In which we present a regular round-up of news from the world of Grown-up Travel
Typo gaffe in multi-million pound ad campaign to promote Britain
When you’re rolling out a £25million advertising campaign to encourage tourism, it is advisable to double-check the spelling of the destinations you are trying to promote.
That is the lesson VisitBritain has learnt after an eagle-eyed commuter in New York spotted an advert highlighting the beauty of Wales’ Brecon Beacons, but spelling it as ‘Breacon Beacons’.
The embarrassing gaffe occurred in one the international ‘Great’ poster campaigns, which aims to harness the Olympics, as well as other major events such as the Diamond Jubilee, to remind the world what is great about Britain.
‘The mistake was picked up before the launch of the campaign in London and was subsequently amended.
‘Unfortunately it appears some of the incorrect images still went out with the first production run of our adverts by the advertising agency in America.
‘It’s a regrettable mistake which will not be repeated, but we have so much more to come from our £125million advertising programme which will act to inspire the world to visit Britain not only in 2012, but over many years.’
Plane panic after ‘mom’ confused with ‘bomb’
A pilot who used his plane’s intercom to send birthday greetings to a colleague’s mother triggered panic on board after passengers thought he said “bomb” rather than “mom”.
The unnamed Southwest Airlines pilot was asked by an air traffic controller to wish his mother a happy birthday as he flew from Baltimore, Maryland, to New York’s MacArthur airport in Islip, Long Island, on Friday.
Taking to the plane’s intercom, the pilot told passengers that they had a “mom on board,” however, many thought he said a “bomb on board”.
Panicking passengers asked other members of the crew to clarify what the pilot had said, and were assured that there was no bomb. The pilot also went back on the intercom to explain his remarks.
But several passengers have now complained to the authorities about the announcement.
Brandi King, spokesman for Southwest Airlines, said: “The pilot made an announcement that was misunderstood.
The spokesman added that the air traffic controller had been working out of the Terminal Radar Approach in Westbury, Long Island, when he contacted the pilot and requested that he send a birthday message to his mother, who was on the plane.
Macabre side of Europe worth a visit
When travelling in Europe, I often see stupid “torture museums” that are cleverly marketed. They make lots of money even though none of them has any real artifacts. If you’re looking for the macabre side of Europe, skip these hokey rip-offs and visit a cemetery–they’re authentic, artsy and oozing with history. Here’s a list of some of my favourites:
Pere Lachaise Cemetery, Paris: Littered with the tombstones of many of the city’s most illustrious dead, this is your best one-stop look at Paris’ fascinating, romantic past residents. The cemetery is relatively new, having opened in 1804. Today, this city of the dead (pop. 70,000) still accepts new residents, probably those who had heart attacks after learning the price: A 21-sq.-ft plot costs more than $15,000.
The cemetery holds the remains of Frederic Chopin, Moliere, Edith Piaf, Gertrude Stein, Heloise and Abelard, and many more — but the grave of rock legend Jim Morrison is perhaps its most visited tomb. An iconic, funky bust of the rocker, which was stolen by fans, has been replaced with a more toned-down headstone. Another hot spot is Oscar Wilde’s final resting place. This writer and martyr to homosexuality is mourned by “outcast men” (as the inscription says) and by wearers of heavy lipstick, who used to cover his gravestone with kisses (it’s now protected by a plastic barrier).
Catacombs of Priscilla, Rome: Of the countless catacombs honeycombing the ground just outside Rome’s ancient city walls, only five are open to the public. While most tourists and nearly all tour groups go out to the ancient Appian Way to see the famous catacombs of San Sebastiano and San Callisto, the Catacombs of Priscilla (on the other side of town, northeast of the main train station) are less commercialized and crowded, and just feel more intimate, as catacombs should.
Visitors enter from a convent and explore the result of 250 years of tunnelling that occurred from the second to the fifth centuries. The underground tunnels, while empty of bones, are rich in early Christian graffiti — such as doves, peacocks, and fish –which functioned as a secret language. You’ll see a few thousand of the 40,000 niches carved here, along with some beautiful frescoes, including what is considered the first depiction of Mary nursing the baby Jesus.
The Costa curse strikes again
First the Concordia ran aground, now 30 Britons are among hundreds on ship adrift in Indian Ocean after blaze
More than 1,000 people were last night waiting to evacuate a Costa Cruises liner floating adrift in the Indian Ocean after a fire destroyed the vessel’s power supplies – only a month after its sister ship, the Concordia, ran aground off Italy, with the loss of 32 lives.
Initial reports suggested none of the passengers aboard the 188m-long Italian-registered Costa Allegra were injured. The coastguard said the vessel’s officials reported that all 636 passengers and 413 crew aboard were “in good health” and the fire extinguished. Approximately 30 Britons were believed to be on the ship.
However, they were not yet entirely out of danger as the stricken vessel drifted powerless about 200 nautical miles from the Seychelles’ main archipelago, an area with a high risk of piracy.
The first rescue vessel was not expected to reach the liner until 11pm UK time, more than 13 hours after a fire raced through the ship’s engine room.
The Italian coastguard said that “for precautionary reasons, passengers were assembled at lifeboat collection points”, as the stricken vessel drifted. There was a blackout on board with the batteries used only for essential on-board equipment. The fire broke out 20 miles from the remote Alphonse Island.
Italian coastguard commander Cosimo Nicastro said he had been told by the ship’s captain that “the passengers are fine” and the “fire danger was over”.
Italy’s consul for the Seychelles, Claudio Izzi, told the Ansa news agency: “There are no safety concerns for passengers on the Costa Allegra at sea off the Seychelles.”