VisitBritain partners with The National Lottery to boost domestic tourism

VisitBritain has announced a partnership with the National Lottery to launch a new campaign aimed at promoting domestic tourism in the UK.

The move comes as Britons are increasingly looking at staycations as a cost-effective option for the summer. The campaign supports the UK’s domestic tourism industry by stimulating demand for domestic day trips to visitor attractions and experiences including heritage sites, gardens, zoos and aquariums, theme parks, farm parks, tours and excursions.

The campaign offers £25 vouchers to National Lottery players, which can be redeemed for entry tickets to hundreds of participating tourist attractions and experiences across the country.

VisitBritain CEO Patricia Yates said: ‘VisitBritain is delighted to once again be supporting the National Lottery Days Out campaign. With the summer holidays fast approaching, this timely promotion will support more of us to get out and explore the wonderful visitor attractions and experiences here on our doorstep, enjoy a great day out with family and friends and boost local economies up and down the country.’

Adam Chataway, Head of Partnerships at The National Lottery, said: ‘The National Lottery is thrilled to join forces with VisitBritain once again to offer our players the opportunity to see some amazing attractions across the UK this summer, either free or at a hugely discounted price. A huge number of major attractions and historical locations have been funded by The National Lottery over the years and the £25 vouchers are a great way to say a huge ‘thank you’ to our players for supporting culture and heritage across the UK.’

Running from July 3 to September 30, the promotion aims to encourage Britons to explore and enjoy the various attractions available in the UK during the summer months. Players can claim the free vouchers by entering their National Lottery game reference number at the VisitBritain Shop website.

Britons to spend £20bn on staycations this summer

This summer, Britons are spending GBP20bn on their staycation holidays, despite the economic lull and ‘cost of living crisis’.

According to a recent travel study by Travelodge, the majority of Britons are unwilling to sacrifice their summer getaways and are looking at staycations to make their holidays cost-effective. Collectively, Britons are projected to spend GBP20 billion on domestic holidays.

According to the report, 63% of Britons have booked a summer holiday this year, marking a 50 percent increase compared to the previous year’s figure of 42%. Remarkably, 72% of these vacationers have chosen to explore the wonders of Great Britain, opting for staycations on British shores. The top destinations for British holidaymakers this summer include Cornwall, Devon, the Isle of Wight, Whitby, and Blackpool.

Shakila Ahmed, Travelodge Spokesperson, said: ‘Our latest research shows that Britons are prioritising and taking a well-deserved staycation this summer, despite the rising cost of living; as a break has become one of life’s necessities. Interestingly in these challenging times, our bookings data shows Britons are getting creative and resourceful with their budget and holiday planning. New travel trends we are seeing include Britons splitting their holidays into lots of shorter breaks and also planning multi-location holidays. This enables them to combine two different experiences within one holiday and obtain a better return on their money and time. Just a weekend break can make a huge difference to your wellbeing. With a network of over 580 hotels across the length and breadth of the UK, holidaymakers are using Travelodge hotels as their summer base to explore and experience what makes Great Britain so Great this summer.’

The report reveals that 24% of Britons have divided their traditional two-week holiday into multiple breaks throughout the year, taking two staycations during the summer months. Interestingly, Britons are extending their holiday duration from an average of three days to five days, and their average spending on British summer holidays has nearly doubled compared to 2022. This year, the average amount spent by staycationers is estimated to be GBP1011.30, in contrast to the previous year’s average of GBP513.13.

A significant number of savvy Britons (41%) are opting for the holiday hotspots across Britain by creating bespoke two-centre holiday packages. By staying at two different locations within a single holiday, they can enjoy diverse experiences, such as combining a coastal or seaside holiday with a rural escape or a city break.

The report also highlights the British love for the seaside, with 43% of Britons choosing coastal destinations for their summer holidays this year. Cornwall tops the chart with over 250 miles of coastline and 300 beaches to explore. Rural breaks in the British countryside, such as the Lake District, North Wales and Scottish Highlands, are the second most popular type of summer holiday, chosen by a quarter (25%) of Britons. One-fifth (20%) of Britons are opting for UK city breaks this summer, with London, Edinburgh, and Cardiff ranking as the top city destinations.

The findings are part of the 2023 Travelodge Travel Index, which surveyed 2,000 British adults to assess their holiday plans for the summer. Key findings from the report indicate that 25% of Britons consider a summer holiday as one of the few non-negotiable expenses in their lives.

Eastern Airways introduces new route from Cornwall Airport Newquay to East Midlands

Cornwall Airport Newquay has announced an expansion to its route network with the confirmation that Eastern Airways will launch a new daily service between the Cornish gateway and East Midlands.

