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Issue 33 March/April 2010 £2.75

80% feel confident for future

Industry ‘could bring UK out of recession’ By Christina Eccles THE tourism industry could bring the UK out of recession if the government got behind it and offered more support, it has been claimed. Mike Bell – the prospective Liberal Democrat MP for Weston-super-Mare – feels tourism has been let down by the government and has launched a campaign in order to support what he thinks is a vital industry. The ‘give tourism a break campaign’ focuses on three key aims which would help to boost tourism and in turn help the UK as a whole. These are:  Cutting VAT on accommodation, attractions and restaurants to match Europe.  A trial of switching to daylight saving time.  More government funding for the industry. Mike explained: “Tourism could be the industry that drives us out of the recession but it is not going to without government backing. “A VAT cut this year would make an enormous difference as it would send a message to the industry that the government is behind them and make us more competitive both

internally and overseas. “Tourism is one industry that can grow and do better and better but the industry has been let down. “We have been losing global share in the market as governments around the world are backing their own tourism industries.” Mike added that the campaign has been supported at both local and national levels and he would like to see it grow even more this year. He added: “I am based in Westonsuper-Mare and tourism has been an important industry for us for a long time. But most of the people in the tourism industry here feel they are working with one hand tied behind their back as the government doesn’t do much to support them. And we need to get that support.” He said securing more funding and tax breaks in the current economic climate may be tough as none of the major political parties are looking to make new spending commitments – but this needs to be considered for the long term benefits which it could bring to the industry.  Is UK tourism getting the support it deserves? Email your comments to ce@whpl.net or contact our editorial team on 01226 734463.

Former Emmerdale actress Hayley Tamaddon and her Dancing on Ice partner Daniel Whiston have lent their support to a new guide promoting Blackpool. The Blackpool born stars took a break from training for the show to check out what is being planned in their home town this year.  For full story see our special Blackpool feature on Page 8 Picture: ITV Pictures

NEW figures from VisitEngland have revealed 80 per cent of the tourism industry feels confident about the spring and Easter period. Figures from its new business confidence monitor show although bookings for this period are down year on year, a quarter of operators are very confident and over half are fairly confident that business will be good – with an expectation that last year’s trend for late bookings will continue. Chief executive James Berresford said: “VisitEngland already provides the industry with a raft of industry insights and research however, we hope the results from a new regular study like this will help businesses to better understand the rapidly changing economic climate as it relates to tourism, and better prepare for those changes. “By working together, pooling resources and expertise, I believe we can drive tourism in England forward, boost the industry and support our partners in the year ahead.”


DESTINATIONNEWS

‘Policy is moving at a snail’s pace’ By Louise Cordell PHILIP Green has called on the government to take tourism seriously in his last speech as UKinbound chairman. Speaking at this year’s convention, he claimed that progress on improving the industry has been too slow and urged delegates to continue lobbying for change. He said: “Policy is moving at a snail’s pace at best we are still talking about issues raised four years ago when I became chairman. “London has more visitors each year than Sydney, Las Vegas and New York combined - so we should be a priority with the government. “I realise that whichever party is elected next there will be a squeeze on expenditure, but they need to remember that tourism is an investment not a cost to be saved. “Our government is making us unattractive as a destination at the very time when we need to create an environment that encourages people to come to Britain.” Philip pointed out that the cost and accessibility of visas remains a barrier to growth and that this works against incentivising UK visitors. He is also keen to ensure that the 2012 Olympics works in the industry’s favour and that the potential of a displacement effect and the ongoing brand advertising issues are addressed as soon as possible.

He added: “It is important that the realities of our industry are understood. “We need to develop a strategy to ensure that people don’t think that the UK will be overpriced and overcrowded in 2011 and 2012, causing the industry to lose out. “We also need to be allowed to make the most of an excellent opportunity to promote our country abroad, but with the branding restrictions currently in place this is impossible. “We need to address these confusing rules, and fast.” Philip also claimed that the industry has many things to be positive about, including the fact that, thanks to weak sterling attracting EU visitors, many companies are in good shape financially after a difficult year. However, he believes that having achieved this without draining government resources, it is unfair that the industry is being forced to cut costs and budgets, when European competitors are spending heavily on marketing. He added: “We will be asking our new government to let us improve our international competitiveness and address the barriers that discourage growth and to let us develop on a level playing field with the other countries who are vying for our visitors. “We will not give up with our lobbying – let us take tourism seriously.”

 For a round up of this year’s convention, Page 30

Entertainment news in Centrestage starting on Page 19

Movie fans urged to head for Wiltshire Page 6

BoBI Preview Liverpool

Pages 10-14 Pages 25-29

Contacts EDITORIAL Andrew Harrod group editor 01226 734639 ah@whpl.net Louise Cordell reporter 01226 734694 lcordell@whpl.net Christina Eccles reporter 01226 734463 ce@whpl.net Mary Ferguson reporter 01226 734712 mf@whpl.net

PRODUCTION Judith Halkerston – group deputy editor – jhalkerston@whpl.net Stewart Holt – studio manager – sth@whpl.net Kyle Wilkinson – graphic designer kw@whpl.net Laura Blackburn – graphic designer lb@whpl.net ADVERTISING

London’s St James’s Hotel and Club has created a Sex and the City inspired package to celebrate the launch of the new film in May. The package will allow visitors to follow in the footsteps of Carrie and friends with an evening of great food, classy Cosmopolitans and a mini Cosmo making masterclass at the hotel’s stylish bar. Pictured above: Sex and the City star Sarah Jessica Parker

Promoting Gloucester MAJESTIC tall ships, international choirs and designer shops have all been showcased in a new guide promoting Gloucester to the group travel market. Gloucester’s 2010 Travel Trade Guide unveils the city’s line-up of attractions and events and also promotes it as a gateway to the nearby Royal Forest of Dean and The Cotswolds.

Rachel Wood product manager 01226 734611 rw@whpl.net Andrew Loades sales executive 01226 734634 Tony Barry sales and marketing director 01226 734605/01226 734333 CIRCULATION Kelly Tarff 01226 734695 kt@whpl.net Fax: 01226 734477

Web: www.destination.uk.com

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DESTINATIONNEWS

Bumper year predicted for UK tourism By Christina Eccles

Coronation Street stars Helen Worth and Jack P Shepherd with the Waterhead’s manager Mark Needham

Ambleside hotel plays host to Corrie stars THE Waterhead Hotel near Ambleside played host to some of Britain’s best-loved soap stars during the filming of a Lake District based storyline. Coronation Street’s Gail Platt,

alias Helen Worth, along with on screen son David (actor Jack P Shepherd), Joe McIntyre (Reece Dinsdale) and a 25 strong crew stayed at the award-winning hotel for 10 nights whilst filming on location.

New tour for Eastbourne

TOWN and City Video Tours produce web video for tourist destinations – showcasing the visitor experience with an entertaining and informative bespoke TV like commercial with all the reasons to visit, giving the viewer an as if you were there experience. Video is the best way to give the website visitor, information on what to see, do, and where to go, displayed all in one audio visual presentation – transforming the site into an interactive, exciting and importantly memorable experience. It's a versatile marketing tool for gaining exposure, when distributed to video sharing sites with massive audiences.

Contact us now to make your film on 01323-430800.

BRITISH tourism is set for another bumper year as the rise of the staycation continues, experts have claimed. Research by BDRC Continental revealed that 70 per cent of those surveyed said they were likely to book a UK holiday – with over 30 per cent also saying that the UK is becoming more appealing as a destination. According to the research, the continuing strength of the Euro and a growing feeling of disillusion with air travel are at the root of this sustained appeal with holidaying at home. The holiday survey reveals that:  46 per cent of all those considering Europe as a holiday destination have revised their plans on the basis of the current Euro exchange rate.  Eight per cent will not go to Europe at all.  A further eight per cent will shorten their trips.  20 per cent will reduce the number of trips.  21 per cent will still go but

reduce expenditure whilst there.  41 per cent of those who find the UK appealing said they prefer the UK as they are fed up with air travel. Director of the tourism, travel and leisure team at BDRC Continental Steve Mills said: “The UK holiday industry stumbled upon a huge opportunity in 2009 to demonstrate what it can offer to a lost generation of holidaymakers. The good news is more and more people are deciding to holiday at home again this year and are enjoying re-discovering what’s on their own doorstep.” But Steve warned that although holidaymakers are seeking good deals and value for money, they will not compromise on quality. He added: “The acid test will be when Sterling strengthens, particularly against the Euro. “The UK tourism industry needs to continue to focus on delivering two key components to ensure it takes full advantage of this trend and makes Britain the destination of choice in the future – and they are value for money and quality of service.”

Scottish festival revamps its online features A SCOTTISH festival has revamped its website to include local activity programmes – designed to encourage festivalgoers to stay longer in the area. The Wickerman Festival, which takes place in Dumfries and Galloway has expanded its online features to include a TV channel – Wickervision – where visitors to the site can watch video clips of the festival and get a taste of the Wickerman experience before they arrive at the event. The site also contains ideas of things to do in the surrounding

area, which festival director Sid Ambrose said is useful for helping festivalgoers to plan an extended break around their festival visit. He said: “Last year a lot of people didn’t go abroad and instead came to festivals for a ‘staycation’. “The website shows people what the festival is all about but also shows other activities they can do in the area. “We want to try and make their visit as fun and action packed as possible, especially as a large percentage of our audience bring kids.”

Seaside resort using Facebook

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ONE of the UK’s most popular seaside resorts is using social networking as a way to interact with visitors. A Facebook page has been set up to promote Eastbourne, which has attracted more than 1,000 friends, and the town’s presence on Twitter is also going from strength to strength, attracting more than 460 followers. Eastbourne Borough Council

cabinet member for tourism councillor Susan Morris said: “Eastbourne is definitely making the most of the power of social networking and using this as a fantastic tool to promote the resort to thousands of people all over the world. “Sites such as Facebook and Twitter are a brilliant way for us to raise awareness of what’s going on in Eastbourne and encourage even more visitors to the resort.”


DESTINATIONNEWS

‘Europe without the Euro’ JERSEY is positioning itself as ‘Europe without the Euro’ in a bid to attract tourists to the island throughout 2010. Visit Jersey has been using this strapline to encourage tourists to take a holiday there, by showing how they can get the experience of holidaying abroad on their doorstep – without having to use a different currency. And the campaign has proved so successful, it is being continued this year. Visit Jersey director of tourism and marketing David de Carteret explained: “There is still resistance for people to spend money in Europe as they want to stay in a sterling area. So we have been using the strapline of ‘Jersey: Europe without the Euro’. Although this campaign was promoted mainly through newspapers and magazines, David also said that online marketing is becoming a vital tool for promoting Jersey because as well as generating bookings, it also provides detailed information for visitors wanting to plan their breaks. He added: “Online is an increasingly important part of our communication. Our website gets 75,000-100,000 unique visits per

Jersey is bidding to attract tourists to the island month so it is a very important tool for us. Not only as a booking agent but also for anyone wanting information about the island. We also reproduce our brochures on there electronically.” Forward bookings for the summer season are up on last

year’s figures and to promote the island throughout 2010, Visit Jersey is also increasing its short break offers. We have also expanded our short break activity and Jersey is now seen as a good place to go for a short stay as we have a broad range of things to

offer visitors, from a luxury spa break to watersports, walking holidays and heritage attractions. “There is a lot to be positive about. It will be a lot of hard work but I think ultimately we will have a good year and do particularly well in the high season.”

A landmark in Northern Ireland has been awarded a Heritage Lottery Fund grant worth £3m. The award will help Giant’s Causeway with a visitor centre, associated site management and a wide-ranging programme of activities at Northern Ireland’s only World Heritage Site.

Georgian Fair to go ahead in flood-stricken town THE flood-hit town of Cockermouth will go ahead with its Georgian Fair in May – sending out a clear message that the region is open for business. It is hoped the event will help to boost Cockermouth’s recovery efforts by encouraging the return of visitors to the town. Georgian Fair organising group chairman Anne Meeghan said: “The fair marks an important chance for

us to attract tourists back into Cockermouth and to give a much-needed lift to the town’s fortunes. “The message we want to send to people is to come for a day and stay for the weekend. “We really hope more visitors than ever will make the effort to come and enjoy this fantastic event, meet with local people and help to support Cockermouth.”

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DESTINATIONNEWS

Advertising first for holiday park operator By Christina Eccles

Movie fans are being encouraged to visit Wiltshire after the release of a new movie filmed on location there. The Wolfman was filmed in several places in Wiltshire including Castle Combe and the National Trust village of Lacock and visitors are being encouraged to follow in the footsteps of its stars Emily Blunt (pictured), Benicio Del Toro and Anthony Hopkins.

