Gatwick to reopen South Terminal as travel picks up

Gatwick Airport has said that it will reopen its South Terminal in March – after nearly two years of closure – to serve the increased demand this summer and beyond as international travel returns.

The announcement comes after the government eased testing requirements for those arriving into the UK significantly, with fully vaccinated passengers (two doses) and those under the age of 18 no longer needing to take pre-departure and post-arrival tests. Flights have been operating solely from the airport’s North Terminal since June 15, 2020 to save on costs, but activity will return to the South Terminal from Sunday March 27, as Gatwick expects a busy summer season.

British Airways has already announced that it will restart its short-haul services from Gatwick from March 29, with 35 new European routes added. BA’s low-cost sister airline, Vueling, will also be expanding its operations, adding five new short-haul routes and basing three aircraft at Gatwick. Wizz Air will also significantly increase its operations from the airport with 18 new routes, while easyJet has also taken up more slots and expanded its flying schedule at the airport.

Stewart Wingate, Chief Executive Officer, Gatwick Airport said: ‘After an incredibly challenging two years for the airport, our partners, local communities and the entire aviation industry, we are delighted to be reopening our South Terminal next month.

‘Following some major announcements from our airlines about significantly increased flying schedules, and from Government on removing travel restrictions and airport slot regulations, we can now look forward to once again operating a busy Gatwick this summer and beyond.’

‘It may however take time for consumer confidence to fully recover, so I urge Government to make 2022 the year when all travel restrictions are removed, including the unpopular passenger locator form and other remaining barriers to free travel,’ Wingate added.

From March 27, a number of Gatwick’s airlines will begin returning to the South Terminal. Tickets for over 30 exciting long-haul routes from Gatwick are also on sale, including New York, Tampa, Bangkok, Phuket, Mauritius, Dubai, Doha, Islamabad – and a range of cities across Canada, the Caribbean and Mexico, including Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, Cancun, Antigua and Montego Bay.

Airlines who will be operating from the South Terminal include: British Airways, Vueling, Wizz, Ryanair, Norwegian, Turkish Airlines, TAP, Eastern Airways, Aurigny, Aer Lingus, Air Baltic, Airmaltia, Air Europa and Enter Air, while easyJet will operate across both South and North Terminals.

Marriot International opens Europe’s largest Residence Inn in London

Marriott International, Inc. has said that it has opened its new Residence Inn by Marriott London Kensington, the largest property in the brand’s European portfolio.

The opening of Residence Inn by Marriott London Kensington is the brand’s seventh property in Europe, with further expansion including the brand’s entry into new markets such as France due to the opening of Residence Inn Toulouse-Blagnac.

Residence Inn by Marriott London Kensington provides one- and two-bedroom suites with separate living, working and sleeping areas designed for longer stays. Each of the seven suite categories has fully-functional kitchens besides the complimentary Wi-Fi, smart TVs, USB plug points and work space. Complimentary breakfast is served seven days a week, while the Grab’n Go market and Fitness Centre are both open 24/7. There is also a grocery delivery service available.

Located on Warwick Road in Earls Court, the new hotel features 319 suites, many with private terraces. The hotel’s eighth floor terrace will be available to hire as an events space. Suites at the Residence Inn by Marriott London Kensington are available from £90 plus tax.

‘Residence Inn by Marriott London Kensington has been one of our most highly-anticipated launches in Europe; not only is it the largest Residence Inn in Europe, but it is the third largest in the world, and a flagship property for the brand,’ said John Licence, Vice President Premium and Select Brands Europe at Marriott International. ‘London is a key market for extended-stay travel and we are delighted to launch the city’s second Residence Inn following last year’s opening of Residence Inn by Marriott London Bridge.’

John Wagner, co-founder of Cycas Hospitality, said: ‘We know that guest expectations and travelling styles have evolved in recent years, creating a growing demand for centrally-located properties that bridge the gap between hotels and home. Opening London’s biggest aparthotel will therefore allow us to widen the accommodation options available to business travellers whilst also putting the capital’s most popular cultural attractions within easy reach of our long-stay leisure guests.’

Kensington Olympia Exhibition Centre and the city’s key cultural attractions such as the Victoria and Albert Museum, Science Museum, Royal Albert Hall, and the Natural History museum are within walking distance from the hotel. Guests also have access to transport links across London and to Heathrow Airport.

Diverse workforce strengthens international business, London City Airport

London City Airport (LCY) is not just an international business when it comes to operating airlines, but one of the most diverse workplaces in the UK, with a truly international workforce employing staff from 28 different nationalities, the airport has said.

It claims that the diverse workforce helps to strengthen its international business.

More than 2,000 people work at LCY, with over 500 directly employed by the airport. The staff includes nationals from all over Europe such as France, Spain, Italy and The Netherlands, as well as people from as far as Australia, Barbados, Brazil, South Africa and Uganda.

The most represented countries outside of the UK are Ireland, Portugal and Poland, followed by Nigeria, France, Germany, India and Lithuania.

Declan Collier, CEO of London City Airport, said: ‘Having an international workforce truly strengthens the business. Our workforce reflects the international make-up of the local area and the international make-up of our business, currently serving more than 40 destinations across Europe.

With passengers of many different nationalities travelling through our airport every day, the most obvious advantage is having foreign language speakers on-site to provide assistance. Our international employees also bring local knowledge of overseas markets, which can benefit both passengers travelling overseas and our business strategy more widely.’

