Archive for category Olympics

2012 Round up

Happy new year from all at Holiday Cottages! 2012 was an eventful and special year, with a successful Olympic Games and the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee; it all came up roses for Britain. Before we start on news in 2013, here’s a round up of the main stories we covered on this blog last year.

January started positively for holiday cottage owners, as research showed that an increased number of people were planning self-catering holidays. The future of rail travel got a boost as new high speed lines got the go ahead from the government, and quicker and easier searches were made possible by thetrainline.com and Google Maps. However, train companies did not fare very well in a customer satisfaction survey.

February started with a cold snap and the government warned that parents could be fined if they were found to be taking their children on holiday during term time.

In April we posted about some brilliantholiday properties and also gave you a list of top things to do over Easter, many of which are also applicable at other times of the year!

The Olympic torch relay began in May, as a precursor to London 2012. We also ran two great competitions, tickets to Oakwood Theme Park and to Chessington World of Adventures.

Much speculation arose regarding the impact the Olympics would have on the UK in June. Brits changed their holiday plans to fit around the Games, no one knew if the Tube would cope with the extra visitors (by and large it did), and British Airways even launched a campaign to get people to stay at home and support Team GB.

July saw record rainfall over the space of 24 hours. In August the number of ‘nightcations’ were found to be on the rise, and the Lake District got some Hollywood visitors.

Yorkshire was branded ‘not a destination’, by Visit England in September, something which has been proved otherwise after it was named best for holidays at the World Travel Awards the following month, and most recently been made the starting point for the Tour de France 2014.

A rise in demand for wi-fi in holiday cottages was revealed by a survey in December, and we gave you a list of some beautiful festive getaways, great for all year, not just for Christmas!

 

So, that was the year on this blog. What will 2013 bring? Bookmark us and find out! You can also keep track of us on our Facebook page.

For a rundown of travel news in and outside of the UK, see our sister site blog, Villaseek.

 

 

 

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Government urged to relax tourism visas after poor August visitor figures

Last week we reported that that VisitBritain is in consultation over aims to increase inbound UK travel up to 40 million visitors by 2020. Since then, tourism bosses are reported to be urging the Government to relax tourist visas after a 5% drop in UK visitors in August.

Figures for UK travel and tourism during August have just been released by the Office for National Statistics. Visitor spend was up 9% but compared to 2011, arrivals were down by 5%, leaving the total visits for the year to date at the same level as last year.

The Olympic and Paralympic Games were a huge draw, as 590,000 overseas visitors indicated that they had come to attend ticked events, or were participating or working at the Games themselves. Visitors spent an average of £1,290 (total £760 million), which is almost double the usual amount they would normally be expected to spend.

Sandie Dawe, chief executive at VisitBritain said: “The first six months of the year saw a record in terms of both the number of holiday arrivals and the amount of spend, and with August’s figures we are now at the same level as we were in 2011.

“The extraordinary exposure Britain received during the Games has provided us with an ideal platform to remind people around the world why a visit to Britain is a must, and we are working hard to deliver a strong finish to the year.”

 

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Riding on the success of London 2012

London 2012 logo made by school children. Photo by Flickr user surreynews

London 2012 logo made by school children. Photo by Flickr user surreynews

 

Riding on the success of the London 2012 Olympics and Paralympics, VisitBritain is to launch a new campaign to attract visitors to the UK.

Official figures show a drop in visitors to the UK during the Olympics compared to a normal year. However, according to BAA, this is the ‘Olympic effect’, as UK passengers chose to stay at home to watch the Games, and non-Olympic visitors decided to defer their journeys.

A new advert with the slogan ‘Memories are GREAT’ will be launched by VisitBritain. It will include footage of the opening ceremony, and a print version will run for several months in National Geographic and Time Out magazines. It is hoped that this promotion will extend the good press and image the UK has received worldwide throughout the Games.

In addition, VisitBritain has partnered with STA Travel to promote Britain to the youth market on university campuses. Together with British Airways, £5 million will be invested in the US, Japan, China, and the Middle East to encourage visitors to the UK for Christmas shopping and January sales. BA will also offer discounted flights to help push the campaign.

Laurence Bresh, director of marketing at VisitBritain said: “The main event may be over, but the hard work begins now.

“Britain’s image and reputation around the world is riding high, this next stage of our GREAT campaign aims to convert worldwide interest into increased bookings. We’ve captured the world’s imagination on TV screens over the last few weeks, and now is the time to inspire them to come to Britain.”

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Eurotunnel increases capacity over Olympics

Speed down the Eurotunnel, picture by Flickr user Bitman

Speed down the Eurotunnel, picture by Flickr user Bitman

 

Visitors to the London 2012 from across the Channel will be happy to hear that Eurotunnel has increased both the capacity and speed of its passenger trains to cope with the higher demand of visitors during the Games.

An extra half shuttle for passenger vehicle transport has been added, plus the speed of passenger trains has been increased from 140kph to 160kph which knocks an extra five minutes off the journey time. Additional service booths have also been put into service to cope with the extra capacity and keep the flow of traffic consistent.

In addition, the timetable for the Olympics coach transport provider, Eurolines, has been intensified to allow for more coaches to cross early in the morning so visitors can arrive in good time to watch morning events.

This is not just good news for passengers, but also for Eurotunnel, which has just revealed a 14% rise in revenues for the six months to June compared to the same period last year. Eurostar passenger numbers have also seen a 3% increase.

