VisitBritain pull multi-million campaign after ‘Brecon Beacon’ typo

The national tourism agency VisitBritain may be advised to double-check the spelling of promoted destinations, the next time they roll out a multi-million pound advertising campaign.

An eagle-eyed commuter in New York spotted the misspelling of Wales’ ‘Brecon Beacons’, instead the beauty spot had been spelt: ‘Breacon Beacons’.

The embarrassing glitch occurred on the latest campaign advertising ‘Great’ Britain – which aims to remind tourists around the world what is great about Britain, including this years major events: the Olympics and the Diamond Jubilee.

A member of the public uploaded the mistake onto the Internet, after it was spotted on a New York subway.

Mark Di-Toro from VisitBritain said: “This stems from an earlier version of the Brecon Beacons creative.

“The mistake was picked up before the launch of the campaign in London and was subsequently amended”.

However some of the images, which weren’t amended, were used by their advertising agency in America.

He added: “It’s a regrettable mistake which will not be repeated, but we have so much more to come from our £125 million advertising programme, which will act to inspire the world to visit Britain”.

VisitBritain’s marketing campaign will cost around £125 million in total, and will run over the next four years. £25 million has been spent on the current ‘Great’ poster campaign globally.

The adverts have been created to increase the current figure of tourists who visit Britain each year, bringing in an extra 4.2 million people.

Elizabeth Daniels, the managing director of Brecon Beacons Holiday Cottages revealed her delight after finding out VisitBritain had chosen to market the area.

However she said: “It is an enormous shame that potential travellers from New York will be googling Breacon by mistake”.

Although advertisers have been let off gently this time, as search engines correct the misspelling of ‘Breacon Beacons’.

Article by Charlotte Greenhalgh

Angry Birds app so popular theme park will open

It is the number one paid app of all time, it has millions of fans around the world – including Prime Minister David Cameron and now it has its very own theme park in the pipeline.

The theme park will be opening in Finland on 28 April 2012, where the game was first designed.

Angry Birds Land will be based on the popular smartphone game, and be part of the Särkänniemi Adventure Park in Tampere featuring rides and interactive games.

Tourists have been told to expect something a bit different, an ‘interactive entertainment experience’ where ‘the physical and virtual worlds combine’.

Miikka Seppälä, the CEO of Särkänniemi Adventure Park said: ‘We wanted to create a unique themed area and associate it with a strong and well-known brand.

‘The Angry Birds characters were born in Finland but are known worldwide by people of all ages. This is a perfect fit for our Adventure Park.

‘Our goal is to motivate the fans, both adults and children, to exercise and enjoy the outdoors.’

The simple game that has become a worldwide phenomenon has been downloaded more than 700 million times since it’s launching.

The game involves catapulting enraged birds at green pigs balanced on buildings made of planks.

The game that took the app world by storm cost just 59p to download, was developed by Finnish gaming company Rovio Entertainment, will now be since in real life as visitors to the park can use a giant catapult to shoot Angry Birds soft toys at green pig balloons floating around a toy brick fortress.

To get a glimpse of Angry Birds Land before it opens, previews will be available though the parks website and the Angry Birds Facebook page.

Top places for women to propose this leap year

It’s a leap year, when, according to tradition, women can get down on bended knee and ask their dithering partner to take their hand in marriage.

With February 29, 2012 fast approaching, the top ten most romantic spots on Earth have been revealed for the fairer sex to pop the question:

1. Taj Mahal, India
2. Lewa Downs, Kenya
3. Antarctica
4. Rialto Bridge, Venice
5. Iguazu Falls, Argentina
6. Roseberry Topping, Yorkshire
7. Sahara Desert, Morocco
8. The Pitons, St. Lucia
9. Great Barrier Reef, Australia
10. Snowshill, Cotswolds, UK

The results compiled by the World Travel Organisation, revealed that top of the most romantic spots was the iconic Taj Mahal followed by the natural beauty of the Lewa Downs in Kenya.

The day comes round just once every four years, and is the only day traditionally that women can pop the life changing question to men.