A HOLIDAY park operator has created a revolutionary TV advertising campaign to tempt visitors and holiday home buyers to its Lake District locations. South Lakeland Parks’ new 40 second advertisement asks viewers to close their eyes as the screen goes entirely blank, a move which has never occurred before in television advertising history. It begins with scenes and sounds of traffic and hectic family life before going entirely blank, mimicking the effect of eyes closing, which is exactly what viewers are encouraged to do. From there the screen slowly opens into images of the Lake District, luxury lodges and sounds of tranquil music and birds singing. The idea behind the campaign is to take viewers on a journey from a typical work or home day to a day at South Lakeland Parks. South Lakeland Parks marketing manager Caroline Guffogg said: “We loved the idea of doing something a

little bit different and in doing a TV campaign we truly wanted to engage with our viewers. “We felt that this advertisement would get viewers into a different mindset as they watch, interact and hopefully pick up the phone. We’ve never been a company to shy away from quirky or unusual publicity campaigns and it’s generally worked in our favour.” The advertisement was created by Artavia and a spokesman added: “We wanted to create an entirely new and unusual campaign for South Lakeland Parks. Everyone knows that the Lake District and luxury lodges are beautiful and peaceful but in putting together this campaign we wanted the audience to interact with the advertisement as they watched their television.”  How are you marketing your attraction? What have been the most effective campaigns you have seen? Email ce@whpl.net or send your comments to Destination UK, 47 Church Street, Barnsley, S70 2AS.

Newlyweds opt for mini-moons NEWLYWEDS are swapping the traditional honeymoon for shorter breaks, dubbed mini-moons, in order to beat the recession. Superbreak has seen a trend in shorter breaks taken by newly married couples and as a result has added a dedicated section on its agent website where ideas for minimoons are listed. Sales director Ian Mounser said:

“It seems that the mini-moon trend is actually taking off. “With marrying couples increasingly conscious of expenditure, and seeking to save for their future, our analysis shows that many appear to be more budget conscious and are choosing honeymoons of two to five nights duration, perhaps planning a full holiday in future years.”

Post Christmas debt having little impact on holiday decision

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POST Christmas debt has had little impact on people’s decision to take a holiday later in the year, according to research. Research carried out by YouGov, on behalf of Hoseasons looked at booking trends for 2010 and found that despite economic uncertainty and strong consumer spending over the festive period, only five per cent of people said they wouldn’t book a break at all in 2010 due to their Christmas debt, with just another five per cent saying they would book a shorter break. Hoseasons own figures for January also support this research, as the business had the highest ever number of visitors to its website in a single day, peaking at two visits per second, as people began to think about

their 2010 holiday plans. Hoseasons Holidays chief executive Richard Carrick said: “Hoseasons has had a great start to the year, with bookings up by well over 25 per cent in comparison to 2009, which was in its own right significantly up on 2008. “We have also seen a massive surge in internet bookings as people have started to think about their next UK break. “Recent research by PriceWaterhouseCoopers suggests that holidays are still the second most important thing people spend their money on, after making repayment to debt, so the industry is well placed to capitalise on people managing their finances better.”

The Continuum Group has expanded its group bookings team by taking on a new member of staff, Becky Bland. Becky joins as groups, sales and reservations officer overseeing the department and her appointment comes following a significant increase in numbers of bookings to the group’s attractions, which include Canterbury Tales, Oxford Castle Unlocked and The Real Mary King’s Close.


With the start of a new decade, Kensington Palace is undergoing a wonderful transformation as June 2010 marks the start of a major £12 million project to transform the visitor experience of one of London’s most iconic landmarks, Kensington Palace. Whilst this ambitious project is in progress, the palace will remain open for daytime visitors to explore The Enchanted Palace and will continue to offer private evening hire. The transformation will include the complete representation of Kensington Palace as a palace for everyone with transformed visitor facilities and events to celebrate 2012 and Her Majesty The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. From 26 March 2010, Kensington Palace will become The Enchanted Palace in a unique exhibition combining fashion, performance and dazzling spectacle to reveal Kensington’s magnificent State Apartments in a magical new light. Acclaimed UK theatre company, WILDWORKS will cast a spell over the palace, creating a mysterious and atmospheric world for visitors to explore.

Against the backdrop of the King’s and Queen’s apartments, leading fashion designers Vivienne Westwood, William Tempest, Stephen Jones, Boudicca, Aminaka Wilmont and illustrator/set designer Echo Morgan will each create spectacular installations, inspired by the stories of the princesses who once lived at Kensington – Mary, Anne, Caroline, Charlotte, Victoria, Margaret and Diana. These extraordinary contemporary designs will be displayed alongside historic items from the Royal Collection and Kensington Palace’s Royal Ceremonial Dress Collection, together with two dresses worn by Diana, Princess of Wales and Princess Margaret. For help and advice in organising group visits to any of the historic royal palaces, contact the Groups and Travel Trade Team on +44 (0) 20 3166 6311 or email groupsandtraveltrade@hrp.org.uk.


DESTINATIONBLACKPOOL

Guide makes splash with stars

Dancing on Ice stars Hayley Tamaddon and Daniel Whiston

BLACKPOOL’S new visitor guide has been given a boost after receiving support from celebrity fans of the town. Local stars, Dancing on Ice couple Hayley Tamaddon and Daniel Whiston, plus Strictly Come Dancing professional Camilla Dallerup have all been spotted with the Blackpool Guide, which reveals the best of what the seaside resort has to offer. Cabinet member for regeneration and tourism at visitBlackpool Coun Maxine Callow said: “We’re looking forward to another bumper year in 2010 and thought it would be great for our

celebrity fans to help launch the guide. “There’s been a sharp increase in demand for guides already due to the popularity of our events programme. "Add to this the publicity generated from programmes such as the BBC's Strictly Come Dancing and the Royal Variety Performance, and 2010 looks set to be another fantastic year.” More celebrities are helping to support the guide throughout the year, with images uploaded onto a dedicated gallery on visitBlackpool’s website.

Blackpool heritage unveiled VISITORS to Blackpool can explore the town’s rich heritage in a new campaign launched by Lancashire and Blackpool Tourist Board. The Heritage Revealed campaign encourages visitors to the area to embark on a journey and celebrate the people, places, events and folklore of the county. As part of the campaign – which covers the whole of Lancashire – tourists can take part in heritage treasure trails. The trails are available through Tourist Information Centres or via the tourist board’s website and offer visitors a chance to explore each location through a series of clues. Having completed the trail successfully they can then download a certificate from the website. The first two trails focus on Lancaster and Pennine Lancashire and take in features such as castles, stately homes and traditional inns. Marketing executive Sally Jastrzebski-Lloyd explained: “The idea is to promote short breaks but to theme them around the heritage offering in Lancashire. “We also want to make it a more active experience, with guided walks and trails and workshops packaged

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An episode of hit show Strictly Come Dancing was recently filmed in Blackpool. Picture: BBC around the short breaks experience. “We came up with the idea of developing a number of treasure trails taking in heritage locations and attractions, with a selection of clues at each part of the trail which

have to be answered.” A trail is also due to be launched in Blackpool, which takes in some of the town’s best loved locations and encourages visitors to look at them in a different light.

Sally added: “We are starting the Blackpool trail shortly, which will cover 10 locations and get people moving round the town, noticing things which they wouldn’t normally look at.”


DESTINATIONNEWS

Campaign generates £100m for capital VISIT London’s successful Only in London campaign generated £100m in economic benefit for the capital, according to figures. The £2m campaign, launched last spring, rolled out through the UK, Europe and North America in the summer promoting the unique features of the city as well as great value deals, due to the exchange rates of the euro and the dollar. The campaign was also supported by an additional £400,000 from the four central London boroughs – Westminster, Camden, the City of London and Kensington Chelsea – and early indications of its success saw the mayor of London invest a further £400,000 in the campaign

to extend its run until the end of March. Visit London chief executive, Sally Chatterjee said: “The Only in London campaign provided us with a strong platform to promote the unique aspects of London to visitors at home and abroad. “The feedback from visitors has been incredibly positive and is reflected in the outstanding economic benefit delivered by the campaign. “London is the world’s most popular international city and we will continue to promote the capital proactively in the run up to the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games and beyond.”

Summer Swing is Kew’s flagship commercial event

Kew Gardens’ concerts play a vital role KEW Gardens’ summer concerts series is a good way of promoting the attraction to an audience who may not have considered a visit, according to its organiser. The Summer Swing concerts take place against the spectacular backdrop of Temperate House over five nights in July – with artistes booked to perform including Jools Holland and his Rhythm and Blues orchestra, Bjorn Again and motown celebration, Dancing in the Streets. And head of venue hire and commercial events Nickola Savage told Destination UK that as well as providing an enjoyable evening of entertainment for visitors, the concerts play a vital role in generating funds and raising the awareness of what Kew Gardens has to offer for visitors. She explained: “The idea of running the concerts is to create additional income for Kew but they also allow us to get across Kew’s messages to 6,000 people per night – an audience who may not have previously been to Kew but who might be

encouraged to come back.” Summer Swing is Kew’s flagship commercial event, with the concerts proving a popular addition to outdoor events calendars for over 20 years. For the 2010 series, changes are being made including adding more content to big screens at the sides of the stage to educate visitors on the aims and messages of the gardens. Organisers are also looking into applying for an industry green award which sets a benchmark for them to reduce carbon emissions by five per cent. Nickola added: “We are looking at revising the content of the screens as they are a good vehicle to get Kew’s work across to the audience. “The concerts are popular because they combine the outdoor element with the picnic element in a relaxed and beautiful setting.” Future plans include developing more marketing strategies to promote the event – and Nickola added that she is keen to explore the use of social media as a marketing tool.

A NEW Surrey based hotel and country club is set to open in May at a cost of £29m. Lingfield Park Marriott Hotel and Country Club will be the first on-site, integrated racecourse, hotel, spa and golf club leisure resort in the UK. And the resort is expected to attract leisure and business travellers from all over the country as well as overseas. Director of sales Nathan Chart said: “The Marriott Hotel and Country Club at Lingfield Park offers us all a brand new and very exciting challenge; it is a challenge I will relish and I know my colleagues feel the same way.”

Cumbrian fine dining wins praise

Visitor attraction operator Merlin Entertainments has a new member of staff, Tea Colaianni. Tea has joined as group human resources director and will be based at group headquarters in Poole. Merlin chief executive Nick Varney said: “Tea joins the company at a time of very dynamic growth for Merlin. I have no doubt that her strategic, commercial and international experience will be invaluable to us and will allow Merlin to drive excellence across the human resources agenda in line with our vision and values.”

CUMBRIA has been named as one of the best places in the UK for fine dining, according to a new guide. In a league table of the counties with the most Michelin-starred restaurants, Cumbria makes it into the top five in the whole of England with four establishments each achieving a star apiece. Three of these are in the Lake District and the other is just on the fringe of the national park in Cartmel. Chief executive of Cumbria Tourism Ian Stephens said: “To have such a concentration of food excellence in the area is a prestigious honour for Cumbria’s restaurant and hotel industry. It also means our visitors and residents have the luxury of choice for somewhere special to dine that is among the most select company in the country.” 9


DESTINATIONBOBI PREVIEW

West Coast islands tour set to launch at the show AWARD winning Rabbie’s Trail Burners will be launching a new tour at the show, which takes in eight of Scotland’s most stunning West Coast islands. The 16-day tour will allow visitors to experience a Scotland beyond the traditional tourist trail, including the prehistoric beauty and history of the northern Orkney Islands and drama of the Western Isles of Lewis and breathtaking Harris. Managing director Robin Worsnop

said: “Our decision to launch this new, innovative tour was actually in response to a customer’s brainwave. “As we already offer a full range of one to five day tours, a returning customer suggested offering an integrated and coordinated tour service that effectively would enable 16-day visitors to ‘hop on and off’ different Rabbie’s touring routes, enabling them to see as much, and the best, of Scotland all in one easy trip.”

Marwell run zoological park MARWELL Wildlife is a conservation charity running a 140-acre zoological park near Winchester in Hampshire. A visit to Marwell is a chance to get close to the wonders of the natural world – and play a big part in helping to save them. They warmly welcome group visits and provide all the facilities you need for a wonderful day out at any time of year. With over 250 species of fascinating animals – many of which are endangered – and a free road train to get you around if your legs are weary, your day will be filled with wonder and the delights of nature. New guided tours of the park are available to book now, taking in two separate itineraries each of two hours duration. Group admission prices now apply to parties of just 12 or more and one adult is admitted free for every 12 paying guests. Coach parking, entry and lunch is also free for coach drivers. A pair of beautiful snow leopards have recently arrived and can now be seen exploring their new home. We have a very successful big cat track record and keepers have high hopes this new pair will form a strong bond to last for many years to come.

For more information go to www.marwell.org.uk/groups or call Sue for more details on 01962777965.


DESTINATIONBOBI PREVIEW

BOBI heads for London’s Olympia THE best of the UK and Ireland’s tourism industry will be descending on London’s Olympia in March for a major trade show. The Best of Britain and Ireland Trade Forum takes place at the heart of British Tourism Week – with seminars and events reflecting the major concerns of today’s tourism industry. Highlights of the seminar programme include:  Tourism Question Time – the chance to quiz political leaders in the crucial run-up to the general election. The panel will include tourism minister Margaret Hodge, minister for culture, creative industries and tourism Don Foster and shadow secretary of state, Liberal Democrats, John Lewis.  Social Tourism – A concept that’s very familiar across Europe, but relatively unknown in the UK. A panel of holiday industry leaders

including Naomi Woodstock from Bourne Leisure and John McDonald, director of the Family Holiday Association explain its importance and how different sectors of the tourism industry can benefit from being involved.  Social Media From Twitter to TripAdvisor, Facebook to Friendster – a debate discussing what social media really means for UK destinations and can they be a measurable part of a strategic marketing campaign. Speakers include Craig Hanna, training director, eConsultancy and Andrew Seal, director, Qube Media. A sustainable tourism suite will also be set up over the two trade days to discuss the biggest issues surrounding going green and the impact which sustainability can have on both destinations and visitor experience.