 

 

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“Don’t fly. Support Team GB” new British Airways campaign

British Airways launched a controversial marketing campaign this morning. The campaign urges Britons to stay at home during the Olympics this summer, causing annoyance to many outbound operators who were also infuriated by a government campaign earlier in the summer, which also encouraged Brits to stay at home.

The BA advert was launched at 11.00am on its Facebook page. It lets viewers type in their post code and watch people boarding a BA aircraft which then taxis around London and then through their street, ending in the tagline: “Don’t fly. Support Team GB and Paralympics GB”.

The ad has also been shown during tonight’s Euro 2012 match between England and Ukraine, which will have been viewed by millions. The advert already has 4,221 ‘likes’ on Facebook, a number which is growing rapidly. There is also to be a print version in national newspapers and on billboards.

ABTA doesn’t appear to have been antagonised by the advert, despite the potential for it to dissuade Brits from travelling over the summer peak. An ABTA spokesman said: “Everybody in the industry is fully behind team GB at both the Olympics and Paralympics. The incredible domestic demand for Olympics tickets has shown that there is very little danger of our athletes lacking home support.

“Our own research show that the public are divided between those who at one extreme, have changed their holiday plans to stay in the UK and at the other, those who are leaving the country to actively avoid the games. Whatever customers choose it will be a summer to remember.”

Frank van der Post, BA managing director of brands and customer experience, said: “We”re rallying the country to get behind Team GB and Paralympics GB to capitalise on home advantage. Whether it’s delaying your summer holiday, finding where to get behind the country with our “best sports bars abroad” guide, or cheering them on at Park Live at the Olympic Park – we are encouraging every extra clap and cheer we can get.”

 

Tube will fail to cope with extra passengers during Olympics

Travel around London during the Olympic Games looks set to be difficult as the Tube will fail to cope with the extra load of passengers.

The Metro newspaper reported that insiders have admitted that the Tube network will buckle under the extra workload during the Games, turning the capital into a ‘laughing stock’.

One senior London Underground employee said: “It is simply not going to be ready and there is nothing we can do about it. It will not be able to cope with the extra numbers. Trains will break down and lines will be shut. The attitude at London Underground seems to be: ‘Let’s just wait to see what happens – there’s little more we can do now’ .”

The network is expected to hold an extra million passengers each day during the Games in July and August. To add to this, London bus drivers are threatening to take industrial action over the period in a dispute over pay. The drivers, who work for 21 privately-run bus companies, are asking for bonuses for driving more crowded buses for the duration of the Games. 94% of members of Unite Union voted to strike, however the ballot turnout was only 38% which could indicate that the action does not hold much support.

Transport for London is urging commuters to leave work later or find alternative ways of getting home to ease the pressure on the Underground. A spokesman said: “We’re confident but not complacent.”

Brits change holiday plans for Olympics

The Olympics are proving to be very popular among Brits, as 40% have already rearranged their holidays to fit around the event.

British Airways claims it has the results from a study which indicates that Britons have cancelled or postponed their holidays because of the Games. It says the study shows that 10% have delayed booking a holiday, and one in 10 have actually cancelled their holiday in order to watch the Games at home.

Results were even more astonishing in Northern Ireland, with 89% of those surveyed stating that they would change their holiday plans to watch the Games, followed by 45% in East Midlands and 39% in London.

 

 

Follow the Olympic Torch online!

Torchbearer and schoolchildren picture by Flickr user North Devon Council

Torchbearer and schoolchildren picture by Flickr user North Devon Council

 

What better time to really show off the UK than through the tour of the Olympic torch! VisitBritain is capitalising on this brilliant opportunity by using digital and social media to track the torch’s progress and promote the areas it visits.

Together with Olympic sponsor Samsung, Super Bloggers will join the relay truck on key dates of the journey. An interactive map has been developed to be included on VisitBritain and Love UK’s websites so visitors can ‘Follow the Torch’ as it travels the country.

Visitors using the map can explore the torch locations as it uses Google’s Street View technology to show detailed pictures which give a real feel of the place. Each day there will be new updates of where the torch has passed, together with tweets giving tourist information and facts.

Today the torch went from the city of Exeter, through to the beautifully picturesque Taunton in the South West of the country. It was a lovely sunny day for it by the look of the Instagram picture stream!

Follow the progress:

Facebook

Twitter

 

 

Are you one of the 12% driven abroad when the Olympics start?

The clock is ticking! Picture by Flickr User Ben Sutherland

 

Over 1 in 10 Brits will be going abroad on holiday specifically to avoid the London 2012 Olympics. 12% of the 2,018 adults asked in the ABTA commissioned poll, said they would b going overseas between 27th July and 12th August to get away from the games. Whereas 9% said they were looking for a holidays in the UK that was Olympics free.

Of those who were staying put, 30% said that they ignore the Games completely, whereas 11% are planning to take time off to watch the Games on TV, and 5% will take time off to attend events. 31% said that although they will not take time off during the events, they are excited about them nonetheless.

ABTA head of communications Victoria Bacon said: “With only six months to go until one of the biggest sporting events in our country’s history, it’s clear that hundreds of thousands, especially the young, will be taking time off to enjoy London 2012. However, for those who don’t love sports or want to escape the crowds, going abroad will provide a welcome alternative.”

The research was conducted by Arkenford Ltd, which specialises in tourism and leisure market research.

 

So, will you be staying for the Olympics, going away, or ignoring them? Tell us your thoughts in the comments section below.