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2012: A year in travel

The end of the year can be a time for nostalgia. Whether you’re at home or ringing in the New Year from the beach or maybe even the ski slopes, it’s difficult not to look back at 2012 and at the times that are newly behind us. There have been a variety of heart warming, amusing and frankly baffling stories in the world of travel; here’s just a small selection of our favourites. Enjoy!

All eyes on London

What a fantastic year to be British! Following the Queen’s Jubilee, the London Olympics and Paralympics at which our home-grown athletes excelled, it’s not only medallists like Andy Murray, Ellie Simmonds, Jessica Ennis, Mo Farah, Bradley Wiggins, Nicola Adams and Sarah Storey (and many more) who have a reason to be proud!

Titanic memorial cruise

The MS Balmoral embarked on a centenary cruise to mark the sinking of one of the world’s most famous ships. Relatives of the Titanic’s passengers met on deck to lay wreaths and attend an emotional prayer service as the ship crossed the spot in the North Atlantic Ocean where the Titanic struck ice 100 years ago.

Burmese tourism hits one-million mark

When Burmese pro-democracy leader and Nobel Laureate, Aung San Suu Kyi, embarked on a five-country tour of Europe, the world rose in standing ovation to greet her. Tour operators booked more holiday packages to Burma than ever and, according to the Ministry for Hotels and Tourism, the country received an unprecedented one-million international tourists this year.

Free Wi-Fi in hotels

Is your pet hate paying additional wifi charges in hotels? It seems hotels have cottoned on to the importance of mobile internet access to travellers. In August, one of the world’s biggest hotel vendors (owner of Ibis, Mercure, Sofitel and Novotel) announced that it would be scrapping wifi charges across the board. This followed a survey revealing that free wifi “was a key factor when choosing a hotel for the majority of travellers”.

In-flight strip-tease

And now on to stranger news: VietJetAir, a Vietnamese airline, was fined 20 million dong or just over £600 for celebrating their maiden flight with the help of bikini-clad beauty queens. Flying from Ho Chi Minh City to the beach resort town of Nha Trang, the flight was packed with holidaymakers who quickly whipped out their mobile phones to record the ladies dancing in the aisles!

James Bond boosts tourism

One of the most-anticipated films of 2012, Skyfall was Daniel Craig’s third Bond outing and the 23 for the franchise. It featured locations from London to Glencoe and Istanbul (the only non-UK location), but one particular seaside town in West Sussex has benefitted from appearing in the film. According to reports, Bognor Regis received a 40 per cent increase in bookings earlier this year.

Image credits: Telegraph, Dailymail, the Times, travel wire asia and Radio Times