Manon Han, Executive Vice President, WTA, said: “Proposing to your loved one is always going to be a nerve-wracking moment, especially with the added pressure of being a lady. But choosing a fitting location can go a long way in swaying the outcome favourably.”

“We have chosen destinations that range from the fail-safe classics to some off-beat surprises. For the traditionalists, the Taj Mahal or the Sahara should bag your man. Meanwhile, the Prince William and Catherine effect has led to Lewa Downs making it into our hot list. If he’s an adrenaline junky, you could always try popping the question underwater at the Great Barrier Reef,” she added.

For couples that have left it to the last minute to get away for the extra day, there’s always the Eurostar which can take you to Paris, where you can visit one of the most romantic places in the world the top of the Eiffel Tower. Or Bruges, Belgiums picturesque town and pop the question on the famous bridge over the Lake of Love.

The leap year also coincides with the submission deadline for WTA’s 2012 Grand Tour, a global search for the best travel organizations in the world.

Travel organizations that aspire to be the best in their sector are invited to apply for WTA’s 2012 program by February 29, 2012. Entry forms can completed online or downloaded from: www.worldtravelawards.com/nominate.

Cock-up in Canadian holiday advert

STUNNED readers of high-brow daily newspaper The Independent had the shock of their lives when a full page advert for a holiday to Canada featured a phallic-shaped rock.

Shown on page 14 of the UK’s youngest national daily newspaper on Thursday, the rude full-page ad shows a picturesque coastal scene – with three canoes gently weaving their way around some rocks.

But despite the clear, blue skies and calm seas encouraging readers to “keep exploring” Canada, it is the phallic-shaped rock that dominates the image – spoiling the peaceful scene.

And while the rock would be sure to raise a smile down the local pub, outraged middle-class readers of The Independent were disgusted that the filthy image could make its way onto their breakfast tables.

“I couldn’t believe it when I turned the page and saw that vile image in my paper,” said Independent reader Rupert Johnson, 67.

“Normally I skip right past the advertisement but I couldn’t miss this one, the first thing I saw was the phallic rock, I nearly spat my coffee everywhere.

“I don’t understand how the people making the advertisement in Canada didn’t notice it.

“Readers of the red tops might find it hilarious but it’s not the kind of thing I want to see as I take my breakfast.

“Luckily my grandchildren weren’t with me. If it would’ve been in last week’s paper then they would’ve seen it because they stayed for a few days over half-term. It is not the sort of thing I want them to see.”

The dirty ad is aimed at encouraging readers to go to Canada for their next holidays and promotes a special ‘New Brunswick Discovery Package’ for £895 per person.

But marketing experts who came up with catchlines like: “The world’s highest tides at our lowest prices” and: “keep exploring” would have been advised to cast another eye over the full-page image.

Stretching from the Pacific to the Atlantic and deep into the Arctic, Canada is famous for its Rocky Mountains and Niagra Falls – but bungling advertisers could now find high-brow readers have gone off the idea of holidaying in the North American country.

“I’ve never been to Canada but I certainly won’t be going,” added a disgusted Mr Johnson, a retired teacher from Bishop Stortford, Herts.

“If the people in charge of making you want to come to the country can’t even make an advertisement without something like that on it then what chance have they got of getting things right when you go there.”

However welder Kevin Henley, 27, from Birmingham, said: “It’s the funniest thing I’ve seen in a long time. I think it’s the first time we’ve ever had The Independent on the factory floor.

“Call me juvenile, but you can’t help but laugh.”

Travel back in time for a traditional Easter in Sweden

Easter week is celebrated at Skansen, Sweden in different ways. On Maundy Thursday children all over Sweden dress up as witches to deliver Easter letters and receive candy.

On Skansen they can make their own brooms and pretend they’re taking off for Blåkulla. In some of the houses the Easter feast is prepared and traditions explained and on the Bollnäs square there is an Easter market selling birch twigs with the traditional feather decorations, sweets and food.

During Easter, you can visit some of our houses and farmsteads to see what Easter was like a hundred years ago or more. In Skånegården, you can experience how Easter was celebrated in the 1920s and what a Passover dinner table could look like then. In Oktorpsgården, Easter is celebrated like in the 1870s but be careful – the gun is in place to shoot off trolls and gnomes!

