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Issue 32 January/February 2010 £2.75

Awards for cracking breakfasts

Government called on to help tourism By Louise Cordell THE government has been urged to take tourism seriously by addressing the problems of taxation and legislation, which are currently holding the industry back. Former tourism minister Lord Lee of Trafford said that issues such as visa charges and taxation changes on holiday lettings are having a negative effect on the industry – but the government is offering little support. Lord Lee – who is also the chair of the Association of Leading Visitor Attractions – said more should be done to liaise with the industry on important decisions and support it through a difficult climate. He said: “There is little evidence of any tourism co-ordination across government. On visa charges, air passenger duty and taxation changes on holiday lettings, all the evidence is that virtually no consultation took place with DCMS. “The United Nations World Tourism Organisation looked at how some 70 countries have responded to the economic downturn in terms of tourism. Of 18 European countries that responded, 11 have reduced tourism-related taxes, 13 have set up

tourism-related credit facilities for businesses, 11 have increased national marketing expenditure and 11 have established public and private marketing partnerships to boost tourism. All we have done here is change tourism ministers.” He also said that up and down the country, tourism is an important industry in many constituencies – providing jobs and bringing in revenue – and MPs should not be ignoring this. He added: “Tourism must be the number one constituency industry for more MPs than any other. Tourism is the dominant industry in the West Country and the number one industry in Yorkshire. “We have also seen significant new investment in the industry. Some 11,000 new hotel rooms opened in 2009 and 40,000 are planned between 2010 and 2015. “Our tourism industry does not ask for a great deal. Yes, perhaps there should be somewhat greater funding for Visit Britain, but primarily the industry wants to be allowed to develop without taxation and legislative burdens. Above all, it wants to be granted the recognition that it deserves. I say to the Government once again: take tourism seriously.”

A Wiltshire town is celebrating after beating off stiff competition to become Disney World’s ‘twin town’. Swindon beat 24 other UK towns to claim the honour and will now be twinned with Walt Disney World in Florida. As part of the prize, a plaque will be displayed at the attraction and a special Swindon exhibition will run at Disney's Epcot theme park. A similar sign will be on display in Swindon and a magical party will be held to celebrate the twinning.

ACCOMMODATION providers offering the best breakfasts in England can earn recognition for their efforts in a new award, launched by VisitEngland. The breakfast award – sponsored by Kellogg’s – is open to VisitEngland’s quality scheme members and rewards hotels and B&Bs which offer guests a quality breakfast, service and hospitality exceeding the normal expectations of their star rating. VisitEngland’s operations and industry engagement manager Pam Foden said: “The Breakfast Award scheme showcases hotels and B&Bs that offer exceptional quality in their breakfasts. “We are delighted to have launched an award that recognises and rewards those establishments that make the most of the local produce on offer in their area and create an excellent customer experience each morning at breakfast. “Each holder of the award will be subject to an annual review to ensure that the quality of the food offer and service at breakfast times remains outstanding.”


Attraction takes Liverpool message to Indian capital

Entertainment news in Centrestage starting on Page 13

By Christina Eccles A LIVERPOOL attraction is leading a campaign encouraging tourists from India to include the city in their trips to the UK. The Beatles Story has joined forces with partners including Merseytravel, The Mersey Partnership and VisitBritain to attract more Indian tourists – after discovering that although 400,000 Indians visit the UK per year, less than one per cent come to Liverpool. Two of Liverpool’s biggest tourism draws – football and The Beatles – are both popular in India and are being used to highlight the range of attractions on offer for visitors. As part of the drive to get these tourists to include the city in their UK itineraries, The Beatles Story hosted a Liverpool-themed festival in the Indian capital Delhi, which included a performance by Indian born ex-Beatle Pete Best. Managing director Jerry Goldman said: “Our aim is to encourage Indian tourists visiting London to include Liverpool in their trip. “We’re pushing the fact that it is faster getting from London to Liverpool than traveling from one side of Delhi to the other. “The Indian tourist market has

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Pete Best Band huge potential for Liverpool and we want to push the city sky high as a must-see destination for Indian visitors.” The campaign has also included a familiarisation visit to Liverpool for Indian tour operators and a workshop in Delhi to help them put together Liverpool tour packages. As part of the festival, discount cards for major Liverpool attractions were handed out to people, providing they gave their email address in exchange – creating a database of contacts

who can be targeted with Liverpool related offers in the future. And although it is too early to measure the tourism impact, Jerry says he expects the campaign will prove successful at tapping into the Indian market. He added: “As far as selling Liverpool is concerned, you can either do it the hard way or do the easier option, which is to target people who have already made their mind up to come to the UK and get them to come to Liverpool while they are here.”

Dragon’s Den star Duncan Bannatyne has joined forces with branding guru Simon Middleton, pictured left, to change the fortunes of a struggling seaside resort. The pair have teamed up for an episode in a new series – The Great British Holiday Show – to reinvent the image of Felixstowe. The Suffolk town was selected for the show following a large downturn in visitor numbers. Simon said: “Realising they needed to rebrand was a very sophisticated analysis of the situation on their part and they were very open to changing the town’s brand. It’s about trying to find another angle. If you have sun, sea and sand and the weather is always gorgeous, you don’t need to try very hard but in Britain we need to try harder.”

Andrew Harrod group editor 01226 734639 Louise Cordell reporter 01226 734694 Christina Eccles reporter 01226 734463 Mary Ferguson reporter 01226 734712

PRODUCTION Judith Halkerston – group deputy editor – Stewart Holt – studio manager – Kyle Wilkinson – graphic designer Emma Frisby – graphic designer ADVERTISING Rachel Wood product manager 01226 734611 Andrew Loades sales executive 01226 734634 Tony Barry sales and marketing director 01226 734605/01226 734333 CIRCULATION Kelly Tarff 01226 734695 Fax: 01226 734477




Cumbria is open for business By Christina Eccles

Coronation Street actress Tupele Dorgu presented an awards ceremony recognising the best of Lancashire and Blackpool’s tourism industry. The LETS (Lancashire Excellence in Tourism Skills) awards were held at Fleetwood Marine Hall and rewarded the achievements of area’s top tourism businesses.

A CAMPAIGN worth £100,000 has been launched to push the message that Cumbria is open for business after the floods. The Northwest Regional Development Agency (NWDA) had already invested a £1m flood recovery package into small businesses affected by flooding but has now granted Cumbria Tourism an additional £100,000 to support a national marketing campaign to encourage visitors to the region. The NWDA and Cumbria Tourism are also working in partnership to develop a plan for the long-term recovery of the tourism economy. Executive director of marketing and communications at the NWDA Peter Mearns said: “Cumbria’s economy relies heavily on tourism so we must act quickly to let visitors know that for a lot of the county it is business as usual. “Businesses not directly affected by flooding are suffering as people cancel bookings or avoid making plans to visit. We need to tackle negative views with a loud and clear

message that Cumbria is open for business; events are taking place, accommodation is available and attractions are open across the county. “The NWDA is committed to supporting affected tourism businesses through this difficult time and developing measures to meet immediate and longer term needs.” Cumbria Tourism will use the new funding to help businesses reconnect with tourists to reassure them that bookings can be made, or postponed for those businesses which have been flooded. A media campaign will also be extended across websites including Facebook, and Lonely Planet. Cumbria Tourism’s chief executive Ian Stephens added: “We are very grateful for this additional funding from the NWDA, who have been incredibly supportive from the earliest opportunity to help us get the message out far and wide that Cumbria is open for business.”

Dickens bicentenary to be celebrated around the world THE bicentenary of Charles Dickens will be celebrated with a programme of events and activities taking place throughout 2012. Dickens 2012 will be a national and international celebration of one of the world’s most inspiring authors and include cultural and educational events – such as exhibitions, film making schemes and theatre productions. In London, museums and galleries including the Museum of London and the V&A will be working in partnership to create a programme of events, allowing Londoners and

the city’s visitors to encounter the magic of Dickens. Outside of the capital, events will be taking place across the UK and around the world under the banner of Dickens 2012. Mayor of London Boris Johnson said: “Dickens stands for London. He not only created an incomparable pageant of London characters. He turned the city into the greatest character of all. “His bicentenary in 2012 is the chance to celebrate a wonderful London writer, and bring his work to a wider audience around the world.” A new five star hotel has opened in Glasgow, complete with the city’s first luxury spa. Blythswood Square is the former headquarters of the Royal Scottish Automobile Club and the property has been redeveloped by Scotland’s luxury boutique hotel group, The Town House Collection. Features include 100 bedrooms, a top-floor penthouse complete with rooftop hot tub, restaurant and bars.



