Saturday snippets: 13th October 2018

By | Category: Travel news
the Acropolis at night

the Acropolis in Athens. Surely this is every visitors list to see?

Readers will have guessed that Greece was doing well this year and now comes further proof from the Athens International Airport boss, Yiannis Paraschis. Earlier this week, at a travel trade show, he said that he estimated that 5.5 million tourists would go through his airport this year, about 10% over 2017. As might be expected, a good portion of those would be taking city-break holidays in the capital city with the others transferring to other parts of mainland Greece and the islands. The attraction for overseas visitors despite the country being in the Eurozone is that hoteliers, restaurants and attractions have worked hard to keep prices affordable for the majority of visitors.

If you are holidaying in Malta this weekend, then the town of Birgu is the place to be. This weekend is Birgufest, a weekend when the  streets of Birgu are lined with candles for a festival which celebrates the history and architectural beauty of Birgu and which will include live local music, Maltese delicacies, and, of course, entertainment. This is Malta after all! When the sun sets, all evidence of modernity fades away as street lights are turned off, candles are lit, and historical re-enactments are performed throughout the city.

Researchers on behalf of Legal & General Home Finance have been probing what over 55’s have on their bucket list. The results might surprise you. Whilst “Travelling more” and “Visiting Australia” take the two top spots, “Moving abroad” takes 6th spot. Given Brexit issues and problems, that could be considered a brave choice.  That more than 80% of those over 55 have paid off their mortgage and 77% describe themselves as ‘financially comfortable’ means that this group is a target for any travel company or tourist destination.

panorama of Nepalese countryside

Nepal has seen a huge rise in overseas tourists

Nepal is continuing to see a large increase in international tourists visiting the country. In August when Just about Travel last mentioned, arrivals had jumped by 18%. Just in the month of September, an increase of 33.8% was seen over 2017. For the first nine months of the year the total increase is 20% meaning that, at year end, this small country (in terms of tourism) may well see a million visitors.

British Airways will not fly out of either Bristol or Birmingham airports next summer as it says that it is not economic to do so. Given that the flights were to Florence, Ibiza, Malaga and Palma from Bristol and to Florence, Malaga and Palma from Birmingham, you might imagine that they would be popular destinations. The flights face competition from low-cost airlines on the Spanish routes so the problem could be that BA’s costs are too high for the routes. For the future when the airline will face increasing pressure from airlines adopting low-cost models, how will it compete?. Perhaps it should introduce its low-cost brand – Level – to the routes?

A man who threatened to kill a crew member and went to punch a member of the cabin crew and also intimidated a child during a Jet 2 flight has been gaoled for 10 months. The reason for his aggression is considered to be drink or at least its over-indulgence. Before a flight from Belfast International to the Canary Isles island of Fuerteventura the man had been drinking since for over seven hours in the airport. It is yet another incident that shows airlines will not be tolerant of those who drink too much. It also calls into question whether airports are doing enough to deal with those who drink too much before flying and making a life a misery for other passengers.

Tulips at Keukenhof, one of the biggest tourist attractions in the Netherlands and which isn’t far from Amsterdam

Last year, 18 million people visited the Netherlands and whilst there they principally visit Amsterdam, the bulb fields, Keukenhof in the spring and the ports. Like most countries there are places that tourists don’t visit because they are unaware of them so tourism is concentrated in certain places which can get extremely busy to the detriment of both the visitor and the locals. The tourist authority has devised a promotion plan called Hollandcity which portrays the country as one city with lots of different districts. In this way it hopes to fan out visiting overseas tourists. By adopting this plan it is hoping that overseas visitor figures will rise by over 60% by 2030.

In the Republic of Ireland, VAT is 23%. But there are number of different rates and tourism related industries paid just 9% giving them a pricing advantage over UK tourism businesses. The gap has just got a little bit smaller as, in the Irish budget this week, tourism products VAT was raised to one of the other levels, 13.5%. It will come into effect as from January 1st 2019 which has annoyed a number of people in tourism. They would like the rise – if it has to come in at all – postponed until after Brexit because of the possible effect Brexit may have on Ireland’s largest source of visitors – the UK. For Britons facing VAT at 20% it still seems cheap yet Ireland seems an expensive country to visit and that isn’t wholly down to the exchange rate between the euro and the pound.

From next June, Cornwall Airport Newquay will gain another route but this one is of considerable significance. Scandinavian airline SAS will launch flights from Copenhagen to Newquay, the significance being that passengers can avoid London airports and connect in Copenhagen on flights to the Middle East, Asia and the Far East as well as Australasia. Given that the airport already has Aer Lingus flights to Dublin allowing for North American connections, it means that passengers in the South West have pretty good access to long-haul destinations.


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