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March 2013 Blog - March 2013
On March 25 we started working with the UK’s premier specialist in tailor-made natural tours in wild, tropical locations. Reef and Rainforest Tours was started by Alan Godwin from his kitchen table in West London in 1989. He relocated to Totnes in Devon and now employs five full-time staff all of whom are passionate about wildlife and each of whom has travelled extensively both above and below the water seeking out the best wildlife experiences across the globe.
Whilst many of us now research and book holidays in component parts ourselves, Reef and Rainforest’s atlas focusses largely on countries that remain difficult to make reliable arrangements in and therefore the team’s expertise and knowledge is indispensable. Below is a list of the destinations they feature:
Madagascar, Seychelles, Tanzania, Rwanda, Costa Rica, Belize, Panama, Brazil, Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands, Peru, Venezuela, Guyana with Trinidad and Tobago, India, Sri Lanka, Borneo, Papua New Guinea. They also have a special families programme. Check them out at
Thai Airways launches the new retrofitted B747-400 - March 2013
Leading members of the travel industry, including the Ambassador of Thailand to the Court of St Jame’s and our very own Amanda from the PR team, gathered at ONE Marylebone’s Soane Hall on March 18th to preview our client Thai Airways International (THAI) new flying experience in the format of their new retrofitted Boeing B747-400 aircraft.
THAI’s General Manager for the UK and Ireland Mr. Wit Kitchathorn presented the new interiors to the assembled guests.
The new cabins seat a total of 374 passengers:
9 Seats Royal First Class
180° full flat shell seats, 79.81-80” pitch, 21” width and 23” in-flight entertainment screen. The seats
are arranged across the aircraft in a 1-2-1 configuration.
40 Seats Royal Silk Class
170° full flat shell seats, 60-62” pitch, 20” width and 15.4” in-flight entertainment screen. The seats
are arranged across the aircraft in a 2-2 configuration.
325 Seats Economy class
120° 32-34” pitch, 18” width, and 10.6” individual in-flight entertainment screens. The seats are
arranged across the aircraft in a 3-4-3 configuration.
Following the presentation of the new aircraft which will fly on the London – Bangkok route from March 31st 2013, guests enjoyed authentic Thai canapes, champagne and a good dance with music provided by DJ Tann.
For more information on Thai Airways visit www.thaiairways.co.uk or call 0844 561 0911.
February 2013 Blog - February 2013
We have just started working again for one of the country’s most beautiful counties, Northumberland. Having had a relationship now with our northernmost county for five years now we are delighted to be promoting it again, particularly as so much is going on this year.
Northumberland has a stack of historic events coming up in 2013 including the 500th anniversary of the Battle of Flodden (Flodden 1513 is Ecomuseum is Britain's first cross-border Ecomuseum, linking sites with a connection to the story) , and a calender of events July 1 –Sept 30 celebrating the Lindisfarne Gospels. There’s also the 150th Cragside anniversary and 180th Grace Darling anniversary (Sept 7) , and major events happening throughout June for the Festival of the Northeast so it’s going to be a busy year and definitely a great time to be heading north to the border.
December 2012 blog - December 2012
An unsuspecting British tourist visiting Madrid on December 13 suddenly found a phalanx of dignitaries and snappers flashing bulbs at her as she arrived in the city. The reason? Mrs. Dale Sheppard-Floyd happened to be the one billionth tourist travelling in 2012. Whilst expecting to settle down to tapas maybe in a quiet bar in one the city’s fabulous squares, suddenly the tourist’s hand was being pumped by the Minister of Industry, Energy and Tourism of Spain, José Manuel Soria, UNWTO Secretary-General, Taleb Rifai, and the Mayor of Madrid, Ana Botell. It must have been a very surreal moment and with a few chilling kidnap twists and turns could make a great Hollywood film script.
On a more serious note though, it was a rare moment in a pretty bleak year to celebrate how tourism can create billions of opportunities for growth and development around the world. “Today, we welcome the symbolic arrival of the one-billionth tourist,” said Mr Rifai. “The one-billionth tourist, from the United Kingdom, is visiting Spain for three days. During that time she will experience a new culture, meet new people, support the local economy and help to sustain the jobs of waiters, tour guides and many more working in tourism, as well as of all those whose jobs are indirectly linked to tourism such as taxi drivers, food producers or shop attendees. If we multiply this impact by one billion, we begin to understand the enormous significance of reaching this milestone.”
Tourism, during these bleak times in Spain, still represents 11 per cent of the country’s economy. It is a fabulously diverse and beautiful country and there’s never been a better time for visiting so congratulations to Mrs Shepherd-Floyd.
World Travel Market - November 2012
I’m writing this on the first day of the annual nomadic gathering known as World Travel Market which is again taking place at London’s Excel centre and where there is the customary slapping of backs and greeting of long lost friends.
Today, Monday November 5, is Press Day and journalists are out in force, all seeking what might be the next hot destination whether its archeological gullet cruises in Turkey or kite surfing in Cornwall. Whilst Burma continues to be the buzz destination in Asia, Nevis seems to be getting a lot of attention in the Caribbean and Chile in South America.
One of the leading Daily Telegraph travel writers, Nigel Richardson raved to me about Malawi which he’d just returned from and also predicted that the American interior was going to draw a lot more attention over the next 12 months. ‘Up to now everyone seems to holiday around the coastal fringe whether it’s New England, Florida or California, but I think with a couple of new boats recently launched on the Mississippi and a brand new dockside in Memphis, there’s more reasons than ever for exploring the American heartland.’
I also chatted with Alex Robinson who writes for the Independent and Sunday Times Travel magazine and is a South America specialist (he spent four years living in Sao Paolo, speaks fluent Spanish and Portuguese). Alex predicted that the NE of Brazil will increasingly feature prominently in South American itineraries, particularly after it featured in the first of the current Michael Palin BBC series.. ‘Sao Luis is the centre of African-Brazilian culture and has the unique Lencois Maranherses national park which has hundreds of lakes perched in snow-white dunes. It also has the best kite surfing in the world at the resort of Jericoacoara.
If you haven’t already visited WTM this year , it really is a great place for getting ideas for your upcoming holidays and a lot of fun too with Indian fakirs, pan pipers and even a gang of robot Korean synchronised disco dancers.
October 2012 Blog - October 2012
November 1 is the 125th anniversary of the birth of arguably the country’s favourite artist, L.S. Lowry, and next summer his reputation is set to swell further with a big retrospective -Lowry and the Painting of Modern Life – running at the Tate Britain from June 25 to October 20.
Whilst many fans may have visited the feted Lowry at Manchester ‘s Salford Quays where 400 of his works are held, far less are familiar with his lifelong love affair with the North East.
‘One day I was travelling south from Tyneside and I realised that this was what I had always been looking for’, is how Lowry describes his first chance encounter with Sunderland and the start of a relationship that would last until his death. Sunderland became his escape route from his home at Mottram-in-Longdendale in Cheshire which he claimed to loathe but never quit.
On that day in 1960 he first discovered Sunderland, Lowry stopped for a late lunch on the seafront at the Seaburn Hotel (now the Sunderland Marriot Hotel) which became his holiday base for the next 15 years.
The sea became increasingly important to Lowry in subsequent years and more than 30 of the works he produced during his sojourns here are displayed at the Sunderland Museum & Winter Gardens (www.sunderlandmuseum.org.uk) which he often visited himself. No surprise then that he was also present when the national tour of the 1966 Arts Council L.S.Lowry retrospective exhibition opened in Sunderland and 13,000 visited. Perhaps the best loved of his paintings currently on view here are those of the Lambton Drops (the paintings are called Dockside and The River Wear at Sunderland), staithes where coal from the inland pits were transferred from railway wagons to sea-going colliers.
Just a short hop north on the Metro is Newcastle-upon-Tyne which Lowry visited often to see his very close friends Ronald and Phyllis Marshall who ran the Stone Gallery in St Mary’s Place and which hosted three exhibitions of his work in the 1960’S. Lowry drew and painted a wide range of buildings in the city including a garage, a tower and the Stone Gallery itself. Perhaps most memorable is his oil painting of the Old Chapel, Newcastle-upon-Tyne which is now on display at the Laing Art Gallery (http://www.twmuseums.org.uk/laing-art-gallery.html).
Lowry’s other favourite holiday spot in the North East was England’s most northerly town, Berwick-upon-Tweed, which is just a 45-minute sublime coastal rail journey from Newcastle. Lowry visited the town many times from the mid 30s until the summer before he died and a wonderful 5-mile Lowry Trail (http://www.berwick-pt.co.uk/lowry_trail.htm) has been created so that visitors can walk the Elizabethan walls, riverfront and Georgian cobbled alleys and see reproductions of 18 of Lowry’s works in situ. The map/leaflet can be obtained from the Tourist Information Centre at 106 Marygate or visit http://www.berwick-tc.gov.uk/visitor_information/berwick_tic.htm
Newcastle is the best base for a tour of Lowry’s North East and you can find tips on where to stay and what else to see at www.newcastlegateshead.com
Paul's August 2012 Blog - August 2012
Paul Gogarty Communications has taken up a 12-month consultancy/external PR contract with Newcastle Gateshead Initiative which we are very excited about. The city has recently won a truckload of awards as the best UK short-break destination and was the subject of a terrific 5-page in-depth feature in the September issue of National Geographic Traveller by Sarah Barrell, whose visit we arranged.
If you’re looking for the first big sports event post Olympics then the city is where to head this month for September is all about the Great North Run. For general information on the Great North Run events and accommodation in the city go to see
Great North Run Weekend - including Junior and Mini Great North Run and Great North Street Games
From Newcastle to South Shields
15 - 16 September 2012
The most high profile half marathon in the world will in 2012 be the first international athletics event since the Olympics and provide an unmissable opportunity to see some of the Olympic stars in action. A series of professional and junior athletics activities on the Saturday of the Great North Run weekend has been developed over the last few years, using NewcastleGateshead Quaysides as a 'virtual arena'. www.greatrun.org
Great North Run Culture Programme
16 – 17 September 2012 - Free
Camera Running was filmed at the 2011 Great North Run from the perspective of an elite athlete at the front of the race. In a single slow steady shot, the camera silently follows the route ahead of the front runners, giving a view of the course only a handful of elite athletes usually see.
