LONDON–(Marketwired – May 9, 2013) – Xirrus®, the leader in high-performance wireless networks, and the Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre (SECC) have today announced a partnership that will see the deployment of Xirrus Wireless Arrays to deliver high capacity connectivity to the venue’s 2.2 million annual visitors.
A slump in the number of visitors to Tunisia since the country’s revolution has forced those in the tourism industry to rethink their businesses.
Read the original here: VIDEO: Eco-tourism in Tunisia’s new era
Cypriot villages, whose economies are dependent on visitors and foreign tourists, have been hit hard by the country’s ongoing financial crisis.
See the rest here: VIDEO: ‘Hardly anyone’ in Cyprus village
Residents and visitors to a Kent village are racking up extra charges when their mobile phones connect to French networks.
Read the original post: Kent village paying for French calls
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The number of tourists from China visiting Thailand is about to overtake visitors from all other countries, providing a boost to the nation’s economy.
See more here: VIDEO: Chinese tourist boom for Thailand
The UK is high up in the list of places that the Chinese want to visit – but at the moment it’s often not worth the hassle
Chinese tourists are much in demand these days – not least among Britain’s government. The reasons for this are obvious: Chinese visitors tend to spend on average three times more than other overseas visitors, yet at the moment France receives 25-30% more visitors than Britain. This is why a division appears to be emerging within the government, with culture secretary Jeremy Hunt trying to make it easier for Chinese tourists to obtain visas, while home secretary Theresa May has been blocking such changes.
In principle, Britain should be a major destination for Chinese tourists. Britain has an unparalleled reputation for goods that are considered to be much higher quality than those made in China, and often cheaper. British brands such as Burberry and Clarks shoes are notoriously famous in China for their style and craftsmanship..
The UK is high up in the list of places that the Chinese want to visit; lagging behind the US, the dreamland of opportunities, but often ahead of the rest of Europe. There is a sense of mystery about the UK: it’s often the images of England’s green parks, countryside and Victorian houses that people point to as an alternative to polluted, overcrowded cities such as Beijing and Guangzhou.
The capital is viewed as modern and dynamic, while being ingrained with history. When asked what other images are conjured up by the UK, the reply is often “the Queen, tea and Oxbridge”. This strong cultural identity is something the Chinese admire, particularly after much of its own was destroyed during the shambolic Cultural Revolution of the 1960s.
So what’s stopping them actually coming? Sebastian Wood, the British ambassador in Beijing, has described the UK as a “fortress”, and while this is perhaps an exaggeration, Britain does have a reputation as a country that is harder to access.
The main problem for Chinese tourists is a matter of logistics – the UK is not included in the Schengen visa, which allows access to a host of European countries such as France and Germany. What this means is that an entirely separate process is required to gain entry into the UK. Although an overhaul earlier this year means that visa applications are now completed online, visitors are still required to visit one of 12 UK centres across the country for a face-to-face interview and fingerprinting. If you don’t live near one of these centres already, you’d have to travel some distance to get there.
Another problem is that Chinese people want to visit more than one country if they are going to make it all the way out to Europe – travel abroad for leisure is still a relatively new concept, so many want to cover as much ground as possible. Going to the extra trouble of seeing a country the size of a large province in China (of which there are 33), when the Schengen visa will get you into 26 countries, makes the former seem a less worth it.
There is also the issue of cost: £47 for a Schengen visa, £82 for the UK. On top of this, the UK is viewed as stricter in its handling of visas compared with the rest of Europe, fed by urban legends of rejected applications. In the end, the decision comes down to one question: is Britain worth the hassle?
What can the government do about this? Yes, make the application process more user-friend, less costly and soften border barriers without breaching national security – after all, there are a lot of people in China, most not looking to contribute to the UK’s GDP.
But what the UK government should realise also is that much of the power lies in the hands of Chinese travel agents and middlemen who arrange visits abroad and have considerable influence on visas applications. It needs to think seriously about this lot before implementing any wild ideas for getting the Chinese over to part with their money.
The British are sometimes seen as conservative and more rain-stricken than its American or Australian counterparts, but that’s easily solved: surprisingly perhaps, the Chinese love the British royal family. For many in China, the royals are a reminder of their own imperial rule that collapsed at the beginning of the 20th century: both curiosity and envy play a role. So just get Will and Kate on a plane to Beijing to shake a few Chinese hands.
Oh, and inviting the Dalai Lama over for tea at No 10 on a near annual basis is probably not the best way to bring in this patriotic bunch. But I guess that’s what makes the British British.
