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Issue 43 November/December £2.75

International trips to Yorkshire up 22%

UK’s image overseas ‘improved’ By Christina Eccles THE image of the UK overseas has improved significantly, according to figures, ahead of what will be a critical year for British tourism. The annual Anholt-GFK Roper Nation Brands Index showed notable improvements across a number of key indicators, which according to the index, position the country as the third most admired globally and one of the strongest and most well rounded nations in the world. The results reveal the UK is also one of the few countries to feature in the top six slots within each of the six brand measurements that the NBI analyses annually. Britain’s enhanced standing on the world stage has been boosted by respondents’ views on areas such as the appeal of the country’s historic landmarks and vibrant city life. It is also viewed as an interesting and exciting place for contemporary culture – with music, films, art, literature and sports all areas strongly associated with the British. Chief executive of VisitBritain Sandie Dawe said: “This year’s NBI report provides yet another insightful scorecard for the UK. It shows that

the overwhelming perception of Britain by overseas visitors is positive and that our image is improving significantly in many of the countries in which we operate around the world. “Particularly encouraging is the news that China and India – two vital markets offering long-term growth potential for inbound tourism – rank the UK very highly as an aspirational destination. It is our ambition to attract an additional four million overseas visitors over the next four years, and that will mean turning these positive perceptions into new arrivals. “All this underpins how important it is for VisitBritain to increase our efforts over the coming year if we are to continue to climb up the world rankings and make the most of the opportunities that lie ahead.” The report also highlighted areas for improvement, which include further educating visitors on Britain’s natural beauty and ensuring the destination provides a friendly welcome for international visitors attending for major events in 2012 such as the London Olympic and Paralympic Games and the Queen’s diamond jubilee.

Singing star Pixie Lott was among the performers at Blackpool’s big illuminations switch on, which attracted thousands of spectators. The lights were switched on by TV comedian Keith Lemon, with other famous faces appearing on the night including Olly Murs and Scouting for Girls. Picture: Helga Esteb /  For full story, see our Blackpool feature, Page 18

THE number of international trips taken to Yorkshire has grown by 22 per cent, according to figures, compared with only a three per cent increase nationally. The latest International Passenger Survey results for the second quarter of 2011 (April-June) shows that not only are more visitors from overseas coming to Yorkshire, they are also spending more. Chief executive of Welcome to Yorkshire Gary Verity said: “This is excellent news and validates the work we have been undertaking overseas to bring visitors to Yorkshire. It’s also a good indication that our county may well be the top destination outside of London for people visiting the UK both in the lead up to and during the 2012 Games.” The growth in visitor numbers and their spending follows extensive marketing and PR campaigns in various overseas markets, including Germany, France and Asia. Gary added: “Our activity overseas has been vital in growing the regional visitor economy and it’s clear our approach is working. We have some exciting projects in the pipeline for next year.”




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Entertainment news in Centrestage starting on Page 13 London

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South East

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Sweet talk of new attraction in York A NEW visitor attraction is set to open in York next spring celebrating the city’s chocolate and confectionary heritage. The project, which has the working title The Sweet History of York, is the brainchild of visitor attraction group Continuum. Work has already started on transforming a three storey building at the end of the world famous Shambles into an immersive experience telling the story of York’s confectionery trading and manufacturing past. When the doors open, visitors will be treated to the inside story of the

famous chocolates and sweets that started their lives in York. Favourites expected to have a starring role include Kit Kat and Terry’s Chocolate Orange, as well as a behind-the-scenes look into the lives of the people who concocted these chocolate creations from the 19th to the 21st century. Chief executive of Continuum Juliana Delaney said: “York has had chocolate and confectionery at its heart for over 150 years. This is a tale as important as any to that of York and the UK’s industrial and cultural heritage, yet it remains untold until now.

“We are very much looking forward to bringing the story to life and have already received fantastic support for the project from the City Council, Science City York, several of the city’s biggest companies, Visit York and Welcome to Yorkshire. “Reports produced by the Council call for additions to the tourism offer in York and we hope to add value to the fantastic visitor experience the city already offers and give visitors a reason to come back to Yorkshire.

Andrew Harrod group editor 01226 734639 Christina Eccles reporter 01226 734463 Dominic Musgrave reporter 01226 734407

PRODUCTION Judith Halkerston – group deputy editor – Stewart Holt – studio manager – Laura Blackburn – graphic designer ADVERTISING Andrew Loades assistant product manager 01226 734482 Tony Barry sales and marketing director 01226 734605/01226 734333 CIRCULATION Kelly Tarff 01226 734695 Fax: 01226 734477


“We are delighted to have been given the opportunity to deliver!”

London named UK’s favourite city LONDON has been named as the UK’s favourite city by readers of The Telegraph. The capital came top in the publication’s annual travel awards, following a poll of

23,000 readers who were asked about their favourite destinations and companies. Gordon Innes, CEO of London and Partners, the capital’s promotional organisation, said:

“London is a truly world class city and we are delighted that the Telegraph readers have recognised how much there is to offer, whether you have been once, twice or twenty times

to the capital. 2012 is an incredibly exciting year for the capital, and there is so much to see and do before next summer, that there hasn’t been a better time to visit.”





