HILLS BALFOUR WEEKLY REPORT – 27 JULY 2012
Happy London 2012!
WHAT’S HAPPENING IN THE UK TRAVEL INDUSTRY:
Londoners lead the way for outbound travel. Last year saw an increase in number of overseas visits both to and from the UK for the first time since 2006. According to the Travel Trends 2011 report, published today by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), UK residents made 56.8m visits abroad, 2.3% more than in 2010. However, they stayed for 2% fewer nights and spent 0.4% less money on these visits in 2011 compared with 2010. The increase in visits abroad occurred primarily among residents of London, up by 5% from 11.1m in 2010 to 11.7m.Visits abroad by residents of the rest of England and Wales showed smaller increases of less than 1% while visits abroad by residents of Scotland fell by 1.1%. Also in 2011, visits abroad became shorter haul with visits to Europe rising by 3.5% while visits to ‘Other Countries’ fell by 2.6%. (e-tid)
Brits flocking to foreign beaches to escape the Olympics. Britons are packing their bags and traveling abroad during the Olympics to be better off, according to a recent survey. Findings by M&S Money revealed that a beach break overseas is more financially viable than staying in London during the first week of the 2012 Games. The study of 2,000 adults showed that a foreign beach vacation will leave a Briton around 25% wealthier than residing in the capital. (eTN)
Tour operators are likely to add extra capacity for 2013 in anticipation of more early bookings next year. The forecast comes from On Holiday Group chief executive, Steve Endacott, writing in his latest blog. Endacott said operators ‘may be regretting cutting capacity by 9% this year’ in light of the bad weather. ‘The key peak season is now locked away at high profits and the expectation is that the strong demand will flow through into September/October where there is still a high volume of holidays to sell,’ he said. He added: ‘History…shows us that when the UK has a really bad summer, customers book their next summer holiday early. ‘So I would be very surprised if the recent trend for tour operators to cut capacity is not reversed next year.’ (e-tid)
British Airways launches cashback campaign. British Airways will be rewarding customers who stay in the UK to cheer on Team GB and Paralympics GB. The cashback rewards on holidays are for travel after the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games and in line with specific athlete wins. British Airways will feature a new offer based on a chosen athlete, valid for a limited period and in line with their schedule in the London 2012 Games. Each offer will also have a money back incentive dependent on the performance of the athlete. (eTN)
WHAT’S HAPPENING IN THE UK ECONOMY:
Inflation slides to lowest level since November 2009. Retailers were forced to slash the price of summer clothes and shoes last month to tempt rain-drenched consumers into the shops, driving inflation to its lowest level since November 2009. The Office for National Statistics said inflation measured on the consumer price index slipped to 2.4% in June, down from 2.8% in May, with clothing and footwear prices accounting for the largest downward contribution. (Guardian)
0.7% fall in UK GDP deepens double-dip recession. Britain's economic output decreased by 0.7% in the second quarter of 2012 as the country's double-dip recession extended into a third quarter. Across-the-board weakness in manufacturing and construction coupled with the loss of output caused by the extra bank holiday to mark the Queen's diamond jubilee were responsible for the setback, according to data from the Office for National Statistics. (Guardian)
easyJet’s Q3 revenue rose by 10.5% to top £1bn as passenger numbers grew 10.9% to 16m, thanks in part to the rainy weather. Its figures for the three months to the end of June show load factor increased by 2.8 percentage points to 89.1% and total revenue per seat was £57.58; up 4.7%. The budget carrier saw ‘strong demand’ on beach routes because of the wet UK weather during the quarter, and revenue was also boosted by the successful ‘europe by easyJet’ campaign. (e-tid)
Barclays says sorry for its part in Libor scandal but profits go up 13%. The bank was handed a record fine of £290m by regulators in the UK and in the US for trying to fix the Libor rate. Its chief executive Bob Diamond was forced to resign in the wake of the scandal. However, the apology came as Barclays announced its profits for the first six months of 2012 were up 13 per cent to £4.2bn. (Metro)
WHAT THE UK PAPERS ARE SAYING
London 2012 Olympics: Get the party started. After seven years and 21 days of expectation, the moment for Britain to deliver Olympics that “lifts up our world” will finally arrive on Friday. At 9pm a global television audience of up to a billion will unite to watch the Queen open the 30th modern Olympiad in London during a spectacular three-and-a-half hour ceremony. On Thursday the Olympic flame, lit in Greece on May 10, will finally complete its 8,000-mile round-Britain relay by sailing down the Thames on board the royal rowbarge Gloriana, the star of the Diamond Jubilee river pageant, before arriving at the Olympic stadium in Stratford, east London. There it will be used to light the Olympic cauldron that will burn until the end of the Games on Aug 12. Visiting the Olympic Park, David Cameron said: “Seven years of waiting, planning, building and dreaming are almost over. (Telegraph)
Border staff strike called off by PCS union. A planned strike by immigration workers on the eve of the London 2012 Olympics has been called off by the Public and Commercial Services union after the government pledged a 'significant investment' in job creation. The announcement by the union's general secretary Mark Serwotka came as the government sought an injunction against the strike at the High Court. Mr Serwortka told reporters in central London that there was 'no case' to proceed with the industrial action, over jobs cuts, after a pledge to create 1,100 new posts by the government. (Metro)
Syria army fires on Aleppo rebels as US fears massacre. Syrian forces have renewed their assault on the northern city of Aleppo, firing from helicopter gunships on rebel-held areas. The US state department has said it fears Syrian government forces are preparing to carry out a massacre. The pro-government al-Watan newspaper has warned that the mother of all battles is about to start. Rebels in Aleppo, Syria's most populous city, have been stockpiling ammunition and medical supplies in preparation. (BBC)
And on a lighter note...
Usain Bolt versus a patas monkey? As the world gets ready to watch the human race’s top athletes compete for gold, see how human athletes would compare against nature’s record holders: http://www.bbc.co.uk/nature/18831388
Have a great weekend and enjoy the opening ceremonies!
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