Numbers of shoppers on high streets outside London have fallen but shopping centres have managed to draw in more customers thanks to giant screens
As London retailers ask the government to remind the public their shops are still open for business, it is not just the capital that has been hit by the Olympics.
The numbers of shoppers on high streets outside London have fallen, although shopping centres have managed to draw in more customers thanks to giant screens showing the Olympics, poor weather and the suspension of Sunday trading laws, according to retailers.
Diane Wehrle, research director at Springboard, which measures shopper numbers, said the decline in footfall last weekend outside London was more than 9% and warned that the numbers will continue to be down.
She said: “The Olympics has played a significant part, especially on the high street. The good weather ended, coinciding with the Olympics starting, which drove people back home to watch.
“Now that we have won a few medals, the excitement will only build and shoppers are expected to stay away from the high street throughout the Olympics.”
Some Olympic events are being held outside London – such as football, and sailing in Weymouth – but the message from local authorities is at odds with London’s recommendations to avoid certain “hotspots”.
Garry Clark, from the Scottish Chamber of Commerce, said: “People are viewing London as somewhere they don’t want to be at the moment, but in Scotland the cities in particular are very busy.
“We’ve had football fixtures in Glasgow, so we’ve got a lot more visitors to the city.”
He said it remains to be seen whether or not the increase in footfall will lead to a rise in sales volume. “Yes, there are people in the cities, but will that translate to sales? We’re certainly hopeful that we’ll see an increase.”
But while high streets across Britain might be mirroring the quiet scenes of London’s West End, shopping centres have seen seen shoppers pouring in.
At Manchester’s Trafford Centre, general manager Tony Sheehan said since the Olympics there has been a increase in overseas visitors.
He said: “Footfall this week is currently 11% up on the same time last year and retailers are reporting strong sales. Our visitors have been keeping up to date with Team GB on our big screen, and this has attracted very excited crowds throughout. Our Olympic-themed sporting events have also been very busy, and our staff say it feels a little like Christmas week, but with better weather.”
In Stoke-on-Trent, the Potteries Shopping Centre saw footfall up 8.3% compared with last week, with Sunday particularly strong, up 6.6%, in part due to a suspension in Sunday trading laws during the Olympics and Paralympics.
Big TV screens also appear to be drawing in shoppers. At Chapelfield in Norwich, a giant screen has been put up outside, with hundreds of chairs for people to watch the action, a trend across the country.
But there are serious concerns that the high street could struggle, particularly during the lull between the end of the Olympics and the start of the Paralympics.
Richard Dichinson, chief executive of the New West End Company, which represents key Londonretailers, said it is preparing an emergency advertising fund to try to entice shoppers.
And on Wednesday, Lord Wolfson, chief executive of Next said: “The two weeks of the Games for retail won’t be good. As with any sporting event, people tend to stay in and watch them on television rather than go out shopping.”
Shops in central London saw a sharp drop in visitors at the start of the Olympics, figures suggest, with shoppers put off by fears of overcrowding.
More here: Olympics ‘hits shopper numbers’
With the boost to construction and surge in visitors it brings, the Games would seem certain to lift the UK back into growth. But data from previous hosts suggests the opposite is true
Last time London hosted the Olympics, Britain was in deep economic trouble and up to its eyeballs in debt. It was 1948 and the country was reeling from six years of war that had drained the national coffers. No new stadiums were built for the original “austerity games”: Wembley doubled as an athletics stadium after organisers poured 800 tonnes of cinders over the greyhound track.
More than 60 years later, the shiny Olympic stadium in Stratford is new, but the economic conditions are similar. The country is creaking under the weight of debt; Europe is broke and the government is on an almighty austerity drive.
Last week official figures showed the economy had sunk deeper into recession. Perhaps, even more than a haul of gold medals, Britain needs its companies to start winning contracts again.
To that end, the Olympic flag has been hoisted over London’s historic Lancaster House. The grand building, a stone’s throw from Buckingham Palace, is the setting for a frantic round of meetings over the coming fortnight as the government uses the Games to bang the drum for British business.
With the official cost to the taxpayer around £9bn, the coalition want the London Olympics to provide more than world records. Alongside social legacy commitments such as igniting “a new passion for sport across all age groups”, organisers hope the spectacle will deliver a £3bn economic boost, with two-thirds of that to come from an increase in tourism and the remainder from attracting foreign investment.
David Cameron started the ball rolling on Thursday with what was billed as the biggest investment conference ever hosted in the UK. The event was a who’s who of the global financial system: International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde rubbed shoulders with Mario Draghi, governor of the European Central Bank and Angel Gurría, secretary general of the OECD. There was also an impressive roll-call of business leaders, with Google chairman Eric Schmidt sharing a platform with Cisco’s John