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Brochure focuses on holiday highlights SOUTH Lakeland Parks has created a new brochure which focuses on guests’ personal and emotional holiday highlights. As part of a campaign to get customers to think about the emotional connections that make them choose the ideal holiday, the brochure focuses on real customers, with holiday experiences from guests shared throughout. The accompanying website has also been designed to focus on emotions and here guests can upload their perfect holiday moments via pictures and stories for others to read. Group marketing manager Caroline Farrer said: “We wanted to get back to basics in terms of why people will pick up and read our holiday brochure. “We are continually receiving feedback about how much people love their holidays and how they enjoy sharing that experience via websites like Facebook and Twitter. “We are offering our visitors an opportunity to tell their own stories about their holidays at our parks and hopefully encourage likeminded people to come and stay and see for themselves.

Registrations open for travel show


ONLINE registrations are now open for the first South West Group Travel Show, which has already attracted almost 40 exhibitors keen to showcase their offerings to the travel trade. The new, free entry show will be held on Saturday January 14 at interactive science centre AtBristol, organised by Tourism South East and Group Travel Organiser. Travel trade manager at Tourism South East, Elaine Pearce said: “We are very pleased with the high level of support for the first South West Group Travel Show. “There is a wide cross-section of exhibitors from smaller, lesser known attractions to larger organisations all keen to talk to group organisers. “This first show is set to be a huge success and we look forward to building on it for future years.” Exhibitors who have already booked stands include Beaulieu, Cotswold Wildlife Park, the National Maritime Museum Cornwall and Powderham Castle.

A Hogmanay prize money can’t buy ... ONE lucky visitor to Edinburgh’s Hogmanay celebrations will be given the chance to start 2012 with a bang, thanks to a moneycan’t-buy competition. VisitScotland, Edinburgh’s Hogmanay and Festivals Edinburgh have teamed up to give the winner a once-in-alifetime opportunity to kick off the city’s firework display and see the New Year in in style. The competition, which has been promoted on VisitScotland’s UK and Ireland Surprise Yourself website, the European Cities (Europe) and Come to Scotland (North America) sites is designed to tell the world about the celebrations going on in the city throughout the Hogmanay period. The prize also includes travel to

and from Edinburgh, a three-night stay at the four-star Apex Waterloo Place hotel and three day Edinburgh Pass. VisitScotland’s chairman Mike Cantlay said: “This really is the chance of a lifetime. The Hogmanay celebrations are a vitally important time for Scotland with the world’s eyes cast on Edinburgh for that big moment at midnight. For someone to say that they started the world’s biggest party off, it really doesn’t get any better than that.” Edinburgh’s Hogmanay artistic director Pete Irvine added: “The opportunity for someone to travel to the ‘Home of Hogmanay’ to start our world famous fireworks is incredibly exciting and will be an experience they will never

forget. The Midnight Fireworks is broadcast globally to an audience of over one billion people and to say that you ‘pushed the button’ that started celebrations around the world will be unforgettable.” Edinburgh’s Hogmanay is a key part of Scotland’s tourism calendar, and was worth more than £32m to the Scottish economy last year, with 132,000 people coming to Edinburgh over the three day celebrations. The night will also mark the start of the Year of Creative Scotland 2012 – the third in a series of focus years leading up to Homecoming 2014, acting as a year-long celebration of Scottish culture and creativity through events and initiatives around the country.

Venue earns recognition

East Lodge deputy managing director Iain Hardman with his wife Carly.

A HOTEL and restaurant in the Peak District has renewed its status as an AA Inspectors’ Choice Red Star top hotel. Rowsley’s hotel and restaurant East Lodge was recognised at a prestigious annual awards ceremony in London presented by Sophie Raworth. Deputy managing director Iain Hardman said: “It is a great honour and achievement to have been awarded the AA Red Stars once again and to receive them at such an amazing event makes it even more special. Our success is a team effort and a credit to the hard work of all our staff. Receiving the accolade for the fifth year confirms that our team at East Lodge is continuing to deliver an outstanding overall guest experience that has helped to give our hotel and restaurant the national recognition it deserves.”




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Campaign aims to boost value of tourism By Christina Eccles THE Peak District and Derbyshire is to benefit from a major three-year campaign to boost the economic value of tourism and create more jobs. The area is one of a number of key tourism destinations set to share in national tourist board VisitEngland’s successful bid for funding from the Government’s Regional Growth Fund. The money will be spent on a Growing Tourism Locally campaign, whose main focus will be to inspire Britons to spend more short breaks and holidays at home and increase the number of jobs in the tourism sector. Chief executive of Visit Peak District and Derbyshire David James said: “This is excellent news as we pursue our quest to support VisitEngland initiatives to fully exploit tourism’s huge potential to help rejuvenate Britain’s economy, support local tourism businesses and create employment. “We have been working closely with the national tourist board to maximise the industry’s role in creating and sustaining vibrant and viable conditions to promote current and future prosperity for all. “This welcome announcement means that we will be able to consolidate and build on the solid foundations we have built over the past six years – including a huge return on investment on our marketing campaigns in 2010. “We look forward to continuing to work in partnership with VisitEngland over the next three years to make

The grounds of The Bowes Museum at Barnard Castle will be transformed into a winter wonderland for the return of the annual Christmas market on December 18. Features at the event will include real reindeer, over 80 festive stalls and a Santa’s grotto for younger visitors.

Brand takes award for fourth year David James the Growing Tourism Locally initiative a success – locally, regionally and nationally.” Other destinations to benefit from the campaign include Bath, Birmingham, Cumbria, Manchester, Merseyside, Newcastle and Nottinghamshire. The money will be spent on designing and implementing local campaigns with partner destinations and on wider thematic campaigns focusing on countryside, heritage, coastal and business tourism, from 2012 through to 2015. VisitEngland’s chief executive James Berresford added: “This is a huge boost for tourism in England and acknowledgment of the value of our industry to England’s economy. We will be working in partnership with the Peak District to facilitate growth at a local level.”

