Now it's England that wants to spread out the tourism largesse...
I wrote last week about how tourism officials in France are hoping to get more travellers to go beyond Paris and explore other parts of that beautiful country. Now it seems the English are making a similar point.
The Telegraph the other day said research for Visit Britain showed that of the 31 million who visited last year, almost half went to London alone. (Mind you, they DID hold the Olympics in London and asked everyone to come, so I don't think it's the best year for comparisons).
Research conducted among holidaymakers from US, France, Norway and Germany found there was a “general lack of knowledge” about other destinations outside of London, confusion as to which nations made up the British Isles, and “nerves” about driving on Britain’s roads. (Which is nuts, I think. It takes maybe five or ten minutes in a parking lot to figure out left-side driving. A bit tricky on turns, for sure, but I find I get the hang of it pretty quickly).
A quarter said it was “too expensive” to travel across Britain, but nearly 30 per cent said they simply did not what it was like elsewhere in the UK or what was on offer. One more traditional foreign view of Britain appears to have faded, however, as only one in ten said the food was “poor”.
I can attest to that. I haven't been in Scotland for years (sorry), but I was in Wales in, I think, 2008 and was thoroughly impressed by the cuisine; inventive dishes with savoury spices and nicely presented, too. I also stayed in some fine hotels in Wales, so I can personally attest to it as a great destination in Britain. And the golf is first-rate, too. The Nefyn and District club has a couple goofy holes but the last part of the layout rests on a finger-like peninsula that juts straight out into the ocean, with fabulous views of the coast and harbour and of a cozy pub and hotel called the Ty Coch Inn. Marvellous.
Other than a brief train ride I haven't been in Scotland for a couple decades. But I loved Edinburgh when I was there and I hear great things about Glasgow.
As for England proper, I can attest to the charms of both Bath, with its historic Roman ruins and genteel parks, and Cambridge, home of one of the world's great universities. I haven't seen a lot of the rest of England, but I hope to make a trip to Liverpool in November to honour my lifelong love of all things Beatle.
AIR CANADA TURNAROUND
As a passenger, I like seeing Air Canada planes empty as it gives me more space. As a Canadian, I guess I like the fact they're making a bit of money these days and that their stock is up. As reported today by Star biz reporter Vanessa Lu,, AC stock rose 53 cents yesterday to $2.65, up 25 per cent.
The airline said it had $115 million of adjusted net profit in the second quarter. Air Canada president and CEO Calin Rovinescu also was quoted as saying they had a completely full flight to Paris the other day. Like I said, good for them. Not so great for elbow room....
SAUDIA COMES TO TOWN
Saudi Arabia's national airline, Saudia, is expected to launch flights between Toronto and Jidda-Riyadh on Oct. 28. Word from Canadian Press is they'll fly Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays.
The CP story in today's Star says the flights "will be of special interest to thousands of Canadians who travel to the kingdom each year for hajj and umrah pilgrimages."