The annual flagship travel trade event by VisitBritain, welcoming product buyers and media from around the world, has been scheduled for May 2020 in Belfast.
The “Explore [Great Britain] GB and Northern Ireland” trade show and conference will be held in Belfast at the International Convention Centre (ICC) Belfast, from May 18-20. The show is also known as ExploreGB.
Hundreds of international buyers will meet travel industry suppliers from across England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland to do business. The buyers will arrive from the UK’s largest inbound visitor markets, including Australia, France, Germany and the US, as well as Brazil, Canada, China, India and the GCC markets.
“More than 200 highly influential international buyers from more than 30 countries will experience the best of Northern Ireland’s tourism and hospitality offering next May and discover first-hand what the destination has to offer their international visitors,” said Tourism Northern Ireland chief executive John McGrillen.
As well as two days of pre-scheduled one-to-one business appointments, buyers and international journalists will also attend seminars, workshops and networking events to boost their knowledge of the UK as a visitor
destination. Delegates will also experience tourism products and services first-hand with pre-conference educational trips to destinations around the country.
Previous cities to host the event include Harrogate, Newcastle Gateshead, Brighton, Liverpool and Ascot. ExploreGB has been held annually since 2014.
Tourism is worth more than £127 billion to the UK economy, creating jobs and boosting economic growth across the nations and regions.
“Tourism is one of the UK’s most valuable export industries and also one of the most globally competitive, which is why ExploreGB and Northern Ireland is such a valuable business tool,” said VisitBritain chief executive Sally Balcombe. “It gives travel suppliers and destinations the chance to present their products to top global buyers, forge international business connections and ultimately inspire more visitors to book a trip to the UK, boosting local economies.”
London & UK Specialists DHTour, based in Burlington, Ont., has been selling small group, mini-coach, touring to the UK for more than 20 years, originating with Back Roads Touring some 25 years ago.
And, according to officials, from that first “smaller is better” concept, the idea of touring the back roads and country lanes has grown to international renown and awareness. To this day, the coaches remain small – 16- or 18-seaters – and are designed to take the smaller roads. A small group is a less intrusive way to travel, offers a more authentic cultural experience and is more leisurely in pace. “There are no long waiting times for a large group to get organized… [and] there is always time for another glass of wine or an unscheduled stop.”
Although now known as “Blue Roads Touring” in Canada and the US, all BRT tours throughout Britain, Ireland and continental Europe continue to be operated by the Back Roads Touring company of London. Overnights are at traditional inns or boutique hotels with many admissions and most meals included. A key ingredient is the experienced tour leader.
Tours vary from three nights to 13 nights in England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland, France, Tuscany, Sicily, Germany, Spain, Portugal, and more.
DHTour also offers two other alternatives in mini-coach touring. “Discover More” includes stays at one of 18 country houses throughout England, Wales and Scotland while taking daily tours to the surrounding countryside and including three meals a day. DHT’s “Bed ‘n Break-fast” tours travel across Europe between Paris, Nice, Rome, Madrid, and Lisbon, staying in three- and four-star hotels.
WestJet is adding another connection across the Atlantic into the United Kingdom with new non-stop service between Halifax and Manchester beginning June 5.
This summer, WestJet will operate more than 300 seasonal departures from Halifax to London (Gatwick) and Glasgow, Scotland.
“WestJet is continuing to invest in our Atlantic gateway, connecting Nova Scotia to the world and the world to Nova Scotia in new ways,” said Charles Duncan, WestJet chief strategy officer. “The UK is Nova Scotia’s largest in-bound tourism market, and our newest investment connects the province to new sources of tourists.”
Manchester Airport is considered the global gateway to northern England and offers easy access to and from its historic city centre.
WestJet’s seasonal service will operate four times weekly on the airline’s Boeing 737-700.
The Berlin Wall has come down and tourist visits to Germany have gone up.
Julia Dywelski, who oversees the German National Tourist Office’s Canadian office, told a recent Toronto gathering that the 30 years since the removal of the barrier separating East and West Berlin tourism to Germany has soared.
“Shortly after reunification (of East and West Germany) more than 31 million overnight stays by international visitors were recorded in the former West Germany and 3.4 million in the former GDR (East Germany). Between 1993 and 2018, the number of overnight stays by international visitors for Germany as a whole more than doubled,” she said.
“The long-term growth in inbound tourism to Germany since reunification has outpaced the growth in tourism at both European and global level.”
Germany has now seen its ninth straight year of record tourism growth.
Topping the popularity list is Berlin, which saw 15.1 million overnight stays by foreign visitors in the latest statistics.
Dywelski said her homeland has gained a number of attractions in recent years, with Stuttgart, for instance, having seen Mercedes-Benz open a “glitzy museum with an outstanding collection that illustrates the development in motorcar production.”
She also praised Frankfurt for its “magnificent art collections, a variety of interesting museums and impressive architecture.”
Hamburg, in turn, “is the pearl in the northern part of the country” and its Warehouse District is the largest warehouse complex in the world and has been named a UNESCO World Heritage Site, she continued.
Dywelski labelled Potsdam “one of Germany’s most attractive towns and the capital of the state of Brandenburg. With its authentic charm, picturesque brilliance and rich history, the city is a cultural gem well worth visiting. Potsdam is romantic, full of nature and pretty UNESCO-listed palaces.”
Dywelski added Germany is known for its “amazing beer;” and the Bavarian town of Bamberg is one of 46 UNESCO sites in Germany and has “excellent beer produced by the nine breweries that operate here.”