Bristol Airport to promote West of England to world

Bristol Airport is showcasing the West of England to airlines from across the globe at the World Route Development (WRD) Forum, taking place from September 20-23 in Chicago.

The WRD forum – the world’s largest commercial aviation event – gives airports and tourism organisations the chance to meet with airlines to discuss new route opportunities.

The airport has teamed up with tourism organisations Destination Bristol and Bath Tourism Plus to promote the West to the world’s established and emerging airlines. The move comes as the number of foreign residents using Bristol Airport has almost trebled in the last decade, with over a million journeys made by overseas visitors from 82 different countries in 2012.

Besides the one-on-one meetings with airlines, Bristol and Bath will showcase iconic images of the West of England at the VisitEngland stand to 3,000 delegates, including representatives of 300 airlines.

Shaun Browne, Aviation Director at Bristol Airport, said: ‘World Routes is an important date in our calendar because it gives us the opportunity to meet with key decision-makers to make the case for new routes.

Inbound tourism is a vital part of the passenger mix for airlines, so having the support of Destination Bristol and Bath Tourism Plus helps us to demonstrate the strong tourism offer we have for visitors to the West of England. We are confident we will be able to work together to secure new routes which will benefit the region and expect to announce details in the weeks following the Chicago event.’

John Hirst, Chief Executive of Destination Bristol, said: ‘We are delighted to be able to continue this partnership with Bristol Airport. World Routes offers an unrivalled opportunity to network with airlines, travel trade and airports from across the globe and we are working closely with the Airport and VisitEngland to ensure that the potential of regional airports to deliver new routes and visitor markets is achieved. International visits to Bristol grew by 8.5% last year, making Bristol the 8th most visited city or town in the UK and this partnership is critical to continuing growth.’

Meetings at last year’s World Routes in Las Vegas helped Destination Bristol in securing this summer’s twice-weekly Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) service from Stockholm, which brought large numbers Swedish visitors to the city, the airport noted.


Top events to look forward to in Bath in the new year

Once Christmas has been and gone and the prospect of a chilly January and February are the next things on your calendar, it’s easy to feel a little gloomy. Fortunately, there’s a lot going on in the new year, and we think one of the best ways to cheer yourself up after Christmas is over is to take a short break to Bath.

Why Bath, you ask? Well, there are lots of events to look forward to next year, for one thing – and, more generally, this gorgeous city is always a fantastic base for a getaway. In terms of accommodation, we think it’s worth booking a holiday cottage in Bath, since this is probably the cosiest option. Plus, it also means you have the freedom to prepare your own meals, which could save you some money if you’re keen to watch the pennies after Christmas.

Here are a few examples of what you can do while you’re here.

Continuing the festive season

We don’t know about you, but we sometimes feel like the festive period ends all too quickly – you spend weeks gearing up to it, and then it’s over in a flash. The good news is that if you want to enjoy the spirit of the season for a little longer, there are several events that allow you to do exactly that in Bath.

One of our favourites is Bath on Ice. This ice rink is located in Royal Victoria Park (which is just below the famous Royal Crescent) and gives you a chance to skate in incredibly scenic surroundings. If you can, book a time slot in the evening, since this is when the rink is beautifully lit up.

Another great option is the New Year Viennese Spectacular, which takes place annually on January 1st at the Forum. This show promises to capture the magic of 19th-century ballrooms by playing a combination of Viennese favourites and charming French waltzes.

The London Gala Orchestra and soprano Pamela Hay are among the acts you can expect to enjoy. What’s more, there’s also a champagne lottery, which is a lot of fun – especially if you’re lucky enough to win!

Looking ahead

The new year’s treats in Bath do not end in early January, you will be pleased to hear; indeed, there is plenty to look forward to in the coming months. Among the events that particularly caught our eye is the Bath Literature Festival, which despite only having been founded in 1995 is already one of the most respected events in the UK literary calendar.

