Saturday snippets: 20th February 2016

By | Category: Travel news
Try before you buy!

Try before you buy!

Fancy going in to the hotel business? Wales Online reports that the owners of a Llandudno hotel, Bryn Derwen Guest House, are allowing prospective buyers to see what is involved before they buy. The existing owners, Steve and Debbie Loughborough are quoted as saying, “When we bought the business in 2003 we had no experience at all and after buying it we walked in and didn’t know where to start. So now we are looking to sell we thought we would give people a chance to ‘try before you buy. They can come here, help us make breakfast, serve guests and can stay in the rooms to really get a feel for the place, give it a whirl.” Does it tempt you? You also need just over half a million to buy the place if you decide you want to be a hotelier.

Most people will tell you that the main reason they consider holidaying in Malawi is to see the wildlife. But at the Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve there are no elephants and precious little wildlife of the sort that attracts visitors. The reason as you will probably guess is poaching. But the Dutch Postcode Lottery is helping by awarding €2.6 million to African Parks, a not-for-profit conservation organisation. The money will be used for the for the restoration of Liwonde National Park and Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve. It will help relocate approximately 500 elephants from Majete Wildlife Reserve and Liwonde National Park (where there are surplus numbers) into a sanctuary in Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve.

a n impression of part of the renovated pier ©Hasting Pier Charity

a n impression of part of the renovated pier ©Hasting Pier Charity

Hastings Pier was badly damaged by fire in October 2010. When the appeal to restore it was launched in the early part of 2011 the figure given for the restoration was £800,000. When it re-opens this spring some £14.2 million will have been committed which didn’t just replace what had been damaged but has been used to completely overall the pier. It probably won’t open in time for the Easter holidays but the Hastings Pier Charity is hoping to have it ready sometime in April barring unforeseen circumstances.

Embratur, the Brazilan name for the Brazilian Tourist Board, is sufficiently concerned about the Zika outbreak to issue a long statement in the last week. It says that travel cancellations have been ‘isolated’ as a result of the Zika outbreak and, on the whole, related to pregnant women.  The second was a long question and answer list to help travellers decide on whether to visit the country and what preventative measures are being taken. A shorter version can be seen on their website by clicking here. The advice of the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO), that there are no restrictions on travel to countries that have cases of transmission of the Zika virus. However, the international bodies recommend that pregnant women should consider postponing their plans. The country is certainly working hard to minimise the virus. It has more than 300,000 combat agents working directly to eliminate the mosquito breeding grounds. As part of an educational campaign, on 13th February some 220,000 military personnel visited three million homes to raise awareness among the public about disease prevention.

travel-moneyAccording to research carried out by International Currency Exchange (ICE), 69% of us still choose to take cash with us on holiday and use it as our preferred method of spending whilst on holiday. While 74% of people earning less than £10,000 would prefer to pay using cash while in a foreign country, that figure dropped to 58% for people earning more than £40,000. To me, the surprising thing is that the research claims to show that 84% of those aged between 18 and 24 stated they prefer to use cash over card. I would have thought that our tech-savvy youth would be at the forefront of using Apple Pay, Google Wallet and any other modern means rather than the very old-fashioned cash.

Staying with research, Qatar Airways says that a survey of 1,000 people living in the West Midlands show a “massive” 65% of respondents would be more likely to use a local West Midlands airport if it had better long-haul connections. What a surprise! I would have thought that anybody could have guessed that without have to spend the odd couple of grand on research. But it does allow the airline to plug their new long-haul links from Birmingham Airport. The same research also says that the top type of holiday chosen by West Midlanders is a cultural one.

Dragon's Tooth Golf Course, Ballachulish in Lochaber a place that has the highest density of tourism jobs

Dragon’s Tooth Golf Course, Ballachulish in Lochaber a place that has the highest density of tourism jobs

According to Visit Britain, the top 10 places for employment in tourism as a percentage of all jobs are (in order): Lochaber, Skye & Lochalsh, Arran & Cumbrae and Argyll & Bute; Blackpool; Orkney Islands; Gwynedd; York; Brighton and Hove, Torbay, Cornwall and Isles of Scilly, Isle of Anglesey, Perth & Kinross and Stirling. Of those working in tourism – 2.97 million people – 26% of tourism workers aged 16 to 24, compared with 11% in non-tourism industries and 90% of all the jobs are permanent ones putting a lie to the belief that most are just seasonal.

Turkish tourism is suffering. Britons have been flocking there is recent years due to a combination of guaranteed sun, heritage and cheap deals. The events in Syria and attacks in Ankara and Istanbul are having an effect. TUI Group has said that bookings for this summer have dropped by 40% drop and Thomas Cook says that it has cut the number of holidays it offers by 29%. Mark warner has pulled out of the Turkish market altogether and news gave this week that a specialist Turkish holiday seller – Elixir Holidays – has gone bust. This could mean there will be some bargain holiday prices as other holiday companies try to shift the holidays to which they are committed.

Finally, the concern over the relationship between Visit England and Visit Britain came up again this week when Lord Wigley asked the government what the responsibilities are of the home nations’ tourism organisations. The answer from Lady Neville-Rolfe was that the British Tourist Authority will continue to trade as VisitBritain with a focus the promotion of Britain overseas, and Visit England focussing on the development of English tourism product. via a new £40m Discover England fund. Funding for British tourism will now be ring-fenced. The question and answer hasn’t helped with the overall feeling by many tourist authorities outside England that they have been disadvantaged because Visit England has been given a hidden cash boost because of the joint back-room services that will be in place. Each home country has an admin team consisting of accountants, planners etc. If Visit Britain and Visit England are combining back-office functions, money is freed up Perhaps there should be one set of back room staff for all the home countries and then they will all see some benefit.




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