The move comes in response to demands from Midlands and Cornish travellers, with the new daily flights commencing on Friday February 10. The regional carrier will add over 1,000 weekly seats to the airport’s schedule next year.

Roger Hage, Commercial Director, Eastern Airways, said: ‘This is a major step in growing connectivity from and to the Cornwall base and is the only Midlands service from the Southwest of England.

‘By adding East Midlands Airport with the major cities of Nottingham, Derby, Leicester all within 30-minutes and Sheffield within an hour, this welcome addition to the domestic network at East Midlands will aid those who travel for business, visit friends and family or seek a welcome leisure break with the need for international travel. The major East Midlands hub also offers a wide-ranging level of connections and access to some of the country’s biggest sporting venues outside London.’

Sam O’Dwyer, Managing Director, Cornwall Airport Newquay commented: ‘As we continue to welcome a significant expansion of our route network here at Cornwall Airport Newquay, we are so pleased Eastern Airways has announced a new daily connection between the East Midlands and the Southwest. Our research and passenger feedback has shown there is much demand for a link into the Midlands region from Cornwall, combined with more capacity into London, and the doubling of flights into Humberside is fantastic news. Eastern Airways has been serving Cornwall since 2020 and these latest announcements provide a clear indication of its continued commitment to ensure our customers have more choice available to them when travelling within the UK throughout the year.’

Operating on a low-emission 72-seat ATR aircraft, with a flight-time of little over an hour, the new service will save almost ten hours compared to surface transport options on a round-trip. With fares starting from £68.99 one-way, including a hold-bag, and are on sale at easternairways.com

Besides adding a new UK region to the route map, Eastern Airways has also confirmed expanded flying on its links from Cornwall to London Gatwick and Humberside. The carrier will offer three flights a day on weekdays, all year-round, and increase its flights to Humberside from twice a week to four times a week from April 7, 2023.

UK holidaymakers opt for staycations and pub visits this summer

With costs rising on foreign holidays and high temperatures this summer, Brits are looking to holiday closer to home and enjoy the Great British Pub as part of their staycation this summer.

As almost 50% of international tourists choose to visit a pub on their trips to the UK, pubs are showcasing their international draw to UK holidaymakers with diverse food menus, newly renovated accommodation and great British hospitality. The call from pubs comes as data shows that the average cost of a family holiday abroad has rocketed over the past few months, with everything from car hire to accommodation rising in price.

Even before the pandemic struck, pubs across the UK were a hugely popular destination of choice for UK holiday makers. In 2019 Brits took 1.7bn day visits, 50 million of which were to a pub, generating £2billion for the economy each year.

Kevin Georgel, Chief Executive of St Austell Brewery, which owns over 170 pubs across the Westcountry, said: ‘People can see the pub as a place for a pint and nothing else, but that couldn’t be further from reality. We’re really proud to serve our beers in our pubs, but we’re also proud to offer menus teeming with locally sourced ingredients and classic Westcountry fare, in stunning locations that need to be seen to be believed.

‘Over the past two years, we’ve really invested in our accommodation for overnight guests too. If people are travelling a few hours, by car or train, we want to make it easy and enjoyable for them to make the most of their staycation and give them a memorable experience. There are so many elements which make Great British Pubs the perfect boltholes for relaxing and exploring new areas across the UK.’

Emma McClarkin, Chief Executive of the British Beer and Pub Association said: ‘We’re all feeling the pinch at the moment with rising costs all around us, but us Brits don’t need to spend money on travelling far, because we are lucky to have a world-renowned cultural institution on our doorstep.

‘We’re encouraging people to get out and explore the UK, and head for pubs not only for a pint but to eat and stay as well. And if you need some inspiration on where to go stayinapub.co.uk showcases pubs with accommodation in beauty spots across the country, from the highlands to the Cornish coast.’

Norwich Airport announces resumption of Guernsey flights

Norwich Airport has reported the resumption of flights to Guernsey this week with the first of five weekly Saturday services for those planning a holiday break in the Channel Islands.

Guernsey’s own airline Aurigny is operating the flights until September 18, marking the return of a summer service that it last operated from Norwich in 2019.

Malcolm Coupar, Commercial Director of Aurigny, said: ‘Aurigny are delighted to be returning to Norwich airport this weekend with the first of five weekly Saturday flights direct to Guernsey in just 90 minutes.

‘The seasonal service has always been popular and gives many the opportunity to visit the beautiful islands of Guernsey, Herm, Sark, Lihou and Alderney, which together make up the Bailiwick of Guernsey. Guernsey provides the safety of home yet the exotic appeal of an overseas location with much to see and explore. We look forward to welcoming aboard our visitors from Norwich and the surrounding areas.’

Richard Pace, Managing Director of Norwich Airport, said: ‘It’s great to welcome Aurigny back with their flights to Guernsey and to be able to offer passengers another exciting destination from Norwich.