So, if you love your books, it’s a sure-fire winner. Running from March 1st to 11th at venues across the city, it will welcome a host of renowned authors. These include the much-loved JK Rowling of Harry Potter fame, who will be talking about The Casual Vacancy, her new novel for adults, as well as Hilary Mantel and PD James.

Another interesting option that might particularly appeal to you if you’re travelling earlier in the year is a new exhibition at the Victoria Art Gallery. The museum will be showcasing selected paintings by Katie Sims, an upcoming artist tipped to become something of a star in the art world. The exhibition will be held between January 26th and April 7th, so there is plenty of time to see it.

Visit the Great Bath Feast in Bath this October

Those tourists holidaying in Bath, UK, this month will have the opportunity of joining in the Great Bath Feast, where local chefs gather to show off their creative talent.

The Great Bath Feast is held every year to celebrate culinary delights and local produce, and this year will feature talented chefs including Mark Hix, Angela Hartnett and Raymond Blanc.

The events will include street food, specialist producers, a celebrity book release and signings, guest appearances by celebrities at local delis, and wine tasting at various venues. The city’s restaurants are gearing up to offer seasonal and local ingredients, with their new dish, ‘Bath on a Plate.’ the Great Bath Breakfast will also be on offer at many of the city’s restaurants and eateries, made from ingredients sourced locally.

The organisers have also arranged for a Bath Taste Trail, a food walk that takes the visitors through the city streets in search of attractive food shops, including the Bath Sausage shop and others.

Nick Brooks-Sykes, the chief executive of Bath Tourism Plus, said, ‘This is a city that has made hospitality its business for more than 200 years. By signing up to offer The Great Bath Breakfast, Bath’s cafes, guest houses and hotels are showing their pride in sourcing their breakfast ingredients locally, supporting local producers and ensuring that their guests get the best start to their day when exploring the World Heritage City of Bath.’

The Great Bath Feast is a partnership between local businesses, and is being held in collaboration with the Bath Business Improvement District and Bath Tourism Plus.

Andrew Cooper, the Bath Business Improvement district manager, said, ‘The partnership approach, working with Bath businesses means that we can create an event and a campaign that will raise the profile of the city in the autumn. The Great Bath Feast has something for everyone whether they call Bath home or are visiting the city.’

Bath Tourism Plus Announces Increase in Bath-based Business Events

Bath Tourism Plus (BTP), a marketing agency for the city of Bath in the UK, has recently released the findings of a report commissioned into Bath’s conference and events market.

The report has indicated that in 2011 there were around 3,750 business events held in the city for around £24.4m in revenue, a rise of 15 percent compared to 2009.

The report, which has been produced by TEAM Tourism Consulting, measures the value and characteristics of Bath’s conference and events market and draws upon data provided to the UK Events Market Trends Survey (UKEMTS) by conference venues across the city.

The report divulged that around 161,000 delegates attended business events in Bath city in 2011, with an average event duration of 1.6 days. The corporate sector has hosted around 74 percent of events, for an average Day Delegate Rate (DDR) of £51, compared to a pan UK average of £41, for the same period.

Nick Brooks Sykes, the chief executive officer, at Bath Tourism Plus, said, ‘These figures are a tremendous boost for the city and highlight the valuable contribution business tourism makes to Bath’s visitor economy. In our strategy, we set ourselves a target of attracting 169,000 business delegates to Bath by 2014, so it’s great to see that we’re already well on the way to achieving this.’

Bath Tourism Plus is continuing a marketing drive to persuade organisers and event planners to host more conferences and events in Bath. The campaign includes the re-launch of a conference venues website,

Francis Hotel a hit after £6m renovation

The Francis Hotel Bath has recently received a £6 million refurbishment, the hotel itself is set across 7 former townhouses and boasts ample parking to the rear, while travellers on foot can easily access the hotel from the train station and various coach stops in the city. As you would expect for a Bath hotel the architecture is stunning and the location is central to many attractions such as the world renowned Roman Baths, Royal Crescent and the Thermae Spa.