£3.7m for historic ride park By Louise Cordell PLANS to create the world's first historic ride amusement park in Margate have taken a major step forward, with news that the project will receive £3.7m from the Government's Sea Change fund. The money will help to create a theme park at the Dreamland site, giving visitors the chance to enjoy historic amusement park rides. Many of these have been rescued from amusement parks

across the UK over the past few years and are the last surviving examples of their type. The rides will be built around a park centrepiece, the Scenic Railway, which is the UK's oldest surviving wooden roller coaster and restoration work will also be carried out on the grade two listed Dreamland cinema building. Richard Samuel, chief executive of Thanet District Council, said: “We're absolutely delighted with this news.

Visitors to Liverpool have been able to take part in Britain’s biggest winter public art extravaganza – over 200 giant penguin statues dotted around the city. The Go Penguins were on parade across Merseyside to highlight the dangers of global warming and polar ice cap melting. Shoppers could follow a trail around the city to discover the penguins – which have been designed by locals and celebrities – and visitors to the world famous Albert Dock could also watch a special installation of several penguins in bathing costumes at a specially created lido. The free event was delivered by Wild In Art, the people behind Go Superlambananas – a highlight of Liverpool’s Capital of Culture celebrations.

“Dreamland is a key site for Margate's regeneration and a priority for local people and these plans for a major visitor attraction complement the work already underway on Turner Contemporary. “Dreamland is of national importance and is a completely unique attraction and this announcement should help to put it back in its rightful place in the hearts of visitors from across the country and further afield.”

It is hoped that the park will create a major new visitor attraction in the heart of the town and provide a major boost for the tourism economy. The park will generate employment opportunities for local people and will aim to attract around 700,000 visits each year. The public will be able to enter the park and landscaped gardens free of charge, with wristbands being sold for those who want to go on the rides.

Visitors invited to follow in Sherlock Holmes’ footsteps TOURISTS have been invited to discover Sherlock Holmes’ Britain with a campaign linking to the release of a new film. Celebrating the release of Sherlock Holmes – a new actionadventure mystery starring Robert Downey Jr. as the legendary detective – VisitBritain has joined forces with producers Warner Bros to allow visitors to follow in his footsteps via an online movie map. The campaign showcases locations with links to Sherlock Holmes and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle – including places in London,

Liverpool and Manchester where scenes from the film were shot. The dedicated website features footage from the film and locations both from the film and from across Britain linked to the detective. VisitBritain’s marketing director Laurence Bresh said: “Sherlock Holmes is known around the world as one of Britain’s most iconic characters. Our partnership with Warner Bros. Pictures is a great way of helping people discover the secrets of our destinations and entice them into having a fantastic adventure here.”

Devon firm turns to Google A DEVON based accommodation provider is celebrating after using the power of the internet to stay one step ahead of competitors. Collacot Holiday Cottages is situated in a prime tourist location – so with plenty of competition, owner Richard Harrison had to think creatively to get ahead of his rivals. To do this, he joined forces with consultancy Open Eye Marketing, which suggested using online tools such as Google Local Business Results to direct more traffic to the cottages’ website. This allows businesses to achieve first page positioning by securing popular search phrases. In this case the keywords included ‘holiday

cottage in north devon’ and ‘short breaks in devon'. Richard explained: "With many of our competitors struggling in these tough times we continue to have high occupancy all year round and our rankings on Google play a significant factor in our success. "Our potential customers are using Google every minute of every day, so it's therefore essential that we and other accommodation providers make the most of it.” Website traffic has been boosted by 300 per cent and in just one month, the site had over 8,000 page views and was found by over 1,300 different search phrases on Google.

Tropical times at Kew KEW Gardens will be brightening visitors’ cold winter days with its tropical extravaganza festival, which takes place during February and March. As part of the festival, the Princess of Wales Conservatory will

be filled with thousands of vibrant orchids and tropical plants. The Waterlily House will also be home to displays highlighting some of the world’s biodiversity hotspots, such as Madagascar, which boasts over 1,000 species of orchid.



Events have long been recognised for the benefits which they can bring to the tourism industry – but some areas have been managing to cash in on this more successfully than others. Christina Eccles found out why England’s North East is leading the way.

Events drawing visitors to the north east ... THE North East of England is one area where events are really taking off – and their popularity is being used to draw in visitors from all over the country. In North Tyneside, a varied programme of events and festivals is helping to boost visitor numbers, with flagship events in the area include the Mouth of the Tyne Festival – organised in conjunction with neighbouring South Tyneside Council – and the Xperience Festival, which in 2009 attracted 30,000 extreme sports lovers to Longsands Beach. North Tyneside Council’s tourism and events development manager Pete Warne told Destination UK that the area’s biggest tourism markets are day trippers and people visiting family and friends – and that by putting on good quality, affordable events it gives people reasons to keep coming back and to stay in North Tyneside for longer. He said: “We understand how

our events programme relates to the economy and the profile it can give our area. “As part of our tourism strategy, we have a strand called world class events and we recognise the economic impact which events can have. “In this area, we have the day trip market and those visiting friends and family. We hope that people will be confident to invite people to stay and experience high quality events in the district.” A dedicated organisation – Culture 10 – has also been set up with a remit to develop a strong programme of cultural events in the North East. Culture 10 was initially set up as part of Newcastle’s bid to become European Capital of Culture in 2008, but even though the city lost out to Liverpool, it made a commitment to keep the project going until 2010. When it winds up in March, events will still form part of the

area’s tourism offering – with projects in the pipeline including a programme of events surrounding the illumination of local landmark Hadrian’s Wall. Creative director Stella Hall added: “The aim is to build a cultural reputation in the North East, which raises aspirations and stimulates activity, while also inspiring business confidence and developing skills. “We want to attract visitors from outside the region and encourage them to stay longer. “We collect facts and figures at every event so we get a sense of who is coming, where they are from and what they are spending. “The appetite is growing for extraordinary events. “Some of the programme has to be about local engagement but we are also hoping to grow the visiting friends and relatives market.”

The Mouth of the Tyne Festival

Museums team up to save dresses


THE Bowes Museum in County Durham has joined forces with the V&A and Bath Fashion Museum to save an important dress collection. Nine stunning 1930s’ evening dresses by Parisian fashion designer Madeleine Vionnet have been bought by the museums and will be split between them – with the Bowes Museum taking three. Keeper of costume and textiles Joanna Hashagen said: “This is a first for us, as we have no examples of work by Vionnet and she is underrepresented in public collections in this country as a whole. There were certainly no examples of her work in museums in the North of England until now. “These dresses are evocative of a particular era and are very beautiful objects. They are superb examples of both Vionnet’s sophisticated design and her craftsmanship, which will be appreciated by our visitors.” In future, the collection may be brought together again to tour the venues.

A North East landmark was transformed into a spectacular setting for a concert by Sting. Durham Cathedral, dates back to 1093 and is a designated UNESCO world Heritage Site along with nearby Durham Castle. This meant that organisers had to take extra care to ensure the building was not damaged and that – as a place of worship and historical interest – the set up could be co-ordinated around public opening times.


Strictly team signs up for break packages WARNER Leisure Hotels has teamed up with hit show Strictly Come Dancing to offer short breaks packages with a difference. Running from February to July, across five locations, guests can get up close and personal with some of their favourite Strictly stars – learning routines from the professionals and the chance to watch show stopping routines. Warner Leisure Hotels head of creative entertainments, Sarah Dakin said: “This exciting collaboration with BBC Worldwide and the Strictly Come Dancing brand will add spectacularly to the Warner Leisure Hotels popular dance break portfolio, bringing the show alive for both experienced dancers and those new to the floor. “Ultimately we are offering our guests a unique experience to get up close and personal with both the glitz and glamour and their Strictly Come Dancing Strictly Come Dancing’s James and Ola Jordan favourites.”

