Saturday snippets: 3rd March 2018

By | Category: Travel news

Calvados – with a British twist!

In France, this month, a new tourist attraction opens in Pont-l’Évêque, a place known to cheese-lovers the world over. But this time the attraction has nothing to do with cheese. It has to do with another Normandy tradition – Calvados. Called the Calvados Experience the attraction explains the traditional Calvados production process, how it has changed over the years and what drove it to the success it knows today. At the end of the tour, over-18s can enjoy a tasting session with a Calvados Connoisseur, and learn the all-important three stages of Calvados tasting: the appearance, the nose and the palate.  And then you can go into the local shops and pick up some Pont-l’Évêque for lunch or to bring back to the UK. To have two international claims to fame such as Calvados and Pont-l’Évêque cheese must make this small town a must-see destination for many of us!

In the new Fisheries Musuem. Image © Office de Tourisme de Fécamp

Another new museum that has recently opened in Normandy is the Fisheries Museum in the port of Fécamp. It explores the long history of fishing in the port of Fécamp and in Normandy generally, along with exhibits from local traditions and history. Housed in the town’s historic fish-drying warehouses, which have been completely refurbished and modernised, it explores five themes: sealife, history, fine art, childcare and ethnography. If childcare seems a little off it is because Fécamp is the birthplace of modern pediatrics, where Léon Dufour founded the famous Goutte de Lait society, which supplied sterilised milk, food, clothing, and medical advice to the children of impoverished women back in the 19th century.

Kurri Kurri may not be a town known to many readers but that might be about to change. An old mining town in NSW on the edge of the wineries of the Hunter Valley many would argue that the town has been in decline since the pits and the aluminium smelter closed. But it has now achieved international status by organising Mulletfest, a competition to award “The Greatest Mullet of All.” Regardless of what I think about this type of haircut, the competition amongst 154 people ( I didn’t that there were that many people still were brave enough to wear mullets) has raised the prominence of the town due to the international coverage.  Shane Hanrahan was the “lucky” winner. Will it be enough to attract more visitors though?

St Lucia

The Caribbean island of St Lucia says that, in 2017, total visitor arrivals reached a record-breaking 1,105,541. The island also recorded the highest growth in 2017 among the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) member countries, registering an 11% increase. Stayover arrivals numbered 386,127 and the cruise sector recorded a 14% increase, reaching 669,217, an additional 81,264 visitors despite the 8-month closure of the Pointe Seraphine Berth 1. It should mean that there will be many ore cruise passengers stopping over in St Lucia in 2018.

China Southern Airlines will offer yet another route between the UK and China as from the end of May. The flights will be between Heathrow and the central Chinese city of Wuhan and will operate three times per week. The UK is just one of a handful of countries to have consular offices in the city With high-speed train links two other key Chinese cities –Shanghai and Guangzhao – can both be reached in about six hours. For tourists, apart from connectivity, the attractions are the large lakes in its boundaries, the Yellow Crane Tower which goes back nearly 1,800 years and spring blossom from cherry and plum trees. Incidentally, Wuhan is twinned with both Manchester and Swansea in the UK.


The central American state of Nicaragua has launched a campaign urging us to visit the country using the slogan, “I like you just as you are.” The aim is to show us the “real” Nicaragua by concentrating on its culture, natural scenery, and the country’s people. Last year, 1,787,260 overseas visitors travelled to the country, 18.8% up on 2016. Although Nicaragua saw a rise in British visitors of 2.8% this was still just 17,389.

Expect more tour operators and airlines to include Israel in the offerings. The Israeli government is extending its support scheme and will pay tour operators and airlines on a per passenger basis to introduce new flights to Tel Aviv and Eilat providing that the embarkation point is more than 62 miles away from an existing airport providing flights to Israel and that each flight carries at least 140 passengers.

Tallinn where many of the centenary celebrations will occur

Estonia says that UK arrivals to the country rose by 19%  in 2017 compared to the previous year. Over 58,402 UK visitors traveling to Estonia. A well favoured short-break (and stag and hen party) destination, the country expects to see even more British visitors thuis year as it is the centenary of the country’s independence.

Not everyone can afford a camper van so when Yescapa set up a business to connect holidaymakers with local campervan and motorhome owners thus allows them to rent easily and securely together, the business took off. Over 3,800 vehicle owners now make the vehicles available to those willing to rent. And of those renting, 38% say that they are renting with a view to eventual purchase of their own vehicle suggesting this is a cheaper way to find out if they enjoy this type of holiday. So far, Yescapa has had over 150,000 users.

The Science Museum says that it will extend its current Illuminating India season until April 22nd. This is an overall title covering two different exhibitions, the first being  5000 Years of Science and Innovation which features a folio from the Bakhshali manuscript; a document recently shown to hold the world’s oldest recorded origin of the modern zero symbol  and the second is Photography 1857 –2017. This is a survey of photography in India from its beginnings to the present day, features several original photographs seen in the UK for the first time

Norwegian will start a daily service to two US cities this month, Chicago starting on March 25 and a four-weekly service to Austin commencing March 27. In addition it has increased the number of times it flies per week to a number of other US destinations including Los Angeles, Orlando, Fort Lauderdale, Oakland and Boston. Air Malta will launch three new routes from  Southend Airport to Malta and to the Italian destinations of Cagliari in Sardinia and Catania in Sicily as from May 4th. Cornwall Airport Newquay will see the German low-cost airline Eurowings flying to  Berlin Tegel as from May 5th.


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