Qatar Airways to Offer Services from Birmingham UK

Qatar Airways, a Qatar based airline company, is currently planning to operate new scheduled flights from Birmingham Airport in the UK.

The new destination will be its third in the UK, and it will serve the Midland’s area. It follows London Heathrow Airport, which serves the capital and the southeast, and Manchester Airport, which serves the north of the country.

The airline, which has recently completed its feasibility studies on two more UK airports, is yet to announce details of the specific proposed locations.

In a statement the airline said, ‘Qatar Airways is committed to the UK market, where we currently operate 45 non-stop flights each week between the UK and the State of Qatar.

The UK represents the largest single European market for Qatar Airways with the high level of frequencies we operate. Naturally, as part of our growth plans, we are considering opening up new UK gateways to offer customers more choice.

We can confirm we are planning to launch passenger flights to Birmingham, but are not yet in a position to announce a date nor schedules. As for the other two UK airports we are interested in, we cannot comment further on these as we are currently in the process of carrying out feasibility studies.’

The airline currently offers five daily services from Heathrow Airport and 10 flights a week from Manchester Airport. The airline is planning to offer its services using its first Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft from September 2012, on the Heathrow to Doha route.


StayWell Hospitality Group Expands into UK with Park Regis Birmingham

StayWell Hospitality Group, an Australia-based hotel company, has recently announced plans to expand its hotel business in the UK, with the opening of a new hotel.

The company has identified its first hotel project in the UK as the Park Regis Birmingham, which the company will be operating for the next 30 years.

The 300-room Park Regis Birmingham is scheduled to open in 2014, and is located in Birmingham, the second largest city in the UK. The hotel will have a rooftop restaurant and cocktail bar, a lobby restaurant, a lobby lounge and bar, a library, a business centre, and a Gym or spa.

StayWell is currently in the process of discussing a management agreement for an upscale hotel in London, as well as seeking out other opportunities in the UK cities of Manchester and Edinburgh.

Simon Wan, the chief executive officer of StayWell, said, ‘This is a massive step forward for StayWell and we are elated to have such a quality accommodation product added to our portfolio. Our partners in the UK, Seven Capital, have identified a number of other opportunities in the region which is very exciting for us and we hope to announce further additions to our portfolio very soon.’

The company currently operates two hotel brands, Leisure Inn and Park Regis. Each brand offers its guests a superior hotel experience within various sectors of the hospitality industry.

The company is also currently venturing into new markets in Europe and Northern Asia, with its attention focused on India and China.

Aer Lingus Regionals Announces New Service to Birmingham

Aer Lingus Regionals, a service offered by Irish regional airline, Aer Arann, under a franchise agreement with Aer Lingus, an Ireland-based airline, is currently offering a new service from Ireland West Airport Knock, in Ireland, to Birmingham, England.

Aer Lingus Regional is offering a daily flight from Ireland West Airport Knock to Birmingham, with connectivity for business and leisure travellers to the second largest city in Great Britain. Flight bookings are available on the airline’s website.

The interim chief executive officer for Aer Arann, Sean Brogan, said, ‘We are delighted to commence our Aer Lingus Regional Ireland West Airport Knock to Birmingham service. We recognise the vital importance of regional air connectivity and the key role that this air link to Birmingham provides for business, tourism and leisure travel. We look forward to working with our partners in Ireland West Airport Knock to ensure that this route continues to be a success.’

Joe Gilmore, the managing director of Ireland West Airport Knock, said, ‘We are delighted to welcome Aer Lingus Regional’s first flight to the Airport from Birmingham.

Our Birmingham service has long been one of our most established routes from the airport and I am sure the uninterrupted continuation of the service will come as welcome news to the thousands of UK visitors who use this service regularly as well as the Irish people travelling to the Birmingham region for business and leisure purposes. We wish Aer Lingus Regional every success with the new service’ and look forward to working with them to grow the service.’

Birmingham Airport to Commence Flights to China

Birmingham Airport, located close to the city of Birmingham, has announced plans for new services to China.

The airport is hoping to offer new routes between England and China once a runway extension is completed at the airport. The airport runway extension is scheduled for completion in 2014.

The airport chief executive officer, Paul Kehoe, recently visited Chengdu, in China, for the Routes Asia Aviation Conference, and has been exploring the possibility of airlines offering direct flights to Birmingham from China.

Kehoe said, ‘We hear so much from BAA about the UK losing lucrative new routes because of the capacity constraints at Heathrow but the south-east isn’t the only solution.

Our runway extension will allow aircraft to fly direct from China, bringing investment to the region, and giving airlines and passengers an alternative to battling with London’s congestion problems. We now need the UK government to endorse Birmingham airport, when it releases its aviation policy review later this year, as a national airport that can offer a rapid and cost-effective solution to the aviation gap.

Our runway extension is already under construction and will be complete early in 2014. The UK government has said there will be no additional runway capacity for flights into London; it is therefore critical for airports such as Birmingham to deliver direct long-haul flights and this kind of positive commercial discussion paves the way for that to happen.’