Action plan to lift area’s tourism profile By Louise Cordell DEVELOPING West Oxfordshire as a must-see destination and increasing visitor spending are the main aims of a new district council action plan. Following consultation with the local industry and national partners, the Council has published a Tourism Strategy setting out how it plans to work with key organisations and local businesses to increase tourism’s contribution to the economy between now and 2012. Around 3.7m people visit the district each year and it is estimated that this generates £225m annually and supports about 4,000 jobs. Cllr Hilary Biles, Cabinet Member for Leisure, Tourism and Health, said: “West Oxfordshire District council is committed to maintaining and enhancing West Oxfordshire as one of the best places to live, visit and work in Britain. “We fully understand the importance of tourism for our District, particularly the significant impact it has on the local economy; that is why we have

created a strategy to set out the visions for a sustainable future and help steer us towards ensuring that West Oxfordshire remains firmly on the map as a must-see destination for people to visit, spend time and money – and hopefully come back again time and time again.” The new strategy concentrates on ‘value over volume’, with the aim of encouraging visitors to stay longer and spend more money rather than simply increasing the number of visitors to the District, and identifies eight key priorities to help achieve this. John Hoy, chief executive of Blenheim Palace in Woodstock, said: “We are hugely grateful to the council for its continuing strong support for the tourism industry. We believe that this new strategy will help everyone involved in the industry to work more closely together in order to drive the significant opportunities that exist throughout the Oxfordshire Cotswolds. “With this new strategy in place, we can all look forward to increased visitor numbers, longer stays and increased spends.”

London landmark the Houses of Parliament attracted record numbers of visitors last year. The attraction drew in just under 100,000 visitors to its annual summer opening tours, which take place during August and September. Head of visitor services Victor Launert said: “We are delighted not only to have attracted so many visitors but also by the feedback we got from them, which was extremely positive. The overriding feeling was that the tours were not just interesting but also entertaining and represented good value for money.”

Pride Torbay ready to be bigger and better


PRIDE Torbay will return bigger and better in 2010 as organisers aim to cash in on the gay tourism market. According to figures, £4.7 billion was spent by the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender market in the UK alone in 2007 and that figure is growing annually. And in response to feedback, organisers have decided to hold the event a month earlier next year, to give tourism businesses a boost in what is a quieter period. Pride Torbay secretary Sarah Wighton said: “We believe that Pride Torbay could develop into the biggest gay pride event outside of the larger UK cities, showing that we welcome LGBT visitors not only during the festival but for the rest of the year as well. “Not only is the event fantastic for the local gay community and their friends and family, but for tourism as well.”

VisitBlackpool is leading the way in environmental sustainability after thinking up a novel way of recycling used event banners. The banners advertised much of the resort’s busy event programme but now they are out of date, they are being transformed into unique PVC bags available from the tourist information centre. Each bag is cut from the used banners before being finished with unwanted car seatbelts for the straps, and are available in four different styles.

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 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 or visit the website at


Showcasing the best of Essex’s local produce VISITORS to this year’s show will also be able to enjoy a brand new area, showcasing the best of Essex’s local produce. A Taste of Essex is supported by Essex Farmers’ Markets and will highlight some of the county’s best known produce and the places which visitors can sample it.

Show organiser Carol Jolly

Show rings the changes CHANGES have been made to this year’s Tourism and Leisure Show – with the event moving to a new venue in Essex. The show – which is now in its 15th year – will be held at The Five Lakes Resort – Essex’s only five star hotel. 70 per cent of stands have already been sold and exhibitors include: I The National Maritime Museum I Sample the Thames Experience I Adventure Island I Hever Castle and English Heritage I Medway Tourism

I The Essex Golf and Country Club I Park resorts. Show organiser Carol Jolly said: “The show will also be offering something slightly different for visitors, who will be able to find out about the many interesting things to see and do in Essex and the surrounding counties, but will also have the opportunity to see and taste some wonderful local produce, such as home-produced sausages, Tiptree Jam and Mersea Oysters, in the new area A Taste of Essex.” The show takes place on February 25.

Show organiser Carol Jolly said: “In conjunction with this new area, we will also be showcasing some of the county’s wonderful restaurants and garden centres, all of whom provide high-quality, locally produced food, and cater for those all important group organiser and coach and tour operator meal stops. “The show will also continue to provide visitors with its usual array of top-class visitor attractions and destinations throughout the East and South of England, making it an enjoyable and informative day out.” Visitors can also take advantage of a courtesy coach – provided by Florida Coaches – which will run every hour from Witham Railway Station to the venue.

Marwell Zoo will be among the exhibitors at this year’s show. The 140-acre park near Winchester in Hampshire is home to over 250 species of fascinating animals – many of which are endangered. The attraction will be using the show to highlight its new guided tour and group packages.

Waddesdon Manor

A NATIONAL Trust property just 20 miles from Oxford, this French Renaissance-style château was built for Ferdinand de Rothschild in the 19th century to display his superb collection of art treasures, including French Royal furniture, Sèvres porcelain and works by Gainsborough and Reynolds. It has one of the finest Victorian gardens in Britain, featuring a parterre, seasonal displays, statuary, fountains, aviary and woodland playground. There are shops, fully licensed restaurants and a plant centre. With something for everyone, a visit to Waddesdon makes a memorable day out. Group discounts available.


Contact: Tel: 01296 653226 Email:

Pashley Manor Gardens ONE of the finest gardens in England, Pashley Manor Gardens offers a sumptuous blend of romantic landscaping, imaginative plantings and fine old trees, fountains, springs and large ponds. Café with terrace, new gift shop, plant sales and season long exhibition of sculpture. Events include the Tulip Festival April 23 – May 3, Special Rose Weekend June 11 - 13 June and Craft Show, August 28-30. Open: April 1 –September 30 2010, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday, Bank Holiday Mondays and special event days 11am - 5pm. Special rates for pre-booked groups of 15+; free entry and refreshment voucher for coach drivers. Contact: Tel: 01580 200888

DESTINATIONBRISTOL Bristol is riding high in tourism rankings and in a recent poll, the number of overnight stays in the city was only exceeded by those in London, Manchester and Birmingham. Christina Eccles discovered why Bristol’s profile is continuing to rise and how success is set to continue this year.

Bristol harbours big ambitions THE UK Tourism Survey ranked Bristol in fourth place – its highest ever level and above traditional rivals such as Leeds, Liverpool and Newcastle Award-winning attraction the SS Great Britain, shopping centre Cabot Circus and an exhibition by artist Banksy – which generated 300,000 visits – were just some of the attractions drawing visitors to Bristol in 2009. But after achieving great success last year – Destination Bristol is keen to keep the ball rolling throughout 2010. Plans are already in the pipeline to cash in on the close proximity of the Ryder Cup at Celtic Manor as the agency has joined forces with local golf courses to promote golfing packages in Bristol. Other new projects include building art trails to highlight the number of art themed attractions and galleries in the city. Destination Bristol’s managing director John Hallett said: “Leisure business into Bristol is going

incredibly well and the appeal of the city, particularly to young consumers is very strong. “The attractions have also worked hard to raise their profile – such as the SS Great Britain which has won lots of awards – and when you see attractions which are so passionate about telling their story, that is great news for the city.” John added that one of Bristol’s biggest advantages is its geographical location – the city has close proximity to London and other urban centres but is also situated near to some of the UK’s most spectacular countryside. But a lack of money to spend on advertising and promotion has meant that when it comes to spreading the word on what Bristol has to offer – Destination Bristol has had to think outside the box. He added: “The budget we have for advertising and promotion is very limited but our lack of budget has forced us to be creative in how

we approach promotion. “We work closely in partnership with organisations like First Great Western and have worked very hard to create a product mix and to build our reputation. “Bristol is seen as quite a quirky, unusual destination. The Banksy exhibition could have gone anywhere but chose to come to Bristol and the event generated £15m in visitor spend and 50,000 room nights. “It is going to be tough this year. We have seen reduced rates in hotels and people’s expectations of what they have to pay is clearly down. Price competition could have a dampening effect for the next 18 months to two years. “But the volume of business is going to be there for the taking and the ones who are going to be successful are those who get the right product, at the right quality and for the right price – and we are well up for that.”

