Open Jaw: Where readers write back
Saturday 12 October 2013
UK passports are world's best for visa-free travel?
The study doesn't mention that for countries where Brits do have to have a visa, they have to pay twice as much as anybody else, for reasons of retaliation against the horrendous fees charged by Britain for visas to enter the United Kingdom. Since the US now requires a visa for entry from many countries, surely it is time for those countries, including the UK and the rest of the EU, to require US citizens to obtain a visa to access anywhere here?
The US is tiresome in its attitude to the rest of the world and I will not go there until there is balance in requirements. What they are saying is that US citizens are fabulous and honest and amazing and you can let them into your country without a visa while we Americans view you with deep suspicion and will have your fingerprints and treat you as crooks and terrorists.
The cost of a tourist visa for Iran is now approximately £120. Surely that is a message from the Tehran government to say: "We don't want you to come here." And, as things stand, with the Iranian consulate closed, you'd have to go to Dublin to get it.
There are other instances where even though a formal visa is not required, border "taxes" make the cost of a journey almost prohibitive, especially for a family. If you are going to be staying in the Egyptian Sinai resorts and were thinking of taking a short day-trip to the Israeli resort of Eilat, you might be put off by the $30 (£20) exit tax per person from Israel, plus a further $11 (£7) charged to re-enter Egypt.
Meanwhile, although Argentina does not have a reciprocal demand for many other countries' citizens to have a visa, it nevertheless charges a "reciprocity fee" to be paid up-front online. This is as high as $160 (£107) for US citizens.
If we signed the Schengen Agreement (on open borders within Europe) we could travel passport-free and not faff about in long lines.
Thomas Cook's rebrand
Cook's "new" slogan, "Let's Go" was used by British Caledonian ("Let's Go British Caledonian") from the early 1970s. The inflight magazine was even called Let's Go. Later, BCal adopted "We never forget you have a choice", until Mrs Thatcher denied choice by allowing BA to takeover BCal.
The travel agency looks like a charity shopl.
Freedom in Sweden
My great-grandmother lived on a farm in southern Sweden during the Second World War. She had family on both sides, so Jewish in-laws who had fled Denmark and Nazi soldiers found refuge there at the same time.
I trained as a ski instructor in Vermont. The numbers that went through the school was staggering and the professionalism was very impressive: the way they would get people into different groups and levels, the way we were taught to control the group speed and keep them skiing under control and stop people getting lost. It just does not happen in Europe to this degree. Even the attention to simple details such as how to hold poles and how to get on and off lifts which is one area where many serious accidents occur. I have also been trained through the BASI and the French system so I can compare. Accidents were very rare in the US, one learnt quickly and safely.
P F Bulmer
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