Lessons in the "Tourism" Category

The UK Airport Shop VAT Rip-Off!

Today, let’s talk about how airport shops in the UK are ripping off many of their customers. They do it by asking to see their customers boarding passes. After processing it they get it back. What they don’t tell the customer is why they actually do this.

The answer was revealed by The Independent newspaper. It is simply an elaborate ruse by airport shops to save on their tax bills while keeping prices high.

Scotland’s Answer to Route 66

Today, we are going to talk about epic road trips. Probably the most famous one to travel along is Route 66 in America. Now there is a new route for you to consider – in Scotland.

North Coast 500 or NC500 is a brilliant new route to journey along. It takes you right around the northern coast of Scotland. It has already been named one of the top coastal routes in the world.

Events in London – April to June

Today’s English lesson focuses on more happening events in London.

Spring - The London Marathon is normally held in the spring. It is one of the biggest running events in the world. It is one of the top five marathons. Started in 1981, it raises money for many good charitable causes.

April – Enjoy some good old English heritage on the 23rd April when it is St George’s Day in England. London hosts the day with a host of festivities including street parades, theatrical events and many children’s activities. The Mayor of London Boris Johnson puts on a family-friendly St George’s Day Festival in Trafalgar Square.

St George is the patron saint of England. His name is commonly associated with St George and the Dragon. Legend tells of St George saving the princess by slaying the dragon. A story every school child knows in England. It is on this day you will see the English flag flying right across the country.

Category: London / Tourism / London Events

Events in London – January to March

Today’s English lesson focuses on more happening events in London.

January - The New Year’s Day Parade in London is the first big event of the New Year. It runs through many of the West End’s famous streets. The parade, which started in 1987, features more than 10,000 performers from 20 London Boroughs and countries from across the globe taking part. Each year it gets bigger and bigger! The money raised goes to thousands of local charities.

Also happening in January is the London International Boat Show. In 2012, it returns to the ExCel Arena. The annual event offers visitors a multitude of things to do with boats! An alternative thing to do in London in January is to go to the annual Twelfth Night Festival at Shakespeare’s Globe theatre. The event marks the end of Christmas and the start of the New Year. Visitors can see a folk play enacted.

London is also a good place to be to see Chinese New Year celebrated. Next year sees it taking place on 23rd January. Chinatown in Soho will be the place to be! Watch out for the fireworks, firecrackers and crispy Chinese Duck!

Category: London / Tourism / London Events

Taj Mahal could collapse due to rotting wood foundations

The Taj Mahal in India could collapse within five years unless urgent action is taken to shore up its wooden foundations, campaigners have warned. The 358-year-old marble mausoleum is India’s most famous tourist attraction, bringing four million visitors a year to the northern city of Agra. But the river crucial to its survival is being blighted by pollution, industry and deforestation.

Campaigners believe the foundations have become brittle and are disintegrating. Cracks appeared last year in parts of the tomb, and the four minarets which surround the monument are showing signs of tilting. The Taj Mahal was built by Mogul emperor Shah Jahan, who was griefstricken by the death of his wife Mumtaz Mahal in childbirth. A campaign by historians, environmentalists and politicians says time is running out to prevent ‘a looming crisis’.

Category: Places to Visit / India / Taj Mahal

Events in London – October to December

Today’s English lesson focuses on more happening events in London.

October – Witness Halloween in London! Get spooked on October 31st. Watch out for many witches at parties in clubs across the capital. Get haunted at the Tower of London or get spooked at the London Dungeons.

October also sees the Pearly Kings & Queens Harvest Festival take place in London. The event at St Paul’s church near Covent Garden is traditionally on the second Sunday of October...

Category: London / Tourism / London Events

Events in London – July to September

Today’s English lesson focuses on some events happening in London.

July – In the first week of July London sees the final week of Wimbledon. The famous annual lawn tennis championship is the world’s premier tennis tournament. First started in 1877 the event plays host to all the top international tennis players at the All England Lawn Tennis Club in Wimbledon.

Next July London will host the Pride Parade. The event on the 7th July promotes gay, lesbian and transsexual issues.

Category: London / Tourism / London Events

Places to visit in England: South West England

Craggy coastlines, sweeping beaches, glorious green fields, historic houses and rolling hills make up South West England. The region is also known as the ‘West Country’. Certainly, it’s the perfect place for almost any kind of holiday.

It’s largely rural and still relatively unpopulated. Taking in the counties of Cornwall, Devon, Dorset, Somerset, Wiltshire, Gloucestershire, Bristol and the Isles of Scilly the area is steeped in legend, monuments and mystery.

Most people will probably associate Cornwall with the legend of King Arthur who was born in Tintagel on Cornwall’s northern coast. There are many legends about Camelot, the Holy Grail and King Arthur’s sword, Excalibur.

Cornwall was the last stronghold of the Celts in England and evidence of even older Neolithic communities’ remains, most famously at Stonehenge in Wiltshire. Other eras have left their monuments as well, from Salisbury’s medieval cathedral and Bath’s Roman Spas to the fossils of Dorset’s Jurassic coast.

Category: Places to Visit / England / South West England

Czechs offer “Retro” communist holidays

A Czech travel agency has come up with a novel idea for a holiday. It is offering holidaymakers “retro” holidays where punters are given the opportunity to turn back the clock and re-live the past. These ‘communist’ holidays are package holidays for people nostalgic for the trade union perks of communist Czechoslovakia, when factory workers were bussed off to recuperate from the daily grind.

For a modest sum guests can stay at a grim-looking hotel in Slovakia’s Tatra Mountains, to relive the sights, sounds and smells of pre 1989 holidays the BBC recently reported. These ‘retro’ holidays are being offered in the style of the workers’ breaks that used to be organised by the Communist Revolutionary Trade Union Movement – or ROH – to use a Czech acronym.

The holidays were a reward for a year of toil in the offices, factories and coal mines of socialist Czechoslovakia. Most visitors today are middle age or elderly Slovaks or Czechs – coming to rekindle fond memories of times gone by. Why not?

Turmoil in Thailand: The battle of Bangkok

Thailand’s capital Bangkok continues to see ongoing fighting between the “Yellow shirts” (the government) and the “red shirts” (the opposition) (the United Front for Democracy (UDD)). The “civil war” intensified in the city’s shopping district after renegade Thai general Khattiya Sawasdipol was shot whilst giving an interview as he backed the protesters. He later died in hospital.

Troops later opened fire on the red shirt encampment using live bullets rather than rubber ones. Tear gas was also used to try to get the red camp to shift. They responded by setting alight rubber tyres that created black smoke to shield themselves. Thousands of tyres now line the area. The reds torched nearby buildings and used slingshots at troops. Fire crackers were also hurled. Trucks and other vehicles were burnt.

Since March, when the dispute started, more than 60 people have been killed, another 1,600 wounded. This is in the land of smiles where tourists still go! Tourists though have been advised to stay away from Thailand by their governments. Tourism has unsurprisingly sharply dropped.