Saturday snippets: 18th February 2017

By | Category: Travel news
Time for a trip to Tenerife?

Will you opt for popular Tenerife or pick somewhere further afield in 2017

This weekend, most of the consumer travel shows in the UK end with the London CRUISE Show at Olympia. For those of you still thinking about what holiday to take over the summer, there are a number of destinations trumpeting how successful they have been. But don’t forget the UK or Ireland. Staycations have become increasingly popular and, at peak times such as August, you might find it difficult to find the accommodation of your choice in some of the big tourist destinations.

Last year there were 37.3 million inbound visits to the UK, up 3% on 2015 with visitors spending £22.2 billion, matching 2015’s record spend. This looks to be about the world average so whilst figures are up, we are really just treading water. From North America the figures were up 7% on the previous year whilst visits from Europe were up by 4%. It means that travel from elsewhere must have been down. The weak pound might have proved an incentive for some people to travel to the UK but it seems also to have an effect on Brits leaving to travel and holiday abroad.

Tenerife is the most popular holiday destination for Britons as all readers must know. Figure for last year show that it welcomed a total of 2,049,093 visitors from the UK last year – a 16.1% upsurge compared to 2015 – and the highest number ever recorded. The UK market is the largest source market to Tenerife, accounting for 36.6% of all visitors to the island. From Ireland, 93,501 visitors travelled to Tenerife a 17.9% increase compared to 2015.  In total, Tenerife received 5,596,764 worldwide visitors in 2016. Just for the first half of 2017, the island is forecasting that there will be an increase of 11.4% in British visitor numbers.

Another island doing well is Jamaica which says that it had 210,103 visitors from the UK & Ireland in 2015. That 4.34% increase from the previous year shows it did better than the world average and doesn’t even include cruise passengers.  With additional flights to the island in 2017 – and providing that the pound doesn’t weaken further – Jamaica is hoping for a further increase in British and Irish visitors this year.

Dubai might appeal if you want to go further afield

Dubai has also said it has had a bumper year. It had 14.9 million overnight visitors in 2016, a 5% increase over the previous year. The UK is the third largest source of visitors but considering the first two are the Gulf area and Western Europe is the next is quite an achievement given that we have the furthest to travel. Nearly 1.25 million Brits visited in 2016 and with the opening of attractions like IMG Worlds of Adventure, the world’s largest indoor theme park, and Dubai Parks and Resorts, the region’s largest integrated theme park resort as well as even more retail openings, 2017 could be a busy year for Brits as well despite the decline of sterling against the UAE dirham.

Singapore, on the other hand, is not doing so well. Or so it says. It is forecasting slower growth (just 2%) in tourist arrivals in 2017 citing global economic and political uncertainties and stiffer competition from neighbours in the region. This seems unnecessarily pessimistic as growth in 2016 was 7.7% with 16.4 million of us visiting the city state. With plans to make Orchard Road more family friendly (it isn’t at the moment?) and with a burgeoning food tourism appeal, I think the tourist board is the only one I can think of that doesn’t talk up the visitor numbers!

According to research from the travel insurance company, Columbus Direct,  41% of Brits are changing their holiday plans this summer It says 16% of respondents will take a staycation because it calculates that holidaymakers could be up to £111 less well-off for every £500 they exchange compared to last year. It says holidaymakers will get £70 less when they buy £500 worth of US dollars compared to a year ago; those travelling to Europe will get £65 less for every £500 they exchange and those heading to Australia will get £111.27. Where should you go to get more for your pound? The company suggests Japan, Mexico or Malaysia

Consumers have been urged to be on the look-out for scam sites and after Villa Plus raised the alarm when they discovered their properties were being advertised on these fake web pages without the owners knowledge or consent. The villas are advertised with unlimited availability, cheap prices, and the only way to pay is through a wire transfer.  Do not use these websites and if you have used them, please notify the police if you haven’t already done so. Finally, on Friday afternoon, both websites were taken down but there will be others. As general advice do not deal with any company that only offers a wire tansfer as the sole method of payment without checking it out thoroughly.

Minnie & Micky Mouse

Mickey and Minnie will want more from your wallet to visit them

Last year I wrote about the Disney ticket price increases. This year they have increased them again. Admission prices for parks in both Florida and California rise by up to 4.9%. In Florida, Walt Disney World off-peak one-day prices rise from $97 to $99; mid-season and peak day admission prices are up by $5 to $107 and $119 respectively. At Magic Kingdom, the top priced peak ticket remains at $124.  A day at Disneyland or Disney’s California Adventure will cost $97, up $2. Regular and Peak Day prices go up by $5 each. But are the price rises deterring visitors. Last year numbers were down.

Wizz Air is to open its first UK base this summer at Luton Airport. The airline is Luton’s second largest carrier and siting a base in the UK suggests it isn’t too alarmed by possible Brexit implications. Three new services will commence in June to Tel Aviv; Prishtina, the capital of Kosovo and Kutaisi in Georgia – the only direct connection between Georgia and the UK. These last two services in particular open up destinations that too few Britons visit yet have vast tourism growth potential.

Colwyn Bay’s Victoria Pier which was already closed to the public for safety reasons partially collapsed in the winds at the beginning of this month. Now, Conwy council and the Victoria Pier Trust have agreed it should be dismantled and stored for future restoration. Will this happen or will the pier be forgotten in storage? For years there has been controversy over the pier and there has been concerted efforts to dismantle it entirely meaning another of our piers would be lost.So far this is no comment on the National Piers Society website.

Southern Rail

but the less said about Southern, the better or my blood might boil!

What can I say about the mess on Southern Rail that hasn’t been said? Just when we thought the problems of getting to Gatwick and travelling on that part of the rail network were resolved, the union members rejected the agreement that was made between their own union and the franchise owner. Will it be back to a series of strikes? Will the union and rail company try a different deal or should the government recall the franchise and take the line into temporary public ownership?  What’s the betting the misery will continue? My condolences to those commuters on Southern and all visitors trying to use Southern rail services to get to Gatwick.


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