Guide book unveiled at show VISITORS to Best of Britain and Ireland will be able to discover the benefits of a holiday in North East England. A guide book will be unveiled at the show, which contains more than 30 special offers for tour operators to take advantage of – including group discounts, guided tours of top attractions and discounted shopping offers. Group

travel specialist at One NorthEast Denise Wigham said: “We have produced the hidden benefits booklet in the past and it has proven to be very successful. As well as raising the awareness of what is on offer for groups in the region, it also promotes individual attractions and businesses who are providing a range of special offers.”

BBC holds studio tours YOU have been inviting the BBC into your homes for many years, now it’s your turn to come and visit us. Our studio tours will get the chance to immerse yourself within the fascinating world of broadcasting. Our well-informed guides will entertain and surprise you as you walk in the footsteps of your favourite stars. They will make sure you see the most interesting areas available on the day of your visit as well as give you a fascinating insight into how TV really works. We also recommend that you keep your eyes peeled because you never know who you might bump into along the way.

To book your tour please visit bbc.co.uk/tours or call 0370 901 1227 for group bookings


DESTINATIONBOBI PREVIEW

Ferries return NORTHLINK Ferries, the only ferry operator offering tailored holiday packages to the Northern Isles on cruise quality vessels out of Aberdeen and Scrabster, will be flying the flag for Orkney and Shetland during this year’s Best of Britain and Ireland show. NorthLink displayed at the inaugural event last year and won significant tracts of new business. The ferry company will be exhibiting with VisitScotland again this year and will be promoting packages designed for trade and consumers. NorthLink’s Steve Nottage said: “We’re participating in the BOBI event with the intention of building upon the extremely successful 2009 season when we carried in excess of 175 tour groups compris-ing over 5,000 holidaymakers to Orkney and Shetland.”

For details on ferry bookings, tours options and itineraries, visit www.northlinkferries.co.uk or call 01856 852086.

The Big Dance NEW for 2010 at the World Famous Blacksmiths Shop in Gretna Green is The Big Dance, an impressive 13ft sculpture of two hands clasping. This centrepiece sculpture was installed just before Valentine’s Day in the Sculpture Garden at what is one of Scotland’s top attractions. Made of weathering steel, the sculpture provides an impressive backdrop for the 700,000 visitors who come here each year to enjoy the attraction’s many activities, including the historic venue itself, famous for run-away weddings, and the popular shopping features. Gretna Green is one of Scotland's most popular visitor attractions. The World Famous Blacksmiths Shop has been designed to offer groups the utmost in comfort and convenience, and there are plenty of benefits for the travel trade too.

For more information contact Lynda Denton on: 01461 338441or e-mail: lynda.denton@gretnagreen.com

New exhibition IN May 2010 a new ‘Royal Sailing Exhibition’ opens at The Royal Yacht Britannia in Edinburgh – telling the story behind the Royal Family’s passion for sailing, focusing on the annual Cowes Week Regatta in the Isle of Wight, the Royal Family’s private holiday sailing in the Western Isles of Scotland and past royal racing yachts. In addition to this, the classic and elegant 1930s racing yacht Bloodhound, owned by The Queen and Prince Philip in the 1960s, will be moored alongside Britannia, giving visitors the opportunity to view one of the most successful racing yachts ever built.

Contact: Casey Rust T: 0131 555 8800 E: enquiries@tryb.co.uk

in conjunction with

A Perfect Day from VisitScotland A CAMPAIGN encouraging UK residents to holiday in Scotland in 2010 will be launched by Scotland’s national tourism body at the Best of Britain and Ireland show. VisitScotland’s biggest ever domestic promotion to date, the ‘Perfect Day’ campaign, highlights aspects of holidays in Scotland that contribute towards creating a perfect experience for the visitor, including natural heritage, the outdoors, islands, wildlife and festivals. Celebrations such as the Perth 800 and the 150th anniversary of the birth of Peter Pan author J M Barrie will also be highlighted. ‘A Perfect Day’ – www.visitscotland/perfectday – runs until the end of August. Chief executive of VisitScotland Philip Riddle said: “We are delighted to be working so closely with our partners in the Scottish tourism industry on this exciting campaign at what is still a fairly challenging time. “We’re starting 2010 with cautious optimism and in the current climate, perhaps more so than ever, it’s vital we all work together to sing Scotland’s praises and look towards the new decade with determination.” According to new research released by VisitScotland last month, the ‘Staycation’ trend is

here to stay. Holiday tourism for Scotland from domestic markets is up 9 per cent on 2008 and the number of Scots choosing to holiday at home in Scotland in 2009 was up 15 per cent on the previous year. The figures, the latest year-to-date (comparing Jan-Oct 2008 Jan-Oct 2009) from the United Kingdom Transport Survey confirm that the trend for holidaying closer to home is growing more popular than ever. Set against the backdrop of what was a challenging year across all industries, Scottish tourism is holding its own. The research reveals that on average visitors to Scotland are staying longer – with a 1.3 per cent rise on the average number of nights spent in Scotland compared with the same period in 2008. VisitScotland markets Scotland as a quality destination to the world, bringing millions of visitors and billions of pounds to the country. The Scotland pavilion at Best Of Britain and Ireland 2010 will be the largest stand presence VisitScotland will have this year outside of Scotland, second only to VisitScotland Expo, which takes place in Glasgow on Wednesday April 14 and Thursday April 15.

For more information visit stand E80 or www.visitscotland.com

CalMac counts down to summer season OPERATOR of the UK’s largest domestic ferry fleet, Caledonian MacBrayne, is launching its summer timetable on 26 March 2010. The islands around Scotland’s west coast are rightly renowned the world over for outstanding natural beauty and centuries old culture and traditions. Each year CalMac carries around five million passengers and a million cars on 26 routes to and from Scotland’s best known islands including Arran, Islay, Mull, Iona, Skye and Lewis and Harris with

many more in between. Caledonian MacBrayne is well accustomed to dealing with requirements of all travellers, whether independent or in groups and can tailor many features to ensure their experience of Scotland’s islands is an enjoyable and memorable one.

For further information about Caledonian MacBrayne visit: www.calmac.co.uk, call: 01475 650100 or e-mail: andrew.deeprose@calmac.co.uk

Pre-opening booking offer for castle HISTORIC Scotland is introducing the opportunity to book pre-opening private tours at Edinburgh Castle, home to Scotland’s crown jewels. Historic Scotland looks after 78 attractions throughout Scotland, offering unforgettable experiences for fantastic value. In addition to developments at Edinburgh Castle,

2011 will see the re-opening of the Royal Palaces at Stirling Castle, restored to how they may have looked in the mid-16th century. Costumed interpreters will bring the past of the palace to life.

For more information contact: Donna Laidlaw 0131 668 8894 donna.laidlaw@scotland.gsi.gov.uk

Hotels offer ‘showstopper’ rates CRERAR Hotels offers 2010 ‘showstopper’ rates at Best of Britain and Ireland. The Winning Partnership represents over 350 hotels throughout Scotland, England, Wales and Ireland, many of which welcome groups and individuals for overnight stays, teas, coffees and lunch stops. The hotels offer superb value for all guests as well as a one-stop

shop for all clients’ tour requirements including accommodation, itineraries, suggested visitor attractions and activities. ‘Showstopper’ rates will be available on the stand at Best of Britain and Ireland.

For more information contact Nikki Cromarty on: 0844 950 6282 or e-mail: nikkic@crerarhotels.com.

Offering solution to European and long haul visitors ARNOLD Clark Car and Van Rental has recently teamed up with VisitScotland to provide European and long haul visitors with a professional and easy to use rental service at competitive prices. Whether they are looking to enjoy spectacular views, a game of golf or visit the UK’s many historical sites,

Arnold Clark Car and Van Rental can provide a vehicle suitable. In addition, the company offers a shuttle bus service to and from all major Scottish airports, fully comprehensive insurance included as standard, roadside assistance if required, unlimited mileage if car rental is four days or longer,

additional extras available to hire including satellite navigation systems, child car and booster seats, and an additional named driver for a £15 one off fee.

For further information visit: www.arnoldclarkrental.com, call: 01786 468700 or e-mail: car.rental.sales@arnoldclark.co.uk

Look at best of sustainable tourism TO open the Sustainable Tourism Suite 2010, The Best of Sustainable Tourism in Britain and Ireland session will look at the past, present and future of sustainable tourism in Britain and Ireland. VisitScotland chief executive Philip Riddle will be participating in the lunchtime discussion, which will look at how industry innovations are helping to reduce the environmental and social impact of tourism and the ways in which the sustainable holidays of the future are being packaged. The session will also include a drop-in surgery hosted by the national tourism bodies who will be on hand to talk to BOBI delegates about introducing and improving sustainability practices within tourism businesses.

Edinburgh Pass available THE Edinburgh Pass will be exhibiting at the Best of Britain and Ireland show for the first time this year. The Edinburgh Pass is a city card targeted at city break and day trip visitors and that gives free access to attractions and transport as well as special offers on retail, eating and drinking and entertainment. Available to purchase at the VisitScotland information centres at Edinburgh International Airport, Edinburgh Princes Street, the Lothians and Glasgow; the Edinburgh Pass offers visitors to Scotland’s capital city great value.

For further information visit www.edinburghpass.com or contact Leila Dadkhah on 0131 473 3630

£2m revamp COSMOPOLITAN Hotels operates the Normandy Hotel and The Erskine Bridge Hotels on the outskirts of Glasgow and has recently finished a major £2m refurbishment of The Erskine Bridge Hotel. Close to Loch Lomond both hotels offer an ideal stop-over for groups with easy access to Glasgow city centre just minutes from the hotels and Edinburgh a little over an hour away.

For more information please contact Steve Ireland on 0141 812 0123 or e-mail sales@cosmopolitan-hotels.com.

Increased access to Scotland in 2010 FLIGHT access to Scotland will increase in 2010 from Austria and France with the introduction of two charters from France and Austria. It is anticipated that this will result in over 5,000 extra visitors to Scotland. The charters are being operated by two very well-known operators, Top of Travel in France and Blaguss Touristik in Austria. Local arrangements in Scotland will be co-ordinated by Abbey Tours Scotland, an Edinburgh based incoming operator and sister company of Abbey Tours Ireland. For further details contact: Miriam Roche Email: MiriamR@abbeyscotland.co.uk Tel: +353 1 648 6100

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DESTINATIONBOBI PREVIEW

Cruise Loch Lomond FOLLOWING the introduction of new cruises to the Loch in 2009, Cruise Loch Lomond is looking to build on the success of the 'Inversnaid Explorer' and the 'Rob Roy Discovery' cruises. The company continues to offer a one-hour cruise, suiting tight tour itineraries and a time that suits, between Tarbet and Inveruglas at the dramatic fjord end of the Loch. Both sites have ample parking; new public conveniences and coffee shops. The family business was delighted to win the Scottish Thistle Award for Innovation and continued to invest heavily in the fleet of six passenger vessels with new sound systems and interpretation points on board to compliment the live commentary and enhance the visitor experience. For more information contact Iain Moore on: 01301 702356 or e-mail: iain@cruiselochlomond.co.uk

Warm welcome A WARM welcome awaits you at the Classic Malt distilleries. With visitor centres at 12 of the Classic Malt distilleries across the key distilling regions of Scotland, from the centre of bustling coastal towns to the wild Highlands, there really is a distillery to suit every itinerary. The Discovering Distilleries portfolio features some of Scotland's favourite malts such as the much-vaunted, peaty Lagavulin and the world-renowned Talisker, making a Diageo distillery a must-see for any whisky fan. Experienced guides are on hand to show visitors around and explain the art of distilling.

For information on tours and tastings: www.discoveringdistilleries.com, call: 01343 562272 or e-mail: linda.mellis@diageo.com

20th anniversary MACDONALD Hotels and Resorts is the UK’s largest privately owned, award-winning hotel group, with a collection of over 40 unique hotels in accessible locations. Many boast charming and extensive grounds and all offer superb accommodation, comfort, quality and the very best in conference, meeting and event facilities. 2010 marks the group’s 20th anniversary and the opening of its newest property, Macdonald Windsor, in the summer.

Contact: Pamela Robertson T: 01506 815 263 E: pamela.robertson@macdonaldhotels.co.uk

Carol’s simply the best for mills CAROL Smillie, former presenter of the BBC’s popular Changing Rooms show, recently launched the Edinburgh Woollen Mills’ new spring and summer clothing collections. The new collections will be available in-store and also for purchase on-line via the new website www.ewm.co.uk. David Read from Edinburgh Woollen Mills said: “Carol is the ideal person to model our spring and summer ranges. She is beautiful, bubbly and shows our

14

clothing off to perfection. These latest collections have been created to appeal to women who want to look and feel good.” Simply The Best offers a superb selection of mills and visitor centres in picturesque locations throughout the UK.

