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.


World Bank report warns Gaza Strip economy is in ‘free fall’

Updated 25 September 2018
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World Bank report warns Gaza Strip economy is in ‘free fall’

  • The World Bank says Gaza’s economy contracted by 6 percent in the first quarter of 2018
  • It cited various factors, beginning with Israel’s decade-long blockade against the territory’s Hamas rulers
JERUSALEM: The Gaza Strip’s economy is in “free fall,” a report from the World Bank warned Tuesday, calling for urgent action by Israel and the international community to avoid “immediate collapse.”
According to the report, Gaza’s economy contracted by 6 percent in the first quarter of 2018. It said unemployment is now over 50 percent — and over 70 percent among Gaza’s youth.
The World Bank cited various factors, starting with Israel’s decade-long blockade against the territory’s militant Hamas rulers, for the precarious downturn. It also cited budget cuts by the rival Palestinian Authority and a reduction in international aid to the Palestinians, particularly from the United States.
“A combination of war, isolation, and internal rivalries has left Gaza in a crippling economic state and exacerbated the human distress,” said Marina Wes, the World Bank’s director for the region.
The report was released ahead of a high-level meeting of the bank’s Ad Hoc Liaison Committee, responsible for coordinating development assistance to the Palestinians, on September 27.
Wes said the increasingly dire economic situation in Gaza “has reached a critical point.”
“Increased frustration is feeding into the increased tensions which have already started spilling over into unrest and set back the human development of the region’s large youth population,” she added.
Gazans have staged near weekly demonstrations along the border with Israel since late March, in part to protest the blockade enforced by Israel and Egypt since 2007, when the militant group Hamas seized the territory. Hamas has led and organized the protests, but turnout has also been driven by growing despair over blockade-linked hardship, including lengthy power cuts and soaring unemployment.
Israeli soldiers have killed at least 136 Palestinians during the weekly protests since March, including 27 minors, according to Gaza’s Health Ministry. A Palestinian sniper also fatally shot an Israeli soldier. Israel contends it’s defending its border and accuses Hamas of using the protests as a screen for attempts to breach the border fence to attack civilians and soldiers. Human rights groups have accused Israel of excessive and unlawful use of force against unarmed protesters.
In the report, the World Bank calls upon Israel to lift restrictions on trade and movement of goods and people to help improve Gaza’s economy, and urges development of “legitimate institutions to govern Gaza in a transparent and efficient manner.”