Saturday snippets: 21st of July 2018

By | Category: Travel news

we pack more than we need

Surely the story of the week is the disappearance of a tourist land train from Lowestoft. The engine – designed as Thomas the Tank Engine – pulled two” carriages” along the front in the Suffolk town. Who would want to steal it? Surely it can’t be sold to another resort to take tourists on a ride along a pier, a beachfront or even around a stately home? Is there some large property owner who wants it for their own fun or some deranged Thomas fan who can’t live without a large replica of their fixation? If you happen to see a land Thomas the Tank Engine train chuntering along in a suspicious circumstances, please report it to Suffolk police.

Most schools in England and Wales broke up for the summer holidays yesterday; students in Ireland, Northern Ireland and Scotland have already had a few weeks under their belts of the predominantly fine weather. Many people will go overseas but how much to pack? A survey from the online travel agency, On the Beach, says that we are a “nation of over-packers” with almost 29% of British families claiming they used less than half of the contents in their suitcases. Only about 7% of us use 100% of their luggage and, on average, we just use 64% of what we take.

In another piece of research commissioned by Emirates Holidays and released to coincide with the start of the school holidays in England and Wales, it claims that 55% of parents worry about finding things for children to eat whilst on holiday with their kids. It also says that 64% of us pack food items in their suitcase but what is it that we take? Biscuits (55%), Crisps, (49%) Sweets, (47%) Teabags, (30%)  Cadburys Chocolate, (22%) Dried fruits, (14%) Instant noodles, (14%)  Instant coffee, (13%)  Tomato Ketchup, (13%)  and chocolate spread. (11%) Doesn’t sound the healthiest of foods to me!

the coast of Belize has become a big attraction for divers

The central American country of Belize which has strong links to the UK says that the first half of the year registered a 17.1% cumulative increase in visitor numbers. In June alone cruise ship arrivals registered a 57.2% increase while at the end of the first half of this year, there was also an overall increase of 10.2% in cruise visitors to Belize as compared to the first half of 2017. For those spending at least a night in the country the increase was 17% increase compared to the same time last year.

Two Caribbean nations have shown strong visitor growth in the first half of the year. Antigua and Barbuda had a 7% increase over the same period in 2017 and whilst Canada provided the greatest increase in visitors, the quantity from the UK rose by 8.27%. St Kitts saw its one millionth cruise passenger last Monday, the first time that number has been reached. There is still two months left of the cruise season left so St Kitts will improve on that figure. The milestone is more than symbolic. It means that cruise companies are now viewing the island as one of the top cruise destinations in the Caribbean.

At Eureka!, the UK’s only national children’s museum, today is the beginning of Visit Eureka! the festival of technology, science, performance and play. Running until September 2nd, the Halifax based museum has over 400 hands-on experiences over six main galleries. During the festival, there will be a number of special events and guest performances during which visitors can try their hands at coding, animation, Minecraft in addition to outdoor performances.

the Airlander Image © HAV

Grenada is another Caribbean destination that is having a good year. Stayover arrivals (as opposed to those arriving on cruise ships for the day)  to Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique grew by just under 11% percent in the first half of 2018 compared to the same period in 2017. Combining cruise, stayover and yacht arrivals, Grenada saw an overall year-over-year increase of 21.2%. But unlike Antigua and Barbuda the number of  UK’s visitors remained flat year on year.

At the Farnborough Air Show this week, it was announced that the world’s longest aircraft – or is it an airship – is to offer “luxury expeditions”.  The passenger cabin for Airlander 10, a combination of plane and airship based in Bedford, will carry up to 19 passengers in three-day expeditions. Stephen McGlennan, CEO of HAV said: “Air travel has become very much about getting from A to B as quickly as possible.  “What we’re offering is a way of making the journey a joy.” Each cabin will be 151ft (46m), larger than most single-aisle aircraft, but how much the trips will cost has yet to be decided.

Wideroe will launch direct flights from Stansted to the southern Norwegian city of Kristiansand from August 13. Kristiansand is a gateway to small coastal towns, inland woods, elk safaris and rivers well suited for white water rafting and salmon fishing. Having only been there in winter, I cannot personally vouch for the attraction at other times of the year but even when I was there it was an attractive place.

volcaos may look intriguing but they are dangerous. Should tourists be alloed to get so close that they can bein danger?

Expected to start in November is a new rail ombudsman service. The government has set the service up after facing a barrage of complaints from customers about the current state of rail services. The ombudsman will handle complaints that have not been resolved by train operators or Transport Focus. All the UK’s train operators have signed up to the ombudsman service (I hope this means that new franchise holders will have to sign up as and when they are appointed), meaning they have to follow the rulings of the ombudsman.

Finally, volcanoes attract tourists. One of the very first was Pliny the Elder who, according to one version, went to Pompeii to see the erupting Mt Vesuvius. Pumice rained down on his vessel and he met his death there though how is also unclear. Fifty-two tourists took a boat in Hawaii to get closer to Mt Kilauea which has been erupting for over two months. A lava bomb bit their boat causing twenty-two injuries.  At least they were lucky than Pliny but whilst I have sympathy for those hurt I’m not sure I have any for those who allowed boats to get that close or”experts” who said it was safe to do so!?

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