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New UK culture secretary must aid ailing tourism regions

UFI IBRAHIM is chief executive officer of the British Hospitality Association

Titanic-themed hotel casts off

One of Liverpool’s most iconic build- ings has been brought back to life as a Titanic-themed luxury hotel, with the first two floors having been opened during the middle of April. Albion House, which was for-


ritain’s regional hospitality hotspots are showing a stark decline in visitor numbers, accord- ing to official figures, and greater

support is needed to drive visitors back to regional towns. Tat’s the verdict according to the Great Britain Tourism Survey (GBTS), with figures revealing that domestic trips fell by over 3 million in 2013, while spend- ing fell to £23.3bn, a £682m decline on 2012. Te report also reveals that the num-

bers of Brits choosing to holiday abroad is rising. Tis means that small and medium- sized businesses across the UK are under increasing pressure – with the growth in staycations over the last four years threat- ened by trips abroad again on the rise. A strengthening pound and cheaper air

travel could see the UK return to a tourism deficit – whereby more money is going out than the amount that is coming in. Tis alarming research provides the ideal

opportunity for newly-appointed culture secretary Sajid Javid (see p.12) to make his mark, supporting Britain’s regional hospitality hotspots following increasing competition from their European rivals. With a strong economic background

Javid is highly welcomed as the kind of big hitter the department needs given the chal- lenges ahead. Aſter two years of growth, this decline coincides with countries like Spain, France and Germany stealing a march on the UK. Te strong increases by our competitors underline the need for gov- ernment policy to support competitiveness – particularly regionally. Te GBTS report rings alarm bells and

shows the hospitality industry and govern- ment need to work together to reverse this trend and ensure that the sector can con- tinue to play its part in supporting regional growth and driving youth employment. Representing UK hospitality and tour-

ism businesses, the BHA has been and will continue to ask the government to focus on creating a coordinated task force to ensure joined up action and thinking for the industry across areas such as jobs and growth, airport and infrastructure, visas, food security, VAT and regional marketing.


merly the HQ for the operators of the doomed ocean liner, has undergone a major redevelopment aſter 10 years of neglect, reopening as 30 James Street – Te Home of the Titanic. Te hotel, which will sleep up to 310

guests once all 11-storeys are completed by mid-September, represents a £7m investment from developers Signature Living, which has restored the city landmark. Te distinctive building, located on Te

Te building is heralded as one of Liverpool’s most unique

Strand, was bought by husband and wife devel- opers Lawrence and Katie Kenwright who run Signature Living. Te developers also have a movie-themed hotel in Liverpool’s Stanley Street and serviced apartments across the city. Te current building is oſten heralded as one of Liverpool’s most unique structures, due

to its striking construction from eye-pleasing Portland stone and red brick. The centrepiece of the hotel will be its

Carpathia Champagne Bar, which will be the city’s first roof terrace champagne bar, allowing guests to enjoy drinks on one of two 100ſt balconies, while taking in views of the Liverpool skyline and the three graces. Details:

Eden’s £12m waterfront hotel restoration

Eden Hotel Collection has invested £12m in a waterfront 50-bedroom redevelopment in South Sands, south Devon, aſter purchasing the sites for- mer property, the Tides Reach Hotel. Te 35-bedroom Tides Reach Hotel was

acquired by Eden Hotel Collection – a pri- vately owned group of eight luxury hotels across the Midlands and the South West – in January 2014 from a family who owned the property for more than 47 years. Te hotel will remain closed while the

new building is created. It will feature a spa, private beach and an extensive ter- race with sea views of British coastline. “Tides Reach will add to our existing

Te South Sands, Salcombe, hotel will feature a private beach

luxury hotels in Somerset and Kingsbridge, estab- lishing a firm presence for Eden Hotel Collection in the region,” said the managing director of the Eden Hotel Collection, Mark Chambers. Te hotel is scheduled to open in time for the

2016 season, aſter an extensive public consultation this spring and the submission of an application for planning permission late this summer. Te company is currently keeping tight-lipped over its exact plans for what the spa will feature. An estimated 100 jobs are expected to be cre-

ated as a result of this development, according to the west country hotel group. Eden Hotel Collection is part of the family-

owned Rigby Group, founded by IT entrepreneur Sir Peter Rigby. Te Group’s portfolio spans hotels,

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aviation and technology. Its other firms in the South West include Exeter Airport and the com- pany British International Helicopters. Other hotels and spas included in the

Eden Hotel Collection are Buckland Tout- Saints Hotel, Devon; Te Mount Somerset Hotel and Spa, Somerset; Te Kings Hotel, Chipping Campden; The Arden Hotel, Stratford-upon-Avon; Mallory Court Hotel, Leamington Spa; Te Greenway Hotel and Spa, Cheltenham. It also includes the and Brockencote Hall Hotel, Worcestershire – which was recently named as a finalist in the Small Hotel of the Year category of the 2014 VisitEngland Awards for Excellence. Details:

Twitter: @leisureopps © CYBERTREK 2014

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