Even so, London City Airport focuses on recruiting locally – 27 per cent of current employees are from the London Borough of Newham and 61 per cent live within five miles of the airport, it said.

The airport’s ‘Take Off Into Work’ scheme provides skills training and work experience for local adults, and has helped over 300 people get back into work since 2009.

Serving around 3.4 million passengers with 70,000 movements annually, LCY celebrated 26 years of operation in 2013. The airport has permission to increase its operation to 120,000 movements per annum, carrying six million passengers, which it plans to do by 2023.

LCY’s proposed City Airport Development Plan, which includes seven new stands, a parallel taxiway, a western extension to the existing terminal, and a new arrivals building, is expected to create 1,500 new full-time jobs by 2023 – bringing the total workforce to in excess of 3,500.


International tourism to reach 1 billion in 2012

International tourist arrivals grew by over 4 percent in 2011 to 980 million, according to the latest UNWTO World Tourism Barometer. With growth expected to continue in 2012, at a somewhat slower rate, international tourist arrivals are on track to reach the milestone 1 billion mark later this year.

International tourist arrivals grew by 4.4 percent in 2011 to a total 980 million, up from 939 million in 2010, in a year characterized by a stalled global economic recovery, major political changes in the Middle East and North Africa, and natural disasters in Japan. By region, Europe (+6 percent) was the best performer, while by sub-region, South-America (+10 percent) topped the ranking. Contrary to previous years, growth was higher in advanced economies (+5.0 percent) than in emerging ones (+3.8 percent), due largely to the strong results in Europe and the setbacks in the Middle East and North Africa.

“International tourism hit new records in 2011 despite the challenging conditions,” said UNWTO Secretary General, Taleb Rifai, “For a sector directly responsible for 5 percent of the world’s GDP, 6 percent of total exports, and employing 1 out of every 12 people in advanced and emerging economies alike, these results are encouraging, coming as they do at a time in which we urgently need levers to stimulate growth and job creation.”


Despite persistent economic uncertainty, tourist arrivals to Europe reached 503 million in 2011, accounting for 28 million of the 41 million additional international arrivals recorded worldwide. Central and Eastern Europe and Southern Mediterranean destinations (+8 percent each) experienced the best results. Although part of the growth in Southern Mediterranean Europe resulted from a shift in traffic away from the Middle East and North Africa, destinations in the Mediterranean also profited from improved outbound flows from markets such as Scandinavia, Germany, and the Russian Federation.

Asia and the Pacific (+6 percent) was up 11 million arrivals in 2011, reaching a total 216 million international tourists. South Asia and Southeast Asia (both +9 percent) benefited from strong intraregional demand, while growth was comparatively weaker in Northeast Asia (+4 percent) and Oceania (+0.3 percent), partly due to the temporary decline in the Japanese outbound market.

The Americas (+4 percent) saw an increase of 6 million arrivals, reaching 156 million in total. South America, up by 10 percent for the second consecutive year, continued to lead growth. Central America and the Caribbean (both +4 percent) maintained the growth rates of 2010. North America, with a 3 percent increase, and hit the 100 million tourists mark in 2011.

Africa maintained international arrivals at 50 million, as the gain of 2 million by Sub-Saharan destinations (+7 percent) was offset by the losses in North Africa (-12 percent). The Middle East (-8 percent) lost an estimated 5 million international tourist arrivals, totaling 55 million. Nevertheless, some destinations such as Saudi Arabia, Oman, and the United Arab Emirates sustained steady growth.

Available data on international tourism receipts and expenditure for 2011 closely follows the positive trend in arrivals.

Among the top ten tourist destinations, receipts were up significantly in the USA (+12 percent); Spain (+9 percent); Hong Kong, China (+25 percent); and the UK (+7 percent). The top spenders were led by emerging source markets – China (+38 percent), Russia (+21 percent), Brazil (+32 percent), and India (+32 percent) – followed by traditional markets, with the growth in expenditure of travelers from Germany (+4 percent) and the USA (+5 percent) above the levels of previous years.


UNWTO forecasts international tourism to continue growing in 2012 although at a slower rate. Arrivals are expected to increase by 3 percent to 4 percent, reaching the historic 1 billion mark by the end of the year. Emerging economies will regain the lead with stronger growth in Asia and the Pacific and Africa (4 percent to 6 percent), followed by the Americas and Europe (2 percent to 4 percent). The Middle East (0 percent to +5 percent) is forecast to start to recover part of its losses from 2011.

These prospects are confirmed by the UNWTO Confidence Index. The 400 UNWTO Panel of Experts from around the globe, expects the tourism sector to perform positively in 2012, though somewhat weaker than last year.


As destinations worldwide look to stimulate travel demand under pressing economic conditions, UNWTO is urging governments to consider advancing travel facilitation, an area in which, in spite of the great strides made so far, there is still much room for progress. UNWTO advises countries to make the most of information and communication technologies in improving visa application and processing formalities, as well as the timings of visa issuance, and to analyze the possible impact of travel facilitation in increasing their tourism economies.

“Travel facilitation is closely interlinked with tourism development and can be key in boosting demand. This area is of particular relevance in a moment in which governments are looking to stimulate economic growth but cannot make major use of fiscal incentives or public investment,” said Mr. Rifai.