Holidaymakers shun British cuisine

British cuisine is among the worst in the world, according to overseas travellers, a survey has found. While it is generally accepted that British cuisine has improved substantially in recent years, it would appear that many visiting holidaymakers are still left unimpressed. The UK failed to make the top ten in an international poll to uncover foodies’ favoured holiday destinations, and was voted the worst for cuisine by people from the US, Australia and Norway. The pizzas and pasta dishes of Italy were revealed to be the most popular foreign food, appealing to 32 per cent of the 27,000 people questioned, followed by French cuisine, which took 24 per cent of the vote. Sushi is rising in popularity though, with Japanese food a healthy choice favoured by 18 per cent of travellers.

10 ridiculous travel insurance claims

Top 10 Travel insurance claims made by holidaymakers.

1 A pensioner, whose false teeth fell out while he vomited over the side of a cruise ship, put in a claim to his travel insurers for new dentures under “lost baggage”.

2 Two holidaymakers in Devon filed a claim for damage to the paintwork of their car after it was licked by a herd of cows.

3 Two children in Cornwall buried their parents’ video camera in the sand to prevent it from being stolen whilst they went swimming, but could not remember where. Thankfully, the insurers paid out.

4 “A deer headbutted the windscreen of my car, after being enticed by the yellow tax disc,” another insurance claims form read.

5 A young British traveller, distracted by the appearance of a group of women in bikinis, broke his nose when he walked into a bus shelter in Athens. The insurance company paid up for the hospital bills.

6 A couple on their holiday in Malaysia returned to their lodge to find that monkeys had stolen their clothes and scattered them all across the neighbouring rainforest. Fortunately, their insurance company paid their claim.

7 A family’s camping holiday in Wales was ruined when a parachutist from a nearby airbase landed on their tent, destroying their equipment. Their insurer rejected their claims.

8 A skier who arrived in an Alpine resort only to find there was very little snow, claimed for the cost of the new skis she had bought before leaving Britain. Her claims were rejected.

9 A holidaymaker in Sri Lanka needed hospital treatment after a coconut fell on her head while she was reading in the shade below. Her insurer covered her medical expenses.

10 A bride’s dream Caribbean wedding was ruined after her dress caught fire on the barbecue. The groom picked up his wife and threw her into the ocean. Fortunately, they had taken out wedding cover and were compensated for their ruined wedding outfits.

20 stupid questions asked by tourists in Britain and worldwide

20 of the most inexplicably simple queries fielded by tourism officials.

“Are there any lakes in the Lake District?” We present 20 of the most inexplicably simple queries fielded by tourism officials.

“Are there any lakes in the Lake District?”

“In what month is the May Day demonstration?”

“What is the entry fee for Brighton?”

“Why on earth did they build Windsor Castle on the flight path of Heathrow?”

“Is this where Sharon and Ozzie actually live?”

Asked a visitor to Osborne House, Isle of Wight

“Is Wales closed during the winter?”

“Can you tell me who performs at the circus in Piccadilly?”

“Why did they build so many ruined castles and abbeys in England?”

Asked a tourist at Whitby Abbey, North Yorkshire

“What time do you switch the mist off?”

Asked a visitor to Dover Castle and the Secret Wartime Tunnels, in Kent

“Do you have any information on (former Page 3 girl) Samantha Fox?”

“Which bus do I get from the Orkney Islands to the Shetland Islands?”

“What time of night does the Loch Ness monster surface and who feeds it?”

“Is Edinburgh in Glasgow?”

“Can I wear high heels in Australia?”

“Are there supermarkets in Sydney and is milk available all year round?”

“I want to walk from Perth to Sydney – can I follow the railroad tracks?”

“Which direction is North in Australia?”

“Was this man-made?”

Asked a tourist at the Grand Canyon National Park

“How much of the caves is underground?”

Asked a tourist at the Carlsbad Caverns National Park

“Do you know of any undiscovered ruins?”

Asked a tourist at the Mesa Verde National We present 20 of the most inexplicably simple queries fielded by tourism officials.

“Are there any lakes in the Lake District?”

“In what month is the May Day demonstration?”

“What is the entry fee for Brighton?”

“Why on earth did they build Windsor Castle on the flight path of Heathrow?”

“Is this where Sharon and Ozzie actually live?”

Asked a visitor to Osborne House, Isle of Wight

“Is Wales closed during the winter?”

“Can you tell me who performs at the circus in Piccadilly?”

“Why did they build so many ruined castles and abbeys in England?”

