Saturday snippets: 28th April 2018

By | Category: Travel news

The Rialto in Venice without the throng of tourists! Managing tourist numbers is a problem in the city

This week end is a bank holiday in Venice and in many European countries. That means that even more tourists than usual will descend on Venice. In order to try and cope with ever-increasing tourist numbers, an experiment is being run by the local authority whereby tourists will be channelled into visitor-only lines ostensibly so that locals can go about their lives a little bit more easily.  Come next week we will know if this experiment has worked.

Impressionist painters have had a considerable appeal in the last hundred years with artists such as Monet, Renoir, Manet, Pissarro and Cézanne becoming almost household names. Everyone, just everyone has to see an exhibition of their works and so it proved in the Australian city of Adelaide according to a story run by the ABC. It appears a noisy miner, that’s the name of the bird, managed to get into the halls where the “Colours of Impressionism” exhibition was being held at the Art Gallery of South Australia. It took some while to get the bird out and the gallery was closed for the rest of that Wednesday. The exhibition is part sponsored by Singapore Airlines and you’ll never guess what the emblem is on their tailfins. Ok you have guessed. It’s a bird!

To encourage more of us to visit their two sites in London and Manchester, the IWM – Imperial War Museum – has decided to waive the charges it usually makes for temporary exhibitions. Those charges can amount to up to £12. Instead donation boxes will be installed allowing visitors to donate as little or as much as they like. The organisation says that the feel removal is also to mark the end of the first world war centenary. This season of exhibitions and talks will explore how world war one has shaped today’s society.

Punta Cana: how many people think of Dominican Republic and only think beaches?

The Dominican Republic is switching the way travellers pay for their Tourist Visa Card. Up  until the 14th of April, visitors paid the $US 10 fee when they arrived in the country. From that date, however, the cost will be incorporated into the airline ticket. But if you bought your airline ticket before that date but are not yet due to travel it could be that you will have to pay on arrival as the fee may not have been added into the ticket price. How do you know? Ask your travel agent/airline to send you an e-mail so that you have some evidence to show when you land that you have paid. By the way, the fee is 10 each not per party.

Hungary’s Gourmet Festival 2018 will run from the 17th until the 20th of May this year. Usually the festival enables visitors to try different regional cuisines but this year it is breaking with tradition in having invited guest chefs from neighbouring countries. The festival is held at Millenáris Park in Budapest.


Mauritius saw a 9% increase in British tourist numbers in the first three months of this year compared to the same time last year. The Mauritian government is putting the increase down to a widespread refurbishment of many of the island’s products and services. This year, Mauritius celebrates 50 years of independence so it expects British holiday numbers to increase once again.

It isn’t only Mauritius that is celebrating an increase in British visitor numbers. The Maldives says that there was a 17.5% growth  in the number of UK travellers who visited in March 2018 compared to March 2017. In total, 11,829 UK travellers visited the Maldives in March. Overall, the Maldives welcomed a total of 32,633 UK tourists during the first quarter of 2018, a 12.2% increase over 2017. The growth in UK numbers is slightly behind the overall growth the country which was up 18.5% in March and 17%  up over the first quarter of 2018 compared to last year which amounts to 420,103 people. This year at least 23 new resorts will open including what is believed to be the world’s first undersea residence at Conrad Maldives Rangali Island in the fourth quarter of 2018.

The theme park that Warner Bros has been building in Abu Dhabi will officially open on July 25th. Called Warner Bros World, the park has six themed lands featuring a host of characters from superheroes Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman to Bugs Bunny, Tom and Jerry, and the Flintstones. The park features 29 rides and all but two have no age or height restrictions and there will be nine live shows taking place in the park each day.

If you are in Los Angeles on the 11th and 12th of May you may fancy dropping on on the 25th anniversary of Jurassic Park at Universal Studios Hollywood. The entry price is on top of the usual entrance fee and includes a private screening of the film. The remainder of the event, which includes after-hours access, will take place within Universal Studios Hollywood, adjacent to the theme park’s “Jurassic Park—The Ride.” You can dress up as your favourite character (visit for costume guidelines requirements.) obviously visit the theme park ride, see original props, including the Gyrosphere as seen in Jurassic World, view original dinosaur maquettes, costume displays and go into interactive expo area.

Yosemite Park one of the popular US parks where there will be a higher entrance fees this summer

Staying in the USA, if you are holidaying in the USA and had planned on visiting any of the national parks then you should be aware that admission prices will rise at 117 of them from June 1st.  At the most popular parks – examples are Yellowstone and Yosemite – the increase will be $5 making it $35 per vehicle. About two-thirds of the parks will still be free but check first if where you plan to visit charges.

According to Travelodge, more of us will be holidaying in the UK this year. Research commissioned by the hotel chain says that 57% of us will take a staycation slightly up on last year’s figure. But we will spend a lot more. Travelodge says the increase in sending will be of the order of 37%! Cornwall, Devon, (these were also the top two last year,) Edinburgh, London and the Cotswolds make up the top five destinations to which we seem to want to go. The Cotswolds, Bath and Bournemouth are new entrants in the top ten. Those three destinations dropping out of the ten and dropping out of people’s thoughts are the Norfolk Broads, the Isle of Wight and – believe it or not – Blackpool!

Finally, in the House of Commons this week, David Evennett MP (and former stand-in tourism minister) asked the Department for Culture etc how much money had been spent on promoting London each year since 2010.he was told by the new tourism minister that Visit Britain and Visit England did not have such figures. Surely taxpayers and the two tourism bodies themselves cannot judge the success of a campaign unless it is broken down by which areas it promotes?

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