Visit Simply the Best on the VisitScotland stand at the Best of Britain and Ireland or for more information contact Idy Davidson on: 01387 382 877 or e-mail: idy.davidson@ewm.co.uk

Castle welcomes weddings and events INVERARAY Castle and Gardens – Argyll's ‘Jewel in the Crown’ and home of the Duke and Duchess of Argyll and their family – is now available for weddings and corporate events. The fairytale castle stands on the edge of Loch Fyne, looking over the sea loch and the beautiful town of Inveraray and provides visitors with a fascinating historical insight into one of Scotland's most famous ancestral homes as well as a truly magnificent setting for special occasions – whether for family and friends or corporate hospitality. The castle has a number of private and newly-renovated bedroom suites that can be booked in addition to any event, as well as holiday cottages on the estate. Local attractions include the world famous Loch Lomond Golf Course

SYHA Hostelling Scotland will form part of the VisitScotland team heading to London Olympia for the Best of Britain and Ireland (BoBI) show this year. In 2010, SYHA Hostelling Scotland will be increasing its network to 70 hostels. In particular, the association is excited about the addition of Corrour Station by Loch Ossian, which will open up many more possibilities for groups travelling to this stunning and unique location. The 10-bedded hostel located at Scotland’s most remote train station will also feature a fully licensed

the legacies of Robert Burns, whilst enjoying some of our most dramatic scenery.” To download the full itinerary of the seven-day Burns Trail, visit www.nts.org.uk/traveltrade NTS is also responsible for the care of over 30 gardens across Scotland. For a full list of the trust’s garden properties, or to book a visit, email traveltrade@nts.org.uk or telephone 0844 493 2104

Contact: Anne Edwards T: 0131 243 9304 E: aedwards@nts.org.uk

BRITAIN’S most spectacular outdoor event is celebrating its 60th birthday in style. Against the majestic backdrop of Edinburgh Castle, the worldrenowned Massed Pipes and Drums and the impressive Massed Military Bands will join a glittering international cast for the 60th anniversary of the Edinburgh Military Tattoo. Over 1,000 performers from the Middle East, Poland, Switzerland, New Zealand, Australia, South Africa and America and the UK, including daring motorcyclists and gymnasts, the Tattoo Highland Dancers and the Lone Piper, will take part in The Diamond Jubilee Tattoo, August 6-28.

Busiest season and the Loch Lomond seaplane, which can land on the loch outside the castle for a memorable arrival or departure.

For further information, visit www.inveraray-castle.com or contact: Jane Young T: 01499 302 551 E: manager@inveraraycastle.com

restaurant that will be open to the general public, as well as providing dining options to hostel guests. In addition, the beautiful loch-side Lochranza Youth Hostel on the Isle of Arran has recently undergone a full £500k refurbishment. 2010 SYHA Hostelling Scotland will be offering Military Tattoo tickets in packages that include a two-night stay in the Edinburgh Central Youth Hostel and breakfast.

For further information contact: Amy Wellens T: 01786 891305 E: awellens@syha.org.uk www.hostellingscotland.com

Island Adventures programme expanded MULTIPLE Scottish Thistle Awardwinner Rabbie’s Trail Burners specialises in scheduled departure, FIT tours with a friendly, personal service. Guaranteed departures and a guaranteed maximum group size of 16 provide clients with peace of

Diamond times

Tickets, priced £16-£53, can be obtained from the Tattoo Ticket Sales Office via the website www.edintattoo.co.uk or by calling 0131 225 1188 or visiting the Tattoo Ticket Sales Office at 32-34 Market Street, Edinburgh, Scotland EH1 1QB

Exciting times for SYHA Hostelling Scotland

Marking the 251st birthday of Robert Burns TO celebrate the 251st birthday of Scotland’s favourite poet, the National Trust for Scotland (NTS) has launched its new seven-day Burns Trail, taking visitors from the heart of Robert Burns country in Ayrshire to Culloden Battlefield near Inverness, one of Scotland’s most evocative historic sites. The new trail boasts numerous links to the life and times of this extraordinary man. National travel trade manager at NTS Pietro Cecchini said: “Our new seven day Burns Trail is a great way to explore Scotland and discover

in conjunction with

mind and a high quality experience. Rabbie’s modern mini-coaches can travel on roads not accessible to larger vehicles and their driver/ guides are among the best in the business, full of knowledge and passion. For 2010, Rabbie’s has expanded their award-winning Island Adventures programme and now offers tours to the Scottish Islands from three to sixteen days in length.

Contact: Calum Macnee T: 0131 226 3133 E: calum@rabbies.com

SCOTLAND’S most beautiful distillery, Glengoyne, enjoyed the busiest summer season of its 175 year history last year, with a massive 43 per cent upsurge in visitor numbers in August alone. In August, 7,672 tourists visited the picturesque distillery located in the heart of the Trossachs, compared to 5,366 for the same period in 2008. Stuart Hendry, Glengoyne’s brand and development manager, said: “It has been a fantastic summer for the distillery. Over the past few years we have seen our peak season extending further into early spring and later autumn months.” Glengoyne offers in-depth visits, whisky tours and tastings to a wee gem of a distillery, where they set out to entertain as well as educate.

For more information contact: Sarah Bottomley on: 01360 550254 or e-mail: sarah@glengoyne.com

New tour for 2010 GUIDED tours of the Hercules Garden at Blair Castle in Perthshire are now available. Blair Castle is the home of the Atholl Highlanders, Europe’s last remaining private army. Many artefacts can be seen on display throughout the castle. The Castle is at the hub of a breathtaking historic landscape, most of which was laid out in the 18th century, and that features a magnificent walled garden, a peaceful wooded grove, the ruined St Brides Kirk, a red deer park and a whimsical gothic folly.

For further details or to make a booking, please telephone 01796 481207, e-mail: bookings@blaircastle.co.uk or visit www.blaircastle.co.uk

Hell’s Kitchen bandana showcased STRATHMORE Hotels has been presented with a framed set of the whites and the famous bandana worn by Marco Pierre White in the final show of the Hell’s Kitchen series last year in recognition of the company's contribution to Nordoff Robins, a charity that specialises in

musical therapy for adults and children. Managing director Ronnie Rickard said: “We are proud to have acquired such a recognisable piece of TV history to showcase.”

For more information contact: Rhona Stewart T: 01355 266886 E: rs@strathmorehotels.com


DESTINATIONNEWS A pocket sized visitor guide has been created to encourage domestic tourists to stay longer and explore more of Durham. The Durham Pocket Guide 2010 was unveiled at local attraction Beamish Museum and profiles the best places in the county to visit, eat, shop and relax. Marketing manager for Visit County Durham Craig Wilson said: “It’s such an exciting time for Durham and the pocket guide is a great way to highlight the best of our cultural events calendar, the quality of our eateries and the rich diversity of cultural attractions and places to visit in our county.”

Success for first Visit 2010 show By Christina Eccles THE first ever Visit 2010 show has been given the thumbs up by exhibitors and visitors. The event – a new trade exhibition focusing on tourism in the south west – took place at Westpoint Arena in Exeter and showcased the best of what the region has to offer to visitors. Those attending the event – which was organised by Resort Marketing – included visitor destinations and attractions, activity providers, event organisers, group accommodation providers, coach companies and tourism trade groups. Visitors also had the chance to listen in on seminars from industry experts including Robin Barker, managing director of Services for Tourism Ltd, who lead a session offering advice on how to become an award winner and using awards to gain a commercial advantage. The second seminar, ‘The Staycation Capitalised’ shared key learnings from industry bodies on

the staycation phenomenon. Managing director Brian Cooper said: “We were pleased with how the event went. The show was buzzing with people in the morning and the seminars that we scheduled into the programme of events were well attended and very interactive. “Feedback from exhibitors and visitors is very positive with many confirming attendance in 2011.” Exhibitors at the show included The Tank Museum and marketing officer Nik Wyness added the event was a good platform to showcase the attraction. He added: “The Tank Museum attended Visit 2010 as we want to support local tourism oriented events and overall the event went well for us. “Our involvement with the Staycation seminar meant that we had a platform to share our learnings with the industry and this really added an extra dimension to our participation.”

Yorkshire-based attraction Xscape has reached a milestone of 20m visitors through its doors. The award-winning destination in Castleford has attracted visitors from the whole of Yorkshire and beyond, including tourists which benefit the region as a whole. Marketing manager Dan Wharton said: “20m is a staggering figure – it’s a great achievement for Xscape and the region. The

secret of our success lies in the variety of our offer; being able to eat, shop and play all under one roof. “And when playing at Xscape can be as unique as skiing in real snow, rock climbing up to 15m or shooting a loved one at Laserzone you begin to see why 20m have chosen to have fun spending their leisure time with us.”

Bourne turns to networking BOURNE Leisure is using the latest in social networking technology to promote itself to agents. The company’s Facebook and Twitter accounts, which are now easily accessible by mobile phone, allow agents to be the first to find out about the latest news and offers. Head of retail sales Allan Lambert said: “Social media tools are

enhancing our relationships with front line travel agents. “Twitter, Facebook and YouTube allow us to provide our partners with latest news, offers and product developments as soon as they happen. “In addition, it also provides us with a great feedback channel which influences our future developments.”

Agents given sightseeing pass opportunity LEISURE Pass Group is giving agents the chance to sign up to sell its popular London sightseeing pass. The pre-paid passes give tourists entry to the most popular visitor attractions in the city and have, until recently, been

mainly available direct and via large online travel agencies. Passes allow users fast-track entry at a number of the busiest attractions as well as great savings when visiting a number of sights.

They also come with the additional benefit of a free guidebook complete with offers and money off deals at top shops and restaurants. Sales manager Peter Muttitt explained: “The passes sell well online to people who are putting

together their own breaks away. “But we know that there are plenty of agents out there who are doing great city-break business and could really make the most of such a fantastic addon.” 15


DESTINATIONNEWS

Brighton looks to gay American market GAY American tourists are being targeted in a new campaign designed to boost tourism in Brighton. Visit Brighton has joined forces with Visit Britain to promote the destination in America to LGBT visitors across the country. And according to Visit Brighton’s

marketing officer Charlotte Barrow, having the support of Visit Britain is allowing the town to tap into markets it may not be able to afford to approach alone. She said: “Visit Britain was doing the campaign and approached us to take part. It is well known in the UK that Brighton

is a gay destination. But in America, trying to target the whole of the country is not feasible – this is a good way to target it down a bit more. “Our budgets are really small and we couldn’t do this amount of marketing in America on our own, so this is a good way to get some

coverage.” The campaign is being supported by a dedicated website and Brighton’s close proximity to London is also highlighted – to encourage tourists who visit the capital to make the short journey down to the coast.

Going green tips for Scottish tourism firms By Christina Eccles

Walk the Plank’s Fire Queen made its Blackpool debut at Heat the Streets. Picture: Karen Wright

Town transformed BLACKPOOL has been transformed as part of an event designed to ‘heat the streets’ in the town. Part of Showzam! – Blackpool’s festival of circus, magic and new variety – Heat the Streets was a free outdoor event, which included burning installations, street theatre, a parade and world renowned fire performers. Debut work was also on display from critically acclaimed companies

Walk the Plank and La Machine. Showzam! festival director Claire Turner said: “Heat the Streets enables Showzam to provide free outdoor entertainment, spreading the buzz across Blackpool, reaching a wider audience and creating a real carnival atmosphere. “It’s also important that the local community has the opportunity to work and perform alongside such high-quality artists.”

Pirate land opens at Legoland A NEW area is opening at Legoland Windsor – the attraction’s first dedicated pirate land. In Pirates Landing, children can learn swashbuckling and seafaring skills at a pirates training camp, then climb aboard 16 the new Jolly Rocker swinging pirate

ship, which swings to 18 metres high for the ride of their life. Wannabe pirates can also find their sea legs on the Pirate Falls Dynamite Drench water ride and watch a specially made 4-D movie.

SCOTTISH tourism businesses are being advised on how to boost their green credentials, thanks to a new programme by Visit Scotland. The sustainable tourism programme has been designed to help businesses understand how green practices can improve their bottom line and in turn aid growth in Scottish tourism. A launch by cabinet secretary for finance and sustainable growth, John Swinney, marked the start of a series of over 20 free seminars and workshops being held across Scotland throughout 2010. He said: “Encouraging tourism businesses to incorporate sustainable practices will produce cost savings, and attract the environmentally-conscious visitor to view Scotland as a must-see, mustreturn destination.” The programme hopes to attract over 1,000 businesses and is working in partnership with organisations across Scotland to demonstrate the value of sustainability. Each of the workshops will features a range of topics including: waste, water, energy use and community engagement.

They will combine advice from experts and local sustainability champions, sustainability surgeries and one to one mentoring sessions. VisitScotland chief executive Philip Riddle added: “Tourism growth is critical to the future of Scotland. Sustainable tourism aims to ensure that economic development as a result of tourism is a positive experience for everyone involved; the local community, tourism businesses and visitors. “These workshops will help equip tourism businesses across the country with the information they need to minimise the impact of their activities on the environment and community, whilst securing economic growth and importantly we are working in partnership with many organisations across Scotland to help promote the benefit of sustainability. “At the same time, we are developing our own Sustainable Tourism Strategy to ensure VisitScotland is recognised as a leader in sustainable tourism development through our internal operations, engaging with visitors, businesses and working in partnership with key tourism players.”


