London and Paris launch new campaign to end US vacation procrastination

London and Paris have come together for the first time in tourism history in a bid to end US millennial vacation procrastination, according to a release by London and Partners.

The move comes as a new research found that US millennials are putting off activities compared to any other generation. From getting up in the morning to checking something off their bucket list, American 18-34 year olds are hitting the ‘snooze’ button on their life more than their Generation X and baby boomer counterparts, it said. The most common things that millennials put off include getting up when the alarm goes off as well as calling parents.

More significantly, more millennials are reportedly putting off taking a vacation from work (43 percent) and doing something on their bucket list (55 percent) than any other generation. For 35 years+, 36 percent put off taking a vacation from work and 49 percent put off pursuing things on their bucket list respectively, it said.

Following the findings of the research, London and Paris have come together to encourage people to travel, as only 1 in 10 millennial Americans (eight percent) having visited both cities, while over seven out of 10 (72 percent) have expressed a desire to visit both destinations as part of one vacation. Visit London, Paris Tourist Office and Eurostar are now promoting a campaign which urges US travellers to make #oneepictrip now to discover over 177 Michelin restaurants, 325 museums and galleries, 371 theatres and over 490 nightclubs across the two European capitals, separated by a short rail journey of just over two hours.

Laura Citron, chief executive of Visit London said: ‘Vacation procrastination seems to be a very real problem, with more people than ever putting off taking a break to check experiences off their bucket lists. We want to change that.

‘We know that once people experience London and Paris, they fall in love and want to visit again and again to discover more. Just over 2 hours apart, whether it’s enjoying an Instagrammable afternoon tea at Sketch in central London or hovering over Paris in Ballon Generali; riding down the Champs Elysees in a sidecar with Retro Tour Paris, or zipping up the Thames in a speedboat rib, visitors can flit easily between the two European capitals and uncover all they have to offer.

‘These are destinations that have inspired some of the most prolific minds in the world, from Shakespeare to Monet and that passion and vitality can be felt by all that make the journey.’

Pierre Schapira, Chairman of Paris Tourist Office said: ‘Let’s keep things simple: 2 incredible cities, 2 different cultures, a little more than 2 hours apart by Eurostar. If you’re someone who wants to get the most out of life, why pass up the opportunity to experience London and Paris in one go? With so many experiences on offer, you’ll need a whole lifetime. So, don’t wait! Start checking off those bucket list must-dos now.’

London’s visitor accommodation registers record overnight stays

London’s hotels and other accommodation recorded over 56 million overnight stays last year, more than any other city in Europe, London & Partners has reported citing new research by European Cities Marketing.

London has a flourishing hotel sector with over 140,000 rooms, which is expected to grow over the next few years. According to European Cities Marketing (ECM), London’s visitor accommodation recorded over 41 million overnight stays from international tourists, revealing that the city remains open to visitors from all over the world. Overall London grew seven per cent year-on-year. Paris had the second most number of overnight stays followed by Berlin, Rome, Barcelona, Madrid, Prague, Vienna, Munich and Amsterdam.

For international overnight stays, the list of the cities is the same as compared to 2015. London (+1.3 percent) and Paris (-12.9 percent) are the top two cities with highest number of international bed-nights. The Spanish cities of Barcelona (+8.5 percent) and Madrid (+9.4 percent) had the highest growth in the top 10 list.

Visitors from the USA (11 percent), Germany (nine percent), and UK (nine percent) make up approximately 30 percent of the source markets to European cities. The ECM research reports that that overall European city tourism is growing, with the growth mostly coming from European markets.

Rajesh Agrawal, Deputy Mayor of London for Business, said: ‘These sensational figures show London’s enduring appeal as one of the most popular international destinations.

‘With our world-class sport, culture, art, history and architecture, it is not surprising that visitors continue to flock to the capital, proving that London is open to people from all four corners of the world.’

Ignasi de Delas, ECM President, explains: ‘We saw another exceptionally successful year for city tourism in Europe. London and Paris remain by far the two most popular cities in Europe, although there is very strong growth from many other cities. Europe offers tourists an unrivalled array of culture, history and food experiences which, coupled with a diverse accommodation sector, means cities across the continent are hosting more and more travellers.’

VisitBritain and Turkish Airlines partner to attract visitors to Britain

UK tourism board VisitBritain and Turkish Airlines have announced a new global partnership to attract more international visitors to Britain, with a focus across the airline’s five regional airports in the UK including Birmingham.

As part of the partnership, VisitBritain and Turkish Airlines will launch an international marketing campaign over the next 12 months, which will initially focus on Indian, Saudi Arabian and other Gulf markets. Showing aspects that make Britain a much sought-for destination, the campaign is aimed at inspiring global tourists ad travellers to explore all the nations and regions of Britain through the airline’s current gateways.

