It is usually the case that when you have an increase in revenues and people attending your tourist attraction, you make money. Not so for Titanic Belfast in 2015 reports Belfast Telegraph. The Telegraph reports this is despite the fact that revenues went up by 7% during that year and that it attracted 625,000 visitors. So what caused the drop in revenue? The newspaper reports:
The drop in profit arose chiefly from the firm’s administrative expenses increasing from £6.27m to £7.42m. And the average number of staff employed last year increased from 134 to 153 with staff costs increasing from £2.17m to £2.45m.
So hiring nineteen people cut into expenses pretty seriously. That tells a lot about the cost of labor these days in NI. And probably why visiting the attraction will soon cost more.
Today is Good Friday, an important event in the Christian liturgical calendar. Some argue the word Good is a corruption and used to mean God Friday. Others argue it always meant that the day is meant to be pious or holy. For Christians, Good Friday is the day Jesus was crucified on the cross. Observant Christians will mark the day by silent meditation, prayer, and church attendance. Many will fast during the day, particularly during the hours of 12 noon to 3 p.m. Hot Cross Buns are a traditional food many cultures use on this day (and through the Easter season). Most Catholics and Christians will avoid eating meat on this day and usually the main meal will be fish. Good Friday (and sometimes Easter Monday)are public holidays in many countries. Good Friday always occurs on the Friday before Easter Sunday.
Not a whole lot to report in terms of Titanic. Been quiet of late. Perhaps all the nonsense about Titanic II being built put a cork in it for a while. Another Titanic anniversary is coming up so I expect the news to pick soon. Perhaps another bit of Titanic memorabilia will emerge to be auctioned off. Or more likely some more drama about the actors that were in that movie.
Belfast is having its Titanic 10K Road Race on 10 April. The race is in its tenth year and doing quite well. Of course you do not have to run in the race to enjoy it. Fans line up to watch it to see if the any of their favorites will finish first. Then after all the hoopla is done, retire to a favorite place for a pint of the good stuff and a delicious meal.
The worlds largest cruise ship, Harmony of the Seas, is about to embark on its maiden voyage. This ship makes every other cruise ship look like a dinghy in comparison. It is massive, and I mean massive, at 1,187 feet long and with a displacement of 227,000 tonnes. With 18 decks, it is crammed full of places to eat, entertain, and eat some more. A replica of New York’s Central Park with 10,587 plants and 52 trees is included if you miss a city landscape. As you might expect this is not a cheap trip. Plan to spend serious cash to sail on this leviathan.
And not to be outdone, the folks in Dubai who have gone seriously Titanic crazy decided to have an authentic Titanic meal. It will be at a French restaurant called Bord Eau. The dining area will be converted into a Titanic first class cabin on 14 April. Diners will have a 10 course meal similar to what first class diners had on the ship. Those attending are expected to dress up for this event. Do not think of showing up in a t-shirt, shorts and flip-flops for this one or you will experience an old fashioned punishment called keel hauling. The cost is Dh406 or in U.S. dollars (at last check) $106.00. No jokes about Jack and Rose please at the table.
The Spring or March Equinox is today at 04:30 UTC. This equinox marks the moment where the Sun crosses the equator and usually occurs between March 19-21 every year. Both the March and September equinoxes are when the Sun shines directly on the equator making night and day nearly equal.
The March equinox is the transition from winter to spring in the Northern Hemisphere but the reverse in the Southern Hemisphere (summer into fall). Various cultures celebrate March equinox as a time of rebirth. Many spring festivals are timed to coincide with the equinox and some religious events (Passover and Easter) use specific calculations based on the equinox to help determine the exact day of the event.
Though the equinox marks the changing of the seasons, it is quite common for winter effects to continue in many places far until May or even June.
RV Knorr, made famous by being the Woods Hole vessel that had the researchers that found Titanic aboard, is heading to Mexico. The ship was a mainstay of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution since it was delivered to them in 1970. And logged close to a million miles in its long history with Woods Hole. The ship was officially decommissioned in 2014 and its replacement, the RV Neil Armstrong, will take its place. The ship will now serve in the Mexican Navy though it is unclear what her duties will be.
The Belfast Telegraph is reporting that the former Harland & Wolff Headquarters, adjacent to Titanic Belfast, is going to become a boutique hotel. The four-story, 84 room hotel will be managed by Titanic Quarter Ltd. who claim it be “world’s most authentic Titanic-themed hotel.”
Titanic Foundation, with the help of a £4.9m grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund’s Heritage Enterprise programme, is supporting the restoration of the Drawing Offices. The scheme, which will include three pavilions, will be publicly accessible for tours, events and exhibitions. Both projects are due to open in 2017, creating 100 new jobs.
The announcement has generated mostly positive reports in the Belfast Telegraph and elsewhere. Certainly it will draw people and because of its close proximity to Titanic Belfast will become destination all its own.
It has never really crossed my mind to consider how old the iceberg Titanic hit. Possibly as part of an intellectual exercise and a desire to alleviate boredom, scientists at Sheffield University crosschecked data on ocean currents and witness descriptions from 1912. And now they believe it was snow that formed glaciers 100,000 years ago in southwest Greenland that ended up being the infamous iceberg that collided with Titanic in 1912. And it originally was 100ft above the water and possibly 1,700ft long when first formed. By the time it hit Titanic it had shrunk a bit in size but still quite large.