Birmingham Airport is currently serving around nine million passengers every year, and is expected to increase its traffic to 36 million by 2030, with more investment in the company’s infrastructure.

Birmingham named ‘top place to go in 2012’

The New York Times has listed Birmingham as one of the must-see destinations for 2012.

An unlikely option as it’s rarely considered an obvious travel destination by tourists both overseas and in this country. However the 2012 Olympics means that Birmingham has been touted as an unlikely destination for curious Americans.

The US newspaper’s ‘45 Places to Go in 2012’ feature has placed the home of Cadbury’s and the Bullring at number 19 – a ranking that places it above the likes or Jordan, Dubrovnik, Vienna and Antarctica. 

Over the last 20 years the city has under gone a radical transformation, which has seen the development of Selfridges sleek and futuristic outline – which holds 15,000 sun-catching aluminium discs.

Selfridges design is now a predominant feature in the city’s skyline.

American visitors may also be impressed by the city’s Jewellery Quarter, home to independent artisans. Whereas the Mailbox and Brindleyplace offer new bars, restaurants and hotels – and are the 21st century face of the metropolis.

The local tourist authority is certainly bullish about the city’s charms.

Neil Rami, Chief Executive of Marketing Birmingham said “Birmingham has worked hard to improve its reputation as a visitor destination in recent years, by showcasing, amongst other attributes, our fantastic and diverse food”.

“Our Michelin star chefs and fine dining restaurant scene have catapulted the city into the culinary spotlight”.

He added: “As the only English city outside of the capital to be named in this high profile listing, Birmingham has every reason to be proud of the international attention its culinary scene is attracting”.

Jerry Blackett, chief executive of Birmingham Chamber of Commerce Group said “Birmingham’s cultural, entertainment and gastronomic attractions do now indeed compete with the very best – it’s official”.

Article by Charlee Greenhalgh

‘Fantastic’ HS2 will go ahead

Today’s decision by the government to go give the green light to HS2 was greeted as “a fantastic day for the West Midlands” by business leaders in Birmingham but warned that the government must introduce legislation to start the project this year.

Jerry Blackett, chief executive of Birmingham Chamber of Commerce Group (BCCG), said HS2, part of a larger High Speed Network, would create a fundamental change to the way people travel.

He said: “This is a fantastic day for the West Midlands. However, the imperative is to press ahead with all speed because delay will simply stall the impetus that today’s announcement has given.

“The transport secretary Justine Greening has indicated that it could be another two years before Parliament even votes on the proposition. This must not been allowed to happen. Delay would be damaging for the project and it would push it into the heart of an election campaign.

“The national interest must come first and business in Birmingham urges the government to press on with HS2 now so that it does not become bogged down in unnecessary Parliamentary procedures.

“The Government must look towards not only with pressing with the London-Birmingham HS2 link but publishing a plan soon for the route of the line north of Birmingham.

“HS2 will mean it will take just 39 minutes to travel from London to Birmingham and will help erode the north south divide by drawing investment and skilled workers away from the economic stranglehold of the south east.

“With rail growing at six per cent a year, and with no sign of abating, the Chamber applauds the Secretary of State for her decision to back the only viable solution to this looming capacity crunch.

“We have the Victorian’s to thank for our current railway network and it has served us well, but we are now well into the 21st Century and it’s about time we left our mark on the UK’s railway network.”

He added that HS2 has the potential to provide a huge to boost the region’s economy by creating jobs and making it easier for businesses to access markets quickly and efficiently.  In backing HS2 today the Secretary of State will help create 22,000 jobs in the West Midlands and boost the regional economy by £1.5 billion per annum.

HS2 forms part of a larger High Speed Network that will eventually link the main cities of the UK to one another and provide a fundamental change in the way people travel.  The Birmingham Chamber of Commerce Group and the business community in general has been a vocal advocate of HS2.  Indeed a survey of Chamber members found that over 70 per cent of businesses in Birmingham and Solihull support HS2.


A Decade of Deutschland

Everyone is duly celebrating the return of the German Market, in Birmingham’s Victoria square. Also known as the ‘Frankfurt Christmas Market’, this immensely popular festival is now celebrating its tenth year, making its mark as Birmingham’s centrepiece, in its Christmas calendar events.

This market draws families, students, couples and friends with its rows of varied stalls selling antique timeworn jewellery, handcrafted monuments, homemade toys, beautiful Christmas decorations and vintage garments.

Revitalising treasured, traditional figurines such as the beloved Nut-Cracker are now on display to attract a new generations attention. The picturesque setting, complete with a carousel and traditional bandstand’s but the main attraction of course is the food.

German sausages, mulled wine, crepes, pretzels, gingerbread and marzipan sweets are just some of the treats on offer for shoppers to purchase. This is a unique cultural experience Birmingham offers, providing exclusivity and weighted diversity in the second city.This distinctive market unites businesses, community groups and schools, fusing people from all social classes together. This is a refreshing splash of culture for people to swim in, drinking in the carol singers, biblical scenes and if lucky enough, the blanket of white snow.


