In which we present a regular round-up of news from the world of Grown-up Travel
Gadget-free and shopping sprees rule travel trends
Luxury shopping trips for the nouveaux riches, gadget-free accommodation and booking holidays on smart TVs are some of the future travel trends predicted in a new report.
The “Global Trends Report” by market research firm Euromonitor International predicted a continued rise in holiday packages which cater to tourists on shopping trips, a recovery in Middle East visits following the Arab Spring and Americans interested in destinations that have previously been off-limits.
Shoppers from Brazil, Russia, India and China, the so-called BRIC countries with rapidly growing economies, were expected to flock to European cities to splurge on luxury goods.
Chinese visitors to Europe alone reserve a third of their holiday budget for shopping, the European Travel Commission estimates and 95% of Chinese visitors of Louis Vuitton shops in Paris are on organized tours, according to Euromonitor.
Hotels in the Middle East are locating within or beside shopping malls to take advantage of the trend and nine major malls are due for completion across the region between 2012 and 2014. One of these, Yas Mall in Abu Dhabi, will be home to seven hotels.
After experiencing a 10% fall in tourism last year during the fallout from the Arab Spring, 2012 is promising to end with positive growth for the Middle East. This is forecast to continue into 2013 and beyond.
Indian travellers are helping a tourism boom in the Gulf by heading in large numbers to the region’s souks to purchase precious metals for wedding gifts and investment.
Although the report maintains that any growth in tourism arrivals will come from the relatively new outbound markets of Asia Pacific, Latin America and Eastern Europe, U.S. travellers are showing a particular interest in flocking to countries that have previously been off limits such as North Korea, Libya, Cuba and Myanmar thanks to the easing of travel restrictions.
Michael Palin: ‘I’m just curious about the world’
With Michael Palin back on our TV screens, he reveals why he still loves travel – and how he’s learnt to be himself on camera
“People travel for different reasons,” says Michael Palin. “Some people travel because they don’t settle anywhere and they don’t want any possessions, so they wander the world. And there are people who travel because they want to push themselves to physical limits, people who walk across deserts or cycle across the Antarctic – like Ranulph Fiennes, who just does it because it’s there. And then there are people like me, who are just genuinely curious about the world.”
For nearly 25 years, this curiosity has sent Palin around the world in every direction, on journeys that have defined him as the great British traveller of our age: documenting what he sees, gently interrogating those he meets, expressing concern where appropriate, sharing points of view.
Since the enormous success of Around the World in 80 Days in 1989, Palin’s travels have taken him from pole to pole, around the Pacific rim, on the trail of Ernest Hemingway, across the Himalayas, over the Sahara and into “New Europe”. Now, in Brazil with Michael Palin, his current BBC series, he’s exploring the planet’s fifth-largest country, from Amazonia to the favelas of Rio de Janeiro, from the rubbish dumps of Sao Paulo to the astonishing Iguacu Falls.
When we meet, in his production offices near Covent Garden, he’s immersed in giving Brazil its proper send-off: fresh from signing copies of the accompanying book in Piccadilly and pleased at the reception the first episode received at a press screening at Bafta earlier in the week.
10 unusual ways to see London at night
A new guide, Celestial London, encourages visitors to discover the capital’s nocturnal attractions, from bat walks and ghost hunts to all-night cinema and dawn markets.
Whether you’re jetlagged, insomniac or wired, London at night is a mysterious place. People behave differently, the streets are sodium yellow and the parks are dark. As colours desaturate, familiar areas can turn dangerous. Curiocity has been strolling in the gloaming, pinpointing the best and most unusual experiences this wild shadow city has to offer.
Like any city London can be dangerous, so make sure you take precautions and don’t walk alone at night.
The highest point in central London, Hampstead Heath, is one of the best places for stargazing. Drop east from Heath House above the Vale of Health for a great viewing spot. For a closer look, head back along Lower Terrace to the Hampstead Observatory: the Hampstead Scientific Society (hampsteadscience.ac.uk) opens its telescopes for free from 8-10pm on Fridays and Saturdays, mid September to mid-April. There is also free access to the UCL Observatory in Mill Hill (ulo.ucl.ac.uk).
If it’s raining, find a werewolf with a Chinese menu and follow him to Lee Ho Fooks (now Golden Harvest) for a big dish of beef chow mein (Gerrard Street, closes 1am, restaurantprivilege.com/golden-harvest). If you miss it, try Mr Kong (Lisle Street, closes 2.45am,mrkongrestaurant.com). Either way, listen to Warren Zevon’s Werewolves of London song in the clip above (and all will become clear). For more music go to Ronnie Scott’s Late Late Show (Frith Street, 12.45am, ronniescotts.co.uk) or Ain’t Nothin’ But (Kingly Street, closes 2.30am, aintnothinbut.co.uk). Afterwards drop into the legendary Bar Italia for a nightcap (Frith Street, open 24/7, baritaliasoho.co.uk) or Lick for a gelato (Greek Street, closes 12.30am, lick-gelato.com).
Ryanair CEO: ‘Seatbelts on planes are pointless’
Seatbelts on planes are pointless and will not save passengers in a crash, the chief executive of Ryanair has said.
“Seatbelts don’t matter,” Michael O’Leary told The Telegraph. “If there ever was a crash on an aircraft, God forbid, a seatbelt won’t save you.”
The chief executive of the budget Irish airline claimed legislation forcing passengers to wear seatbelts is unnecessary and wants to introduce “standing room only” sections on flights.
“Those wishing to fly on holiday should instead be permitted to stand at the back on a plane”, he said.
“You don’t need a seatbelt on the London Underground. You don’t need a seatbelt on trains which are travelling at 120mph and if they crash you’re all dead,” he added.
The outspoken CEO suggested taking out the back ten rows of seats in aircrafts, which would allow Ryanair to offer £1 ($1.60) tickets to travellers willing to commute to their destination on their feet.
When it came to landing, O’Leary suggested passengers could “hang on to the handle” and would be “fine”.
The “standing” proposal is currently ruled out by European Safety regulations which say passengers must be strapped in for take-off and landing.
“We’re always looking for new ways of doing things; it’s the authorities who won’t allow us to do them.