Bristol-based attraction Brunel’s SS Great Britain has beaten off competition from some of the UK’s biggest attractions to win a top tourism award. It won the silver award for Best UK Theme Park/Attraction at the British Travel Awards – ahead of rivals including Legoland, the London Eye and Whipsnade Zoo. The gold winner was Alton Towers, after members of the public voted for their favourite attraction from nominations put forward by consumers and industry professionals. The SS Great Britain Trust’s director Matthew Tanner said: “This is wonderful news for Brunel’s SS Great Britain, for Bristol, and for the south west. Trustees, staff and volunteers are delighted that so many different organisations supported us and that people voted for the ship. It is a great achievement for us and for independent museum attractions throughout the UK.” Picture courtesy of Mandy Reynolds 12

Pictures: Gary Newman

Tourism outfits celebrate award success SOME of the city’s top tourism businesses are celebrating after winning gold and silver awards at the South West Tourism Excellence Awards. Four gold awards and three silver were handed out to the best of Bristol’s tourism offering at the ceremony, which took place at Saunton Sands Hotel in Devon. The gold award winners were: I Bordeaux Quay – sustainable tourism. I Brunel’s SS Great Britain – business tourism. I Oakham Treasures –small visitor attraction of the year. I Ben Wookey, The Bristol Packet – outstanding customer service. Silver award winners: I Bristol Marriott Royal Hotel – large hotel of the year. I Bristol Zoo Gardens – large visitor attraction of the year. I Brunel’s SS Great Britain – access for all. Gold Award winners will go on to represent the region at the National Enjoy England Awards for Excellence.


‘Unforgettable theatrical experience’ WAR Horse is a thrilling and spectacular production based on the celebrated novel by Michael Morpurgo. The production began at the National Theatre, where it played for two sold-out seasons before transferring to the West End in March 2009. The show is currently enjoying a record-breaking run at the New London Theatre, where it is receiving standing ovations from rapturous audiences. The First World War is the backdrop for this tale of bravery, and the extraordinary bond between a young recruit and his horse. The company of actors work alongside astonishing lifesized puppets to bring this moving story to life. At the outbreak of World War

One, Joey, young Albert's beloved horse, is sold to the cavalry and shipped to France. He's soon caught up in enemy fire, and fate takes him on an extraordinary odyssey, serving on both sides before finding himself alone in no man's land. But Albert cannot forget Joey and, still not old enough to enlist, he embarks on a treacherous mission to find him and bring him home. A unique theatrical event, War Horse was over two years in development, drawing upon the world-class resources of the National Theatre. Co-directors Marianne Elliott and Tom Morris worked in collaboration with the internationally acclaimed Handspring Puppet Company to

find a way of bringing Michael Morpurgo’s novel to the stage. The result was puppets which are so incredibly lifelike and charismatic that they have to be seen to be believed. A dazzling, epic production, War Horse truly showcases the power of theatre. Together with the remarkable puppetry, words, music and songs, video, sound and lighting come together to create an unforgettable production, filled with evocative and moving scenes. Locations from rural Devonshire to the trenches of World War One are effortlessly and beautifully conjured on stage. War Horse is an unforgettable theatrical experience suitable for anyone aged 10 years and above.

The sound of Connie to return CONNIE Fisher is to return to the role that made her famous at His Majesty’s Theatre, Aberdeen, in March. She will reprise the role as Maria in the Sound of Music, which is appearing at the theatre for a fourweek run. She was due to bow out of the role when the show finishes its Edinburgh run, but has extended her contract to include performing in Aberdeen.

Aberdeen Performing Arts chief executive Duncan Hendry said: “This is an exceptional show and with Connie in the lead role it will be a very special event indeed. “We expect this to be a very hot ticket and one of the biggest shows ever to come to His Majesty’s – it is a real coup for Aberdeen performing arts.”

Picture: Connie Fisher Picture credit: Catherine Ashmore

The day Sister Act star Patina met her idol US actress and singer Patina Miller – star of Sister Act the Musical at The Palladium in London's West End – spoke to See Tickets about working on the show and with her idol Whoopi Goldberg, who is executive producer.


Tell us about Sister Act the Musical It's about a lounge singer, called Dolores, who witnesses a murder while working in her boyfriend's club, and has to go into protective custody in a convent. She hides out there and while she's there she starts to get

into these nuns' lives and they all start to change one another. What is it like working for Whoopi Goldberg? Meeting her for the first time was one of those moments that is probably going to stick with me forever. I grew up watching Whoopi Gold-

berg, so I was so nervous but so excited when she walked into theatre that day. It's not every day you get to meet an idol, someone you have looked up to for so long. Why will people enjoy Sister Act The Musical? Sister Act is a feel-good musical, but with an

important message. It's fun, but it has a lot of heart to it too. It really is amazing. People are dancing in the aisles feeling so good when they leave. It has an amazing set and the costumes are another thing. It's really good fun to get people to smile, dance and laugh.

DESTINATIONCENTRESTAGE A new theatre production is coming to the Old Vic starring Obi Abili, Anthony Head and Lesley Manville. Six Degrees of Separation is inspired by the real life story of a flamboyant con artist who managed to convince wealthy residents of Manhattan’s Upper East Side that he was the son of Sidney Poitier. This production will be the first major London revival of the play in almost 18 years and is directed by David Grindley.

Theatre breaks continue to grow in popularity DEMAND for London theatre breaks is growing as domestic tourists swap a continental short break for one closer to home. According to short breaks specialist Superbreak, the weak pound and the strength and diversity of London’s theatre offering is encouraging more visitors to the capital to see a show. And figures released by Superbreak revealed that during October and November 2009, over 20,000 customers were booked on to theatre breaks in the capital – which represents year on year growth of 34 per cent over this period. The top five selling shows during this time were: 1. Jersey Boys

2. Dirty Dancing 3. Oliver! 4. Sister Act 5. We Will Rock You Superbreak’s sales director Ian Mounser told Destination UK that this pattern is set to continue through 2010. He said: ''London theatre breaks are proving to be incredibly popular right now and, with further new shows due in 2010, I can only see this continuing. “The weak pound is meaning that many regular short break takers are tending to favour domestic cities slightly more than continental. “Added to this, London has the flexibility of easily being a one, two or three-night duration break, plus

Former Hear’say star Noel Sullivan has joined the cast of Grease – playing the role of Danny Zuko. Making his West End debut, Noel will star alongside Emma Stephens as Sandy. He said: “Danny is a fantastic role and I'm so excited to be part of such a feel-good, all time favourite musical – it's a dream come true.” Grease is on at The Piccadilly Theatre. Pictured: Noel and Emma Picture: Paul Coltas

we have some fantastic rail inclusive deals on offer.” He also said the West End already has a great range of shows for visitors to choose from and newly opened shows such as Legally Blonde and more to come later in the year – including the long awaited Love Never Dies – will further improve its offering. He added: “There is already an amazing range of shows and plays on offer, plus Love Never Dies and Hair all due to open over the coming months. There has never been a better time for agents to be promoting London theatre breaks, which represent a very attractive commission earning opportunity for them.”

Wicked women of the future TWO of the cast of hit West End show Wicked have been named women of the future at an awards ceremony. Dianne Pilkington and Alexia Khadime were the winners of the award – which celebrates and honours young women who are transforming Britain for the better – in the Art and Culture category. The show’s executive producer Michael McCabe said: "Wicked is ultimately a story of female friendship and empowerment and the lead characters of Elphaba and Glinda have become incredible role models for many thousands of people. Dianne and Alexia have embodied these roles with grace and empathy and we are all tremendously proud that these two outstanding and gifted actors have been honoured as Women of the Future.”

West end musical Wicked has won the Best Family Fun award at the Visit London’s People’s Choice Awards. The awards give the public the chance to vote for their top things to see and do in the capital and other nominees in the category included the London Eye, ZSL London Zoo and the Science Museum.