The German market is a cultural, colourful Christmassy combination of arts provided by Birmingham’s creative community, providing a sense of belonging and excitement. The bright-lights and twinkling décor provide the aesthetically story-book type setting for people to meander through throughout the night.
Annual visitors, first time tourists, school children and festival performers all contribute to giving this unique and distinctive market, running all the way up until Christmas Eve. The Frankfurt market is an uplifting financial and economically acclaimed event and a breath of fresh air in tough times.

Traditional log cabins line the strip of German stalls ranging from oak beer stalls selling china wellington boots of hot apple wine, to the compact huts selling wrought iron figurines. The hustle and bustle of the crowds generates a friendly and earnest congregation of shoppers to swarm each stand, enjoying the delights of home-made bread and woollen garments.


Pearly grey steam spirals up from steaming hot mugs of mulled wine as the clink of beer glasses as big as water-jugs, ring round the streets as the clouds of froth splatter onto the cobbles. Children clutch sweet doughy bricks of waffles, earnestly licking off the sweet hot chocolate sauce that dribbles all over their fingers.  An excited buzz stings the air as each night the culture hungry assembly of people attend the market, appreciating the German freights.Rare souvenirs and glittery tree decorations twinkling in their masses compel you to stop and gawp. Inky blue and gold wreaths of tinsel are dotted with ruby red sparkling ball balls which boarder the procession of German delights.


The treasures sold in masses leave waves of satisfied shoppers to trudge home, bypassing the mainstream conventional purchases of Debenhams and Next. The attempted pronunciation of German words echo through the air as shoppers bypass various stalls; stimulating a ripple of giggles from gaggles of female students, each taking it in turn to say ‘kartoffen’.Greedy eyes fixate on the rows and rows of chocolates that smugly sit behind their glass cases under the warm glow of the lamp lights. White, milk, dark cubes are drizzled with caramel and fudge sauces, speckled with nuts, sugar and fruit specs.
The throng of shoppers personify that Christmas feel, wrapped up in furs, knitted hats, leather gloves and heavy coats, linking arms, willingly losing themselves in the crush of German stalls. Couples aimlessly wander around this fairy-book setting, captivated by that almost time-warp feel emulated, in the core of Bullring’s shopping hub.
This market is in the heart of Birmingham, a must see for anyone seeking a different type of ‘night out’. The ultimate shopping, dining and drinking experience for those who have rinsed Bullrings hoards of stores, had one to many Nandoes and are tired of your typical pint of Fosters.

Article by Emma Boyle

Buying property abroad: Advice from Know Before You Go and A Place in the Sun

The Know Before You Go Campaign will be at the A Place In The Sun Live show in Birmingham this weekend.


Stephen Jones and Zoe Woodward from the British Consulates in Spain and Cyprus will be taking questions from the public. They’ll be on panel sessions throughout the three days, and available the rest of the time at Know Before You Go stand (stand number B13)

Brits remain one of the biggest ex pat groups overseas, with over 5.6 million living abroad. Research is key to planning to move or buy property abroad. Property laws in other countries often differ from the UK, and it is also important to ensure you plan for the long term, for example pension arrangements.

Stephen and Zoe regularly hear from British nationals who have go into difficulty as a result of not researching fully before signing that contract.

The Foreign Office has produced advice on before you go, when you arrive and buying property to help get you started.

Naturist Spa arrives in Birmingham

The naturist spa, Clover Spa Hotel has opened in Birmingham, providing exclusive retreats for naturists and those wishing to try this lifestyle.

A unique, yet luxurious way to discover liberation from the often restrictive and materialistic world we live in today has arrived in the heart of Birmingham.

Clover Spa and Hotel is an exclusive retreat for naturists and those wishing to try this lifestyle for the first time. Clover Spa and Hotel offers its guests the chance to experience freedom of life without clothes in a tranquil and accepting environment.

Originally built as a private residence in the 1920’s, the building has recently undergone refurbishment and conversion into an indulgent, boutique naturists’ resort. Boasting seven individually designed rooms Clover Spa Hotel aims to transport minds and bodies from the stresses of modern living, perfectly blending its intimate surroundings with a bustling city location.

Appealing to both overnight and day spa guests, the superb Spa facilities hosts an Aspen sauna, steam room, outdoor hot tub, cold plunge pool offering an invigorating full body experience, heated head stone loungers and foot spa. Landscape gardens provide the perfect setting for guest relaxation and reflection.

Two treatment rooms for beauty and body therapies combine the best of professional spa expertise and true pampering indulgence. Deluxe facials, manicures, pedicures and aromatherapy massage, through to more holistic style treatments such as Reiki all feature on an extensive menu of treatments.

Owner Tim Higgs said “Clover Spa is about offering choice. Our guests are now able to enjoy all the sophistication and relaxation offered by a ‘traditional’ luxurious spa, whilst following their naturist lifestyle choice. Our location means you can combine a day or more of pampering with the hustle and bustle of a city break. We are already meeting guests who are trying naturism for the first time – the fact that we are an exclusive, boutique spa gives people the confidence and security to give it a go!”

Clover Spa represents the best of the British spa experience for the naturist community. Double room prices start from £120 per night and a day spa experience from £40.

For more information or to book please visit the website: