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Christmas: Snow weather – Met Office reveals best places to visit in the UK this December | Travel News | Travel

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Christmas holidays for most people are traditionally associated with snow. Unfortunately, in this day and age, guaranteed snow just isn’t possible in the UK. But for Britons eager to maximise their chances of a white Christmas, there are some locations in the UK where snowfall is much more likely – although you may have to head pretty far north to boost the odds. These are top 10 places in the UK for snow this Christmas.

Cairngorms, Scotland

The Cairngorm National Park is found in the heart of the Scottish Highlands and is twice the size of the Lake District.

It gets more snow than any other are in the UK, with snow falling on 76 days throughout the year (based on 1981-2010 averages).

Shetland Islands, Scotland

This subarctic archipelago lies northeast of the UK and is made up of over 100 islands, 15 of which are inhabited.

The snowiest place on the islands is the village of Baltasound on the island of Unst where snow falls 65 days a year on average.

Fair Isle, Scotland

Fair Isle in an island halfway between Orkney and Shetland. It is owned by the National Trust for Scotland.

Home to just 68 people, the island is famous for its birds (there is a bird observatory) knitwear and historic shipwrecks.

Snow falls in Fair Isle on average 63 days a year, making it the third best place for snow in the UK.

Orkney Islands, Scotland

Orkney is an archipelago off the northeastern coast of Scotland. Its ancient history is a major draw for tourists as there’s plenty of sites of archaeological interest.

The Loch of Hundland on Mainland recorded the most snow, with the white stuff falling on 59 days each year, revealed the Met Office.

Copley, County Durham, England

Located just south of the North Pennines, Copley benefits from being in one the snowiest parts of England.

Snow falls on average 53 days each year, thanks to which Copley is home to one of England’s few outdoor ski centres.

Leadhills, Scotland

Leadhills is the second highest village in Scotland and is nestled in a high valley in the Lowther Hills, 1,460 feet above sea level.

Thanks to its lofty heights, Leadville get 52 days of snow on average each year.

Widdybank Fell, England

Located in the heart of the North Pennines, snow falls on average 50 days a year in Widdybank Fell.

Its two impressive waterfalls attract visitors – High Force Falls and Cauldron Snout – and the Pennine Way also passes through the area.

Eskdalemuir, Scotland

Eskdalemuir is found in Dumfries and Galloway and has a population of just 265 people.

It is one of the UK’s most established weather stations, with records dating back over a hundred years. Snow falls on average 50 days a year there, according to the Met Office.

Kinbrace, Scotland

A tiny village in the Scottish Highlands, the weather station at Kinbrace records some very low temperatures due to its northerly position.

The lowest November maximum temperature on record for the UK was logged there on 29 November 1985, when it got no warmer than -10.5 degrees Celsius. It receives 49 days of snowfall a year.

Knockanrock, Scotland

The village of Knockan is well known for Knockan Crag, a line of cliffs. It gets an average 49 days of snow each year.

For holidaymakers to head to the prettiest places in the country – whether they have snow or not – these are the most scenic staycation destinations in the UK.

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Travel & Escape

Opinion: Are we ready for the tourism rebound?

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Canadians are ready for the borders to be re-opened and will be flocking to sun destinations this winter like never before. The number of people who have said that they are ready to “get out of Dodge” and “fly the coop” is an indication that there is a pent-up demand for travel and excursions that has been bolstered by a two-year sabbatical from vacations of any semblance. 

While Canadians are going to be heading south, we can expect some of our citizens as well as those from other nations to be looking to Canada for their adventure holidays. When the requirements for the two-week quarantines are lifted, we will be seeing a quick rebound of tourism as other countries who have already lifted their restrictions have seen. 

But are we ready?

In 2019, tourism contributed $105 billion to the Canadian economy. Tourists from outside of Canada spent over $16 billion dollars.  Those numbers were down considerably in 2020 and it is only natural that many people in the industry suffered as a result of the effects of the pandemic and lockdown restrictions.

While some folks, fearful of the spread of variants, believe that the borders should never be re-opened, the reality is that to save our tourism industry and the economy, we need tourist traffic from outside of Canada as well as interprovincial travel. As Canadian and foreign tourists start their migration towards our tourist and nature attractions, there is some hesitancy about the readiness of the industry to manage the coming tsunami of people.

