World travels to London: We bring you the industry’s expert views direct from WTM
Chalkmarks: Simon Calder at WTM, Excel, London, Monday 7th November 2022

Good morning. This is what happened in the world of travel this week: Friday 11th November 2022

Switch off the news, travel is back. This week we were at WTM (World Travel Market) in London where tourism boards, holiday operators and everyone in between working in the travel industry comes together to talk, share intel and sell! We were in the front row hearing all about the latest trends. Explorer Levison Woods spoke about his adventures, the Minister for International Trade Nigel Huddleston turned up and travel hero Simon Calder (see above) was on a panel talking about travelling in 2030. The mood was jolly. We tweeted a lot, we couldn’t help it. There was a lot to see and a lot to unpack so here goes…a WTM wrap up plus what made the headlines. A much-needed read.

I’m a Celebrity!

Travel land: Inside WTM at ExCel, countries from around the world were putting on a show. Winding our way through Europe into Asia, Africa and the Americas there were dancers from the Philippines….wine tastings from Malta…Muay Thai demonstrations from Thailand….tea and treats from Saudi Arabia….and… Pisco Sour and Ceviche at lunch from Peru (que rico)….then, later on, a fruity protest from Visit Orlando!

What experts are saying: Travel is booming. Bookings are up and holidays are selling out. Some are seeing bumper profits – Ryanair announced this week it’s made £1.2billion in the first six months this year. The question is: why is demand so high? There is a lot going on at the moment: Flights are more expensive due to higher fuel costs yet more people are flying business class. Energy prices are up and inflation has increased – and these higher costs have already been passed on to the traveller with prices set to increase further. Then there’s the war in Ukraine. There’s the impact of Brexit and more border checks on the way. Remember the chaos at airports earlier this year due to staff shortages? More recently, the pound has fallen in value against the US dollar and euro, and of course Covid is still around. Plus, there’s climate change, and world leaders are trying to save the planet at Cop27 in Sharm El Sheik, Egypt, this week. We have written about it all year in this newsletter. There’s a lot to consider before travelling but still people are throwing money at holidays.

Where is the money coming from: Is this pent up demand and pent up savings, post-pandemic causing a travel bubble that’s about to burst? No one knows. For now the travel industry is optimistic this mini-boom will last and they will see a post-Covid recovery in 2023.

Heading on holiday: Holiday prices are set to increase by 15-to-20 per cent in 2023. The take-away tip from WTM is to book early for next year’s holiday. Pippa Jacks from TTG Media said: “Prices to consumers are going up. Business are already having to absorb higher fuel prices and those higher costs are being passed on to consumers whether they realise it yet or not. It’ll cost a bit more to go on holiday next year and the marketing is about booking early to get away.”

Have you seen our pictures: Our fantastic travel photos, which capture some of our favourite destinations around the world, are now available for sale on Alamy. Woohoo!

What holidaymakers are saying: The annual WTM Industry Report surveyed travellers about their opinions before, during and after they travel. One result revealed who was to blame for those queues, delays and the missing baggage at airports? The Government, say travellers.

Off on a city break: Despite the surveys during the pandemic saying we wanted to be outdoors and social distancing, city breaks are as popular as ever with their restaurants, art galleries, museums… and cramped crowded spaces!

Also in the survey: Who’s travelling with Covid? Almost 90 per cent of us it seems. When asked “do you think people travel while knowing they have Covid-19”, 46.4 per cent said “yes, definitely” and 41 per cent said “yes, probably”!

Now go here: The Azores, northern Greece, Bulgaria, Scotland, Estonia, Netherlands, Sicily, Slovenia, Wales and Bratislava. These 10 destination were considered the most underrated destinations. All are in Europe and two in the UK! As you can see (purple links) we’re been to most of them and we’ll put the rest on our bucket list. Watch this space!

Which? hotel not to stay in: The consumer magazine once again voted Britannia Hotels the worst hotel chain for the 10th year in a row – that’s an entire decade. The Which? verdict described the hotel group, which has 61 hotels across the UK, including Liverpool’s Adelphi Hotel, as “run-down, dirty and once again the worst hotel chain in the UK. Avoid at all costs.” Premium Inn was voted one of the best.

Well, well, well: Glastonbury tickets? Me neither. They were all sold out after about an hour on Sunday morning – just days after the coach packages sold out in 23 minutes, which we reported on here last week. An opportunity to spend that money travelling instead and we’ll sing along at home. 

Beware: More strikes were announced yesterday. London bus drivers will walk out during the last week of November on Tuesday 22nd, Friday 25th, and Saturday 26th. More dates follow in December: 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 9th, 10th, 16th and the 17th. The Evening Standard had the news. Next, train drivers, members of Aslef union, confirmed they will take industrial action on Saturday 26th November. The 12 train companies affected are: Avanti West Coast, Chiltern Railways, CrossCountry, EMR, GWR, Greater Anglia, LNER, London Overground, Northern Trains, Southeastern, Transpennine Express, and West Midlands Trains.

World first: Stirling has become the first augmented reality city, allowing visitors to use a free app to find their way around. The Scotsman explains it better. You just have to hold your phone up to a landmark and you’ll get tons more information. Stirling Council leader Chris Kane said: “Stirling is already a must-visit destination, and this pioneering product will raise the city’s profile and attract more people to come here, boosting the wider tourism economy.”

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Non-stop fun!

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