Friday, 18 January 2019

WELCOME TO OUR BLOG!

It’s that time of year. We all think about making New Years’ Resolutions, to break them a day later…and we read articles like this that talk about New Years’ Resolutions and how we’re going to break them! But look at this blog like a New Years’ Resolution if you like: many people decide that this is the year they’re going to do more travelling, maybe visit a destination on their bucket list. However in the back of their minds they know that’s not really going to happen, as work, school, DIY get in the way. 

Here at Global Great Hotels, after some deliberation and brainstorming we have decided that it would be helpful for all our esteemed members, clients, friends and followers, to do a blog.

So each week, we’ll be giving you advice on the best travel trends in 2019, and through our articles, you can feel some sort of getaway from normal life, or at least, that’s what we’re hoping to bring you. The idea of which is to give you ideas and advice, perhaps even inspiration on the latest trends and the latest hotspots, whether you’re looking to see and be seen, some culture, some activity, something for the family, or something as far away from other peoples’ children as you can get!

Come travel with us, in 2019, even if you’re just sitting on the sofa, reading this on your iPad. What we want to do is take you on a journey with us, through travel trends old and new, and give you something to think about, something to giggle about and possibly even something to learn. We’re certainly learning something every time we research our next trend…but most of all, we hope you enjoy them.

We’re going to cover it all.

What we would love also, is for your input. Do you have a favourite place? Did you take us up on one of our “Flash Offers”? Where have you been with us, that you would love to recommend to others? We look forward to hearing from you.

So in an open letter fashion, we’re going to start on our first blog. It made sense to us, to start from the beginning: as Mary Poppins said “a very good place to start” (sorry, but it’s always on over Christmas, perhaps the mince pies have got to us!).

Travel and travel trends as we know them today, are of course, very different from their origins. However, one could say that they do have one thing in common: memories (not photos and certainly not a cuddly toy, especially in the Dark Ages), but memories would certainly resonate with an ordinary bloke from Ancient Rome, just as much as an ordinary bloke from, I don’t know, Manchester, today.

It goes without saying that of course, the Romans took holidays. They did everything else. Including inventing a system of central heating which we heathens threw out in the Dark Ages, but enough of that. The Ancient Romans were the first civilisation which actually travelled for pleasure. When you think about it, it makes sense, as you are hardly likely to up sticks and go on holiday just as your village is about to be attacked and your house burnt to the ground, are you? However, as the Romans had the infrastructure and the relative prosperity to do so, and the average holiday was in all fairness up to 2 years long (imagine!), and they weren’t being attacked constantly, then they could go. This, of course, created all the associated business with holidays: inns, restaurants, tour guides, all of which are documented (Pausanias gives you a great description of the best bits of Greece).


Unfortunately for all of us, we then plunged ourselves into the Dark Ages with the Fall of Rome…this wasn’t a very good time for anyone, especially not the Tourism Industry which was no more. Everything had gone a bit Pete Tong, and people certainly weren’t travelling…with the exception, perhaps of the “pilgrimage”: this was a religious tour and inns etc continued to exist, especially on the Christian trail through Rome to Jerusalem (possible akin to the backpacker trail from Cairns to Sydney? Feels a bit like a pilgrimage…). There was even a 13th Century tour guide: Matthew Paris’ “Map of the Itinerary from London to Jerusalem.” Your other option at this time was to become part of a merchant’s convoy. Marco Polo, the name synonymous with children screaming it in the swimming pool when you’re quietly trying to read your Kindle, was really a famous traveller himself, famous for his 24 year trip, documented in The Travels of Marco Polo where he was astounded that the Chinese used paper to denominate money!

Travel stayed very much the reserve of the wealthy, as it took a very long time (don’t forget we still only had horses at this stage of the game) and you had to be able to take that long off work, leave your dominion, your duties, basically your life. In Tudor times, it was really only the Royals who travelled, and even for them, it wasn’t really a holiday, it was more a publicity stunt, so that people were able to see them. In those days, it was called “Progress” and it was just as stressful for the hosts. The Monarch usually travelled with 1,000 people in their party. Our favourite Monarch, Henry VIII, was once so audacious, he took 4,000 with him. Hosts had to have room for all these people, and famously added extra wings to their premises in order to cope. It was normal to ship in extra game to stock their reserves.


During the Renaissance Period, travel remained with the wealthy as infrastructure was still too poor to augment it, and back then, it was only realistic to travel with quite a few soldiers in tow, as bandits and robbers were waiting for you on the road, and pirates were waiting for you in the sea…Inns weren’t too traveler friendly either, as they were used more by merchants than holiday makers, where people often had to share a single bed (sounds like Hi-Di-Hi!). You were far better off to stay with friends and relatives as it was safer and more sanitary. However, during this period, thanks to advances in ship-building, men began to explore much further afield…potato, anyone?!