‘This week has also seen the return of flights from Norwich to Corfu with TUI, and we’re looking forward to their Tenerife service re-starting next month. In July we saw flights resume to Majorca, Exeter and Edinburgh, adding to our services to Amsterdam, Aberdeen and Jersey, which are all operating now.

‘Our 2022 holiday season is already shaping up well with flights to Cyprus, Greece, Spain, Turkey, Italy and Bulgaria from May.’

Passengers can book the Guernsey flights with Aurigny at www.auringy.com. For a full list of destinations from Norwich Airport and details of how to book, visit www.norwichairport.co.uk

easyJet launches two new routes to Jersey and Newquay, and more seats from Birmingham Airport

easyJet has recently announced the launch of two new domestic routes to Jersey and Newquay from Birmingham Airport

The airline will launch operations from Birmingham with new flights to Jersey and Newquay and fares starting from £22.99. The airline has also added thousands of additional seats on its existing route from Birmingham to Belfast International from July 3, operating six times a week.

Ali Gayward, easyJet’s UK Country Manager, commented: ‘We know our customers can’t wait to be reunited with friends and family or have more opportunity to explore the UK so the new routes from Birmingham should prove popular and will further strengthen our UK domestic network providing customers with even more choice.

‘We also know it is important to our customers to be reunited with loved ones overseas so we continue to urge the UK government to add more countries to the Green list – which can be done safely – to make this possible.

‘We continue to have some of the most flexible policies currently in place so customers can book with confidence and change their plans if they need to, making travel as easy as possible this summer.’

Nick Barton, CEO of Birmingham Airport said: ‘It is great news that EasyJet is offering twice weekly flights to Jersey and Newquay from Birmingham Airport for summer 2021. Newquay and Jersey do not fall under the government traffic light system as they are both classed as domestic within the common travel area, giving ease and flexibility for those needing to holiday or travel for business. These domestic summer sun routes complement the existing Belfast International, Edinburgh and Glasgow services that EasyJet currently offers from Birmingham and we’re pleased that this valued airline customer is expanding its operation for Midlanders.’

easyJet is offering flexible booking policies under its ‘Protection Promise’ scheme. Customers will now be able to change their flights this summer without a change fee, at any time up to two hours before departure, or request a voucher. There are no restrictions on dates or destination; customers can transfer to any flights currently on sale up to the end of September 2022.

British Airways launches new services from Belfast with routes to Exeter, Leeds Bradford, Newquay and Glasgow

British Airways has announced the launch of four new domestic routes from Belfast this summer, providing key links between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK at a time when booking a holiday abroad remains uncertain.

Over the next few months, the airline will start to operate 18 flights a week between George Best Belfast City Airport and Exeter, Glasgow, Leeds Bradford and Newquay airports.

Starting from June 16, 2021, British Airways will operate flights from Belfast City to Exeter on Monday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, and to Leeds Bradford on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Sunday. The airline will operate services from Belfast City to Cornwall Newquay starting from July 3, 2021, twice a week on Wednesday and Saturday; while the new Belfast City- Glasgow service will be operated starting August 2, 2021 on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Sunday.

The new routes will run alongside existing British Airways services between Belfast and London City and London Heathrow airports. The additional services will be operated using BA CityFlyer’s existing fleet of Embraer 190 aircraft. Customers can book via ba.com, with return fares from Belfast to these new destinations starting from £48 each way.

Tom Stoddart, Managing Director of BA CityFlyer, which will operate the new routes, said: ‘We’re delighted to announce these new services from Belfast, which will enhance our regional network and maintain vital connections between Northern Ireland and other key UK destinations.

‘We’re sure these routes will be popular with customers getting away for a UK holiday this summer, as well as those visiting friends and relatives, and we’ll continue to listen to their feedback about where they want to travel.’

Katy Best, Commercial Director at Belfast City Airport, said: ‘Continuity on these services is excellent news for domestic connectivity to and from Northern Ireland. Operated by Embraer 190 jets, these routes will greatly complement the existing British Airways services to London Heathrow and London City enabling passengers to enjoy the excellent British Airways experience to a greater number of destinations.’

easyJet launches first flight from Bournemouth to Belfast

easyJet has announced the launch of its new service between Bournemouth and Belfast, marking the launch of more convenient connectivity this summer between the South of England and cities across the UK.

The flight to Belfast is the first of two new domestic easyJet routes from Bournemouth launching this summer, the other being Edinburgh, which launched on May 27. Both routes will operate twice weekly, with Belfast on Wednesdays and Saturdays and Edinburgh operating on Thursdays and Sundays throughout the summer season, with fares starting from £40.99 per person.

