Saturday snippets: 10th November 2018

By | Category: Travel news
In remembrance poppies at the Tower of London

Remembering fallen soldiers.. Crowds in a procession around the Tower viewing the ceramic poppies © Nadia Lawes

Tomorrow is Remembrance Sunday, an event that has more than usual significance this year because of the 100th anniversary of the ending of WWI. Around the world crowds will gather in cities, towns, villages (my village lost 25 men during WWI and 9 in WWII) and hamlets to remember those that died, those that fought and those that were affected even though they may have stayed on the home front. Many people – not just school visits – travel to battlefields in Europe and travelling to Gallipoli is almost a right of passage for many young Australians and New Zealanders. The commemorations have also led to some of the most inspiring and popular tourist visits such as the ceramic poppies all around the Tower of London a few years back and this week’s “Beyond The Deepening Shadow” at the Tower where 10,000 flames are being lit each evening. Your last chance to see that is either this evening or tomorrow.

At Somerset House in London, an exhibition started last month about Snoopy, Linus, Charlie Brown, Lucy and the others. The brainchild of cartoonist, Charles B Schultz, the Peanuts cartoons became such an industry that mugs, scarves and all sorts of merchandising came into being. This exhibition not only features the work of Schultz but also other works inspired by the genius and his cartoon dog who, clad in flying googles and scarf was always ready to take on the Red Baron!


Sri Lanka elephants; they will have seen more tourists last year

Sri Lanka is going to promote itself to us using the slogan ‘So Sri Lanka’. The reason behind the new name is that the country is ‘more than just a destination, it’s a feeling’. According to Madubhani Perera, from the authority, “For us ‘So Sri Lanka’ symbolises our evolution with the digital revolution. The modern traveller goes online to seek inspiration and to find the next life-changing travel experience. ‘So Sri Lanka’ helps us evoke the inimitable feeling of our beautiful, vibrant, authentic and generous country through the smartphones of potential travellers.” A two minute teaser film is to be found at

Cyprus saw an additional 200,000 visitors for the first nine months of the year compared to the same time last year. Just from the UK there was an increase of 5.3% in September 2018 compared to September 2017, a significant increase given the large numbers of Britons (the source of the largest group of nationals to travel to the island) to already holiday there.

A warning comes from the Foreign & Commonwealth Office about visiting Petra in Jordan. It says that visitors should strictly adhere to the opening and closing hours for this UNESCO heritage site as being inside Petra outside of these hours is not permitted.

Petra in Jordan

Staying in Jordan, the tourist authority is positioning Aqaba as a year-round destination especially as two new coastal resorts have opened at Ayla and Saraya Aqaba and a regular all-year round easyJet service has started this very day. Already known as an attraction for gofers divers have something new to attract them as well. Joining the Cedar Pride – the most famous dive wreck in Jordan  – is a newly sunk Hercules bomber is beginning to attract marine life. Give it a bit longer and the curious amongst the fish will become inhabitants! It joins the Cedar Pride – the most famous dive wreck in Jordan.

In response to a question from Jim Cunningham MP, the government answered that they “were seeking to agree a reciprocal framework for mobility with the EU which will allow people to travel visa-free for tourism and temporary business activities.” That is the best solution to continue the existing free movement of holidaymakers. Only time will tell if the government is successful in its wishes.

Last week the Good Growth for Cities Index, run by PwC which measures the performance of 42 of the UK’s largest towns and cities was published, I wondered whether being in the top tier like Oxford and Reading – the top two towns. Alternatively does it deter visitors from travelling to the worst ones which are Swansea and Sunderland? Frankly I think it has no effect despite the coverage given to it on the media. Living in a village, as I do, means we are completely unaffected by this index. What attracts and deters visitors is more likely to be the weather.

I’m sure Brunel is looking smug

As I waited for my train at Paddington to be “prepared” for passengers to board it I espied the statue of Isambard Kingdom Brunel. There he was sitting in a chair near platform 8. Seeing the large numbers of passengers awaiting a train and having been on my feet all day I felt a few more seats would be nice at the station. And being the 19.15 train to Bristol and Swansea, I had to stand. Did I glimpse a smug look on Brunel’s face as we pulled out?

The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC)says that the Philippines is among the top 15 tourism powerhouses in the world reporting “absolute growth” within the period of 2011 to 2017.  In 2017, the tourism industry contributed 12.2% to the Philippines’ GDP, exceeding the government 2022 target of 10% share. The Department of Tourism (DOT) Philippines recorded at least 96.7 million domestic tourist arrivals for the same year, well beyond the 2022 target of 86.2 million and that 6.62 million International arrivals were noted for 2017, a record-high.

My apologies and I have been a bit slow in telling you that  Wizz  has altered its hand-luggage policy so that non-priority passengers will no longer be able to check in a large piece of baggage at the gate for free. They will be allowed to take one cabin bag measuring no more than 40 x 30 x 20 cms on-board, and they will have to pay to check in larger bags. Previously, these would previously have been removed by staff at the gate and placed in the hold without charge. At the same time, the airline has lowered its minimum check-in bag fee to €7 for bags up to 10kgs. WIZZ Priority passengers will still be allowed one carry-on bag of 40 x 30 x 20 cms as well as a trolley bag of 55 x 40 x 23 cms.  Like Ryanair which also changed its policy recently, Wizz says that the change is to ease boarding and to guarantee all passengers could bring one free

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