It was a powerful reminder of who pays the bills. At each senior management meeting at Virgin Atlantic, we’d leave one chair empty around the table.In the chair, spiritually if not physically, was our customer. Before every decision made, we’d look at the chair and ask “the customer” if they agreed with that decision.
If you want to inspire a love of travel in your children, ditch the museums and let them experience the world, says Melanie Gow. If we want our children to learn to play the piano, the very worst way we can do it is to get a piano and stick them down in front of it with a teacher and a set of scales to repeat.
Brexit negotiations and the weaker pound will make little difference to plans for luxury holidays abroad this year, a new study reveals.
A survey sent to 9,468 regular travellers by tailor-made specialist Red Savannah found that 78% felt that Brexit made no difference as to whether they were going to undertake luxury travel or not in 2017.
A majority (80%) said that Brexit would not influence their decision as to whether or not they would travel to Europe this year.
Three quarters felt that the weaker value of the pound would not impact on the number of holidays they would take this year.
A slightly smaller number (62%) said that the US election outcome would not influence their decision as to whether or not they would travel to the country in 2017.
The areas most respondents said they would be most likely to visit in 2017 are:
Europe – 35%
Asia – 15%
Africa – 12%
North America – 11%
Australasia – 8%
South America – 6%
Indian Ocean – 6%
Indian Subcontinent – 6%
Company founder and chief executive George Morgan-Grenville said: “The good news from these findings is that life very much goes on as normal.
“Luxury travellers are clearly saying that any uncertainty created by prolonged Brexit negotiations, Donald Trump’s election and the weaker pound won’t stop the majority planning overseas holidays.
“There has never been a better time to explore new destinations – the Cambodian Riviera, the Andaman Islands and Kenya are just some of the hotspots that we predict will be in demand during 2017.”
At home we play ‘the capitals game’ regularly. Why? Because I usually know I’m going to win; shameful reason. But this week I was thrown when in Morocco. All my life I’ve been convinced that Marrakech was the capital of Morocco but it’s Rabat, who’da thought it? And that’s not the only thing that surprised me about Morocco. I was blown away by the fact that a mere three-hour flight from London could take me to such a different world of souks, balmy heat, desert landscapes, extreme mountain peaks, rose petals on beds and warm charismatic people. The hotels I stayed in were La Sultana Marrakech and La Sultana Oualidia. Both were charming and oozing Moroccan chic. La Sultana in the city had an epic open-air restaurant which looked out over the sand-coloured rooftops of Marrakech. Hearing the call to prayer over a sundowner summed up the brilliance of this particular location.
The vote to leave the EU on 23rd June 2016 not only raised questions regarding the UK’s future position on a global scale but also how would it affect the way that we travel. Would this signify the end of cheap flights? Would travel companies and airlines disappear overnight as people voted for a staycation instead? Would the pound crash against other currencies?
Some fears put forward by the industry ahead of the vote have indeed come to light, the pound has been at an all-time low, not seen since the early 80’s, and some travel companies have warned that holidays will become more expensive due to fuel costs and the exchange rate against the Euro and US dollar. Yet the industry has proved time and time again that it is resilient and can adapt and PR plays a vital role. Within hours of the vote being confirmed travel companies were issuing carefully crafted statements regarding their readiness for such an event and for customers to continue planning their holidays with confidence. In fact in the days following the vote the most commonly used statement was ‘business as usual’. Though international travel companies are still evaluating the true effect of the result the PR side has instilled confidence in both the media and the public that this market is strong, will survive and will adapt.
It’s the talk of the airline world – should another runway be awarded to London Heathrow or Gatwick? The debate has been raging for years yet is no nearer an answer, having been fudged by successive governments. IAG’s Willie Walsh claims a runway won’t be built in his lifetime – but isn’t it time someone had the guts to make a decision? Post-Brexit vote, Britain needs to show confidence in its future and plan for 20 years from now. Without a new runway, airlines will start to look beyond London for growth. Surely it’s time to back the regional winners – Birmingham, Cardiff, Manchester, Edinburgh and Glasgow are likely to be worthy winners of government dithering.