French food off the menu in favour of Italian and Spanish!
Chalkmarks: Train trip Oslo to Flam, Norway, May 2024

Good morning. This is what happened in the world of travel this week: Friday 7th June 2024

THERE are 26 days left to book a holiday – that’s the day the polls open. How to put this… buckle up and get out. In case you are living under a rock there’s a general election in the diary for Thursday 4th July. Tbh we’d vote for anyone who promised better weather but sunshine is not on the ballot paper. It’s dishy Rishi v Sir softy Starmer. Vote for the sea, sun and sangria instead. The Chalkmarks manifesto is… first relax, then have an ice cream but no fighting on the beaches. Get in touch if you don’t know where to go. Just anywhere. Have you been up north to Sweden, try Albania this year, or cycling around Umbria, Italy. Either we create our own cheer this summer or we all lose out. Why stick around for that? Set your reminders. Here’s this week’s travel headlines.

Travel team!

The Eiffel Tower of news: A survey by the French tourist board found that holidaymakers prefer Spanish and Italian food over French gastronomy. Oh tres bien! We’ve all been whispering it. It’s gonna hurt though especially when the standard in the UK is cold baked beans straight out of the tin (spoon or fork?). Guidebook writer Philippe Gloaguen blamed tour operators for taking tourists to all the wrong restaurants, while Caroline Leboucher, of Atout France (le French tourist board), suggested it wasn’t really the cooking that was the problem, but French hospitality. Le Parisien summed it up: “It’s difficult to make the French friendly with the stroke of a magic wand.” Oof! There was no escape from the punches, the poll of 28,844 eaters across 30 countries, also ranked France below its neighbours for sightseeing and cultural wealth. Tricolour attack! And an own goal too. This was in The Times but they decided not to X it, so no link.

One to watch: Sticking with the French tourist board, they have also put out a video to help welcome Britons during the Olympics with some small-talk tips. They advise not to talk to us about politics or the royals. Surely sport, esp football, would be important to avoid. But, they can bring up the weather with us. Maybe we could discuss French cuisine and Chalkmarks suggests pouring baked beans over steak frites or into a boeuf bourguignon? Et volia, good chat, merci! This was also in The Times.

Let’s talk France: Bored-oh? Never! Chalkmarks doesn’t agree that French food is pap. A must-see is the bustling city of Nantes for its art, gardens and the famous Les Machines de l’île, which reopened this month. And for an adventure, head west into the Loire-Atlantique filled with port towns from Le Croisic in Brittany down to Saint Gilles in the Vendee. For food, there’s everything you’d expect from French cuisine – with cheese, plenty of good wine (top tip: don’t miss the Crémant!!).

Vote green: Willie Walsh, head of IATA (an association of airlines), has been in Dubai saying there needs to be more investment in sustainable fuel to reach to net zero by 2050. He also said western countries focusing on limiting air travel to tackle climate change was a European issue. He said: “I think we’re quite arrogant actually to believe that the rest of the world should follow what Europe is doing. The rest of the world wants to have the benefit that Europeans have had.” But he added: “I’m sorry to say but the transition to net zero will require customers to pay. The costs can’t be borne by the industry given the wafer thin margins we have.” The Guardian has more.

The thin wafer: The aviation industry is expected to make £24 billion in profit this year carrying 4.96 billion travellers across the world, figs from the IATA conference revealed. Flight prices though will continue to rise it says due to worldwide inflation, fuel costs, airlines having to use older planes – which burn more fuel – due to the delay of new planes, and also the higher cost of using sustainable fuel which is only chip-fat oil!

Gulp: Sir Tim Clarke, boss of Emirates, had a go at Heathrow calling it was a Second World War airport. Oof! Speaking specifically about terminal 3, its London base, he said it “looks like a utilitarian structure, post-Second World War… It’s an old airport and, all around, new airports are built employing the latest technologies to streamline their processes, whether it be security, check in, immigration or whatever, and making the whole thing a lot easier.” A wounded Heathrow said it was investing to improve facilities but that its hands were tied by the regulator. Sky News had the news.

Glass half empty: Doctors warned us that if we enjoy a tipple during our flight and then take a nap, we risk dying due to the affect of cabin pressure. Booze and sleeping on a plane are a deadly combo of low oxygen and a raised heart rate. Do what Chalkmarks does and pop your mini gin (get the ginger ale too) into your bag and crack it open on arrival in celebration of being alive. For more exclusive drinking-while-flying tips, tune in next week! The research team from the Institute of Aerospace Medicine in Germany said: “It may be beneficial to consider altering regulations to restrict the access to alcoholic beverages on board aeroplanes.” What do we think about that then? All the papers ran this one. Here it is in The Telegraph.

Have you seen our pictures: Our fantastic travel photos, which capture some of our favourite destinations around the world, are now available for sale on Alamy. Woohoo!

Decked out: Cunard’s Queen Anne glided into the Mersey on Monday for its glam naming ceremony. The event was hosted by ex-Busted singer Matt Willis and his TV presenter wife Emma. Spice Girl Melanie C aka Sporty Spice was also among the celebs who smashed the Champagne against the side. Tenor Andrea Bocelli sang, Craig Charles hit the decks, fireworks went off, and thousands watched from the cruise terminal. Kathy Taylor at Cruise Lowdown was there. And here it is from Cunard. On board there’s 14-decks, luxury cabins, a putting green, a pickleball court, and the usual pools, fancy restaurants and West-End shows. Look out for the Queen Anne as its first sailing is around the British Isles. Maybe Chalkmarks will jump aboard.

The big rail headline: The orange paper rail tickets we all know and love could be gone within five years as most of us now prefer having tickets on our phones, or even using our bank cards to tap in and out at gates as we do on the London chube. The orange tickets have been around since 1825 but could be gone by 2030 Northern Rail predicted. “At the current rate of decline and with an ever-greater focus on digital and paper alternatives, ‘magstripes’ are definitely nearing the end of the line. They could be something of a museum exhibit within five years,” it said. This exclusive came from Chalkmarks’ friend Environment Editor Colin Fernandez at the Daily Mail (psst: thanks for X-ing)

This time last year: Jet lag! Travellers face 31 days of strike chaos at Heathrow this summer Kicking off on the front pages The Times reported that “Summer holidays were hit by the biggest strikes in Heathrow’s history” … This was the news that more than 2,000 security staff would go on strike at the UK’s biggest airport for 31 days over the summer … Unite union claimed security workers at Heathrow were paid less than at other UK airports … The walkouts would affect up to 4.4 million passengers on 20,000 flights leaving from Heathrow’s Terminals 3 and 5 … Which? magazine editor Rory Borland warned travellers could not be entitled to compensation as strike action is considered an “extraordinary circumstance” … Elsewhere, the consumer magazine’s 2023 customer survey ranked Wizz Air as the worst short-haul airline …  Jet2 took the crown as the best yet again … Scientists at the University of Reading confirmed that planes were experiencing more turbulence due to climate change … A mystery donor came forward with enough cash to keep four visitor centres – Bakewell, Edale, Castleton and Upper Derwent – open in Derbyshire’s Peak District … Gatwick turned 65.

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You had me at holiday!

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