The hour long silent film beautifully captures and connects many of the different elements which make the Great North Run so popular. Camera Running is a celebration of runners’ achievements and of regional pride, a tribute to the heritage and history of the race and the thousands of people who turn out each year to cheer on the runners.
The Order of Things
NewBridge Space, 18 New Bridge Street West, Newcastle upon Tyne
10 – 15th September - Free
The film tells the story of the Great North Run from the perspective of the physical course itself, its architecture, structures and materials. Turning anthropological study on its head, The Order of Things explores the man-made surroundings of the world’s largest half-marathon, drawing on influences as diverse as natural history films to government guidelines on the aesthetics of road-building.
Landscape and Duration
NewcastleGateshead – Free
For Great North Run Culture 2012 the course of the Great North Run itself will become a large scale exhibition. Dan Holdsworth’s landscape vistas will turn billboards into works of art. By using large format film and extended exposure times – even longer than the course completion record of 58’ 56” - will make the images almost ghostly. Colours will be distorted, busy roads will appear empty, and clouds will appear as traces of light. The images will embody a sense of time; endurance embedded within the landscape images themselves, echoing the Great North Run.
Urban Night Feast
The Robert Stephenson Centre
27-29 September 2012
A new food festival first is coming to the North East – this time an Urban Night Feast. This exciting event brings together some of the UK’s best street food vendors along with top regional based chefs.
Urban Night Feast – taking place in Newcastle on September 27-29 – will offer an international mix of freshly cooked street food along with beers, wines, cocktails and live music.
Held over three nights in the funky and industrial setting of Silverlink’s historic Boiler Shop, in the Stephenson area of the city centre, there will be street food from Turkey, Lebanon, Spain, Mexico, Vietnam and India. There will be pulled pork, jerk chicken, Indian chaat, grilled chorizo, Thai pork noodle soup, paella and Catalan style cod doughnuts and much more. Street vendors will travel from around the region, Manchester, Leeds and London. Urban Night Feast will come to life between 6pm to 12midnight. http://www.urbannightfeast.co.uk/
Amanda's Blog August 2012 - August 2012
The UK is currently receiving unprecedented media exposure - London is currently hosting the greatest show on earth, with thousands of people flocking to the capital, and a range of other destinations across the UK, to celebrate the performances of the world’s best. This wave of enthusiasm, positive patriotism and a general feel-good factor has coincided with an upturn in the weather and strong late demand to create a perfect storm for domestic holidays.
In the coming weeks those who’ve left it late to book will begin to think about their annual getaway – and there are plenty of those according to research carried out by Wyndham Vacation Rentals, with over half (51%) of Brits surveyed booking or are considering booking a late break this summer. Over the past five years there has been an incredible shift in holiday buying patterns as people wait until a few weeks, even days, before they are going away to book – with the internet making this much easier than ever and The Sunday Times reporting ‘Britons are benefiting from the cheapest summer holidays since the height of the financial crisis.’
Although holidaying in the UK requires packing both the waterproofs and the sun cream, this country really does have lots to shout about including incredible history, food, culture, and natural surroundings and 2012 seems to be the ideal year we pack our bags and celebrate all that is British.
July Blog - July 2012
Post Wimbledon blues, the usual England quarter final penalties defeat in the Euros, the skies sagging with rain and gloom…. Hold on… Bradley Wiggins is leading the Tour, we still have the Olympics to come and you never know we may get a summer in autumn.
The British default position of bemoaning our half empty glass may have reasserted itself but the reality is that for a journeymen team, England did pretty well at the Euros; Murray - the fourth best player in the world - excelled yet again, running the greatest ever close (oh for that second set service break point on Federer again!); and we’re having a bumper summer of sport even if the weather could be kinder.
During a press conference after he took the overall lead in the Tour de France, Bradley Wiggins clearly had the half-empty snipers in his sights when he embarked on an expletive-laden rant against those who’d been suggesting his success was down to illegal doping. “I cannot be doing with people like that. It justifies their own bone-idleness because they can’t ever imagine applying themselves to doing anything in their lives. It’s easy for them to sit under a pseudonym on Twitter and write that sort of s*** rather than getting off their arses in their own lives and apply themselves and work hard at something.”
Positivity and team play is so important to success in all walks of life not just sport, and half the battle to getting out of jams like the current economic downturn is not retreating to negative, anxious default positions.
If only our banks could behave more like have-a-go heroes like Bradley, Andy and our would-be Olympians rather than imitating those internet do-nothing ‘warriors’ they would behave more positively, support our small businesses and get the economy moving.
May Blog 2012 - May 2012
Continuing with last month’s theme, and my mini rant about the lack of genuinely useful advisory website that do the specialist legwork for us, I’ve discovered a new outfit that addresses these frustrations head on. Travelspinner has been set up by two travel writers, James Henderson and Ed Reeves. Unlike most competing travel websites, Travelspinner doesn't try to sell us holidays, hotels or destinations. What it does is connect us to exactly the right people to organise a trip whatever and wherever it is. There’s no logging in, no passwords and it’s completely free to use. It doesn’t even charge a commission on any booking you make.
All you need to do is tell them where you want to go and what sort of holiday you want. The Travelspinner system will instantly match you to the three most suitable companies on their database, and send them your request. Their replies will go straight to your email inbox, via the Travelspinner server. Then you deal with the operator directly.
Imagine that you want to go on, say, a biking tour of Jordan. You could type 'bike tour Jordan' into a search engine, and then trawl through the results, pick a few specialists who you hope are reputable, and contact them individually. Or you could simply use Travelspinner to contact the three most suitable companies in one hit - with the confidence that only the best specialists in their field will receive your message.
Oh and they promise to never pass your email address on to any third parties.
April Blog 2012 - April 2012
Today is Thursday April 26. Yesterday I had a holiday planned for next week swapping my North London home with a friend who has a one-year old, worryingly pristine narrowboat based in the marina at Braunston, the central hub of the English waterways. He needed to be at his daughter’s wedding in London, my wife and I needed a break: the arrangement was a week’s home swap.
My wife and I started worrying about the long range weather forecast about a week ago and by last night our worst fears were confirmed – pretty solid rain throughout the whole week. We both love narrowboating but it is not much fun when it is chucking it down relentlessly. Plus there was the inevitable damage our muddy dog would do to the pristine boat.
And so last night we changed tack – if you’ll excuse the pun. We told Gordon our house was still his but we were abandoning ship and seeking the warmer climes of our old banker – the Pissouri Beach Hotel in Cyprus.
Such spontaneity would never have happened pre the internet but Britain is now a nation of Googlers, adept at researching and reacting quickly. Competition for our holiday dosh is strong. We looked into booking the various components of our Cyprus holiday ourselves and then compared the price currently offered by the company that has offered us the best deals to Pissouri in the past – Olympic Holidays. Even their improved offer however l was beaten when we hit on a website we hadn’t used before – www.beatthebrochure.com which managed to knock more than £100 off the Olympic price. Next time you’re researching a holiday, you might want to check it out.
What I would love to find is a discerning website that’s great at identifying the Mediterranean beach gems like the Pissouri Beach Hotel. We’ve already started planning a September beach holiday and have trawled through endless sites without finding one that does the leg work and picks out only the best hotel on the best Mediterranean beaches. Essential Escapes does it for Turkey but what about the whole Mediterranean and by that I don’t mean every 4 & 5 star hotel that exists. What’s the best? And by best I don’t necessarily mean 5-star – I much prefer the 4-star Columbia Pissouri Beach Hotel to the 5-star Columbia Pissouri Beach Suites.
As I say, we still haven’t chosen our September holiday and so if anyone knows of a great website out there that does the Med legwork for you, please do let us know.
The UK has similarly been crying out for a discerning site for UK breaks and now it has one. Check out the brand new Cool Places website - http://www.coolplaces.co.uk/ - there’s plenty of good ideas there. If you’re planning visiting an area, you can download the app. straight from the site.
March Blog - March 2012
It always helps to believe in a client and we’re very fortunate that the PGC stable consists entirely of products we’re really proud to promote. My latest one-week break provided me with an opportunity to road test Thai Airways, which we’ve been representing for a year now.
In the good old days when I was doing more travel writing than I am today, more often than not I would be fortunate enough to get an upgrade to business class when on assignment but now that I pay for the majority of trips myself, I invariably turn right with the majority of travellers and so get to road test service as most people experience it.
What was interesting for me travelling on a long haul flight with THAI was that on every level it scored higher than other airlines I’d flown with in many years: the leg space was generous (one of the top 5 in the world when it comes to economy class leg space), everything worked (including the newly fitted individual entertainment console), the hostesses were unfailingly courteous and everything served with a smile despite the long shift they were putting in, and the food was tasty and creative.
Compare this with the appalling organisation at check in at three different airports, poor food, abysmal service, recliner that didn’t work, and lack of socket for my entertainment console that I experienced travelling with Air Canada on my previous two trips to Alaska and Nova Scotia.
Yes we’re very proud to be representing Thai Airways which at the most recent Skytrax World Airline Awards picked up two gongs in two categories, winning the title of Best Airline Economy Class Onboard Catering and also picking up the title for Best Airline Economy Class seat.
Thai Airways flies twice daily to Bangkok using its recently introduced new Airbus A340-600 aircraft on the route with individual in-flight entertainment screens now in all classes. THAI constantly has special promotions so check out the website for the latest deals (and for its internal multi-use Domestic Discover Thailand Airpass). Further information:
; 0844 561 0911.
February Blog - February 2012
This February we started a six-month project for NewcastleGateshead Initiative charged with getting the city more full-length travel features in the national media. We are very proud to be representing this latest piece in the northeast jigsaw, alongside County Durham and Northumberland.
