Saturday snippets: May 13th 2017

By | Category: Travel news

Lumbini Image © UNESCO – Junko Okahashi

Lumbini in Nepal is the birthplace of Buddha. As such it is an important tourist destination and a UNESCO World Heritage site. Over a million people a year come to see the area but  there are warnings about the level of pollution and how it is affecting the structures there and the visiting tourists. Said to be more polluted that Kathmandu, click here for a BBC report on the state of the pollution. If you are asthmatic and plan on visiting Nepal you might want to consider whether to visit.

Mixing the words Shoreditch and Riviera wouldn’t immediately come to my mind but that is what has been done by the organisers who run the Last Days of Shoreditch Riviera in East London which opens on May 25th and runs until the end of September. It is a programme of beach life (yes they have created their own beach overlooked by palm trees and even a karaoke room) with music, a variety of different foods and mysteries to solve. Only open from Thursdays to Saturdays it is free to visit apart from when there are ticketed parties on Saturday nights when prices will start from a tenner.

It isn’t only Edinburgh that has a fringe festival. Plymouth’s starts on May the 29th and runs for the week with over thirty different performances at a variety of venues. That follows on from two events that open over the bank holiday weekend, the Plymouth Film Festival and the Royal William Yard Festival which celebrates everything the West Country has to offer. Classic cars, motorbikes and boats provide the backdrop to six music stages, dotted around the yard with plenty of food and drink available for those popping along for the day. It doesn’t there because immediately afterwards is Flavour Fest, the largest free food festival (free to enter not free to taste) which regularly attracts over 150,000 people. For two weeks, visitors to Plymouth will be spoilt for choice. And that’s before they decide to explore the city!

Martin Luther. One of many paintings of the man by Lucas Cranach the Elder

Odd sounding the Germany city of Worms may be to British ears but in history it will be forever linked with Martin Luther and the famed Diet of Worms in 1521 when his teaching were banned. In this year when Germany is celebrating the 500th anniversary of the publication of Luther’s Ninety-five theses, tomorrow sees the opening of The Luther Trail 1521. This historic route, stretching approximately 400 km, traces Martin Luther’s journey to the Diet of Worms and his return to the Wartburg Castle almost 500 years ago.

What is seasiding? Never come across the word before? No, nor had I but the reason why is simple. It has only just been invented by Parkdean Resorts. According to the holiday company, seasiding is “a trend in holidaymakers booking up to take a trip to the seaside, either for their children to share in the same experiences they have enjoyed years ago or simply to appreciate the wonders of a holiday by the sea. I think that is what we used to call a holiday at the seaside!

If the consulting firm Deloitte is to be believed, families are planning to spend less on holidays this summer compared to 2016, Those aged 35 to 54, who are most likely to have children, expect their holiday spending to be ‘markedly’ lower than last year whilst those aged 55-plus are expecting to increase their spending on holidays over the next three months, with long-haul holiday spending up five percentage points from last year. The consultancy wonders whether there is some tightening of the belts in  the younger age group due to increased inflationary costs and squeezes on pay-packets.

In another study, this time by Speedie Consultants, they claim that only 7% of customers use online reviews to help them decide on a holiday, even though 86% book their trips online. As the company points out, there are huge campaigns to achieve better and higher numbers of reviews yet do really only 7% take any note of them? What do readers think? Other results from the same survey say one in 10 found a hotel’s website too hard to navigate, 20% worry about the security of a website and 20% find the online booking process too long. A quarter said their hotel had no online booking facility.

Lapland reindeer

Lapland =awaiting all the British tourists next winter

It might be a bit early to talk about winter but Finnair will fly non-stop from the UK to Kittilä, in Lapland from 12th of December. Why mention it now? Because flights to Lapland airports have become increasingly busy and travellers are having to book earlier to get seats on the days that they want. Finnair has added 140,000 seats over the years to its Lapland services and this latest move will add another 57,000. That is a lot of people taking children to see Santa or going to see the northern lights!

As someone who is not renowned for patience having to wait for a week or so is not first nature. So waiting for two years is a complete no-no. Yet that is what MSC Cruises expects bookers for its new 167,000 tonne and 5,700 passenger ship, Bellissima. Booking opens on the 15th of May with the first sailing in March 2019. I’m told by regular cruisers that this length of advance booking is not uncommon. This might explain why I have never sailed on a maiden voyage!

Like last year, it has crept up on me. Like last year I wonder whether it is more than a PR stunt. We are in the middle of National Ferry Fortnight which runs up until the 20th of May. Do we really need to be reminded about ferries? But then I suppose I could say that about a lot of things and why shouldn’t ferries try to drum up some extra publicity about themselves?  Ferry companies have some celebratory offers on their websites in honour of the fortnight.

At the same time it is Welsh Tourism Week. The theme this year is the link between education and industry which is all well and good but when will these events publicise the week to the public and urge the to get out and see more of our attractions?


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