In Väla School it is Maundy Thursday and teaching family has decorated their house, in 2012 the Easter celebrations starts with Maundy Thursday on the 5th of April, and ends on the 9th of April.

The tradition

Easter is a movable feast as it follows the path of the moon. It can come as early as March, which presents an opportunity for winter sports in the northern parts of Sweden, and it can be as late as the beginning of April, which makes it easier for all the flower growers who delivers the traditional yellow daffodils – the commonest Easter ornament in people´s homes.

Yellow is the colour for Easter, reflecting the part which eggs and chicks have come to play in this festival. At Eastertime, Christians of every denomination the world over consume millions and millions of eggs. At no other festival is there such a general agreement on what should be eaten. The original reason for this vas that six weeks of Lent prevented the faithful from eating the eggs which the poultry, and wild birsd, were beginning to lay in copious quantities at that time of year. By the time Easter came round, eggs were so plentiful that the menu was fairly obvious. As an additional festive touch for the Easter meal time, it has been the custom everywhere in Europe to paint eggs, an art which in Sweden is mainly practised in the south parts of the country.
In other ways too, food at Easter has a religious background. The salmon consumed on Good Friday reminds us that, long after the Reformation, the Swedes were still keeping this as a fast, and, accordingly, fish day.

Whereas the fish diet of Good Friday has an ancient history, the “paschal lamb” – roast leg of lamb for dinner on one of the days of Easter – is a novel custom. The idea comes from the Bible story of the Passover first celebrated by the Israelites in Egypt, and in the Mediterranean countries the paschal lamb is in many places a regular custom.
One ancient, grisly aspect of Easter celebrations has now been turned into a children´s amusement. Little girls, and sometimes boys too, wearing head scarves and long skirts, go from door to door with a coffee pot which they expect to get filled with small change or sweets. Known as Easter crones or Easter witches, they recvall the old superstition in Sweden that Easter was the time when the witches flew to the devil on the “Blue Mountain”, a belief which, even in the 18th century, could still mean capital punishment for those who were denounced.
Other relics of past belief in witchcraft are also unwittingly perpetuated by the Swedes. In the west of Sweden especiallly, firecrackers are let off on Easter night to scare avay evil forces lurking in the dark. At Skansen the farmer at the Oktorp farmstead has his rifle ready and loaded during Easter.
Source: Maypoles, Crayfish and Lucia by Jan-Öjvind Swahn, The Swedish Institute

From Corfu to Athens- What the Economic Crisis means for the Tourist Industry in Greece

The Ionian islands of Greece are world renowned for their paradise beaches, calm seas and laid back lifestyle. Corfu, the largest of these islands, has been a British holiday favourite for decades. But how has this popularity been affected by the recent troubles in Greece, and what do economic changes mean for Brits who already have summer holidays booked?

Currently in the grip of economic crisis and receiving bale outs from the rest of Europe, Greece has been receiving a lot of bad press recently. Images of angry crowds are accompanying headlines describing crisis and unrest; shocking debt figures are being quoted by government officials and reporters.

Despite this, though, it seems that negative images are not monopolising opinion of Greece in the British psyche. Market research company BDRC Continental have revealed that the number of British holiday makers heading to Greece this year has actually risen from 8% in 2011 to 9% in 2012. Unlike countries such as Egypt, who have seen a dip in bookings for this year, holidaymakers are continuing to choose Greece due to its natural beauty and cultural heritage, despite troubles.

This is good news for the Greek population considering that 20% of jobs are based within the tourism sector, which also constitutes 18% of Greece’s GDP. When one in five nationals rely on the future of the tourist industry for their income, a huge emphasis is being placed on maintaining tourist locations and protecting the sector as a whole. But what else has convinced holiday makers that Greece is still a desirable place to visit?

An important factor is that the riots and unrest are based in the country’s cities. Whilst tourists may be more reluctant to visit Athens, the Greek islands have remained peaceful and are still the beautiful, laid back locations they always have been. Travel companies such as Tui, which encompasses Thompson and First Choice, have stated that they have no major concerns about the safety of tourists travelling to the Greek islands this summer, or about the quality of their holiday experience.