I started by spending three days on a recce, refamiliarising myself with a city I hadn’t properly visited since writing a double-page spread for the Daily Telegraph way back in 1994. The changes were extraordinary: in my book the Sage Gateshead carapace is Richard Rogers finest architectural achievement and the adjacent millennium ‘blinking eye’ bridge transcendentally beautiful at night. The music venues like the Cluny, bookshops, artists and artisans that have taken over the Ouseburn Valley - once the furnace of the city’s industrial furnace - were a revelation and the adjacent walk up through the £6 million regenerated Dene is quite possibly the finest you’ll find in any metropolis (and the Jesmond Dene House at the top of the walk, a sublime country hotel just a short drive or half-hour walk from the city centre).
During my stay I met many innovative and passionate Geordies who have been responsible for making the city what the influential Lonely Planet Britain guide has called, ‘The hipster capital of the north east.’ By the time I started copying up my notes on the train home, I found I had 24 different story lines for feeding into national journalists. It is this journalistic nose to sniff out stories that probably differentiates us most from other PR practitioners and just in case you thought I’d abandoned the travel writer’s pen (or rather laptop) altogether, over the next four weeks or so I have features running in the Daily Mail, Daily Express, Wanderlust, Essentially America and Psychologies!
January Blog - January 2012
In December we started working with a new luxury adventure operator AdventureTemples which is owned and run by husband and wife team, Rob and Nadia Pendleton.
A few years back, Rob and Nadia embarked on a 36- country luxury adventure honeymoon. Their experiences in shaping and booking this trip, plus a desire to help others, led in 2009, to them setting up the AdventureTemples online community – a worldwide, like-minded network that shares favourite adventures (as well as often its frustrations at not being able to access adventure through existing specialist operators without compromising on comfort and style).
As the website community grew, Rob and Nadia embarked on two years researching, discussing and collaborating with hundreds of community members around the globe. The result, a real labour of love, is their definitive guidebook The 50 Best Luxury Adventure Holidays in the World.
Now they have gone a step further and, as of October this year, you can now book a tailor-made luxury adventure through AdventureTemples anywhere in the world. The book alone can take care of your next 50 holidays but if you prefer, you can have a one-to-one consultation with Rob by ringing 0843 508 5005!
Many supposedly specialist operators lack genuine research when it comes to the accommodation base or the variety of activities available and the holiday ends up feeling either like a glorified bus tour on which you’re constantly packing your bags, or a one-dimensional activity break that leaves you feeling trapped with nothing else to do.
Every AdventureTemple holiday however has to provide that perfect combination – a stunning luxurious base and a superb variety of experiences close-by - to challenge the body, inspire the mind and rejuvenate spirit. Check them out at www.adventuretemples.com
World Travel Market - November 2011
Amanda accompanied client Thai Airways International (THAI) this week to the World Travel Market (WTM) at ExCel, London. THAI had a bigger presence at this year’s WTM as they have recently won a clutch of awards and announced unprecedented investment plans to further enhance customer satisfaction. During the four-day event, THAI joined more than 5,000 exhibitors from over 189 countries and regions worldwide.
WTM is one of the most important, global industry gatherings providing a host of enlightening talks and events highlighting industry innovation and providing a cutting-edge insight into where the aviation and tourism industries are heading.
For more information on THAI visit
October Blog - October 2011
We all love praise and this month it was particularly gratifying to find someone who not only is a fan of my books but also our PGC blogs. I know it’s blowing my own trumpet but please excuse me this month in including the email I received a couple of weeks ago from a professor of psychology in Los Angeles. It not only shows we really do live in a global village but, as Francie says, it’s time I mentioned my travel books!
Dear Mr. Gogarty,
Greetings! After thoroughly enjoying "The Water Road," which I stumbled upon in a used book shop in Palmdale, California, I ordered and am now almost finished "The Coast Road." I love your writing: it is full of surprises, wit, irony, and rich descriptions of your experiences with interesting people, objects and places. Thank you so much!
Your fascinating blog and the description of your exciting business suggest that you must be tremendously busy, and I would understand if you were not able to reply to my letter. Although I am American, my family hails from England and one of my brothers has lived in London for many years.
One of these years I hope to make my own trip around and through England, but until then, I'll have wonderful books such as yours to feed my travel hunger. I hope that you continue to write books as well as blogs. And you really should mention "The Coast Road" somewhere in your blog, as it is an immensely enjoyable and informative book! If I could, I'd rent a Sid (the name you gave your RV in “The Coast Road”) and with your book in hand, follow your route. (My husband and I would first have to figure out how to drive on the "wrong" side of the road, of course!)
Best wishes in your PGC enterprise. It seems like a great idea. With your excellent journalistic skills and your great love of travel, you are the right man for the job.
Thank you again and thanks to your publishers!
September blog 2011 - September 2011
City breaks. Always tricky – do you want the big hotel with all the whistles and bells or something guest housey intimate? My travels have very much led me to the decision that it depends on where you’re going and what you’re seeking. Staying in Vancouver recently I checked in at the hugely impressive new
Rosewood Hotel Georgia
which had only been opened a few weeks and had special promotional rates on (definitely always worth checking out). It had a great pool, spa, new patio groovy bar, a restaurant that is really causing a buzz in the city, and fantastic staff including the best concierge I’ve come across – Matthew, the concierge, even arranged for a restaurant he recommended to serve us special amuse-bouche on him!
In Anchorage however many of the big hotels have a distinct business feel or are used for block bookings by the cruise liners (as do many in Vancouver incidentally). The best option here was a charming b & b that serves fantastic complementary breakfasts (fruit, pastries, fresh orange juice which can be a rare thing strangely in America.
The Copper Whale Inn
is its name and I highly recommend it.
Another thing to think about in European cities is that sometimes all the schlepping about can leave you in need of a holiday after your holiday. The answer? Check into one of the city resort hotels - you get the best of the city and the relaxation of a holiday resort hotel in one. A large resort hotel (with character rather than business-suit anonymity) can sometimes work well as long as you have deep pockets.
If you’re seeking a resort hotel in Venice, my tip would be the
; in Rome the
, in Florence the
Villa San Michelle
, in Berlin the
; in Istanbul, the
the Çirağan Palace
; in Stockholm, the
; in Paris
Hotel le Bristol
; and in London I think the
Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park
most closely fits the bill.
Amanda visits Durham - September 2011
PGC were back in County Durham last week and this time it was Amanda who was taken in with all its charms and delights. With a packed itinerary Amanda spent three days exploring Durham, getting to know the many attractions, and coming up with ideas to help promote the county. Attractions included: Loco-motion, Crooks Hall & Gardens, Durham Cathedral, the many Colleges Durham has to offer, Beamish Museum, Raby Castle and The Bowes Museum.
Everyone was extremely friendly and helpful when it came to showing Amanda around, and it’s always nice to put a face to a name!
Here’s to another successful PR campaign with
Visit County Durham
Alaskan adventures - September 2011
I’ve just returned from a holiday in Alaska over the final fortnight of August when America’s biggest state was already shuffling into autumn. After the third day of a non-stop deluge, we began wondering whether we’d made the right decision and grew nostalgic for a sun lounger in the Mediterranean. Guaranteed sun is a very precious commodity when most of us come to planning our summer break.
But then we made the breakthrough. The weather improved – marginally. Most days there was still some rain and pretty constant cloud cover but occasionally, just occasionally, we saw the sun. The breakthrough however had more to do with a change in our attitude. As yet another Alaskan commented on the drizzle being ‘perfect Alaskan weather’ for a hike or kayak, we suddenly found ourselves nodding our heads. Alaskans - and those who have migrated here from the Lower 48 - simply embrace the weather whatever it is. Sure I didn’t get to swim (though I did come close one day in Kachemak Bay State Park). But we did get to see dozens of glaciers calving into the ocean, spotted half a dozen bears up close, and kayaked beside otters, seals, sea lions and porpoise. You don’t get that on a sun lounger in the Med. As one young guy serving me in a shop one day said as the rain again tumbled from the bruised sky, ‘ Liquid gold out there.’ SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) may be a problem in winter but in summer no way I would have swapped this trip for guaranteed sun.
On our journey we traveled through the Kenai Fjords National Park and Wrangell-St Elias (the largest state park in the USA) and also journeyed through Prince William Sound and to the Alyeska resort. If you do happen to make it to Wrangell - and I strongly advise you do - a trip to the small town of McCarthy (only reached by plane or 60-mile dirt road from Chitina) is a must. Apart from having a real wild-west feel and sitting in a continent-sized wilderness, it also has a small restaurant, the McCarthy Lodge, whose chef (the delightfully named Joshua Slaughter who doubles up as a cage fighter) serves up a 19-course taster menu that is as hilarious as it is delicious. Expect items such as ‘kitchen and sink’ with an actual sink drainer and foam to resemble washing up liquid.
Eat your heart out Heston Blumenthal.
Schools out.... - July 2011
We’re entering into the School holiday season, when families head for the coast and airport in a mass exodus of the cities and towns. Or so we thought. But according to data we’ve had commissioned from YouGov for one of our travel clients over 25% of children don’t in fact holiday annually.
I was expecting a reasonably high percentage, but 25% was a bit of a shock. So at a barbecue at the weekend I took the chance to carry out a straw poll amongst friends to try and understand why this figure seemed so high. All had children, were a mix of professions, owned their own houses and had good jobs (mostly with husband and wife working). But despite this over 50% weren’t holidaying this year. They were paying down debt, fixing the house, changing their car…..anything but holidaying.
Now what the data didn’t show was how this had changed in the last 12 months. I suspect the reality is that there has always been a percentage of the population who can’t afford to holiday. The key is whether this figure is growing and spreading to other groups and sections of society. If this is the case (which, based on my unscientific research, seems the case) this is a worrying trend. It’s a genuine truism that travel broadens horizons, and many of those I talked to were people who 10/15 years ago were travelling the globe with a backpack, and it would be a real shame if their children missed out.
What’s the solution? Well it isn’t simple. Short of giving everyone more disposable income, we can’t make everyone wealthier. I think we’d all agree paying down debt is an understandable priority (afterall it got us in this mess in the first place). The key for travel companies is to convey the value, not the cost, of a holiday. What price sandcastles on the beach, making new friends, diving in a pool or a picnic in woods? This is where the true value lies and ultimately makes us all a little richer.