By the 18th Century, the wealthy reprised the Grand Tour started so many hundreds of years ago by the Romans. However, by this time, of course everything the Romans had built had gone to rack and ruin, all their beautiful roads had all but disappeared so the infrastructure was heavy going. Did you know that the writer Mary Shelley wrote the famous novel “Frankenstein” whilst on a Grand Tour?

Thanks to the Industrial Revolution and the invention of the steam train, the Victorians began travelling in earnest, and in 1871 the first “Bank Holiday” was introduced. They began to travel to the seaside for 3 day breaks, hence inventing the “short break”. As these increased in popularity, such things as piers, ice cream vendors and donkey rides popped up, coining the phrase “Great British Seaside Holiday”. This, in turn, opened opportunities up for the less wealthy, the working classes, to actually have a holiday, and such places as Blackpool and Brighton became popular, with theatres and dance halls making an entrance.

So what were the wealthy onto by this time? Steamboats allowed for foreign travel to places like Paris, Shanghai, Cairo and Niagara Falls. Tour operators were set up to cater for foreign payment, and a type of exchange system was created where travellers could pay the local bank in their own currency, obtaining a note from the bank promising the same value in the local currency. Hence the beginning of Travellers’ Cheques…

Smuggling and bribery was rife, as passport control didn’t really exist (passports as we know them today were first introduced in 1914 and the blue ones similar to the red ones we have now, were first issued in 1920), and when people wanted to cross the boarders of a country with luxury items, they would usually be taxed heavily. So bribery was the norm.

By the 1920s automobiles we getting cheaper and more accessible, and holiday camps became very popular, certainly in Britain. After the Second World War, the two week annual leave was introduced. This was revolutionary to the man on the street, as “paid holiday” had never been heard of. Suddenly, a holiday was a luxury he could afford!

Then came the “package holiday”. Did you know that Corsica, of all places, was the destination of the first ever package holiday? Vladimir Raitz, the inventor, has been indeed hailed as the man who shaped the UK travel industry. He organised charter flights and all-inclusive packages that, in 1950, had never even been heard of.



His inaugural “package holiday” was to the then wild island of Corsica.

He founded his company: “Horizon Holidays” (the name inspired by the view from an aircraft window) and set up his first “package”.

11 intrepid travellers gathered at King’s Cross in London, 68 years ago, to board a coach which took them to Gatwick, to board a war-surplus Dakota transport plane, which, after re-fuelling in Lyon, landed on an airstrip in Calvi built by the American military in 1943. It took them 6 hours. They stayed in military tents.

What lured them? “Meat-filled meals”, the Mediterranean sun and wine at 9p a bottle! And guess what, it cost them £32 10 Shillings all-inclusive of flights, accommodation and “meat-filled meals” which was a massive pull for them, after post-War British austerity. They could hardly believe their luck, as a return flight from Nice to Calvi at that time cost £70, which is equivalent today to £2,200. Indeed, many were reluctant to accept that a “package holiday” could be so cheap. And there it was, the birth of the “package holiday”.

Here, is an excellent juncture to mention Benidorm, as the name is now synonymous with the package holiday. With the eve of the possibility of a tourism boom, the then young mayor of Benidorm, a teeny tiny little fishing village on the Costa Blanca, had a bit of a vision. Spain was struggling economically and he encouraged the building of high rise hotels with swimming pools and tennis courts to attract the masses. He even allowed the wearing of bikinis on the beach! Quelle horreur! And some even say, this encouraged more marriages between local people, as the local women didn’t want their men to be lured by the bikini clad foreigners! Can you imagine?! The hilarious thing for the Brits is that many of these hotels has ensuite bathrooms. This was completely unheard of at this time in Britain, but certainly encouraged them to add them to their own homes. Even your esteemed writer remembers how “exotic sounding” an ensuite was, and how people used to show off about them…And don’t get us started with the bidets…in fact, we still don’t really understand what they’re for…

By 1972, Benidorm was THE place to go…



However, with the late 90s came the advent of low-cost air travel and also the level of technology, allowing us to “get online” in our own homes, and plan our own trips. Travel programmes on the television inspired us to do our own thing, and from then, the “package holiday” and the now nightmares of Benidorm went into decline.

So what do we do today? What are the latest “Travel Trends”? That’s exactly what we’re going to examine over the coming articles…the latest, the weirdest, the best advice on what NOT to do, from backpacking and staycations, to sabbaticals, babymoons, retreats, silver surfers and Space. Yup, Space.


We hope you enjoy it!

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