Asked a tourist at Whitby Abbey, North Yorkshire

“What time do you switch the mist off?”

Asked a visitor to Dover Castle and the Secret Wartime Tunnels, in Kent

“Do you have any information on (former Page 3 girl) Samantha Fox?”

“Which bus do I get from the Orkney Islands to the Shetland Islands?”

“What time of night does the Loch Ness monster surface and who feeds it?”

“Is Edinburgh in Glasgow?”

“Can I wear high heels in Australia?”

“Are there supermarkets in Sydney and is milk available all year round?”

“I want to walk from Perth to Sydney – can I follow the railroad tracks?”

“Which direction is North in Australia?”

“Was this man-made?”

Asked a tourist at the Grand Canyon National Park

“How much of the caves is underground?”

Asked a tourist at the Carlsbad Caverns National Park

“Do you know of any undiscovered ruins?”

Asked a tourist at the Mesa Verde National Park

“In what month is the May Day demonstration?”

“What is the entry fee for Brighton?”

“Why on earth did they build Windsor Castle on the flight path of Heathrow?”

“Is this where Sharon and Ozzie actually live?”

Asked a visitor to Osborne House, Isle of Wight

“Is Wales closed during the winter?”

“Can you tell me who performs at the circus in Piccadilly?”

“Why did they build so many ruined castles and abbeys in England?”

Asked a tourist at Whitby Abbey, North Yorkshire

“What time do you switch the mist off?”

Asked a visitor to Dover Castle and the Secret Wartime Tunnels, in Kent

“Do you have any information on (former Page 3 girl) Samantha Fox?”

“Which bus do I get from the Orkney Islands to the Shetland Islands?”

“What time of night does the Loch Ness monster surface and who feeds it?”

“Is Edinburgh in Glasgow?”

“Can I wear high heels in Australia?”

“Are there supermarkets in Sydney and is milk available all year round?”

“I want to walk from Perth to Sydney – can I follow the railroad tracks?”

“Which direction is North in Australia?”

“Was this man-made?”

Asked a tourist at the Grand Canyon National Park

“How much of the caves is underground?”

Asked a tourist at the Carlsbad Caverns National Park
We present 20 of the most inexplicably simple queries fielded by tourism officials.

“Are there any lakes in the Lake District?”

“In what month is the May Day demonstration?”

“What is the entry fee for Brighton?”

“Why on earth did they build Windsor Castle on the flight path of Heathrow?”

“Is this where Sharon and Ozzie actually live?”

Asked a visitor to Osborne House, Isle of Wight

“Is Wales closed during the winter?”

“Can you tell me who performs at the circus in Piccadilly?”

“Why did they build so many ruined castles and abbeys in England?”

Asked a tourist at Whitby Abbey, North Yorkshire

“What time do you switch the mist off?”

Asked a visitor to Dover Castle and the Secret Wartime Tunnels, in Kent

“Do you have any information on (former Page 3 girl) Samantha Fox?”

“Which bus do I get from the Orkney Islands to the Shetland Islands?”

“What time of night does the Loch Ness monster surface and who feeds it?”

“Is Edinburgh in Glasgow?”

“Can I wear high heels in Australia?”

“Are there supermarkets in Sydney and is milk available all year round?”

“I want to walk from Perth to Sydney – can I follow the railroad tracks?”

“Which direction is North in Australia?”

“Was this man-made?”

Asked a tourist at the Grand Canyon National Park

“How much of the caves is underground?”

Asked a tourist at the Carlsbad Caverns National Park

“Do you know of any undiscovered ruins?”

Asked a tourist at the Mesa Verde National Park

“Do you know of any undiscovered ruins?”

Asked a tourist at the Mesa Verde National Park

Chinese Theme park offers discounts to women in mini-skirts

The Merryland Resort near Guilin, China  is running a “Love Miniskirts” campaign for the next two months, allowing female visitors to secure a discounted ticket if they are wearing a skirt shorter than 38 centimetres. A local television station has broadcast footage of staff at the entrance of the park measuring arriving guests’ skirts with rulers, according to Shanghai Daily, a local English-language newspaper. The owners of those which are deemed short qualify for a 55 yuan ticket.

“The stipulation aims to encourage female visitors to showcase their beauty in summer,” Li Wenxing, deputy manager of the park, told the newspaper. He said that the offer had been made each year since 2007, and had proven a great success. Its annual water-splashing festival attracted even more visitors, he added. He also admitted that the publicity stunt had received criticism from residents of Guilin, in the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, for encouraging women to behave in a lewd and vulgar manner.He said: “We have been hearing negative comments about the campaign since we launched it, but the number of complaints are decreasing every year.” The theme park is one of the region’s biggest attractions, and is comparable in size to Disneyland in the United States. It also features a golf course and a hotel.