As the industry prepares for what could be another challenging year, the Tourism Society shares with Destination UK predictions for its own future and for tourism as a whole

Looking forward to 2010 2010 starts off well with the integration of the Tourism Society and TMI (Tourism Management Institute) bringing 200 members into the society and a CPD programme that can be extended to people involved in or aspiring to join destination management in the UK and across the world. The integration has attracted requests from other associations with similar issues and thoughts on the benefits of being part of a wider organisation and based on the new model that is in place. The most significant aspect of 2010 will be the first teaching in England of the new 14-19 diploma in travel and tourism from September. Developed with the input of employers and supported by higher education and industry trade and professional bodies, this qualification will revolutionise the way in which travel and tourism education will be taught to young people. The diploma will be delivered by consortia made up of colleges and clusters of schools, with the active support of employers. The Tourism Society will assist critically in providing the bridge between consortia and higher education, and ensuring that the Diploma consortia engage with the full spectrum of our membership. With the integration of TMI and the society, we will be able to truly say that we aim to support the progression of learners on the path from ‘Diploma to Diploma’! 2009 has been a difficult year but we need a positive attitude to 2010 and beyond. We may need to consider resurrecting a national 'think tank', as chaired by Penny Cobham some years ago which inspired me. We have to promote and lobby for tourism at all levels public funding is being reduced from bottom up and SME's are all suffering from the credit crunch. Government taxes on air travel are an

Chairman Alison Cryer

Board member John Humphreys

The big issue of the year will be the general election and its aftermath. Whichever party ends up in government, we must brace ourselves for increased taxes, lower consumer spend and a period of stagnation until the new broom arrives at No 10. It should be another good year for domestic tourism. The new Tourism Diploma to be launched during British Tourism Week will be another significant tourism milestone in 2010 giving students the opportunity to learn at an earlier age the diversity of and variety of roles available in our industry. Another difficult but roller-coaster year. And with roller-

even greener and more pleasant land!

Think tank chairman Ken Robinson

coasters you survive if you are fit enough to hang on to the end.

Past chairman David Curtis-Brignell

issue for all our members as are significant fare increases on rail travel. The take over of the east coast line by UKplc is a prime example - is this the tip of an iceberg – we need to know the problems and how funding will be addressed in the medium and long term. Not easy questions in an election year, which we all appreciate.

Board member Nick Love

Winning attraction A KENT based attraction can add two more awards to its collection after winning big at a recent ceremony. The Historic Dockyard Chatham achieved joint winner status in the leisure and tourism category as well as highly commended in the service category for its education service in the recent KOS Media £1m Business Challenge. Managing director of KOS Media Paul Stannard said: “We 16 wanted to encourage businesses

2010 will be a year of political upheaval, and slow economic recovery, during which UK tourism could lose out. Politically, we need change to reverse Labour's cuts to tourism support, as Conservatives and Lib Dems say they would invest more, to win more inbound visits to Britain, and achieve the Olympic tourism legacy. If the RDAs are restructured, keeping their investment for tourism will be tricky. The pound will recover some lost value, so it will be more costly for inbound tourists to choose Britain, as they are deterred by APD and our difficult and costly Visa scheme. The rising pound will make it cheaper for Brits to travel abroad. On the bright side, global warming and summer rain will make Britain an

and organisations to stand up in the face of the downturn and show that Kent’s business community is determined to thrive and not just survive. We challenged them to give us a reason to help them reach out to more of their customers and communities with our £1m advertising and marketing prize fund.” All the companies that achieved Winner and Highly Commended status receive a share of the £1m prize fund.

Membership hits all-time high A SPECIAL offer to celebrate Scotland’s year of Homecoming enabled Historic Scotland membership to reach an all time high. The offer – which gave 18 months membership for the price of 12 – was designed to give people the chance to

experience as many properties and events as possible. And after being promoted through a major marketing campaign, it helped Historic Scotland reach the 100,000 membership mark for the first time.

Scotland proud of its dishes SCOTLAND is the area of the UK most proud of its locally sourced food and dishes, a survey has revealed. A poll carried out by Opinion Matters found that people across the country are proud of local dishes, with 76 per

cent confirming this. But in Scotland, this rose to 83 per cent. Celebrity chef and cookery writer Nick Nairn said: "These survey results show Scotland as having strong awareness of its distinct food and drink culture.”

DESTINATIONYORKSHIRE Visit York is celebrating after achieving a successful 2009, which saw visitor numbers increase and new ways to market the area. Christina Eccles found out how plans are underway to capitalise on this during 2010 and how York is being positioned as the ‘gateway to Yorkshire’.

York set to build on success AS a visitor destination, York performed strongly in 2009 – however Visit York is keen to make sure this trend continues through 2010. Successful marketing campaigns by Visit York and regional tourism agency Welcome to Yorkshire has raised the profile of the city even further and marketed it to new audiences. Recent successes include See you in York – which encourages people from all over the country to take advantage of York’s accessible location to reunite with friends and family in the city. A lot of marketing activity is also being concentrated on Europe and the United States, with Visit York and Welcome to Yorkshire working with partners including airlines and local airports to promote the city to overseas visitors. Visit York’s chief executive Gillian Cruddas said: “We had a good year, with visitor numbers at York’s attractions up. Domestic visitors are staying closer to home which has worked in our favour and people are also staying longer. Welcome to Yorkshire has done a lot of

Gillian Cruddas advertising, which has benefited both York and Yorkshire. York’s attractions and hotels have also been very creative and have risen to the challenge to deliver creative packages and flexible pricing.” York is also being positioned as the gateway to Yorkshire by encouraging people to use the city as a base to explore other areas of the county. Gillian added: “In 2010, we hope to capitalise on UK visitors staying at home and would also like to see an increase in overseas visitors. “York has good access – we are right in the middle of the country and is under two hours by train

from London. We are also ideally situated to get to other parts of Yorkshire and York is a compact, manageable city so people can keep their bearings. They feel comfortable and safe. These are still challenging times but York and Yorkshire have stood up very well and there are signs of another good year. But we have to be creative and constantly come up with ideas.” Other plans for York include the refurbishment of the Yorvik Viking Museum, which is celebrating its 25th anniversary with a £1m makeover, the launch of the Yorkshire Pass, which is an extension of the York Pass and the opening of a five star hotel in the spring. I Between January and September 2009, visits to attractions were up by 18,000 on the previous year. I The average length of stay in York for 08/09 has also gone up to 4.6 days. Length of stay has steadily increased year on year since 03/04 when it stood at 2.99 days. I The most popular visitor attractions in 2009 were the National Railway Museum, York Minster, JORVIK and the Castle Museum.

Leeds and Pennine Yorkshire 2010 will be an exciting year for groups visiting Leeds and Pennine Yorkshire as there is always something different to see and do. Leeds and Pennine Yorkshire is a flourishing group travel destination with lots to choose from - vibrant cities and contemporary attractions to rural villages and busy market towns. If you time your visit right, you can experience one of the many local festivals and special events that take place throughout the year. With so much to see and do, we've pulled the best bits together in the Leeds and Pennine Yorkshire Group Travel Guide. This new guide provides you with all the information you will need on places to visit and stay, there are also over 20 suggested themed itineraries, town gazetteers and maps to make your visit easier to plan. So, why not make Leeds and Pennine Yorkshire your group destination for 2010 and experience a destination like no other?



£900k boost for info centre YORK’S new visitor information centre is all set to open after investment worth £900,000. The new centre – located at 1 Museum Street – will offer facilities for both locals and tourists to make the most of their visit to York and the wider Yorkshire area. It will replace the existing service currently located at the De Grey Rooms in Exhibition Square and Visit York hopes to increase visits through the door by an additional 96,000, bringing the total footfall to 336,000. Manager Chris Morton said: “We are passionate about York and the wider Yorkshire region and believe

A Yorkshire B&B owner is cashing on the popularity of the ‘staycation’ by expanding to open a new property. Helen Lloyd – owner of The Porthole and Sandsend Cottages near Whitby – had such a successful 2009, she has now opened another cottage, Sunny Bank. She said: “The Porthole received an extremely good write-up last year in both the Yorkshire Post and House Beautiful Magazine. Combined with our listing on iknow-yorkshire, which brings us the majority of our bookings, we’ve been full all year in spite of the recession.”

the new facility will provide a fantastic range of information and services to visitors and locals alike. “It will be the best place to find out what's on today, this week, this month and this year – whether you’re looking to purchase attraction or event tickets, book or obtain travel information, or source accommodation.” The centre will also house the headquarters of Visit York – the city’s tourism partnership – meaning that marketing and information staff will also now, for the first time, be housed under one roof.

