Grown-up Travel Guide News Update – 21.12.2011

In which we present a regular round-up of news from the world of Grown-up Travel

Penguin droppings hit panda queue at Edinburgh Zoo

BBC News

People queuing to see the panda enclosure at Edinburgh Zoo are being hit by penguin droppings as the curious birds have been watching proceedings. Rockhopper penguins have been standing along the edge of their enclosure since the pandas arrived earlier this month.

The penguins are higher than the panda enclosure due to the site being on Corstorphine Hill. Now officials are planning to build a glass panel in a bid to stop people being hit by the guano.

Gary Wilson, Edinburgh Zoo’s director of business operations, said: “Our rockhopper penguins in particular have been watching the events at the panda enclosure below with great interest, ever since work started on the enclosure. “Extremely curious birds, they often gather next to the wall to see what’s happening below.

“We’re hoping it’s not a case of monochrome jealousy, but one or two of our rockhoppers seem to have had surprisingly good aim.

“We’re just looking into a solution right now, probably in the form of a glass panel so that the visitors’ view of the penguins isn’t obscured.”

A 41-year-old, who was standing in the panda queue on Sunday said: “We were queuing to see the pandas when a man in front shouted out in surprise that his jacket had been hit by a big dollop of penguin poo.

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Skyscanner Travel Trends – Who is Coming and Going in 2012?

In its new 2012 Travel Trends Report, Skyscanner has revealed that Estonia, Russia, Iraq and Cape Verde are all emerging destinations likely to see a significant rise in interest from UK tourists over the coming year.

The flight comparison website, which has over 15 million users a month, analysed its vast data on user flight searches to produce the report on global travel trends. Overall, Spain remains the most popular choice for British holidaymakers for a fourth consecutive year, however in the ‘Destinations of The Future’ section of the report, Skyscanner highlights a number of more exotic locations.

Where are we going?

Estonia is the highest climbing destination with a search increase of 90% year on year. This is largely attributed to the increased publicity the country has received following Tallinn’s stint as a European Capital of Culture in 2011, however other Eastern European destinations have also seen a significant rise in popularity. A 32% increase in interest for Russia suggests that the world’s biggest country will get a bigger share of tourists over the coming year. With major sporting events looming (Winter Olympics in 2014, and the World Cup Football in 2018), Russia’s profile as a tourist destination is set to rise substantially.

While Estonia, which adopted the Euro in 2011, and also Greece and Italy appear to be performing well in the global battle for tourists, other Euro destinations have not fared so well; Portugal, Ireland, Germany and Slovakia all saw minimal rises in searches, well below the Skyscanner site average.

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Travel Alert: Beware Hotel Phone Scam

Comfort, convenience. Those are the things most travelers want in a hotel stay.

Not a disturbing phone call from a thief in the middle of the night. That’s exactly what happened to me during a recent stay at the Hyatt Place in Germantown.

Someone pretending to be from the front desk called my room at 12:30 a.m., said there had been a computer system crash and they needed to re-process my credit card information.

“That sounds like something that may happen, and that’s what they’re hoping, that they catch you off guard and you say okay, I’ll just give you the information,” explains Nancy Crawford, Director of Marketing and Communications for the Better Business Bureau of the MidSouth.

I hung up and immediately called the front desk where workers confirmed it was a scam.

“You’ll see them, year, after year, or it happens in waves,” says Tennessee Hospitality Association CEO Greg Adkins, who says the hotel phone scam crops up during high travel periods.

“They know that they’re gonna hit more people in the hotel rooms than if they just try those numbers during a regular work week,” adds Crawford.

Wayne Tabor is the General Manager at the Holiday Inn Select in Downtown Memphis.He says the hotel would never call and ask for personal information, so you shouldn’t give it out.

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The pros and cons of flying nude

Hands up (and pants down) if you want to fly on a nudie airline?

If you need convincing – and perhaps a few of you do – consider for a moment the “bathroom” situation when you’re a mile high.

Toilets in jumbos are so small that anyone larger than a jockey needs the skills of a contortionist to unzip, unbuckle, unbutton and remove clothing.

It takes a six-point turn just to wash your hands – if you can work out how to use the taps – and then you’ve got to do it all in reverse. All while worrying about the queue forming outside the door.

Imagine how much simpler it would be if we just removed shoes, socks, underwear, pants, skirts, dresses, jackets and shirts from the equation altogether?

Americans are clearly ahead of the pack here, with 79 per cent of them saying they’d fly on a nudist airline, were one known to be operational. (Those who think Richard Branson is the obvious man for the job here clearly haven’t countenanced the thought of Sir Dick in his birthday suit grinning insanely from Naked Virgin billboards).

In an entirely unscientific survey conducted by Trip Advisor, nearly four in five of the 22,091 respondents said they were willing to get their gear off when high in the sky, if it meant that other people on the flight would also be under-dressed.

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