Cabin crew from three leading airlines were joined by models on a runway with a difference to unveil plans for retail festival Leeds Loves Shopping. The indoor runway was created by festival organiser Marketing Leeds to promote the event, which celebrates the vibrancy of the city’s retail offering throughout October.  Picture: Emma Holliday and James Broughton of Leeds Bradford Airport join the Ryanair, and bmi Regional models and cabin crew with Capital FM’s JoJo.

THE UK’s biggest budget hotel brand, Premier Inn, has been voted the leading economy hotel brand for the fourth year running. The JD Power European Economy Hotel Guest Satisfaction Survey examined the overall satisfaction of European hotel guests based on seven measures. Premier Inn performed well in the areas of reservations; checkin/check-out; guest room; food

and beverage; hotel facilities; costs and fees. Sales and marketing director for Whitbread Hotels and Restaurants Gerard Tempest said: “Receiving this award is a testament to the hard work of our teams and their commitment to ensuring that every guest has a great stay with us. Premier Inn is absolutely delighted to receive this award for the fourth consecutive year.”





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Olympians visit Wiltshire as part of American campaign OLYMPIC gold medallist Heather Mitts has visited Wiltshire as part of a campaign to encourage American tourists to explore more of the UK while they are here for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. VisitWiltshire linked up with VisitBritain and the U.S. Olympic Committee to host the visit where seven American Olympic and Paralympic champions toured the UK – with Heather visiting Wiltshire landmark Stonehenge. Chief executive of VisitWiltshire David Andrews said: “Stonehenge is one of the most recognised and iconic attractions in the UK and we were delighted to be able to welcome Heather and her team mates. I’m sure it will act as a great driver for American tourists to Stonehenge and indeed other parts of Wiltshire. It’s also great promotion for visits into the stone circle at

Stonehenge, as I’m sure after seeing Heather getting up close to the magnificent stones, everyone will want to book one of these special after hours sessions.” English Heritage looks after Stonehenge on behalf of the nation and Peter Carson, head of Stonehenge at English Heritage, added: “London’s winning bid to host the 2012 Olympic Games stressed the rich heritage across the country and English Heritage was therefore delighted to welcome the USA Olympics Team to Stonehenge, one of the world’s most iconic ancient monuments. Both this visit and the Games are a fantastic opportunity to show America the special historic places that are waiting to be discovered in Wiltshire and around the country.” During the months leading up to the Games, VisitWiltshire will be

working with VisitBritain to maximise opportunities to

promote the county to international visitors.

Cumbrian group secures funding for improvements


Jim Gordon has been promoted to managing director at Legacy Hotels and Resorts as its portfolio continues to grow. Jim, who was previously group finance director, now overseas additional areas within the company, with the property, health and safety and human resource teams now reporting directly to him. He said: “We want to prepare the

business for the next stage of growth. Our turnover has grown from under £1m to £1.5m in the last financial year and our next goal is to break through the £2m barrier next year. “In terms of numbers we have 12 hotels under full operation and management contracts as well as 19 associate hotels and our target is to reach 18 fully managed hotels within the next year.”

A GROUP of Cumbrian accommodation providers have benefited from funding worth over £1.4m to make improvements to their properties. 10 providers from across the county have received money from the Rural Northwest Tourism Connect Programme, which is designed to raise business performance and drive up accommodation standards in the region. The scheme provides grants of between £25,000 and £60,000 to serviced accommodation businesses as part of a drive to boost the quality of visitor accommodation in the county. Businesses have been assisted through the use of professional designers, environmental or business planning advice, encouraging training, marketing and ICT development, bringing together a ‘whole business’ approach, with economic and environmental sustainability the underlying objective. The properties that have benefitted are:  Applegarth Villa, Windermere  Broadoaks Country House, Troutbeck  Cedar Manor Hotel, Windermere

 Cottage in the Wood, Braithwaite  Gosforth Hall Inn, Gosforth  Hawksmoor Guest House, Windermere  Hill Crest Country Guest House, Newby Bridge  Irton Hall Guest Accommodation, Holmrook  Rosemount Guest House, Windermere  Woolpack Inn, Eskdale Managing director of Cumbria Tourism Ian Stephens said: “The Rural Northwest Tourism Connect scheme is highly successful and has already helped a number of our accommodation providers to raise their standards. This is particularly important as constant improvement ensures that we, as the UK’s top visitor destination, continue to compete at a world class level. By investing we can ensure that we constantly improve and enhance the visitor experience and thereby maintain our position as one of the top destinations of choice in the UK.’’ Cumbria Tourism is still accepting applications and is particularly keen to hear from businesses on the Solway Coast, in Carlisle’s rural districts and the Eden Valley.

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DESTINATIONLONDON Hyde Park’s Winter Wonderland is celebrating its fifth birthday by expanding the range of entertainment on offer to visitors. The attraction’s popular ice rink has been transformed with 108,000 pea-lights which will illuminate the ice at night. Other favourite attractions making a return include the iconic Giant Observation Wheel, the Angels Christmas Market and Zippos Circus. There will also be more cafes, bars and restaurants on offer as well as three new rides in the Alpine Adventure area.