Virgin Australia cabin crew asked to stop using ‘mate’

Virgin Australia was previously known as Virgin Blue, and used Elle Macpherson to launch their cabin crew uniforms

The term is popular among Australians as it refers to a revered kinship, or “mateship” that some claim has historical roots.

But Virgin Australia considers the word too informal for dealing with its business class passengers.

The airline is asking flight attendants to complete a course in etiquette, wine-appreciation, grooming and body language, according to a report in the Australian Daily Telegraph.

Staff who have taken the “Elevate” training course will only be allowed to address passengers classified as frequent flyers “mate”, if they have specifically asked to be.

The move is apparently in the hope of attracting business passengers from rival airline Qantas.

Mark Hassell, Virgin Australia’s group executive of brand and customer experience, said: “We are not creating clones and we are not creating straightjackets for people. We want to retain the spirit that exists within Virgin… but put it in a context that is equally relevant for business-purpose and corporate travellers.”

The airline is also remodelling its airport lounges, including removing the pool tables from Melbourne and introducing baristas and buffet food.

Virgin Australia was previously known as Virgin Blue, and last year used Elle Macpherson, the model, to launch its new cabin crew uniforms.

An online guide to hotel rooms available for just a few hours

Day-useA story was published many years ago about The Barcelona Hilton hotel’s dedicated rooms for afternoon siestas, and recently we came across something similar. Focusing not just on the sleep-deprived but also on businesspeople and lovers, Day Use Hotels is an online guide to boutique hotels that offer rooms for use over just a few hours. More than 200 hotels in London, Paris and other European cities are currently listed on Day Use Hotels, all of them offering luxurious, wifi-equipped rooms in time slots of between three and seven hours. Prices are 30 percent to 70 percent lower than standard per-night rates, the French company says, and tailor-made packages are available for business users. Reservations, meanwhile, are carried out discreetly, without requiring credit card details. Customers simply provide a mobile phone number, and confirmation is sent by mail or text — payment can then be made at the hotel. A dedicated app is also available for iPhone and iPad.

Maldives and Cape Verde becoming top holiday destinations as small islands attracts tourists

Small Island Developing States (SIDS, an official designation of the United Nations) such as Maldives and Cape Verde, are attracting ever increasing numbers of tourists, outlined the UN World Tourism Organisation in a report released Tuesday. In the past decade, visitor numbers have increased by more than 12 million to reach 41 million in 2011.

International tourist arrivals are a key source of revenue for these small island states, with visitors accounting for more than 38 billion dollars in annual revenue, according to the report “Challenges and Opportunities for Tourism in Small Island Developing States.”

The group of SIDS is made up of 38 states such as the Bahamas, Dominican Republic, Maldives, Mauritius and Seychelles islands which hold membership in the UN and which are increasingly desirable tourist destinations.

Fourteen other islands that are not UN members such as French Poylnesia make up the rest of the group.

The destinations have the common goals of preserving local resources and populations, paying particular attention to the inflow of tourists and the consequent effects on the environment.

Xanadu added to UNESCO World Heritage lineup

Described by Venetian traveler Marco Polo, romanticized by English poet Samual Taylor Coleridge, the historic site known to much of the world by the fanciful name of “Xanadu” has offically joined UNESCO’s World Heritage list. Located in modern Inner Mongolia, the summer capital of Kublai Khan’s Yuan Dynasty is called Yuan Shang Du Yi Zhi (元上都遗址) by the Chinese.

UNESCO released the additions to its famed list over the weekend. Joining Xanadu on the list are Bassari Country in Senegal and Côte d’Ivoire’s Historic Town Grand Bassam.Shaped like a square, Xanadu was the first capital designated by Kublai Khan (1215-94). It was designed by his advisor Liu Bingzhong in 1256.

According to a UNESCO press release, “The site was planned according to the traditional Chinese feng shui in relation to the nearby mountains and river. It features the remains of the city, including temples, palaces, tombs, nomadic encampments and the Tiefan’gang Canal along with other water works.”

“Xanadu is the best-preserved among the Yuan (Dynasty’s) capital cities and has lasted the longest,” said Tong Mingkang (童明康), deputy director of China Administration of Cultural Heritage, as reported by China Daily.

“It’s the only intact evidence of the rise and fall of the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368), which witnessed the unique fusion of agrarian Han Chinese and nomadic Mongolian civilizations in northern Asia.”