July Blog - July 2011
Last week Visit Durham announced they were reappointing PGC to handle their PR. Having had to go through the nervous business of having to re-tender with a number of other companies, we were naturally a little anxious despite the outstanding results we’ve achieved in the 12 months we’ve been working for the county.
We were also very excited at the prospect of further visits to a county that we knew little of before taking on the account but which we’ve been totally smitten by.
If you haven’t visited it yourself, here are just five reasons why you should
– the world’s largest Norman cathedral and a UNESCO World Heritage Site plus the magical Crook Hall and Gardens, the castle, sublime river walks and boat trips, as well as excellent restaurants and shopping.
– my favourite museum outside London, particularly the new textile section which is second only to the V & A. It’s a 40-room French chateaux and so worth visiting in its own right.
The Durham Dales
– Weardale is the more remote and wilder; Teesdale has pretty towns and villages, Barnard Castle and the biggest waterfall in the country. They both have fabulous walks and cycling and have the North Pennines AONB passing through.
Beamish Open Air Museum
- A staggeringly brilliant museum for families which you’ll need a full day to visit.
The Durham Heritage Coast
- The coast may be the shortest of any coastal county but it was also the most recent to be designated a Heritage Coast. Seaham Hall, the county’s five-star hotel and spa is the only hotel in the north-east to have been awarded AA 5 rosettes.
For more information on County Durham take a look at their website www.thisisdurham.com
Tidal Bore Rafting in Nova Scotia - June 2011
Mr Adventure himself, Paul Gogarty, tried his hand at Tidal Bore Rafting... let see how he got on:
May Blog - May 2011
May has been an unusually aquatic time for me. Early in the month I spent a couple of days doing what I love best – messing about on narrowboats along the Oxford North and Grand Union canals filming for a special Hoseason’s website that is to commemorate the 250th anniversary of the opening of the first stretch of modern canal – the Bridgewater near Manchester,
video and new website will be live soon!
The week before that a feature of mine about boating on the Thames appeared in the
and also a new edition of the
The Water Road.
(my four- month journey by narrowboat through the network) was published by Portico.
The climax of the aquatic mayhem came later in the month when I got to mess about on windsurfs, Stand Up Paddleboards, lasers and catamarans at Neilson’s brand new Adakoy resort which opened on its own ‘island’ a half-hour ferry ride from Marmaris in Turkey. I even managed to squeeze in some waterskiing too. Fortunately with all the brilliant weather we’ve been enjoying at home, I’m just about dried out now from all the times I fell in!
Thai Airways Launch and our return to Egypt - April 2011
This month we welcomed Thai Airways, our first airline, to the PGC stable and are already working on group press trips to Phuket, Bali and Burma and a number of individual press trips. We have also organised the first review for Cha Plu restaurant in Chelsea which THAI selected as its first co-branding venture. The idea of the innovative co-branding strategy is to celebrate excellence in Thai cuisine throughout the world. Having flown recently myself on THAI, I must say the food on board was infinitely superior to what you get on most airlines.
This month I visited Dahab, a very laid-back resort in Egypt which is slowly starting to see large numbers of tourists returning after recent events. Having driven past Mubarak’s extensive villa complex (where the former leader is currently under house arrest), my taxi driver sped us through the desolately beautiful Sinai. As he drove, he constantly praised the British for not abandoning the country (unlike Russian and Polish operators who suspended operations to the Red Sea resorts) in its time of need.
Later that week, having explored more of the parched lunar landscape of the Sinai where you’re lucky to find an acacia bush, I slipped gently from land to explore the extraordinarily colourful kaleidoscope of the underwater garden of the Blue Hole that draws so many divers and snorkellers to the Red Sea region.
With blooms of a dozen different types of coral and an outsized aquarium of exotically dressed tropical fish, it made me wonder why on earth holidaymakers choose Dubai when Egypt is so close.
Thai Airways Continues to Pioneer and Modernise - April 2011
Thai Airways has announced the purchase of 37 new aircraft between 2011 and 2017 (Phase 1) and a further 38 aircraft between 2018 and 2022 (Phase 2) at a total cost of around £9.1 billion ensuring it continues to blaze a trail when it comes to comfort and safety in the skies.
THAI’s Board of Directors has approved 11 new narrow-bodied aircraft and 26 wide-bodied aircraft for intercontinental and regional routes at a cost of approximately 216.1 billion baht in the initial phase. Thirty-eight wide-bodied aircraft, costing approximately 241.1 billion baht, will come into operation during Phase 2 (consisting of a firm order of 21 aircraft and an optional order for a further 17 aircraft).
The new aircraft will improve efficiency by replacing ageing aircraft at the same time as increasing fleet size for traffic growth.
The purchase order clearly demonstrates THAI’s commitment to pioneer, remain commercially competitive, and offer the best service possible to its loyal customers.
This latest aircraft investment is an addition to previously approved orders of 26 aircraft awaiting imminent delivery: twelve Airbus A330-300, six Airbus A380-800, and eight Boeing 777-300ER.
The ongoing modernisation of THAI’s fleet will reduce fleet age from 11.9 years in 2010 to an average age of 8.5 years in 2017. This will also bring reduced jet fuel consumption at an average of 1.3 percent per year, reduced carbon emissions at an average of 1.5 percent per year, and reduced aircraft maintenance costs at an average of 3.2 percent per year.
Most importantly, the new aircraft will be equipped and fitted with the latest specification, comfortable seating along with modern in-flight entertainment systems to meet the most discerning customers’ needs.
THAI has set a tentative date of September 2012 for the operation of its A380-800 operating on its Bangkok-London service. Bigger individual TV screens will be the big improvement in Economy Class and there will be a total of over 500 seats on this aircraft.
Paul's Travel Ideas - February 2011
According to a recent Press Association feature, an average Briton spends £168,000 on holidays over a lifetime. The fact that it’s the equivalent of the cost of a small home highlights just how important our holidays are to us. For those still looking to be inspired here are five top tips on great holidays to whet the appetite.
Wheels to the Wild – a 122km bike ride through the North Pennines AONB
Wheels to the Wild is a 122km touring cycle trail that covers much of the North Pennines AONB (Britain's first European Geopark, a designation endorsed by UNESCO). The route uses surfaced roads (mostly quiet lanes) but offers plenty of opportunities for off-road alternatives to explore some of the finest corners of Durham and Northumberland. En route there’s heather moors, wooded dales, rare plants, wildlife, tumbling upland rivers and Britain’s biggest waterfall (High Force) to discover as well as remote villages built from local stone.
For further information or to order the £5 ring bound route map that also includes background geology, fauna, flora, accommodation suggestions and services go to www.northpennines.org.uk or ring 01388 528801. The route starts at the centre of Wolsingham, where it also ends. Bikes (from around £20 - £25 a day) can be hired through the Durham Dales Centre (01388 527737) or from Wood'nWheels (0333 8008222 or 0191 3783753; www.woodnwheels.co.uk) based at Hamsterley Forest.
TURKEY – Relax as hard as you like.
In May 2011 Neilson opens a fourth new Turkish Beachplus club to those in Ortakent, Teos and Foca on it’s very own island in Marmaris Bay. The Turkish coast already offers reliable Mediterranean sun, cheap flights from the UK and great value as it’s outside the Euro zone. The Adakoy resort ups the ante by providing a great-value inclusive package with free waterskiing, tennis, sailing, windsurfing and mountain biking tuition. It’s also just 10 minutes, by boat, from the restaurants, bars and bazaar of Marmaris. In addition, the centre will offer Stay and Sail holidays where you can learn to sail a yacht in the first week before casting off to explore the Turkish coastline as skipper of your own boat on flotilla in the second week. A week’s beach resort holiday currently can be booked from as little as £449pp based on two sharing, travelling May 2 from Gatwick. The price includes flights and transfers, free tennis and watersports coaching for adults and children + kids clubs. Further information: 0845 070 3460; www.neilson.co.uk
ITALY – Venetian idyll
. With views across the Giudecca Canal to St Mark’s Basilica, Calle delle Erbe is an ultra stylish apartment in the heart of Venice. Ideal for two couples or a family, it provides the perfect retreat with more luxury than most Venetian hotels and you don’t have to share it with other pesky people. The apartment was recently meticulously restored by the owner, the interior designer Ilaria Miani. Light pours into the living and dining areas from the two sets of French windows from which guests can watch boats below. Throughout the apartment, rich colours have been used so no two rooms are the same. There’s underfloor heating throughout and all the usual must-have modern facilities - the very best beds and linen and state-of-the-art stone-panelled bathrooms with luxurious toiletries and fluffy towels. The master double bedroom has its own bathroom and garden views, the second twin/double bedroom has its own shower room, and there is also a sofa bed downstairs (with separate bathroom). The ground floor also has a deck that’s perfect for sundowners and soaking up the atmosphere of the world’s most delicious waterborne city. Water taxis pick guests up from the deck and can take them on trips to the Lido, Murano or for a lunch at Cipriani’s on Torcello island? Giudecca’s fabled bars are just a stroll away too as well as several superb restaurants. The property costs from €3000 per week (around £2520), sleeps up to 4 adults and two children and is available through Merrion Charles (0203 326 1213; email@example.com; www.merrioncharles.com). Merrion also has city apartments in Florence and Palermo as well as gorgeous cherry-picked villas throughout Italy.
Swiss Alpine Walk
Lakes & Mountains: 0844 879 8002 www.swisstravel.co.uk
The Alps are at their best in the summer months when the sun shines and it’s balmy walking weather. The Swiss Travel Service Lakes and Mountains programme features a Bernese Oberland Walking Week which takes in the finest views, wild flowers and mountain air mixed with memorable overnight stops. This independent, self-guided walking trip between Wengen, Grindelwald and Meiringen follows the famous ‘Bear Trail’ and is perfect for couples and groups of friends wanting independence and to walk at their own pace. Luggage is transported ahead between the resorts and the walks can be tailored to how far individuals want to walk – for example Day 3 between Wengen and Grindelwald can take one hour or five and a half depending on which route is chosen and how much help is taken from the cable cars!