Visitor numbers up VISITOR numbers to London in the second quarter of 2011 were up over 12 per cent year on year, figures have shown. Figures from the International Passenger Survey revealed London welcomed 4.03m visitors from April to June – with visits from the capital’s biggest inbound market, North America, up by 8.6 per cent and from Europe 10.4 per cent. CEO of London and Partners Gordon Innes said: “We had lots to celebrate in London during this quarter, notably key one off events such as the Royal Wedding, and UEFA Champions League which both attracted hundreds of thousands visitors to the capital. Wimbledon, Chelsea Flower Show and other annual events can also be attributed to this impressive upturn. We look forward to seeing this upward trend continue for the rest of the year.”





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Four new London additions to Guide

Musical on the move

SINGIN’ in the Rain is to transfer to London’s Palace Theatre following a critically acclaimed, sellout run at Chichester Festival Theatre. Jonathan Church’s production, with choreography by Andrew Wright, is based on the classic

1952 MGM film and produced in the West End by Stage Entertainment UK and Chichester Festival Theatre. The show will open on February 15 with a cast led by Adam Cooper, Daniel Crossley, Scarlett Strallen and Katherine Kingsley.

Special Christmas package plan A LONDON hotel has created a special Christmas package for visitors which celebrates its partnership with a top festive attraction.

The Jumeirah Lowndes Hotel is the official hotel for the Natural History Museum’s ice rink and has launched Spirit of Christmas to combine a stay at the property with an ice skating trip.

Guests who book the package will also be treated to a bespoke candle making course and a winter warmer cocktail from the hotel’s newly opened bar and kitchen.

LONDON’S restaurant scene is going from strength to strength, with the capital now having 55 Michelin starred restaurants, according to the latest Michelin Guide. This year, four new restaurants have joined the prestigious list of Michelin starred eateries including Dinner by Heston Blumenthal and Pollen Street Social by chef Jason Atherton. The city now has two restaurants with three stars, seven with two stars and 46 restaurants with one star.

New restaurant A RESTAURANT is set to open in London this December which will transport diners on a journey to Russia. Mari Vanna will be situated in the heart of Knightsbridge and will offer Russian dishes with influences from Armenia, Georgia and Uzbekistan. Launched originally in St Petersburg, where it’s said that a mythical woman named Mari Vanna welcomed guests and travellers into her kitchen for home cooked dishes, there are sister restaurants in Moscow, St Petersburg and New York.

Palace in bloom for Mother’s Day THE beauty of flowers in the King's apartments await groups this Mother’s Day weekend March 16-18 at Hampton Court Palace. The 17th century abode of William III sets the scene for Florimania next spring with flamboyant floral creations displayed in the finest and most important Baroque state apartments in the world. The NAFAS (National Association of Flower Arrangement Societies), volunteers will offer flower arranging demonstrations throughout the weekend. This popular event over Mothering

Sunday weekend, March 16-18 2012 is included in admission to give your groups a great value day out. After enjoying the flowers inside the palace, step outside where there are over 60 acres of glorious gardens to explore with popular features such as the maze and the great vine. Why not rest a while and treat yourself to the scrumptious delights in the Tiltyard café where cream teas and light lunches are served daily.





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The Isle of Wight and the Cotswolds are two of the region’s areas of outstanding natural beauty.

Campaign celebrates protected landscapes A NEW sustainable tourism campaign has been launched which urges visitors to explore the landscapes of South East England. Our Land unites and celebrates the nine protected landscapes of the region – the first time such a collaboration has been created – in a new central tourism website. More than a third of the South East is officially classified as protected landscape – with two National Parks and seven Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty – and visitors can now use the site to find and book their next holiday and view suggested itineraries which take in

the best sites. Local businesses can also sign up to the scheme to benefit from free or discounted inclusion on the website, support developing their interaction with the landscape and the promotional materials. To qualify as partners, businesses must agree to the ‘Our Land Promise’ to offer authentic experiences that celebrate the cultural and natural history of the region and demonstrate to visitors their commitment to the environment. The website is hosted by and MD

Justin Francis said: "We have some of the most diverse landscapes on our doorstep but too many are unaware of the riches that can be less than an hour away by bus, bike or train. Our aim is to reconnect people that live in the South East with our shared heritage to ensure it is enjoyed, whilst being conserved for centuries to come.” CEO of Visit England James Berresford added: "Within the Strategic Framework for English Tourism the Rural Tourism Action Plan aims to significantly increase the economic benefits of tourism to local communities, and the Wise

Growth Action Plan embeds the principles of balancing growth with sustainability across the industry. Our Land is a very good example of putting these strategic plans in to action. In time I hope it will develop beyond the South East." As well as working with local tourism businesses, Our Land will collaborate with membership organisations, transport providers and the media to promote the range of visitor attractions on offer in the protected landscapes. The scheme has been made possible thanks to a £1m grant from the Rural Development Programme for England.

Prizes to be won at Excursions 2012


PRE-register and come along to Excursions 2012, the UK’s premier one-day group travel show at Alexandra Palace, North London on Saturday January 28, and you will be entered into a free prize draw to win one of the many exciting prizes offered by exhibitors. These include a rare opportunity for the winner and four guests to pull the lever that raises London’s famous Tower Bridge and a two night dinner, B&B break for two with

Brook Hotels worth £470. Several attractions are offering special tours with refreshments including London’s Shakespeare’s Globe, Portsmouth’s Spinnaker Tower and Waddesdon Manor, near Aylesbury. The full list can be viewed online. The number of exhibitors at the free entry show is expected to be over 250 including attractions, stately homes, gardens, destinations, accommodation providers and much more.