Xanadu began its journey toward being named a World Heritage site in 1996.

Other sites named

According to UNESCO, the Bassari landscape in Senegal “is marked by terraces and rice paddies, interspersed with villages, hamlets and archaeological sites.”

The first capital of Côte d’Ivoire, Grand Bassam “is an example of a late 19th- and early 20th-century colonial town planned with quarters specializing in commerce, administration, housing for Europeans and housing for Africans.”

On July 1, UNESCO also added Major Mining Sites of Walonia (Belgium), Decorated Farmhouses of Hälsingland (Sweden) and six other cultural and natural properties to its World Heritage list.

Cartoon Network’s First Water Park to open in Thailand in early 2013

Confirmation of the world’s first cartoon themed water park is being planned by the Cartoon Network. The location of this large scale park is in the municipality of Bang Saray on the Eastern Seaboard of Thailand. This puts the park very conveniently situated, being only 15 minutes from one of the best beaches in Thailand at Pattaya, and more significantly just 90 minutes from the country’s capital, Bangkok. With the park scheduled to open in 2013, tourists will be able to meet some of the Cartoon Network’s most famous characters, The Amazing World of Gumball, The Powerpuff Girls, Johnny Bravo and Ben 10, all set amongst a recreation backdrop of the Amazon rainforest.

Theme parks based on entertainment brands have very recently seen something of a renaissance, especially in Asia and the Middle East. In Dubai, a new Marvel Adventure attraction is to open in early 2013, with focus on many of the major characters including the X-Men and The Avengers. Rovio Entertainment has recently announced it too, is to be opening parks and many retail stores across China in leu of the success of the Angry Bird mobile games, so the theme park business certainly appears to be thriving.

Named The Cartoon Network Amazon Park, it will see significant benefits from the rise of tourism to Asia. Indeed, the Finance Ministry of Thailand claims that the year 2011 saw more than 19 million tourists entering the country, including increases in visitors from Vietnam, Cambodia, the Philippines, China, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore.

The park is said to cater for people of all ages, with a huge vertical drop for the daring adults, and more serene rides for younger members of the family including a winding adventure river, raft rides and speed racing slides.

The US$32 million project aims to provide an exciting attraction for the 800,000 visitors it aims to attract per year. Resort and attractions developer, Amazon Falls Co. Ltd., has been closely working with a team of designers to get the project completed for opening in early 2013. Already, the first phase of the project is well under way, and barring any significant problems, should remain on schedule.

Tata Airlines

On October 15th, 1932 JRD Tata took off from Karachi to Ahmedabad and on to Bombay in a solo flight in a single-engined De Havilland Puss Moth carrying postage mail. He landed at the Juhu airstrip and India’s civil aviation took off. In 1946, Tata Airlines became Air India and in 1953, the company was nationalized by the Government of India.

 

By 1946, flight paths over India became a little less dreary. India got its  first air hostesses. Air India, the flagship airline, was still run by the Tatas and certainly wasn’t the obese white elephant it has now become. Only 21 air hostesses were on the rolls, Anglo-Indian girls all (‘full-blooded native women’ refused to serve).Hired at a monthly salary of $106.23 (uniforms free), they were trained by an American hostess from TWA. Most were based in Bombay and, if Life magazine is to be believed, jitterbugged for recreation between flights. tata-airlines-1939-route-map

 

Margaret Bourke-White, Life’s intrepid staff photographer, captured this image on a Delhi-Bombay flight for the magazine’s September 30, 1946 edition.Here, 21-year-old air hostess Monica Gilbert shares the flight report with a Sikh passenger, who doesn’t seem particularly interested. The steely-looking gentleman in the foreground seems to be ignoring the entire situation. Make what you will of the mag’s photo caption: “The Hindu (right) with caste marks is a landowner.”

 

In the magazine, Bourke-White’s photo feature was tucked between some gripping coverage of Antarctic whaling and an article about Shorty’s, a popular Berlin nightclub whose only claim to fame was its proprietor—a dwarf. Life, inarguably, was interesting those days—just look at the temptations presented by this lovely map of India from a Tata Airlines timetable (subtitled ‘An illustrated geography of Tata Air Routes over India’) from 1939.

New Zealand offers Visa on arrival for UAE citizens

New-ZealandThe UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced that UAE citizens can now travel to New Zealand for tourism or work for three months without the need to obtain prior visas. The ministry said visas will be given to citizens on arrival in New Zealand. This also applies to UAE diplomats and holders of official passports.