co-star, Eva Marie Saint, clambered down Mt Rushmore to escape James Mason as the baddie. Throughout the year, there are celebrations being held.

The Toothsome Chocolate Emporium Savory Feast Kitchen

A restaurant or an attraction? You decide.

Universal Orlando has opened what, on the face of it, looks to be like a cross between Willie Wonka’s factory and some Victorian engineering feat. Chocolate appeals to many people so the company is probably on to a winner with its latest attraction or should that be a restaurant?  Called The Toothsome Chocolate Emporium & Savory Feast Kitchen it is a 19th Century Steampunk-themed restaurant. Chocolate isn’t the only thing on the menu but the design combined with chocolate will probably be the attraction. And that is what I think it is; an attraction rather than just another restaurant.

A study by the loyalty marketing company ICLP says that some airports are insufficiently exploiting the passengers that pass through them because they don’t understand what we passengers want. More than half of passengers in the survey cited receiving offers in advance of travel as the number one factor that would persuade them to up their spending. The report found that while a fear of security wait times may dissuade passengers to spend time at an airport, but 56% of passengers said they would arrive at the airport earlier if they were offered shopping vouchers or (46%) food and drink vouchers. The report also says that 53% of responders said they actively enjoy visiting the airport which is the bit that concerns me. I am definitely one of the 19% who said that going to the airport is something they do simply because they have to.

The inside of the Powerhouse in Dublin

Dublin’s Powerhouse attracts shoppers as well as architectural devotees

In a week’s time, Ireland’s biggest architecture festival, Open House Dublin, returns. Many of Dublin’s greatest buildings will open their doors from the 14-16th of October absolutely, free of charge, so that we can all enjoy the best part of 100 tours, events and workshops that will be on offer. This year’s theme, “The Presence of the Past”, aims to portray the social, cultural and political developments of the city. There will be a mix of buildings open, including the Facebook International Headquarters at Grand Canal Quay, the long-derelict Dún Laoghaire Baths, the Cathal Brugha Barracks which is home to the Military Archives, as well as AirBnB’s headquarters which was once a derelict waterside warehouse.

Heritage sites rely on volunteers. These are the people who turn up in all weathers to help, they sell the merchandise and the tickets hoping that, at the end of the week, more money came in than was spent on restoration. At the Seaton Tramway in Devon, Mrs Lyn Shears pledged, over several instalments, a donation to the charity totalling £1 million pounds. The donation was made in memory of her late husband Trevor Shears who had a long standing involvement with the Tramway stretching back to 1977, first as a volunteer, then as a director from 1991 and Chairman from 2005 until his death in 2014. Would that other heritage sites had so generous a volunteer.

the gounds of the Villa Durazzo Pallavicini

Part of the gardens of the Villa Durazzo Pallavicini © Commune di Genoa

Two years ago the Villa Durazzo Pallavicini in Genoa closed for refurbishment. It re-opened just a few days ago and is well worth a visit should you be holidaying near the Italian city. One of the main reasons to visit – apart from looking at a seventeenth century villa is the botanical garden which was started by a women botanist and owner of the villa, Clelia Durazzo Grimaldi. That was built in 1794 in the trend of the time- an English style romantic garden. It is also the home of the Museum of Ligurian Archaeology which houses not just Roman and Greek exhibits but houses some from Egypt as well. Later this month a new Egyptian exhibition will open there

The news that Egyptair has resumed flights between London and Luxor, which were suspended in May due to lack of demand, could be good news. Does it mean that we are returning to Luxor for our holidays? Or is a leap of faith by Egyptair that the market will soon return? There is no Foreign Office advisory notice on flying to Luxor or Cairo so there is no official impediment to travelling there.    Flights to Sharm el Sheikh are still suspended.

Amazon is investigating the practice of companies offering free products to customers in exchange for a review. In future, reviews will only come via the online store’s Amazon Vine. Why? Because ReviewMeta found that rating for products with incentivised reviews was higher than non-incentivised ones. Will travel and hospitality sites look at their policies or are they happy that no incentivised reviews are on their sites?

The results from the Caravan Club’s Leisure Vehicle Survey suggest that caravan and motor home owners change their vehicles in order to keep up with the latest trends. Given the neither can be bought that cheaply it shows an investment in the leisure time that would probably put to shame many people who cruise or take luxury holidays. And unlike many satisfaction surveys in the package holiday or luxury holiday market 89% of caravan owners and 91% of motorhome owners are happy with their vehicles. There are a total of more than one million leisure vehicles owned in the UK, and over 52% of those surveyed who owned leisure vehicles, predict they will be upgrading their caravans and motorhomes within 2-3 years.

poster promoting Loch Ness

one of the advertisements in the Visit Britain campaign

We haven’t had a Nessie story in Just about travel for a time so it must be overdue. Sighting of Nessie this summer haven’t really stirred the media so maybe that is why VisitBritain has come up with a campaign to entice overseas visitors to travel in search of the fabled monster. The six-week digital marketing campaign, which gets underway next week in France, the Netherlands and Germany uses images and videos to showcase the incredible experiences that can only be had in the Inverness and Loch Ness area.

For those of you with Samsung Galaxy Note 7 you will be aware of the potential fire hazard and that many airlines have banned their use on flights. Alarmingly, on Wednesday one of the replacement phones which was considered to be safe caught fire on a plane flying in the USA. Samsung is looking into the situation but, in the meantime, the ban on using them may stand until authorities find out why this phone caught fire burning a hole in the carpet.

Finally this week, some airline news. In a month’s time a new airline will connect Luton with the French destinations of Clermont-Ferrand, Brest and Strasbourg. Fly Kiss may be new to Luton but it has been around since 2007. Based in Clermont-Ferrand, it already flies to some 130 destinations and is growing a pace having started 23 new routes this year. Low-cost airline Norwegian has announced a new flight route from Gatwick to Iceland. From the beginning of next month, Norwegian will operate three weekly flights throughout winter.

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