Ali Gayward, easyJet’s UK Country Manager said: ‘We are delighted to have operated the first flight today and to be increasing our services from Bournemouth Airport. With the addition of the two new summer routes from Bournemouth, our customers now have more travel choices in the region for those looking to take a long-awaited summer break.’

Steve Gill, Managing Director at Bournemouth Airport, said: ‘The launch of domestic air connectivity between the South of England, Northern Ireland and Scotland is a milestone moment for Bournemouth Airport. The long-awaited return to flying is wonderful news for business and leisure passengers, giving a boost to the regional economy and enabling holidaymakers to take welcome ‘staycation’ breaks in Bournemouth, Belfast and Edinburgh – some of the UK’s most popular destinations.’

easyJet customers will now be able to change their flights this summer without a change fee, at any time up to two hours before departure, or request a voucher. There are no restrictions on dates or destination; customers can transfer to any flights currently on sale up to the end of September 2022, and to any other destination on the airline’s network which spans 35 countries across Europe, North Africa and the Middle East.

Newcastle International Airport resumes flights to Bristol Airport

Newcastle International Airport has said that it has resumed the route to Bristol Airport following a temporary suspension due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Popular with both leisure and business passengers, easyJet is operating flights between the two cities four days a week throughout May and June, increasing to six days a week from July. Flights are available to book now with fares from £26.99 one way, at easyJet.com.

The resumption of flights to Bristol comes amid connectivity improvement in the region with a total of five airlines operating on key domestic and international routes from the North East’s largest airport. In addition to Bristol, these include Belfast, also with easyJet, Aberdeen and Southampton with Loganair, Amsterdam with KLM, London Heathrow with British Airways and Paris with Air France.

Leon McQuaid, Head of Aviation Development at Newcastle International Airport, said: ‘I am sure many of our passengers will be pleased to see flights resuming to Bristol, providing vital connectivity into the South West of England and South Wales. We look forward to welcoming more passengers back to the airport over the coming weeks and months.’

‘We are working very hard with our airline partners to restore connectivity to these key markets and each destination added to the arrivals and departures board marks another step to the Airport’s recovery.’

Ali Gayward, easyJet’s UK Country Manager said: ‘We are pleased to have resumed flights from Newcastle to Bristol from 2nd May, providing key connectivity across the UK and to our customers in the North East. We know that flexibility continues to be crucial for customers so our Protection Promise is now even more flexible, meaning our customers can book with confidence knowing that if they are unable to travel or their plans change so can their flights.’

‘We look forward to being able to reconnect even more people and reunite friends and family across the UK this summer.’

Separately, as international travel resumes, Newcastle International Airport has recently added Turkish airline Corendon Airlines to offer twice weekly services to the popular Turkish sunshine resorts of Antalya and Dalaman from the airport. The services will start in April 2022, with fares from £52.99 one way. Further, Spanish low cost airline, Vueling also confirmed it would be operating direct flights to Barcelona from Newcastle between July and October 2021.

More than half of Britons choose staycationing this summer

More than 55 per cent of British adults will be holidaying in Great Britain in summer this year, according to Travelodge’s annual holiday index.

The Travelodge research, which surveyed 3,000 British adults, reveals that 2017 will be another strong year for staycations. However, the figures reflected a drop of three percentage points in the number of Britons holidaying at home this year (55 per cent), compared to 58 per cent last year.

Over half (55 per cent) of Britons surveyed reported that they choose to holiday at home this year as it is too expensive to go abroad and a staycation offers better value for money. The most sought after staycation destinations are Cornwall, Devon, North Wales, Blackpool and the Isle of Wight.

Over a third (36 per cent) of adults said that they were looking to holiday at home this year as part of supporting the British economy following Brexit.

According to the research, British holidaymakers will be spending an average of £599.80 on their annual break this year – contributing nearly £17bn to the UK economy. The average spend of £599.80 is £130 less when compared to the £729.80 in 2016, though it equates to a collective spend of £17bn, Travelodge said.

The study also revealed that nearly half of Britons are taking a one-week holiday supported by three short breaks throughout the 2017. Only 17 per cent of adults are taking a ‘traditional’ two-week holiday.

The seaside remains the favourite destination for Britons, with 53 per cent of adults choosing the British seaside for their annual break. A relaxing rural break is what a third of Britons surveyed opt for and the top destinations for this year include the Lake District, Scottish Highlands, Norfolk Broads, Yorkshire Dales and Peak District. Meanwhile 27 per cent of adults are looking at a city break this summer with London, Edinburgh, Bath, York and Oxford being their top destinations.

The research revealed that the UK’s top staycationers are from the Welsh town of Aberystwyth with 85 per cent of its people choosing a staycation break this year, and the average household spending £456.75. Gloucester, Sheffield, Plymouth and Worcester are other location where the most number of people choose a staycation.