2011 was explosive. From political uprisings to volcanic eruptions, strikes and new technological innovations… let’s take a look at the most important and influential travel stories of the year!
The Arab Spring brought on an onslaught of travel restrictions and warning for holidaymakers in Egypt and Tunisia, two majorly popular spots during the winter months. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office advised traveller against visiting areas of these two countries for nearly a month, that’s serious. Since then, it’s been a slow process for things in the tourist department to return to norma… which can mean only one thing: Egypt is cheap as chips!
Passengers reamed out the airlines for not refunding their Air Passenger Duty on cancelled flights while airlines reamed out the British government for continuously raising APD on flights. Airlines are still battling with this as further increases are forcing airlines to discontinue flights to the UK and make continental stopovers instead.
Spring was the season of strikes as British Airways cabin crew planned strikes during Easter holidays. Thankfully the strikes were called off at the last-minute and there were no disruptions to holiday plans. This was about the same time as when Ryanair decided to institute a £2 cancellation levy, paid by all passengers with the purchase of their flight ticket. It’s the Ryanair way to cover up financial losses caused by the Iceland volcano fiasco.
The whole world had their eyes on London on April 29th, 2011 when Prince William married his college sweetheart, Kate Middleton. The Royal Wedding was the event of the season!
It was a long-shot but finally British Airways came to an agreement with their cabin crew unions and all the strike talk was finally put to rest. At the same time, Iceland had another ash cloud to deal with when Grimsvotn erupted. While a lot smaller than the previous year’s Eyjafjallajökull eruption, flights to Reykjavik and Keflavik were cancelled.
For those that love city breaks to Amsterdam will remember when the city council announced that Amsterdam’s famous coffee shops will be banned from selling marijuana to tourists in 2012. Considering 1 in 14 tourists in the city come to Amsterdam for the coffee shops, we wonder how this will eventually effect tourism.
Remember when South Sudan became its own country? Check out our mini-guide to South Sudan!
The city of New York announced it would be closing the most iconic tourist attraction in that part of the USA for an entire year for major renovations: the Statue of Liberty. The statue officially closed in October and is expected to re-open in autumn of 2012.
It seems like September was a month of innovations. China unveiled its plans and designs to build the world’s biggest airport in Beijing. The new building looks like something right out of Star Trek! Construction has started and the new airport will be ready to welcome flights to China in 2015.
What’s more, with new tracking technology, passengers will be able to track their luggage using their mobile phone. That’s right, sooner than later we could see lost luggage as a thing of the past. How’s that for innovation?
The world mourned at the passing of Apple founder and computer genius, Steve Jobs in October. We paid tribute to his passing with this post: 3 Apple products made for travellers. Whether intentionally or not, the iPhone, iPad and Macbook Air have changed the way we travel and for many, at least one of these has become an invaluable companion on the road.
And… the president of Iceland invited everyone to his house for traditional Icelandic pancakes!
After two years, the New 7 Wonders campaign closed. Votes were counted around the world and seven new wonders of nature were crowned. The winners? Check out our post “New 7 Wonders of Nature… revealed!” to find out! (We know, we’re bad)
London is having serious airport woes. In November Boris pleaded for a new London airport, to be located in the Thames Estuary. It’s not yet decided whether his wish will come true or not. One thing is for sure, Heathrow just isn’t cutting it.
At home in the UK, we celebrated with museums on December 1st for being free for 10 years… and counting! In 2001, the British government voted in favour of making all national museums free for the public and today annual visitor numbers are pushing 18 million! What a success!
Wrapping up now, we’re excited to see what 2012 has in store for the travel industry. What are you most looking forward to in 2012? Any big trips planned?
Imgs: timkelley, anonlinegreenworld, jula julz, rapidacid / Flickr cc.