Historic Royal Palaces really come into their own at Christmas time, as centuries of ceremony, merry-making and feasting are reenacted and enjoyed by a whole new generation of people. This Christmas is special as it takes place in the year of Henry VIII’s 500th anniversary of becoming king, so at Hampton Court Palace you can be sure of being entertained by the best Tudor festivities including games, dancing, music and feasting. Also, to add that extra Christmas sparkle to your visit, you can enjoy a truly memorable festive experience as you skate with the Tudor West Front as a spectacular backdrop. See www.hamptoncourticerink.com for details. Henry’s Great Kitchens will also be a hive of activity as the Tudor Cooks prepare and present a Christmas feast fit for a King. To mark this special year, the Tudor Cookery will take place over a longer period than usual, from 27 December 2009 to the 3 January 2010. Also special for Henry VIII’s anniversary year at Hampton Court is the unique Tapestry Re-colouration display which offers visitors the

world’s first opportunity to see one of Henry VIII’s tapestries re-lit with its original stunning vibrant colours, from shining gold to bright blues. This display ends on the 3 January 2010 so make sure you grab the chance to see it. As well as all this, the fabulously re-presented Tudor Palace will continue to wow visitors and Henry VIII will be married every day. Be part of Henry’s celebrations as he gets married to his sixth wife Kateryn Parr. To get ready for their wedding, the palace will be decorated with lavishly dressed rooms throughout the Tudor route, including feasting in the Great Hall and debates in the newly-opened Council Chamber. Whether seeing the palace front decked out in splendour, passing warders in their new Tudor inspired uniform, or taking part in a personalised tour, you can revel in this moment of history that happened at Hampton Court Palace in 1543. To arrange your bespoke groups package and to take advantage of the many offers available, contact the Travel Trade Sales Office on +44 (0) 20 3166 6311 or e-mail groupsandtraveltrade@hrp.org.uk or visit the website at www.hrp.org.uk.


DESTINATIONNEWS

BoBI 2010 – the largest by far In a lead up to the forthcoming elections, BTW and BoBI 2010, the Tourism Society Yorkshire Chapter hosted a Tourism Question Time event at Leeds Metropolitan University on February 24. Panellists included Gary Verity, chief executive, Welcome to Yorkshire, Lord Snape of Wednesbury, Bill Maxwell, Director of ABTA and the Institute of Travel and Tourism, and Professor Rhodri Thomas, Leeds Metropolitan University. The Tourism Society will be present at BoBI 2010 (see us on stand M15) and once again will be holding the opening debate on Wednesday March 17. This unmissable debate entitled ‘Tourism Question Time’, will be a chance for the three major political parties to explain their tourism policies directly to the industry. As this is election year it is sure to be an exciting one. Chaired by VisitBritain’s Bernard Donoghue, the panel will include Margaret Hodge MP, minister for

By Alison Cryer, chairman, The Tourism Society THE fourth annual British Tourism Week (BTW) takes place on March 15-21, with an expanded, ambitious schedule of events happening all over the UK. The aim of BTW is to demonstrate that tourism is critical to the UK economy. As its centrepiece, Best of Britain and Ireland 2010 (March 17-20 in the Grand Hall at Olympia in London) is breaking all records. Trade registrations are currently ahead of last year and the VIP hosted domestic and overseas buyers programmes are now fully subscribed. BoBI 2010 will be by far the largest exhibition of British tourism ever staged, with all the national and regional tourist boards exhibiting, together with some 400 destinations, attractions, hotels and other suppliers taking part.

culture, creative industries and tourism, Don Foster MP, shadow secretary of state, Liberal Democrats, John Lewis OBE, chair Conservative Tourism Taskforce, and Martin Cullen, Irish minister for arts, sports and tourism. The Tourism Society will also be on hand to help you brush up your social media skills. Craig Hannah, training director, eConsultancy, and Andrew Seal, director, Qube will take you through the social media landscape from Facebook and Myspace to Twitter and Tripadvisor, looking at how you can discover what is being said about your brand online and why that's important. The BTW website also has plenty of ways of raising the profile of British tourism. Letter templates are available to invite your local MP to support BTW by signing up to its 'Backing British Tourism' pledge. There are 96 events happening throughout the country during BTW so there are plenty of opportunities to get involved.

Yorkshire Pass is launched

York Minster is one of the attractions included in the pass

A MONEY-saving pass has been launched which allows access to 75 leading Yorkshire-based attractions. The Yorkshire Pass will build on the success of the York Pass, which ran successfully in the city for seven years. The new pass will replace the York Pass and allows entry to a wider choice of 75 leading attractions across the county, including World Heritage sites, national museums and leading stately homes. Chief executive of Welcome to Yorkshire Gary Verity said: “The Yorkshire Pass gives people access to some of the county’s crown jewel attractions and the more it is used, the more savings are made, so people can explore more of Yorkshire for less. “It is the first time, anywhere in Britain, that a regional sightseeing pass has been introduced so once again Yorkshire is leading the way in putting tourists first.”

Alison Cryer  See BoBI 2010 Preview. Pages 10-14

Heritage tours on offer THE Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead is offering new tours for groups to discover the area’s Olympic heritage, led by 2012 Olympic and Paralympic accredited Blue Badge tourist guides. Dorney Lake, just outside Windsor, is to be the host venue for the 2012 Olympic rowing, flat water canoeing and Paralympic rowing events, but the area has Olympic connections going back to the 1908 Games when Windsor Castle was the starting point for the marathon. Group tour itineraries can be customised taking in as many, or as few of the Olympic heritage sites to suit.

Famous residents recalled KENSINGTON Palace will celebrate some of its most famous former residents in a new exhibition, The Enchanted Palace. In the state apartments, leading fashion designers – including Vivienne Westwood – will each create spectacular installations in collaboration with acclaimed UK theatre company Wildworks, taking inspiration from Kensington Palace and the princesses who once lived there – Mary, Anne, Caroline, Charlotte, Victoria, Margaret and Diana. The designs will be displayed alongside historic items from the Royal Collection and Kensington Palace’s Royal ceremonial dress collection, together with two dresses worn by Diana, Princess of Wales and Princess Margaret.

Final funding secured for the Cutty Sark By Louise Cordell HISTORIC landmark the Cutty Sark will be restored to its former glory after the final parts of a £46m funding package were secured. Final funding to finish the project in time for Olympics and Diamond Jubilee celebrations in 2012 has been provided by a £3m grant from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport. 18 Culture minister Margaret Hodge

said: “The £3m grant from my department is the final link in a chain that has included magnificent donations from the Heritage Lottery Fund, The London Borough of Greenwich, The Greater London Authority and thousands of private donors. “I look forward to welcoming Cutty Sark back as an integral part of the Greenwich World Heritage Site when we play host to visitors from all over the world in two years’ time.”

The Cutty Sark will be restored thanks to a £46m funding package


DESTINATIONCENTRESTAGE

Hair proves to be a cut above WELCOME to the curly, shaggy, gleaming, streaming, wonderful world of Hair. A celebration of life, love and freedom and a passionate cry for hope and change, Hair features some of the greatest songs ever written for the stage, including Let The Sun Shine In, I Got Life, Hair and Aquarius. Infectious, outlandish and exuberant, Hair has gained iconic status since erupting onto the musical theatre scene in 1967 and is responsible for many era defining songs that have become part of the 20th century pop landscape. And as critics and audiences have found, the messages of Hair are as relevant today as they have ever been. Hair is about a group of young New Yorkers in the 60s struggling to balance their lives and loves, rejecting the lifestyles of their conservative parents and rebelling against the looming draft. As the plot develops, each tribe member tells their story although two become increasingly compelling: Berger the tribe’s ring leader and Claude its conscience. Claude is enrapt by his new life, in awe of Berger and in love with university student Sheila. But he's faced with an unbearable decision – resist the draft as his friends have done, or compromise his

“A beacon of hope in a fallen world. I fell in love with Hair all over again.” Charles Spencer – Daily Telegraph

“Enough mega wattage to light up London.” Baz Bamigboye –Daily Mail

“Thrilling. Emotionally rich production….intense unadulterated joy.” Ben Brantley – New York Times pacifist principles and step up for his country... Currently wowing audiences and critics alike on Broadway, don’t miss this Tony award-winning company when they transfer to the London stage from April 1. Hair is on at the Gielgud Theatre, Shaftesbury Avenue, London – Monday to Saturday evenings 7.30pm, Thurs and Saturday matinees 2.30pm.

Poll names Wicked best of last decade WICKED has been named the best musical of the last 10 years in a poll by London theatre break website, Show-andStay.co.uk A prequel to The Wizard of Oz, Wicked is the musical tale of Glinda the Good Witch of the North and Elphaba the Wicked Witch of the West and how they came to be the witches that we have come to know and love. Other musicals which featured in the poll included Avenue Q, We Will Rock You and Jersey Boys.

Best of Broadway comes to Torquay SOME of Broadway’s biggest shows will be transported to the UK in a new show at Torquay’s Princess Theatre. Viva Broadway will 20

sample the best of Broadway including the Little Mermaid, Mary Poppins, Mamma Mia and Carousel and star Sam Kane and Linda Lusardi.

A new stage version of classic film When Harry Met Sally will appear at His Majesty’s Theatre in Aberdeen in May. Former soap stars Rupert Hill and Sarah Jayne Dunn (pictured) will play the leads in the show.


DESTINATIONCENTRESTAGE

Winners named in theatre awards

Jude Law

RACHEL Weisz and Jude Law were among the winners at the Critics’ Circle Theatre Awards held in London. The awards were held at the Prince of Wales Theatre and decided by the independent votes of the Critics’ Circle Drama Section members. The award winners were:  Best new play: Jerusalem by Jez Butterworth  The Peter Hepple Award for best musical (new or revival): Spring Awakening  Best actor: Mark Rylance in Jerusalem  Best actress: Rachel Weisz in A Streetcar Named Desire  The John and Wendy Trewin Award for best Shakespearean performance: Jude Law in Hamlet  Best director: Rupert Goold for Enron  Best designer: Christopher Oram for Red  Most promising playwright: Alia Bano for Shades  The Jack Tinker Award for most promising newcomer (other than a playwright): Tom Sturridge in Punk Rock.

Heart DJ Toby Anstis has made his West End debut – joining the cast of Grease as Teen Angel. The show is on at London’s Piccadilly Theatre and also stars Noel Sullivan as Danny and Siobhan Dillon as Sandy.

Rachel Weisz

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DESTINATIONCENTRESTAGE

Sunday shows could bring tourism boost By Christina Eccles

West End star Lee Mead is to join the cast of hit musical Wicked. Lee will play the role of Fiyero in the show – which is on at London’s Apollo Victoria Theatre – starting from May 10. His fellow cast members will include Louise Dearman as Glinda and I’d Do Anything semi-finalist Rachel Tucker as Elphaba.

AN increase in Sunday performances of popular West End shows could provide a valuable boost for UK tourism this year, according to an expert. The Lion King has led the way in staging Sunday performances and recently other shows – including Jersey Boys and Legally Blonde – have followed in its footsteps, closing for a day in the week instead. And Superbreak’s sales director Ian Mounser said this shift is great for both the shows and for tourism in the capital, as it encourages visitors to extend their weekend breaks or to start their break on a Sunday and stay until Monday or Tuesday – which are traditionally quieter hotel nights. He said: “It makes a lot of sense to put on a Sunday performance. The Lion King has been doing it for 10 years and others such as Jersey Boys have started to follow. Priscilla is also opening on a Sunday from

the summer. “It allows people to be more flexible with their stays and also gives them the opportunity to take in two shows over a weekend – on Saturday night and then Sunday afternoon – which spreads the load as demand for Saturday performances is often very high. “For our leisure break customers, travelling say from Scotland, it broadens out their whole experience of London over greater period of time and gives agents the chance to earn extra revenue.” Ian said he predicts big things from the West End thoughout 2010 and is hoping for a good year. He added new shows such as Love Never Dies will be popular with theatregoers and as the sequel to Phantom of the Opera may also give that long running show an extra boost. He also said other popular shows, which are selling well for Superbreak include Mamma Mia, We Will Rock You and Oliver.

Andrew Gould, Adam Stott-Everett and Simon Warwick.

Ticket specialist strengthens its team

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THEATRE ticket specialists Group Line has strengthened its team with two new members of staff. Adam Stott-Everett has been brought in as head of group sales and Andrew Gould has joined the company as director of sales and contracting. Both previously worked for Seatem and Applause. Group Line managing director

Simon Warwick said: “This expansion should send out a positive message to all theatre ticket buyers. We are determined to continue creating an organisation that gives our customers the very best of everything relating to West End theatre. “We are a diverse company and this should be reflected by a wider product range.”


DESTINATIONCENTRESTAGE Award-winning musical Hairspray has embarked on a UK tour after closing in London’s West End. Following a two and a half year run at the Shaftesbury Theatre, which was seen by over 1m people, the show will now play in towns and cities up and down the country – including performances in Glasgow, Leeds and Manchester.

Box office hit extends its run RECORD-breaking play Enron has extended its run at the Noel Coward Theatre. Previously scheduled to close in May, the production will now continue to run after this date, with a new cast, until August. Inspired by real-life events and using music, dance and video, Enron explores one of the most infamous scandals in financial history. And since it opened in the West End in January 2010, the show has broken box office and attendance records at the Noel Coward Theatre.

