UK Travel Industry Growing as Economy Comes Out of Recession

The UK economy may be slowly coming out of recession according to the hospitality industry, as more travellers are ready to invest in a holiday.

A similar positive outlook has been proposed by a report submitted at the World Travel Market, currently being held in London.

The World Travel Market 2012 Industry Report has highlighted that around 52 percent, of the 1,001 UK holidaymakers polled have taken more than one holiday in 2012. This is the best result for a poll since the downturn in the economy, and compares favourably to 2010, when only 24 percent of British citizens polled admitted to having taken more than one holiday in the year. In 2011, around 41 percent of Brits admitted to taking more than one holiday.

Fiona Jeffery, the chairman of Reed Travel Exhibitions, the company that has organised the 2012 World Travel Market, said, ‘While it’s certainly too early to claim we’re fully out of the woods economically, these results are encouraging. This is certainly a sign that people are increasingly optimistic about the future and should be welcomed both in the trade and across the country.’

The survey has shown that 34 percent of respondents have taken two holidays this year, compared to 28 percent in 2011. Around 13 percent have taken three trips in 2012, compared to the 10 percent who did so during 2011. In 2012, 5 percent of respondents have taken four or more holidays, compared to 4 percent in 2011.

The World Travel Market 2012 is being held in London until November 8. The event is being attended by tourist boards, technology companies, hotel chains, representatives of attractions and tour operators, with many exhibitors promoting their exhibits for the first time as Main Stand Holders.

Monarch Airlines Commences Flights from Birmingham to Sharm El Sheikh

Monarch Airlines, a UK-based airline company, has commenced services from Birmingham Airport in the UK to Sharm El Sheikh, in Egypt.

Sharm El Sheikh is bordered by the Red Sea on one side, and Mount Sinai on the other side. Water sports are a major attraction for tourists visiting the beach destination, and scuba diving in particular. Visitors flock to the resort to experience the underwater beauty of 250 coral reefs, and 1,000 different species of fish, which thrive in the waters.

The airline is offering a service to Sharm El Sheikh once a week, on a Thursday, for the winter season of 2012/13, for British travellers that are keen to find sunshine curing the UK’s coldest months.

The managing director of Monarch Airlines, Kevin George, said, ‘We are delighted to be expanding our winter 2012/13 flights programme from Birmingham Airport, providing our customers in the Midlands with even more flexibility and choice.

The launch of the Egypt flight, already a popular route for us out of Gatwick and Manchester airports, is a great opportunity for those who wish to escape the UK’s cold winters. This is followed by another exciting route launch in December when we have our first flight from Birmingham to the popular ski destination of Grenoble.’

Martyn Lloyd, the commercial director at Birmingham airport, said, ‘This new flight from Monarch means passengers now have even more choice from their local airport. We are delighted with the commitment that Monarch has shown to the region in offering this new route and also the addition of the new route to Grenoble. Monarch is going from strength to strength at Birmingham and the services and facilities that it offers means passengers have choice, value and convenience from their local airport.’

South West Trains Announces New Online Tool for Passengers

South West Trains, a UK-based train operating company, is offering a new online Rainbow Board information resource.

The online tool will provide passengers with detailed information about their train itinerary, and a summary of the South West Trains network. The new Rainbow Board, which is available at, offers a colour-coded panel for each of the company’s 12 different route lines on the Rainbow Board, and maps of each of these routes.

The guide allows passengers to see how each of the routes is running on a minute-by-minute basis; for example, green shows a normal service, yellow shows that there is minor disruption, and red shows major disruption. The Rainbow Board also shows planned changes to specific routes as a result of engineering work, which are colour coded orange and blue.

Adam Piddington, the head of information and customer experience for the South West Trains/Network Rail Alliance, said, ‘As one of the UK’s busiest and most complex train operators, it’s important that we provide accurate and up to the minute information for our passengers using as many different channels as possible.

The Rainbow Board is designed to provide a simple, at-a-glance guide to show how our services are running. With minute-by-minute updates provided by our operations control team, passengers will be able to easily access the latest information about their train service.

We are committed to improving information to passengers, and we’re sure this latest initiative will provide a useful tool to help our passengers with their journey on South West Trains.’

The Rainbow Board also displays 16 key stations on the South West Trains network, and will be adding another 25 stations subsequently.

Snails and frogs’ legs top the menu for adventurous holidaying Brits

While the British are renowned for their reserve in most things, especially what they eat, a new survey has revealed that once they travel abroad that reserve is abandoned and nothing, it seems, is too exotic for their palates.

The new research, which has been carried out by river cruise company, Viking River Cruises, revealed that 97 percent of British respondents said they were more likely to be adventurous with food when they were abroad on holiday. The survey also revealed the top five exotic foods that the British traveller is likely to sample, with the French delicacy, snails, leading the list, according to six percent of those polled. Frog’s legs, another dish associated with the French, but even more popular in parts of Asia, came second on the list having been consumed by five percent of respondents.

Completing the list were crocodile, kangaroo and snake, although smaller numbers of those polled admitted to being even more adventurous, having sampled sheep’s brain, cherry soup and even bees. There was also some evidence that returning travellers were keen to impress their friends with more adventurous cuisine, as part of the UK’s growing dinner party culture.

The MD of Viking River Cruises UK, Wendy Atkin-Smith, commented, ‘When we arrive on holiday we automatically feel a sense of adventure and this seems to be transferred onto our palette. The traditional dinner party is back in fashion and we are now looking to impress with international dishes rather than the traditional meat and two veg. Our chefs source their food from food markets when we dock each day to ensure Viking customers have a true taste of local cuisine.’

Eating exotic foods can also be a matter of conscience though. Shark fin soup has been the subject of protests by conservationists, due to the fish being dumped back in the sea to die once the fins have been removed, and with the harvesting of edible frogs now outlawed in most parts of France, the majority of the world’s frogs’ leg market (including France) is served by parts of Asia, where the depletion of frogs in the wild and the cruelty associated with the trade has also attracted criticism.