Saturday snippets: 25th of August 2018

By | Category: Travel news
Costa Rica

Costa Rica

On this, the last bank holiday for months in England, Northern Ireland and Wales, there are hundreds of events all planned to bring a wrap to summer even if technically it lasts a little longer. Do please look at those in the Events’ column to see those nearest you. And to those we didn’t mention, our apologies but if you don’t notify us we can’t add them.Whatever you are doing, enjoy yourselves.

Costa Rica – long a holiday favourite of Americans and Canadians us weeing far more British and Irish visitors as more tour operators start to offer the country. For the first six months of the year, 40,907 visitors from the UK travelled there, an increase of 2.5%. over the same period in 2017. The UK has become Costa Rica’s second largest source market in Europe, only surpassed by France, which has received 44,843 visitors from January to June this year. From January to June 2018, a total of 2,400 Irish travellers visited Costa Rica, representing an impressive 17% increase compared to the same period last year.

Readers who are interested in cruise holidays may remember that many cruise companies were increasing their service charges.  They go up year-by year it seems. Although called “discretionary” charges, few passengers opted out of paying them. Norwegian Cruise Line, for example, raised their charges by 1 a day to $14.99 and P&O had increased theirs from March this year from £6 to £7 for everyone aged 12 and over. Now, in an about turn, P&O has announced that it will do away with the service charges all together from next year. Originally, the idea was to replace tipping but why have these charges been dropped. The press announcement doesn’t explain why.

Cheering thoughts for those who may be facing a retirement home. The TUI subsidiary, has done some research amongst current cruises offers and found that it can be cheaper to take a 120 day cruise around five continents than the average daily cost of staying in a retirement home! Using the Which? calculated average figure of  the costs of a retirement home of £85 per day, it says  the voyage will only cost £73 per person per day. Cruising could save you £1,440. Is the answer to the rising costs of retiremement homes and the shortage of availablilty to buy cruise ships and keep on sailing?

Staying with a cruise theme, tourism pollution came home to me this week when a family member on a cycling trip arrived in the Montenegro town of Kotor. This small town of just 13,000 is part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site which is probably why so many cruise ships visit. The harbour is pretty, just the sort of thing that calendars use but what they don’t show you is the effect when a couple of thousand cruise ship visitors arrive. As part of his Facebook posting, he said that it was so busy you could hardly see the streets for tourists. And as for sightseeing… No wonder the locals are up in arms about having too many tourists.

panorama of Nepalese countryside

Nepal has seen a huge rise in overseas tourists

Nepal has seen a huge jump in the number of visitors to the country this year. From January  until July numbers reached  593,299, an overall increase of 18 % over the same period in 2017. Britons make up the fourth largest source of visitors to the country after China, India and the United States. In July alone the number of Japanese visitors rose by 68.9% which seems a lot but the actual number is 5,224. Compare that to the 18,000 from India and you can see that there is plenty of opportunity for British numbers to increase further.

According to the English language version of the Spanish newspaper, El Pais, tourism has is now the most important source of employment. Quoting a survey by the Spanish Institute of Tourism, 2.65 million people – 2.17 million waged workers and 483,861 private contractors – were employed in the sector in Spring 2018. Tourism has overtaken construction as the top employer sector in the country and is one of the leading reasons for Spain’s economic recovery.  If this is true then Spain may want a soft BREXIT so that British tourists can continue to easily get to the mainland as well as the Balearics and Canaries.

Scott Morrison PM of Australia and ex tourism professional. Image David Foote-AUSPIC/DPS

Scott Morrison is the new Prime Minister of Australia. Usually such an announcement wouldn’t be made in the columns of Just about Travel. But Morrison is different. He has tourism experience. According to his biography, he was Director of the New Zealand Office of Tourism and Sport from 1998 to 2000 until he joined Tourism Australia where he became Managing Director from 2004 to 2006. It isn’t often that we get tourism ministers who are professionals. To get a prime minister is, I think, unique. Will he take an interest in tourism now he has reached the top of the political greasy pole?

Earlier this week the Daily Mail said that the Royal family of Qatar had put their Jumbo Jet up for sale. The price was about $500 million and for that money you got a plane with 10 bathrooms, lounges, bedroom suites and plenty of room to move about in so no leg cramps there. I would image the kitchen facilities are pretty good as well so any food prepared by your own chef would be pretty good. If you happen to have the cash and want your own plane it’s too late. According to the website (a link I cannot provide because they want me to apply for permission first) it has already been sold. Bother! With my mother’s birthday coming up I thought it would make a good 91st present!

Finally, not a lot seems to be going right for Ryanair this year. It was hard not to give a wry smile when it was announced that they had sent cheques to people due for compensation but had then omitted to sign the cheques. That is one of the favoured ploys of people trying to hold off paying bills along with “the cheque is in the post” and “we haven’t received your invoice yet.” In this case it probably was an error since all cheques would have been had digitised signatures unless someone pressed the wrong button. That is of no solace to those charged by their banks for returning a dud cheque. It will cost Ryanair a bit more than they thought!


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