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Surprise Yourself partnership is formed ... NATIONAL Museums Scotland has successfully teamed up with VisitScotland as part of the tourism organisation’s Surprise Yourself campaign. The partnership, which has been running since the end of August, has already seen nearly a million people from across the UK and Ireland view information through joint marketing materials and the Surprise Yourself website, with millions more people expected to see further information over the coming months. Chief executive of VisitScotland Malcolm Roughead said: “Anyone who steps inside the magnificently refurbished museum will immediately be struck by the fantastic experience on offer. “The partnership between VisitScotland and The National Museum of Scotland as part of our Surprise Yourself campaign will give the chance for millions of people to be inspired to see one of Scotland’s newest and best visitor attractions.”

Edinburgh return for trade show SCOTLAND’S biggest tourism trade show is set to return to Edinburgh after a five-year absence – potentially generating over £1.7m for the city’s economy. VisitScotland expo, which will see around 230 tourism businesses showcase their products to tour operators from all over the world, will come to the Royal Highland Centre, Edinburgh, on April 25 and 26 next year. VisitScotland chairman Mike Cantlay said: “We are delighted to be bringing Scotland’s flagship business-to-business travel trade show back to Edinburgh. Expo 2011, which took place in Aberdeen in April, proved a fantastic showcase for the whole of Scotland, as buyers from the likes of the USA, Canada and Europe, as well as emerging markets such as India and Russia, sought to add Scotland to their tour itineraries. “Every exhibitor I spoke to while in Aberdeen said that they made excellent contacts from both the international and UK markets. The value of expo is clear: the average potential value of business as a result of attending Expo as an exhibitor is £28,000, with some businesses quoting values as high as £100,000.” Last time VisitScotland expo was held in Edinburgh, in 2007, more than 1,000 people descended on the Royal Highland 12 Centre.

New regional format is rolled out for the Thistle awards THE format of VisitScotland’s Scottish Thistle Awards is changing – following widespread consultation with the tourism industry. The changes include creating a new regional format – which recognises tourism excellence across the country – delivering a year-round programme of activity and revamping the final event format. VisitScotland will now run a programme of four localised Scottish Thistle Award celebrations which will take place between April and May 2012. These events will see local tourism businesses compete in 12 categories, winning the chance to move forward to the main national event in November 2012.

The regional award areas will be: North East, South/Central East, South/Central West with the winners of each progressing to represent the region at the final awards ceremony. The awards will also be working with the already successful Highlands and Islands’ Tourism Awards with their finalists automatically progressing to represent the region at the final and going forward. Chief executive of VisitScotland Malcolm Roughead said: “Since 1992 the Scottish Thistle Awards have led the way in terms of recognising the brilliant tourism organisations and businesses that this country has to offer. The new format will allow us to extend this further, reaching all regions in

Scotland, which will not only allow us to recognise those who are making a real difference, but also to unlock the massive potential in others.” Charlie Marshall, business development manager at previous award winner, the Scottish Seabird Centre, added: “We welcome the change in format. “Not only will it allow the awards to engage with all regions of Scotland, it also ensures that that the prestige of the awards is enhanced. “The Scottish Thistle Awards recognise excellence within the tourism industry and this move will allow more people than ever to get involved.”

Lucrative boost for Highlands tourism TOURISM in the Highlands could be given a lucrative boost following a visit from Chinese officials looking to promote the area in their country. A delegation of six high ranking politicians from Benxi made a special request to see the area after being visited by

a group of tourism representatives from Loch Ness and Inverness. Since meeting in 2008, the two regions have been in close contact, signing a groundbreaking co-promotion tourism agreement. The initiative has the potential

to attract more visitors to travel to the Highlands from China both as part of groups or as individuals, bringing a big benefit to the local economy with the average Chinese holiday spend believed to be in the region of £5,000.

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Nun on the run is fun all the way FROM producers Whoopi Goldberg and Stage Entertainment (Hairspray, High School Musical), the five times Tony nominated West End and Broadway hit Sister Act is embarking on a UKwide tour. When disco diva Deloris Van Cartier witnesses a murder, she is put into protective custody in the one place the cops are sure she won’t be found – a convent! Disguised as a nun she quickly finds fans amongst her fellow ‘sisters’ but makes the wrong impression on the convent’s strict Mother Superior. But when she turns her attention to the church’s off-key choir, helping the nuns to find their true voices and breathing new life into the rundown neighbourhood, her cover could be blown for good. With the gang giving chase, is time running out for Deloris? Or have they underestimated the power of her new found Sisterhood? Based on the smash hit movie of the same name, this fabulous, family-friendly, feel-good show is packed with songs inspired by Motown, funk, soul and disco. More than a million people saw Sister Act at the London Palladium and now, as the habit hits the road in this multi-million pound production, you too can see why musical audiences fell in love with the funniest and funkiest nun on the run, and her heavenly sequinned sisters!

Sisters on the move ... THE smash hit musical, Sister Act has just embarked on a regional tour of the UK, bringing the soulful sisterhood to key cities across the country. This devine musical comedy is a fun night out for all and agents can now promote short breaks in great cities such as Bristol, Dublin, Cardiff and Birmingham with Superbreak which comibine overnight accommoation with tickets to the show. So remember, theatre breaks are not just about London – there are plenty on offer around the UK. The show tells the story of disco diva Deloris Van Cartier, who when she witnesses a murder is put in protective custody in the one place cops are sure she won't be found – 14 a convent!