The 7-night holiday costs from £918 per person for a June departure when daylight hours are longest, the temperature perfect and school children are still incarcerated. The price includes half-board 3- and 4- star hotel accommodation, return flights with Swiss Airlines from Heathrow to Zurich, 2nd class return rail transfers and transfers between stations and hotels. Packages can be tailored to exactly what the customer wants eg a city stay can be added at the start or end of the tour as can extra lazy days in Lucerne. Further information: 0844 879 8002 www.swisstravel.co.uk
The Alternative Active Big 5 Safari is brand new for 2011 and unique to Aardvark Safaris. On the 13-night holiday in Malawi - one of the smallest countries in Africa - guests get the opportunity to snorkel (or scuba dive), cycle, horse ride, hike and sail. Lake Malawi is the most ecologically diverse fresh water lake in the world, with a rainbow of over 1,000 species of fish to snorkel or scuba dive through. Its shore offers great horse riding for novices or hardcore enthusiasts and Likoma Island (just 8 kms long but housing the largest cathedral in Africa) provides perfect quiet lanes to explore by bike. Following a hike in the Mulanje Massif through local villages and some of the most dramatic scenery in the country, you’ll finally arrive full circle back on the lake aboard a fully-crewed 38 foot catamaran. The holiday costs from £3,650pp and includes international flights, internal transfers, accommodation, most meals and the activities (scuba extra). Further information: www.aardvarksafaris.co.uk or 01980 849160
Paul's Blog - February 2011
Much has been made of the sexist remarks by Neanderthal Sky Sports football commentators Andy Gray and Richard Keys over recent weeks. The unreconstructed duo complained bitterly that the female running the line in a Premier League football match got a crucial offside decision wrong and this then led them pretty naturally to the conclusion that the world had gone mad allowing women to officiate at matches. Putting aside the absurd logic for a moment (female assistant referees have the same rigorous examinations to pass through alongside the additional weight of sexist barracking), the truth was Sian Massey got the offside call right, and it was Andy Gray and Richard Keys who didn’t seem to understand the rule.
In our own wonderful world of travel, tour operators have long known that it is invariably women who choose and book the family holiday. What is becoming increasingly apparent however is that they often choose far more intrepid and adventurous trips than their partners when travelling alone or with friends?
Richard Smith, the MD at Aardvark Safaris comments, ‘When it comes to groups booking Kilimanjaro treks – and remember that’s the highest and toughest climb on the African continent - it always tends to be groups of women rather than men; when it comes to single people booking African safaris, my rough estimate is that 19 out of 20 of our bookings are by women; and when it comes to African equestrian holidays, which we also specialise in, it’s virtually 100 per cent women.’
Similarly Karl Bolton, the Commercial Manager for Neilson Adventures, has seen ‘A steady growth in group adventure holidays led by knowledgeable tour leaders. And 25% of all our booking are now by single females - from UK cycling trips to tough treks and multi activity adventures everywhere from Turkey to Costa Rica, women appear to be leading the way.’
Andy Gray and Richard Key meanwhile are reputedly considering retreating to Arab TV network Al-Jazeera where they no doubt hope their views are better received.
Paul's Travel Blog - January 2011
Happy New Year everyone. With all the financial gloom around Britain at present, it was uplifting to get some good news this past month.
According to IMFS Leisure – a financial fixer for buyers of holiday properties – Northumberland and Essex were two of five counties that saw the biggest rise in holiday home property owners in 2010 compared with previous years. Eighty-six counties in Britain attempted to increase their share of the market but only three managed to equal Northumberland and Essex. Unfortunately Dumfries, Galloway and Derbyshire were not our clients in 2009/2010 and therefore we cannot claim credit for their rise!
There can be little doubt that the unprecedented media coverage that Essex and Northumberland has enjoyed since we started working with them in 2008 (and we are now achieving for County Durham) has played a major part in more people visiting the counties and deciding to put down holiday roots there.
In mid December, we received a Metrica evaluation report on media coverage for Northumberland Tourism (NT) in the period September 2009 to August 2010. Throughout that 12-month period, 209 articles appeared on the county and 99 percent were favourable,67 per cent strongly. According to Metrica’s Paul Kennedy the result of 0.53 per 1000 OTS is considerably higher than average and can be considered “excellent”. By comparison another regional tourism agency achieved a cost per 1000 of £7 and £8.62 in 2007 and 2008 respectively.
Paul's Travel Blog - November 2010
Can paying £700 per person per night ever be worth it? For those with very deep pockets my unequivocal answer is yes when it comes to the Four Seasons Tented Camp in northern Thailand.
Located deep in Thailand’s Golden Triangle, the property has scooped Conde Nast’s Best Worldwide Resort award three years running. The resort only has 14 exquisite ‘tented’ rooms (think Rajah’s pavilion rather than pop up tent), is supremely stylish and almost impossible to leave. Each of the large treehouse-style decks has incomparable over the Ruak river into Burma and across the mighty Mekong River into Laos.
I’ve just returned from a short press trip to Chang Mai and Chang Rai which have long been the preserve of backpackers but is now a fabulous destination for those who don’t equate adventure with roughing it. Our two-night stay at the Tented Camp, reached by an exhilarating longtailed boat ride, was definitely the highlight but the Four Seasons Chang Mai (www.fourseasons.com/chiangmai) ran it cross and the Anantara Golden Triangle (http://goldentriangle.anantara.com/default.aspx), just a slingshot from the Tented Camp, offered a more affordable upmarket option..
Once the entire area of the Golden Triangle was covered in poppy fields but ‘the dream flower’ has now been replaced by tea, coffee, rubber, fruit and vegetable cash crops providing the hill tribes with an alternative source of income.
On our final evening suddenly and inexplicably, an endless flotilla of floating candles drifted downstream past the camp as drum-shaped fire lanterns soared heavenwards. No opium high could have created a more perfect vision.
In December the specialist safari operator Aardvark joined the PGC stable. We are very pleased to be working with such experienced, niche African specialists and look forward to getting the company plenty of media coverage over the coming months.
Pete's Travel Blog - October 2010
Hi, I’m Peter Joyner - the other partner at PGC - and I've just come back from a stimulating and hugely enjoyable three days at the ABTA conference in Malta. Not only did we host successful media events for our clients - well attended by the national consumer and trade press - but it was also a great debating shop for the issues facing the industry in the coming months. Whether it's APD, ATOL licences, or fall-out from the comprehensive spending review, it promises to be an interesting 12-months for travel companies, airlines and tourist boards.
Having recently added our own digital media guru to the PGC team, Jayms Brooks, I found the most interesting session of all to be on social media, and the rise of the online reviewing websites. In a session with Tripadvisor and BA, the panel debated the growing importance of using social media to communicate with customers and how to interact with sites like Tripadvisor.
One of the key topics was ROI (return on investment) for companies looking to engage in social media, and how to measure its contribution to business performance. The conclusion was broadly that it's nearly impossible to measure - much like PR itself - but that as our customers are using it we'd be stupid to ignore it as a marketing channel. While this set the cat among the pigeons for the traditional marketers in the room – ‘How can I suggest this to the board when it might make us no money!’ - it does get to the heart of the challenge social media presents, namely that just because it doesn't lead to a direct sale, it doesn't mean it isn't important. Over the coming months and years businesses will discover new models for monitoring and tracking online campaigns, but in the short term it reminded me a little of the old marketing maxim 'I know that 50% of my marketing works...I'm just not sure what 50%!'
Which ever 50% social media falls into one thing is for certain, ignore it at your peril.
Paul's Travel Blog - October 2010
For more than 20 years I’ve been regularly escaping to the Glamorgan Heritage Coast. I made my latest sortie with my chum, the travel writer Nigel Richardson, over the first weekend of October. With each return I get a bit more like Victor Meldrew, telling myself to make the most of this sublime 14-mile long coastal stretch for sooner or later the rest of Britain will cotton on and wreck the place. My 88-year old father-in-law - the poet Dannie Abse - has been dreading the moment of discovery considerably longer as he believes he was actually conceived in a holiday home in Ogmore-by-Sea 89 years ago.
The salt test, as always, was the moment I pulled off the M4 at the Bridgend turnoff and breathed a sigh of relief as the rest of the world continued hurtling on towards the more feted Gower and Pembrokeshire coasts. Ten minutes later, my shoulders relaxed and something started pulling at my heart strings as I slipped past the nibbled Norman ruins of Ogmore Castle and the estuary made its sprint past mountainous dunes for open sea.
Thankfully the 14 coastal miles of dunes and sandy beaches, towering cliffs and thatched villages that make up the Glamorgan Heritage Coast continues to quietly exist well off the tourist map: the Lonely Planet guide to Wales omits the stretch completely; and I had to write the chapter myself for them to include it in the Insight guide. Once popular with wreckers and smugglers, this largely ignored stretch between Cardiff and Swansea has the lot: fabulous cliff walks, views across to Somerset, great beaches, Europe's second-highest dune system, Wales's finest pub (the Plough and Harrow in Monknash), one of its prettiest villages (Merthyr Mawr), one of Europe’s finest fortified churches (Ewenny Priory) and even a castle that was Randolph Hearst's European San Simeon.
; 01446 704867.
; 08708 300 306
PGC explore Durham - September 2010
In July 2010 three of the PGC team – Paul, Peter and Rachel - spent three days exploring Durham, coming up with ideas for promoting the county. At Beamish – The Living Museum of the North, we met with the county’s attraction owners and accommodation providers so that we could learn more about them and they more about us.
Paul's Travel Blog - August 2010
A recent report from Kuoni (Kuoni Holiday Report 2010) leads with the headline, ‘It’s Official: Holidays Change Your Life'.
Instead of gathering statistics on spending trends or the popularity of particular destinations, the researchers asked more personal and searching questions in an attempt to discover the real importance of holidays to us. What they found was that that the quality time offered on holiday provides the best annual opportunity both for significant relationship building as well as life-changing decision making.
We all know how important getting away from it all is but the research reflects perhaps an even greater importance in identifying our two hottest topics of conversation whilst on holiday are life/work balance (41%) and getting fit/healthier (39%). Significantly it was found that the higher the income, the greater the prevalence of these topics of conversation on holiday - a whopping 70% of households earning £65,000 to £75,000 claimed they discussed their work/life balance whilst on holiday whilst 58% discussed getting fitter/healthier.