There have been some concerns about Greece’s potential withdrawal from the euro. Holiday makers should be reassured by the fact that this will not be an overnight transition, and that their holiday money will not be rendered worthless if the change occurs whilst they are visiting. In the long term, Greece’s dropping out of the euro could actually benefit visitors, as the pound will go further if Greece reconverts to drachmas.

So it seems that it will be business as usual for the Greek islands this summer, with the riots most likely feeling a world away from the pristine beaches and cosy tavernas frequented by tourists. This is good news for Greece, who are now relying on the confidence of holidaymakers more than ever, and for the countless British holiday makers who have been enjoying the Greek landscape and culture for years.

Written by Sophie McGovern

Tui boss predicts the death of the holiday brochure

When it comes to choosing a holiday destination many of us flick through the enticing images in a glossy holiday brochure.

However these printed country guides could soon be leaving travel agents shelves according to Europe’s largest tour operator boss.

There has been an increase in travellers using mobile devices such as tablet and phones to look for trips online. This means within the next five years the holiday brochure could soon disappear.

Nick Longman, the distribution and online director as Tui Travel, revealed that he was in no doubt that travel companies could soon become completely brochure free.

His prediction followed Google’s latest data – which shown the Internet use on mobile devices growing 131 per cent year-on-year. Something, which has been driven by the high volumes on tablet devices, and for travel queries now account for 28 per cent.

Mr Longman told Travel Weekly: “Brochures are an interesting debate. My challenge is the business is to think about at what point do we need zero brochures. There is going to be a point where we need to stop producing brochures and I think it will come within the next five years”.

According to Google data, tablet device queries surged after Christmas, and in one week alone queries were up by 23 per cent.

Robin Frewer, the director of travel at Google said: “It’s important businesses understand their customers and that their experience is seamless regardless of what device they are using.

“We have seen strong growth in online sales this year. We have seen traffic up about 15 per cent since the turn of year and conversion roughly the same”.

However Matt Rooke, Kuoni’s ebusiness and publishing vice president told TravelMail: “It goes without saying that the internet is predominantly the quickest way for customers to book their lifestyle choices at convenient times to suit them.

“Due to the nature of some of Kuoni’s holidays, customers tend to benefit from using a brochure to guide them. Looking to the future, brochure style is evolving to meet customer needs, with a more glossy, magazine style”.

Article by Charlotte Greenhalgh

Wind up in the Windy City

2012 is a big year for Chicago with the G8 summit heading there in May. With so much to see and experience, it’s one of the must see travel destinations for 2012 and one you can’t afford to miss out on. International flights arrive daily into the city via its two airports: Midway International on the south of the city and O’Hare International on the northwest. No American trip is complete without having sampled life on the open road, so ensure you do your car hire comparison before you travel.

Located on the shore of Lake Michigan in the American Midwest, Chicago is one of America’s most iconic cities. The weather in the city is mostly iconic too, with the four seasons arriving just as you’d expect them too! If you plan a winter trip, it’s well worth packing extra jumpers for warmth against the snow, but if you head over in the summer, ensure you pack the sun-cream.

Lake Michigan dominates the city’s landscape and its sheer size is awe-inspiring. Hit the highways and take a ride out along the Great Lakes Circle tour, which is a dedicated route around the Great Lakes. The lake also provides some beautiful inland beaches which you’ll definitely not want to miss. If you want to stay in the city, then take a boat trip out onto the lake to take in the stunning skyline of Chicago rising high into the sky. Seeing the city from the lake shows off its architectural beauty perfectly and you’ll be able to gaze upon a skyline that includes the two tallest buildings in the United States. If you feel brave, compare the view from the lake to the view from above by travelling to the top of the Willis Tower, formerly Sears Tower, where you can head out onto the observation deck over 1300ft into the sky.

Life lakeside is rather laid back and there is a thriving community located on the lakeside neighbourhoods. Here you can sample some of the finest cuisine in the country, completely varied in taste. In amongst the little villages, you’ll be able to sample Mexican, Greek, Italian, Vietnamese and many more dishes from around the world. If that doesn’t set your world on fire, splash out and enjoy dinner at one of the city’s 23 Michelin starred restaurants, including the three Michelin star restaurant ‘ Alinea’.