Disguised as a nun, she finds herself at odds with both the rigid lifestyle and an uptight Mother Superior. Using her unique disco moves and singing talent to inspire the choir, Deloris breathes new life into the church and community, but in doing so blows her cover. Soon the gang are giving chase, only to find themselves up against Deloris and the power of her new found Sister Hood. The show recreates the magic of the film on stage with a raft of toe-tapping numbers and fast-paced, funny action.

For more information or to book call Superbreak on 0871 222 3055 or log onto

Susan Boyle and Elaine C Smith

Susan to join cast of I Dreamed a Dream SINGING sensation Susan Boyle will be joining the cast of I Dreamed a Dream, the musical based on her life story, which will be touring theatres across the UK and Ireland next year. Taking on the lead role of Susan will be Elaine C Smith, best known for her portrayal of Mary Doll in Rab C Nesbitt on BBC television. Producer Michael Harrison said:

“Having Susan join the cast to perform the finale of her musical is amazing for both ourselves and audiences across the UK and Ireland. Susan continues to defy the odds and surprise the world with her record-breaking albums. “Now she can add a musical to her list of achievements and I can't wait to see the audience reaction when she walks on stage.”




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Two of Portsmouth’s favourite attractions have teamed up to offer groups a new pantomime experience this Christmas. The Spinnaker Tower and The King’s Theatre have teamed up to offer groups of 15 or more the chance to combine a trip up the 170m tower followed by an enchanting performance of Cinderella, starring Tracy Shaw of Coronation Street fame and Marcus Patrick.

New play celebrates Bible anniversary THE Royal Shakespeare Company is celebrating the 400th anniversary of the making of the King James Bible with a new play by acclaimed playwright David Edgar this autumn. Written on the Heart tells the funny and moving story of translators William Tyndale and Lancelot Andrewes, both working to the same end but in very different circumstances 80 years apart. Directed by RSC chief associate director Gregory Doran, whose production of Cardenio, Shakespeare’s ‘lost play’ reimagined played in the Swan Theatre this summer, Written on the Heart was written for the RSC by David Edgar, whose work for the Company includes Maydays and Pentecost. Lancelot Andrewes is played by Oliver Ford Davies, who appeared most recently with the RSC as Polonius in the 2008 production of Hamlet. Joining him to play William Tyndale is Stephen Boxer, who played the role of Petruchio in the 2008 production of The Taming of the Shrew. Written on the Heart plays at the Swan Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon, until March 10 2012 and tickets

start from just £14 – book online at or call the RSC Ticket Hotline on 0844 800 1110.


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Legally Blonde Pictures: Johan Persson

Another great year ... Legally Blonde ENCORE Tickets revealed its biggest ever offering to the trade at this year’s World Travel Market. To celebrate another successful year, which saw larger ticket allocations and more special rates for groups, the company incorporated a performance from hit stage show Rock of Ages into its annual WTM party. Managing director John Wales said: “2011 has been another great year for Encore Tickets. Looking forward, 2012 brings the excitement of many great new shows alongside the challenge of the Olympic period. We are working closely with the producers of all the West End shows to ensure our customers get the best seats and rates across the year to ensure they enjoy a successful 2012.”

heads for Devon ... HIT musical Legally Blonde will be making its only Devon stop at Torquay’s Princess Theatre later this month. The cast is led by Faye Brookes, Iwan Lewis and Claire Sweeney and the UK tour follows on from the show’s success in the West End and on Broadway. Princess Theatre manager Wendy Bennett said: “Legally Blonde is undoubtedly the most exciting event this year

at the Princess Theatre and we can’t wait for it to arrive. Never before has the Princess played host to something so prestigious and we feel so lucky to be the only venue in Devon and Cornwall to receive this fantastic show on its first ever UK tour. “There will be a glorious glow of pink around the Princess this November for what is guaranteed to be a Ellesational two weeks.”

Matilda set to take theatre world by storm THIS November The Royal Shakespeare Company’s (RSC) production of Roald Dahl’s Matilda The Musical opens at the Cambridge Theatre in London’s West End. Following a hugely successful run at the RSC in Stratford-Upon-Avon where it played to sold out audiences, Matilda The Musical is sure to become a huge success in London. Short break specialist, Superbreak has packages on sale that combine overnight accommodation at a range of hotels with tickets to see the show. Roald Dahl’s much-loved story about a girl with extraordinary powers bursts into life on stage in this brand new musical version by Dennis Kelly and award-winning musician and comedian Tim Minchin. Matilda Wormwood’s parents think she is a nuisance and she thinks, quite rightly, they are only interested in watching telly. Life is not much better at school, where the monstrous headmistress Miss Trunchbull terrifies both students and teachers alike. Then one day Matilda discovers she has a very special power and decides it's time the grown-ups were taught a lesson. Be warned, the children are revolting … Be reassured, adults will love this show even more than the children The entire creative team will reassemble to create the London

production and many adult cast members from the original production will reprise their roles at the Cambridge Theatre. In 1996 the fantastic story of Matilda was adapted into a film and now the stage adaptation is taking the theatre world by storm. The Musical was awarded the Peter Heppie Award for Best Musical at The Critics Circle Award.

