but we are not alone after the World Economic Forum’s latest Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Index ranked Britain 135 out of 139 countries on price competitiveness (site report). And most of it comes down to high levels of government taxation and general bureaucratic ineffiency such as visa processing. A year ago, David Cameron extolled the virtues of tourism as a driver for growth but airport taxes and specifically the Air Passenger Duty and VAT on hotel rooms and restaurant meals are taking a heavy toll on our competitiveness. VAT has risen to 20% against France’s 5.5% on accommodation and Italy’s 10%. Meantime 12 countries have reduced rates for restaurant meals and entry into attractions. Although APD has been frozen this year, the UK treasury plans to raise £3.6 billion from APD by 2015 which implies a rise on APD of 25% over the next four years. British flights are already the most heavily taxed in the world, and if the Treasury targets are to met, this situation is likely to be exacerbated!
In his speech last year, Cameron stated that he wanted to encourage visitors from India and China by making it easier to obtain a visa. Early evidence suggests little or nothing has been done to change the frequently schlerotic and humiliating processes in place now. With an office in India, we are in a position to know and be able to measure just how hard it is to get a visa. Evidence suggests 50,000 visitors cancel their trips as a result of visa problems.
Hoteliers in London are not looking too unhappy after announcing frequently eye-watering price rises timed to hit Olympics visitors. Travelodge has just announced price increases of 150% for next summer.
For the Scotland tourism trade, it is all bad news. Domestic visitor numbers are down and any taxes such as petrol duty and APD just make their businesses even more marginal. The situation is absolutely infuriating for these businesses that provide local employment and use local services. HSBC may be planning to move its business, but you don’t hear Gleneagles planning to move to France or Spain!. These are local businesses that provide year round employment and offer a wide range of benefits. As quality increases, so more visitors are enticed to areas and profitability and local wealth is increased. It is time that tourism businesses started kicking the tires of dissent! So often tourism is touted as a valuable part of the economy but when it comes to action politicians are quick to support financial services which offers few trickle down benefits and slow to support tourism businesses. Let’s be cynical: british politicians retire to fancy jobs in the city and not to running a hotel in the Highlands!
This is called complete democracy. The government is asking the opinion of people before building a bridge in the city. It is something new and haven’t heard before.
The people in Perth are being asked to vote for their favourite design of a new bridge to be built across the River Tay. So, the public will have a three weeks time from Friday to comment and vote on the plans. This bridge, which will span the river from the North Inch to Isla Road at Upper Springlands,is for pedestrians and cycle riders.
The bridge project which will cost about a multi-million pound was announced in December 2007. The project is expected complete by 2011. The bridge have received £1.25m from the Big Lottery Fund. This money also will be used to make improvements to local walking and cycling routes in Perth.
Once the public opinions are drawn, the next stage in the process will involve more detailed plans being drawn up and an investigation of the proposed site will take place. It is expected that the building work will take about six and eight months to complete.
Council leader Ian Miller said that it was important for the people of Perth to get involved in the decision making process of the bridge design.
People can vote for their favourite plans on the Perth and Kinross website, or request paper copies from the council. The consultation is open until midnight on 3 September.
The Connect2 project is a partnership between the transport partnership Tactran and the transport charity Sustrans.
News Courtesy: BBC
Scotland‘s airports is back to business, it was like only couple of weeks that created so much of havoc when the volcanic ashes flew around and all the flights were grounded. Thousands of passenger were stranded and a chaotic scene was in the making. Thing returned to normal yesterday as the volcanic ash cloud that caused flights havoc moved away from UK airspace. But this seems the threat will be there for sometime.
There was intense curbs applied yesterday when dense ash started to move out of the country. Scottish airspace re-opened yesterday at 7 am, and services resumed that was canceled in and out of Edinburgh. The airport authority now say they are operating to full schedule, after having confirmed that the cloud has moved out.
Scientists are closely following the cloud’s movements which changes its location suddenly. It was further noted that the ash deposit was below the level of concern. The minister not ruling out the situation completely has assured that they will continue to monitor the situation and take all necessary action if and when required to cope with such crisis.
The ash of the volcano eruption might have settled down, but it will take some more time for Scotland to overcome its aftermath. Though the impact of this volcanic eruption was such, that apart from the airline woes, it also hit the tourism revenue with the cancellation of many events. In all over 60 events were canceled or postponed due to this volcano eruption, causing a revenue loss of over £2 million.
Even though airlines were the main victims of this volcano eruption, it was the revenue for the tourism sector which took the back seat after this eruption saga. Loganair which provides most flights within Scotland to the Highlands and Islands on behalf of the Flybe has reported to have lost £1m due to the disruption. Many other airline companies to have faced a crunch time with this huge disruption.
Fear even persist for further volcanic activity which may again turn around the things. Whatever the situation might be the bottom line is that, Scotland has lost a great revenue in terms of its tourism and aviation due to this volcano menace. It was a travelers nightmare which many foreign nationals came across after this eruption made them stranded in the airports.
Hope this untoward volcano eruption won’t dent the tourism industry of Scotland and will keep the visitors flow intact.
News Source “
It was smiles all over, with flights regaining its operations after six-day long shutdown due to the ash clouds formed by the Icelandic volcano eruption. This news came as a respite for many passengers who were stranded for days at the airports. The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) announced a phased reintroduction of UK airspace from 10pm. This whole deal has come up with a revision of the present rules, which states that the airlines have to make an intensive ash damage test of the aircraft before and after each flight. They are also asked to report any ash related incidents.
All this rules came in a unified manner involving manufacturers, airlines, the government and aviation bodies. These rules will be a great help to tackle such adverse situations, and has added a set of rules to be adhered by airlines under such situations. Even though, the flights have started operating, still it is told that, it may take few more days before all the stranded passengers reach home.
About 30 BA-flights operated en route for London, after week long shutdown, government is trying their level best to make sure all stranded passengers reach home safely. Alex Salmond, the First Minister, said One of the key lessons of this episode is that we must have the same empirical evidence about conditions in the air as we have on the ground upon which to base safe and intelligent decisions.” The passengers are glad after the flights started operations and many still awaits to get back home after all the pandemonium.