VisitBritain Chief Executive Sally Balcombe said: ‘We are very pleased to be the first national tourist body to develop a global partnership marketing campaign with Turkish Airlines. There are significant growth opportunities in the markets served by Turkish Airlines, including the emerging market of Saudi Arabia, using the airline’s global connectivity and rapidly expanding network. This partnership will also allow us to target our marketing to inspire more international visitors to come and explore all the nations and regions of Britain, so we can continue to create jobs and deliver our ambitious plans for growth.’

Turkish Airlines Chief Marketing Officer Mr Ahmet Olmustur said: ‘This is an incredibly exciting opportunity for Turkish Airlines and we are delighted to be teaming up with such an acknowledged and reputable brand as VisitBritain. The travel market in the UK continues to go from strength-to-strength and therefore we strongly believe this partnership will further enhance visitor numbers in the UK in the coming year. Turkish Airlines is always investing in the UK and, along with partnerships such as this, we hope to see big inroads being made in terms of visitor numbers.’

It is the first time that Turkish Airlines is partnering with a national tourist board for a tourism promotion campaign. Turkish Airlines is set to move to its new hub at Istanbul New Airport in 2018 with nearly 20 million passengers a year expected to be flying through the new airport by 2020. Turkish Airlines was recently chosen as the Best Airline in Europe for the fifth year running by the Skytrax Passenger survey.

 

UK urged to focus on development of tourism experience

Following an increase in visitor numbers to the UK in the last year, both the UK’s government and tourism associations are calling increased focus on supporting the development of engaging and competitive tourism experiences.

The move comes as Association of Leading Visitor Attractions (ALVA), which comprise 57 members and over 2,200 tourist sites, announced its members’ visitor figures for 2014.

More than 123 million visitors reportedly passed through the doors of top UK museums, galleries and other attractions in 2014, a 6.5 percent increase on the 2013 visitor numbers. The Commonwealth Games saw Scottish attractions register the greatest increase of almost a 10 percent increase, followed by London with an increase of 7.11 percent.

The British Museum remained the most popular visitor attraction overall for the eighth straight year with 6.7 million visitors, followed by the National Gallery, which saw a 6.4 percent increase to 6.4 million visitors.

Bernard Donoghue, Director of the Association of Leading Visitor Attractions, has urged politicians to recognise the importance of tourism in their election manifestos. Donoghue said: ‘As we approach the general election we want to remind all political parties that no party mentioned tourism in their last general election manifesto, however these figures clearly demonstrate the popularity of our best loved attractions and the importance of tourism to the UK – it’s the fifth biggest industry and the third largest employer, generating £127bn per year.

‘I look forward to seeing all political parties spell out their strong support and ambitions for tourism, heritage, and arts and culture in their forthcoming manifestos.’

Meantime, the UK government’s Triennial Review of tourism bodies VisitEngland and VisitBritain also recommended a new focus for VisitEngland on supporting the development of competitive and attractive tourism experiences. The Review, which was put before Parliament by Helen Grant MP, the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Sport and Tourism), also called for the formal separation of VisitEngland, to create a truly independent body for England.

VistEngland’s chief executive, James Berresford, welcomed the new direction: ‘England has amazing tourism assets but they must be made available and presented in a way that meets people’s aspirations and to a standard that is comparable with other leading overseas tourism markets. This is essential to make sure people choose our country over others.

‘Our concentration of support for developing new tourism experiences will be a catalyst for the next generation of world class leisure and business tourism offerings.’

 

VisitBritain prepares for ExploreGB – the world’s largest B2B tourism event

VisitBritain is preparing for its new annual flagship international event, ExploreGB, which will debut at Ascot Racecourse from February 25-26, 2015.

ExploreGB aims to present and promote Britain and the island of Ireland to the largest possible audience of international buyers. British and Irish tourism suppliers and destinations attending the event will have the opportunity to meet and do business with up to 250 select international travel buyers from over 37 countries, including Germany, Brazil, China and the US.

VisitBritain’s acting CEO, Keith Beecham, said: ‘Our goal is to make ExploreGB the world’s largest and most influential B2B tourism event promoting Britain and the island of Ireland. Tourism Ireland will be an important strategic partner for this task, adding value in multiple ways.

Working together will allow us to maximise opportunities and having Irish suppliers in attendance further strengthens the quality of our international buyers, providing a wider offering.’

Niall Gibbons, CEO for Tourism Ireland, a partner for ExploreGB, added: ‘We are delighted to be part of the inaugural ExploreGB in 2015, which will provide another important platform for Tourism Ireland and our Irish industry partners to showcase and sell Ireland to key international travel buyers. We already work closely with VisitBritain, particularly in long-haul markets like China and India, to target people travelling to Britain and encourage them to visit the island of Ireland as part of their trip, and vice versa.’