London opening ARTHUR Miller’s All My Sons is opening in London in May – starring David Suchet and Zoe Wanamaker. It tells the story of Joe Keller – who is alleged to have supplied World War II fighter planes with defective engines, leading to the deaths of innocent pilots – a crime for which his business partner took the fall. One of Keller's sons, himself a pilot, is thought to have been killed in action. But his mother can't accept his death and equally can't accept that her dead son's fiancée has transferred her affections to her other son. And the confrontations that ensue lead to the uncovering of a world-shaking family secret. The play opens for previews at the Apollo Theatre on May 19.

All the Fun of the Fair will make its West End debut at London’s Garrick Theatre in April. Inspired by one of his most successful albums, the show is written by David Essex, who leads the cast as fun fair owner Levi Lee. The musical drama features a soundtrack of his most well-known songs which he re-wrote and arranged specifically for this production. The production is currently booking until September.

The Royal Shakespeare company is gearing up for a busy year – which includes the opening of the eagerly awaited new Royal Shakespeare Theatre. At the end of the year, the RSC will open its doors to the new £112.8m theatre, with first performances scheduled to take place early 2011.

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DESTINATIONSOUTHPORT ADVERTISER’S ANNOUNCEMENT

There’s something for everyone at Southport SOUTHPORT sits on one of the most beautiful stretches of coastline in the UK with miles of golden sand fringed by unspoilt dunes and pine woods. It’s a great place to visit either for a short break or day visit with something for everyone. There’s the second longest pier in the country, a traditional fairground, Splash World Water Park and even the British Lawnmower Museum. Only a couple of miles outside the town centre is Churchtown – mentioned in the Domesday Book and where Southport has its origins. Quaint thatched cottages, a village green and the Botanic Gardens, make the village one of the most popular destinations for visitors to the town. Lord Street is at the heart of the town centre and is widely regarded to be one of the most beautiful streets in Great Britain. At almost a mile long, the original Victorian canopies still cover many of the shop-fronts and both the Royal Arcade and Wayfarer’s Arcade tempt curious shoppers in to explore. There are gardens too, creating a continental atmosphere to sit and enjoy your surroundings. Cambridge Arcade will lead you

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through to the pedestrianised area of Chapel Street where you’ll not only find many high street favourites, but also Marble Place and Southport Station. If you’re looking for village style shopping, then Wesley Street and Market Street are just the ticket with a range of local traders. There’s also International Street Markets in May and December and a Farmers’ Market each month. There’s a fantastic events calendar in Southport, beginning in May with the Southport Food and Drink Festival and culminating in November with the Christmas

Parade. Victoria Park is the setting for both the Summer Classics and the Southport Flower Show and the seafront is the perfect backdrop for the Southport Air Show. Possibly the most colourful of Southport’s events, the British Musical Fireworks Championships, are held in King’s Gardens and take place over three nights. Southport is ideal for groups – it is one of the first recipients of the coach friendly accolade awarded by the Confederation of Passenger Transport – and there’s a whole list of incentives available for coach operators and group organisers.


DESTINATIONLIVERPOOL After a 2009 which saw Liverpool named in the top three UK city break destinations, great success as Capital of Culture in 2008 and a re-energised portfolio of attractions, accommodation and events, tourism bosses are hoping that 2010 will be just as good. Christina Eccles found out more.

Picture: The Mersey Partnership

Keeping the Mersey beat going LAST year, for the second time, Conde Nast Traveller magazine placed Liverpool just behind London and Edinburgh in its list of favourite UK cities. The city beat rivals including Bath, York and neighbouring Manchester to scoop third place in the prestigious poll – just one of many achievements over the last couple of years. But Liverpool has had to work hard to raise its profile in an increasingly competitive marketplace and against the challenges which the recession has brought to many tourist destinations. As European Capital of Culture in 2008, the city was revitalised with a number of extremely successful events and increased investment within the city. But most importantly, 2008 also left a legacy – new facilities such as the Echo Arena and convention

centre, an increased profile all over the world and a changed perception of what Liverpool has to offer to visitors. However, the challenge was to build on that and make sure that the offer was strong enough to keep visitors returning year on year – something which tourism bosses worked hard to achieve throughout 2009. The official tourist board for the Liverpool city region is The Mersey Partnership and its acting director of tourism Pam Wilsher told Destination UK why it was important to keep momentum going to ensure visitor numbers and investment in Liverpool remained buoyant. She explained: “We had a big year in 2008. Capital of Culture was fantastic in terms of the events we held and also the profile it gave to the city, but it also led to lots of new

Liverpool’s newest visitor attraction

HAVE you ever wondered what it feels like to hold a giant millipede? Or considered just how loud a hissing cockroach is? Well, this is your chance to find out. Liverpool’s newest visitor attraction, the BugWorld Experience, is a one of a kind attraction which will awaken visitors to the wonders of the insect world. It is the only place in Europe where you can see bugs such as Death Stalker Scorpions, Giant Centipedes, Assassin bugs and the stunning Gooty Ornamental Spider. Learn about these fascinating creatures on your amazing adventure through eight different zones, where you’ll face interactive games and challenges along the way. Packed with fascinating facts, interactive information stations and games and with knowledgeable presenters on hand throughout, young and old are guaranteed to have a fun-filled learning experience. And the best bit.... you get the chance to get your own hands on some creepy crawlies, if you dare. As an introductory offer, the BugWorld Experience is offering readers of Destination UK a massive 20 per cent off all group bookings booked before July 31 2010.

To take advantage of this offer, simply call 0151 708 4938 and quote ‘Destination UK’ or e-mail traveltrade@bugworldexperience.co.uk.

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developments such as the opening of our shopping centre Liverpool One. The profile of Liverpool is higher than it’s ever been and we have managed to sustain that interest. 2008 was always going to be a hard act to follow and in 2009, the recession kicked in. But we are pretty pleased with how things are going.” Plans for this year include working with the local airport to develop links with other cities and airlines and hosting an event in New York to draw attention to the American market. The city’s hotel sector is also holding up well, with weekend hotel occupancy in 2009 achieving 84 per cent – just slightly down from the 86 per cent seen in 2008. Marketing and media coverage plays an important role in the city’s success and although The Mersey Partnership doesn’t have

the budget for television advertising, it is keen to explore other ways to get the message out there. Pam added: “We have always had one of the most visited websites and we are completely redesigning it, so will be doing a big online campaign and creating further opportunities to do online and e-marketing. We have also been placing advertising in key publications – going for the high end, cultural visitor – and working with the travel trade. “All in all, these are challenging times but we are reasonably pleased. Our push on the leisure market has paid off and we are bucking the trend with what is happening elsewhere.” Other upcoming plans include promoting the new Museum of Liverpool – due to open in spring 2011 – and applying to be a UNESCO World City of Music.

Hotel In ideal location

THE Atlantic Tower by Thistle is a 4* hotel in an ideal location for groups or individuals visiting Liverpool. Situated on the waterfront, adjacent to the famous Liver Building and a five minute walk to the Echo Arena, it encompasses the true heart of Liverpool. You’ll find plenty of things to do in the area – including history, culture and shopping – and the Atlantic Tower is the ideal base from which to discover them. We're also just a short walk away from Liverpool icons the Liver Building, the new Liverpool One shopping district, Albert Dock and Liverpool Echo Arena.

Telephone: 0151 227 4444


DESTINATIONLIVERPOOL

Girls Aloud are among the acts to have performed at Liverpool’s Echo Arena since it opened in 2008.

Arena contributes £400m to Liverpool economy ONE of the biggest Capital of Culture legacies is ACC Liverpool, which opened its doors at the start of 2008. The arena and convention centre has hosted almost 700 events, contributing £400m to the local economy and bringing nearly 1.5m people to the city.

In 2009 alone, the waterfront venue welcomed 652,316 people through its doors. Highlights of the 2009 Echo Arena programme included performances from musical legends such as Tom Jones and Cliff Richard as well as current chart act Girls Aloud.

ACC Liverpool chief executive Bob Prattey said: "Our aim is to make sure that Liverpool is the best host city for any event or concert and that people come back in the future. “The whole of Merseyside benefits from these visitors. Hoteliers, restaurateurs and other tourist hotspots will have all

received an extra boost and it's important that we market Liverpool as a destination and work with other businesses around us." 2010's programme includes tours from Leona Lewis and Lady Gaga, alongside events such as the National Union of Teachers conference and the Liberal Democrat Party conference.

UK’s Festival Of Contemporary Art JOIN us for the sixth edition of the UK’s Festival of Contemporary Art. For 10 weeks every two years, the city of Liverpool is transformed into the most amazing living gallery of new art, showcasing the best contemporary artists from around the world. After attracting the most visitors yet in 2008, Liverpool Biennial 2010 will see a continued emphasis on commissioning the most ambitious and challenging new work offering the largest concentration of contemporary art anywhere in the UK. The sixth edition of Liverpool Biennial’s International Exhibition is Touched – consisting of around 40 new projects by leading and emerging international artists. Principally new commissions as well as several key works previously unseen in the UK , Touched will be presented across multiple venues: Tate Liverpool, the Bluecoat, FACT (Foundation for Art and Creative Technology), A Foundation and Open Eye Gallery, with half the exhibition sited in public spaces across the city. Touched will consist of new art that succeeds in affecting the viewer: art that moves us in mind, body and soul. Liverpool Biennial 2010 also includes – John Moore’s 25 International Contemporary Painting Prize, Bloomberg New Contemporaries and a series of complementary programmes including Liverpool Biennial’s year round work, such as Richard Wilson’s Turning the Place Over.

For further information visit www.biennial.com 28


DESTINATIONLIVERPOOL

Visitor economy soaring towards £2b LIVERPOOL’s visitor economy is on target to be a £2bn a year sector by 2020, according to new figures. The latest economic impact figures – tracking the success of Liverpool’s year as European Capital of Culture in 2008 – revealed visitor spend during the city’s year in the international spotlight rose from £1.4bn to £1.6bn. And in its Visitor Economy Strategy to 2020, The Mersey Partnership has identified further growth during the next decade to reach the £2bn milestone.

Chief executive Lorraine Rogers said: “These new figures not only illustrate the massive success of tourism in Liverpool in 2008 but also the importance of the industry to our local economy. “It’s encouraging that all of our region’s districts experienced a rise in the overall value of tourism in their areas. “The growth in visitor spend confirms that we’re on course to meet the ambitious targets set out in the City Region’s Visitor Economy Strategy to 2020.”

Festival has ‘touched’ thousands of people THE title of this year’s Liverpool Biennial International Festival of Contemporary Art will be ‘touched’ – with new art commissions announced in the spring. The festival is the largest visual arts event in the UK and the last event in 2008 attracted 975,000 visits and generated an economic impact of over £26m for the region. Liverpool Biennial is supported by the Northwest Regional Development Agency and the European Regional Development Fund.

NWDA chief executive Steven Broomhead said: “Liverpool Biennial has established itself as a truly international event and has already touched thousands of people over the past decade.

Over 500,000 people followed the Go Penguins trail around Liverpool over seven weeks, according to figures. The project was commissioned by Liverpool City Council as the finale to their Year of the Environment and formed part of the Winter's Trail programme – with messages about climate change playing a key part in the event. After the event, the penguins were auctioned off for charity – raising £40,000 for a number of good causes.

“We are delighted to be able to support the 2010 event, which will once again be a showcase for the city. “As well as bringing international talent to Liverpool, the Biennial also helps us to cement our reputation as a vibrant, culturally dynamic region on a world-wide stage.”

Shanghai celebration LIVERPOOL has hosted a special Chinese New Year party to celebrate the 10th anniversary of twinning with Shanghai. The twinning celebration was a traditional blessing ceremony to mark the 10th birthday of the largest Chinese Arch in any Chinatown outside of mainland China. The event also included a spectacular fire cracker display to welcome in the Year of the Tiger. Leader of Liverpool City Council coun Warren Bradley said: ‘’Liverpool’s Chinese New Year party is one of the most vibrant events in our cultural calendar and the 10th anniversary of our twinning with Shanghai is cause for extra celebration.”

New hotels spring up in city KEY hotel developments in the city in the last two years have seen additions from:  New Hilton Liverpool opened last July.  Novotel Liverpool Centre opened last November – the hotel has unique selling points like self-check-in, underwater music in the pool and TV dinners

in the restaurant.  A £4.5m expansion project to boutique Hope Street Hotel, which includes a striking glass and limestone frontage, further 41 bedrooms, including two duplex penthouses, and two rooftop function rooms with panoramic views.  Hard Days Night Hotel – the

world’s first Beatles-themed hotel.  Jurys Inn (Albert Dock).  Hampton by Hilton at Liverpool John Lennon Airport.  A surge in serviced apartments, including Staybridge Suites (Albert Dock) and Bridge Street Apartments (Liverpool ONE).