And its’ not all talk and no action either as a huge 54% of the entire sample claimed that on returning home they acted on their holiday resolutions concerning work, family, relationships or property. Some things however don’t change – and quite rightly in my view - as apparently 32% of men are unable to go on holiday and not check the sports results. Well there are limits – it’s the other 68% I’m worried about!
Paul's Travel Blog - July 2010
ABTA has just revealed the summer holiday plans of MPs and peers in its first ever Parliamentary Holiday Survey. The findings show slightly more peers than MPs intend holidaying at home this year - perhaps due to their venerable age and the fact they’d prefer a little hunting on their chums’ 300-acre estate to getting their bald pate scorched under the unforgiving Mediterranean sun!.
Just 50 per cent of the peers interviewed and 56 per cent of MPS said they’d be holidaying abroad. It would be interesting to compare the figures with five years ago – I’m pretty sure the percentage would be considerably higher. Clearly carbon footprint, ash clouds and airport strikes play their part but perhaps the new economic reality and the fear of being outed as extravagant also has something to do with the increased popularity of holidaying at home.
Interestingly when asked about multiple holidays, 91% of the peers confessed intending taking two or more holidays this year and half admitted to planning three or more. The disparity here with MPS was perhaps the most striking difference with just seven per cent of parliamentarians admitting to either having the time or financial muscle for a hat trick of holidays in one year.
Taking time out from his campaigning for the leadership of the Labour party, David Miliband is heading to Northumberland on his family holiday in early August. When I contacted his press office to find out more, the elder of the two brothers battling for the opposition leadership replied, “I am delighted to be going to Northumberland for a holiday this summer. Northumberland is a beautiful part of Britain and I am really looking forward to exploring it with my family.’ He then continued in a similar enthusiastic vein, ‘The county’s stunning natural beauty, relaxing atmosphere and friendly people will provide a great backdrop for a family holiday. I will just keep my fingers crossed that the great summer weather that we have been enjoying continues!”
Northumberland is England’s most sparsely populated county with just 62 people per sq km and is increasingly being sought out as the discerning staycationer’s holiday choice when it comes to escaping the masses (not to mention ash clouds) and discovering the last vestiges of pristine coastline (much of it an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty), wilderness and outdoor playground.
For further information on the county go to www.visitnorthumberland.com
Paul's Travel Blog - June 2010
A new client and a spot of messing about on the river!
In June PGC was taken on to handle the public relations for the county of Durham. What was particularly pleasing about the appointment was to be told we were chosen over other pitching agencies because we were a clear winner when it came to demonstrating our impressive results in achieving UK coverage.
Our other two counties - Essex and Northumberland - have had fantastic press coverage over the past two years. We are confident that Durham - a county like Essex and Northumberland that too often has been overlooked in the past - will soon be getting the publicity it deserves.
Anyone who has read my previous blogs will know that I’m a huge fan of our home turf and have travelled extensively throughout Britain researching books and travel features. In mid June I managed to squeeze in a few days back sailing the Thames Valley. Having enjoyed DIY cruises before in both France and Italy, I can honestly say nowhere else comes close!
In 2001 I spent four months sailing a narrowboat through the English inland waterways (and wrote about the experience in The Water Road - published by Robson Books). It was on that spellbinding trip that I first fell in love with the Thames Valley and so it was great to be back basking in the sunshine, ordering Pimms at riverside pubs and swimming daily in the river. For a week my wife and I were able to unmoor ourselves from jobs and London life and return to a 5mph world as magical as Alice’s. England and summer are made for each other.
Paul's Travel Blog - May 2010
In late May - and in glorious sunshine - I enjoyed a sublime two-night cycling odyssey through villages and back roads every bit as pretty as the Cotswolds but minus the tailgating tourists. My destination? A little explored area of Essex on the shoulder of Saffron Walden with a string of heavenly pubs, thatched cottages, windmills, picket fences, gorgeous countryside and the finest Jacobean pile in the country (Audley End – complete with Robert Adam makeover and grounds landscaped by Capability Brown).
Our first overnight pit stop was the Cricketers in Clavering inside whose wisteria-clad walls Jamie Oliver learned his culinary trade under the tutelage of his parents, Trevor and Sally Oliver. When the family first moved in in 1976, pub fare consisted of scampi in a basket and a pickled egg from a jar on the counter. Pubs - and British food in general - have come a long way and the Cricketers has led the way in pioneering the gastropub revolution.
The restaurant understandably has a big reputation and people travel a long way to sample its modern British dishes. But Trevor and Sally Oliver have also added additional rooms adjacent to the main building so there are now 14 comfortable and spacious rooms for cyclists to rest their weary backsides in too. The food, as you might expect, is sensational; rustic and full of flavour, using local seasonal produce from Jamie’s village organic garden (he still has a family home in the village too). But it wasn’t just his culinary trade Jamie learned at the Cricketers. ‘He also learned his colourful language here too sitting in the bar and serving the customers.’ Trevor also proudly told me “By the age of 14, Jamie had already worked eight years here and was as good as any of the chefs.’ Now Jamie’s own daughters wait tables when they visit whilst Jamie pays his dues and teaches Trevor and the rest of the team.
What struck me most was the passion for produce and good service – so often a rarity in this country compared to America – that was served up at the Cricketers as well as the Eight Bells in Saffron Walden (owned and run by one of Jamie’s best friends and former classmate, Simon Day) and the Axe and Compasses in Arkesden. At the latter, another absolutely picture-perfect village, the Cypriot owner told me ‘The homes are so protected here, you need written permission to open a window’!!
To replicate my 34-mile, very leisurely journey, order the Essex free cycling pack (with five routes, places of interest, restaurants, pubs and accommodation clearly marked) all you have to do is telephone 0845 600 7373.
Alternatively the routes and information can be ordered online or downloaded at www.visitessex.com (which incidentally is an excellent source of things to see and do in the county).
If you don’t want to hop your own bike aboard the train to Audley End (around an hour from London’s Liverpool Street station), Trailnet (01277 811012 or 07939 249980; www.trailnet.org.uk; firstname.lastname@example.org) can provide a tailor-made drop-off/pick-up bike service.
Overnighting: The Cricketers in Clavering (01799 550442; www.thecricketers.co.uk) has double rooms with breakfast from £90 per night
The Swan Hotel, Thaxted (01371 830321; www.swanhotel-thaxted.com) offers b & b from £49 per night
Pit stops: Eight Bells, Saffron Walden (01799 522790; www.8bells.co.uk/theevents.htm); Axe and Compasses, Arkesden (01799 550272; www.axeandsompasses.co.uk
Highlights: Audley End House and Garden, Audley End, Saffron Walden (01799 522842; www.english-heritage.org.uk) members free, adults £11.90, children £6, concessions £10.10; family of five ticket £29.80
Fry Art Gallery, Saffron Walden (01799 513 779; www.fryartgallery.org)
Saffron Walden Museum (01799 510333/510334; www.uttlesford.gov.uk/main.cfm?Type=CLMU&MenuId=417
Paul's Travel Blog - April 2010
Like many others, I got trapped abroad in April by the ash cloud. I eventually set off on an odyssey from Cyprus that Odysseus himself would have been proud of. This included flying to Vienna and then driving for 15 hours through the night to a bun fight at Calais docks.
Whilst airlines and the ferries cashed in on everyone’s misery by hiking prices and French staff at Calais did their best to make the experience as chaotic and unpleasant as possible, what was particularly heart warming was the very different reception we received at Calais. Having hopped in a van for the transfer from the boat to immigration formalities, the driver asked if we were going to the railway station. Having replied in the affirmative he offered to meet us on the other side of immigration to give us a lift!
Hot news this month from one of our clients, Steppes Travel, is the acquisition of The Traveller & Palanquin Travel, specialists in group archaeological, historical and cultural tours.
The Traveller - formerly the tours and travel department of The British Museum - is known for its experienced travel consultants as much as for its impossibly knowledgeable group leaders, many of whom are key curators in the British Museum. As Nick Laing, Chairman of Steppes Travel, said, ‘With the purchase of The Traveller, Steppes Travel can now offer an enhanced portfolio of expert-led off-the-beaten-track tours and individual journeys in Europe, North Africa, the Middle East, Central Asia, Asia, the Americas and Polynesia. The acquisition will further enhance our reputation for ensuring clients are able to fully immerse themselves in the people, cultures and places they visit. Having long admired The Traveller for the depth of its knowledge, expertise and exciting programmes, I am really delighted with the union.’
The Traveller will continue to operate under its own brand and its enormously varied, fantastic tours can be viewed at www.the-traveller.co.uk. For Steppes it’s just One More Steppe Beyond the Ordinary.
Paul's Travel Blog - April 2010
England's National Park
Recently released statistics show England (395 people per sq km) about to overtake the Netherlands (402) as the most densely populated country in Europe. Northumberland - known for its pristine rolling high moorland and outstanding coastline - is England’s most sparsely populated county with just 62 people per square kilometre. My blog this month is devoted to singing its praises.
The county is definitely the closest we get in England to the epic scale, pure air and outdoor lifestyle of New Zealand. Made up primarily of national park, forest and AONB coastline, in my view it could be justified in starting a campaign to have the entire county designated England’s national park as it’s the only place in England where it’s possible to cycle, walk, ride horses and even drive like we did 50 years ago.
At Kielder Water and Forest Park, they not only have the newest observatory in the country making the most of least polluted skies outside the Atacama Desert, but also the longest outdoor sculpture trail in Britain (as well as cycling, boating, and hiking on and around Europe’s largest man-made lake).
Nearby Rothbury provides access to more sublime cycling and walking in Coquetdale and a little further south you can walk alongside Hadrian’s Wall all the way into Cumbria. The county also boasts some of the most exquisite estate villages in the country - Blanchland in the south near Morpeth and Ford and Etal in the north close to Berwick. Meanwhile the tell-tale signs of an emerging new demand for quality in all things is seen in several award-winning guest houses that have opened in the past few years such as Chatton Park House, the Parade School Guest House and Orchard House.
