Travel News Roundup is brought to you by Malcolm Ginsberg, Editor in Chief of Business Travel News (www.btnews.co.uk). He is a member of the International Travel Writers Alliance, a noted analyst on aviation matters and is seen from time to time on TV and heard on the radio. He is always pleased to hear from tour operators and travel agents who have packages that might interest Jewish Weekly readers.
Travel boom for Israel
The upward trend in tourism continued in February. In January and February 2018, approximately 556,000 tourist entries to Israel were recorded, an increase of 25% on the same period in 2017, and 56% more than in 2016. Since the beginning of the year, tourism has injected $817 million (equivalent to £585 million) into the Israeli economy. The only negative news is that the long awaited Ramon International Airport near Eilat has still not yet been given an opening date although it is thought that it could be given the go-ahead for domestic flights before the Jewish New Year (9 September) and the existing city centre air terminal is closed.
Ben Gurion Airport launches new wing at Terminal 3
Israel’s largest international airport has a new departure wing, E Wing, in Terminal 3 which opened in time for Passover and the high season. The new concourse increases capacity at Terminal 3 by 1,800 passengers per hour. Ben Gurion, which accounts for more than 90% of passengers to and from Israel, had almost 20.8 million passengers pass through it in 2017 – a number that is set to rise in 2018. Nothing has changed for arriving passengers from overseas who still pass through T3 but travellers should be aware that for the most part only British Airways and El Al use T3 for departures. Low cost carriers generally depart from T1 which can be accessed from the airport railway station by a free shuttle bus.
A record of more than 35,000 people, including an all-time high of 4,000 runners from 72 countries around the world, participated in the eigth international Jerusalem marathon on Friday 9th March. Kenyan Shadrack Kipkogey won for a third straight year, being welcomed at the finish line by guest of honour, legendary Ethiopian runner Haile Gebrselassie, and mayor Nir Barkat after setting a time of 2:21:26 hours. Emily Chepkemoi Samoei of Kenya was first home in the women’s event in 2:52:33 hours. The route began in the western part of the city, between the Knesset and Israel Museum, looping around the Givat Ram campus of the Hebrew University and through several neighbourhoods on the way up to Hebrew University’s Mount Scopus campus. It then descended to the Old City, taking runners through Jaffa Gate and the Armenian Quarter and out through Zion Gate, before ending in Sacher Park.
Ridley Road to the Rio –A walking tour
Blue Badge guide Rachel Kolsky is introducing a new walking tour with a Jewish interest this Spring, “Ridley Road to the Rio”. Choose either Monday 14 May or Thursday 7 June with an 11:00am start at Dalston Junction Overground station. At a slow pace the tour lasts around two hours, and it is a flat walk.
In and around Ridley Road Market, Dalston has experienced a transformation over the past few years. This walks explore a distinctive area discovering the new creative energy of the Arcola Theatre, street art and a community garden developed on disused railway land. Jewish and historic connections abound with the works of local author Alexander Baron, the German Hospital and includes Shacklewell Lane synagogue, now a mosque.
Book via firstname.lastname@example.org www.golondontours.com
Virgin and travel
The name Virgin these days means travel, be it airline, train or package holidays. Virgin also offers what it terms the “Virgin Experience Days” a collection of over two thousand gift ideas including balloon flights, skydiving, zorbing (rolling downhill inside an orb) and supercar driving, piloting, historical tours, and less arduous activities typically involving whisky tasting and afternoon teas. On offer are packages to suit the young (children are well catered for), as a birthday present, or perhaps to celebrate a golden wedding.
Virgin Experience Days have now come up with what they call the ultimate travel experience, offering customers the opportunity to travel back in time.
Consumer research unsurprisingly revealed that 87% of customers would relish the opportunity to go back to a significant point in history, take a selfie with a dodo or meet Shakespeare. The experience, which costs just £88, allows travellers a one hour trip back in time to an era of their choice (geological, anthropological or historical). Patrons need to allow half a day for the experience to include transport to the time machine at an undisclosed location. Other Virgin Experience’s start from £20.