Our visit to the newly refurbished Francis Hotel was on July 27th the same night as the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympics. An impressive central location, grand building and a traditional, slightly old world, revolving door greets you.  But once inside the lobby you are greeted with a contemporary interior which delivers both style and history. The hotel markets itself as a city centre boutique residence and there has clearly been some thought put into the décor. The traditional features remain but are decorated in bold deep tones with thick lush fabrics.

The rooms are furnished in keeping with the boutique image, thick patterned carpets, four poster bed and a well finished shower room. The beds are large and comfortable with the only disconcerting part being the picture on the ceiling above the bed, which may be a design step too far.

The hotel does have a Raymond Blanc restaurant for the use of patrons and the public though we did not use it on this trip.  Bath is a city of great culinary diversity so you will have no problem finding a great restaurant, you may however have trouble deciding which one to visit first.

Later in the evening we retreated to the hotel lounge where table service offers you the chance to sample some of the hotels fine wines, cocktails and beers from around the world, we chose a couple of cocktails which were mixed superbly by the barman. We had our last drink of the evening served in our room and enjoyed an hour of the Olympics opening ceremony.

Breakfast is served in the main dining area of the hotel which is light and airy and makes a perfect location to ease into the day. The selection of food is superb and really would cater for any taste, finding it hard to ignore a good English breakfast I ordered just that while my wife being the more health conscious took the continental option and enjoyed some fantastic granola, fresh fruit and some interesting breakfast smoothie shots which in her words were “fabulous”.

To sum up, the Francis Hotel has to be up there with the best city centre hotels in Bath, the location is superb and the rooms, although not the biggest, will offer you a supremely comfortable base from which to explore the city and the many sight the South West has to offer.

Francis Hotel Opens in Bath as Part of MGallery Collection by Accor

The Francis Hotel, which is located in the historic city of Bath, England, has opened on completion of a renovation project.

The hotel was opened to the public on May 28, 2012, as the Francis Hotel Bath, a member of the MGallery collection by Accor, a brand of hotels from Accor, a French hotel company.

MGallery is a portfolio of a luxurious hotels owned by the Accor group, which operates around 4,200 hotels and has 145,000 employees in 90 countries. Each MGallery hotel property is distinct in its features, design, and decor. All MGallery hotels offer their guests the chance to experience a ‘Memorable Moment’, through a special activity intended to provide added guest satisfaction.

The historic Francis Hotel, which neighbours the city’s main attractions, the Roman Baths, Pump Room and Thermal Spa, has undergone a meticulous £6 million refurbishment to provide 98 distinctly styled bedrooms, as well as a luxurious lounge and bar, and a front parlour and breakfast room.

Karen Bassett, the hotel manager, said, ‘We’re very excited about the refurbishment and look forward to welcoming guests to experience our beautiful new hotel. It’s fantastic that the Francis Hotel is being honoured in this way and being brought back to the impeccable standard of its heyday.’

The hotel room rates commence from £109.00 per room, per night.

The Francis Hotel Bath was originally constructed from seven houses, joined to create a hotel by local hotelier, Emily Francis, in 1884. Architectural firm, Househam Henderson, has designed the current hotel interiors.

Local businesses support Olympic Torch through Bath

The Olympic torch will be visiting the City of Bath on May 22 and local businesses are helping to make it a memorable day.  Preparations are being made with local businesses, residents and the local authority to mark the honour of the Flame’s visit to Bath.  A street parade, music, dancing and various celebrity appearances are planned, a real day of partying for Bath.

Guest House owners, such as Les & Lynsay Redwood, who run Apple Tree Guest House in the centre of Bath are just one of the businesses that are getting involved. Les Redwood said: “This is a real honour for the whole of Bath, and we want to play our part in the community by supporting the Torch celebrations when they happen on 22nd May.”

Organisers of the Olympic Torch Relay boast that the torch will come within 10 miles of 95% of the UK population, passing through 1,019 communities on its 70 day journey around the United Kingdom.  8,000 people will carry the torch on its 8,000 mile journey that will culminate with the lighting of the Olympic Flame in London on July 27, 2012.