Chicago has more than enough to fill your trip with. For the sports fan, any trip must include a visit to watch either the Chicago Bulls or the Chicago White Sox play. If music is more your scene, then the city has much to offer. All around the city, there are jazz and blues bars to relax in whilst you kick back with a glass of Effen Black Cherry Vodka. And if you want to get back to basics, then there’s the Garfield Park Conservatory which has the largest collection of tropical plants in the USA and the Adler Planetarium which will give some insight into gazing at the night’s sky.

Natalie Likness’ love of travel was introduced to her from an early age due to a trip abroad before she was even born! Having close family and making friends across the world, she has continued to travel ever since.

Swim ban lifted from world’s best beach

“A return to normality,” for many tourists who enjoy the world famous beach on the island of Praslin, after the swim ban was lifted last week.

Voted year after year as the World’s Best Beach, Praslin, the tourist Mecca of the Seychelles, has seen the introduction of lifeguards on its beach at Anse Lazio, following the freak shark attacks mid-last year.

Experts from South Africa have been assisting the Seychelles government with a long list of what to do, which the authorities have been following as they prepared to reopen the beach.

The popular Anse Lazio Beach is popular with tourists and locals, and it remains an idyllic setting for romantic swims or just admiring the beauty that still exists in this era when the world is being overtaken by development.

Alain St.Ange, the CEO of the Seychelles Tourism Board, was on the island of Praslin after the swim ban was lifted, and after enjoying a swim with hoteliers of the island, he met with the press for an interview right on the beach itself. “As a country, we worked hard to ensure that recommendations made by South African experts were looked at. We sought more help from Australia in the field of training for our life guards. Today, we feel satisfied that we are ready to reopen the beach, which is adequately manned by Seychellois life guards,” Alain St.Ange said.

Seychelles is known as a year-round tourist destination, as it does not have winter. The country has clean and clear white sandy beaches that are lapped by the clean and clear turquoise blue seas. This is why tourists continue to flock to this mid-ocean group of islands that offers both granitic and flat coral islands. Tourism remains the pillar of the Seychelles economy.

Coach tour of the M25 is a hit

For many drivers spending four hours sat on London’s M25 can be a frustrating experience. However there are tourists willing to spend £15 on a tour of the road.

Visitors are escorted around the ‘highlights’ of the London Orbital in this unusual coach tour. Surprisingly the tour has been so popular that extra dates have been added to meet the ‘huge’ demand. According to the Brighton and Hove Bus and Coach Company tickets had sold out for the trip along the 117 mile ring road within just two months.

The trip takes visitors to Heathrow Airport’s Terminal Five, Epping Forest, Essex’s Lakeside Shopping Centre and the Dartford River Crossing Bridge.  The driver’s route will depend on the result of a coin toss, resulting in whether the driver travels clockwise or anti-clockwise. During the tour passengers are treated to a commentary on ‘interesting facts about the motorway’s evolution’.

Passengers are encouraged to take part in the coach’s competition where travellers have to guess the distanced travelled by the coach. The winner is then treated to a bottle of champagne. Roger French, the company’s spokesman described the motorway as ‘fascinating’ and ‘ironic’. The M25 first opened in October 1986 – costing an estimated £909 million – and has been mocked as ‘Britain’s biggest car park’ due to its congestion and on-going roadwork’s.

The company’s website said: “The M25 has been named the least entertaining and most boring road in Britain over the years.

“Let us try to prove these judgements wrong with a ‘flight of fancy’ around the London Orbital”. The bus company revealed that, one of the popular attractions for tourists is the chance to see Cobham’s newest services being built in Surrey. The services are set to include a McDonald’s, KFC and a Shell garage. The lot is set to be completed by the end of the summer.

Simon Ashcroft, a spokesman for the coach firm said that the first tour – which is set to take place in March – has sold out, and new dates have been added in April and May due to ‘huge public demand’.

Article by Charlotte Greenhalgh