Sample packages include: Three star package – from £131pp staying one night b/b at the three star President Hotel and including a top priced ticket to the show. Valid any day of the week until the end of December. Based on two sharing. Four Star package – from £160pp staying one night b/b at the four star Cavendish Hotel including a Top price ticket to the show. Valid Friday evenings until the end of December. Based on two sharing. For more information and bookings call Superbreak 0871 221 4444 or visit





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£3b visitor economy is recognised at tourism awards

Strictly Come Dancing professional Ola Jordan The grand final of hit TV series Strictly Come Dancing will be broadcast live from Blackpool landmark the Tower Ballroom. The programme will also be shown for the first time in 3D – bringing the magic of the ballroom to life for fans watching from home.

THE winners of this year’s Lancashire and Blackpool Tourism Awards were announced at a glittering black-tie event hosted by Blackpoolborn West End star Jodie Prenger. The ceremony, attended by over 300 representatives of Lancashire and Blackpool’s £3b visitor economy, saw more individuals, businesses, highly commended and joint winners than ever before. Award winners included:  Bed and Breakfast/Guest Accommodation of the Year – The Ashton, Lancaster.  Small Hotel of the Year – Best Western Mytton Fold Hotel, Langho.  Large Hotel of the Year – The Midland, Morecambe.  Small Visitor Attraction of the Year – Old Holly Farm, Garstang.  Large Visitor Attraction of the Year – Sandcastle Waterpark, Blackpool.  Business Tourism Award – Ribby Hall Village, Wrea Green.  Best Tourism Event of the Year – Blackpool

Illuminations.  Best Visitor Experience of the Year – WWT Martin Mere Wetland Centre, near Ormskirk.  Taste Lancashire Award – The Redwell Inn, Carnforth.  Visitor Information Provider Award – The Visit Garstang Centre.  Marketing Campaign of the Year – Opening Brockholes, Lancashire Wildlife Trust, Preston.  Sustainable Tourism Award – Best Western Mytton Fold Hotel, Langho.  Access for All Award – Sandcastle Waterpark, Blackpool. Blackpool’s Cabinet Member for Tourism and Culture Coun Cain said: “2011 has been a fantastic year for the resort. Tourism is such an essential part of the resort’s economy and the awards are a great way of highlighting and rewarding the efforts that have been made over the last year.” Most of the winners will now progress to the national awards, to compete against other destination winners for a VisitEngland Award for Excellence 2012.

Comedian Keith in big Blackpool switch-on TV comedian Keith Lemon switched on this year’s Blackpool Illuminations, cheered on by thousands of visitors. The event also included a free concert featuring top names such as Pixie Lott, Joe McElderry, Scouting For Girls and Olly Murs, which kept the 15,000 strong audience in the arena, along with the additional 25,000 watching on a giant screen along the seafront and across the town entertained. Real Radio North West programme director and event music organiser Dave Shearer said: “This year, if it was really possible, surpassed last year’s event. The crowds flocked to Blackpool and the musical line up, for a free concert, was second to none. “Our Switch On star, Keith Lemon was simply outstanding and the crowd went wild for him and got completely in the spirit of the night. We are very proud of what we, in partnership with the great team at visitBlackpool, have achieved once again.” 18

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Stamps feature iconic landmarks ROYAL Mail has unveiled a new set of stamps which feature 26 of the UK’s most iconic landmarks. The stamps take a fresh look at some of the UK’s best loved sights including the Angel of the North, Blackpool Tower, Downing Street and Edinburgh Castle. Royal Mail Stamps spokesman Philip Parker

said: “Our A to Z stamps showcase some of the nation’s most famous features, celebrating areas across the UK that are enjoyed by millions of people. “Not only are these places much loved landmarks, they also reflect the variety of structures and sights which can be found across the UK.”

Rugby heroes back World Cup campaign By Christina Eccles

Harry Potter actress Emma Watson Picture: Helga Esteb/

Packages available for Harry Potter studio tour SUPERBREAK has launched packages for the eagerly anticipated Making of Harry Potter tour at the Warner Bros studios in Leavesden, Hertfordshire. The studio tour will take place where the films were in production for more than a decade and guests will visit the original sets, seeing costumes, animatronics, special effects and props used in all eight of the films. 20 Spread over 150,000 sq ft, the

tour takes in two sound stages and will include some of the most recognisable sets including the Great Hall, Dumbledore’s office, the Gryffindor common room and Hagrid’s hut. Visitors will also have the opportunity to see animatronics in a creature effects workshop, including Buckbeak the Hippogriff, Aragog, the giant spider, Fawkes the phoenix and the enormous Basilisk head.

VISITBRITAIN has launched a campaign to engage with fans in the run up to the Rugby World Cup in England in 2015. Former England heroes Lawrence Dallaglio, Will Greenwood and Martin Corry joined VisitBritain and VisitEngland at a gala event in Auckland, marking the beginning of the journey to the final at Twickenham and giving a sneak preview of what fans can expect to see at the event. VisitBritain’s marketing director Laurence Bresh said: “We have shown the world that we have the ability and infrastructure to host some of the greatest sporting tournaments and much of the world agrees. With London 2012, the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow in 2014 and the Rugby World Cup in 2015, we have the perfect opportunity to highlight every region across the UK and build on the

legacy of what will be a golden period for sports tourism in Britain.” Chief executive of RWC2015 Paul Vaughan added: “Hosting the 2015 Rugby World Cup in England is a great honour. It is the World’s third largest sporting event and that brings a lot of responsibility to ensure that we deliver the best tournament possible and a strong legacy. New Zealand have set the bar high which means our job is more challenging. Sport and large sporting events are always well received in Britain and we expect to see large numbers of overseas visitors coming in to enjoy what Britain has to offer as well as the Rugby.” Nearly 2m overseas visitors watch sport at venues across the UK each year, taking in the atmosphere at famous rugby grounds such as Murrayfield in Edinburgh, Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium and at Twickenham, the home of English rugby.

