Saturday snippets: 24th March 2018

By | Category: Travel news

an island in the Bahamas. No wonder more people are visiting

That tourism growth is still strong is proven – at least in the case of the Bahamas – by visitor numbers for December 2017 and January.  Arrivals at the airport in Nassau, were the highest for the first time in a decade and exceeded pre-recession travel levels. Why are the Bahamas attracting more visitors? Think back to the weather we have had, what Europe has had and what the US has had (another eight inches of snow in parts of New York this week) and you will understand why the tourist board suggests some of the increase is due to the cold weather elsewhere! Another reason is probably the promotion campaign in the UK over the new year period with British Airways saying they had about a 10% increase in numbers flying out of the UK.

Anyone who has flown to Australia over the last forty years will know that the flight time has hardly changed. One reason is that airlines have to refuel, using in the Gulf states or in South East Asia. Tomorrow sees the first non-stop flight from London to the West Australian capital, Perth. The Qantas flight will still take seventeen hours but it may seem shorter without having to make the stop

Kenya has just announced that they are not going to participate in future tourism travel fairs. This is quite a momentous decision because most countries which are able to afford the costs exhibit at both of the major travel trade shows, WTM in London in November and ITB in Berlin in March. Germany pulled out of WTM two years ago (but not ITB) and, over the years, so has BA and Eurostar. Does this matter at all to the visitor or is it just a travel trade issue? It matters a little because travel writers will have lost a source of information about a destination. And if we don’t know we can’t tell you. Ever more we will rely on press releases which may not tell the whole story.

Barcelona is a city that attracts visitors to such an extent that it is one of the few places in the world where fewer tourists would probably be welcomed by many locals. Or at least more upmarket tourists would be welcomed because they spend more than day-trippers. This week, a group of forty organisations came today as Barcelona Global to suggest revitalising different parts of the city and promote them similar to the way that New York City promotes individual areas. Copying Amsterdam they want to limit the time and occupancy of housing units for tourism, create what sounds like a new app to make it easier for visitors to see and do things and promote music within the city as a tourist attraction. Now the bad news. They want to introduce a tourist tax as well.

Copan in Honduras

Mayan statue from nearby Copan. Known for its archaeology now Honduras wants to be known for its birdwatching opportunities as well

Last year Honduras saw more than two million visitors. To encourage more of us to holiday there, the tourist board wants us to be aware that the country is one that birdwatchers should consider for holidays. With 121 areas and home to more than 770 species of birds it is pointing out that there are excellent guides and tour operators specialising in birdwatching so that you can see rare birds like the Ocellated Quail, Keel-billed Motmot, Lovely Cotinga, Agami Heron and the Honduran Emerald Hummingbird. The country is also pushing a tourist coffee route whereby visitors can visit coffee farms and have a complete tour of the process from seed to cup. Honduras has been acclaimed for its coffee and last year, the coffee beans grown by Honduras’ José Abelardo Díaz Enamorado were designated as the “Best of the Best” in the 2017 Ernesto Illy International Coffee Awards. There are six areas to experience the Coffee Route in Honduras: Copan, Opalaca, Montecillos, Comayagua, El Paraíso and Agalta. Last year the country saw more than two million visitors

Remember last year when roaming charges were abolished in EU countries? Apparently most of us don’t. A survey conducted by On the Beach says that more than one in 10 holidaymakers are completely unaware of these changes and still expect to be charged for any use. It found that 16% of travellers are unaware of the changes whilst more than 27% say that although they are aware of these changes, they are not clear on the facts and are unsure about whether they will still be charged for data usage whilst abroad. 6% of British holidaymakers even say will not use their phone abroad at all, so concerned are they about the potential costs.

Another survey, this time from holiday home manufacturer, Willerby, says that 74% of us say that a comfortable bed is top on their list of priorities when they are booking holiday accommodation. The research says almost a third of British holidaymakers are more likely to get a better night’s sleep on holiday than in their own beds at home. Just over 20% of us admitted to taking our own duvets and pillows on holiday!

The New York people know…

New York City says that 2017 was the eighth consecutive year for record-breaking tourism, with an estimated 62.8 million visitors, an increase of 2.3 million visitors over 2016.  Of that number 13.1 million were international visitors. But fewer Europeans are visiting the Big Apple which, in the case of the British is probably due to sterling’s weakness against the dollar last year. Asia and South American markets bolstered the numbers allowing for an overall growth of 3.8%. In 2017, the City saw several new Midtown attractions open including National Geographic’s Encounter: Ocean Odyssey, the NFL Experience, Opry City Stage, Gullivers Gate, Spyscape and the NYC Ferry last May, offering the public more ways to access the City via its waterways.

Amid security concerns, Australia’s largest stadium, the Melbourne Cricket Ground will ban cars from parking at the venue for big events. The decision is designed to reduce the likelihood of a vehicle attack that could target a crowd and comes after there were two incidents in the city resulting in seven deaths. If this policy were adopted at major events in the rest of the world, someone had better come up with some public transport solutions that would cope with transporting thousands of additional visitors. Do the cricket authorities in Melbourne believe that their checks on cars entering the car parks aren’t adequate enough?

Finally there has been yet another IS attack. Again it is in France and again it is connected with a tourist destination – Carcassonne. here one person was killed and a police office shot before the action finished in nearby Trèbes where two more were killed. The bravery of a gendarme – Arnaud Beltrame, who later died of his injuries – in swapping himself for a hostage will be long remembered in France. Don’t this terrorist action put you off visiting one of the prettiest areas in France.

PS. If you live in the UK and Europe don’t forget the clocks go forward tonight one hour for summer time. Given the weather most of us have had this winter I would say most of us are looking forward to the summer!

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