In its first year, ExploreGB will be held in London – and subsequently will alternate annually between London and other regions within Britain. The event will be followed by extensive familiarisation trips around Britain for international delegates.

More than 150 British tourism suppliers have already registered for ExploreGB 2015, including hotel groups, transport companies, visitor attractions and retail outlets. Prices start from £795 for the two-day workshop.

VisitBritain is UK’s national tourism agency, responsible for marketing Britain worldwide and developing Britain’s visitor economy. VisitBritain’s ExploreGB partners include the tourism trade association UKinbound, as well as regional tourist boards VisitEngland, VisitWales, VisitScotland, London & Partners as well as Tourism Ireland.

 

Scottish beaches recognised as seaside holidays increase

As Scotland’s often bracing beaches are becoming increasingly attractive for international tourists, independent environmental charity Keep Scotland Beautiful has recognised the country’s beaches for environmental quality and seaside experience, with its 2014 Scottish Seaside Awards.

The awards come as visitor figures show that in 2013, the Year of Natural Scotland, there was an increase in the share of seaside holidays to 17% (from 14%) of all holiday trips. With Scotland set to welcome the world in 2014, the recognition for quality and exceptional experience is expected to attract visitors to the country’s stunning coastlines more than ever.

A record-breaking 61 beaches have been recognised this year for their good water quality and excellent litter, safety, and environmental management procedures. Besides the regular winners like St Andrews West Sands in Fife and Gullane Bents in East Lothian, the awardees include Dornoch Beach in the north east to Maidens Beach in South Ayrshire, which has won the award for the first time.

Announcing the awards, Minister for Energy, Enterprise and Tourism, Fergus Ewing MSP, said: ‘Our natural environment is an important reason as to why people visit Scotland, which we celebrated last year during Year of Natural Scotland. Our beaches play a large part in this, and it is fantastic to see so many gain accolades through the Seaside Awards, and the work that beach managers and Keep Scotland Beautiful do in ensuring this.’

Mark Bevan, Head of Campaigns at Keep Scotland Beautiful, said, ‘Scotland’s beaches have something for everyone to enjoy – excellent environmental quality, bustling promenades, secluded bays and biodiversity rich shores, therefore, maintaining standards is vitally important.’

Mike Cantlay, Chairman of VisitScotland, said: ‘Recent figures suggested an increase in seaside holidays in Scotland in 2013, so it is clear that visitors really do love to beside the seaside. This is great news for Scottish tourism and coastal communities and comes on the back of a growing trend towards seaside and rural locations following the success of the Year of Natural Scotland. In this year, when Scotland welcomes the world, it is more important than ever to have our stunning coastlines in tip top condition if we want to continue attracting visitors. I applaud the award winners and Keep Scotland Beautiful for its hard work in ensuring that our beaches offer a great day out.’

A map showing all the award-winning beaches with descriptions, directions, facilities and pictures can be found at www.keepscotlandbeautiful.org/coastal. A new facility also allows people to choose the type of beach they wish to visit and an option for rating their favourite beaches, VisitScotland said in a release.

 

Inbound tourism registers significant growth across Britain

Inbound tourism has grown significantly across all of Britain’s regions in 2013, and will continue to grow by over 6% a year for the rest of this decade, VisitBritain has said, citing figures released by the Office for National Statistics.

Strong growth has been registered across all sectors, viz. Holiday visits, Business visits and VFR (Visit to friends and relatives) visits.

A record number of Holiday visits to British regions were registered in 2013 – at 12.726 million, an increase of 6.4%, with spending up 12.0% year on year at GBP8.448bn.

Business visits reached 7.945 million, up 7.0% but still down on the 9 million achieved in 2006. Spending by those visiting for Business reached GBP5.014bn, up 11.4% on 2012.

Meantime, VFR (Visit to friends and relatives) visits increased 4.2% to 9.327 million, which was below the record established in 2008 of 9.727 million. VFR visits generated GBP4.524bn in spending in 2013, up 14.6% on the year before.

Christopher Rodrigues, Chairman of VisitBritainm said: ‘We are delighted with these final results for the key post-Olympic year. Every single nation across Britain has seen an uplift in visitor numbers and, even more importantly, there have been substantial increases in spending for one of Britain’s largest export industries.

‘VisitBritain encourages visitors to explore all our nations and regions so I am particularly pleased that spending growth across the Rest of England (outside of London) and Scotland is faster than for London, which itself had a record breaking year.

‘These strong results underpin the forecast that inbound tourism will continue to grow by over 6% a year across the rest of this decade, making a significant contribution to the UK’s balance of payments and continuing to offer rapidly growing employment opportunities.

‘Tourism is, and always will be, a major part of the British economy.’

