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South West must be “accessible and affordable” for inbound visitors
Bristol Airport is backing the Prime Minister’s plans to make Britain one of the top five tourist destinations in the world. David Cameron delivered a speech in Hyde Park today (12 August) on the challenges and opportunities that tourism presents, highlighting the role the industry will play in rebalancing the economy. He pledged to remove some of the obstacles that put people off coming to the UK. Robert Sinclair, Chief Executive Officer at Bristol Airport, said: “We welcome the Prime Minister’s support for tourism and his recognition of its importance in driving growth in the regions. It is vital that the South West is both accessible and affordable for inbound visitors, particularly when playing host to major events such as the 2012 Olympics or, potentially, the 2018 World Cup. We need modern and efficient infrastructure that makes it easy for spectators to fly in for the sailing in Weymouth or football in Bristol. “But it’s not just about providing good facilities for visitors. As an island nation, most visitors to the UK arrive by air. If the cost of air travel to the UK increases then a significant number of potential visitors will simply choose to travel to a different, more affordable destination. That’s why it is vital that the impacts on tourism are considered when the Government consults on proposed changes to taxes on aviation.” “Bristol Airport already works closely with airlines and tourism agencies to promote the many tourist attractions in the South West to inbound passengers. The appointment of a local MP, John Penrose, as Tourism Minister, can only help raise the profile of the region.” The number of overseas visitors using Bristol Airport’s web site to research trips to the South West has increased by 43 per cent so far this year. Almost half a million have checked out travel information at www.bristolairport.co.uk, indicating a growing awareness of Bristol Airport as the gateway to the South West. The number one nation, measured by web visits, is Spain, closely followed by France - which previously occupied top spot. Ireland generates the third highest traffic to Bristol Airport’s web site, with Germany, USA, Italy, the Netherlands and Poland all contributing to the increased volume of overseas visitors. This growing interest from overseas is reflected in online bookings for the Bristol Airport Flyer bus service, with public transport use highest amongst inbound passengers. Figures for the year to date show bookings for the express service between the Airport and Bristol city centre have been received from 46 different countries across the world. The most recent survey by the Civil Aviation Authority found that 14 per cent of passengers using Bristol Airport were overseas residents. An estimated 800,000 journeys will be made by overseas residents during 2010, which is nearly a threefold increase since 2003. In recognition of the growing interest from overseas travellers, key information is provided in five different languages on the Bristol Airport web site. So far this year, Bristol Airport has opened a state-of-the-art ‘walk through’ tax and duty free store and a new 450m walkway linking the terminal to eight aircraft stands, reducing the need to bus passengers to and from flights. Later this year a 57 metre long mural featuring iconic images intended to capture the spirit of the South West will be unveiled to welcome inbound passengers In May, North Somerset Council recommended approval of the Airport’s development plans which will see facilities further enhanced to enable a throughput of 10 million passengers per annum by 2020. Proposals include extensions to the existing terminal, car parking improvements, a public transport interchange with covered pedestrian access to the terminal, and additional aircraft stands. The planning application also includes provision for a £5.4 million contribution to regional transport schemes, improvements to bus services to the Airport, and a target of 15 per cent public transport usage In March, Bristol Airport marked the tenth anniversary of its terminal building by unveiling a new brand identity to guide its business over the next decade. The new brand represents ‘people’, ‘place’ and ‘region’ – the three pillars on which the airport’s success rests – and promises ‘Amazing Journeys Start Here’. Ends Notes to Editors 1. A full transcript of the Prime Minister’s speech can be found here
2. APD increases 2009/10: Band A 0-2000 miles 2008 rate: £10.00 November 2009: £11.00 November 2010: £12.00 Percentage change 08-10: 20% Band B 2-4000 miles 2008 rate: £40.00 November 2009: £45.00 November 2010: £60.00 Percentage change 08-10: 50% Band C 4-6000 miles 2008 rate: £40.00 November 2009: £50.00 November 2010: £75.00 Percentage change 08-10: 88% Band D 6000 miles 2008 rate: £40.00 November 2009: £55.00 November 2010: £85.00 Percentage change 08-10: 113%
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