In which we present a regular round-up of news from the world of Grown-up Travel
Spectacular London 2012 fest launches
The London 2012 Festival, a cultural celebration across Britain to coincide with the Olympics, opens on Thursday with the spectacular – a fireworks display by Lake Windermere – and the bizarre – a life-sized inflatable replica of Stonehenge.
The festival, which runs from June 21-Sept. 9, is the culmination of the four-year Cultural Olympiad, and organizers said on Tuesday there would be 10 million free tickets for people to experience dance, theatre, art, music and more.
Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt said he hoped to raise public awareness about thousands of events happening up and down the country as excitement ahead of the July 27-Aug. 12 Games built.
“This is a really huge moment,” he said on Tuesday. “I don’t think the penny has yet dropped with the public.
”I think they’re beginning to appreciate the scale and excitement of the Games, but the scale and excitement of the biggest cultural festival in our history is something … I think people have yet to appreciate.“
He said the festival, which cost around 55 million pounds ($86 million) to organize, was a chance to showcase Britain’s cultural heritage.
”Not just in 2012 but every year we have the best culture in the world in this country and this is our big opportunity to bang the drum.“
Some events officially counted as part of the Cultural Olympiad would have happened anyway, but many have also been put on especially for the programme.
To mark the opening of the festival, Venezuelan conductor Gustavo Dudamel will lead the Simon Bolivar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela in an open-air concert set against the backdrop of Scotland’s Stirling Castle.
Unesco meets to discuss Liverpool’s world heritage status
The city’s site is expected to be put on the ‘in danger’ list because of a multi-billion pound waterfront skyscraper scheme.
Unesco is taking the first steps towards taking away Liverpool’s World Heritage Site status because of a multi-billion pound skyscraper scheme that will dominate the waterfront.
Next week, Unesco is holding its annual meeting in St Petersburg, Russia, and Liverpool is on the agenda.
The impact of Peel Holdings’ £5.5bn Liverpool Waters scheme on the city’s World Heritage Status, which covers the waterfront and the city centre, is to be discussed.
Unesco recommends that Liverpool is placed on its heritage ‘in danger’ list. In a report it states: “The proposed development of Liverpool Waters constitutes a potential danger to the World Heritage property and, therefore, decides to inscribe Liverpool on the List of World Heritage in Danger, with the possibility of deletion of the property from the World Heritage List, should the current project be approved and implemented.”
In November last year, a delegation of Unesco inspectors visited the city to see what impact the Liverpool Waters scheme would have.
During the visit, the inspectors warned that unless radical changes were made to a plan to build a series of skyscrapers along Liverpool’s famous waterfront, the city could lose its world heritage status.
It is a fate that Liverpool is keen to avoid as the world heritage status places the city that spawned the Beatles alongside the Pyramids and the Great Wall of China. Such is the importance of WHS, it is regarded as crucial to marketing the city to visitors. Furthermore, tourism is worth £3bn to the economy in Liverpool and around 42,000 jobs depend on it. When visitors are asked why they come to Liverpool, many cite the world heritage and capital of culture designations.
Peel Holdings’ £5.5bn scheme regenerates the deprived northern docklands by building shops, restaurants and offices. The company has already reduced the height of its controversial Shanghai Tower (which aims to replicate the Chinese city’s dramatic waterfront) to 55 storeys.
Ryanair makes fresh takeover bid for Ireland’s flag carrier Aer Lingus
Ryanair has made a fresh attempt to buy Aer Lingus, after the low-cost airline unveiled its intention to bid €694m (£560m) for its Irish rival last night.
The low cost carrier, headed by Michael O’Leary, already owns 29.82 per cent of Aer Lingus. Its €1.30-a-share cash offer would value the stock Ryanair does not already own at €486m. Aer Lingus shares closed at €0.94 before the approach was made last night.
Ryanair’s latest offer comes within days of the Office of Fair Trade referring Ryanair’s stake in Aer Lingus to the Competition Commission to consider if it affected competition for UK consumers. The regulator could force Mr O’Leary to sell the Aer Lingus stake, which was built up when the shares were closer to €3 apiece.
It comes five years after the European Commission blocked its attempt to buy Aer Lingus shortly after the Irish flag carrier was privatised. However, Ryanair said yesterday “that circumstances have changed materially since its first unsuccessful bid in late 2006”.
Firstly, Ryanair argued that Europe’s airlines are in the process of merging into five large groups that will be led by Air France, British Airways, EasyJet, Lufthansa and Ryanair. It cited last year’s merger of Heathrow’s two biggest operators, BA and Iberia, as evidence the competition landscape had changed. Ryanair’s takeover of Aer Lingus would allow its acquisition to cut costs and reverse its recent traffic decline, the company added.
Overseas visitors offered guide to UK dialects
A British hotel chain is offering assistance to overseas visitors in the form of an eight-page guide to the country’s regional dialects.
Jury’s Inn has produced the pamphlets in a bid to help Olympic tourists understand a variety of accents, from urban London slang to Scottish colloquialisms.
The hotel chain’s Regional Greetings guide details the various ways one could ask for that most essential of British refreshments, the cup of tea. Visitors to London should ask for a “Rosie Lee”, those staying in Liverpool might request a “Cup o’ char”, tourists in Birmingham ought to call it a “Kippertae”, while anyone visiting Manchester should enquire after a “Scooby Doo”.
Other phrases recommended for visitors to the capital include “Beef” (trouble), “Safe” (good), “Butters” (ugly), and “Innit” (isn’t it).
Liverpudlians are likely to utter words such as “Bizzies” (police) and “Boss” (good), according to the guide, Brummies might say “Bostin” (brilliant), “Mardy” (grumpy) or “Cob” (bread roll); and residents of Yorkshire could be overheard saying “In a boo” (in a mood), “Chuffed” (pleased), and “Eyup” (hello).
Other phrases included are “Gizza Glegg” (May I see that?), “Ay-up midduk” (Hello and good day) and “It’s black ovver Bill’s Muthuz” (It looks like rain) – each of which might prove useful in Nottingham – “Scran” (Food), “Mint” (very good), and “Gaff” – for visitors to Manchester – and “Alright my luvver?” (how are you?), “Dreckley” (straight away) and “Ello my lovely” (hello) – for tourists in the South West.
Suzanne Cannon, the hotel chain’s marketing manager, said: “We are increasingly aware that, for overseas guests in particular, our array of regional accents can sometimes be difficult to grasp.