The Open news is hailed as fantastic ROYAL Liverpool Golf Club will host The Open Championship in 2014, it has been announced. It will be the 12th time Hoylake has hosted the event and it is estimated that The Open boosts the local economy by £70m every time it is played in the north west of England, Leader of Wirral Council Coun Steve Foulkes said: “This is fantastic news for Wirral. “We look forward to getting ready to welcome new visitors to the Peninsula as well as returning golf fans who enjoyed themselves so much with us four years ago. “The return of one of the world’s biggest sporting events to Royal Liverpool Golf Club is not only great for Wirral, but the whole of the North West. “We are absolutely committed to ensuring local residents, businesses and golf fans alike benefit from this fantastic opportunity once more.” 29


DESTINATIONUK INBOUND

Industry experts gave their thoughts on the main issues of the day at this year’s UKinbound Convention.

Political Panel Debate

Tobias Ellwood MP, conservative shadow minister for tourism, licensing and gambling: “I believe that getting someone into parliament who can speak up for tourism is a priority - there is a need for a tourism minister who can focus solely on the industry. “We also need to alter the structure of British tourism creating a more empowered Visit England to make sure we have a strong voice across the UK. “I think the Achilles heel of British tourism is local authorities - in some cases they turn their back on it, believing that there is no tangible benefit because there are no financial incentives. “Ongoing visa difficulties also mean we are missing out on growing markets – for example the Chinese and we need to work on reducing costs and addressing translation issues to improve this situation. Finally, it is important that we have recognised qualifications within the industry, as these lead to recognised improvements. If people can progress they will stay in the trade and feel valued.”

Ken Robinson, Tourism Alliance: “Our main concern is whether the next government is going to address the key issues in our industry and see that spending money on tourism is an investment, not a cost. “We are also worried about changes to RDAs - tourism is only one of their functions and if the government can’t introduce a system that gets us the investment we need then tourism is going to lose out badly. “Things are particularly difficult for us as an island nation. “The UK has been dropped from EU itineraries because costs and visas make it too difficult for us to be included. “People don’t stop going on holiday, they are just going somewhere else, so this, as well as the demonisation of air travel, are points that urgently need to be addressed.”

Digby Lord Jones of Birmingham, former director general of the CBI and former Minister of State for UK Trade and Investment: “This is a very important time for tourism. “I hope that whatever new government we end up with will bring in more expertise - we need people who understand what they are talking about - it would be great if we had a Minister for Tourism who had actually worked in the industry. “The country is facing big economic challenges and the tourism industry is at the forefront of the battle. “The industry needs a set of policies that enables it to succeed in the medium term, and this should be combined with a better understanding of education and business – upskilling employees so that a better service is provided across the board.”

Tourism must get recognition THE main message of the UKinbound Convention 2010 was that inbound tourism must get the recognition it deserves. Delegates at the event, held at York Racecourse, listened to a keynote speech from Digby Lord Jones of Birmingham, who said it was ‘ridiculous’ that ministers are expected to cover tourism as well as other briefs in their portfolios. He also urged any future government to ensure that tourism has representation at Cabinet level due to its significant role in creating jobs and wealth for the UK economy. Mary Rance, UK inbound chief executive said: “Ministers need to get out and about to understand the issues and take action to support tourism.” 30 The convention was attended by a record

number of delegates and the two-day programme covered a number of topics including industry preparations for the 2012 Olympics, opportunities in the growing tourism markets of China, India and Russia and the implication of regional tourism funding and promotion if the role of RDAs should change under a new government. Margaret Hodge, minister for culture and tourism, also attended and in her speech flagged up a commitment to keep pressing for the ‘Schengen Bolt On’ arrangement, which would allow easier processing of entry to the UK for some visitors. However, she also stressed that this must be balanced with the need to ensure that issues of UK national border security take precedence at all times.

Charles Prew, CEO Barcelo UK Hotels: “What does the hotel industry want? We want out industry to be taken seriously. “The key issue is employment and we also need help in creating an environment that makes businesses want to invest. “Companies need to be convinced that investing in tourism will do them good. “I believe that tourism needs its own National Skills Academy for travel and tourism. “This should focus on key training issues and this, combined with more funding to increase apprenticeships, would allow us to move forward.”

UKinbound Awards winners THE winners of the UKinbound Awards were also announced during the convention. Voted for by UKinbound members, awards were introduced for the first time this year for each member category as well as a special individual personal achievement award. The winners were: Tour operator of the year: Angela Shanley Associates Accommodation of the year: Hyatt Regency London – The Churchill Attraction of the year: Hampton Court Palace, Historic Royal Palaces Destination marketing company of the year: Visit Kent Service provider of the Year: Itinerary Planner Individual Personal Achievement Award: John Boon


DESTINATIONSHAKESPEARE COUNTRY As a leading tourist destination, Shakespeare Country is pushing boundaries in terms of promoting itself to visitors. Christina Eccles spoke to chief executive Phil Hackett who revealed plans for this year, how the region is gearing up for 2012 and why an online game proved an invaluable marketing tool ...

Ready to build on successes ACCORDING to Phil, 2009 was a ‘tale of two cities’. He told Destination UK that although areas such as leisure tourism, traffic to the website and ticket sales to attractions did fantastically well, some sectors such as business tourism, conferencing and overnight stays suffered. But he is confident the region will be able to build on 2009’s successes, while hopefully the predicted rise of the staycation will encourage visitors to come to Shakespeare Country and tempt them to stay longer. Phil and the team work hard to find new ways to market the region and while some destinations are successful at implementing several different campaigns in one year, they prefer to pick one solid theme and follow it through over a 12-month period. One of Shakespeare Country’s most successful PR campaigns was an online game, which was played by 22m people over about eight months and generated more than quarter of a million unique visitors to the website each

month. Partnerships have also been formed with other tourism organisations such as Merlin Entertainments – which operate one of the area’s flagship attractions Warwick Castle – the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust and the RSC and back in 2007, PR themes were listed to carry the region through to 2012. This year, the theme is performance, which ties in with the relaunch of the RSC Theatre later in the year and also with an international dance festival in nearby Birmingham. All the partners try to use the themes in their promotions in order to support each other and Phil said that this has been working very well. He explained: “We used to do quite a lot of individual direct mail campaigns, themed around various things but now we try and make these feed into that one story – for example this year our Valentine’s message had a performance element to it.” While Phil is staying optimistic for the months ahead, he admits it is hard to predict what the

Shakespeare’s birthplace future holds for tourism in the region. He added: “It is tricky to say. We have had three pretty bad years. In 2007 we had the floods, which was in the news all over the world and wiped out our summer trade. “The following year was the credit crunch and then last year was the recession, which has had a huge impact on the number of people travelling.

“It will be difficult but if you look back over the last decade, there is always something that will have an impact. But you have got to be flexible and active enough to get away from that.” Future plans include starting a PR push for 2012, which will explore the links between Stratford-upon-Avon and Stratford in East London, where the Olympics are being held.

New initiatives for 2010 THE Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, which manages the five Shakespeare Houses in Stratford-upon-Avon, has announced a number of exciting new initiatives for groups in 2010. ‘Dig for Shakespeare’ is a major archaeological excavation of the Bard’s final home at New Place where original foundations lie hidden from public view. This exciting new project runs until the autumn and the site will be fully accessible to the public via a purpose built viewing platform. 2010 also sees the return of Shakespeare Aloud – allowing groups to meet some of Shakespeare’s characters – plus a number of new themed tours will be available during the summer for groups of up to 100. Garden Tours enable groups to enjoy an escorted tour of the cottage garden at Anne Hathaway’s and the walled garden of Hall’s Croft. All about Shakespeare features a 45 minute illustrated talk at his birthplace and special interest talks offer three illustrated talks on materials from SBT’s Library and Archive Collections. Groups can benefit from a super saver discount of 30 per cent on standard admission charges when their visit is paid for and booked at least eight weeks in advance. SBT offers free admission for group leaders with 15 or more paying visitors and coach drivers receive free entry.

For more information contact 01789 201806. 31


DESTINATIONSHAKESPEARE COUNTRY

Visitors to Shakespeare Country will be able to take advantage of a new ticket offer which takes in two of the region’s best loved attractions plus overnight accommodation. The ‘Ultimate two Day Ticket’ offers groups the opportunity of visiting Warwick Castle and Blenheim , pictured above, for a discounted admission rate and also includes discounted

accommodation rates at a choice of three Macdonald hotels. Conference and event manager at Shakespeare Country Sian Smith said: “This unique tour has proved to be extremely popular enabling groups to enjoy the wonders of ‘Britain’s Greatest Palace and Britain’s Ultimate Castle’ with just one unique ticket.”

Shakespeare’s Birthplace has celebrated reaching a landmark of 25m visitors through its doors. The attraction has been welcoming visitors since the early 1800’s and is owned and cared for by the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust.  Pictured is the 25 millionth visitor Alison Smith with her family.

Event celebrates award-winning firms SHAKESPEARE Country celebrated the best of the region in a special event organised to congratulate businesses which had won awards in the past year. About 45 businesses attended the Best of Shakespeare Country event at The Legacy Falcon Hotel in Stratford-upon-Avon and attendees included winners from 2009 award schemes such as the Heart of England Excellence in Tourism Awards, Coventry and Warwickshire Food and Drink Awards, Lloyds TSB

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Godiva Awards and Quality at Heart. Chief executive of Shakespeare Country Phil Hackett said: “We are immensely proud that so many local businesses across the region achieved success in a number of 2009 awards. “All our winners are instrumental in delivering a truly high quality experience for our visitors and ensuring that Shakespeare Country continues to be a great place to visit, eat and stay.”

A range of romantic inspired ideas were on offer in Shakespeare Country to help visitors celebrate Valentine’s Day. Properties including Anne Hathaway’s Cottage, Stratford Butterfly Farm and Kenilworth Castle all encouraged couples to visit on the most romantic day of the year. The Heritage Motor Centre at Gaydon also ran Valentine themed craft activities for all the family and The Falstaff Experience held a Valentine’s ghost tour.


DESTINATIONNEWS

New campaign raising awareness of 10 cities By Christina Eccles VISITBRITAIN has launched a new campaign to encourage European travellers to visit key British cities. The organisation has joined force with British Airways and easyJet for the Cities campaign, which offers low cost flights from 12 countries across Europe to 10 UK cities. The campaign builds on the success of VisitBritain’s 2009 ‘See More Britain For Less’ campaign, which highlighted the affordability of travel to the country. Cities involved include Cardiff, Edinburgh, Glasgow, London and Birmingham and the campaign is designed to raise awareness of the huge variety of experiences and cultures these British cities can offer. Marketing director Laurence Bresh said: “The ‘Cities Campaign’ will not only help make visitors’ money go further but it raises awareness of 10 key cities around Britain which

offer great value for money and engaging cultural experiences. Whichever city the visitor is lucky enough to experience, they all combine an incredibly rich combination of centuries of history and heritage, rural landscapes with dynamic and vibrant atmospheres.” British Airways chief executive Willie Walsh added: “We are delighted to partner with VisitBritain to help raise the profile of Britain's cities to showcase their value and unique nature to our customers. "As a premium global airline offering great value and excellent reach across Europe, British Airways is in a perfect position to send out the message that the ‘Cities Campaign’ arrives at a good time for tourists, with the value of the pound sterling still low but the quality of destination in Britain as high as ever." A campaign micro-site also provides information, allowing users to access unique and quirky offers on their destination of choice.

Glasgow is one of the cities highlighted in the campaign.

Bard’s secrets revealed

Book Stonehenge tour and get cathedral trip free By Louise Cordell VISITORS enjoying Wiltshire’s popular Stonehenge Tour are about to get an even better deal after the tour extended to include Salisbury Cathedral. The buses can be picked up at a variety of points in the city including the bus and rail station and visitors can hop on and off as

they please. And it is hoped, adding new features to the tour will attract even more visitors to the area. Head of partnership for VisitWiltshire Alun Williams said: “Stonehenge is our most popular visitor attraction, receiving around 900,000 visitors each year.

“This new service will hopefully bring greater numbers of visitors to the Cathedral, the Close and other attractions in the centre of Salisbury. “It’s also great news for the shops, cafes and restaurants of Salisbury which will no doubt benefit from the additional visitors.”

WARWICK Castle has created its first ever Shakespeare themed tour. The new tour –Shakespeare’s Secret – will escort guests around the castle, revealing the secrets of Shakespeare, buried deep within Warwick’s history. It will be delivered by one of the castle’s unique storyteller guides. Trade sales and marketing manager Mark Anderson said: “Warwick Castle has some strong historical links with Shakespeare so we are delighted to finally offer a special interest tour that will explore those links and offer something special visitors to the area.”

Skye first KINLOCH Lodge hotel has been awarded a Michelin star for its food – the first to be given out in Skye. The hotel – which is owned by award winning cook and food writer Claire Macdonald and her husband – also retained its Red Grape award for its wine list. 33


DESTINATIONVISIT SCOTLAND EXPO PREVIEW

Working to improve environmental performance Travel trade show is Scottish through and through ... ORGANISED by Scotland’s national tourism organisation VisitScotland, Expo is Scotland’s only business to business event for the travel trade that is entirely Scottish. Exclusive to businesses with a Scottish tourism product, Expo 2010 takes place at the Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre in Glasgow on Wednesday 14 – Thursday 15 April. Now in its 30th year, VisitScotland Expo provides the perfect opportunity for the tourism industry to meet a wide

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range of Scottish tourism businesses face-to-face. Expo is very much a commercial show, with plenty of opportunities to make new contacts and discuss business opportunities. This year, over 200 suppliers of tourism products from all over Scotland are exhibiting at Expo, including hotels, transport operators, restaurants, and visitor attractions. In addition, many exhibitors are returning to Expo to capitalise on the huge return on investment trade fairs such as this offer.

