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TTG Intelligence


HS2 may herald regional boom


Reduced travel times created by the high-speed railway linking London and Birmingham could have a huge impact on tourism outside the capital. Rob Gill reports


times from London, according to a report commissioned by the Best of Britain & Ireland trade show. The research, carried out by


T


Euromonitor International for the show, which takes place in Birmingham (March 12-13), found that HS2 was likely “to significantly improve connectivity in the Midlands and beyond, boosting business and tourism in less accessible areas”. Euromonitor argues that HS2


would cut rail journeys but also remove the need for travellers to make changes to reach UK cities and destinations along the planned route. The first phase of the £50 billion HS2 project between Euston in


Databox 5.5%


he controversial High Speed 2 rail link could open up the Midlands and north to more tourism by cutting travel


London and Birmingham is scheduled for completion in 2026. A “Y-shaped” extension of the route to Manchester and Leeds is planned from 2032 and there have been talks about extending HS2 into Scotland.


Better access all round Mark Griffin, event director for Best of Britain, agreed that HS2 could “help everybody” by making areas of the country more accessible. “There could be a growth of


regional tourism on the back of it,” he told TTG. “Leeds and Yorkshire, for example, could promote themselves as being more accessible and all types of tourism businesses could enjoy a spin-off. “If and when HS2 is built, it will


open up opportunities for parts of the country that people may not


have thought about visiting before.” Travel times from London to


Birmingham are set to fall from 73 minutes to 38 minutes, while travel to Manchester would be cut from 128 to 68 minutes, and to Leeds from 132 to 82 minutes. Euromonitor said the domestic


tourism industry should start to put plans in place to “capitalise on these new routes by investing in local tourism locations”. The report also urges tourism businesses to take into account the rising overall age of the UK population – 16 million people will be aged over 60 by 2020 – which is likely to increase demand for accessible holidays, health and wellness breaks, and those offering respite for people with specific medical needs.


Griffin said Best of Britain was


seeing a rise in the number of exhibitors catering for this market. “With people living longer, this


is only going to become more important,” he said. “We are seeing exhibitors who are thinking about new ways of catering for people with care needs or disabilities. A good example is Stonehenge, which has just introduced a new shuttle service.” Other trends identified in the


research include the increasing importance of electronic devices that tourists are likely to be using in future, including Google Glass and an array of smartwatches. Euromonitor estimates that the number of users of these gadgets will grow by 90% every year until 2018. There will also be growth in the


“sharing economy”, in which people rent out a room in their home to holidaymakers or take part in car sharing schemes. So far, this type of “peer to peer’ sharing has taken off in the accommodation sector, with services such as OneFineStay, Airbnb, and cosmopolithome.com.


Euromonitor International 60-61 Britton Street London EC1M 5UX T: +44 (0)20 7251 8024 W: euromonitor.com


YEAR-ON-YEAR GROWTH IN DOMESTIC TRIPS TO LONDON IN 2013


2% 2/3 16.4


UK increase in spending on domestic trips in 2013


of all domestic trips were less than three days


million: UK population aged over 60 by 2020


22 13.03.2014


UK domestic trips in 2013 (down 1% on 2012)


132 million


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