VisitBritain is the national tourism agency, responsible for marketing Britain worldwide and developing Britain’s visitor economy. The agency, which is funded by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, works with partners in the UK and overseas to ensure that Britain is marketed in an appropriate way around the world.

 

Virgin Holidays to challenge hotel liability claim

Virgin Holiday is appealing the court decision by a holidaymaker who claimed compensation for injuries after walking into a plate glass door in her bikini, The Telegraph has reported.

Moira Japp, was on the balcony of her suite at the Crystal Cove Hotel, in Barbados, and was wearing only her swimsuit, when she accidentally walked into the closed French windows leading into her room. The glass shattered and she suffered deep cuts all over her body.

Mrs. Japp sued Virgin Holidays in 2012. The operator was ordered to pay the 53-year-old £24,000 in damages, as it was judged that it should have ensured that the hotel was safe.

Virgin Holidays is challenging the decision at the Court of Appeal, saying that if upheld, the judgment would ‘create great difficulties for the tourist industry’ in applying British health and safety standards to foreign countries.

Sarah Prager, the lawyer representing Virgin Holidays, said in the Telegraph: ‘Travel agents, when they send people off abroad, if they are told that facilities have to comply with English notions of reasonableness that is going to create great difficulties for the English tourist industry in general.

‘Exporting English standards of reasonableness would give rise to lack of clarity – some nations are more risk averse than others.’

However Andrew Spencer, representing Mrs Japp, argued, saying: ‘When people book a package holiday, they are entitled to expect that the facilities are not unsafe.’

Mrs Japp, from Worthing, West Sussex, said: ‘It was a very small balcony and I am a very small person, and you don’t get much momentum going by walking about three feet. I was cut all over.’

Simon Lomax, a specialist in travel law, reportedly said that the cost of such claims was likely to be passed on to consumers in the form of price increases by holiday groups.

Judges are set to decide on the appeal at a later date.

 

Global tourism registers five percent growth, helped by Europe

Global tourism has grown by five percent in the first eight months of the year, hitting a record 747 million international tourist arrivals, Travel Weekly has reported, citing the latest figures from the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO).

Helped by strong results in Europe, Asia/Pacific and the Middle East, the 2013 figures were 38 million more than in the same period of 2012. Europe, registered a 5 percent growth, with an estimated 20 million more arrivals in the region.

Speaking at the opening of the European Tourism Forum in Vilnius, UNWTO secretary general, Taleb Rifai, said: ‘While global economic growth is in low gear, international tourism continues to produce above average results in most world regions, offering vital opportunities for employment and local economies.

‘This is particularly important for Europe, where unemployment is a major concern in many destinations and where the tourism sector has been a source of job growth in the last decade.

‘Furthermore, through its value chain, tourism creates businesses and jobs in many other sectors and produces significant export revenues which contribute favourably to the balance of payments in many countries.’

While the 100 million figure was exceeded for the first time in June, the peak summer months saw international arrivals exceed the 125 million mark in both July and August.

The largest international tourism earners saw receipts increase in double-digits, including Thailand at 27 percent, Hong Kong registering 25 percent, Turkey at 22 percent, Japan at 19 percent, the UK at 18 percent, Greece at 15 percent, India at 14 percent, Malaysia by 12 percent and the US by 11 percent.

Tourism spending was slower in the advanced economies, with Canada, the UK, France and the US registering less than 5 percent increase, Germany at zero percent increase, while Japan, Australia and Italy saw declines in expenditure.

The emerging economies are ahead in international tourism expenditure, with all BRIC countries except India, reporting double-digit growth, the report said.

 

British tourism continues to boom in July

In its July Overseas Travel and Tourism report, the UK’s Office for National Statistics (ONS) has highlighted a continuing upward trend for Britain’s incoming tourism during the month.

The report noted that for the period January to July 2013, the number of visits to the UK by overseas residents is four percent higher than it was for the same period a year earlier. Visits to the UK for holidays have shown a particularly healthy increase, and a continued rise in July contributed to an overall 12 percent increase for the three months from May to July 2013, compared with the same period of the previous year. July was a record month for visitor spend, with its £2.52 billion figure beating the previous record month of August 2012 by £900 million.

The net result of the increased throughput of foreign visitors is that earnings from the sector have also increased and are up by 10 percent for the 12 months to July 2013, compared to the 12 months to July 2012.

Meanwhile, the figures also revealed a preference for locations closer to home for British travellers going overseas, with visits to Europe up by three percent for 2013, while visits to North America and Other Countries were down by nine percent and one percent respectively.

The ONS collects the data for the International Passenger Survey from face to face interviews with passengers passing through ports and on routes into and out of the UK. It conducts between 700,000 and 800,000 interviews a year, of which over 250,000 are used to produce estimates of Overseas Travel and Tourism patterns.