Where’s the inventiveness?

By | Category: Travel tips & opinions

For us to have a break be it a day out, a weekend-break or a longer holiday, travel companies are going to have to be a bit more inventive otherwise they may go under.

Concord -had a magical appeal. Image © Aerospace Bristol

I have been urging the big companies like TUI, Jet 2, On the Beach, Love Holidays, British Airways Holidays and – in the olden days, Thomas Cook and Monarch/Cosmos – to look at providing UK holidays. Now Kuoni and Abercrombie and Kent seem to being doing just that as they drum up business.

Hurtigruten and Fred Olsen offer round UK cruises so they have spotted the potential money in providing British breaks in the future.

But what of the airlines?

What have BA, Jet 2, TUI Fly, Aer Lingus done?

Very little whereas abroad, Qantas, Singapore Airlines and Korean Air to name just three are offering flights out over their islands, along their coastlines and over their inland beauty spots.

Older readers will remember that at least one travel company made a nice little business of selling four-hour flights out over the Bay of Biscay and back into the UK. Of course, those journeys were on Concord which had an appeal that isn’t really matched by today’s aircraft. Nonetheless it created a tourist business where one didn’t exist before.

That is the sort of innovative thinking that is required today.

It is quite easy to develop ground holidays near British attractions and beauty spots so let’s skip the that idea as many companies like Center Parcs, and Warner (along with its sister company Butlin’s) have shown it is money-making

In Norway, Hurtigruten began as a ferry operator stopping at over twenty ports along its coastline. Now that “ferry” journey carries more tourists that those people using it as a ferry.

I’m not saying that we could develop something similar but visiting British destinations over a ten or twelve day cruise would have an appeal.

Existing companies offering British cruises tend to use the same places probably due to the depth of water in the ports. But in the Pacific and some Caribbean destinations, smaller boats ship you into more remote islands and those where port facilities don’t suit large cruise ships.

There are lots of places that cruise passengers would be happy to see if they could get there and the one thing that distinguishes cruise passengers from many other types of tourists is the desire to see other places.

For airlines, the problem is letting passengers see what they are flying over. Seat configurations mean that anyone in aisle seats is at a disadvantage. Can a trip be economic in smaller, four-abreast planes where only window seats are filled? For airlines with larger planes what about trips to the Arctic with passengers changing seats to that they can see views as planes circle? Why not Aurora Borealis flights?

Cameras are affixed to many larger planes so why not add them to other planes so people can see the view? If something appears there seems no reason why pilots couldn’t circle to view the sight again which is what happened to me once flying over bushfires in south-eastern Australia.

Passengers wouldn’t be buying a destination flight just a four or six-hour one so how the pilot chooses to use the time could be based on air traffic control rules and what is found of interest.

Some of the suggestions may be rejected for economic grounds but the existing economics only point one way – down – so the sooner the travel industry starts thinking outside its tradition the better.  

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