Saturday snippets: 21st April 2018

By | Category: Travel news

It doesn’t matter whether it comes in a teapot or a mug. Just celebrate National Tea Day

Today is National Tea Day, (so is tomorrow!) yet another one of those publicity inspired events to encourage us to do something. But most people don’t need inciting to have a cuppa. What has happened is that afternoon tea has become a tourist draw as differing hotels, country houses and the like offer tiered plates of carefully manicured sandwiches, cakes and scones washed down with a tea of your choice. Lots of destination suggestions have come into the offices this week but who am I to say where is the best. Tastes vary. Some like builder’s tea, others weak; some like fruit teas and others white teas so just go out and enjoy a cuppa!

Spain, the favourite holiday destination for millions of Britons and Irish has launched a new promotion campaign called Spain in 10 seconds. It is using twelve people who have a love affair with the country to persuade you – in just 10 seconds – why you should also fall in love with Spain. It isn’t saying which twelve have been chosen as advocates of the country preferring to tell us the first and letting us know the others as the months continue. The first four are Luis Rojas-Marcos, Carolina Morin, Elsa Pataky and the great Basque chef, Juan Mari Arzak.

The Sant Jordi Festival – the Catalonian  equivalent of Valentine’s Day – is celebrated the region on the 23rd April. The ritual consists of going for a walk and buying a rose, a book or both to give to loved ones, family members and friends . The day celebrates the famous story of Sant Jordi.  According to the legend, a dragon was wreaking havoc among the people of a village. To try to contain it, they decided to draw lots to see which one of them would be fed to the beast. One day the king’s daughter was chosen and would have died at the hands of the dragon, had Jordi the knight not appeared to slay it. A bush of red roses sprouted from its spilled blood, and that is why nowadays people gift roses during Sant Jordi Day in Catalonia.

Is there a rival to Airbnb? Online travel giant says it now has five million non-traditional accommodation listings, which is similar or slightly more than Airbnb claims. says the number of apartments and vacation homes on its site grew by 27% to five million last year and that that side of the business is growing much faster than its traditional business of hotels, motels and resorts.

one of many of the pubs in Portland from which you can get local beers. Now some of those suppliers are in London for a few weeks

Last Thursday, the US state of Oregon’s largest city – Portland – moved into London.  Why? To bring Londoners face-to-face with a variety of Portland’s products. For three weeks  until the 7th of May at the Old Truman Brewery in Shoreditch you can experience free vegan tattoos and intimate DJ gigs, tea spirits sampling and spoken word slams, a showcase of Portland-made goods and fine urban wines. All the events are free but you will have to book. To see what is on and book click here.

The Mexican resort of Puerto Vallarta has mushroomed over the last ten years. Now it is home to over 300 restaurants, and to encourage more tourists it offers a restaurant week Except that their “week” lasts 26 days and that 59 restaurants participate! It runs from May 15th until June 10th. This is the fourteenth year that this event has happened and it is become ell-established as more and more restaurants sign up. As it coincides with half term, it is an opportunity for Britons could try some of the regional Mexican dishes available. All participating restaurants will offer three-course menus (with three different options) at fixed prices (tips and beverages not included). This year, many of the participating restaurants will also offer three menu price categories.

Cancun aerial shot

At another Mexican resort, Cancun one of the popular holiday destinations for Britons, there are a lot of hotel rooms  – just over 100,000. Last month most were occupied as the city continues to be on the end of a tourist boom. In March 2.8 million visitors (up 14.5% over March 2017) passed through the airport of whom 1.56 million were international visitors largely from Canada and the USA. In some resorts; Holbox, Bacalar and Mahahual there was not a single room to be had over Easter. The resort towns of Holbox, Bacalar and Mahahual reported being fully booked during the Easter season. We British tend to be summer visitors when it gets hotter but it looks a sthough hotel room prices might be higher this year if this surge continues!

Were you put off travelling to the Caribbean last autumn and winter due to Hurricanes Maria and Irma? If you were you weren’t alone. According to the World Travel & Tourism Council, 826,000 visitors that might have expected in the Caribbean failed to go which had an impact of a loss of revenue to the islands and nations of $741 million. The WTTC also says that it could take up to four years for a full recovery although that may be pessimistic given the tenacity of the Caribbean nations. But given the recent story Just about Travel ran concerning Dominica six months after the hurricane maybe it will take that long!

Lancashire County Council has announced that Queen Street Mill Textile Museum (from 7th of July) in Burnley, Helmshore Mills Textile Museum (from 26th of May) in Rossendale and the Judges’ Lodgings Museum (from 21st of July) in Lancaster will reopen. Not every day but for just Friday, Saturday and Sundays each week and only is guaranteeing  opening for the next two years. Even then it will only be until October each year.

De la Rue concedes and the new passport will be printed by a Dutch-French combine

From April the 26th, the Philippine holiday island of Boracay (visited by two million holidaymakers a year) is to be shut down for six months due to environmental concerns. The closure of the island has been ordered by the Filipino president because, as he says, it was turning into a ‘cesspool’ and has accused the island’s hotels and restaurants of dumping sewage directly into the sea. Philippine tourism organisations have objected to their closure but to no avail. Holidaymakers who have booked to go to Boracay will be offered alternative destinations in the country but if you have booked via a UK tour operator you should be able to claim a refund if you wish to cancel your holiday.

Finally, the passport printing company, De La Rue, which won’t get the contract to produce British passports when they revert to the blue colour says that it won’t appeal against the government’s decision. Readers will remember that De La Rue’s bid was millions above that of the winner. Now it says that it spent £4 million on its tender. That seems a heck of a load of money for a tender when it is producing similar tenders all the time!

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