Anniversary celebration for Great Days Out exhibition THE organisers of the Great Days Out exhibition are preparing to celebrate the show’s 30th anniversary next year. Up to 2,000 group travel organisers are expected to attend the event, which brings together over 130 attractions, tourist boards and transport providers. The event will take place on February 25 at EventCity, next to Manchester’s Trafford Centre and attractions already confirmed to exhibit include Cadbury World, Blackpool Pleasure

Beach and Mersey Ferries as well as tourism boards Go Cumbria, Visit Liverpool and Visit Blackpool. Managing director of Visit Manchester Paul Simpson said: “Over the last 30 years Great Days Out has established itself as the leading exhibition for group travel organisers. Visit Manchester has been privileged to lead the show since 2004 and we are very proud of the platform the event provides to the tourism industry to showcase their product to the groups market.”

21 National Trust



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UK tourism industry in ‘reasonable shape’ By Kurt Janson COMPARED to many other sectors of the economy, the UK tourism industry looks to be in pretty reasonable shape. The International Passenger Survey figures for the year to the end of August show that overseas visitor numbers are up by three per cent while spending by visitors to the UK is up by four per cent over the same period last year. Domestic tourism figures are looking even better with the number of trips up by five per cent to the end of July and spending by domestic visitors tracking at 13 per cent more than the same period last year. These are quite significant figures considering the large scale of the tourism industry. If the increases hold until the end of the year, we would see an increase in tourism expenditure of an astounding £3.4bn over 2010 (£670m in inbound tourism expenditure and £2.7bn in domestic tourism expenditure). This is enough to create over 60,000 new jobs – although actual employment will be considerably lower as businesses will be waiting to make sure that this growth is sustainable before committing to take on new staff. Nevertheless, this level of growth bodes well for the future prospects of the industry considering the squeeze on disposable income that many households are currently experiencing. It suggests that people are very reluctant to let go of their holidays and are willing to make cuts to other areas of expenditure to ensure they are still able to afford to go away. However, despite this good news, there is considerable reason to be concerned about the prospects of the UK tourism industry next year. The Olympics are starting to loom on the horizon and their impact on tourism flows remains anything but clear. When the success of the London 2012 Olympic bid was first announced, there was the overriding view that this would be a significant boost for the tourism industry. However, there was little of substance to support this view other than a thought that “it’s the Olympics, therefore it must be good for tourism”. The results from previous Olympics were, at best, inconclusive. Apart from Barcelona, there is little evidence that hosting the Games has produced a significant benefit – indeed there is more compelling evidence that the impact is detrimental. One of the main problems is that past host nations have


tended to exaggerate the tourism benefits in order to win the bid. Then, after the Games, these bodies are woundup so there is no post games analysis to determine whether the predicted benefits were achieved. Kurt Janson With the London Olympics getting closer, the hard evidence of what the impact will be on the UK tourism industry is starting to appear. Tour operators are reporting that forward bookings are down by up to 60 per cent during the 2012 summer period, while attractions are starting to report that forward bookings are down by 30-40 per cent. Even Andrew Lloyd Webber has stated that he is considering closing his shows in London in the period surrounding the Games because he is concerned about visitor numbers. The problem is that it there is a considerable gap between people’s expectations regarding the size of the Olympics and the realities of the situation. For example, it is expected that there will be, at most, around 4-500,000 overseas visitors to London for the four weeks of the Olympic and Paralympic Games. This is a pretty substantial number but it has to be remembered that in a typical August, there are around 1.5m overseas visitors in London. Also, the 500,000 people attending the Olympics will be instead of, rather than additional to, normal visitors. London will easily cope with the Olympics. So what’s going to happen next year is therefore dependent on how soon planners grasp the reality of what the Olympics mean to tourism. Stop issuing scare stories that tell people that transport in London will be chaotic and that they should to work at home, that businesses should stock up on goods because supply chains will be at breaking point or that mobile phone networks will not be able to cope with the predicted levels of use.

New chairman for Tourism Society THE Tourism Society has appointed a new chairman – Aviva Pearson. With over 20 years’ experience in the tourism industry, she has been a destination manager for the last eight, including shared CEO for two DMOs in North Yorkshire, executive head of the environment for Torbay, director of tourism for the English Riviera and principal head of tourism and marketing for Anglesey. Aviva has been a member of the Tourism Society for six years and holds degrees in tourism, marketing and hospitality. Established in 1977, The Tourism Society is the leading forum for professionals working in all sectors of the tourism industry. Aviva explained: “We host

a programme of nationwide meetings led by key industry figures, a quarterly journal with thought-provoking articles about hot topics in tourism, and a membership whose views help shape national and regional policy. In addition, our members can access an extensive database of industry colleagues, and access better business opportunities, education and careers support. “The Tourism Society is dedicated to raising professional standards in this always changing, and growing, global industry.” She also told Destination UK she is ‘very excited’ about taking on the role and is looking forward to tackling the issues facing the tourism industry in 2012.

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Destination UK November 2011  

Promoting UK tourism to the worlds travel trade

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