27 Mar 2015

The Silk Road

The Silk Road, actually a network of routes, earned its name from the trade of silk, originating in China (206 BC) across 4,000 miles to the Mediterranean Sea; the routes opened up exchanges of not only goods but art, thought and innovation between East and West. The trade brought prosperity to China and communities along the road flourished, so much so, that China built its Great Wall to protect trade as well as to hold back invasions. 

In more recent times, the Chang'an-Tianshan corridor of the Silk Road has been designated as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. There has been renewed activity recently to re-awaken the Silk Road for international trade and in particular, for tourism. UNWTO are leading the way in working toward enhancing sustainable tourism development along the route through its Silk Road Programme and have published their Action Plan for the area. It aims to maximize the benefits of tourism development for local communities, while stimulating investment and promoting the conservation of the route's natural and cultural heritage.

23 Mar 2015

Learning a new Language?

If you are currently learning a new language, the following links to resources may help.

Even if the language you are learning is slightly unusual, you may find that the Open Culture website can help, with its vast number of links to resources across 48 different languages. To keep learners motivated, how about using podcasts? Language blogger, Lindsay Dow, recommends her top ten podcasts which could help improve language skills.  For those of you learning English, the British Council's website contains a range of games, audio and video resources; they have also developed the LearnEnglish Elementary app to download. In addition, the BBC's archived languages website is still an invaluable source of information for many popular languages.

One of the best ways to pick up new words and phrases is to test your newly-acquired language skills on others, so why not come along to UCB's Language Cafe, which takes place from 4pm-5pm every Thursday in the Rooftop Cafe at Summer Row. For more information, contact Jane Johnston-Sinn: j.johnston-sinn@ucb.ac.uk.

17 Mar 2015

Total eclipse....

At approximately 9.30am on Friday 20th March, we can expect a near total eclipse, when up to 98% of the sun will disappear; the best places to see it in the UK are Scotland and Northern England, but even in London, a partial eclipse is expected, meaning the sky will plunge into darkness for several minutes. 

This will be the first total eclipse for a decade and with the next one above Britain not due until 2090, the north of Scotland is preparing for a major influx of tourists; the Faroe Islands are expected to enjoy the best views and hotels have been booked up far in advance. Other tourism businesses are also preparing to cope with the anticipated extra volume of visitors, with special cruises being organised to head north towards the eclipse. 

Viewing an eclipse does, however, come with a warning label; 
these guidelines advise on how to protect the eyes from 'solar burn'.

16 Mar 2015

Countryside is 'GREAT' campaign launched

VisitBritain has launched a new three-year 'Countryside is GREAT' campaign, designed to attract foreign tourists by showcasing the UK’s natural beauty. The marketing drive will position Britain’s countryside as a place to enjoy modern culture, top quality food and world-class accommodation in a beautiful landscape.

The campaign aims to show potential visitors what is on offer, where to find great experiences and how to get there, through a fully integrated campaign, including image and tactical advertising, digital and social media, PR, B2B and retail. Bespoke countryside itineraries, experiences, services and packages will be made available on ‘The Countryside Collection’ campaign website and across print media. The aim is to make it easier for tourists to connect with countryside products and services.

13 Mar 2015


A guide to creating apps and using holographic projection technology for events and presentations are featured in this week's magazine; reports from The Industry Leaders Forum and 'Challenges for the Travel Industry in 2015' seminar are included. 'On the Radar' features Culture Aangan Holidays who developed the idea of B&Bs in Maharashtra, with an added twist - tourists stay with families whilst soaking up the local culture. In the process, local crafts and traditions that were gradually fading away, have been revived, benefiting both tourists and the local community.

10 Mar 2015

Destination: Nevis

The Caribbean Island of Nevis, is hoping to become "the greenest island on Earth" by 2018, according to the CEO of island's tourism authority. Greg Phillip said that by that date the government expects to meet all the island's energy needs entirely from renewable power. 

Several renewable energy projects are currently in progress, including a solar power station, wind farm and a geothermal plant tapping energy from its dormant central volcano. Once complete, it will not only produce electricity for the 12,000 residents, surplus could be sold to St. Kitts, its partner in the twin-island federal state.

Some interesting facts :
  • Columbus first sighted the island in 1493
  • It is 36 square miles
  • The capital is Charlestown
  • Nevis is conical in shape with a central volcanic peak known as Nevis Peak.
  • The beaches mainly have coarse brown/black sand
  • The name, Nevis, is derived from the Spanish, 'Nuestra SeƱora de las Nieves', which means 'Our Lady of the Snows', possibly due to the white clouds which normally cover the the top of Nevis Peak
  • Although Nevis forms part of the Federation of Saint Kitts and Nevis, it has its government.
If you are lucky enough to be travelling to the island, here's a useful guide.

Business Travel update

The recent Business Travel Show proved to be the most popular to date with over 252 exhibitors and 15% rise in attendees. One of the panel discussions at the show was on the importance of ‘keeping your travellers happy, safe and well’ and a nutritionist suggested that buyers include a ‘wellness’ programme in their policy that looks at all aspects of maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Other interesting posts on the Business Travel Show blog discuss safety for business travellers  and apart'hotels.

Facts, figures and trends for 2015 in the business travel market have been put together in this infographic and key findings from the annual buyer survey, commissioned by the Business Travel Show, highlights the changing demand among UK's most frequent business travellers.

Finally, a new French airline 'La Compagnie' has been launched as a business-only airline to the UK market.  It will operate an all business-class service three times a week initially from London Luton to New York’s Newark airport, starting this April.