Saturday snippets: 2nd February 2019

By | Category: Travel news

It will have come as a surprise to no-one other than those who haven’t stepped outside, watched television or read a newspaper that this week has seen some snow. The Jamaica Inn Bodmin Moor in Cornwall was quite well-known from the novel by Daphne de Maurier. It is even more renowned now from its hospitality in taking in motorists trapped on the A30 on Thursday night. Many visitors to the area will be encouraged by that generous hospitality to drop off on their way to and from Cornwall in the future. That will be unlike the Callywith Premier Inn in Bodmin which turned away a lady because she had her dog with her. The hotel official said only assistance dogs could stay. There’s a hotel that won’t be getting my custom!

Jamaica Inn – a rescue place for snow-bound travellers. Image © Jamaica Inn

From the Caribbean comes news of two destinations that have seen an upsurge in visitors. Guyana says that there was an increase in visitors to 286,732 passengers, last year an increase of 15.93% over 2017. For the first time, Guyana has seen a significant increase in some of its core source markets such as the US (8.28% increase), Europe (11.82% increase) and other Caribbean nations. The tourist authority says that visitors come to enjoy Guyana’s “pristine rainforest and the golden savannahs of the Rupununi, its unique indigenous community-owned eco-lodges and its nature resorts  on the Essequibo and Demerara Rivers, Guyanese events such as Bartica Regatta and Guyana Carnival, and the most popular attraction of them all, majestic Kaieteur Falls.”

The Cayman Islands in the Caribbean are an upmarket destination with some of the best snorkelling, diving and water sports opportunities. There are no direct flights from the UK so maybe that explains why visitors often overlook this British overseas territory. Last year it had a record number of visitors but these came largely from North America. But the biggest single source of visitors is another overseas territory – Bermuda. Most of the 2,384,058 visitors were cruise passengers visiting for the day but 463,001 stayed overnight which was an increase of 10.6% over 2017.

Seven Mile Beach on Grand Cayman – a world away from British and Irish weather this week.

The name Andy Warhol is one that most readers will know. Hi name alone is sufficient to entice visitors to art galleries and that will probably be the case at the Bastian Gallery in London. Never heard of the Bastian? That’s because it is new and the Warhol exhibition will be its first. The scope of this exhibition is a little different from others in that it includes a series of over 60 portrait and self-portrait Polaroid photographs by Andy Warhol, depicting artists, actors, politicians and friends of his eccentric Factory entourage.  It is open from Tuesday-Saturday: 10am-6pm from today, the 2nd of February, until the 13th of April.

Qantas made news last year with its non-stop, seventeen-hour service from London to Perth in Western Australia. In preparation for its twenty-hour service from London to Sydney it has asked passengers for a wish list of amenities for such a flight. The answers include exercise bikes and virtual reality relaxation aides. Wellness, health and comfort are the main requisites for passengers and ideas also included an in-flight café with seating and wireless noise-cancelling headsets.

Readers will remember comments made in Just about Travel over the last few months about attempts by various cities to introduce tourist or accommodation taxes. Leading these has been Edinburgh Council but it faced problems from the Scottish government. Not anymore. As part of a deal to get its budget through, the government had to cave in to demands from the Green Party and that not included introducing legislation to allow local governments to raise taxes from tourists and/or overnight guests and setting levies for workplace parking spots. The Federation of Small Business in Scotland said that “ministers repeatedly promised firms that they would not pave the way for tourism taxes without industry support. They’re breaking that promise today.” It is unlikely that any tourist taxes will be in place for the Spring but as soon as dates are made I’ll let you know.

Staying north of the border, (why do we never say “west of the border” when referring to Wales but rather “the other side of the Marches”?) the Cairngorm funicular railway will remain out of action through the summer due to safety concerns about the piers, beams and foundations on the railway Out of action since last October it has inconvenienced skiers. Those in the local tourism industry were hoping that repairs would be done quickly but it looks as though the work needed is greater than originally thought. Obviously there is an issue in carrying out repairs during winter which may explain the delay into summer.

An amusing item this week comes from Holiday Hypermarket which has surveyed 2,000 people and calculated that British holidaymakers abandoned almost three million lilos after their holidays in 2018. Apparently the survey revealed that 25% of responders said they left their inflatable at the hotel at the end of their holiday, while 9% said they binned theirs before heading home. Calculating how many people took package holidays with nor regard for whether they were beach destinations or not, Holiday hypermarket came up with this fantastic quantity. It only goes to show what statistics can achieve!

Finally I suppose I should mention that the House of Commons had a debate about tourism on Thursday. No MP raised the effect of Brexit and no meaningful news was provided by either the government or the MP’s. Is there any point to these facile debates apart from points scoring and buttering up their own constituencies?

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