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Pound to euro exchange rate: GBP loses against euro – but could be impacted by new data | Travel News | Travel




The pound has lost 0.5 per cent against the euro after sterling fell lower than previously today. However, two new sets of important data from key industry bodies are to be released today. The Office for National Statistics will release retail sale figures for November. Plus, the Bank of England is expected to set interest rates at midday, with the BoE widely anticipated to hold borrowing costs at 0.75 per cent.

BoE governor Mark Carney has previously warned if there is a disorderly exit from the European Union, interest rates may have to increase to crush inflation brought into the economy by falling GBP.

Sterling is currently trading at €1.106 against the euro, according to Bloomberg.

The euro softened yesterday following the publication of the Eurozone’s latest construction data.

This saw Eurostat report that construction output slowed from 4.8 per cent to 1.8 per cent in October, missing expectations of a more modest dip to 2.9 per cent.

While the data is fairly low impact, it further fuels speculation of a slowdown in the eurozone economy in the fourth quarter, following a recent run of lacklustre data.

Brexit continues to play the role of key influencer in sterling’s movements with preparations for a no-deal Brexit ramping up after Theresa May confirmed a date for the vote on her withdrawal deal.

Michael Brown, senior analyst at Caxton, shared his forecast for GBP in 2019.

“Despite the previous sharp falls in value, sterling has generally recovered in the months following a sharp decline, for example with the pound easing back to post-crisis highs as uncertainty was removed from the market,” he said. “It remains to be seen whether this will occur post-Brexit.

“Looking ahead to 2019, there are few sterling-positive scenarios with the pound set to remain volatile and driven by Brexit related headlines.”

“A best-case scenario for the pound would be an orderly, soft Brexit combined with a shift in market thinking to price in further Bank of England rate hikes next year.

“This could yield three-four per cent of sterling upside although such an outcome looks unlikely at present.

“On the other hand, it is doubtful that firm progress on the EU-UK relationship is made next year, especially with parliament in the UK yet to decide on the outcome that it wants from talks, and the EU having other areas of focus including the Italian budget and European elections.

“In addition, while this uncertainty remains, calls for a second referendum or even a general election are unlikely to go away, keeping the pound under significant downward pressure in the near-term.

“In the event of a no-deal Brexit, sterling would likely experience a brutal sell-off, with the pound potentially losing more than 10 per cent of its value.”

Travel expert Simon Calder has explained that Brexit shouldn’t put Britons off booking a holiday in 2019

“I would have no hesitation booking a package holiday,” Calder said. “The worse that will happen is you will get your money back.” He pointed out that it could be helpful to visit proper travel agents for those who are worried.


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Travel & Escape

Opinion: Are we ready for the tourism rebound?




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




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




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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