Gulf tourists to be encouraged into rural England

Langdale Pikes in the English Lake District. (Shutterstock)
Updated 20 February 2018
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Gulf tourists to be encouraged into rural England

LONDON: As part of a drive to increase tourism in the UK — already the 7th most visited country worldwide — a promotion is being launched to encourage GCC tourists to travel to London, Manchester and Birmingham, then on into the English countryside.

The “Experience England” initiative is being coordinated jointly between the three largest English cities and will focus specifically on tourists from the GCC, India and China.

According to research by London & Partners, the Mayor of London’s not-for-profit promotional body, fewer than a third of visitors staying overnight in the English capital go on to stay overnight elsewhere in the country, but researchers found that levels of visitor satisfaction increases significantly when people visit other destinations.

The new promotion will include “open jaw ticketing (flying in to one city and out of another) and partner hotels. The details of the packages are still being finalised,” a spokesperson for London & Partners told Arab News. 

Some of the top places to visit in the English countryside include the Jurassic Coast of Dorset, Bronte Country in Yorkshire and the Lake District, according to travelstart.com.

“London is home to the ten most popular tourist attractions in the UK and we’re proud to welcome millions of visitors every year. But it’s important that they have the chance to see what’s on offer in other parts of the country too and I’m committed to working with other cities and regions to use the capital’s reputation to drive tourism across the nation,” the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said in a statement.
Tourism makes up 9 percent of GDP in the UK, but in London the figure is even higher at 11.6 percent. In 2016, almost 1.5 million visitors arrived into the UK from China, India and the GCC, according to the latest full-year figures from VisitBritain.

China, India and the GCC are projected to be some of the fastest growing tourism markets in the world. Visits to London from China, India and the GCC are expected to grow by 103 percent, 90 percent, and 36 percent, respectively, according to research by London & Partners.


Erdogan, ruling AK Party take early lead in Turkish elections

Updated 24 min 47 sec ago
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Erdogan, ruling AK Party take early lead in Turkish elections

  • President Tayyip Erdogan has over 50 percent of the vote with 40 percent of the votes counted in Turkey's presidential election
  • If no presidential candidate wins more than 50 percent in Sunday’s vote, a second round run-off will be held on July 8

ANKARA: Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his ruling AK Party took an early lead in presidential and parliamentary elections on Sunday, according to preliminary partial results, boosting the president’s hopes of extending his 15-year rule.
However, the first results had been expected to give Erdogan and his Islamist-rooted party a strong lead and it is expected to shorten as more votes are tallied across the nation of 81 million people.
With about 30 percent of votes counted in the presidential race, Erdogan had 58 percent, well ahead of his closest rival, Muharrem Ince, of the main opposition, secularist Republican People’s Party (CHP), on 27.5 percent, broadcasters said.
If no presidential candidate wins more than 50 percent in Sunday’s vote, a second round run-off will be held on July 8.
In the parliamentary contest, the AK Party had 53.03 percent, based on 10.25 percent of votes counted, the broadcasters said. The CHP had 14.82 percent and the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) 7.07 percent.
Turnout was high at around 87 percent for both contests, the state broadcaster said.
Sunday’s vote ushers in a powerful new executive presidency long sought by Erdogan and backed by a small majority of Turks in a 2017 referendum. Critics say it will further erode democracy in the NATO member state and entrench one-man rule.
Earlier on Sunday, a crowd of Erdogan’s supporters chanted his name as he emerged from a school after voting in Turkey’s largest city Istanbul, shaking hands with people amid tight security.
“Turkey is staging a democratic revolution,” he told reporters in the polling station. “With the presidential system, Turkey is seriously raising the bar, rising above the level of contemporary civilizations.”
Erdogan, the most popular but also divisive leader in modern Turkish history, argues the new powers will better enable him to tackle the nation’s economic problems — the lira has lost 20 percent against the dollar this year — and deal with Kurdish rebels in southeast Turkey and in neighboring Iraq and Syria.
But he reckoned without Ince, a former physics teacher and veteran CHP lawmaker, whose feisty performance at campaign rallies has galvanized Turkey’s long-demoralized and divided opposition.
FRAUD FEARS
Voicing opposition concerns about possible electoral fraud, Ince told reporters outside the High Electoral Board (YSK) after polling stations had closed that citizens should protect ballot boxes. He also urged YSK members to “do your job the right way,” adding he believed the results would be “very good.”
Opposition parties and NGOs deployed up to half a million monitors at ballot boxes to ward against fraud. They have said election law changes and fraud allegations in the 2017 referendum raise fears about the vote’s fairness.
Erdogan said there had been no serious voting violations.
Turkey has been under emergency rule — which restricts some freedoms and allows the government to bypass parliament with decrees — for nearly two years since an attempted coup in 2016.
Erdogan blamed the coup on his former ally, US-based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen, and has waged a sweeping crackdown on his followers in Turkey, detaining some 160,000 people, according to the United Nations.
The president’s critics, including the European Union which Turkey still nominally aspires to join, say Erdogan has used the crackdown to stifle dissent.
Ince told a rally on Saturday he would lift the state of emergency within 48 hours of being elected president. He also vowed to reverse what opposition parties see as Turkey’s swing toward authoritarian rule under Erdogan.
“This is no longer a Turkey we want. Rights are violated, democracy is in terrible shape,” said health sector worker Sema, 50, after voting in Istanbul.
She and others in the city said they voted for the pro-Kurdish HDP, hoping it would exceed the 10 percent threshold of votes needed to enter parliament. If it does so, it will be harder for the AKP to get a majority.