A Yorkshire attraction has launched a new groups offer for 2010. Groups which visit Yorkshire Wildlife Park on weekdays throughout January and February will be able to take advantage of a ranger guide experience at the same price as a 2009 group visit. Other popular experiences at the park include Lemur Woods – a woodland walk through the home of three species of endangered lemurs – and Wallaby Walkabout. New additions for 2010 will also include lions and Bactrian camels.

The Deep STANDING on a superb waterside setting, The Deep, designed by acclaimed architect Sir Terry Farrell looks out over the Rivers Hull and Humber. Since opening in March 2002, The Deep has welcomed over 3.7m visitors and is home to over 3,500 fish and 40 sharks including Europe’s only pair of Green sawfish. The Deep is one of the deepest and most spectacular aquariums in the world. It is a unique blend of stunning marine life, the latest interactives and audio-visual presentations, which together tell the dramatic story of the world’s oceans. The Deep has a varied year round events programme including ‘quiet days’ with British sign language presentations. Groups of 10 or more enjoy: * Discounted rates of entry * Fast Tracked tickets – no queues * Free coach parking and driver entry * Free group organiser place for groups of 20+ * Catering packages available on request If you are travelling to the continent via P&O Ferries at Hull, The Deep – only a 10-minute drive away from the docks – makes a perfect addition to your itinerary.

Contact 01482 381000 or email



Hard work rewarded HARD work from the Yorkshire moors and coast’s tourism businesses has been rewarded at an awards ceremony held at Scarborough Spa. The Yorkshire Moors and Coast Tourism Partnership’s awards are the region’s most prestigious in hospitality and tourism and include a range of categories for accommodation, attractions, eating places and retail businesses. More than 200 businesses within the area were nominated – with over 80 of them shortlisted across 20 categories. The winners were: I Hotel (up to 50 bedrooms) Feversham Arms, Helmsley I Hotel (35 bedrooms & over) Crown Spa Hotel, Scarborough I Guest Accommodation (Up to 10 bedrooms) Crakehall Watermill, Little Crakehall, Bedale I Guest Accommodation (11 bedrooms and over) Clarence Gardens, Scarborough I Caravan Holiday Park Lebberston Touring Park, Lebberston I Self Catering (single unit) Laura's Cottage, Cropton I Self Catering (multiple units) The Sands, Scarborough I Visitor Attraction (under 10,000 visitors) West Avenue Pitch and Putt, Filey I Visitor Attraction (under 50,000 visitors) The Walled Garden, Scampston I Visitor Attraction (over 50,000

Visitors) Joint winners: Eden Camp, Malton North Yorkshire Moors Railway, Pickering I Tourism Retail Fine Foods of Yorkshire, Easingwold I Pub of the Year The Fauconberg Arms, Coxwold I Tourism Experience Whitby Coastal Cruises, Whitby I Café/Tearoom Beadlam Grange, Helmsley I Restaurant Greens, Whitby I Taste of Yorkshire The Inn at Hawnby, near Helmsley I Unsung Hero Viv & Vernon, Northern Star Steam and Motor Carriage Co, Whitby I Outstanding Customer Service 17 Burgate, Pickering I Sustainable Tourism Crown Spa Hotel, Scarborough I Website The Inn at Hawnby, near Helmsley Chief executive Aviva Pearson said: “I am delighted that these awards have highlighted not only the high quality of business we have in our region, but also the success we have in working in partnership together. “This is a strength which can only benefit our businesses and something that we hope to build on in the future. Congratulations to everyone who’s been nominated for an award.”

RHS Garden Harlow Carr ONE of Yorkshire’s most relaxing and surprising gardens at the gateway to the Yorkshire Dales. Wander through tranquil surroundings and find inspiration in the innovative and dramatic main borders. Stroll along the streamside garden and explore gardens through time; savour the scented garden and take practical ideas from the extensive kitchen garden. Year-round events for all the family – sculpture, outdoor theatre, guided walks, quiz trails, workshops and free demonstrations. Visit the extensive RHS shop and plant centre and linger over delicious goodies in Betty’s Café tea rooms. In all, a truly surprising and entertaining day out.

Tel: 01423 565418

A faraway world – just outside Sheffield!

ENCOUNTER exotic creatures and magnificent birds of prey at Sheffield’s Tropical Butterfly House, Wildlife and Falconry Centre. Wander among freeflying butterflies and birds and meet friendly, free-roaming animals. Handle exotic snakes and feed marmoset monkeys, lorikeets and many other amazing creatures. Daily demonstrations include spectacular bird of prey displays, entertaining parrot shows and many more enthralling animal encounters. Inspiring, knowledgeable guides provide a unique insight into a world of tropical butterflies, insects and birds. Don’t miss Meerkat Mansion where you can feed the centre’s cutest residents and observe meerkat behaviour in a natural environment from special viewing areas. The charming new conservatory provides an idyllic setting in which to sample a range of traditional and specialty teas, quality coffees, freshlyprepared meals and homemade treats including traditional cream teas. Open daily and located just five minutes from the M1 junction 31, the centre is ideally situated for groups touring Derbyshire and the Peak District, Yorkshire, Lincolnshire or the East Midlands. Generous discounts apply to coach tours - other benefits include free coach parking and free refreshments for drivers.

For more information: Call: 01909 569 416 Visit:



Jorvik Viking Centre IN February 2010, Jorvik Viking Centre opens its doors to the public following an extensive £1m redevelopment at the back end of 2009. This exciting redevelopment includes an underfoot reconstruction of the original Coppergate excavation; new state of the art lifelike animatronics, a reconstruction of a new Viking-age house and backyard and never before seen Viking finds. Jorvik Viking Centre stands on the site of one of the most famous and astounding discoveries of modern archaeology. Thirty years ago, York Archaeological Trust revealed the houses, workshops and backyards of the Viking-Age city of Jorvik as it stood 1,000 years ago. Jorvik Viking Centre was then built on this very site, creating a groundbreaking visitor experience that changed the face of museums. The trust’s determination to recreate a Viking city as authentically as possible brought in techniques and technology that were then copied by museums all over the world. Special offers to groups include discounted entry, a guaranteed time slot to visit, one leader free for every 15 people booked and free entry for coach drivers.

Contact details: Tel:01904 615505. Email:


A Visit to this architectural masterpiece is a must. THE heart of Yorkshire and northern England, York Minster is the largest gothic cathedral in northern Europe. It took 250 years to build and houses the largest collection of medieval stained glass in the world. Climb the 275 steps to the top of the tower for breathtaking views of the Vale of York, or walk through the incredible Roman and Norman foundations, tracing the Minster’s incredible history in the undercroft, treasury and crypt. See stunning medieval glass being carefully restored in the new Glaziers’ Studio, or watch stonemasons and carvers at work in the Minster’s stoneyard. Go on a hidden minster tour to see areas of York Minster which have never before been opened up to the public or visit the largest cathedral library in the country, which houses over 120,000 books. Booking is essential for tours and group guided tours can be booked in advance.

To book a tour or find out more, contact Howard Mosley-Chalk, visitor operations coordinator, on 01904 557216 or


Yorkshire South

Fans of Beatrix Potter will be able to visit a new exhibition coming to a Yorkshire attraction – which includes work never before displayed outside the Lake District. The top floor of National Trust property Nunnington Hall will be filled with her most loved characters in a display of original watercolours and drawings, as well as pages of an unpublished manuscript. The exhibition also explores the theme of food, celebrating local and seasonal produce in association with the Trust’s national campaign ‘Food Glorious Food’. Beatrix Potter’s own recipes will be revived in the tearoom with specials on the menu such as squirrel kebabs and rabbit pie. The exhibition is on from February 27 – April 25.

