Saturday, 22 April 2017

UK sees record breaking start to 2017 inbound tourism

OFFICIAL figures out today show a record-breaking start to the year for inbound tourism to Britain.  

The figures show that a new record has been set for inbound visits to the UK in the first two months of the year with 5.2 million visits, up 6% on the same period last year. 

  • Overseas visitors spent a record £2.7 billion in January and February, up 11% on the previous year.
  • There were 3.6 million visits from the EU in January and February, up 5% on the previous year. 
  • Strong growth was also seen in holiday visits in January and February, up 15% on the same period in 2016 with 1.6 million visits.
  • VisitBritain’s forecast predicts that growth is set to continue in 2017 with 38.8 million visits and with spending reaching £23.9 billion.
 
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Caribbean Journey to open in May at the Texas State Aquarium



THE Texas State Aquarium has set Saturday, May 13 as the official Grand Opening date for Caribbean Journey. The Grand Opening of the $58 million building marks the realization of 30 months of construction and three years of planning, rewarding guests with a several new engaging and interactive experiences and catapulting the Aquarium into one of the nation’s premier aquariums.

Caribbean Journey contains 71,000 square feet of exhibit space, more than doubling the total size of the Aquarium. The new exhibits will depict the jungles, seas, coral reefs, coastal lagoons, and other geographic features of the Sian Ka’an biosphere reserve in Mexico. Flamingos, crocodiles, birds, bats, a sloth, and other species can be seen in Caribbean Journey’s jungle level, while several overlooks allow guests to see sharks and fish swimming in the exhibits below.

Caribbean Journey’s bottom floor provides an immersive view into the Coral and Blue Hole exhibits, which will house sharks, stingrays, and hundreds of colorful coral reef fish. A highlight attraction will be the 400,000-gallon H-E-B Caribbean Sea Shark exhibit, where reef sharks swim among a replica life-size shipwreck. This underwater landscape can be admired from a 68-foot long display window – the longest in North America – and by traveling into an acrylic tunnel that crosses through the exhibit.

The Whataburger 100-seat 4D theater will premiere the BBC Earth’s Shark film, utilizing effects to make guests feel as if they’re swimming right alongside these ocean predators.

The top floor contains the scenic dining room, which can be reserved for private functions such as weddings or corporate gatherings.




texasstateaquarium.org/caribbean


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Picture Credit: WIlly Volk 94802649@N00/1379996042 Tiger shark via photopin

Stargaze from a bubble



THE transparent pods found in Bulle d’R, located in the wooded area of Dournazac in the Périgord Limousin regional natural park, are deliberately designed so guests can enjoy the stunning night sky views in warm surroundings without the distraction of light pollution. 

Each pod sits on a private terrace area with its own bathroom and hot tub. Meals, breakfast and dinner (upon request) are delivered to the pods by hosts. Visitors can relax at the nearby lake beach, Espace Hermeline, or have fun visiting one of the area’s local châteaux. For something a little different, they can ride the vélorail, a pedal-powered cart on a disused railway line.

Book now via Pitchup.com 

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Friday, 21 April 2017

BMI Regional Launches Spring Fling Sale

MAKE the most of the spring weather, getting and about with bmi regional’s ‘spring fling’ sale. The airline is offering sale rates on every route across its network, including recently launched destinations such as Graz, Nuremburg, Gothenburg and Derry.

The sale commences on Friday 21 April, continuing until 1 May, with fares on bookings made during this time starting from as little as £44 one way.

All fares include 23kg hold luggage, allocated seating and complimentary in-flight drinks and snacks as standard.

Visit flybmi.com from 21 April – 1 May to take advantage of the great rates available on all routes for travel up to the end of March 2018.



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All aboard for 6 star luxury on the Scenic Eclipse

LAUNCHING in the Mediterranean on 31 August 2018, Scenic Eclipse the World’s First Discovery Yacht has been years in the planning. 

