In which we present a regular round-up of news from the world of Grown-up Travel
Oktoberfest Munich: 8 million beers, 420 lost phones, one lost dog
With about eight million beers downed each year at the Oktoberfest, you might expect a few items to go awry, but the lost-and-found office at the world’s top beer fest really has seen it all.
A total of 4900 items were lost at last year’s festival, with the objects missing ranging from the sublime to the ridiculous.
Alongside 1220 items of clothing, 420 mobile phones, 380 pairs of glasses and 70 umbrellas, presumably well-refreshed party-goers also mislaid a megaphone, a dog, a viking helmet and five wedding rings.
Four out of five items that wash up in the office are never claimed, explained the head of the lost-and-found bureau, Mike Mueller, 40.
“The problem is that people get drunk and only realise they’ve lost stuff the day after,” he explained.
“As a lot of the people are tourists, they have already left and they can’t get back to reclaim their things.”
On the opening days of the festival, the intake is always meagre, he said, taking down the details of a dirndl-clad woman who had lost her mobile. Only a few dozen items were lost so far, but he expected the pace to pick up later.
Holiday read is only read
Thousands of Britons only read a novel when they are on holiday, according to research.
Almost one in four holidaymakers who took part in a survey admitted that they opened up a book for the first time when they were away.
It was suggested that the findings reflected a lack of time for reading or “apathy” towards it.
An online survey of 8,600 travellers, commissioned by TripAdvisor, the travel website, found that 23 per cent read a book for the first time on holiday.
“A good book has long been a staple of a relaxing holiday and it’s encouraging to see that we still enjoy reading when we go away,” said a spokesman for the website.
“But whether it’s lack of time, attention spans decreasing, or a general apathy towards reading, the fact that almost a quarter of us only manage to read a book when we’re on holiday really is quite a sad state of affairs.”
The survey comes after separate research found that E-books sales were rising compared to a fall in the number of physical books being sold.
Greek tourism on the rebound
Greek tourism will fare better than expected this year because fears of a chaotic exit from the euro have eased, the head of the main tourist industry association said on Friday.
He predicted revenues would slump just 5% this year compared with a June forecast of 15%, citing the election of a stable government and signs of confidence from international lenders as reasons.
Accounting for about 16% of output and one in five jobs, tourism is vital for Greece’s depressed economy. Its sandy beach resorts, azure waters and ancient temples are among its few strong cards.
Tourism revenues are expected to drop slightly to just over 10 billion euros from 10.5 billion euros in 2011, while arrivals are expected to reach 16 million this year from a record high of 16.5 million last year, Andreas Andreadis, head of Greek tourism association SETE, told Reuters.
Speculation about Greece being forced out of the single currency ahead of a tense election in June and fears that social unrest could break out scared many visitors off before the peak summer holiday season.
But the emergence of a pro-European Union government under conserva2tive Prime Minister Antonis Samaras and the absence of any violence or big protests helped draw back foreign visitors to the country’s sun-drenched islands in July and August.
“Fears that Greece would leave the euro were overcome and the question marks vanished,” Andreadis told Reuters. “It was also a quiet summer in terms of strikes,” he said.
Talk that Greece’s creditors could lose patience with Athens over its unfulfilled reform pledges, also dissipated as the European Union and International Monetary Fund resumed talks over the next stage of its bailout programme.
Ethical living: is it worth reusing our hotel towels?
Despite putting our hotel towels carefully on the rail, they were replaced anyway. What can we do?
Can the small, everyday actions of businesses and citizens dent the footprint of mankind in any meaningful way? Could the road to redemption begin with hotel guests curbing their enthusiasm for the sort of freshly laundered towels you just don’t get at home and following those annoying signs in hotel bathrooms?
Absolutely not, suggested the environmentalist Jay Westerveld. In the 1980s he suspected that hotel chains were actually more interested in saving money on laundry bills than in saving the earth. In an excoriating attack on the emergence of “Reuse your towel. Save a penguin” signs, he coined the term greenwash. Yes, the word now used to describe spurious eco-lite behaviour was inspired by towel rage.
Today hotel companies take a more holistic approach that is less easily dismissed. By now they should have quantified the impact of major waste streams, including food waste and energy use, and be working actively on shrinking their footprint. Research suggests producing and laundering textiles for hotels creates an energy burden second only to that of food, so I say reusing towels is a good thing.