Gulf tourists to be encouraged into rural England

Langdale Pikes in the English Lake District. (Shutterstock)
Updated 20 February 2018

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

“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.

UN envoy to Yemen says agreement on de-escalation in Taiz and Hodeidah ‘not there yet’

Updated 11 December 2018

UN envoy to Yemen says agreement on de-escalation in Taiz and Hodeidah ‘not there yet’

LONDON: United Nations Envoy to Yemen, Martin Griffiths, said on Monday that agreement on the de-escalation in Taiz and Hodeidah are ‘not there yet’.
Speaking at a press conference in Stockholm, during the first round of the UN sponsored peace talks between the legitimate Yemeni government and the Iranian-backed Houthi militia, Griffiths told reporters that they will continue to discuss Hodeidah and Taiz, which he described as “two major population zones in Yemen caught in war.”
The warring parties are in Sweden for weeklong talks expected to last until Dec. 13, the first since more than three months of negotiations collapsed in 2016.
“I’m hopeful that we can reach agreements on the de-escalation to reduce the fighting in both places. I’m hoping that we can. We’re not there yet.”
“If we are able to achieve progress on those two places and lift the threat of war to the people in those two places, I think we’ll have done a great service to Yemen,” Griffiths said.
Initial drafts of the proposals on the rebel-held port city of Hodeidah and Taiz call for a mutual cease-fire between the two parties.
The Hodeidah draft stipulated that the Arab coalition supporting the legitimate Yemeni government would cease an offensive on the rebel-held city in exchange for a Houthi withdrawal.
The area would then be put under the control of a joint committee and supervised by the United Nations. The document does not propose the deployment of UN peacekeeping troops.
Griffiths said the UN had simplified the Hodeidah draft, which is still under study by the Yemeni delegations.
“We are always redrafting, so some of those documents that you’ve seen” have changed, Griffiths told reporters.
“We’re working on simpler draft,” he added. “The details of that are in deep discussion.”
The two sides are also looking at a draft UN proposal on the southwestern city of Taiz, under the control of pro-government forces but besieged by the rebels.
The initial draft stipulated an unconditional cease-fire, a joint working group that includes the UN to monitor the cease-fire, and the reopening of all roads and Taiz airport for humanitarian operations.
The Yemeni government, which is backed by the Arab coalition, has been battling the Iran-backed Houthi militia for control of Yemen for nearly four years, pushing the impoverished country to the brink of famine.
He also said they are still working to find a common ground for the reopening of Sanaa airport.
During the talks, the two sides discussed a broad prisoner swap, which Griffiths said had proved the least contentious issue, adding that he hoped it “will be very very considerable in terms of the numbers that we hope to get released within a few weeks.” He said the numbers of prisoners to be released by the warring parties will be announced soon.
The UN envoy said he expects to present a detailed plan for the next round of talks and hopes for an agreement from warring factions to hold the next round of talks early next year.

(With AFP)