Brits Expect a Tight Christmas

Although the economy in the UK has recently seen a slight upswing, this Christmas may be tough on business as British residents brace themselves to spend less during the holidays.

Travelodge Hotels, a UK-based company that owns and operates hotel properties, has reported that the UK economy will suffer by around £514m in this year’s festive season, as British travellers decided to have a low cost Christmas.

A recent survey conducted by the hotel chain, said that only around 15 percent of respondents felt like they were out of recession. Around 48 percent of respondents said that they are feeling the financial squeeze more in 2012, compared to previous periods of recession. British holidaymakers are likely to spend an average of £481.88 this festive season, £19.53 less than Christmas 2011, and around £100 less than Christmas 2007.

Britons are expected to travel around 99 miles to spend Christmas with a family member, said the survey, with around 25 percent of respondents having already finalised their festive dinner destination, around seven weeks before Christmas day.

Shakila Ahmed, the spokesperson for Travelodge, said, ‘Our findings have revealed encountering the hardship of the recession has certainly turned us into a savvy nation of smart shoppers.

This year, Britons are definitely planning their Christmas way in advance. Since the summer we have seen a surge in room bookings across the UK for the festive season. Savvy Britons who are spending Christmas with family and friends have taken advantage of our great deals on cheap hotels with rooms from £19, so that they have more money to spend on presents.

Britons are certainly shopping much smarter and it’s evident that getting value for money is top of the shopping list.’

Monarch Airlines Offers More Route from East Midlands Airport

Monarch Airlines, a UK-based airline company, has announced a new route to Malta from East Midlands Airport in the UK, for the summer of 2013.

The new route will commence with twice-weekly flights from May 7, 2012, and seats have been available to book since November 16.

The managing director of Monarch Airlines, Kevin George, said, ‘We are delighted to be expanding our summer 2013 flights programme from East Midlands Airport with this brand new route for the airline which provides our customers with even more flexibility and choice.

Malta is a completely new scheduled destination for Monarch and we are sure that it will be a popular choice for our customers in the Midlands.’

Markus Klaushofer, the chief executive officer of Malta Airport, said, ‘It is with great pleasure that we welcome Monarch’s new flight from East Midlands to our beautiful islands. It is indeed of great satisfaction for us to add another airline operating to the UK, our largest market.

I am sure that Monarch’s passengers will find Malta attractive and we look forward to a fruitful relationship with the airline to ensure a long-term success in their operation to and from these islands.’

The airline has recently commenced operations from its newest hub, East Midlands Airport, and is currently offering new services to Lanzarote and Tenerife twice a week.

Kevin George added, ‘We are delighted to be expanding our winter 2012/13 flights programme from East Midlands Airport, our newest base, providing our customers in the Midlands with even more flexibility and choice. The launch of the Canary Islands flights, already a popular route from other airports, is a great opportunity for those who wish to escape the UK’s cold winters.

The rapid expansion of our network from East Midlands Airport is testament to our commitment to provide choice, value and superior customer service to more and more customers in the Midlands.’

Extra Rail Services for UK Sales Shoppers

The UK government has announced additional trains for Boxing Day rail services.

The additional services are being laid on to assist shoppers with gaining easy access to major shopping areas in London, Stratford and Kent.

Announcing the new services, transport minister, Norman Baker, said, ‘We have devised a unique agreement to enable Southeastern and HS1 to make it easier for their passengers to get to the sales following Christmas, which will provide more services at no cost to the Government.

Southeastern ran some very successful services on High Speed 1 during the Olympics and the train operator has shown there is sufficient demand for these services so we were happy to consider allowing them to adjust their timetables. This is an excellent example of the Government, infrastructure owners and train operators working innovatively together to improve services for passengers.’

The rail services are being offered by a collaboration between the UK’s Department for Transport; rail company, Southeastern; and HS1 Ltd. The half-hourly service will run between Ashford International, Ebbsfleet International, Stratford International and St Pancras International.

The managing director of Southeastern, Charles Horton, said, ‘We’re really pleased to offer this trial Boxing Day service for our passengers thanks to the collaboration with HS1 and the DfT. Our high speed Javelin service will transport people from Ashford to St Pancras International in just 37 minutes, and19 minutes from Ebbsfleet. We’re also pleased to offer free parking at these two stations for Boxing Day so everyone has a little bit extra to spend in the sales.’

Southeastern has also announced a sale of off-peak, high-speed and mainline train fares, just in time for the Christmas season. The fares are available for travel up to December 24, 2012, at 25 percent discount on mainline and high-speed tickets bought online.

Sarah Boundy, the head of customer services for Southeastern, said, ‘We’re offering this special discount in time for the Christmas party and shopping season. Our high speed services will whisk passengers directly to the Westfield Shopping Centre at Stratford in just 30 minutes from Ashford and our mainline services offer a really convenient way to get to the heart of Central London’s West End.’