2010 convention heading for York THE 2010 UKInbound convention will take place in York from February 3-5. Speakers at the event will include tourism minister Margaret Hodge and it will focus on preparing tourism businesses for the upturn and for the 2012 Olympic Games. Chief executive Mary Rance said: “We are delighted to be working with Welcome to Yorkshire to bring

our members to York. This convention will be an important chance for the travel trade to begin its negotiating with those responsible for the Olympic Games. With many questions still to be answered around ticketing, accommodation and transport, this phase of communication between the trade and those delivering the Games cannot be missed.”

FARM parks; water parks; steelworks; skating rinks – there’s more to Yorkshire South than you think. So when you’re looking for somewhere to take your groups, look no further than Yorkshire South – the region that is Sheffield, Doncaster, Rotherham and Barnsley. Magna Science Adventure Centre is a thrilling, hands-on attraction where families can explore everything from the four elements of earth, air, fire and water to the stories behind the UK’s steel industry. Outside the building, the kids can let off some steam in SciTek & Aqua-Tek, two of the largest outdoor activity areas in the UK. Visit the Tropical Butterfly House, Wildlife and Falconry Centre near Sheffield and they’ll get the chance to feed, touch and even talk to the animals. There are excellent refreshment facilities with good coach parking. New to the region are the zebras at the Yorkshire Wildlife Park on the outskirts of Doncaster, the only dedicated wildlife park in the region. Outdoor play areas, excellent refreshment facilities and good coach parking make this a great new attraction for group visits. To cool off, IceSheffield is just the place to stop off with your group. This state of the art ice-skating facility, with great coach parking and refreshment services on site, provides a great add-on attraction to any family visit.




Homecoming £44m boost HOMECOMING 2009 has generated over £44m in extra tourism revenue for Scotland, according to estimated figures. Final evaluation is due soon but early results are showing that the project is on track to beat its £44m target. An independent interim analysis, surveying around a quarter of the 112 funded events, shows £19.4m of additional income for Scotland – already nearly half way to the target set at the beginning of the project. As this doesn’t include most of the funded and partner events, and the impact derived from the wider marketing activity, organisers are confident that the project will more than exceed targets.

Record visitors for attractions

Call for businesses to improve disabled access By Louise Cordell ENGLAND’S tourism businesses have been encouraged to improve their accessibility for disabled visitors – after figures revealed overnight trips made by, or accompanied by, someone with a health condition or impairment accounted for 5.7m trips in the first half of 2009. The figures – released by VisitEngland from the UK Tourism Survey – highlight the importance of considering people with access needs, who in the year to June 2009 accounted for 12 per cent of all overnight domestic trips – and contributed almost £1bn to the English domestic visitor economy. VisitEngland’s accessibility project manager Ross Calladine said:

TWO of London’s best known attractions experienced record visitors in 2009 after displaying special exhibitions marking the 500th anniversary of Henry VIII’s accession to the throne. Hampton Court Palace and the Tower of London saw an increase in visitors of 43 per cent and 16 per cent respectively after celebrating the anniversary with dedicated exhibitions. Head of sales Ann Wilson said: “We are thrilled Henry VIII has sparked such interest from our groups and travel trade partners worldwide. We hope that Henry’s legacy will continue at both palaces to inspire and entertain visitors in 2010 and beyond.”

“These figures are hugely significant, however, over a quarter of Britons have a long-standing health problem or disability so a huge opportunity still exists to cater for their needs – it doesn’t only make sense morally but economically too. “Easily accessible facilities and services benefit not only those with a health condition or impairment, but older visitors, mothers with pushchairs and visitors with broken limbs, amongst many other groups of people. “Tourism businesses should view accessibility in its broadest sense, as fundamentally it is about understanding and catering for the individual needs of all visitors. Many improvements are free or cost very little; for instance, can insulin

be refrigerated for diabetics or nonfeather bedding made available for asthmatics? These examples show that, it isn’t just about physical accessibility for wheelchair users; every business can do something to broaden their appeal.” To give businesses a helping hand, Visit England has created a number of tools and resources including a free booklet, which is available to download on its website. Chief executive James Berresford added: “Many tourism businesses have made great strides in improving the accessibility of their facilities and services but further effort is now required to entice those people with access needs who are not currently enjoying England.”

The Belladrum Tartan Heart festival has been rewarded for the role it plays in attracting tourists to Scotland. The festival was recognised at the Scottish Thistle Awards, which celebrate the businesses and events which contribute to making Scotland a top visitor destination. The regional festival and events award was collected by festival organiser Joe Gibbs.

Travel industry gears up for major exhibition BRITAIN and Ireland's travel industry is gearing up for the next major exhibition in the tourism calendar – the Best of Britain and Ireland 2010. The show has a new look for this year – which includes a move to London's Olympia, mid week trade days and the VIP domestic hosted buyer programme. Event director Angie Watson said: “We are on course to deliver a premium showcase with unprecedented backing from across the industry. With every nation and region of Britain and Ireland represented, the event goes from strength to strength.” The domestic hosted buyer programme includes a package of networking events such as a

welcome lunch reception with Welcome to Yorkshire, Tourism Ireland’s St. Patrick’s Day reception, morning refreshments courtesy of Visit London and afternoon tea in the Members’ Dining Room at the House of Commons. VisitBritain’s director of distribution and commercial Kenny Boyle added: “The success of the hosted buyers programme and the wider support the show is receiving from every sector of the industry is great news. Best of Britain and Ireland 2010 will be the centrepiece of British Tourism Week 2010 and will provide the high profile, national trade marketplace that our important industry deserves.” The show’s two trade days will be March 17 and 18.

St Andrew prompts free weekend SOME of Scotland’s best-loved historic properties opened their doors for free as part of a celebration of St Andrew’s Day. This year, the St Andrew’s Free Weekend also formed part of the 22 Homecoming Scotland Finale

Celebrations and Historic Scotland offered visitors free entry to almost 50 of its attractions. Those taking part in the offer included Edinburgh Castle, Dunfermline Palace and Glasgow Cathedral.

A traditional Cotswolds pub has developed six new bedrooms to branch out into the accommodation market. The Old House @ Home in Castle Combe has launched the accommodation, which was awarded five stars by the AA. The five double and one twin rooms include an en-suite wet room, plasma screen Freeview TV and complimentary WiFi.

At the Tower of London, medieval merry-making will reign with our Medieval Christmas event, so join Edward I and his Court as they enjoy festive music and dancing in the Palace and Upper Wakefield Tower. Also, the colourful ceremony of the Christmas State Parade will take place on 20 December and will be one of the first ceremonial duties of the Tower of London’s new Constable, General Sir Richard Dannatt, who took up his post on 1 August 2009. And of course, the Tower ice rink will return again this year as it becomes the place to skate in 2009. See more at This year you can get ahead of the crowd and book your group to witness the opening ceremony of this famous fortress. Arrive at 8.45 Tuesday-Saturday, as pre-booked groups can watch the military guard open the Tower of London for the day and be the first to see the many attractions that lie within. Enter the iconic White Tower through the Royal Gallery, where the royal armours of Henry VIII, Edward VI and the Stuart Kings are on display. The royal swords from the Hanoverian to House of Windsor period are also on show here. The first floor will display special items from the Royal Armouries collection, highlighting the craftsmanship and reflecting how the

Ordnance collections have been displayed around the Tower over the centuries. We will also feature Tower ‘personalities’ and their possessions. The top floor will look at the prisoners of the Tower and highlight materials like the chair that the Second World War German sergeant Josef Jakobs was sat on when he was shot in the last execution to take place at the Tower in 1941. You can also make an historic assault on the Tower of London and take part in the Fortress experience throughout the Tower and in the moat. Groups can now immerse themselves in an often overlooked aspect of this historic attraction by exploring the story of the Tower as a fortress. You can attempt to fire one of the full size working siege weapons in the moat, whilst being watched over from the battlements by a metalwork garrison of six full sized steel soldiers that are stationed at key defensive locations around the Tower. To arrange your bespoke groups package and to take advantage of the many packages on offer, contact the Travel Trade Sales Office on +44 (0) 20 3166 6311 or e-mail or visit the website at

DESTINATIONSOUTH EAST Explore Kent has launched a Jane Austen literary walk to attract book loving tourists to the area. The walking tour has been created to celebrate Jane Austen’s life, work and family connections with Tonbridge, as well as stimulate interest in discovering aspects of Kent’s culture and history. It also includes a healthy living element and encourages people to take exercise in Tonbridge park while learning about the writer and her work.

