Grown-up Travel Guide News Update – 29.12.2011

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

Welsh holiday village to cater for wealthy Chinese tourists

The Telegraph

A £50 million holiday village is to be built in the heart of Wales specifically to cater to tourists from China.

The 92-bedroom hotel, along with 80 holiday homes, will be sited around a former county estate near Llandeilo, Carmarthenshire.

Signs at the holiday park will be posted in Mandarin and English and the 70 locally recruited staff will be expected to be familiar with Chinese customs.

Some 110,000 tourists from the People’s Republic visited London last year, and the Anglo-Chinese consortium behind the site hope they can attract 20,000 of them to Wales.

The Pantglas Estate is being marketed as “just three hours from London”.

Tommy Li, of Maxhard Ltd, the developer, described the site as “a luxurious development for a select international clientele looking to enjoy a tranquil Welsh retreat”. He added it would be an “upmarket tourism concept” that would attract an international clientele, mainly from China.

Pantglas will be Britain’s first purpose-built holiday park for Chinese tourists, who are travelling abroad on holiday in record numbers.The country’s middle classes are enjoying the fruits of significant economic growth at home and are indulging a new-found wanderlust. Last year Chinese visitors to the UK spent £184 million, an increase of 40 per cent on five years ago.

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Samoans set to time travel to the future

New Zealand Herald

The tiny South Pacific nation of Samoa will jump forward in time as it crosses westward over the international dateline to align itself with its other 21st century trading partners throughout the region.

At the stroke of midnight on Dec. 29, time in Samoa will leap forward to Dec. 31, New Year’s Eve. For Samoa’s 186,000 citizens, Friday, Dec. 30, 2011, will simply cease to exist.

The time jump back to the future comes 119 years after some US traders persuaded local Samoan authorities to align their islands’ time with nearby U.S.-controlled American Samoa and the US to assist their trading with California.

But the time zone has proved problematic in recent years, putting Samoa nearly a full day behind neighbouring Australia and New Zealand, increasingly important trading partners with the island nation.

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Near-death experiences on Twitter

Boston Herald

Off the top of my head, the closest I’ve come to death while traveling is probably having to wait an extra hour for dinner at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Resort’s Jiko.

I’ve had it easy.

Others however, have some pretty good stories to tell. And they’re doing it on Twitter right now. Search#travelcorkboard for some awesome travel tales of terror.

A few examples:

“Walking with rhinos in Namibia. Told to keep quiet, cameras started clicking and clattering – adrenalin rush, no rhino rush.”

“Accidentally surfacing in Haitian waters after scuba diving off the Dominican Republic to be greeted by armed patrol boat!”

“Slept through a bomb which shattered all ground floor hotel windows and killed two policemen in Madeira.”

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Paris launches Autolib’ electric car-hire scheme

Paris is gearing up for a quiet revolution. All-electric Autolib’ cars, based on the success of the city’s Vélib’ bike-sharing scheme, will begin to appear on the streets of the capital in December.

Parisians will soon be able to use small electric cars – for a small charge and for short trips – in a car-sharing scheme its sponsors hope will herald a new era in transportation.

Dubbed “Autolib’”, the plan is similar to the hugely successful Vélib’ bike-share system launched in Paris four years ago.

A two-month test involving100 users begins on Sunday. Autolib’ should be available to the public by early December.

The little four-seater cars, called “Bluecar”, are entirely electric. They have a top speed of 130km/h (80mph) and can travel 250 km on a single charge.

Year-long subscriptions to Autolib’ will cost 144 euros, while daily and weekly subscriptions will also be available for 10 and 15 euros respectively. An additional fee of around five euros will be charged for every half-hour of driving.

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