Saturday snippets: 27th January 2018

By | Category: Travel news

Part of the Louvre has been closed due to the flooding in Paris

If you are travelling to Paris in the next week or two you should be aware that the city has had even more rain than parts of the UK have had. The River Seine is at a one hundred year height and is expected to peak today. That doesn’t mean to say the worst is over as more rain is forecast next week. For visitors it means that some attractions are closed including the lower floor of the Louvre. A major rail line used by many tourists as it links riverside attractions, RER C, has been closed and is likely to remain so until the middle of next week at the earliest. Boats cruising the Seine to show visitors the sites have been stopped from sailing. The good news is that – at the moment – very little rain is forecast over the next fortnight so river levels in the Paris area should fall. But it isn’t just paris that is affected. Over half of France is subject to flood warnings.

It isn’t just Paris suffering from bad weather. Many ski resorts in Japan have had more snow than usual with 400 cms lying at the Niseko Mountain Resort and the same at Yudonosan. Avalanches have occurred so warnings are out for skiers as they are in some European resorts. Zermatt was cut off again briefly this week and at Engelburg in central Switzerland, the toboggan run  was closed and some chair lifts couldn’t operate because of the high winds. Saas-Fee was also closed this week. If you are planning on skiing in the next couple of weeks there is plenty of snow around but warnings are also out so check first.

Brits want to travel more in 2018, but spend less according to Travelzoo. This is the result of a survey of people using its website and, therefore, it may not be indicative of the public as a whole. It found that 78% say they intend to take at least three holidays or short breaks this year, a year-on-year rise of 32%. But the number of users intending to spend less on those trips has also risen by 19 percentage points, from 37% to 56%, suggesting that Travelzoo users will be more careful with their money. More than half of users intend to limit their budget to £1000 per person.

In another survey, this time by Heathrow Express, the results suggest that a holiday starts the second we lock the front door behind us rather ta when we arrive at our destinations. 53% of those polled say the best part of a holiday is the beginning of it. The research also found we start to look forward to our holiday 14 days ahead of the trip and start to become less focussed at work six days before departure. Those responding to the survey said that they start packing four days before departure and start shopping for items they need to take away with them eleven days in advance. Although 70% said they feel excited prior to a holiday, 20% said they get nervous and 19% per cent said feel stressed in the days preceding a trip.

Tthere will be more flights from the UK and Ireland to Toronto this year

The Canadian city of Toronto says that 43.7 million people visited in 2017, spending more than $8.8 billion, which was up by more than 9%. There were nearly three million US visitors in 2018, plus 2.1 million tourists from other overseas destinations. Outside North America, China was the top source market, with 320,000 Chinese tourists visited the city, while numbers from the UK was slightly down possibly due to the value of sterling and increased airline prices last year. Toronto was undoubtedly helped by Canada celebrating the 150th anniversary of nationhood but there may not be a drop this year as new airline routes to Toronto have been announced and the province of Ontario will celebrate the 125th anniversary of its provincial parks this year. Just three hours north of Toronto, Algonquin is the oldest provincial park in Canada making it very accessible for international visitors to the city.

The capital of Argentina, Buenos Aires has also seen an increase in international visitors. It is estimated that 1.55 million international tourists arrived through the city’s major airports, from January to October 2017. This increase in visitors builds on sustained growth stretching back over fifteen months, a pattern not seen since before 2012. The visitor increase seems to have resulted in better business in the four and five-star properties rather than budget accommodation.

Dubai Safari Park, a wildlife project that spans over 119 has officially opened. The park is divided into different sections – Asian Village, African Village and Open Safari Village – and recreates the different habitats suitable for its 2,000 animals made up of 250 different species from around the world. It is also home to a 1,000-seat theatre, a garden for children, a botanical garden, a butterfly garden and an amateur golf course, in addition to restaurants and a food court. What makes the safari park different from all others is that it has  the world’s first drive-through crocodile park, the UAE’s largest aviary and the country’s only drive-through hippo and tiger exhibit.

Still in Dubai, the world’s longest urban zip line, extending a kilometre from a height of 170 metres to ground level, the XLine Dubai Marina has now opened. The line features an incline of 16 degrees and reaches an average top speed of 80 kilometres per hour. This new version is twice the length of its forerunner and features two zip lines running adjacent to one another. Guests can try the superman-style harness, suspending daredevils horizontally as they zip from one of the Amwaj towers in JBR down to the terrace of Dubai Marina Mall.

It has been a little while since passenger flights used Carlisle airport but from June 3rd, there will be regular passenger flights from what is now known as Carlisle Lake District Airport to Belfast, Dublin and London. It is part of a plan to develop “smoother, quicker access to local tourism attractions and help to increase international tourism visits.”

Aphrodite Rock in Cyprus

Cobalt Air will be serving Cyprus from all amjor ondon airports. This is Aphrodite Rock,near Paphos.

An airline that is still less than two years old but is already the largest airline on Cyprus will link Heathrow and Larnaca as from April the 27th. Up till now Cobalt Air has flown from just Gatwick, Dublin, Manchester and Stansted but the Heathrow link will mean it links the biggest airports in the UK and Ireland to Cyprus. Fares start from £65. TAP Air Portugal will connect London City Airport and Porto in northern Portugal from March 25th. This is in addition to the existing service between Porto and Gatwick.

As it celebrates its fortieth anniversary in Ireland, Brittany Ferries has announced a new route linking Cork and Santander in northern Spain. Starting at the end of April, the service will make two return-sailings a week and be the only ferry service linking Ireland and Spain. A new ship    – called the Connemara – joins the Brittany Ferries fleet to service the new route and to deliver an additional weekly return-sailing from Cork to Roscoff.  She will carry around 500 passengers with space for 195 cars and a small allocation of pet-friendly cabins

On January 11th I mentioned that the parent company of British Airways and Aer Lingus – IAG – was buying the Austrian airline, NIKI. That has been blocked by the courts so, instead, it has been sold back to its founder, the ex-motor racing champion, Niki Lauda.



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