Along the coast much of Northumberland’s endless white-sand coastline has been designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. There are many Sites of Special Scientific Interest too, offshore RSPB reserves such as the Farne Islands, as well as the finest collection of castles peppering coastal outcrops. Haunted Bamburgh Castle is one such with a history of occupation dating back to the 1st century BC. Within a slingshot, standing sentry on their bluffs, are the neighbouring castles of Warkworth, Alnwick, Dunstanburgh and Lindisfarne.
For further information on Northumberland please visit www.visitnorthumberland.com
Paul's Travel Blog - March 2010
In February we took on another new account, Merion Charles. Merrion is an ex-pat living in Tuscany with a huge knowledge of all things Italian who has assembled an enviable collection of sensational Italian villas. Her career in the industry has included working as a consultant for Abercrombie & Kent, as product manager for Italy, France & Morocco at CV Travel and as a manager for guided luxury walking holidays throughout Italy with the Alternative Travel Group Oxford. Her knowledge is extensive, taste faultless and she is absolutely passionate about all things Italian. No doubt this was why Harpers Bazaar voted her Number One Expert for Italy in 2009. Apart from her gorgeous villas, she also features the most charming Italian hotels, as well as select villas and hotels further afield.
February also saw my annual escape to the pistes with my 21-year old son Max. This time we chose the small resort of Engelberg in the Swiss Alps where we stayed at the Ski Lodge. Run by three Swedish partners/free-ski junkies, it’s one of those new breed of boutique ski hotels that offers gastro-pub style food and the intimacy of a chalet without its claustrophobia.
There are two other Swedish-owned hotels in Engelberg and plenty more Scandinavian visitors, drawn not for the pistes but the free-spirited free skiing and touring the area offers. Dan Threadway a former world record holder claims it’s one of the top five off-piste resorts in the world. As Johan Edin, one of the partners succinctly put it to me,‘The more mountain you ski,the better the mountain gets.’
With just 25 lifts covering a 2000 metre drop over 82 kilometres of runs, you soon exhaust the pisted terrain and so it tends to be popular with those already comfortable off piste or those decent skiers keen to make the transition to powder.
By the way, there may be those who scorn Swiss reliability and punctiliousness but I for one am hugely grateful that they take such care with my annual ski holiday. Travelling by train to the resort was a whole lot more pleasant than those interminable switchback coach transfers to French resorts - just a little over four hours after leaving the ground at Healthrow, we were settling down to our first litre-sized local beer (Eschlof) at the Ski Lodge bar.
The Ski Lodge is featured by Swiss Travel Service (www.swisstravelservice.co.uk)
Paul's Travel Blog - January 2010
A new year, a new client and an independent report on an existing client that shows how our radical and practical pro-active approach to travel PR achieves unparalleled results.
This month we have been taken on by the active-holiday specialist Neilson to advise on all aspects of travel and the media and to raise the Neilson profile. Whilst a number of competitors have been closing resorts, the Neilson brand is going from strength to strength. Along with a brand new watersport centre in Kenya (more on this next month), Neilson has just launched a new Lakes and Mountains programme and soon there will be a new Adventures programme with 150 adrenaline trips cherry-picked from around the globe.
We have also just received an independent report on the coverage Northumberland has achieved over the previous 12 months. The summary makes hugely impressive reading.
Northumberland Tourism achieved a result of a cost of £0.28 per 1000 ‘opportunities to see’ (OTS) – and this is rated outstanding. In comparison, another regional tourism organisation achieved a cost of £7.51 per 1000 OTS. This coverage translates into an AVE of £3.8 million generated through 295 articles, 100% of which were favourable, 65% strongly so. Equally significant was the fact that 92 per cent of the coverage met a pre agreed core message. Coverage was achieved in all of the major national travel pages and consumer magazines - 35 articles alone appearing on The Telegraph.co.uk, Timesonline and Guardian Unlimited. Coverage was also achieved on the Today Programme, Radio 5Live and Sky TV.
Where will PGC be going in 2010? Hopefully very much in the same direction: creating great coverage for our existing clients and taking a few new ones into our select stable.
Winning at all costs - November 2009
October has been a busy month. Apart from our usual blitzkrieg coverage for our clients, I’ve been launching my latest book, a departure from my usual travelogue format, which delves into the murky psychology of sport’s great achievers.
Co-written with an old Harley Street analyst buddy, Ian Williamson, it’s called Winning At All Costs – Sporting Gods and their Demons. Need I add, it makes a perfect present for Christmas and is available for £11.89 on Amazon!
This groundbreaking book grapples with one of sport’s great conundrums: what raises outstanding champions above their rivals? What Gogarty and Williamson discover on their journey through the stadium of the mind is that greatness is indeed both a blessing and a curse.
Why did Dean Karnazes head off on a 1000-mile ‘fun run’ after completing his 50th back-to-back marathon in the US? What drives Paul Gascoigne to self-destruction? What prompted Michael Jordan to return from basketball retirement three times? Why so many tennis dads stalking daughters on the tennis courts? What drives David Beckham and Jonny Wilkinson to practice kicking obsessively? And just why is it that Romanian striker Adrian Mutu insists on wearing his underpants inside out?
Aimed at people who don’t think the unconscious is the place you reach on a Saturday night after sinking 15 pints, Winning At All Costs explores the psychological triggers that may well have provided the impetus for some of the world’s most outstanding sporting successes.
Paul Gogarty is a journalist, television presenter, and award-winning author of The Water Road and The Coast Road. Ian Williamson is a practising Harley Street child and adolescent analyst as well as the former captain of Blackheath Rugby Club.
Please contact Catherine Bailey (Publicity Director) on 020 7284 7194;
Paul's Travel Blog - November 2009
As we approach winter, the travel industry seems to be growing increasingly confident about recovery. The UK has seen a very good summer as more holidaymakers plumped for home shores but now, as the nights grow long, tour operators are also increasingly posting good-news messages about increasing activity.
People, naturally, continue to look for great value when it comes to their early holiday booking patterns for next year. Some seem to be returning to the traditional longer holiday format rather than flying out on several shorter breaks (thus cutting costs by taking a single flight), others have opted to downgrade a star when it comes to accommodation. But even the more expensive operators specialising in long haul to Australasia have expressed relief that bookings are pretty much back to what they were.
The market is robust and the fierce competition of recent years has also seen it become extremely lean. What people want is great value whatever they’re buying and one thing’s for sure: the holiday is one of the last things we’re willing to give up!
Paul's Travel Blog - October 2009
Ah it's such a shame it’s gone again. Summer I mean. Strawberries, swimming, sundowners and sunshine. I’ve just returned from my own two-week halcyon break in two gorgeous boutique hotels on Turkey’s Lycian coast (the Deniz Feneri Lighthouse in Kas and the Villa Mahal on the shoulder of Kalkan).
Let me paint the picture of our first day: the white trailing fin of an old fishing boat bisects the bluest of bays and overhead the vapour trail of a rare plane does the same to an otherwise unbroken blue vault arching overhead. It’s 9am and I’ve just pulled back the hessian curtain on our first day at the Deniz Feneri Lighthouse on the Kas peninsular. I step onto the balcony and sit unmoving, taking in the view until my cold tea stirs me to action and breakfast on the terrace overlooking the infinity pool.
Until recent years, the problem with holidaying on the Turkish coast was putting up with decidedly average hotels in return for the sublime backdrop, the cuisine, the value, and the friendliness of the people. But that has all changed with the opening of a bevy of intimate boutique hotels that offer everything Turkey is good at alongside great service and style.
The summer memories are what get us through autumn and winter and confirm something we all know deep down: holidays are not luxuries, they’re absolute essentials!
Paul's Travel Blog - September 2009
Why is it so many return like homing pigeons to familiar tourist landscapes each year? Sure there are places we like to flop when exhausted or stressed out but it’s the night we slept out under the stars in the Sahara or with the canopy slipped back on the narrowboat on the Thames or the Midi that we remember most.
This month I’ve discovered that you can sleep on a ship frozen in the ice in Spitsbergen, check into a suite in an airplane lodged in a leafy canopy in Costa Rica or even book one of seven gleaming iconic American Airstream trailers parked on the rooftop of the Grand Daddy Hotel in Cape Town.*
The fabled African skies and Cape Town's Table Mountain shimmering in buffed aluminium or muzak and drunk revellers on a Costa? No contest.
* all bookable through www.steppestravel.co.uk
On the trail of the third man - September 2009
Sixty years after Graham Greene's classic was first screened in the UK, Paul Gogarty finds that the film's elusive anti-hero still haunts Vienna.
To read the feature in full please visit the link below.
Paul's Travel Blog - August 2009
My travels this month included a visit to the Camargue where two old French friends were hosting a joint birthday bash at one of the farms close to the national park wildlife reserve. As it was a milestone birthday for both the husband and wife, they decided to invite friends from the various stages of their lives.
I, and seven others, fell into the mid 70s Algeria years when we were all fresh-faced teachers (my first teaching job!) in a lycee in the Djudjura mountains. There’s nothing like seeing the toll of the years on others to realise you have become your own father and are now unlikely to ever make it into the Chelsea FC youth team! Apart from this slight shock, it was a wonderful way to celebrate a milestone by moving outside your own home patch and gathering old and new friends together. Over the weekend we watched cowboys and cowgirls on palominos herding cattle and branding them, spotted pink flamingos and eagle owls the size of small dogs, swam in the Med, listened to a gypsy band and chewed the fat.
In January I have a milestone birthday of my own coming up (don’t ask!) and the quandary is do I have a gathering-up-the-past party at home, on the Thames or at a gorgeous country house hotel? Or should I simply escape with my wife to somewhere that doesn’t feel the chill and gloom in January. My solution? Life’s too short – gather up the friends in a large property and have a party and then jet off to the Caribbean for a couple of weeks!
June Activity - July 2009
June saw Nick Laing, Chairman of Steppes Travel, arriving home after his 10,000mile Mediterranean jaunt whilst Mike Carter, of the Observer, departed on his own human-powered circumnavigation of contiguous Britain by bicycle. It’s great to see the pioneering spirit still burns strong.