The 6-star ultra-luxury mega yacht for only 228 guests – 200 in the Arctic and Antarctica, boasts a private verandah and lounge area in everyone of the 114 spacious suites. Ranging in size from the generous 32 square metre Verandah Suites to the 247 square metre two-bedroom Penthouse Suite.

No need to lift a finger (or wallet) with an almost 1:1 guest-to-staff ratio; butler service for every guest; Spa Sanctuary and plunge pools; expert Discovery Leaders an all cruises; indoor and outdoor swimming pools.

All-inclusive shore excursions from exclusive Scenic Enrich experiences to expert-led Scenic Freechoice activities and discovery excursions by zodiac, kayak, e-bike, snorkeling and more without paying anything extra.

Not to mention the on board helicopters and a submarine! (although these do come at an additional charge).


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Picture Credit: YouTube

Kids go free is the battle cry . . .

TO celebrate the arrival of the Wars of the Roses Live, taking place over 50 selected dates from the 27th May, Warwick Castle is offering ‘Kids Go Free’ places on all medieval sleepovers this Spring and Summer, including school holiday dates, within The Knight’s Village.

In front of a 2,000 strong first thumping audience in the new mediaeval-style arena, brave Knight’s will cross lances in this epic conflict, depicting the extraordinary events that divided England six hundred years ago.

The battle will continue on into the evening within The Knight’s Village, where accommodation will be themed in House colours, red and white. An all-you can eat feast, with Wars of the Rose LIVE battle entertainment, will also be available to residents in the Mediaeval Banquet Hall.

www.warwickcastlebreaks.com


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Thursday, 20 April 2017

Luxury in North Korea

LUXURY hotel The Koryo, one of Pyongyang’s best-known and most visible landmarks with its twin towers has reopened after a 3 month refurbishment. 

Built in 1985 it's 1980's style has been updated to be more bright and airy to appeal to foreign tourists, but only in the first 3 floors, the bedrooms remain untouched.

Once one of the tallest hotels in Pyongyang with 43 floors it has been overtaken by the 47-story Yanggakdo, and then there is the 105-story, pyramid-shaped Ryugyong which is still in construction and has never even opened to the public.


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Picture Credit: By Nicor - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=21131395

Japan: UNESCO World Heritage Tour

VISIT a staggering number of UNESCO World Heritage sites on this fascinating and insightful journey through Japan's unique cultural and natural heritage with Battered Suitcase. The tour offers unbeatable flexibility, as departures can be arranged for anywhere in the world.

Explore the landscape, geology and architecture of #Japan, a land laden with cultural gems, as you spend time travelling around historically significant UNESCO sites in Tokyo, Nikko, Takayama, Kyoto and Nara, zipping your way from place to place using Japan’s renowned world-class rail services.

Your immersive visit will include the famous “gassho-zukuri” farmhouses in Gifu, with their steeply pitched roofs constructed without nails like hands in prayer, and Nikko National Park’s UNESCO-listed Toshogu shrine complex. 

Along the way, you’ll also get the chance to marvel at the ornamental beauty of Nijo Castle, dating from 1603, in Kyoto, and pay your respects at the Peace Memorial Park, created at the site of ground zero of the atomic bomb dropped on the 6th August 1945, in Hiroshima.

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Picture Credit: wallyg 70323761@N00/5810082473 Nikkō: Tōshō-gū - Five Storied Pagoda via photopin.

Plan ahead for train travel for the London Marathon

SOUTHEASTERN has published important advice for anyone running – or watching – the Virgin Money London Marathon. It will also be running an extra 111 trains on Sunday 23 April 2017.

The travel tips and additional services are designed to help people get where they need to be as easily as possible on race day. Runners starting in either Greenwich or Maze Hill will find connecting trains from Cannon Street – but not London Bridge, where trains serve only the Blackheath start line. Direct services to Blackheath also leave from Victoria, Charing Cross, Waterloo East and Lewisham.

Runners can travel for free on connecting Southeastern trains from any London terminal to any start line station by showing their race number but must buy a valid ticket for the rest of their journey.

www.southeasternrailway.co.uk


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