VISITSCOTLAND has a commitment to working towards the Scottish Government’s stated aspiration to make Scotland the most economically, environmentally and socially sustainable destination in Europe by 2015. As part of this, the organisation will ensure that VisitScotland expo is as sustainable a show as possible. A spokesman said: “We are committed to continuing to improve the environmental performance of VisitScotland expo, minimising our environmental impact and making resource efficiency a core requirement of the management of the event and do this in a number of ways:

 We highlight green and sustainable tourism businesses at the show and introduce buyers to sustainable and environmentally aware experiences through FAM trips.  We will reduce waste and recycle or use recycled products where possible.  We will encourage group travel to expo where possible, minimising single passenger journeys.  We will source all food products at expo locally and organically to reduce food miles and promote the rich diversity and high quality of local produce.

Thistle Awards launch THE 2010 Scottish Thistle Awards, which are among the most sought after accolades in the tourism industry, will be launched at this year’s VisitScotland Expo. Tourism businesses from across the country will be encouraged to enter the awards, which celebrate

quality and innovation across a range of categories and are widely viewed as the official mark of excellence and professionalism, recognising and rewarding excellence in Scotland’s tourism industry in all areas and at all levels.


DESTINATIONVISITSCOTTISH EXPO PREVIEW

Welcoming new exhibitors NEW exhibitors at the event this year include:  British Gold Museum, St. Andrews  Renfrewshire Council  Access Coach Hire  Crieff Hydro  Destination Edinburgh Marketing Alliance  Destination Loch Ness  Drumlanrig Castle and Country Estate  Edinburgh Festivals  Frasers Hospitality  The Fusion Group  Glasgow RIB Cruises  Glynhill Conference and Leisure Hotel  Greshornish House Hotel  Highland Campervans  Highlands and Islands Tourism Awards  Holiday Southern Scotland  Hotel of the Future  Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park  Moness Resort  Mount Stuart  Nae Limits  Park Inn Hotel Aberdeen  Saville Audio Visual Ltd  Scotlodge – Fiddler's Highland Restaurant and Malt Whisky Bar  The Boat Hotel  University of Stirling  Utop Travel  VisitRenfrewshire  Wild Scotland

VisitScotland plans trip FOLLOWING the success of last year’s domestic coach operators’ familiarisation trip to Perthshire, Loch Lomond and Stirling,

VisitScotland (with the support of the Coach Tourism Council) will once again be organising a similar trip around Expo.

Fast and frequent sailings

NORTHLINK Ferries provide fast and frequent sailings to Orkney and Shetland. Purpose built for the routes, our state-of-the-art passenger ships offer high standards of comfort, with fully equipped en-suite cabins, bars, lounges and restaurants. We are delighted to offer the group market our most comprehensive range of services. Sailings are available in combination with land arrangements – we work in co-operation with local suppliers to provide the best services at competitive prices. With discounted group rates on travel and meals; low and off season deals and ferry only options, including Orkney and Shetland in your Scotland touring itinerary is even easier.

To contact us call 01856 852086 or email grouptours@northlinkferries.co.uk

Enjoy the best of both worlds MOST hotels would like to increase their occupancy but find it difficult to maximise availability without compromising their business' brand integrity by rate discounting. With over 17 years experience of selling distressed inventory for three, four and five star hotels, Hotel Connexions fully understands this dilemma and has the ideal solution – their hotel partners distressed inventory rates are only circulated to a closed database of regular consumers of hotel leisure breaks in the UK and Ireland. The advantages to Hotel Connexions' hotel business partners are obvious – they get the best of both worlds by being able to offer competitive rates in a controlled way to a closed group of customers yet avoid all of the pitfalls of compromising the hotel's brand image. There are other advantages, too – Hotel Connexions has a dedicated call centre which offers bespoke personal service to their customers and their brand new web site has been specifically designed to enhance the brands of their quality hotel partners' properties. Hotel partners can also benefit from different, flexible contract options which when combined with a dedicated account management service, Hotel Connexions are perfectly capable of tailoring their marketing to actively sell the unsold occupancy of their partners' hotels.

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DESTINATIONVISITSCOTLAND EXPO PREVIEW

Venues set for annual networking event THE annual Expo networking event will this year be held at Xscape and SNO!zone in Braehead. Supported by VisitRenfrewshire and local partners, this exciting evening will encompass a blend of traditional and contemporary Scottish elements to entertain guests. The evening will start with ferries taking guests from right outside the SECC for a trip down the River Clyde to Braehead, during which whisky cocktails will be served and there will be live Scottish music. After a visit to the Braehead Shopping Centre, accompanied by more lively traditional Scottish music, there will be more entertainment at Xscape and a VIP private party experience at SNO!zone including:  Complimentary drinks.  Scottish canapés.  A stunt show on the 200 metre real snow slope.  Complimentary dinner at a choice of one of ten restaurants.  A chance to try out activities ranging from sledging, climbing and bowling to adventure golf.  A live ceilidh band to dance the night away to midnight.

Take care of your group financially and safely

Five star from Highland

For more information contact: Telephone 01324 482093 Email info@fitzcharles.co.uk

For more information contact: Craig Irving, sales manager 0131 558 2344 www.highlandexplorertours.com

FITZCHARLES coaches are run by the third and fourth generation of the Fitzcharles family. We specialise in welcoming groups from all over the world and are a financially bonded tour operator. This is most important in the current economic climate. We are regulated by the FSA to sell travel insurance, unlike most of our competitors and we own all our coaches. If you decide to travel with us, we take care of your group financially and safely from start to finish – making all land and sea reservations on your behalf.

Celebrating 40 years of excellence in Scotland. HOTELBEDS accommodation and destination services in Scotland, one of the countries leading tour operators, celebrates its 40th business anniversary in 2010. Offering the largest and most diverse range of self drive programmes, we also assist with tailor made FIT programmes from budget to deluxe throughout Scotland. Our advanced online booking system gives real time availability at more then 500 Scottish properties and 1400 around the UK and Ireland. Our designated leisure group department deals with tailor made tours and offers scheduled departures in German, French, Spanish and Portuguese. Part of TUI Travel plc, Hotelbeds in an international company with local presence.

For more information contact: 0131 2263246 or visit www.hotelbeds.com 36

HIGHLAND Explorer Tours operates five star tours of Scotland, departing from Edinburgh. With local guides, guaranteed departures, Mercedes coaches and fantastic routes, they offer unforgettable experiences in Scotland. Unique to Highland Explorer Tours is the option of travelling on the famous Jacobite Steam Train on its three and five day trips – featured in Harry Potter and voted top rail journey in the world by Wanderlust Magazine in 2009.

The National Wallace Monument, Stirling A WORLD famous landmark, in a stunning location and packed with fascinating exhibits and displays. The National Wallace Monument stands outside the city of Stirling, overlooking the site of Sir William Wallace’s victory at The Battle of Stirling Bridge. Since 1869 it has told the story of the patriot and martyr, whose life ended with his cruel execution in 1305. Visitors can listen in on Wallace’s trial, see his famous battle sword, and enjoy events which include presentations by costumed actors during An Encounter with Wallace and The Battle of Stirling Bridge Anniversary.

For more information contact: Tel: (01786) 472140 E-mail:info@nationalwallacemonument.com


DESTINATIONNEWS

New Yorkers shown delights of London VISIT London’s Only in London campaign has hit the streets of New York – with the aim of attracting American tourists to the capital. Following on from the tourism agreement signed with NYC and Company last September, Visit London has placed its latest advertising on bus shelters from

Manhattan to the Bronx as part of the exchange of advertising space between the two cities. Visit London’s North American campaign will run in key east coast US cities and Vancouver and in addition to the bus shelters, campaign activity includes radio and regional print advertising, online activity and advertorials in glossy

magazines. The campaign also included outdoor media space during the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics, in order to leverage London’s host city status for 2012. Visit London marketing director Martine Ainsworth-Wells said: “We are delighted to see our tourism agreement with NYC and Company

realised. North America is our biggest international visitor market and it is important that we continue to proactively promote the capital. The Winter Games in Vancouver provide us an ideal opportunity to highlight our status as the host city for the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.”

£7.5m plans to boost city’s profile By Christina Eccles PLANS have been announced for the first phase of Chester’s Cathedral Quarter transformation – designed to boost its profile as an international tourist destination. It is hoped the £7.5m project – a result of combined efforts between the Cathedral, Cheshire West and Chester Council and Chester Renaissance – will attract an extra 130,000 visitors annually. Phase one will be centred on the medieval Cathedral and its immediate precincts, with designs for a new iconic entrance and visitor centre being developed. The initial stage of the scheme will also feature internal and external improvements designed to improve the Cathedral’s visitor appeal, including lighting, heating and a new terrace café. A new flexible stage will also provide the Cathedral – and city – with scope for sustaining a wider range of events capable of housing audiences ranging from 1,200 to 1,800. It will also open up areas of the building previously closed to visitors to provide viewing platforms with

stunning views of the Cathedral and city centre. Executive member, culture and recreation coun Richard Short said: “The Cathedral is one of the jewels of our rich heritage – but it is a jewel that deserves a better setting. “We are confident that this project will result in a major increase of visitors to the Cathedral and city, bringing considerable economic benefits to Chester and the whole region.” Chester Renaissance chief executive, Rita Waters added: “The Cathedral Quarter is a vital area of historic Chester and we are determined to enhance its potential in a way which will provide a perfect backcloth for a magnificent building. “This is a hugely exciting and unique opportunity for the city to show its support for its Cathedral which will continue to welcome and increase the many visitors it will bring into our city.” A planning application will be submitted in the spring and determination should take place by October, with completion of the first phase scheduled for March 2012.

Claire Stepney and the team at the Kings Hotel

Claire’s aiming to put hotel on the map THE Kings Hotel and restaurant in Christchurch has a new general manager, Claire Stepney. Claire has a wealth of experience from working in some of the most celebrated hotels in the South of England – including the five star Chewton Glen Hotel in Hampshire, Combe House Hotel in Devon and Summer Lodge Hotel in Dorset. Claire said: “There is no doubt that I have been fortunate to work

with some of the best hoteliers in the South of England and have learnt a huge amount during my career – but as general manager of The Kings I have one main ambition. “This is a superb small hotel in a landmark building within a romantic setting overlooking a beautiful castle. “It has so much potential waiting to be unlocked and I want to put it on the map.”

Bristol opens new centre A NEW tourist information centre has opened in the heart of Bristol. The centre is designed to meet the information needs of visitors and local people and will also house a unique drop-in

information point for the University of the West of England (UWE). It is located on Bristol’s historic Harbourside and has been completely refurbished to a bespoke design.

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DESTINATIONNEWS

Cumbria festival boosts tourism in the region By Christina Eccles THE organiser of a festival in Cumbria has revealed how his event has been successfully boosting tourism in the region. Gerard Richardson – organiser of the Whitehaven Festival – said that one of the biggest reasons why he set up the festival was to put Whitehaven on the map. And after 80,000 visitors flocked to the first Whitehaven Festival, he decided to make it a regular event – which grew steadily until a monster year in 2007 when over 300,000 people attended. Since then, organisers have been trying to contain the festival to about 120,000 visitors but the combination of events and activities on offer continues to attract large crowds. One of the festival’s biggest selling points is its location – as Whitehaven is situated by the sea and close to popular tourist attractions in the Lake District. And Gerard told Destination UK that the partnership between the event and the tourism industry keeps growing stronger as the benefits which it can bring to the local area are now more widely recognised. He said: “In the Lake District we have traded on hills and scenic

walks for too long. “There is now more joined up thinking about events but in the past they were seen as here today, gone tomorrow.” But Gerard added that those attitudes changed a few years

ago, when the foot and mouth outbreak hit the region and many events were cancelled. Because of its location, the festival was able to go ahead and brought in much needed visitors to the area – providing a valuable

boost to the local economy, which also pleased the tourist board. This year’s festival takes place in June and activities on offer for visitors include live music, street theatre and celebrity cookery demonstrations.

£500k boost for zoo BRITAIN’S biggest sealion enclosure will re-open at Blackpool Zoo this year, following a £500,000 investment. A complete overhaul of the pool and its surround began last year and it will re-open with its own beach and amphitheatre in time for Easter.

Major exhibition at Tate Liverpool

Harbour Hotels MD Mark Godfey and Jason Parry

Jason puts down anchor at hotel JASON Parry has been appointed as new general manager for The Salcombe Harbour Hotel. The re-opening at the end of March has been welcomed with great enthusiasm by the 38 local community, after the hotel

closed its doors in December 2008. Jason said: “We are fortunate to have a breathtaking location and coupled with the superb produce available right on our doorstep we have a winning

combination. “Our expectations are that guests who know and love the South Hams of Devon will return to the hotel and new guests, who have yet to experience Devon, will soon become regular visitors.”

TATE Liverpool is to host a major new exhibition, which brings together over 150 works by Picasso from all over the world. Picasso: Peace and Freedom will reveal a fascinating new insight into the artist’s life as a tireless political activist and campaigner for peace. The exhibition will run from May 21 to August 30.



Destination UK March/April 2010