Talking to both Mike and Nick, what comes through is the pure joy that is to be had from stepping out from our comfort zones and enjoying a boy’s own (or girl’s own) adventure. Talking to Mike on the phone a week ago he said “This is simply the best trip ever and it has completely renewed my faith in the British public – everyone has been so helpful, kind and interested in my trip.”
Nick too singled out the kindness and generosity of spirit he met everywhere as the highlight of his own circumnavigation of the Mediterranean - be it in Algeria, Libya, Turkey or Croatia. By choosing to do something different, visiting somewhere a little unexpected, our senses go on overload and there’s that wonderful feeling – excuse me for getting a little evangelical here - of an awakening. It reminds me of the joy I felt eachmorning waking up with a fresh adventure awaiting when I spent four months travelling the English inland waterways for my book The Water Road (Robson Books).
Over the last couple of months Nick has been doing a weekly blog for the Times and we are now fixing follow up articles for various publications.
Mike meanwhile has waxed lyrical about Essex and Northumberland (our two UK tourist boards clients) in his weekly epistles in the Observer and will no doubt do so again when he finally gets round to writing the book of the trip.
Nick Laing on his 10,000 mile motorbike trip round the Mediterranean - July 2009
"In 2007 I found an American website charting a bicycle ride around the Mediterranean. “Algeria – unfortunately we were unable to get visas. Libya – unfortunately we were unable to get visas.” On it went. I read Paul Theroux’s book The Pillars of Hercules and discovered even he had been thwarted in similar attempts. Here was a challenge. I emailed a friend “I feel a trip coming on”.
In April 2009, six friends on 5 BMW 1200GS and a Harley Davidson set out on a lap of the Mediterranean. The planning and organisation had taken a year to complete. I calculated 10,000 miles and six weeks riding would allow eight days of guided sightseeing in the key sites of antiquity, or - in the event of problems - eight days to catch up on time.
We planned an anti-clock wise trip to ensure we tackled the hottest part of the journey in the early stages. Leaving Oran in Algeria, we rode the entire length of North Africa stopping to see those gems of antiquity – Timgat, El Jem, Leptis Magna and Cyrene, and squeezed in a day in Cairo before crossing the Red Sea by ferry to Aqaba. Our two-wheeled caravan continued north through Jordan and Syria via Petra, Palmyra and Aleppo. Then it was hang a left across Turkey stopping in Goreme and Istanbul before hugging the Dalmatian coast to Italy and back to France. We made it to the day, but 500 miles shorter than I had calculated! Where did those 500 miles go? Maybe I need to head back to check?
The highlights? On a ride of that magnitude there are too many to choose from. Was it powering round the hairpin bends along the coast of Algeria or through Sinai? Or perhaps it was the dramatic 3,000ft descent down into Wadi Mujib in Jordan. Then there were the sandstone columns and arches of Palmyra, appearing like a mirage after the long flat desert crossing; and that moment of ecstasy as we rode through the beautiful Taurus Mountains of southern Turkey, I-pod playing, snow on the peaks high above us.
But if I did have to pick just one, it would probably be punching the air as we crossed the Italian border back into France after 42 days and 17 countries. We had made it on time and to the disappointment of many, without an argument!
Nick Laing is Chairman of Steppes Travel www.steppestravel.co.uk and Steppes Discovery www.steppesdiscovery.co.uk
The full story of his jaunt can be found on www.timesonline.co.uk and at Nick’s www.marenostrum.me.uk
April has definitely been PGC month! - April 2009
The latest PR coup for our client Northumberland Tourism has been to pick up on a highly embarrassing boob by the Canadian state of Alberta which launched a very expensive re-branding programme with a fetching picture of two young children running free on a long, otherwise empty sandy beach. There were plenty of Canadian red faces when it was discovered that the beach had actually nothing to do with Alberta but was watched over by Bamburgh Castle in Northumberland!
The PGC machine quickly went in to gear and more than 50 items of national press coverage duly followed worldwide as well as radio pick ups. To see some of the coverage, follow this link,
Another UK client, Essex Tourism, has not been missing out over recent weeks either having seen a full feature in the Observer on the Stour Valley and the county's upcoming Summer of Art festival. There were also features in the Daily Mail on Audley End, a piece on 'Cool Essex' that went out through the Press Association, a Guardian feature by travel editor Isabel Choat and yet another full feature by Vinny Crump in the Sunday Times on Mersea Island.
In addition both counties continued to appear in numerous round ups across the nationals and also saw plenty of media attention (including a full page in the Daily Telegraph on April 9) by being included in Vauxhall's latest media campaign, 'Britain's 10 outstanding hidden gems.'
Our latest client, Steppes Travel, also got off to a great start when, on April 13, the first weekly blog in a series of six went live on the Times website. Follow this link to keep up with Nick Laing's Mediterranean motorbike adventure.
A Steppe in the right direction - March 2009
Paul Gogarty Communications (PGC) has been appointed to handle the national travel PR campaign for The Steppes Travel Group and its sister company Steppes Discovery.
The PGC team will focus on ensuring Steppes Travel Group regularly feature in the national UK travel and online media; positioning the company as the specialist in offering experience-based tailor-made holidays across the globe.
Steppes Travel Group design itineraries which take travellers off-the-beaten track to rediscover the joy of exploring some of the world's least visited destinations at their own pace. Trips range from the finest walking safaris in African game parks to an expeditionary voyage to the Arctic.
"We are extremely pleased to have appointed PGC to deliver our travel PR campaign," said Kieran Murphy, Managing Director for Steppes Travel Group. "The team are already delivering PR expertise and working hard to meet their promise of coverage in the national and online media."
To discover more about Steppes Travel unique approach to travel visit
Northumberland Appoints PGC - September 2008
Paul Gogarty Communications (PGC) has been appointed to promote the county of Northumberland to the national UK travel, online and consumer media.
PGC will be running a 12-month campaign to highlight Northumberland as one of the most unspoilt and diverse holiday destinations in the UK.
“PGC have really hit the ground running,” said Joanne Dolezal, Marketing Manager for Northumberland Tourism. “The team have been full of ideas, creativity, and most importantly contacts, all enabling us to let people know that Northumberland is a great destination.”
To learn more about Northumberland’s diverse holidays visit
. To find out about PGC’s unique approach to travel and tourism PR call Paul or Peter on 0208 883 3985 or email paul.Gogarty@pgcomms.co.uk or email@example.com.
Essex Tourism take on PGC - June 2008
Paul Gogarty Communications (PGC) has won the Travel PR account to promote Essex as a leading UK tourism destination.
Essex has appointed PGC to raise the profile of the county in the national media and highlight the cultural activities taking place over the next 12 months.
“We are really pleased to have appointed Paul Gogarty Communications to deliver our travel public relations campaign,” said Lisa Bone, Strategic Tourism Manager for Essex County Council. “Paul and his team came up with a very strong proposal and their access to the leading travel journalists will help us challenge perceptions of Essex as a holiday destination.”
To find out more about what Essex has to offer visit
To find out more about how PGC’s expertise in travel and tourism PR can help your business speak to Paul or Peter on 0208 883 3985.
PGC conquers Himalayan - April 2008
Paul Gogarty Communications (PGC) has been appointed to manage the national travel PR campaign for adventure travel company Himalayan Kingdoms.
The PGC team will be focusing on increasing the company’s coverage in national newspapers, targeting the leading writers and helping Himalayan Kingdoms develop a stronger voice as an adventure travel specialist.
"Himalayan Kingdoms has appointed PGC to ensure greater national press coverage and to raise awareness of the broad range of our holidays and destinations,” said Jude Limburn, Marketing Manager. “We chose PGC because of their adventure travel experience and because their more personal, hands-on approach to publicity works for us."
For more information about Himalayan Kingdoms range of great trekking holidays visit
To get more information on how PGC can help your travel company or destination contact Paul Gogarty on 0208 883 3985, or email Paul or Peter Joyner, on firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
PGC Leaps Into Action - December 2007
Paul Gogarty Communications (PGC) has leapt into action by winning the new travel PR account for Activities Abroad.
The family orientated activity travel company has appointed PGC to help them raise their profile in the national broadsheet and consumer press in 2008. The campaign will focus on raising awareness of the range of European, Canadian and South African activity holidays the company has on offer, and encouraging more families to consider active holiday alternatives to simply sitting on a beach with bored kids.
“As a fast growing and dynamic company in the adventure travel sector we needed a PR company who were equally dynamic in their approach to our needs and PGC were an easy choice in a sea of PR mediocrity,” said Alistair McLean, Managing Director of Activities Abroad.
For more information about Activities Abroad visit
. To find out more about how PGC can help your tourism brand achieve outstanding levels of coverage contact Paul Gogarty on 0208 883 3985, or email Paul or Peter Joyner, on firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
Headwater Joins PGC - November 2007
Adventure travel company Headwater has appointed Paul Gogarty Communications (PGC) as its new travel PR agency.
Headwater, which specialises in walking, cycling and canoeing holidays across the globe, has appointed PGC to ensure increased profile in the national press and demonstrate the range of holidays the company has to new audiences.
"Good PR is all about getting the right message to the right people at the right time," said Catherine Crone, MD of Headwater. "With over 20 years experience in front line travel journalism, I am confident that PGC will be in the best possible position to represent Headwater in 2008 and beyond."
For more information about Headwater Holidays visit
. To find out more about PGC and how they are helping travel companies achieve their PR aims call 0208 883 3985 or email Paul, or Peter, at firstname.lastname@example.org or paul.Gogarty@pgcomms.co.uk.
Paul Gogarty Communications Launches! - July 2007
After a year in the planning, Paul Gogarty Communications - our ground-breaking travel and tourism marketing consultancy – has launched!
PGC has been created to offer a more effective way of enticing journalists to write about destinations and holidays than is currently being employed.
Shaped by Paul’s experience - being on the receiving end of both PRs and travel editors - we have come up with a radically different approach to PR.
And with our unbeatable contacts, we're uniquely positioned to find the most productive outlets for our creative story lines. PGC also offers our clients experienced staff and realistic fees.
Over the next few weeks we'll be hitting the ground running and talking to the key players in the travel industry about our exciting new venture. If we haven’t managed to catch up with you yet then why not give us a call to see how we're different?
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