A chef at a Sussex hotel is celebrating after scooping a top prize in the Independent’s first ever food and drink awards. Matt Budden – executive chef at the Felbridge Hotel – claimed the runner up spot for chef of the year. He was praised for mixing local produce with international flavours.

Museum refurbishment cost £61m The first glass bottomed boat in a UK aquarium is to open later this year at Brighton Sea Life Centre. The boat will float atop the centre’s huge ocean tank, providing aerial views of sea turtles Lulu and Jersey, a host of tropical sharks and shoals of colourful reef fish.

A MUSEUM in Oxford enjoyed a royal visit when the Queen reopened the attraction after a multi-million pound refurbishment. The Ashmolean Museum has been refurbished at a cost of £61m, which includes a £15m

grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund. On its opening weekend it attracted 22,000 visitors and is currently averaging 6,000 visitors a day. Director Christopher Brown said: “We were delighted to show Her Majesty the new

galleries and introduce her to our supporters who have made this remarkable redevelopment possible, and to the staff, contractors, designers and architects who have helped to build the new Museum.”

Loseley Park

LOSELEY Park, set in rolling Surrey countryside, was built in 1562 by Sir William More and is a fine example of Elizabethan architecture, featuring many fine works of art. The stunning walled garden, a short distance from the house, is based on a Gertrude Jekyll design and is often compared to gardens of national renown. Groups are welcomed to Loseley Park and attention is paid to every detail of their visit to ensure a relaxed and enjoyable occasion. (Minimum: 10 people). Tours of Loseley House are a fascinating insight into 500 years of history and garden tours can also be arranged.

Contact: Groups administrator: 01483-405118.

Bring your group to enjoy life on the water’s edge PORTSMOUTH, the waterfront city is the UK’s premier waterfront destination with miles of sea views and centuries of history. Bring your group to enjoy life on the water’s edge - from boat trips out into the Solent to great entertainment and shopping onshore, you won’t be disappointed. If you haven’t visited Portsmouth for a while, then there’s no better time to take another look. Recent developments on the waterfront have expanded our horizons and brought shopping, eating and entertainment to the water’s edge. Add to this centuries of maritime heritage and our award winning attractions for an unbeatable trip. Give your tour programme a fresh outlook with a visit to Portsmouth.


Web: Email: Tel: 023 9284 1666


£11bn for capital projects By Christina Eccles

Hotel booking site has a new member of staff – Troy Suda. He joins the company as senior director of global retail and will be responsible for overseeing all the retail functions of the business including user experience, design, content, site optimisation and call centre integration. He said: “I am delighted to be joining; it is a great brand that has grown globally and exponentially over the past few years. I am looking forward to the challenges that my new role will bring and being part of the global leadership team that is continuing to drive the business forward to even greater success.”

Trust offers language interpretation THE National Trust for Scotland is aiming to boost international visits to its properties by providing foreign language interpretation at over 30 attractions. As well as the major European languages, Scotland’s largest conservation charity now offers Chinese, Japanese and Russian translations, to ensure that as many

overseas visitors as possible can enjoy each destination to the full. National travel trade manager Pietro Cecchini said: “Our aim is simply to provide the highest quality experience for all our visitors. This includes excellent foreign language provision so that our overseas guests can enjoy our fantastic attractions to the full.”

New area opens to visitors VISITORS to Chessington World of Adventures will be able to explore an ancient and mythical Asian kingdom in the park’s newest area. Wild Asia will be unleashed in

March and features will include new rides, exotic and colourful birds and an authentic Asian dining experience in Maharaja’s Market.

OVER £11bn will be invested in projects benefiting business tourism in the capital, according to a new report by Visit London. Developments taking place in the run up to the 2012 Olympics include improved and new transport links such as the East London line extension, the upgraded DLR and new cycle tracks and walkways. The report also includes new hotel openings such as the 1,021bedroom Park Plaza Westminster Bridge and the renovated Savoy, as well as attractions across the capital including a new urban park in Stratford. Visit London has compiled the timeline report to indicate when and where some of the key launches and openings will be happening in the run up to 2012. Director of business tourism Tracy Halliwell said: “With less than 1,000 days till the 2012 Games, we can already see how significantly the UK capital has changed. “What is so exciting for business visitors is that they really don’t need to wait – the transformation and benefits are happening and are

on offer right now. “We have an unprecedented opportunity to show the world exactly what London has to offer and these new developments will benefit business and leisure visitors alike for many years to come.” Other key investments include the King’s Cross redevelopment and Westfield Stratford – due for completion in 2011 with an investment of around £1.45bn There are also many other smaller projects underway which will have a major impact on visitors coming into the capital. These include the re-opening of the Cutty Sark in spring 2011, the new wing of the Tate Modern – Tate Modern 2 – in time for the games and the launch of the Meantime Brewery in Greenwich. Sales manager Europe Barbara Jamison added: “The London 2012 Olympic Games and Paralympic Games provide a unique opportunity to showcase the capital’s attractions, venues and activities available to the whole world. “The amount of investment in London reveals a long-term confidence in the city that can be experienced by business visitors in the run up, during and after the Games.”

What’s going to happen in 2010? By Kurt Janson


WHISPER it in hushed tones least you tempt fate but 2009 has been a reasonable year for tourism in the UK. Not a great year, but certainly not the sort of disaster that some were expecting at the start of the year when consumer confidence was at an all-time low. The latest International Passenger Survey data suggests that the weakness of the pound against the Euro has, to a large extent, cushioned the inbound market against the worst of the downturn while, as the same time serving to boost domestic tourism. While inbound visitor numbers to the UK are tracking at eight per cent below the same period in 2008, (mirroring the UNWTO figures that show a seven per cent decrease in international tourists), the new found value of taking a holiday in the UK has meant that overseas visitors have spent more

and total revenue from overseas visitors is the same as last year. Of course, within this headline figure there have been winners and losers. Business travel figures are 23 per cent down on last year (itself eight per cent down on 2007), reflecting the crisis in the global economy. The 30 per cent decline in business tourism to the UK since 2007 has severely impacted upon the UK’s conference and exhibition industry while business hotels, especially in London, have also struggled. On the other side of the coin however, holiday visitors are up three per cent over last year and up eight per cent in the latest month as the prospect of global economic collapse has waned and visitors, especially from Europe, look to take advantage of “cheap” visits to Britain. Meanwhile, the domestic tourism market has seen much the same trends. Business travel and spend is tracking at eight per cent down

on 2008, while domestic holidays are up an impressive 17 per cent over 2008. Even taking into account the three per cent decline in domestic tourism trips last year, this is a significant increase over 2007. One factor to note however, is that although visitor number are up 17 per cent, spend has only risen by 12 per cent – highlighting the fact that, while still taking holidays, domestic visitors are still being very careful with their money and are searching out value holidays. The value-driven nature of tourism is reflected in the sectoral results with camping, caravanning and selfcatering sectors reporting significant increases, while the fourfive star hotels report very mixed results. The main question now, of course, is what will happen in 2010. While there are indications that the worst of the global recession is over, with most countries now showing economic growth, it would

be optimistic in the extreme to suggest that we are out of the woods. All of the main parties admit they will need to severely cut public expenditure after the election and, in addition to Kurt Janson the impact that this will have on public sector employment (and holiday taking), it will also impact upon the myriad of businesses that public sector expenditure supports. For example, £5bn is spent each year on public sector business travel. So maybe 2009 wasn’t the beginning of the end of the global recession, but just the end of the beginning.

Destination UK Jan/Feb 2010  

Promoting UK tourism to the worlds travel trade

Destination UK Jan/Feb 2010  

Promoting UK tourism to the worlds travel trade