Hit harder than many sectors, the tourism industry has been affected by the pandemic in ways that other industries haven’t. The closure of attractions, fairs, tour bus companies, sporting events, concerts and community events with any semblance of a large group has forced workers in this industry to look for jobs elsewhere to survive. As a result of this migration of talent there will be many tourism related businesses that will have difficulty scaling up to meet demand.  According to Statistics Canada, 32 per cent of accommodation and food service companies expect that attracting workers is going to be an obstacle for them this year.

Even if you have some warm bodies to fill your positions, having well-trained staff will remain a problem for many tourism and food service companies. Most business leaders in the industry understand the result of having improperly trained staff working in positions serving the public. The consequences of poor customer service can be long lasting and devastating. Unfortunately, as a result of the constant opening up and shutting down scenarios that have been seen in the economy over the past 18 months, most operators have been reluctant to increase the staffing levels that will be necessary to meet demand. The consequences will be that there will be no other option but to have staff that are not fully trained or optimally equipped to take care of the flood of vacationers.

In order to adjust to the coming demand, tourism-related businesses will need to be prepared to hire and train new employees to promote and deliver their services. This should include systematization of training, hiring and onboarding processes to enable companies to get up to speed quickly when the demand starts.  

While tourism deserves to have their days in the sun and profit from increased business, we need to recognize as Canadians that it takes a country to host visitors and we need to encourage and support those people in the industry who have been hit so hard.

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Travel & Escape

COVID-19: Tourism bookings start increasing as B.C. opens up

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Tourism in B.C. is restarting but don’t expect it to be the same as it was before the COVID-19 pandemic.

While B.C. Ferries is welcoming recreational travellers and relaxing its mask requirement at terminals, face coverings will still be mandatory on board whenever you’re not in your vehicle.

Several Indigenous tourism businesses and locations that were closed to visitors are planning to reopen July 1.

Other tourism businesses are welcoming back visitors but won’t be in a position to handle big volumes because of a lack of staff, said Anthony Everett, president and CEO of Tourism Vancouver Island.

“Everyone needs to travel with a great deal of patience,” Everett said from Nanaimo. “Most businesses are running at a fraction of capacity of what they did prior to COVID.”

Many tourism sector workers have left the industry and found work elsewhere, Everett said. Particularly hard hit are restaurants that can’t find kitchen workers and companies doing tourism-related activities such as kayaking.

He said the benefits of tourism won’t be evenly distributed.

Last year, Victoria struggled all summer long and while bookings for accommodation have increased, some of the city’s restaurants are only open for lunch, others only for dinner.

“This is all going to take time to build up,” Everett said.

“Frankly, I think it will take years. This summer, bookings are going up, that’s what we’re been waiting for. It’s not going to be the exact same experience you were used to prior to the pandemic. I hope people remember and recognize that.”

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Travel & Escape

Mountain biking the Sea to Sky Trail

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With the 700-metre granite dome of the Stawamus Chief as a backdrop, my friend, Ken, and I climbed on our bikes in Squamish and began pedalling north. Our destination was Whistler, an uphill trek of some 80km that we hoped to cover in two days.

It would be easier to ride the opposite way—from Whistler to Squamish—because it’s downhill. But it wouldn’t be the Sea to Sky Trail if we rode that way. Besides, how hard could an elevation gain of more than 600 meters be?

I have driven the Sea to Sky Highway to Whistler many times. It’s arguably one of the best drives in Canada, but when I learned about the Sea to Sky Trail, I knew I needed to experience it on a bike. It’s a slower pace, and largely away from the highway, so it would allow us to appreciate the journey—the valleys, river gorges, lakes, and forests—in a way you can’t in a car.

While the Indigenous peoples of the Coast Salish and Interior Salish have used this corridor as a historic travel and trade route, the idea of a multi-purpose Sea to Sky Trail was first imagined in the early 1990s. But given the geographical and funding challenges, it’s only been in the last decade or so that the vision of the 180km trail from Squamish to D’Arcy, north of Pemberton, has been realized.

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