Saturday snippets: 27th July 2019

By | Category: Travel news

Yesterday, (Friday) British Airways posted on its website, “All airlines operating in and out of London have been affected by severe weather which moved into the London area overnight from the continent.” It was all due to thunderstorms erupting after the very hot weather of the last few days. The problem is that airports in the south-east of England are so congested that delays have a knock-on effect. On top of that there was a software glitch in air traffic control (heat exhaustion maybe?) which resulted in more delays. Some may even occur today for those trying to get away on their summer break!

panoramic view of Heathrow
Heathrow faced some of the biggest delays due to the weather and air traffic control software problems

Holidaymakers who have recently been to Tenerife may have visited two of the most popuar attractions on the island – Playa Jardín and Playa el Beril. Both are well known because they have stone towers built by tourists. Apparently, these two beaches have the largest collection of towers anywhere in Europe and they stretch for just over two hundred metres. Not after today it seems.  Love them (public art made by ordinary visitors?) or hate them (disrupting the natural landscape and damaging to ecology?) they will have disappeared this weekend. Starting today two local councils and the local environmental group, Fundación Telesforo Bravo y Juan Coello will remove them, returning them whence they came.

As visitors will have guessed for themselves by now, Greece is having another successful year. On top of the campaign which started recently to encourage more international visitors, the Hellenic Civil Aviation Authority says that, for the first six months of the year, international arrivals reached 3.48 million – up 4.3% compared to the same period last year. The busiest airports during this period were Athens, Heraklion on Crete, Rhodes, Thessaloniki and Corfu and are also likely to be the busiest during the summer holidays. As usual, expect some delays at Greek airports on the return journey.

There has been a rash of press releases by countries showing how well they have done in the first half of the year. Croatia says there has been a 6% increase in visitors in the first half of the year with 5.85 million being overseas visitors. The aim now, according to Croatia’s tourism minister, Gari Capelli, is to encourage people to regard Croatia as an all year-round destination. Istria saw the highest number of overnight stays followed by Split-Dalmatia County and Kvarner). About 6.2% of all overseas overnight stays were made by visitors from the UK.

panoramic view of Dubrovnik
Croatia saw an increase in visitors in the first half of the year…

The Seychelles say that visitor’s arrivals from the beginning of the year to end of June 2019 are equivalents to 187,108 – an increase of 9% when compared to the same period in 2018. Germany remains at the top of the best five performing markets for the month of June 2019 with 4,087 German visitors; the United Arab Emirates (UAE) follows with a number of 3,119 visitors. 2,110 visitors came from the UK and it was followed by, in fourth and fifth position, France and Italy.

From the central American country of Belize comes news that, at the end of the second quarter of 2019, there was a cumulative increase of 6% in overnight tourist arrivals for 2019 over 2018. After the first six months of 2019, a total of 284,576 visitors went to Belize. Like many central American and Caribbean nations, Belize sees a high number of cruise passengers. For the first half of the year, about 700,000 passengers disembarked, a 10.8% increase over 2018 helped by the fact that an extra seven more cruise ships docked in the period.

Tunisia has seen about 100,000 visitors from the UK in the first six months of the year. It is on target to receive 200,000 travellers from the UK this year. Whilst this is a lot less than before the 2015 atrocity it is a very welcome sign for the Tunisians that Britons are returning in such large numbers. Thomas Cook says the country is now its seventh most popular destination, with package bookings being double the number last year, the first after the Foreign Office lifted its restrictions. A similar rise is interest is being seen in France. An a analysis by the flight comparison website reveals that Tunisia is the third most searched for overseas country after Spain and Morocco in the first half of 2019.

the marina at Sidi Bou Said in Tunisia and a popular tourist attraction

Although I don’t think Egypt has released figures yet, it did announce the fact two of its earliest pyramids located 40 km south of Cairo will re-open for the first time since 1965. At the Dahshur royal necropolis, archaeologists have uncovered a collection of stone, clay and wooden sarcophagi, some of them with mummies, along with wooden funerary masks and stone-cutting instruments dating to the Late Period (664-332 BC). The Dahshur necropolis area contains some of the earliest pyramids in Egypt including the Bent Pyramid which you might have seen in television announcements recently and the Red Pyramid. That they have re-opened will boost tourism numbers and enable more excursions to be developed for visitors.

Incidentally, British Airways have resumed flights to the Egyptian capital of Cairo after a week of no flights. Other the Bas announcement of security concerns, few people have any idea of what was really the cause for the cessation. Since Lufthansa resumed flights so quickly and these were the only two airlines concerned the thought is that it must have been a specific threat against BA and only at Cairo since it continued to fly to other Egyptian airports.

As from August 1st, travellers from the UK going to Sri Lanka will be able to obrain a visa on arrival at the airport. the policy was intorduced after the bombings at Easter but for some reason best only known to the Sri Lankan government, the UK was not included in the first announcement. Now that has been rectified, it will be much easier for travellers on UK passports to enter the country.

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